E5 or i7

I imagine this has been asked before but I am struggling to find specifics.

I am looking to build a new DAW in the coming months.

I am looking at dual E5 2697 V3 or over clocked i7 5960x.Running at 4.1GHz

I have always built my own systems before but I might order one from Scan or one of the other DAW specialists.

If I go for the i7 it will free up some money to add an octo UAD card (currently have a quad with about 90% of their software) and some other peripherals, new screens and all that fun stuff so I am quite happy either way. A 56 thread monster or a very fast DAW and some other new kit.

I know previous versions of Cubase always favoured the first core the most and if that hit it’s limit it would tend to throttle the whole system performance, so server/workstation type set ups seemed not to perform as well as a fast consumer level workstation. Also as more cores are running in the E5 the overall clock speed drops for all cores to the bass line speed which is 2.6 GHz in this CPU.
And here is the problem, if Cubase still isn’t that efficient in it’s multicore use and the first core is going to limit before all 28 cores are active I might be better having less cores and a much faster clock speed.

I am currently running an i7-2600K quad core at 3.4 GHz and have to freeze a fair amount of channels in a production/mix situation. Purely mixing isn’t so bad as I am using less virtual synths but I to tend to freeze or render to free up more UAD DSP or CPU DSP. So I want a fair bit more power and I will be adding one or two UAD octos in at some point regardless of this decision. There is a chance the E5s are a bit of overkill at the moment but if Pro 8 is handling multicore well this set up would give me a fair amount of future proofing.

Any advice or opinions here would be greatly appreciated.



Some motherboard manufacturers do allow overclocking of Xeon CPUs these days, but nowhere near as much as for the consumer parts.

With Xeons, you really have to pretty well know what you will need for the life of the computer, whereas with consumer parts, you just need to buy what you will likely need into the medium future, but you will have a large amount of headroom into which you can overclock if projects are too heavy on CPU.

Yes, Xeons are very expensive. You can buy a hefty slave PC for the price of decent one of those.

Hey Patanjali thanks for the reply.

I was looking to get a whole new build so I can keep my current computer as a backup and for home DAW use.

Regardless of system I will be adding a 1TB SSD, 3 4TB HDD’s, 64gig of ram and the same video card.

I think with this mobo, Asus Z10PE-D8 WS you can just have one CPU installed and add a second down the line but the issue with this would possibly be that only 4 PCI slots would be useable. I am not totally sure if I am understanding the data correctly.
http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/6866/asus-z10pe-d8-ws-dual-cpu-intel-c612-workstation-motherboard-review/index2.html there is a flow chart of the mobo.
As I need two slots for soundcards, one for UAD now and another when I add an octo card and I use a firewire card for my PoCo I’m not sure this board would be any good for me without two CPU’s installed. I would drop the powercore but I love the Vss3 and Virus.

I would get a huge amount more power from the 5960x than my current system and am thinking that might be enough.

The main issue with the dual Xeon motherboards is that each CPU supplies half the PCIe channels, so it is not like you can use all your slots and connectors and just add a CPU for more grunt. No, your mb is half-jacked, though the second CPU’s PCIe channels seem to be reserved just for hefty video cards, which is not really a requirement for audio graphics, but their being dead would severely limit your usable slots, as you write.

There may be some other motherboards that are more flexible with their PCIe channel layouts, so that the missing CPU only robs slots of SOME of their PCIe channels, rather than all.