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Windows 8 and Thunderbolt

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Discussion related to installation, configuration and use of MOTU hardware such as MIDI interfaces, audio interfaces, etc. with Windows

Windows 8 and Thunderbolt

Postby APADRecordings » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:07 am

I have been using an ASUS G55VW laptop, which has a Thunderbolt port, running Windows 8 and interfacing to MOTU Travelers, 896 MKIII, and 8Pre with excellent results since Nov 9. I purchased an Apple Thunderbolt to FW adapter (about 30.00) to interface with the MOTU FW gear. Everything is extremely stable enabling using 3 Traveler MKIIIs synched by the FW buss, if you like, though I use Wordclock to sync everything. I am even able to plug a MiniDV camcorder into a Traveler FW port (not supported in the Spple spec for FW but it works) and record video and 12 channels of audio simultaneously over Firewire. I record audio to Sony Vegas and video using the Sony DV capture utility for video running at the same time.

The reason Thunderbolt cables cost so much is that there is a microprocessor and interface chip in each end of the longer cables. In the case of the Apple Thunderbolt to FW adapter, because it is so short, the microprocessor and interface chip is in just one end. The value of this is that you can hot plug/unplug and everything just works. No more BSOD, freezing or locking up!

My G55 has an mSATA SSD for OS and programs and a 500 GB, 7200 RPM HDD for audio/video. I've found it advisable to use an external USB 3.0 HDD when recording audio and video simultaneously because the heads on the 500 GB drive are unable to move quickly enough without dropping an occasional frame in video. So I send video to the 500 GB drive and audio to the external USB 3 drive and am able to record 2 hour concerts without dropping any frames.

Hope this helps as you look at new gear.

I think there is little doubt that Thunderbolt will be the future interface for audio gear but with Apple's little adapter you can continue to use Firewire without a hiccup.
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Re: Windows 8 and Thunderbolt

Postby ctown000 » Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:58 pm

Could you say a little more about what problems you were seeing before you switched to Firewire? Did you see BSODs randomly or when plugging in/ turning on? I recently got an Asus G75VX, which also has thunderbolt. I just bought a 4Pre and have been using that with USB, but I'm seeing clicks sporadically during record. And I saw one BSOD so far, which I'm pretty sure is related give the timing.

Also, did you have to install any special drivers to make it work?
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Re: Windows 8 and Thunderbolt

Postby ctown000 » Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:38 pm

I wrote the OP privately, and I thought some of you might be interested in what he had to say.

Sent: Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:08 am
From: APADRecordings
To: ctown000

The problems you are describing are similar to 99% of the problems described on MOTUNATION and occur because of one thing - a shared interrupt. You don't have to disable parts of Windows or any of the other extreme solutions I see described and the drivers from MOTU are just fine. My G55 is my desktop computer and has around 2000 fonts installed, accounting software, amateur radio software, etc. Since my business is location recording I just unplug the USB 3 connection to my docking station, pick up the computer and go. I use three MOTU Travelers synced by Word Clock and never have a problem. I have another portable rack with an 896 Mk3 and an 8Pre and no problems. When I return to the office I plug in an 828 Mk3 which ties in all the monitoring systems here (using a 15 foot FW cable) and again no problems. So, don't buy this business of having to disable parts of Windows or running only your DAW software.

First, I would encourage you to use Firewire because it is an isochronous protocol meaning that when an action occurs at one end another action occurs at the other end immediately. (the new F35 Strike Fighter is controlled by Firewire) USB is asynchronous and is therefore buffered. So when something happens at one end the action at the other end happens when it's convenient for the system. MOTU has a proprietary version of USB to mimic FW but I have no idea how successful it is. I have no gear here with the "Hybrid" option.

Second, you must deal with the shared interrupt (IRQ)problem. An IRQ "interrupts" the flow of information to the CPU giving each device on the IRQ a little slice of time to access the CPU. If you stream audio and video with interruptions it shows up as clicks, pops, gaps, freezing pointers, BSOD, etc. Unfortunately X86 (Intel) computers use shared interrupts and the interrupts are assigned automatically because so many devices want access to the CPU and the average user would have no idea what we're even talking about here. So, you have to disable or force offending devices to another IRQ.

Go to the Device Manager, click on View, scroll down to Resources by Connection. Click on that and scroll down until you see LSI 1394 OHCI compliant host controller (assuming you are using the Apple Firewire adapter for Thunderbolt, which is the only one I'm aware of). The only other devices on that IRQ should be the PCI Express Root Port and the 3 other PCI to PCI Bridges that are part of Thunderbolt. These all function as one. Anything else on that IRQ must be disabled or forced to move by disabling.

In my case I had to disable the Ethernet Controller. However, I use a Toshiba Dynadock docking station which provides a number of USB ports, video and Ethernet all through a single USB 3 port on the ASUS so I didn't have to do anything other than disable the Ethernet Controller in my G55. The operating system should install a generic controller on another interrupt if it's called for.

This should eliminate your problems. I have employed this methodology on a number of computers including Dell D830 and MSI 1656 laptops. It has worked every time.
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Re: Windows 8 and Thunderbolt

Postby ctown000 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:13 pm

I got the thunderbolt to Firewire adapter working with my 4Pre, although I had to use the legacy LSI 1394 OHCI compliant host controller. The normal (non-legacy) driver didn't work at all.
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Re: Windows 8 and Thunderbolt

Postby daxmaestro » Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:49 pm

Woooww.. Sorry to resurrect this thread, but just had to give a shoutout to ctown!! I have an asus rog g750 with thunderbolt, and had the apple thunderbolt to firewire adapter. I was unable to get any playback with the motu 4pre with the firewire adapter. USB worked fine, but my main purpose of getting it was for firewire. After reading many threads, and trying many different things on my own, I was ready to give up, until I read this post. In doubt :shake: (I must admit) I went to device manager and disabled the ethernet, and voila, I started to get playback!! :woohoo:
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Re: Windows 8 and Thunderbolt

Postby nazeemshah82 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:36 am

yeah me too......I did disable the ethernnet and it worked like charm.......anyone tried using a traveler with windows 10?
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