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Volume 3, Number 8, October 2005
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Support Report: Meet Turbo DMA
by Brett Patrick

Windows users are often early adopters of cutting-edge technology. It just seems to go with the territory. Many DAW users have already gone to multiprocessor systems because of the increased performance these systems offer. Recently, the hottest topic in the processor world has been dual-core technology. As the clock speed-increase curve has slowed, processor manufacturers are looking for other ways to increase performance. This is where dual-core technology comes to the rescue. The two pipelines in dual-core technology allow the chip to carry out two processes simultaneously. Also, the processors have two caches to keep more data local to the processor for faster access. In the end, dual-core processors should perform better than a dual-processor system because dual-core technology will be able to decrease the lag times of communication that result from using two physically separate processors.

But, as we all know, when new technology comes around, it rarely plays well with others right off the bat. There are UAD-1 users who made the jump to AMDs dual-core X2 processor and still have some dropout and freezing issues, especially in conjunction with Firewire audio interfaces. But have no fear...Drum roll please! In version 4.0 of the UAD-1 software, UA introduces Turbo DMA (Direct Memory Access) to maximize stability and performance on dual-core and multiprocessor AMD and Intel systems. Turbo DMA minimizes system loading while boosting performance to allow for smoother operation and increased reliability.

UA went to Kentucky-based ADK for our X2 test machine. The foundation of this system is the Asus A8V Deluxe motherboard, which is well suited for UAD-1 users as it offers five PCI slots. The X2 used in this machine is the Athlon 64 4200+. ADK used the MSI GeForce FX 5200 video card. The machine has 1 GB of DDR400 RAM. Our testing with the latest version 4.0 software on this machine revealed the traditional UAD-1 stability with minimal host CPU loading. Similar tests were done on an Intel dual-Xeon system, with similarly excellent results. This system was built by UA around a PCI-Express-based motherboard utilizing the Intel E7520 chipset: A SuperMicro X6DHE-XG2 with dual 2.8GHz Xeon processors, five PCI-X slots, 1GB DDR2-400 RAM, and the nVidia GeForce PCX 5300 PCI-Express graphics adapter.

Users can now be confident that their multiprocessor and dual-core systems will be getting the most of their UAD-1 cards. For more information on compatibility, contact UA tech support.

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