6-12 core processor and 64-128 GB of RAM in Cubase Pro 8

I have thought that I would upgrade my system because my current system (i7-4770K + 32 GB of RAM) couldn’t run large orhcestral templates (300-600 instruments). But I’m not sure how powerful components should I choose.
Do you have any ideas what components is it wise to consider ?

I have thought that processor could be i7-5820K (6-core), 64 - 128 GB of RAM (2133MHz) and some motherboard (LGA 2011-V3, Asus or AsRock) with 8 x 16 GB slots (total 128 GB). But although i7-5820K has 6-cores and my current processor has 4 cores, how much improvement can I get with 6 cores in Cubase Pro 8 ?

There are processors like i7-5960X, i7-5930K or i7-4960X for extreme power users but I’m not sure about them.
I think that moving from these upper-mid level CPUs (like i7-5820K) to the top of the range generally only gains you 10-15% improvement in the face of a 200%-400% price increase.

If you got some ideas with new components, I would appreciate it a lot !

Fewer but faster cores is the way to go with Cubase - other DAWs scale better. I suspect RAM is your main issue - the speed of RAM isn’t that important with DAW applications - but more the merrier.

Hi musicmusics,
I doubt your own.
In this CPU DAW benchmark https://www.scan.co.uk/3xs/info/audio-pc-processor
it seems that having more cores is better. I would be oriented on 5930K because it seems a good compromise between the 5820K and the most expensive 5960X, but unfortunately I’m not sure…

Going from PIV to quad cores like the Q9550 was a big step, that suddenly made ITB productions possible. After that steps where only small. So if your computer power is way to low an upgrade won’t help. Only when you can only barely but just run them an upgrade will give you some air. An other solution would be VEP on a slave machine. Wich would double your power but also complicate matters. If possible maybe freezing finished tracks is easiest.

Generally the current bottleneck with modern systems is the time it takes to get data and instructions to the CPU from RAM. The CPU is basically sat twiddling its thumbs. So get the fastest ram possible and the system with the largest amounts of cache memory.

For DAW use you also need to take into account hard drive access if you are using a lot of audio so again get the fastest hard drive with the largest cache.

Large number of cores can provide speed improvements but so much depends on how the application has been programmed to use them and the nature of the application. Not all algorithms can be divided up to run in parallel and there is a large overhead in setting up parallel operations in the first place. Most plugins for example work on a stream of data that needs to be processed sequentially with little chance for parallelization. Ideally the DAW would put different plugins on different cores but then has to manage the gathering of the results at a set time - it can only proceed when the slowest plugin is finished.

just upgraded to a 5820k and 32gb - it’s happily running at 4.2ghz, so this chip is a bit of an animal
Peple might be right when they say go for the fastest cores rather than the number of cores with cubase, but 6 x 4.2 is pretty decent

Broadwell-E is supposed to come out at the end of the month at Computex if you can wait.

I’m trying to decide between the 6900k and 6850K.

Thanks - just confirmed I brought the right socket (LGA2011-3) so I’ll be able to upgrade to a 10+ core at some point

Interesting points. I would buy 4790K and overclock it if I wouldn’t need 64 GB of RAM. That’s why I see that 5820K with overclocking (+Asus X99 A 2 motherboard) would be my best choice. 2 x Xeon processors + proper motherboard are just too expensive but maybe in the future.

I found this article and I’m interested to hear what do you think:

"I know a lot about this stuff, besides being a soon-to-be IT major, I built a water-cooled rig 4~ years ago I just decommissioned for a Micro ATX. I’ve broken overclock records on a few old AMD chips as well. My advice on the 4770k vs the 5820k… first of all, take a look at this benchmark comparison…

I highly recommend anandtech for any computer parts comparisons because they offer full and unbiased benchmarks for hardware vs. hardware showdowns. Looking at that comparison, the 5820k doesn’t exactly blow away the 4770k by any means. In fact, in some spots it shockingly lags behind. In several of the benchmarks for gaming, which are hugely single-core dependent, your current CPU performed better than the 5820k. Also, a big one; look at the Cinebench R10 singlethread comparison; your 4770k had a better single-core bench than the 5820k, and by a lot. As others here have said, certain aspects of the music development are mostly single-core dependent and NOT mutlicore, you you would essentially be wasting $1,000+ on LESS performance increase.

Furthermore, look on their benchmark for the some of i7 extremes, like the 5960x. That is a $1,000+ CPU that your current CPU outperforms in some single-threaded applications, and is neck-in-neck with others. I am saying all this to discourage you from wasting all this hard-earned cash. I see so many people waste money on insane PC rigs and the performance increases are minuscule at best. The truth is, you have a GREAT CPU, the 4770k is still a very solid, very modern CPU. Not just with music, but in general, you’re not going to see THAT significant of a performance increase. The numbers don’t lie.

You have two routes here; overclock, or go with a server CPU like Intel Xenon. BUT… even with a Xenon, those are CPU’s heavily focused on multi-core processing, although their single core performance IS better. But again, the gains are negligible. Icenburg has the right idea, a 2 xenon core. But again, you are spending a lot of money, and for what? Some bumps in performance? I don’t think that’s going to solve your problem. Someone above said it; have big enough of a project, and any computer you throw at it is going to struggle. My advice is to tone it down on the projects. Once you have the instruments and melodies totally figured out, record them as audio clips. At the very least, this can make mixing much easier. Big enough, studio-quality orchestra tracks don’t necessarily get created on DAW’s but in hardware-based mixers that are recorded as audio and later sent into DAW’s."

I agree fully, but it is fun to do :laughing:

I have a 12 core Mac pro tower with 64 GB of RAM and 5 SSD’s that my samples run off of, and I was having the same trouble as you trying run large orchestral templates. Then I got Vienna Ensemble Pro (not even running off a slave, just on my Mac alongside Cubase) and I can run my 54 GB fully loaded template with no problem, I can even get down to 512 buffer for less complicated arrangements. It seems that trying to host that many instruments inside Cubase is the real problem, not necessarily raw computing power (which you will still need a good amount of, of course). Once I started loading them in VEP, my system ran 100% better. Perhaps try a demo of that first?

I agree with godspeedyouq. VEPro is the way to go.

I built a new master daw and now run all my VST’s using VEP on my slave PC. Best setup I have ever had. Ended up with about $4500 in my new DAW, but it runs like a dream…after cleaning up all the driver issues, and shutting off OS overhead junk like Windows Defender.

Note: the 128GB of ram was way overkill, since I am not running VST’s on my main daw. I barely ever use even 10% of that ram.

Thank you for the answers. I would have few questions regarding to VEPro.

It seems that you don’t need to have Vienna instruments to buy and get this VEPro host.
Could you describe, how this combination, Master DAW PC + Slave PC really works ? You install your main DAW(s) and half of your VST plugins into your Master DAW PC and Vienna Ensemble Pro 5 host + the rest of your VST plugins into your Slave PC ? Can you link Master PC to Slave PC with normal ethernet cable and by doing that use VEPro succesfully in Cubase 8 ? Is there anything else that I should know ?

GeoMax and godspeedyouq, have you overclocked your processors ever ? Many people have done it but if you have master + slave PC’s maybe there is no need to.

I was wondering that if I buy a new computer (i7-5820K + 64GB of RAM), I could use this current one (i7-4770K + 32 GB of RAM) as a slave PC with this VEPro host. Perhaps i7-4790K + 32 GB of RAM (Master DAW PC) and i7-4770K + 32 GB of RAM (Slave PC) are not enough if you got almost 1000 GB of VST samples and want to use large orchestral templates to make composing easier.

Personally I have never used a slave computer with my setup, I just use VEPro on my single Mac Pro that also runs cubase, so I can’t speak on what plugins you should have installed on either PC. However you should be able to use a single Ethernet cable to connect the master and slave, and that will facilitate midi being sent to the slave, and the audio from VEPro being sent to the master.

if I were to make a master + slave setup, I’d use the more powerful computer (more RAM, better cpu, etc) as the slave, because this is the computer that will be processing all the incoming midi into audio from your vst’s. Your master computer will only be sending out midi and receiving audio, which is a much less resource hungry process.

Edit: I have not overclocked my CPU’s, my 12 cores are all 2.66 GHz, and that speed has been more than enough for me so far.

I have played around with overclocking, but i really have not had the need.

I currently use VEPro and run all my VST instruments on my slave machine. I have run VePro just on a single machine, and it certainly does improve performance, and let you keep the VST’s online while you switch projects (assuming they share the same libraries).

Since I do all my mixing and production on my main DAW PC, I use my most powerful one as my Master. I have Waves Mercury, so I do all my processing on the DAW. That said, most of my VSTs are things like Addictive Drums, Vienna Strings, Pianos, Trilian Bass, etc. I am not doing classical orchestra or film where I would need 150+ parts going, and huge sample libraries loaded concurrently. When I have my midi parts the way i want, I record them to analog on my main DAW and get to work on studio analog recording and then mix.

Yes, in most cases you can connect your DAW and VEPro Slave together with a single network cable, but if you dont have 2 network cards in your host, you will struggle with any other networking things you might do…internet, printing, etc. A small switch is cheap enough to be worth the convenience…and to use two slaves you will need it. My motherboard happens to have 2 nics, so i connect with just a cable.

Those machines you spec’d may be plenty powerful, or not…just depends on how you are going to use them. I track live vocals and acoustic guitars, so i need to be able to get low RT latency for that portion of my project. This is where the tuning really comes in to play, getting the drivers right, a good interface, etc.

I have been super happy with the RME PCIE RayDat card. Actually, I am pretty satisfied with my whole rig right now.

Closing thought: Whatever you do…write and record! Do not get ‘gear-itis’ and spend all your time fiddling with gear. Many of us have done that and it is a never ending time suck. Awesome recordings have been made for years on gear far inferior to what we have available today. I spent a ton of money, and wasted way to much time trying to build the ‘perfect’ rig. There is never an end to that tail chasing exercise until you decide to not to it. Wants and needs are not equal.

Best of luck!