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

Okay, I’ll take my time.

Is there any reason you didn’t go with a 128G Memory? I am planning on getting the same mobo and was thinking to max out the ram because it is cheap. There is a 4 DIMM kit that is qualified. I know that 128 is overkill, but ram seems to be pretty cheap, so why not?

DDR5 limitations. You can’t reliably run 128G memory when you use DDR5. It’ll happen eventually but not worth the headache of having to bottleneck your RAM speed just to hit that 128 mark. I’d rather have 64 gigs running at market speeds then needing to slow it down to be able to have 128 gigs.

Thanks, I’m looking for stability for sure. I have 64G on my current PC, but have a 8700K. I’m sure the performance won’t be hindered by RAM.

Coming to this thread late. I think I have commented on these topics before. I’ve used Nuendo on both Mac and PC. While I generally prefer the PC in many ways, there are some trouble spots when doing audio work on PCs, mostly around USB. Sounds like that’s not an issue because you use the UAD Apollo interface, which is TB, which is a good solution. Make sure your MB has TB ports, they cannot be added via PCIe card, and only a small number of PC MBs feature TB, and their connectors are often sub-optimal. The other thing to look into on the PC is drivers. While Nuendo will use ASIO, the OS and any other app that uses the system audio interface will be a different driver stack which doesn’t like to co-exist. This can all be worked out, and is easier on a dedicated DAW system rather than an all-purpose system also used for DAW work. But it can be a bit of a headache. I’ve gone back to a Mac Studio for my audio work to avoid some of this hassle (and because I needed to replace a PC in less than a week when it died during a time when system availability was still difficult). You can make either one work though if you have a preference, just be prepared which hassle you can deal with more - Windows drivers or Mac security settings?

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I have thought about going to an M2 Mac Studio. I’m not sure that I can justify the cost for performance. I already have storage (internal SSDs), 1000W power supply, AIO cooler, Fractal R5 silent case, 2080Ti graphics, I just need to upgrade processor, motherboard, and RAM. The cost difference for performance is $4000 for a Mac Studio vs $1400 for PC. The old PC doesn’t have a 10 GB ethernet for storage sharing, the 2.5GB might work? I have gone back and forth because at the end of the day, I just want everything to work. I have an 8700K setup now, and the thing that kills me is using Falcon with real time MIDI input. I just want to load up a preset and live record it with no latency. Some of the presets make this impossible. I end up having to use a workaround as usual. Maybe I am wishing for too much, but as a musician, I need to be able to play with the sound that I want. I have 64G of RAM in my current system, and it seems to be the limit with the current Intel stuff. I just have a hard time spending 3x if it won’t truly be plug and play when I am fairly confident that I can get the Windows PC up and performing better than the M2 Studio.

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Not sure I follow? Intel/win systems can use more than 64GB. I have several with 128GB.

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That is in reference to @PostAudioforMedia build. There has been issues with running DDR5 higher than 64. I struggle with this limitation, but regardless, if I went with 128G of RAM this brings the build to $1600. Is there a justification for going with an M2 Ultra Studio over the current upgrade? Should I stick with DDR4 memory and use 128G instead of 64G DDR5? Asus actually lists a qualified 128G and 192G memory kit on their website. So many questions…

This is the only test I can recall seeing that compared DDR4 vs DDR5 using Intel and virtual instruments:

As you can see there are significant gains moving to DDR5. I definitely doubt that a maxed out DDR4 does better than a somewhat slower DDR5.

Hmm, one of my systems (Linux for Flame, not audio) has 128GB DDR5. Puget Systems built it for me a year ago and has been running without issue. I guess there may be more to it, not sure what the details of that issue are.

I’m familiar with video processing needing these high end specs. Usually don’t see audio apps max out that bottle necked. But I’m on the post side, not live recording. So might be different there.

I’ll be quiet now, as I’m unclear on the specific needs and don’t want speculate and add noise.

I’m still thinking about it, and I’m tempted to go for Apple. Here are a few points:

  1. Proven factory integration of hardware components, resulting in an ideally complete, stable and functional system. Technical knowledge such as DDR4 or DDR5, multi-core or not, Turbo or not, Bios configuration, up-to-date drivers, etc., all the things that intersect more or less well in a PC and that need to be monitored, end up eating up time and energy. I speak from experience. I’ve had a long succession of PCs. My last AMD was professionally assembled, but I’ve had to keep perfecting it, constantly checking everything, and I don’t know if one morning a piece of the edifice will endanger my work. I had to live with Windows, again last year, disasters with no known cause (I suppose an update from Microsoft), which forced me to reinstall the whole machine. A week’s work. On the Apple side, there’s often the unpleasant problem of O/S versions to which all suppliers have to adjust, but that’s about it. The rest takes care of itself. I had a Mac Pro 5.1 for a few years, whose PCU and disks I’d been able to upgrade (to SSD), and it never coughed. Today, it’s at my son’s place, and it’s still running perfectly for the family’s daily tasks. And with almost no fuss. It must be 10 years old. Old PCs of the same age are being recycled. However, I forgot one point against Apple. I had an iMac Pro 5, supplied by a client, for graphics and publishing work. When I bought it, I chose a hybrid drive. It blew so much behind the screen, as if between my eyes, that I sent it back after a year. Useless for audio. Apple sometimes does stupid things. You have to watch out a little when you buy and don’t trust them with your eyes closed. Just in case.

  2. Apple’s audio hunting ground. Some very interesting audio software and plug-ins are exclusive to the Mac, and I’m often disappointed to see that when a new solution arrives, it doesn’t exist on the PC. This isn’t a crucial point, as the PC universe is quite large and rich in itself, but it is a point that attracts my attention. However, I’m going to have to part company with Samplitude, which has never managed to create a Mac version. An exception.

  3. More important for me, and following on from point 2, is the Dolby atmos Renderer, which offers more features than the internal Renderers. This is the case for Nuendo and seems to be confirmed elsewhere, in Studio One and soon in Pro Tools. However, I’m not interested in the PC adventure of a bridge between two computers, nor in its virtual versions. I’d rather simplify systems than complicate them. It’s a harbinger of things to come. On the Mac, no problem, one machine is enough.

  4. Screen management, superior with Apple. In Pro Tools, for example, the mixer can be detached from the main window. Not so with Windows, even 11. This is just one example. On the other hand, scaling is much better. No doubt about it. On the iMac mentioned above, I had Pro Tools in 5k and it was very usable, with no complications. On a PC, impossible. You need a lower resolution. Cubendo does things better, but not for plug-ins. It’s an inherent Windows problem. A return to Mac, for me, is a return to at least 4k.

  5. Network configuration. I’ve been using Windows since the first version (before that, I was on DOS - I’m not very young, I think!). And I still can’t network two Windows PCs! My computer-savvy friends help me out and set up networks by configuring them manually. They don’t use the absurd Windows utilities, which drive me half-mad. On a Mac, I can do it easily, in 10 or 15 minutes. And I need networks. So I need a Mac, which is a kind of friend in this case!