AMD Desktop CPU Recommendations for Dorico

Hi all! I’m ready to upgrade from my 6 year old desktop machine, but I don’t know exactly what CPU to build my system around. I’ve read elsewhere on the forum that more physical cores are a primary factor specifically for Dorico’s performance, especially for projects with lots of players (please correct me if I’m misunderstanding), so that has lead me to consider AMD CPUs. I work with wind ensemble scores mostly, and I mostly use Noteperformer and a couple other Kontakt libraries. I’m in the US, and the three models I’m currently considering are:

3950X (16 cores previous gen)
5950X (16 cores current gen)
3960X Threadripper (24 cores)

It would be great if anyone could help me understand if there are any noticeable/significant performance differences between these in Dorico. I would rather go with the less expensive 3950X, but if the more expensive 5950X or 3960X will yield noticeably better performance, then I’ll try to go that direction. Any and all help with this is greatly appreciated!

No idea of these specific CPUs.

But there was a thread about performance before:

(just a slight note when you go into the direction of high-end CPU: The CPU is only as good as its cooling :slight_smile:

Have you found this for sale in the US at retail price? All I’ve seen are the eBay flippers selling them jacked up a few hundred bucks. Just curious if retailers are getting them back in stock again.

Yeah I don’t think they’re available to mere mortals yet. I’ve been waiting.

@FredGUnn To be honest, I wasn’t planning on upgrading until prices/availability became a bit more normal, but my current computer has started having some unstable moments and Dorico has crashed a few times recently. The pricing for the 5950X is about $1200 US, which is not ideal, but since I’ve got some really important projects with hard deadlines soon, I don’t want to be stuck without a computer if mine completely dies. If it makes a difference, I could bite the bullet and shell out extra for a current gen CPU.

The 5950x is down to about $1K on eBay from some sellers now so “only” a $200 markup. It’s a want more than a need purchase for me so I’ve been holding off on it myself. There are only a few motherboards for AMD Ryzen chips that support Thunderbolt 3 too, which I need for my UAD interface. Not sure if that’s an issue for you, but if so, make sure you get a mobo that supports it.

Consider the 3900X, which is much cheaper and better available than those you have listed. It is not much slower in performance.

That said, it is not clear to me what the critical aspects of CPUs or GPUs are for Dorico. Only minimum requirements seem to be listed.


For what it is worth, I am running Dorico on a Ryzen 7 3700X with no problems, so I would say you have considerable leeway what you choose of the current chips.

I do think single-core performance is a big factor, and the new Ryzen 5 Series makes considerable improvements in that regard, bringing it on par or better than the Intel top line.

I’m not saying better performance is not available, only that the latest bleeding-edge tech (if one can find it and afford it) is not required.

Couple things to consider. One is Thunderbolt compatibility if you use or have any devices. Don’t know if AMD includes TB, but if, for example, you use the Focusrite RED Pro line they require Intel only chipsets for TB to connect to their interfaces, and at that there are a few TB bridge versions that are problematic. If you do any field or studio recording on SD cards a fast TB reader might be useful to consider too. So this limits me to Intel so I went HEDT line with an Asus Deluxe MB.

Otherwise I noticed a huge jump going to a i9-9940X 14 base/28 hyper core CPU. The Dorico team indicated that yes, more cores matter. But as with most engineering it isn’t perfect. With more cores you also get slower cores usually, and in software there’s usually a limitation in how much you can parallelize. Additionally there’s always a bottleneck that shows up elsewhere - I/O or key mutex lock regions in your code.

Anyhow point is don’t go overboard on the CPU is my advice, yeah buy something chunky and you’ll be good to go.

FWIW. I have no problem playing/editing your excellent Mahler 2 file, whilst also running a full suite of other apps (Browser, email, office etc.).

I have an ancient AMD A4-3400 (2 core running at 2.7GHz) with 16GB RAM

PSA: B&H has the 5950x back in stock.

(At least in the US this has been virtually unobtainable without paying a 50% premium on eBay since it was released.)



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At the moment, for new builds, the bottleneck is GPUs. I think on the Intel side they have integrated graphics if the performance is good enough for you. Not so sure on the AMD side, but I’m waiting for some nVidia stuff to reach the supply chain.

Well the most important factor now is that you are going to have to get a CPU that Windows 11 supports. So many CPUs are suddenly rendered ineligible, even though perfectly good. Refer to the Microsoft website for a list. [It’s totally ridiculous, but this is not the forum to start that thread.]

Woe betide you if you are not on the list! :frowning:

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What motherboards are everyone using for the AMD 5000 series chips? I’m going to do my 5950x build next week, but still haven’t decided what mobo to go with. I’m assuming the X570 chipset is slightly better, but some of the newest boards that meet my needs like the ASUS ProArt Creator are using B550 so I’m not sure which chipset to go with. Basically I need an AM4 socket, two m.2 slots, and thunderbolt support for my UAD interface. I already have a TB 3 card that I can use or not, so mobo just needs a TB header. Keeping my same case (Fractal Design Define 7 Compact), power supply, video card (RTX 2060 super), audio components, etc for now. Price isn’t really a concern as most mobos are within a couple hundred bucks.

Does anyone have an AMD 5000 build that you’re happy with that meets those requirements? Any motherboard suggestions? Thanks for any advice with this!

Ended up going with the Gigabyte X570S Aero G. Waiting on a few other components that are coming in the next couple days then will probably build on Thursday or Friday. My son has already asked me which day I will be cussing from under my desk, LOL!

Has anyone else done a Ryzen build recently? @Jordan_Taylor what did you end up going with?

@FredGUnn I went ahead and got a 5950x and built a system around that. Dan brought up a good point about single core performance being significantly better in the 5000 series (compared to 3000 series), and since I wanted to “future proof” my build as much as possible, that’s why I chose the 5950x. So far, I’ve had no issues and performance is great from what I can tell. I didn’t need Thunderbolt in my setup - the only device I use for composition is a standard MIDI keyboard via USB, so motherboard selection was fairly easy. I’m running 32 GB of 3200 MHz RAM, which is also an upgrade over my previous system, but in a couple of years from now I may aim to get more/faster RAM if it will make a difference.

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I suspect this would mainly impact any particularly memory-heavy VSTs you may have.