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Topic: Finally, Overtaxed My 3-Year-Old Laptop with VDJ 8.3; A Tale of Computer Planning
Well, I finally did it... I managed to expand my computer needs to the point that I am hitting the limits of the hardware needs. It isn't surprising, given the age and original reason for buying what I did... How I implement my DJ system and the recent added video capabilities helped get me here. Three years ago, I did not foresee a need for a heavy GPU. VDJ v8.3 has redefined that for me.

Last year, I decided that a decent sound interface and 24 inch touch screen was a great replacement for a DJ controller. It has been exactly what I need... functionally. That was before I was enchanted into expanding into the video section with shaders and karaoke. That was only 2 weeks ago.
. Already using the laptop's touch screen, and adding the 24 inch, via USB 3.0 docking station on the HDMI ports, added some load onto the internal CPU. Adding another HDMI monitor added more. By the time I got FreeStyler connected, the CPU loaded into the 90%+ range.

So, for those planning on making a full DJ and sound system like I am doing, it may be necessary to change gear. Some buy a better DJ controller, some buy/expand LED lighting. Some upgrade the software. I am finding myself in the group where I need to upgrade the computer. For me, I need a computer that can simultaneously drive 3 HDMI outputs.

In planning on a new computer, Apple users have a small selection, mostly perfect for this purpose. Windows users, like myself, have a plethora of hardware designs to choose from, and the hardware makes a difference in the capabilities and price. The CPU is important application and computational functions, and the GPU is important for the video. In general, narrowing the search to a medium to high end gaming system will give one a perspective on hardware needs and price... Under $1,000 will be a general indicator. Some things I have noted:
. - CPU - Picking an Intel Core i7 over a Core i5 doesn't necessarily mean the CPU will be faster for this purpose. The 4-digit sub number is a capability indicator. An AMD processor may be a better option. I use http://cpu.userbenchmark.com/ to check CPU specs, and compare. Then, I search for Internet reviews.
. - GPU - I need to get up to speed on this part. I haven't looked for a touch screen laptop with a dedicated GPU that has two HDMI outs, before. I'll have to get back on that.

All-in-all, my obsessive personality has again gotten me driven into new territory. If anyone is interested in what I find, I will get back. For now, I am making some needed system design changes. The laptop was supposed to be a 2019 budget, but it may be a lot sooner!

Mantra: Plan on getting the most capable {insert item here} one can afford. It may seem like overkill, at the time...

Why I wrote this...
________________________________________________________
AudioMaverick wrote :
Will do... I think I found the issue, but will test this weekend. I will start an FYI thread with what I find, if it is what I think it is.
BTW- Thank you for putting that instruction page together!

PhantomDeejay wrote :
...
PS: Your 3 years old i5 laptop should NOT struggle to run Freestyler and VirtualDJ at the same time. If it does then there's something wrong going on. Start a new thread and I can help you to sort it out




Inviato Sat 16 Jun 18 @ 4:22 pm

Inviato Sat 16 Jun 18 @ 4:38 pm
locodogPRO InfinityModeratorMember since 2013
From what I remember reading from phantomdj, AMD processors are not recomended for vdj.

Inviato Sat 16 Jun 18 @ 7:51 pm
I would say AMD processors are not recommended, full stop.

Inviato Sat 16 Jun 18 @ 8:01 pm
AdionPRO InfinityCTOMember since 2006
I don't think there's any problem with the new amd processors

Inviato Sat 16 Jun 18 @ 8:06 pm
I have always stuck to Intel and never had any issues.

Even the Atom processor in the GPD Pocket runs VDJ with HD video output around 30% CPU usage which is quite amazing considering.

If I were buying a new gig machine I would probably go for the current or last gen i5. No point wasting extra money on the i7 as it doesn't really offer anything extra.

Inviato Sun 17 Jun 18 @ 6:12 pm
WickedMix, I am running three independent video puts: (1) Lap internal screen - FreeStyler; (2) HDMI output - 24 inch touch screen for the VDJ console (replaces the controller); and (3) USB-to-HDMI output - VDJ video (Karaoke/Shader/Slideshow). I do plan to split the VDJ video to have a monitor facing the audience while having one to face the karaoke performer. That will be four (4) total monitors, with two touch screen for me.
. The gear has gone through a continual remake, but here are photos showing the direction I am going for August... https://www.facebook.com/pg/audiomaverickcom/photos . The lights are getting a total redo, with the black lights going. I just bought a second Chauvet Color Rail and will be placing them there, making room for a 42 inch monitor in the middle of the light rack. A ways to go, but I am hoping it turns out well!

So far, my current laptop is just barely able to keep up with what I now want it to do. It will work, for now. It is time to put a new system together, and I am pretty sure I will need a computer with a strong GPU that can drive three monitors with independent video outputs. I am hoping I can get that in a laptop with a touch screen, and am not opposed to building a dedicated PC for the console.

wickedmix wrote :
A single HDMI out should be enough you can split that signal to multiple screens without added CPU or GPU overhead using a device like this -> https://www.amazon.com/Goronya-Splitter-Amplifier-Support-Ultra/dp/B01CP0MH3K/ref=sr_1_19?ie=UTF8&qid=1529167050&sr=8-19&keywords=hdmi+splitter+1+in+4+out



Inviato Mon 18 Jun 18 @ 4:31 am
I would have thought an I5 would have been fine,

Not sure why you need so many video outputs?, i would have thought one main and one deicated for Vdj,

The main one obviously flips between shader slide show karaoke or you build a custom video skin that incorporates features for all three

Maybe a third if you want extra desktop space ?

Probably very important that the displays are driven properly, use the most capable gpu core for shader, the next one down for vdj amd the extended desktop on tour USB vga.

I have tested three outputs in a similar scenario and had it all working nice and smooth, in actual fact i ran the two main screens from the intel low power 520 graphics gpu due too some incomparability issues with in built radion (amd) gpu i run everything at full 1080p

I found that even shader ran quite well on a cheap USB vga dongle

I run an three year old i5 with 8gb or ram (hp)

Inviato Mon 18 Jun 18 @ 6:23 am
[ UPDATE ] - CPU Overheating issue, due to dried thermal paste! I can't believe I didn't think of it... Computer Hardware Maintenance 101... This is a 3 year old laptop.

After some time of watching the CPU loading up, when activating the shader, I happened to also notice that the CPU was not reaching rated speed (1.8GHz instead of 2.2GHz)... much less turbo (2.5GHz). So, I hunted around for a thermal monitor and found https://www.alcpu.com/CoreTemp/.
. What a surprise! Within 30 seconds of firing up any 1080 screen (HDMI or USB3), the CPU shot from under 130 degrees Fahrenheit to 170+... Ouch! The CPU was obviously throttling power to keep the unit from going into deadly over-temp.

After scrapping of what looked like boiled and almost totally dried gray paste from the combination CPU/GPU & heatsink, and replacing it with fresh silver content thermal paste, the CPU now cruises to 2.5 GHz while staying around 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The Core i5-5200U still loads into the +80% range, and the GPU gets into the mid-70% range. If I keep all the unneeded items closed, as one should, the CPU only glances the 100% mark. I still see periodic shader glitches on the higher CPU intensive graphics, and am pulling the ones that are obvious.

From what I can tell, I got back about 12% to 15% CPU capability, and that is enough to justify going through the 20 to 30 minute exercise to regain an edge on an aging computer. I replaced the boot drive in February, and could have done this while I was in there.
. It took 15 total screws to lift the heatsink, 10 for the bottom cover, 3 for the heat sink, and 2 for the cooling fan (which I also cleared of some dust). I only needed a small Phillips (plus) screw driver, a dish to hold the screws, some paper towel to clean the old paste, replacement paste, and a toot pick to help lay down the paste.
. If your laptop is 3 or more years old, this might be something to consider doing.

Now, I can take a more leisure approach to scouting the next computer. I see a few with NVidia 1070 and 1080 dedicated GPUs and higher end Gen 7 Core i7s for $1,200 to $1,500 (Gen 8s are still higher). Something tells me that late July and into August might be a good time to watch for sales.

After 30 years of working on computer hardware, one would think some of the basic hardware pre-maintenance items would be engrained. Things tend to fade with non-use and age, I suppose!

I hope others find this useful...

Inviato Wed 27 Jun 18 @ 5:49 pm
bigron1PRO InfinityMember since 2010
Amongst others I'm running an i5 gen3 2.8-3.4ghz. The shaders produce little cpu (5-10%) load and that's with a video running on the second deck. The onboard Intel graphics will choke on some shaders so care is needed in their selection.

Shaders seem to demand little cpu power which I find very impressive and that is probably due to their vector origins.

Hm ..I also appear to be able to run them on an almost 10 year old laptop.

Inviato Wed 27 Jun 18 @ 7:36 pm
Must be something with the Core i5-5200U & Intel HD Graphics 5500 on Windows 10 Professional x64... maybe the way Dell Implemented the set in the Inspiron 2-in-1 7558 series... And, I just rebuilt the thing onto a new SSD, leaving off everything I could.

I will have to try this on my wife's Dell 7568, the Intel Gen 6 version, and see how hers does. Something for the weekend...

Inviato Thu 28 Jun 18 @ 11:49 pm