Cubase Performance on Mac

Is the performance of Cubase on OSX a problem for you?

  • Yes
  • No
  • A bit, but it’s not worth the switch to Windows.

0 voters

This must be a heavily discussed topic, but the search function is failing to bring up the relivent discussion for me.

I am a current PC user of cubase, no real complaints. I want to switch to a Macbook so I can run thunderbolt with UA Apollo interface. The issue of decreased performance on OSX is pretty well discussed and documented on forums. Most people say it’s not enough of an issue to leave OSX if you like OSX… and I see their point, but it seems a shame to sacrifice ASIO headroom.

My question is this: is the performance gap between windows and OSX with cubendo ever going to even out? Is this possible within the realm of version 7 through updates?

Any input or direction to official documentation of the issue is appreciated.

If you build or buy a PC that has onboard Thunderbolt, it’s plug and play with the Apollo and Cubase 7. I am running an Apollo with Logic on a MBP through TB for mobile and at home with Cubase 7 on a PC with a Gigabyte motherboard that has TB. Others have also been successful with Asus mobos.

Sure, I’ll throw in my 2 cents. I needed a laptop for when I travel to other locations, and settled on the new 15" Retina MacBook Pro (loaded). Just for the hell of it, I tried it as a master running VEPro, using my PC as a slave to host most of the VI’s. I was brand new to Mac, but it was very easy to learn OS Mavericks. To tell you the truth, I prefer using the Mac and have decided to make it my permanent host for Cubase 7. IMO, there is no difference in performance based on my own experience. The video handling is especially good, as the top end model has a 2GB video card as well. I don’t bother with all the benchmarking, etc, because if something the works the way I need it to, that’s what’s most important. Since switching in November, I have successfully completed several projects this way and the Mac has already paid for itself twice over. I have two additional monitors connected, gigabit Ethernet (via Thunderbolt), an external drive, UR 22 interface, and a 7 port USB interface

I’m looking at getting one of these. A colleague bought one recently and it works great

I have also tried heavier projects using JUST the MacBook, and as long as you keep everything under the 16GB Ram limit, you’ll be fine.

The whole Mac/PC thing is a hot topic as you know (and a waste of time). If anyone is thinking about blasting me for being a “fanboy” or whatever, save your energy. The OP has asked a legitimate question. I am not bashing Windows…I still work on PC for sound editing, etc, and Win 7 is an excellent OS. It just happens I prefer working on the Mac.

Ok, there’s my 2 cents! :sunglasses:

I should also add that you can try a new Mac for 14 days and return it if it doesn’t work for you.

A transition to OSX is a personal decision that only you can make, of course. Your specific needs are going to be different than someone else’s. What matters most to you about performance may be very different than what matters most to someone else.

I’ve been making the transition over to OSX and for me, it’s been worth it, although the transition hasn’t been without its bumps and potholes in the road here and there. But I’m very happy with my decision and I don’t expect I’d switch back to Windows as my primary OS for music/sound unless Apple royally screws things up. (Crossing fingers.)

There are many reasons why I chose to switch, and the plus side outweighs the negative side for me. Your process at arriving at a decision will be different than mine. Some people will criticize a move to Macs as an irrational move because, as some of the critics will say, Macs cost more and perform less than similar Windows-based machines. But as many people who have switched to Macs will tell you, performance per dollar is only one part of the puzzle, and there are many other factors that came into play that are meaningful to those who have switched.

And the fact is, Windows machines will indeed give you more bang for the buck. No bones about it. I don’t expect that price/performance gap to close any time soon simply because of one obvious fact: Macs are made only by Apple (unless you want to try the DIY Hackintosh route, which is a valid approach for many people). Windows machines, on the other hand, by the very nature of a vastly larger and competitive market, will have many more options for computers and parts that will ultimately cost less than a single provider like Apple. So basic economics here, you can get more horsepower for less money on the Windows side, in general. There are a few areas where Macs may be performing better than Windows (i.e.: C7.5 loading times appear to be one area, although I haven’t had a chance to confirm that). But in general, you’ll get more bang for the buck from Windows overall. In my own tests, I’ve seen about a 20-30% performance penalty for running OSX for my test sessions. And when you need very low latency performance (64 sample latency and lower, for example), and you are using best-in-class drivers like RME, a well-tuned Windows DAW will perform even better for those scenarios. Your performance for your specific apps and plugins (and don’t forget audio device!) will be different than mine. You may do better or worse, and only you can really find out based on your specific project needs and hardware configuration. There is no hard number, since all of our situations are different.

For me, that rough 20-30% performance hit is not that big of a deal for the types of projects I run, due to the amount of CPU headroom I have on my computers, and the fact that I also have VE Pro available when needed, which I can run on some Windows machines as needed. So for me, the performance hit is irrelevant, and other much more important things matter. Personal, project and client workflow trumps the performance hit in my case.

Additionally, the general issue of performance is becoming less and less important in my view, with current gen computers. I think it’s now irrelevant for most users, but there are people who will strongly disagree with me. I think you should run what you want to run, and you’ll do fine on either platform. Again, others will disagree with me. A current-gen Mac will of course be able to handle very complex audio production needs, so you may never even run into performance issues. And thanks to great programs like VE Pro, you can build inexpensive satellite slave machines (running Windows for example) to offload any extra needs… not to mention if you are going the UAD route, then you’re offloading DSP needs onto the UAD chips anyway… So you may never notice performance issues at all.

So the larger question goes back to whether or not YOUR specific applications and needs will have a performance penalty if you use a Mac, and whether or not you will even notice. If you are running complex orchestral scoring templates with massive sample libraries where you are already dealing with VE Pro, for example, then you may value performance much higher than someone who is running other types of sessions. For me, the current gen of Core-i7 CPUs has enough horsepower to handle most of the types of projects I do quite well, so it’s not an issue for me. But who knows? In six months, someone could release the latest killer plugin that I HAVE to buy, and maybe it will sink even the most powerful Core-i7 machines. It’s bound to happen at some point. U-he Diva on Divine mode will definitely hit your CPU hard. :slight_smile: But take some time to really examine the types of projects you do, and that will really help you decide.

Again, as mentioned above, I don’t expect the performance gap will even out any time soon… mainly because of the scale of economics of how Mac computers are single-vendor and Windows are infinite-vendor with a far larger overall marketshare. While there may be as many actual Mac DAW users as Windows DAW users for various DAW apps individually (i.e.: I know far more studios running Pro Tools on Macs than Windows), the simple availability of far more hardware options on Windows will likely keep this price/performance gap in favor of Windows for the foreseeable future in my opinion. But again, that may or may not matter to you based on the types of projects you run.

Best of luck in your decisions!!!

My 2c here. If your main concern is Mac vs Windows performance, and if you are curious to find out for yourself, and if you’re keen to have a MacBook Pro and don’t mind paying for one, I would say go for it. You have the option of having both Mac and Windows OS’s (namely BOOTCAMP in Mac jargon in the unlikely event you didn’t already know).
My point is, when you try to configure a PC from scratch, it is possible that you go wrong when it comes to choosing components, therefore your PC could possibly turn out not to deliver optimum performance–not to mention it could be a PITA if your choices are painfully wrong although you think you have chosen the best components there were. It’s a matter of compatibility. And since not many of us are computer-science educated, we can end up scratching our heads 24/7, blaming everything on Windows.
With a Mac, things are very different: you don’t even get to choose any components. Mac components may not be the very best, but they are to a very high extent compatible with each other. Bottom line is: when you install Windows on a Mac, it will run more reliably than many of the PCs we configure off the top of our heads.

That being said, you can have both OS’s on the same machine, choose which one to startup with, have Thunderbolt, and examine everything for yourself.

I have no idea what type of projects you normally take, but for more demanding projects like an orchestral movie score, there is VE Pro (thank goodness) as mentioned by uarte. You can fill your current PC with as much RAM as it can take, look for a decent thunderbolt PCIe card (if available, and if you already have a TB HD array) or if you don’t, set up an array of internally raided SSD’s, and you’re good to go with your master-slave set up connected by a single LAN cable. Your MBP will be the master (running the OS of your choice) and your PC the slave, carrying the burden of your CPU/RAM hungry VI’s.

All that being said, you might also decide to get a second PC (the Hackintosh way as suggested again by uarte) and install both OS’s, but you need to be very careful when choosing the components. It demands a lot of googling probably!

At the end of the day, only you are the one to make the final decision. I only meant to give you a couple of more options you can think about. I don’t intend to begin a platform discussion AT ALL.

Good luck.

I know it will be pricey (probably cost you an organ or two :astonished: ) but check out this new Thunderbolt 2 drive.

Until now nobody want explained me why Cubase 7 or 7.5 doesn’t perform like Cubase 6.5 in 64 bit under Mac. This is a great mystery… I use mac since 1993 and cubase since 1989 with Atari, I don’t want change system because Cubase does not work like before under OSX, probably I will switch the DAW, the easier way, Logic it’s much more affordable and stable. Apple updated 6 times in 4 months for bugs, Steinberg updated 7 times in 1.4 years and bugs still there.
Please follow my thinking…, if Steinberg redesign the mixer, change the approach to the software with bugs and incompatibility with 3rd party plugs, I, as old user, I should to rethinking my workspace, lear new way, change all. So it’s like start from zero again right? At this point I should think to change the DAW for a more stable application instead Cubase. Other users and friends of mine though about that using osx and cubase in these days.

ufoqbase, that’s unfortunate that you are having issues. perhaps it’s something to dop with your system, etc. I have not experienced any obvious bugs myself…has been slod on both Windows 7 and Mavericks.

As far as switching DAW’s, Logic X has its fair share of bugs, and is no more stable than Cubase 7. You have invested a lot of time in Cubase, so be prepared for a steep learning curve in Logic. Logic X is a good DAW, but has a very different approach than Cubase (takes a while to get your head around some things!). I guess for $199 its at least worth trying.

This is a very good point. Certainly I’ve been critical of Apple’s lack of interest in improving the scheduler performance of their kernel (not sure how much is even possible given the Mach architecture that is simply not ideal for realtime applications), but as with so many other performace optimization issues, ultimately they’ll become moot as time marches on and the performance margins vanish.

There’s an extreme example of this in CPUs, as Intel’s chips used to be at a disadvantage to RISC CPUs because of the more complex instruction set that requires more space on the chip just for processing the instructions… well, can’t say it hurt them that in the long run! And no one even notices the extra baggage on the chip anymore, except in phone/tablet hardware, although even that’s going away.

Well, this is slightly different of course. But while the performance gap still exists (my recent benchmark test was around 25% in favor of Windows, so the 20-30% range seems very accurate), there’s likely going to be a point where it’s not going to be terribly important anymore. To make a better sense of those prospects though, it would be interesting to see how the performance gap scales across old and new systems, but alas I don’t have the time or means to test that extensively.

I had no issues with 6.5 was rock solid. A few issues with cubase 7 basically the same as windows users. Now 7.5 has proven to be rock solid :smiley:. I’ve used cubase 6.5 on windows. 6.5 performed better on osx at the time.

Aloha guys, just to chime in.

Back to work after the holidays here and with C7.5 it is now
very rare to have any real or major probs.

My 3rd party 32 bit SampleTank plugs will occasionally throw a tantrum
but there will be a 64 bit release coming out this month at Namm.
This should clear those remaining issues.

C7.5 makes me think that I am not even using a DAW.

I mean that in the sense that everything (hard/software,peripherals) is/are all working
well together and feels like one big piece of really good hardware gear.

Smooth as silk and as was already posted: rock solid.