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Cubase and Windows 2000

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Yet another question coming back week after week : is Cubase compatible with Windows 2000 ? The answer was found on Steinberg's FAQ pages. As we were affraid it might disappear someday, we just added it to ECVST ;o)

What is Windows 2000 Professional ?

Windows 2000 Professional is the latest release of Microsoft's operating system. While it is a part of the Windows family it is not necessarily a direct replacement for Windows 95 or 98. The first release of Windows 2000 is aimed at businesses and corporate users, even if the new technology that's behind it, will almost certainly find its way into Windows 95/98 users' hands when a Windows 2000 Consumer version is produced.

What does Windows 2000 Pro do differently to Windows 95/98 ?

As far as the user is directly concerned a Window 2000 installation looks and works like aWindows 95/98 system. The changes and benefits lie 'under the bonnet'. One big change is how programs interact if one of them breaks down while running. In Windows 2000 Pro, there is less chance that one faulty application, could bring all the other tumbling down with it. The other major change is a new kind of driver architecture that will effect you as a Cubase user directly because you have MIDI and Audio devices installed, and they all use drivers.

What are my advantages as a Windows user ?

Potentially Windows 2000 could offer you, better stability and reliability, better performance, increased data security, extended 'Plug and Play' and better and totally new device drivers. Maybe on the negative side, some people report that the upgrade can be difficult, the hardware requirements are increased, expect to need at least 64 MB for a basic Windows system, and realistically 128 MB to run demanding applications such as Cubase. But the main thing to be aware of is that the new driver architecture means that at least initially, fewer peripheral devices will be supported. As the technology of Windows 2000 moves into Microsoft OS products that will replace the consumer versions Windows 95 and Windows 98, more and more drivers will be rewritten by their manufacturers to utilize the new driver technologies.

What are my advantages as a Cubase VST user ?

As a Cubase user and especially one who uses multiple applications running simultaneously, the potentially improved stability of Window 2000 technology would be very useful. The potential for increased system performance will also be very welcome for Cubase users who are always trying the squeeze the most out of their setups.

Can Cubase VST be installed under Windows 2000 Professional ?

Cubase VST can already be installed on a Windows 2000 Professional System. As long as you have our last version 3.71 this can be installed immediately under Windows 2000.

Will my audio card work with Windows 2000 Professional ?

If your Audio card already comes with drivers that are compatible with Windows NT 4.0 then it will most probably work under Windows 2000 Professional.

PWhat you should not assume is that Window 95 & 98 compatible drivers will work with Windows 2000. Your audio card's manufacturer probably already has a solution, or a plan when they can deliver Windows 2000 compatible drivers, because the Windows 2000 OS Beta versions have been available to practically all developers for the last months.

The first stop for you is probably the audio card's manufacturer Web site. Steinberg is gathering information about Windows 2000 ASIO driver compatibly, as it becomes available. Please frequently check our list of audio cards equipped with an ASIO driver.

Will my MIDI interface work with Windows 2000

It probably won't work as well as you want for two reasons. Firstly you will need a MIDI Driver of your MIDI interface that is at least Windows NT 4.0 compatible. Even then, the MIDI timing will be subject to all the problems that they had under Windows NT. This was the reason why Steinberg never made a Cubase version specifically for Windows NT systems.

Better would be Windows 2000 drivers that support the DirectX 7's DirectMusic MIDI driver (also called a WDM driver).

These are the only types that can offer Plug'n'Play & good MIDI timing with Windows 2000. Unfortunately DirectMusic Drivers are extremely scarce at the time of writing.

Again the first stop for you is probably the MIDI interface's manufacturer's Web site. There you will be able to see what plans are Beingg made to deliver Window 2000 drivers supporting DirectMusic. Steinberg will be gathering information about Windows 2000 MIDI interface driver compatibly. Please frequently check our list of MIDI interfaces equipped with a Win2000 WDM driver.

Currently (june 2000) the only known MIDI interfaces with DirectMusic (WDM) support include SoundBlaster 16 and other soundcards with a single MIDI port. All the common multi-port interfaces do not offer release versions of DirectMusic drivers at the time of writing.

Please be aware that just because a driver could be installed under Windows 2000, that does not means that it automatically support the WDM system.

Will Cubase be updated to become more Windows 2000 compliant ?

Steinberg has already been working on DirectMusic support, we are waiting however for the first beta DirectMusic drivers to become available from the major MIDI interface manufacturers to be able to test the work we have done.

We plan to either release DirectMusic support in the next major release of Cubase VST (5.0 ?), or produce an Update Version supporting it, but that depends on the timing of the appearance of DirectMusic Drivers themselves.

Can I use my current Cubase version 3.7 with Windows 2000 effectively ?

Cubase 3.71 can be installed, and if you have at least Windows NT4 drivers for your audio card, then the audio portion will work well, as our tests have shown. It's unlikely that you will find the performance of your MIDI interface and driver acceptable even if you have a Window NT 4.0 driver.

Windows 2000 supports Multiple Processors. Can Cubase use them ?

Windows 2000 supports multiple CPU's. Applications that are divided into threads (semi-independent processes that can run in parallel) can take advantage of a multiprocessor system automatically. Every thread can run on a different CPU, where usually Windows decides which CPU should be allocated to each thread.

This automatic scheme is fine for non-real-time applications, but all developers of real-time programs like Cubase VST will face some very special issues that maybe a word processor or drawing program would not face.

Working with more than one CPU in a real-time application creates the necessity to sync the actions of the CPU, and the threads running on them together. Maybe an explanation is in order :

If CPU's calculate at the same time, there going to be cases where the result of the calculation of the first CPU affects the data input to the second CPU. One plug-in runs on the first CPU, another on the second. If both plug-ins are insert FXs on the same channel, so they are in a chain : the output of the first plug-in is the input of the second. Therefore the second CPU would have to wait till the first CPU gets its job done. And this is just the simplest of cases.

Many people think that adding a second processor doubles processing power, but experience shows that sometimes the result is only a 30% increase in power, and that investing in a simple faster processor would bring more processing power for the price. We are working on a solution to get the most out of an multiprocessor system, but optimizing Cubase VST for multiprocessor system will be an ongoing process and this process will span several releases.

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Translation into French : Gilles RAFFELSBAUER et Daino, on the 12-11-2000

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