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CPU Recommendations

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:42 pm
by Blerg
Hi All,

I'm about to build a new Windows 10 computer for my studio. I read through the multi-core thread and still don't know what the optimum CPU core count is for a windows 10 machine. I would like to build a powerful single computer ( not looking to have multiple servers ).

All suggestions welcome.

Thanks.

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:11 am
by Vital Few
I'm probably not like the others in here who would recommend you a i-9. I've always used Xeons due to stability and raw power.
My current rig is a dual xeon e5-2670 with 128 gigs of ram and I don't have a clue how to push it to the limit.
During normal projects, the cpu load is around 6-10% and sometimes have a 14% spike. Avergage VST load is about 50%.

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:34 pm
by Blerg
Thanks Vital Few. Btw I had a dual Xeon 2 computers ago. Forgot to consider that again. Curious about your OS. What OS are you running?

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:31 pm
by MattiasNYC
Next week AMD will have their third version of Ryzen out (2nd gen. Zen architecture) and there should be plenty of general reviews out. The way it seems right now they may have some very, very good chips available.

Some reviews should include the DAWbench test. I'd keep an eye open on Techreport.com and scanproaudio.info. The latter actually sells workstation computers and the former is a general tech site but has used DAWbench recently. That test should give you a good indication of relative performance of current and last generation chips.

My hunch is that AMD's new chips will offer excellent performance for the dollar and that Intel might lower their prices to respond which would be a first in a long time.

You should state what your budget is though if you want advice. Also, there used to be issues with UAD Quads on some motherboards from both Intel and AMD, so that's something to watch out for. Speaking of motherboards the new ones for Ryzen are looking great.

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:44 am
by Vital Few
Blerg wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:34 pm
Thanks Vital Few. Btw I had a dual Xeon 2 computers ago. Forgot to consider that again. Curious about your OS. What OS are you running?
I'm still on windows 7. The rig is running as DAW only and has no antivirus, no mail, no office package etc. It's built to be a DAW and it will remain that way :)

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:37 am
by Blerg
MattiasNYC wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:31 pm
You should state what your budget is though if you want advice. Also, there used to be issues with UAD Quads on some motherboards from both Intel and AMD, so that's something to watch out for. Speaking of motherboards the new ones for Ryzen are looking great.
My budget is about 6000$ but I could go a little higher for a good reason.

Btw: How can I actually tell if a motherboard will have issues with UAD Quads? I had not heard of this but as you might imagine, the UAD plugins are an important part of my work flow.

Thanks Mattias.

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:45 pm
by Home Studio 87
If UAD is a big part of your work stay with intel for now...

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:23 pm
by MattiasNYC
Blerg wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:37 am
My budget is about 6000$ but I could go a little higher for a good reason.
That's a nice chunk of money. You'll get a great build for that.

What are you going to use it for more specifically? (i.e. recording or VSTi or audio post... game audio etc?)
Blerg wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:37 am
Btw: How can I actually tell if a motherboard will have issues with UAD Quads? I had not heard of this but as you might imagine, the UAD plugins are an important part of my work flow.

Thanks Mattias.
So apparently UA used some hardware that only allowed for shorter address spaces or something like that, and it was all fine for years until motherboard manufacturers started I guess expanding the range of addresses that peripherals can get. So the Solo, Duo and Quads all had these problems with some motherboards. The Octacore as far as I know never had these problems.

Eventually some motherboard vendors found workarounds for this and it solved the problem, but it's still a bit 'finicky'.

So in my case for example I used to run an AMD Phenom CPU with my Quad, and once I upgraded to the first generation Ryzen the Quad stopped working. But then ASUS found a workaround for it and after a bios upgrade I now have my Quad back working.

This was by the way not an exclusive AMD issue but also affected some Intel motherboards so Intel users have also been burned. Today I think the best thing you can do is make double-sure that the motherboard you're going to buy will detect and use your Quad. This is NOT just a matter of finding a compatible slot, it goes deeper than that. And even in cases where these cards work for some people the boards are a bit picky about which slot you place the cards in (that's what I meant by 'finicky').

Anyway, I wouldn't say that this disqualifies AMD since ASUS got it working on AM4 x370 boards (two confirmed cases on my board which is a Prime x370-A, and a few others) and you should instead just be careful when choosing.

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:07 pm
by trance2020
If anyone is looking at the new gen 3 Ryzen for a new build it is worth registering with AMD. They will email you with pricing for the new CPU's as you can buy direct from them. ie they emailed me the price for Ryzen 9 3900x as £400. This is cheaper then other online retailers (UK).

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:11 pm
by peakae
I had high hopes for Ryzen 3 oh well.
http://www.scanproaudio.info/2019/07/12 ... ic-number/

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:23 pm
by MattiasNYC
What do you mean "oh well"??? It SLAYS!

98.8% of the performance of a 9960x at about 30% of the cost!...
110% the performance of the 9940x at about 37% of the cost!...
33% more performance than the 9900k at a 3% premium.

Fan included.

Those of us with existing AM4 boards can update the bios and plop the CPU in, no need for a new mobo because of a new socket (cough; intel). And if we do decide to move up to a new mobo we get PCIe 4.0 and Thunderbolt.

How is this not a huge win???

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:56 pm
by Home Studio 87
Just hope that UAD PCIe and USB work with this new "champ"...

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:56 am
by MattiasNYC
UAD PCIe works fine on my ASUS x370 mobo, and so does USB.

Not sure why champ is in "". Is there a better buy for $500?

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:38 pm
by mitchiemasha
MattiasNYC wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:23 pm
Those of us with existing AM4 boards can update the bios and plop the CPU in, no need for a new mobo because of a new socket (cough; intel). And if we do decide to move up to a new mobo we get PCIe 4.0 and Thunderbolt.
I'm surprised those old boards have good enough voltage control to supply all the needed power without getting too warm. If you want all that extra performance you're going to need a new mobo anyways.

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 3:09 pm
by MattiasNYC
True. For anyone wanting a new system I'd certainly recommend getting a new chipset/mobo. For some however if they just need more CPU performance and the board can handle it (there's a list floating around on the web on which boards can deal with the new CPUs) you just plop a new CPU in the board after a BIOS update.

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:14 pm
by mitchiemasha
The problem being... Supported (via a list) and running at full throttle are 2 different things. This is even an issue with current MB chip combinations made for each other. The VRM's simply aren't good enough.

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:35 pm
by MattiasNYC
What is "full throttle" according to you, and which combinations are you referring to specifically?

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:05 pm
by mitchiemasha
Full throttle = Max clock speed. I wasn't referring to any specifically, it's a general statement. It will run but you will get throttling (it's an issue on current gen, it will be worse mixing gen). The issue is those "supported lists with Bios upgrade" usually don't go into this.

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:45 pm
by MattiasNYC
I understood that "full throttle" = "max clock speed", but I was wondering "according to whom".

Really the most important thing is if the CPUs will run at guaranteed clock speeds on compatible motherboards according to what we've been told.

So again, which combinations aren't running according to specs? A "general statement" is pretty much meaningless as I don't know who you are (or vice versa) or where you got that impression from. "Throttling" is really only a serious issue if the CPU drops speeds from what is guaranteed, within reasonable conditions.

So far I haven't seen a single report on "throttling" being a widespread issue.

So, where can I read up on this?

PS: My 1700 got up to 3.7GHz all-cores overclock on the stock cooler. Zero problem.

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:05 pm
by peakae
By ohh well I mean the 3900x
The first round of testing as noted up top I used Cubase 10 initially for the DAWBench VI testing and everything looked great right up till the final test. On the 3900X I saw a 30% performance drop at 64 buffer with only 70% of the CPU being used at maximum load and 128 gave me 80% – 90% with the full CPU being leveraged at the 256 buffer and above mirroring the low buffer latency we’ve seen in previous generations.
It's still early days, and BIOS updates are coming, Windows10-1903 has been partly optimized for Ryzen 3 and there is more coming.

I really would like to spent my money on AMD instead of INTEL, lets see how the 16 core is going to perform.

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:35 pm
by MattiasNYC
Language is an important thing.
What does it even mean - "performance drop"?

I would say it should mean that you have a reference point, or a starting point, and then you measure the performance difference between that and the next point, using a relevant parameter... like the ones in the DSP and VI tests.

3900x @ 128 buffer = 760 voices, and 400 @ 64 buffer. So what is the 'drop'? It should be:

(760-400) / 760 = 47%

So that's even worse. The new performance dropped by 47%, not just 30%.

BUT;

(1860-500) / 1860 = 73%
(1400-480) / 1400 = 66%

for the top Intel CPUs.

There's a good reason for why Pete at Scan doesn't create a chart with that specific number, 30%, and that's because all it is is "untapped" potential, maybe, and it isn't something we should care about when buying CPUs for DAWs. It would be beyond idiotic to buy a CPU that utilizes 100% of its capacity yet performs 50% worse than its competitor at the same price, for example. What we should care about is the performance that matters which is what the charts show - instances / polyphony.

So rather than pull that piece of text out of the article, how about just pointing out what's relevant???
98.8% of the performance of a 9960x at about 30% of the cost!...
110% the performance of the 9940x at about 37% of the cost!...
33% more performance than the 9900k at a 3% premium.
...on the DSP test. Same trend on VI test.

Language is an important thing.

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:21 am
by skijumptoes
MattiasNYC wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:45 pm
So far I haven't seen a single report on "throttling" being a widespread issue.
So, where can I read up on this?
On Mac forums lol :)

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:14 am
by MattiasNYC
lol

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:57 am
by peakae
MattiasNYC wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:35 pm
So rather than pull that piece of text out of the article, how about just pointing out what's relevant???
Because that is IMHO the most relevant point (for me), the performance is there, just don't expect that kind of performance at low latency buffers (on the 3900x)
I'm not arguing that the 3000 series are bad, or that they are not priced better.
I actually agree with what You are saying, I was just a little disappointed that the two chiplet design of the 3900x still has a negative performance impact.
Although after looking over the charts again, and looking at what buffersize I realistically could use, (RME Raydat PCIe. 128 would be low enough for anything I do), I really need to lighten up ;)

Now the only "relevant" question is: Will Cubase be able to keep up with the ever increasing core count, that is going to come over the next years ?

Re: CPU Recommendations

Posted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:20 pm
by MattiasNYC
But how do you normally judge performance of a new CPU if you're not using DAWbench's actual results on DSP / VI tests?

What you're really saying here is that despite what Pete tested in the real world the CPU will perform differently from his tests. That's really what you're saying, right?

As for core count improvements I'm hoping Cubendo will keep up. I think it's on their radar for sure.