Best 2013 Mac configuration for C9?

I’ve decided to go with a 2013 MacPro (don’t have time to wait for Apple to unveil they’re new ‘modular, new and improved’ MacPro and at least the prices have come down on both new models and re-furbished) for many reasons and wondering which configuration would be the best for C9? Assuming money isn’t an issue and a lot of Ram with a 1Tb flash drive, which would be the best… the 12 core 2.7Ghz, 8 core 3.0 Ghz or 6 core 3.5 Ghz? I’ve read on the Steinberg knowledge base its better to go with a faster processor and less cores but is that still true? There doesn’t seem to be any definitive recommendations anywhere about the latest MacPro’s or iMacs. I know the new iMac’s look nice but at least I can use the trash can as my 2nd computer when I do upgrade again down the road.

Thoughts ?

My 2012 has a 3.33 6-core and practically sleeps through all my Cubase duties. IMO, I would spend the money on SSD/Flash storage and RAM instead. I believe 12-core is more suited for intensive graphic rendering applications, not audio.

If money isn’t an issue as you say, the fastest processor and maximum amount of ram is what you want as I’ve heard the same advice about cores as you have. What you do want is a solid external drive system for your samples and audio files - I use a TB2 G-Dock that makes all the difference in my opinion. That said, I love my 2013 trashcan and have upgraded both the RAM and the SSD - both very easy installs. Only complaint is that it’s a bit of a dust bin - you have to open it up every month or so and give it a good air shower - the heat sink/fan configuration makes it a sort of vacuum for surface level particulates.

Thanks for replies, yes my current macpro has ssd’s, tons of ram, sample drive is USB
3 and TB, Raid 5 w/ssd’s.
So which 2013 MacPro configuration would be better with CB 9, the 6 core or 8 core?

Here’s what Steinberg says on the topic:

Some things to consider on the processor architecture:

Processors with faster cores are preferable to a higher core count for real-time audio performance.
The more cores are available, the more thread synchronization is required. This can lead to a reduced processing power and slow down the system after all.
A higher core count might require a different RAM configuration (dual channel, quad channel) for optimal performance.
A higher amount of CPU cache (L2, L3) can have a positive impact on the real-time processing.

Considering that - the 6 core seems more reasonable. I’ve got a 4-core and have never tapped out of power with my VSTi/audio based projects of 25-30 tracks.

Possibly, but they also say more CPU cache is better and the 8 core has 25MB as opposed to 12MB on the 6 core. Anyone have the 8 core? Would love to hear your thoughts?

With a high ASIO Guard setting you will at least theoretically reach near perfect scaling to multiple cores (I haven’t actually benchmarked if this is the case, so take that with a grain of salt). Hence this issue has become even more complicated than before.

In a nutshell, clock speed will limit how heavy your real-time workload (i.e. record-armed instrument tracks, etc.) will be, and core count will limit how large your overall session can be.

Marco Arment’s original explanation about the turbo boost system in the Mac Pro was pretty good:

It looks like the 8-core (be careful not to look at the red ones in the chart, those aren’t in the Mac Pro) might be a good compromise if you’d still like more cores with a good clock speed.

I use the 8core 2013 and I’m happy with it though I do have sluggish GUI issues when I’ve got a lot of tracks on the screen - unrelated to processor load as it happens when I’ve got no effects on and the meter is close to zero.

Hopefully the coming update will fix that.

Thanks Manike, curious what the rest of your configuration is? Memory, Ram, and what video cards you went with? And thanks Paaltio, the 8 core does look like the best bet. Marco Arment’s explanation is interesting.

12-core is a waste with Cubase, because Cubase doesn’t use the cores properly. I’ve seen hard evidence of this on my studio mate’s 2013 Mac Pro, which he upgraded about a year and half ago from the 4-core to the 12-core and saw literally almost no improvement in CPU usage. Another fellow composer has two 2013 Mac Pros with Cubase loaded on both (though he uses Logic mostly now), one is a 6-core and one is a 12-core…and it’s the same - the 12-core has no advantage performance-wise over the 6-core. That’s what I’ve seen in person, anyway!

thanks In Stereo, I also managed to get a hold of tech support at Steinberg and they said the same thing. I’m going for the 8 core because the processor cache is twice as much which they said is important. Should be interesting to see the difference with a TB sound card as well.
How’s Sierra working for you?

Excellent! I have no idea what the processor cache of my 6-core is.

Sierra is working great. But, as I’m sure you already know, Cubase has major, major issues for many people with the GUI on even the newest Macs. Hopefully the fix Fabio talked about will make it perform GUI-wise as well as other many other DAWs on the same systems!

I’m running 32gig RAM, with a black magic thunderbolt SSD rack and the AMD FirePro D300 2048 MB . Didn’t think I’d need a better graphics card. The blackmagic was a must because I kept running out of drive space and also running out of thunderbolt ports.

I went with the 8-core because of the cache too. I was trying to ask the guys at my local apple store about the cache and all I got was metaphors about fruit being carried from one side of the room to the other.

Ha! Haven’t heard that one. Ya I think most of us on this forum have more experience than the "Geniuses "
Ordering the 8 core today.

I wish I had known this when I upgraded to the 6-core over a year ago. Didn’t see many mentions of cache when I did. Damn!

Looks good on paper, but I doubt you’d notice any real world performance difference with a bigger cache. At all.

Once you start loading up tons of sample libraries, RAM will be your best friend. Beyond that, Pro orchestrators go with a 2nd computer.

RAM isn’t the be all and end all it used to be now that we have SSD drives.

Hi there everyone!

I am wondering how is your new 8 core Mac pro running @Garehead? I am planing to get one myself and I have been debating whether getting the 6 core or the 8 core! I think I am going to buy the 8 core due to the L3 cache as it has been mentioned in this thread but also since there is not much difference in turbo boost speed between both processors.

However, would love to have some input from you as a new Mac Pro owner now that you have been using it for a month already. I am using C8.5 at the moment but will upgrade to C9 as soon as I buy the Mac Pro. Also how much ram did you get at the end? Would 32 be enough or 64 be better? I tend to use a lot of VST instruments and planing to do some orchestral music in the future as well.


Hi Garehead, I’m wondering if you could give us a feedback on how the MAC PRO 2013 is working paired with UFX + and Cubase 10 pro.
I have the same setup and thinking about to buy a MacPRo 2013 as well.

Sorry for the late reply, in case anyone is still interested…The 2013 Mac Pro 8 core running with the RME UFX+ was definitely a big improvement over my upgraded 2009 cheese grater (which has a Geekbench of 29K). The TB connection on the soundcard is terrific. However, now that Apple has announced the new mac pro’s I would definitely wait and invest in one of those.