10940x vs. 5960x

Hi everyone,

just bought a brand new computer for music production and let it professionally build. It runs on an i9-10940X and I thought I see some Cubase performance improvements over my 5,5 year old 5960x computer. I loaded a heavy project I worked on before I replaced my computer and must admit that I don’t see any improvements. The average load is as high as on the 5960x.

Now I kind of regret buying a new computer instead of reparing the old one, since the motherboard on my 5960x machine broke.

Hope this info helps someone out. I was researching weeks and weeks on the internet and could not find real DAW comparisons between those two processors.

Best, Chris

It might be a good thing for you to try to figure out just why it’s not performing much better than the old one.

(Sorry if you already know this or don’t care):

  • If you have ASIOguard OFF then look at how your cores are being loaded when using Cubase. You can open task manager and look there. It could be that your new CPU isn’t using roughly half of it’s logical cores. Of course, that should still be over 50% more than the old CPU.

  • Keep an eye on CPU frequency. Is it boosting properly when needed? The base frequency of the new CPU is lower than the boost frequency of the old one (on paper), so hypothetically I would think that if there’s a problem with boosting then it could appear like it’s performing roughly the same.

  • Also maybe try to push your project harder. Average project load is one thing but the real question is what happens when you try to ‘break’ things. After all, if you don’t see any differences but it’s working then who cares, right? It’s only when your workstation doesn’t do its job any longer that you have a problem.

  • Lastly just remember that having processing in series, one after another, puts a higher load on the CPU core(s) than having it in parallel. So that too will affect how your CPU is pushed.

Yes, it has to do with one vocal track that has heavy processing and like 10 FX insert plugins on it. But surprisingly the 5960x could handle that as well as the 10940x.

Without Asio guard Cubase can’t handle the track at all, there are crackles and pops all over. I attached two screenshots that shows that Cubase utilizes all cores. I have to test the system even more. Maybe the clock speed of the cpu will be boosted once the system is really on its limits. So far its on base clock speed at 3,31 GHz.

Still I was expecting more headroom from the get go. My conclusion for next CPU processes like 10nm and 7nm is that it won’t increase the performance significantly for DAWs. Video editing is a different story though.

Some people are also raving about Reaper being able to handle audio tasks better than Cubase. I hope future Cubase version will focus further on performance boosts to utilize more cores and hyperthreading.


The tests I’ve seen so far say that on average we do get quite substantial improvements as we move from older generations (2x+ older) to newer ones. There are likely to be edge cases where you run into a problem and it won’t get solved as easily though.

Anyway, if you have a vocal track with 10 FX plugins on it then I can see how that could bring one core to its knees since it’d all be running in one thread. On top of that I suppose you might have that one track go to groups or outputs with more processing on them which adds to the series of plugins.

What you could try I suppose is increasing your buffer. As long as you’re not recording that should be fine I would think.

Also remember that your headroom isn’t just for processing in series, although I’d expect to see more potential there as well, it’s also for parallel processing. With so many more cores you should be able to add significantly more processing in parallel, meaning more tracks ‘side by side’. So if your older CPU gave up at 30 tracks then you should get far more than that with the new one.

But anyway, I’d try upping the buffer for your interface. You could also try to enable the setting to not have plugins “active” when there is no signal.

I use VST3 when it is available, but didn’t know there is a special setting for turning off plugins, when they are not playing. Thanks for the advice. I will see if the new processor improves my overall workflow and how far I can push the CPU.

I did the stress test and now I do see improvements. I copied the heavy processed vocal track 5 times, so altogether I had 6 vocal tracks with heavy insert effects on each one of them. All of them were routed to the master bus, where even processing happened. My CPU spiked to 33% overall usage. When I copied the track one additional time, the playback did not work flawless anymore.

Further tests improved the performance of the 10940x even more. I found out that Win10 was set on balanced energy mode, once I set it to the max setting, it runs like a charm. Instead of 6 heavy processed audio tracks, I am able to run 15 in the project and asio buffer runs totally smooth even on 64 samples buffer size. This shows that you can gain so much more performance tweaking the settings. Finally I don’t regret the pc update anymore.