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Integrated Graphics vs Audio Latency

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February 28, 2012 12:29:36 PM

Hello to you all.

I will be buying a Z68 based mobo for an audio recording application. My question is relating to getting and using a board with integrated graphics or not. It seems I have a choice which might impact on either latency or noise.

Obviously a great deal of graphics processing power is not required for audio recording and traditionally you would use the least power hungry graphics card you could, to keep the noise low.

Integrated graphics will share access to system RAM in a different way to an external card (I think), so this may affect latency and interrupt handling. But a graphics card will probably probably draw more power so it will make more demands on cooling which will impact on ambient noise.

What do you all think?

Also can mobos with integrated graphics, have the graphics functions disabled (including system RAM access) if an external card is fitted?

Regards,

SJ
February 28, 2012 2:40:12 PM

i do not think that just having integrated graphics is going to cause system slowdown. you will probably have 8gb of ram anyways which i doubt you will use all of it.

i think i heard that there are boards meant for audio recording and have less noise then others. you would have to look into this yourself.

plugging in a slot video card disables the integrated video.

there are cheap $50 video cards out there. dont just think high end. some of them do not even have fans.

not sure about if it will add noise or not.

February 28, 2012 4:13:23 PM

ssddx said:
i do not think that just having integrated graphics is going to cause system slowdown. you will probably have 8gb of ram anyways which i doubt you will use all of it.

i think i heard that there are boards meant for audio recording and have less noise then others. you would have to look into this yourself.

plugging in a slot video card disables the integrated video.

there are cheap $50 video cards out there. dont just think high end. some of them do not even have fans.

not sure about if it will add noise or not.


Thanks ssddx. It helps with the question of disabling of the integrated graphics.

Just to be clear (which I wasn't in the op) the noise I refer to is additional fan noise caused by more heat being generated because of an additional card. I don't know if the Z68 actually turns of the internal GPU or just stops scheduled use.
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February 29, 2012 10:58:06 AM

well if you want to get into the nitty gritty...

the loudest fan in your setup would most likely be the one on your northbridge. that little fan can produce even more noise than a large video card blower (which you wont have).

if you have a larger case with a few 120mm fans (good airflow) you should be able to keep fans on low which should minimize the power draw (electrical noise) and mechanical/air sounds (audible noise). a large case has more air to heat up which means that the fans do not have to work as hard. besides the cpu, everything else in your system is relatively cool which means you wont have a huge amount of heat to deal with.

a passively cooled video card would work.... but if you followed my advice above then the fans shouldnt kick in on high at all. for your information i've used an integrated card on two builds and there really isnt too much heat radiating off of them. they do need ambient airflow though.

---

the best solution? do what i said first and see what the results are. worst come to worst you can always get a cheap add-in card.
February 29, 2012 12:32:42 PM

ssddx said:
well if you want to get into the nitty gritty...

the loudest fan in your setup would most likely be the one on your northbridge. that little fan can produce even more noise than a large video card blower (which you wont have).

if you have a larger case with a few 120mm fans (good airflow) you should be able to keep fans on low which should minimize the power draw (electrical noise) and mechanical/air sounds (audible noise). a large case has more air to heat up which means that the fans do not have to work as hard. besides the cpu, everything else in your system is relatively cool which means you wont have a huge amount of heat to deal with.

a passively cooled video card would work.... but if you followed my advice above then the fans shouldnt kick in on high at all. for your information i've used an integrated card on two builds and there really isnt too much heat radiating off of them. they do need ambient airflow though.

---

the best solution? do what i said first and see what the results are. worst come to worst you can always get a cheap add-in card.


Once again thanks for the useful advice. I've never put together a power hungry system before so your specific advice on fans is really helpfull. As a hardware engineer I know the impact heating has on life-expectancy of silicon so I'd like to keep the need for cooling (and therefore noise) to a minimum.

I had realised that I would be safe to buy an integrated video motherboard if I could turn off the integrated video should it become a problem. That's why I asked the question.

I have actually toyed with the idea of having no proper enclosure; everything laid flat with just a protective aluminium mesh grill with enough holes to let air through but small enough holes not to cause EMC problems. As it's purely with-in my home, out in the sticks and for personal use, I could possibly get away with not bothering about EMC. I'll need to consult some regulations.

February 29, 2012 3:39:33 PM

before any heat damage would occur the auto-shutoffs would kick in. unless you are in a 90 degree room, playing crysis on ultra-high for several hours without any airflow into the room.... i doubt you will see that happen. not to say that keeping temperatures low is a bad thing. its suggested.

well, if you plan on using a seperate video card you dont have to get integrated. if you arent sure what you want to do then get integrated.

i would advise against your idea of everything laid flat with a metal mesh (read: chicken wire or fishnet style) cover. for several reasons. first there is no protection whatsoever against spilled liquid or condensate. or crumbs/food particles. or dust which has been known to cause issues if left unchecked. also i'm unsure about the emc properties of such an enclosure but personally i wouldnt test it out on $1000 worth of hardware.

there is a little bit of a debate over which is better... cases which are completely enclosed except for fan ports and styles which feature a few panels with small holes for airflow. solid panels do better channel airflow and as long as you have 120mm or larger fans on low there arent any issues. panels with airholes might let some ambient airflow circulate but sort of negate the effects of the push-pull fan layout of cases. this means that the fans might have to be turned up louder to achieve the same effective cooling capacity. also dust will be more of a problem. expect to clean case monthly! at least with solid cases you can put filter screens on to subdue the dust a bit.

stay away from acrylic cases. stay away from the "test rig" style open cases. try to use at least a mid tower case.

as an engineer you should know thermal properties. you try to pull air in low-front and exhaust it out high-rear. look for cases which flow like this. alternatively... some models feature "zones". which can also work. areas are solid-paneled off to provide better airflow to key components. you dont have to go crazy-fancy though. at the end of the day any case will work, though some better then others.

as for fans do not get those pretty colored led models or anything of that nature. your basic flat black 120mm fan works fine. i highly suggest a front bay fan control.

also do not forget to use cable ties to tidy up internal wiring. doing this can greatly increase airflow. pull wires to the sides of the case if you can. and if you cant then get longer wires or wire extensions.

while i'm at it i might as well say to use thermal paste (pref: artic silver) for your cpu. this improves cooling efficieny. one tube should last you a few years.

March 2, 2012 11:32:29 PM

Thanks ssddx for the comprehensive advice. My main aim in keeping the thermal output/ambient low is to keep fan operation to a minimum and also increase longevity. Heat and electrical stress are the main causes of component failure so I tend to purchase spec up high but run below spec.

I only try to replace my sytem every 8 to 10 years. I know things change rapidly out there but it is possible.

Thanks again.
March 5, 2012 10:48:15 AM

run your parts at spec. there is no need to underclock or any of that nonsense.

remember that these parts are meant to withstand the heat of operation. just because you run them at lower temperatures does not mean they will not fail. sometimes this is just the luck of the draw.

having propper airflow in a case with fans on low, especially in larger cases, can disipate quite alot of heat. instead of worrying about components i would worry about the case you will put them in instead!

if you want an 8-10 year pc then go bleeding edge or one step below bleeding edge. i have an amd64 pc that is maybe 9 years old by now and it still runs. however the thing is so slow (comparitively of course) that its at the end of its life. at the time it was just about bleeding edge.

remember, dont be paranoid about parts failing. keep decent airflow, remove dust, use a surge protector and shut down your pc correctly and it will be fine. remember that there are other factors which could cause malfunction.
March 5, 2012 1:40:40 PM

My experience is not based on PCs at all. Just silicon in general. I have had no bad experiences with PCs. I have observed failure rates in products which are related to ambient operating temperatures. A room ambient change of 1 degree can have a more significant impact on enclosure ambient and then silicon junction temperature.

Of course good fans, and dust free heat sinks will help reduce thermal resistance and so keep the junction temperature lower than otherwise. But why generate heat and use energy if I don't need it? I only need speed to overcome recording latency. Turbo boost should take care of that. Other than that my recordinDSPsp needs are quite modest. Most of the other developmenworkkk I do is handled adequately by what I have now.

I may get in to some video editing soon but that isn't time critical stuff and there isn't a lot of it.

I may need power in the future as software demands get greater as they 'simplify' technologies for users. But provided the motherboard can handle the next 22nm technology (which the Asus G3 range claim they can) I'll get the least power hungry processor I need for now and if I should need more several years from now I'll boost it with a suitable 22nm part.

It just keeps my immediate budget as low as needs be, keeps running cost as low as I can get it and gives me aenvironmentviroment for years to come whilst keeping simple performance options open for the future, when some of the bleeding edge stuff is no longer bleeding edge and has a better price to reflect it.

It's just my way of doing things. Inecessarilycessarilly recommend it.
March 5, 2012 1:51:46 PM

ssddx said:
i do not think that just having integrated graphics is going to cause system slowdown. you will probably have 8gb of ram anyways which i doubt you will use all of it.

i think i heard that there are boards meant for audio recording and have less noise then others. you would have to look into this yourself.

plugging in a slot video card disables the integrated video.

there are cheap $50 video cards out there. dont just think high end. some of them do not even have fans.

not sure about if it will add noise or not.


Best Answer.
March 5, 2012 2:19:48 PM

i wouldnt believe the "will support future processor" line. its been done before and it will be done again. new processor, new socket. just a warning. new socket often means new motherboard (sometimes new ram, etcetera).

just something to keep in mind.

--

oh and there is a best answer button above the posts in case you didnt know. just an fyi.
March 5, 2012 2:44:34 PM

ssddx said:
i wouldnt believe the "will support future processor" line. its been done before and it will be done again. new processor, new socket. just a warning. new socket often means new motherboard (sometimes new ram, etcetera).

just something to keep in mind.

--

oh and there is a best answer button above the posts in case you didnt know. just an fyi.


I did Look for a button or checkbox of some description but can only see the thumbs up/down thing on my screen. So I pressed the green 'like' one.

I don't necessailly believe/disbelieve the 22nm support statement. I am wondering if I should wait to see what the 2cnd quarter brings. But if I purchase now, it'll be with specific emphasis on 22nm support as part of the specification.

Thanks
!