My Benchmark Test on a 32-bit desktop running LibraZiK-2


This summer (July-August 2021) I wanted to see just what one of my old 32-bit PCs could handle in terms of software synthesizer performance. So I chose a series of synths to test out in terms of smooth response without xruns or dropouts. Some synths required libraries that were not available in the repos (I'm using LibraZiK-2 (current release as of this writing is LibraZiK-3) as my testing distro), such as Surge, Vital/Vitalium and NilsK1V. Some synths that are currently quite popular aren't available for 32-bit architecture, such as Odin-2, the newest version of VCVRack and Virtual Analog. Others, while available in the repos, were not useable on this system for one reason or another; these included Bristol, VCVRack and Phasex.
So, here below are the synths that I tested, divided into three categories. Then, at the bottom of the page, were some of my system's specifications.
The first category includes those synthesizers that worked very well (using a MIDI controller keyboard to play scales and chords energetically) without experiencing latency issues or xruns:

- Csound (depends on the synth, of course!)
- Amsynth
- Aspect
- Xsynth
- Wsynth
- Whysynth
- Nekobi
- DX-10
- JX-10
- Digits
- Hexter
- Sineshaper
- Juce OPL (xruns may occur when changing presets)
- OXE FM (GUI uses much CPU)
- Calf Monosynth
- Calf Wavetable
- Calf Organ
- Tunefish 4 (LV2)
- ZynAddSubFX (old GUI version)

Synths that worked well but that caused an occasional xrun or minor latency issues (usually when using the native GUI), or that required limiting polyphony in order to work well, included:

- TAL-NoizeM4k3r
- Yoshimi (ver. 1.6.1)
- Xhip (alpha version)
- Helm
- SynthV1
- Dexed
- Wolpertinger
- LMMS synths (Triple Oscillator, Watsyn, etc.)

Lastly, synths that were difficult to use even without the native GUI included:

- Add64
- Vertigo
- Tyrell N6
- 6PM
- Tunefish 3 (vst)
- ZynAddSubFX (new GUI)

For this testing (using a realtime kernel, the Jack Audio Server with 48000 Hz sampling rate, 256 frames/period and a latency of 10.7 seconds), my system specs were as follows:

Architecture: i686
CPU op-mode(s): 32-bit, 64-bit
Byte Order: Little Endian
CPU(s): 2
On-line CPU(s) list: 0,1
Thread(s) per core: 2
Core(s) per socket: 1
Socket(s): 1
Vendor ID: GenuineIntel
CPU family: 15
Model: 4
Model name: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 3.06GHz
Stepping: 9
CPU MHz: 3060.474
BogoMIPS: 6120.94
L1d cache: 16K
L2 cache: 1024K

inxi -Fxz
Host: debianbrian Kernel: 4.9.0-6-lzk-rt-686-pae i686 bits: 32
compiler: gcc v: 6.3.0 Desktop: Xfce 4.12.3
Distro: Debian GNU/Linux 9 (stretch)
Type: Desktop Mobo: ECS model: P4M800PRO-M v: 1.0 serial:
BIOS: American Megatrends v: 080012 date: 08/14/2006
Topology: Single Core model: Intel Pentium 4 bits: 64 type: MT
arch: Netburst Smithfield rev: 9 L2 cache: 1024 KiB
flags: lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 bogomips: 12241
Speed: 3060 MHz min/max: N/A Core speeds (MHz): 1: 3060 2: 3060
Device-1: VIA CN700/P4M800 Pro/P4M800 CE/VN800 Graphics [S3 UniChrome Pro]
vendor: Elite Systems driver: N/A bus ID: 01:00.0
Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.19.2 driver: vesa unloaded: fbdev,modesetting
resolution: 1280x1024~N/A
OpenGL: renderer: llvmpipe (LLVM 6.0 128 bits) v: 3.3 Mesa 18.2.8
direct render: Yes
Device-1: VIA VT8233/A/8235/8237 AC97 Audio
vendor: Elite Systems K8M800-M2 driver: snd_via82xx v: kernel
bus ID: 00:11.5
Device-2: Texas Instruments PCM2902 Audio Codec type: USB
driver: hid-generic,snd-usb-audio,usbhid bus ID: 2-1:2
Device-3: BEHRINGER type: USB driver: snd-usb-audio bus ID: 3-2:2
Sound Server: ALSA v: k4.9.0-6-lzk-rt-686-pae
Device-1: Realtek RTL-8100/8101L/8139 PCI Fast Ethernet Adapter
vendor: Elite Systems driver: 8139too v: 0.9.28 port: e800 bus ID: 00:0b.0
IF: enp0s11 state: up speed: 100 Mbps duplex: full mac:
Local Storage: total: 74.56 GiB used: 49.95 GiB (67.0%)
ID-1: /dev/sda vendor: Samsung model: SP0822N size: 74.56 GiB
ID-1: / size: 71.45 GiB used: 49.93 GiB (69.9%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda1
ID-2: swap-1 size: 1.47 GiB used: 18.3 MiB (1.2%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda5
System Temperatures: cpu: 30.0 C mobo: N/A
Fan Speeds (RPM): N/A
Processes: 173 Uptime: 2h 55m Memory: 1.44 GiB used: 1013.7 MiB (68.7%)
Init: systemd runlevel: 5 Compilers: gcc: 6.3.0 Shell: bash v: 4.4.12
inxi: 3.0.32

(nb. The BEHRINGER USB audio driver is the one used for this testing.)