I need the honest truth about Windows from heavv users.

Assuming that C9 remedies some core issues for me and I stick with it (I’m on C8.5 currently), I am looking at switching to a Windows 10 machine because quite a few artists and composers I know are starting to make that switch and it seems like it could be a good idea because of Apple going downhill (every new OS seems to take away more usability and tweak ability, etc., and their time for innovation on their computers has been halted for the last few years). It seems that overall Cubase might be a better experience on Windows, what with the GUI issue on Mac and the program feeling like it’s a port-over from Windows and doesn’t take advantage of some key Mac things like its window management, etc. My Mac rarely ever crashes with Cubase 8.5, and I am ONLY looking at switching because of the specific things I’m mentioning.

No OS debates, please!!! My only question is this: For super heavy users (i.e. composers with very gigantic sessions, people with huge mixes, etc.), do you find Windows 10 to be super stable and reliable for Cubase as long as you get the right components?

I know that a lot of folk will say “It’s amazing!” on a forum, but in reality might have lots of difficulties. I don’t mean that in a rude way, I just say it out of experience on forums, and the way I myself used to be. I need VERY HONEST, real-life answers from people who do huge and complicated sessions on Cubase/Nuendo. Thanks!

Here’s an example of a session for me:

30 - 40 audio tracks, most with 2 - 6 plugins.
4 instances of EW PLAY with fully loaded channels, multi outputs, often with plugins on them.
8 instances of Kontakt with between 1 - 10 loaded channels each, multiple outputs often with plugins on them.
3 instances of Omnisphere with multiple outputs and plugins.
10 - 20 other VSTis such as Battery, Machine, Icarus, etc., some with multiple outputs all containing plugins.
8 - 20 groups, some routed to another, all with 2 - 6 plugins.
15 - 20 auxes with 1 - 3 plugins each.
Lots of tempo and time signature changes.
Working to video.

I use a UAD Apollo 8.

This would be at the very limit for my specific computer (Pro Tools can handle sessions this big CPU-wise on the same computer much better, though, as does Reaper when I’ve tried it). I’d like to know how Windows machines handle sessions this big as far as stability, etc.

You need put numbers in it
super heavy and gigantic etc. mean nothing
Perhaps a description of a session your machine struggles with?


My bad, I should have clarified that (and will edit). My machine (Mac Pro trashcan 6-core) rarely ever crashes. I do have CPU limitations at times from both my current processor and Cubase itself being not as efficient as a couple other DAWs on my computer that I’ve used/tried.

Windows is as stable as OS X , the thing PC users have problems with is the hardware or rather the combination of hardware. If I were you and interested in a pc solution, I would contact one of the major DAW computer manufacturers and get some price and performance figures. A professional build pc is not cheap, but you don’t have to worry about drivers and what not. Give them your list of audio hard and software that has to work and let them come up with a solution that fits your needs.

My machine is reading CPU 13% and memory 3.5 gig with Chrome and Cubase loaded empty. Then loading my master template, with 1084 disabled tracks (Kotakt EW VSL Halion etc) Memory shows 4.5 gig and CPU 12% (?)

Don’t fear Windows 10 it is stable and Cubase runs fine. a PC is infintely more upgradable, can be much more powerful, and C8.5 is a great choice with expression maps and many powerful features.

Given the same hardware specs you will not see any significant performance difference between the two platforms, Cubase scalability stinks compared to other DAWs on windows too - as does the window handling. Is your apollo firewire? - Make sure the motherboard you pick has a UA endosed firewire chipset. If you’re thunderbolt then I wouldn’t trust thunderbolt on Windows as it’s all still very much work in progress.

Interesting, thanks. These are good things to know. My Apollo is Thunderbolt.

And thanks to the others for your responses!

If base cpu is ok with trashcan, could bootcamp be an option?

Huh, I didn’t even think about that. As PeppaPig said, the CPU scalability with Cubase is not good compared to other DAWs I’ve used here, so I might as well keep the same computer regardless of whether I stay on Mac or move to Windows.

I’ve used Cubase on both Mac and Windows and since Cubase 5.5 came out performance has been better in Windows for me. I’ve used Windows on my Macs via bootcamp also, and on the same machine I got noticeable performance boosts in Windows over MacOS. It wasn’t till Cubase 8 that the mac performance was as good as Windows for me.

As far as heavy Windows use goes, my typical writing template has about 48-52gb of samples loaded into memory with heavy disk streaming. I typically run about 60-100 tracks (20 for drums, 15 for synths, 15 for orch, 15 for guitars etc etc) and 16 midi tracks going out to my hardware synths. Usually I will have about 10 inputs recording from hardware sources. I no longer do drum tracking in my home studio but when I did I would have up to 16 channels for just drums and 8 for guitar amps, keys and vocals. As far as this writing/tracking usage goes I never had a problem, it’s stable and solid (except when buggy VSTs don’t like to work, like PLAY… :frowning: )

For mixing gigs I will usually have anywhere between 20-100 (on some rare occasions more) audio tracks. I have templates routed for VCA groups, bus groups, FX groups, sub mixes, control room mixes, overdubs ETC. Mixing big projects can get very taxing when you start editing drum timing across long songs, and I am very careful about insert redundancy and using busses efficiently, so I’ve never had any major performance problems.

Generally speaking Windows has comfortably outperformed MacOS with Cubase for years (for me personally). Lately the Mac version of Cubase has become much better on my systems and competes with Windows well, the only exception being the UI smoothness. MacOS gets really sluggish much much sooner than Windows does, in big projects it becomes difficult to scroll the project window accurately because it’s just so choppy and slow. So Windows wins that one hands down.

I like working on both environments though, so I can’t choose which I prefer. Windows in general is a faster feeling OS and performance is great thanks to directX, but Mac has a unique feel that you get used to. The thing to keep in mind is that my performance improvements in MacOS have been due to me going from dedicated macbook pro and mac pro to hackintosh builds, I have not tried the trashcan macpro but that’s really outdated now anyway.

Cubase in Windows is much more dependent on overall system stability, so if you build a PC with bad DPC latency issues then Cubase will run very poorly. Cubase in MacOS will outperform Windows in this scenario via hackintosh, so make sure you get a good motherboard that’s been tested/reviewed/rated for low DPC latency and a good powerful upper range Intel CPU (the x99 platform is really solid for DAW builds if you do your research).

tl;dr - Windows is solid and in most cases will outperform MacOS. Just make sure you know what you’re doing when you pick out your hardware for building a PC (specifically your motherboard).

Not sure how we’re defining ‘huge’ and ‘gigantic’ but I guess I run reasonably heavy sessions. Anywhere between 50 and 150 tracks is the typical range, with lots of VSTi’s and FX. I can tell you that Windows 10/Cubase 8.5 is 100% super stable for me and I use it full time every day.

FYI I’m also speaking as a general fan of Mac OS and typing this on my MacBook Air but for studio work, I’m Windows all the way as of the last few years. Actually Win10 is the first version of Windows that I find ALMOST as nice to use as Mac OS. :slight_smile:

Thank you Kotsamanidis for this detailed response. Very, very helpful!

I might stick with Mac for now and see what happens in C9. A Hackintosh is intriguing and I’m considering that, as well. If they still haven’t ironed out the GUI problems then I’ll either move to Windows on the same computer or move to another DAW. If they haven’t ironed out the CPU issues then…yeah, best not say here. :slight_smile:

Awesome, thanks.

UA has announced "official " support for Thunderbolt for their existing hardware on Windows 10 with their v9.0 release, with the following caveat:

A PC computer featuring built-in Thunderbolt 3 via USB-C is required.
A qualified Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt adapter is required (not included).

Usually, UA is late to the party. Some users might take issue with this, but in my experience they do enough testing that their technology is reliable. Because of this, they are also so late to the party that everyone else has left. :unamused:

Yes I’m aware of that but I wouldn’t like to beta test v1 of anything! To the point I just bought a whole Apollo setup, I could have bought the improved black face Apollo thunderbolt setup for the same price - I didn’t. I’ve been in IT 35 years - I been burned enough times over the years to stay away from being an early adopter! I just want my kit to work.