So, I’ve been looking at new computer hardware recently to find out if it’s worth replacing my “old” 980X 6-core CPU. As far as I know, Cubase relies heavily on the calculation speed (core count x core frequency) rather than anything else for ASIO performance.
As far as I’m aware, there are only a few CPUs on the market currently that can outperform mine by a small amount, but nowhere near enough to warrant spending hundreds or thousands on them.
Am I correct in thinking it’s a simple case of multiplying the core count by the clock frequency to work out whether a CPU will outperform my 980X? If I’m wrong, then I may look into upgrading my 6-year-old system in the near future, although if it’s only going to give me a measly 10-15% boost, then I’ll wait another few years.
While this may not be The Gospel when it comes to DAW performance, it’s a good starting point to evaluate which kind of processor you may want as a heart of your DAW. As you can see, there’s many processors which “swipe the floor” with 980X. Most of them are quite expensive, though.
This is reliable metrics only if you compare processors with the same microarchitecture. Not valid if you compare processors of different generations.
You also have to remember that in case you are after very low ASIO latency, single core performance is also important. This of course may not be important in your case, because probably most (if not every one) of the latest processor models have better single core performance than your 980X.
The expense is the thing that puts me off at the moment, plus the fact that I’m unsure exactly how benchmarks would relate to ASIO usage, especially when it comes to differences in microarchitecture, new instruction sets, faster buses with more lanes, faster memory, etc.
In terms of instructions per second, the Core i7 6950X has the equivalent of 30GHz (3GHz x 10 cores), whereas mine has the equivalent speed of 20GHz (3.33GHz x 6 cores). That’s only a +50% increase in theoretical clock speed (for multiple cores), whereas the benchmark shows an increase of about +124%.
Considering the cost right now of upgrading, I think I’ll wait a few more years until it’s well worth while upgrading with definite benefits that are clearly visible. I’ve spend hundreds upgrading before and only had about 20% more ASIO power - don’t want to make the same mistake again!
Here you go. You compared 2 different microarchitectures. 980X is “Haswell” microarchitecture and "6950X is “Broadwell” microarchitecture. I told you not to jump into that pitfall Single core of 6950X is almost 50% faster than one in 980X even though 6950X is running on slower clock speed.
It’s easy to get fooled, because Intel sells different microarchitectures under “i7” name. Always compare benchmarks instead of number of cores x clock frequency values.
That’s of course sensible approach. If your current system server you well, there’s no need to upgrade.