More Clock speed or more CPU cores?


I am thinking to upgrade to machine, but I am wondering what would be better for Cubase, and intel i7 7700k with clock speed 4.2 ghz (4 cores) or the new one i7 8700k 3.7 ghz (6 cores)?

Reading a lot of forums discussions I see that people are separated with their opinions, I would like to see some advice from some Steinberg Engineer maybe here?


mod edit: threads merged. Please don’t crosspost. As you can see, it’s unecessary.

Here is the thing, with a decent motherboard you will be able to enable all cores max turbo (Don’t remember what it is called). So with the 8700K you will get 6 cores @ constant 4,7 GHz turbo and with the 7700K you will get 4 cores @ 4,5 GHz.
Base clock means nothing as there is always the turbo boost. Even if you don’t enable the all cores max turbo they will never run at the base clock frequency. For example the 8700K will run 4.3 GHz turbo with all cores used as standard which is the exact same as the 7700K.

Get the newest, no reason to buy old hardware and again, base clock means nothing.

In general, I vote for the faster processor, but others may have more informed opinions.

IMO, horsepower for NLEs & which tend to be far more demanding than DAWS:

Multiply CPU speed by number of cores to get a useful comparison between options (notwithstanding other possible factors like over-clocking, Turbo Boost and other BIOS tweaks etc). eg:
8700k = 6 cores x 4.7GHz = 28.2
7700K = 4 cores x 4.5GHz = 18

So on this basis, the 8700 wins by a mile.

Elsewhere with larger dual Xeon systems this can be far more pronounced. For example, many workstation’s ad hype can lean on huge numbers of cores /threads, but when examined a little more closely these systems often have much lower clock speeds, eg around 2.1 GHz or so. I found that nothing less than 3.0Ghz does the trick and especially for video production (along with good GPUs). Ditto large amounts of ram for that matter - check out what the app actually needs and can use. As a rule - unless doing a high amount of multitasking /multiple apps /round-tripping - 32GB does the trick, I use 64Gb for a little overhead.

In sum: multiply the two elements of core numbers and clock speed to get a truer indication. In this sense & in my experience, clock speed wins overall.

The i7 8700k has lower clock speed, but there were optimizations that make it about as fast as each i7 7700k core.

The i7 8700k wins hands down.

I7 8700K has lower base clock speed, which means nothing. 8700K turbo boost on all 6 cores @4,3 GHz and the 7700K turbo boost on all 4 cores @ 4,3 GHz.

Also you have already asked this here

Speed and more cores means absolutely noting without optimization for Cubase! Out of the box my new I-7900X was a real disappointment compared to my (still) I-4770K. In fact my 4770 was actually performing better! It took me more than month of testing and configuring to find the added value my new system could offer.

So for the answer to the initial question? Also cpu cache counts, but first go for speed and if you can spare the money get the extra cores. But as always with Cubase don’t expect wonders out of the box. Prepare to do some serious testing before you get things optimized.

Can you elaborate on what you ended up doing to get the performance out of your 7900x? I’m about to head down the same path and would love any pointers you can give.


Hi Crispin, This is what i did to make my I9_7900x absolutely stable:

:question: The link provided is a link back to this same topic. :question:

Regards :sunglasses:

:blush: Your right! Must have made a wrong copy/paste somehow? :slight_smile:

This should be the correct one?

Some additional notes: This was done in Windows 10 V1803 and with Cubase 9.5 and with an older bios. I now have upgraded to the latest bios and Windows 10 v1809 and also upgraded to Cubase 10. I now also have Hyper Treading enabled and it looks even more stable. Before the asio load always looked OK and stable but I still had some erratic behavior of the ‘true peak’ indicator sometimes. Now it all looks very stable. I’m almost sure Cubase 10 has more to do with that than Windows and my bios?

Be also aware that using the ‘auto tune’ utility to overclock your bios may set your BCLK clock higher than 100. Mine was on 101 and seriously made my system unstable and especially my USB 3.0 and 3.1 bus. So be aware to check this and put it back on 100!