I am planning to buy Cubase 6 along with a new computer to run it. I plan to use many instances of various VSTs etc and would like to have the best setup possible within reason… however what computer will work best for Cubse 6 depends a lot on how the program was written. (i.e. how many processor cores steinberg had in mind/ optimized this program for)
I have heard that Cubase 5 would only scale well with up to 4 processor cores until the 5.5 upgrade came out… however the info on how many cores 5.5 (or 6) scales well to is something that I have been unable to find… my choices in computer type are as follows
the new Sandy Bridge i7 4 core processor with unlocked multiplier for some moderate yet stable overclocking…
from what I have read this is the best setup for a 4 core system since each core is more powerful than the previous “best” standard computer processor (the i7 980X extreme edition.) (but of course I’ll have to wait a little over a month or so for the fixed motherboard to come out (there was a recall)… this option probably has the best price/performance ratio but my goal is most probably the most performance I can get within my budget not necessarily a high price/performance ratio.
the previous best processor the i7 980x (six cores) or its xeon equivalent in dual processor configuration (which would give me a total of 12 cores)
I have looked at some benchmarks and the Sandy Bridge will beat this processor in many applications because very few programs are written to scale somewhat linearly on a system with over 4 cores… Depending on how Cubase 6 was programed my performance on this system would most probably either be a little worse (or much worse depending on how much the sandy bridge can be overclocked to… keeping in mind that the sandby bridge has been known to overclock to up to 5 GHZ on air and of couse the sandy bridge is around 300+ dollars while the I7 980x costs around 1,000) all the way up to 30-40 percent better for an I7 980x on a single processor setup if the program is written to scale to 6 cores very well… and if it can make use of 12 cores very well then I’d imagine the dual xeon equivalents will give even better performance…
a quad socket motherboard running four 12 core AMD 6100 series magny-cours processors for a total of 48 cores
In benchmarks a single 12 core Magny-Cours processor can beat a single I7980x, if again, the program scales well to 12 cores. Keeping in mind that each core of the Magny cours runs at only 2.2 ghz and each cycle of this processor gets less done than a single cycle on the i7 980x then you really need twice as many cores per processor UTILIZED WELL in order to actually beat the 980x in performance… so in other words:
if Cubase 6 can scale WELL up to 48 cores then four 12 core 2.2 ghz magny-cours processors would give me the best performance however if cubase 6 does better with something like 6 or 12 cores then
the I7 980x 3.3 GHZ (or 3.4 because one exists) would be my best bet assuming those 6 or 12 cores are UTILIZED WELL.
However, if Cubase 6 could only be said to truly utilize up to 4 cores WELL then the new sandy bridge 3.5 GHZ chip would be best.
In other words:
I7 Sandy bridge= the best 4 cores money can buy (within reason) only available in a single processor configuration as of now
(price a little over 300 dollars per CPU)
I7 990X (a touch faster than the 980x, same chip)= the best 6 cores money can buy (within reason) and scaleable up to a dual processor (12 core) configuration for it’s xeon equivalents.
(price, about 1,000 for the 990x or 980x and around 1500 dollars or so for each xeon equivalent chip, or 3,000 for both)
AMD 6100 series 12 core Magny-Cours= not the best 12 core configuration (dual 990x’s will beat it) but this is the only configuration within the “reasonable” server range that is scalable to so many cores. If and only if the program was written to use all 48 cores WELL will this setup beat a Dual 6 core xeon setup (of the 980x’s lineage)
So in other words, which computer setup I get depends entiredly on how Cubase 6 was programmed because depending on that my performance can be best with any of these three setups. Hopefully somebody can help me figure this out… I have heard that Cubase is supposed to distribute vst’s and channels somewhat evenly across all cores (which would make me think that it scales well to almost any number of cores because each channel or vst gets it’s own thread i’d imagine which would mean that Cubase is a endlessly multi-threaded application (and the more threads the more cores I can utilize). However, I thought that was supposed to be the case with even Cubase 5 (I remember hearing reports about that being the way this application worked with even Cubase 3) but even steinberg admits that there needed to be an update to Cubase 5 in order to get Cubase to scale well to anything over 4 cores. So what is our current situation with Cubase 6?