Intel Laptop Processor Query

What processor type would you recommend for a laptop running Cubase 6 and why:

A) Intel i7-2620M Dual Core 2.7GHz, 4MB L3 cache, speed boosting to 3.4GHz;


B) Intel i7-2630M Quad Core 2.0GHz, 6MB L3 cache, speed boosting to 2.9GHz.

(Alternatively stated: is the faster dual core processor better for DAW use than the slower quad core processor?)

Many thanks!

Definitely a Quad one. Why? It’s simple: dual 2.7GHz is faster against quad 2.0GHz, when prosessing one or two tasks, but a DAW (including Cubase) is usually prosessing multiple tasks at the same time (multiple VST effects/instruments). For a DAW usage you should do just simple math:
Now, which number is greater? Of course, it’s not as simple as that: speedup for having 4 cores instead of 2 isn’t linear, because you’ll have other performance bottlenecks on your system, but when numbers are this far apart, the decision is easy: QUAD!

Great answer! Makes lots of sense. Quad core it is then.


the above answer really has little to do with it and is not correct.

up until the new sandy bridge, faster dual cores were better than slower quads pretty much making the above wrong.
however with the newer sandy bridge the quads are faster
and by a good margin.
FYI all my tests are always done with cubase (but checked with others)

benchmarks here

blue is a 2820 quad and purple is a 2540 (dual core)

Excuse me, but HOW MUCH “faster” dual core was better than “slower” dual core? And with which kind of workload this was measured with?

There’s no way any real-world multistream task, except direct memory-to-memory integer operations (where limiting factor is buss speed), could be faster with 2.7G dual against 2.0G quad … unless the processor architecture is completely flawed. Are you saying, that Intel multicore architecture is generally flawed and it’s useless to have more cores?

is that so? you do this for a living?
with your theory then a dual Xeon 2.66GHz 12 core would also be faster than a single 6 core 990x?

after all 2.66 x 12 is 3192 vs 6x 2.46 = 2076
is that what you are saying as well?

did you bother to read the benchmarks?
@ 48 bufffer the 820QM 1.7GHz QUAD was vastly slower than the 620m 2.66GHz dual
33 RXC vs 53 RXC

64 buffer 38 vs 57.

No! I’m not doing anything for a living right now after selling my business. I’m just taking care of my horses and making music in my home studio.

But I used to do computer performance analysis as a part of my job. And before that did some theoretical research on it at the university. And also been using computers for making music for almost 3 decades.

with your theory then a dual Xeon 2.66GHz 12 core would also be faster than a single 6 core 990x?
after all 2.66 x 12 is 3192 vs 6x 2.46 = 2076

No. Xeon and i7 are different architectures. But if you are comparing two processors of THE SAME architecture, you can quite safely assume: speedup of having more processors/cores is (almost) linear AS LONG as:

  1. You can take advantage of all processors/cores (and yes, DAWs can do this)
  2. You have no other bottlenecks like slow memory busses (which in this case I don’t think is a major problem, unless you have some ill-behaving software, which uses memory, when it should use floating-point registers)

Of course, with fewer but faster cores you can squeeze out better latency, because audio driver of your sound cards is probably not using parallel processing, but that last millisecond is not going to make you happy, if you’ll run out of raw processing power.

did you bother to read the benchmarks?

Tried, but found the information to bee too cluttered.

well i hate to bust your bubble

  1. the forums are full of dual vs quad (about 2+ yrs ago)
    the older Q6600 vs say the a core 2 duo @ 4GHz. (yes over clocked but still GHz wins over core count)
    the dual core would absolutely kill the quads
    as i said the quads wining have only been since sandy bridge. and part of that is the newer turbo 2

following your theory again. that more cores are better than GHz.

you said Xeons are different from i7 got news for you they are 100% identical
they come from the same silicon die line and are exactly the same product in a different box label. (assuming same nm (such as 32mn) and architecture such as (Nehalem or westmere) presently no sandy bridge Xeons until Dec.

so a 990X
is the exact same processor as a Xeon W3690

or a compare side by side,52586,50086

so a 990x single 6 core will flatly beat out a dual Xeon 2.66GHz with any audio or video benchmarks i have seen yet.
and beating the 2.8GHz 12 core in most tests as well, other than heavy animation.

cant read the test?
that can only be due to being color blind.

first test on the benchmarks page is laptops what the OP asked about.
yellow is an 820QM 1.73GHz quad) @ 48 buffer using dawbench DSP tests it got 33RXC compressors
dark green is the 2.66GHz DUAL CORE it got 53RXC compressors.
these are the last gen arandales

hmm looks like a faster GHz dual core is faster than a slower GHz quad. and this has rang true since dual vs quad existed.

moving on to the newer sandy architecture now things have changed, largely due to turbo 2 but also architectural changes.
2540M is 2.66GHz DUAL 70 RXC (max turbo 3.3GHz)
2820QM 2.3GHz QUAD 134 RXC (max turbo 3.4GHz)

OK! According your agenda the number of cores doesn’t matter. Tomorrow I’ll trade my Quad core PC to my old “faster” single core one, which I gave to my sister 3 years ago. Case closed.

i dont have an agenda just the facts so people can make informed descisions based on facts not forum fiction.

so thats your reply? cant debate intellectually so you end it with a 6th grader comment…
:laughing: :laughing:

and you may want to trade your quad core in for the faster GHz dual if its from 2 yrs ago…