For Nuendo and Atmos : Intel PC (i9 or Xeon) and Mac M2 (ultra)?

I’m going to attempt a thread here on the best powerful computers for running Nuendo and Dolby Atmos projects. I need to change computers soon and I’m racking my brain with this question, mostly between PC and MAC. I would say more precisely between Intel PC (i9 or Xeon) and Mac M2 (ultra). I hope this helps other users in the same situation.

The world of mixing studios is mostly on MAC and I’m leaning that way. But when I analyze the Benchmark results, at least for CPUs, MAC m2s are well below PCs (Intel or AMD). But it’s not all about the CPU, and the integration of components is important. And there’s a reason why so many professional studios in need of power are using MACs, and remain satisfied and functional. But the reason escapes me when I look at the benchmarks. Any insight will be useful.

I’m aware that this subject is probably not perfect here, but I figure that Nuendo’s professional users are here, and their testimonials are possible. Nuendo, indeed, and postsynchonization work, are linked to experience and talent, but also to the power of computer tools. Thank you in advance for your help.

If you want a high performance system for a specific task-set, maybe you could find a company that has experience with designing and building’ these kind of rigs.
We all try to do it ourselves but from your post history and experiences I would advice to consider a professional company and pay them to do it for you.
You’ll get advice here, but no support and i think you’d want that. @leobro has done similar things for his dolby setup (in the US).

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As far as support is concerned, I’m well organized and able to configure my systems, whether Mac or PC (except perhaps for some network difficulties with PCs and multi-rig systems).

Let’s just say that I’d rather get concrete testimonials from experienced users. They do exist and they can share their experience.

As for systems professionals, I see only two separate worlds, Mac and PC. I don’t know of a double door to knock on, at least not in Canada (Quebec) and with sufficient expertise.

Hence my request for testimonials. Especially in a context where performance evaluation, since m2 chips (and now m3, but not yet for Mac Studio, and maybe never for Mac Pro), is more difficult.

Im not saying you are not organised or can’t build a system, but you have very strong convictions and demands for your hardware and software (as we can see on this forum).
That is why i give you this advice. Testimonials are very subjective and will only get you so far and won’t give you any support down the road.

One doesn’t preclude the other, but I thank you for your advice.

To keep the conversation going : Read This Before Buying A New M3 Apple Mac | Production Expert (production-expert.com)

I work on an Apple M2 Pro system (macOS Catalina) as well as on a Win 11 Pro i9900k / 3.6 Mhz with selected hardware (M.2 SSDs, ASUS ROG board, 64 GB RAM) that I configured about 3,5 years ago.
The fact is that the performance on the older i9 system is excellent and I prefer Nuendo on the Win system. There is no rational reason for this, but it feels just better to me. So in direct comparison to the new Apple M2/3 systems, I would always build an i9 system for Nuendo. However, you certainly have to be very familiar with the hardware and the parameterization of the Windows system, and also choose the appropriate converter/ interfaces carefully. I use Lynx converters and interfaces on the Windows computer and Metric Halo ULN8/ LIO8 on the M2Pro. In my opinion, both systems are on a par. The i9 system is perhaps a little more “snappy”, for whatever reason. But overall I don´t think I would feel any difference when I wouldnt´t know if currently working on the M2 or i9 / Win11 System.
However, if I were to make a decision today, I would opt for a Win11 system and give preference to the i9 architecture over an M2 Pro or Max. The disadvantage of the Windows system is that you have to be very experienced with it, including the motherboard´s BIOS settings, PCIe slot usage and also -still- checking IRQ :wink: settings of the Windows configuration, in order to create a high-performance and stable system for post-production.

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Thank you for this information tompisa. I’m currently on AMD (and all NVMe SSD) and it took a lot of work to configure the machine, especially with the Tunderbolt on my Apollo X16, but also with RAM speed and PCIe slot choice. Even after that, and despite a CPU Benchmark of 45822, which is twice what the M2s give, I don’t feel I’ve got a robust system on hand. I personally don’t recommend AMD for audio and post-production, and it was a blunder on my part to go for these processors. The (lower) price and pure PCU performance misled me. I understand better today (or I think I understand better) that caution is called for. I take note of your preference for Intel (i9). Thank you again.

Curious what your system components are. I would recommend putting that in your sig so that users can easily access them.

Here is an article testing the latest Intel chips against other “PC” chips: Intel 14 Series CPU’s Tested For The Studio (scanproaudio.info) The test is “DAWbench” and it’s pretty much the best we have right now. The DSP section is for plugin processing specifically and VI for # of voices / polyphony using virtual instruments. Looking at those results and assuming a 512 sample buffer for Atmos it would seem that AMD should be a good option. I know you wrote you already have a system which is why I was asking what the specifics are.

For a comparison to the M-series Apple computers you can maybe search this thread: DAWBench DSP / VI Universal - Cross Platform DAW Benchmarks : - Page 42 - Gearspace.com I think they’re mentioned there or at least in the much longer thread here: The “today we build our studio pc” thread - Gearspace.com

I can’t compare contemporary Macs and PCs using Atmos but I do have thoughts on the two ‘platforms’ in general.

As mentioned before, if someone doesn’t really know Windows and its Hardware components in detail, then I would stay away from putting together your own Win system and always prefer Apple
Here is my list for the Win computer that I currently use for Nuendo…its from June 2020

btw: Benchmarks “my a…” you may use these shiny numbers from Geekbench and Co as a baseline, but thats it then. CPU benchmarks will never tell you the real world system performance or stability with a certain application.

Thanks !

I tried to put the specs in my profile, but I don’t know if they’re visible. Or I just don’t understand this blog interface.

In any case, I’m copying here :

**PC Windows 11. AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 16-Core Processor. 64GB RAM. **
**ProArt B550-CREATOR (AM4). **
Samsung SSD 860, 970 and 980 EVO Plus + WD_BLACK SN850X . NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080.

**Apollo X16 Thunderbolt. **
System 7.1.4 (w Sonarworks surround) : 3 x Focal solo 6be (front) + Sub 6, 4 x Focal EVO 65 (Back and Srr.) and 4 Folal EVO 50 (hight).
Headphones : Sennheiser HD 600 + HD 800 S w Benchmark DAC1.

Eucon Artist Transport. Console 1 Softube. UAD Satellite USB Quad (and Apollo x16 HEXA).

ETC.

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Good news! I think so.

Just finished my new PC build last night, actually. I definitely prefer PC over Apple, I just feel like it’s more stable and customization of parts/upgrades is a huge plus for me. But…I will admit these days Apple is pretty slick. Just not my thing.

Here’s a list of everything I put in my new one:

So far I’m blown away. I don’t do any atmos yet but for 7.1 projects this thing just eats through anything. Still some things to iron out and optimize but overall I’m very impressed.

My last build was an i7 9700k. It worked well for years but finally started showing its age and my projects began to outgrow what it could do.

Thank you for this. That’s pretty close to what I would have chosen. Have you looked into Xeons?

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Not too much, no. I started to but figured it was too overkill for my current level and tamed it down some. :sweat_smile:

I was just curious, because your system seems to be excellent.

Just for your reference: Intel’s 2400 series benchmarking – How does the new HEDT solution handle in the studio? (scanproaudio.info)

Again same test, DAWbench, and at 512 samples buffer it really seems both AMD and Intel’s “consumer” lineups do better. And then when you factor in the price it would seem pure per core compute performance doesn’t seem to be there.

You can also read four posts in the thread I posted earlier, starting here: Gearspace.com - View Single Post - DAWBench DSP / VI Universal - Cross Platform DAW Benchmarks :. “Tafkat” is a DAW systems builder and typically go through these tests when new CPU architectures come out. Those four posts should give you some insight into whether or not it’s worth getting into Xeon.

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Thanks for posting all these, Mattias! I’ll be thumbing through them later. :smile:

Thanks again for reading. I get a bit lost though (especially in English!). Long story short, Mattias, if you give a two-word answer to the question in this thread, what’s your answer? I believe it’s the Intel 2400 (W7) on ASUS Pro WS W790-ACE motherboard. Is that correct?

I know this is annoying, but I really can’t give you an answer. There’s a lot of text to go through to get to conclusions for your specific use-case. I can’t really help other than point you to those sources since they actually made some comparisons.

My guess would be that unless you need something that Xeon provides outside of pure CPU performance (more PCIe lanes or whatever it provides) consumer Intel or AMD will be a better option, or equally good but less expensive.

You could try to read the articles/posts from the end (backward) to get to the conclusions faster.