i9-13900K vs Ryzen 9 7950X

Hello everybody,

I would like to get a new audio workstation PC soon. The lowest possible latency is important for my projects. Some of my tracks are quite complex, many virtual instruments are used.

I am faced with the choice between:

  • Intel i9 13900K on a z790 motherboard
  • AMD Ryzen 7950x on a x670 motherboard

It would use 64GB (128GB) DDR5 in any case. Budget and power consumption are not that important to me. Which one is better?

Thanks for replying.

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The above support article raises some questions about 13900K that would also be an important factor in the OPs decision :

  1. So given that Nuendo doesnt like the e-cores, if we disable them at bios level will there be an indirect hit on cpu that will affect performance? Allow me to ellaborate:

Lets assume firstly that the PC is running a DAW only ie Nuendo and associated utilities only.
Additional essential utilities running on my system are RTPmidi, ilok, RME total mix, network for VePro, ShuttlePro driver. These all need to be running.

Were these services able to run on the e-cores, and will moving them to the p-cores create a net cpu deficit when comparing P-cores only vs P-cores+E-cores?

  1. What about if we want to have a browser open for manuals and quick searches etc. Was it able to run on the e-cores? but now, since disabling e-cores, is taxing p-cores and competing with Nunedo? Or were they always using p-cores?

  2. What services related to audio production (not including Nuendo, but typically are used simultaneously) can run on the e-cores?

  3. Is there a CPU affinity utility, such as Prio or Process Lasso, that is favoured to work with Nuendo so that I can have the e-cores still running and not have to change the affinity every time I load N12? I could force my browser and non-realtime utilities like total mix to use e-cores. And force Nuendo to use only p-cores. Could this be problematic?

Rant: I had a gut feeling these e-cores were going to be a waiste. So really for my relatively new 12900K I’m back to 8 cores. Does the AMD have an equivalent issue?

BTW. I have mildly overclocked and locked the frequencies on my system. P-core locked to 4.9ghz and E-cores locked to 3.6ghz.
Given that all E-states are disabled, my cooling is good etc are the e-cores then usable by Nuendo or other background audio services? Low latency is important as I am a heavy VSTi user.

Well before you disable your E-cores, I’d test things and see how they work. I think this may be a bit of Steinberg overreacting to something now and just saying “If you have a problem, you can’t blame us!” I’d test out something with the CPU fully enabled, see how it goes.

This assumes you are on an updated Windows 11 system, of course. Near as I know the improved scheduler hasn’t been added to Windows 10, just 11.

As for Intel vs AMD I don’t know, I imagine both should work well. One datapoint out there is the guy behind DAWBench tested both the AMD 5000 and 7000 series as well as the 12th and 13th gen Intel and the 13900k was able to support the highest loads, at all latencies, so long as it had DDR5 memory. The 7950X beat out the 12900k by a reasonable amount. This was with E-Cores turned on.

So if you have an Intel system, I’d try the E-Cores on unless you have problems with it. If you are thinking about Intel vs AMD I don’t know. Personally I’ll probably get an Intel when I upgrade in part because that’s what I’ve used more but also in part because I’ve had issues with AMD and USB ports, and my interface is USB.

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So at this point (and to help answer the OP’s question), can we assume that the AMD 7950X doesn’t have the same issues? I’m not as familiar with AMD processors so I’m just trying to verify that its architecture doesn’t cause issues.

AMD doesn’t have this architecture at the moment. I’m not familiar with their future plans, but what I know it is not yet planned.

However, even with the new P-Core/E-Core architecture from Intel you do not neccessarily get performance issues. This highly depends on a huge bunch of factors in your specific system and configuration.

The problem is that Steinberg currently does not have real control about how processing is done, because that is done down in the Windows 11 thread director. There seem to be issues with this new techology that Microsoft needs to work on, like this one for example

A friend of mine @Norbury_Brook recently built an 7950X system for Cubase and it’s performing incredibly well.

Thanks for the numerous replies! After a lot of research, I decided on the Ryzen 7950x with an x670 motherboard. The performance of my system is excellent - much better than expected. I have no experience with latest generation Intel processors, but I can fully recommend the Ryzen 7950x.