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#2683107 - 10/18/17 10:22 AM keyboard latency (not the piano kind)  
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David Farley Online content
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This article is actually about computer gaming keyboard latency. But since latency is a perennial favorite topic here and this article goes into great detail, I thought people here might find it interesting.

http://danluu.com/keyboard-latency/

Last edited by David Farley; 10/18/17 10:22 AM.
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#2683685 - Yesterday at 06:09 PM Re: keyboard latency (not the piano kind) [Re: David Farley]  
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Interesting study! If you think about the super precision and high resolution of today's games, and the highly tuned, highly priced rigs that serious gamers have. And then recall the computer games of the 1980s. Pac-Man, wasn't it?

Then read this:

I had this feeling that some old computers feel much more responsive than modern machines. For example, an iMac G4 running macOS 9 or an Apple 2 both feel quicker than my 4.2 GHz Kaby Lake system. I never trust feelings like this because there’s decades of research showing that users often have feelings that are the literal opposite of reality, so got a high-speed camera and started measuring actual keypress-to-screen-update latency as well as mouse-move-to-screen-update latency. It turns out the machines that feel quick are actually quick, much quicker than my modern computer – computers from the 70s and 80s commonly have keypress-to-screen-update latencies in the 30ms to 50ms range out of the box, whereas modern computers are often in the 100ms to 200ms range

....and this:

at the time I did these measurements, my 4.2 GHz kaby lake had the fastest single-threaded performance of any machine you could buy but had worse latency than a quick machine from the 70s (roughly 6x worse than an Apple 2), which seems a bit curious.


Curious is the word. Bonkers might be even better. LOL!!!


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Prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by Incapacity. He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence.
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#2683694 - Yesterday at 06:41 PM Re: keyboard latency (not the piano kind) [Re: David Farley]  
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Bottom line, software gets slower faster than hardware gets faster....


-- J.S.

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#2683706 - Yesterday at 07:46 PM Re: keyboard latency (not the piano kind) [Re: David Farley]  
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anotherscott Online content
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Yup.

When Apple moved from OS 9 to OS X, they were shipping machines that could boot into either OS. They were much faster when booted into 9 ("classic"). Years earlier, there was a big change from System 6 to System 7, and again, there were machines that could boot into either, and they were much faster when booting into 6. And even among recent machines, people often find that their systems are quicker if they don't update them too far away from the version of the OS they shipped with,

Some reasons for at least the earlier big shifts: Programmers moved away from low level tight efficient code (like assembly) to high level languages that are increasingly inefficient but allow the programming to be done more quickly. The trade-off means that the programs run more slowly. Also, everything used to run out of RAM, and hey moved toward constant swapping in and out of storage (luckily much faster with SSD than it was with hard drives). Programs were now not limited by RAM, but they ran more slowly. And the operating systems used to do one thing at a time, now they're always multi-tasking, often doing things in the background that you'd like to shut off, but can't!

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#2683776 - 4 hours ago Re: keyboard latency (not the piano kind) [Re: David Farley]  
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toddy Online content
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Anyway, it does help to put in perspective the problem of latency for musicians working with computers. Our saving grace being the invention of ASIO and the well designed proprietary drivers of that class. Without them, we'd be in the unenviable place of the gamers and their terrible systems with hundreds of millisecond keyboard latency.


Roland HP 302 / Samson Graphite 49 / Akai EWI

Reaper / NI K9 Ult. / Focusrite Saffire 24
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Prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by Incapacity. He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence.
William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven & heck
#2683797 - 2 hours ago Re: keyboard latency (not the piano kind) [Re: David Farley]  
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The Apple 2 was the computer from the 1970s referred to above. This home computer ran with a processor running at ONE mega hertz. The present day comparison is an 8 core processor running at 4.2 GHz.

That's like having 8 processors running at over 4 thousand times faster than the old Apple 2. And yet this new super computer reacts six times more slowly than the prehistoric Apple 2. What ever the excuses for this state of affairs, they'd better be good. Seems like a sense of proportion (or indeed sanity) has got lost somewhere on the way.


Roland HP 302 / Samson Graphite 49 / Akai EWI

Reaper / NI K9 Ult. / Focusrite Saffire 24
W7, i7 4770, 16GB / Yamaha HS7s / HD598

Prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by Incapacity. He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence.
William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven & heck
#2683811 - 1 hour ago Re: keyboard latency (not the piano kind) [Re: David Farley]  
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I'm not sure I trust the claims that the Apple 2 was so much faster.
Also ...
1. Keep in mind that any device interfacing to the Apple 2 (or any small computer of that era) did so through a dedicated proprietary interface.
2. And one interface served only one device. No port sharing.
3. And at the software level the drivers were trivially simple back then, partly because of 1 and 2, above.
All of this conspires to make response fairly quick.

#2683823 - 56 minutes ago Re: keyboard latency (not the piano kind) [Re: David Farley]  
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Frédéric L Online content
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I did remember when the audio card embedded a 4 Osc. FM generator. Since the sound generation were decoupled from the CPU, notes could sent as soon as they where received with low latency. The FM generator can’t produce drop outs by design.

Now, we get rid of dedicated sound generators (FM, square waves...). Instead, the sound is produced by the CPU with a complex CPU - Soundcard interface, 1 interrupt per streamed buffer (we have to use big enough buffers to reduce to flow of interrupts), and a complex software architecture : interrupts generate Deferred Procedure Calls, which when called awake the DAW or the virtual piano...

We can make it more straitforward and produce the sound in the kernel (with privileged right and more risk of blue screen). This has been made by the Yamaha XYG50 virtual instrument if I recall.

Nowadays, when Yamaha want to make a low latency hardware synthesizer, they make a dedicated DSP(the SWP70), whose the clock is alligned (with a multiplicated factor) to the sample rate. Like the old audiocard, but with a more powerful chip dedicated to produce the sound.

Last edited by Frédéric L; 53 minutes ago.

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#2683832 - 34 minutes ago Re: keyboard latency (not the piano kind) [Re: MacMacMac]  
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I'm not sure I trust the claims that the Apple 2 was so much faster.
Also ...
1. Keep in mind that any device interfacing to the Apple 2 (or any small computer of that era) did so through a dedicated proprietary interface.
2. And one interface served only one device. No port sharing.
3. And at the software level the drivers were trivially simple back then, partly because of 1 and 2, above.
All of this conspires to make response fairly quick.


Yes sure, these are all good reasons why early micro computers were fit to be efficient. Even so, the speed difference of processing is now over two orders of magnitude greater than it was then......like the difference between a model T Ford and a brand new BMW series 7, ( except 100s of times bigger if measured by horsepower). The computer refined for gaming is supposed to be the racehorse of computers. The gamer perfects his responses much like a sports person or musician. The fact the keyboard latency is still in the same ball park (let alone arguably 6 times slower) as machines from the 1970s is baffling to me.

Just another of the modern madnesses.


Roland HP 302 / Samson Graphite 49 / Akai EWI

Reaper / NI K9 Ult. / Focusrite Saffire 24
W7, i7 4770, 16GB / Yamaha HS7s / HD598

Prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by Incapacity. He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence.
William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven & heck
#2683834 - 25 minutes ago Re: keyboard latency (not the piano kind) [Re: David Farley]  
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anotherscott Online content
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With seemingly near infinite resources, there's no great value placed on efficiency these days. Similarly, when the Mac came out in 1984, the entire operating system plus a word processing program and a painting program fit on a 400k floppy disk. (Okay, there were also 64k worth of OS code built into the computer's ROM.) The Lisa had a 5 megabyte hard drive, which seemed huge. (It also cost $2k.)

#2683836 - 17 minutes ago Re: keyboard latency (not the piano kind) [Re: David Farley]  
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True, there's no value placed on efficiency because of almost endless, powerful resources. And for the most part, it's reasonable (though maybe regrettable) that those resources are squandered. However, sometimes it does lead to absurdities and big practical problems. This looks like just such a case.


Roland HP 302 / Samson Graphite 49 / Akai EWI

Reaper / NI K9 Ult. / Focusrite Saffire 24
W7, i7 4770, 16GB / Yamaha HS7s / HD598

Prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by Incapacity. He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence.
William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven & heck

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