OSX or Windows for Cubase

First of all, I used the search function and didn’t find much information about this (not even in Cubase’s manual). I would love to hear a detailed reply from Steinberg’s team on this since I’m about to buy my dream DAW. Budget is $10.000 so I could really choose anything I want in terms of workstation.

Is Cubase 6/6.5 more stable and performs better in Windows? Why?

Thank you,


You will never get a reply to that question from Steinberg. I would go with whatever platform you prefer. There are a lot more things to take into consideration than just Cubase, like what plug-ins and audio software do you currently own?

Depending on what you do, tracking or VI’s; Cubase/Nuendo performs up to 4 times better on Windows 7 with the same hardware. :open_mouth:
It’s simply a better suited operating system for high end audio applications.
ALL DAWs tested (Protools/Studio1/Reaper/Live…) share the same slowdown on OSX, some more than others.
Cubendo suffer the least of the lot!
There are several technical reasons for this, there’s a good thread about it here:
(Eastwest doesn’t even recommend OSX for their new Hollywood strings library because of the poor performance.)
If you are serious about your audio/music work, and don’t use Logic, (which btw smokes Cubase on a mac! :confused: )
do yourself a favour and buy/build a dedicated PC DAW. :wink: I got mine from Scott at ADK, never been happier. :smiley:
(The reasons for Logic’s great performance lies in a “cheating” xtra audiobuffer for the recorded tracks, while Cubendo uses the same buffer for all tracks…what do i know :question: ; here’s a quote from an expert:
“Logic has a hidden playback buffer that other DAWs don’t have. That is the explanation for Logic not suffering as much from the poor performance of OS-X”)
The benchmarks speaks for themselves:

I just installed bootcamp/Windows 7 x64 under Lion (in full 64-bit mode) on a 2009 Macbook Pro to help understand this exact question.

This was not a very fair “Cubase” test, as I have way too many 3rd party VSTs – of which any could be culprits – but, a projects that plays back smooth as butter under the Windows 7 version of Cubase (64-bit version), with CPU to spare, won’t even play at all under the OS X version of Cubase (64-bit version). Same hardware.

That’s an unfair and unscientific test, but for my purposes, told the story I cared about with my situation.

Also, you might find this of interest. It’s VERY outdated, and also very dependent on 3rd party plugins and other factors, like buffer size, ASIO vs Core Audio, etc. It also points to performance issues with OS X itself, likely outside of Steinberg’s control. So, you really have to study it and not draw any quick conclusions. That said, it seems to confirm what I’m experiencing with overall poorer performance under OS X with a multi-3rd part VST setup “as a whole.”

(be sure to read parts 1 - 6 of the article)

But, what’s great is that you have the option to choose if you need to. One of the many reasons I just switched from Logic to Cubase.

And Fizbin’s right, you’ll never get a proper, detailed response or inspired acknowledgement from Steinberg on this, just a canned reply. I asked the question and the response I got was something along the lines of: “some say it works better on Mac, some say it works better on PC. both versions are 64-bit. depends on your hardware and ram, 3rd party plugins, etc.”

All that said, I’m still actually using it under OS X. Ha!

Good luck.

A big thanks to those who have answered so far. I am still hoping Steinberg comments on this because after all, we all pay for their softwares and we should know from THEM which setups allow better performances. Anyway, if anyone wants to add other comments I’d appreciate it. As I said, I’m about to spend 10k on a computer so it’s something important.

I’ve seen this effect first-hand. You can mitigate most of this by simply cranking the buffer size up in Cubase, to more closely match Logic’s “playback” buffer “cheat.”

I’m about to do a really good test between Logic and Cubase (on OS X for both) as I’m migrating, almost exactly, a project over to Cubase from Logic – same plugins (only VST versions of their AU counterparts), same OS, same hardware, same audio interface, etc. Just Cubase and Logic head-to-head. I’ll be using Cubase with high buffer sizes to help eliminate its disadvantage with Logic’s buffering strategy.

I’ll report back on this thread with my results.

(One thing, Cubase, when at low-latency, with its more “honest” buffering strategy, seems a lot snappier with performing real-time solos and mutes, etc. than Logic does.)

Thank you. Any help is highly appreciated since we are quite alone in this “issue”.

Francesco, a sidenote comment for you, since you mentioned you’re looking to buy a new setup. Not sure what hardware you’re looking at, but DO NOT buy a Mac Pro (as of this time of writing).

Apple has not refreshed those machines in almost 2 years! So, you’d be paying 2012 prices (and premium at that) for 2010 hardware (and slightly subpar hardware even by 2010 standards)!

It’s a horrible situation for Apple-centric Creative Professionals, right now. Many, are being forced to switch to Windows if they want current, workstation-class hardware.

The fact Apple still has those old Mac Pros on their site for purchase is borderline criminal.

Also, there is speculation Apple my be dropping the Mac Pro line, completely. If so, they’d be abandoning the Creative Professionals that supported Apple during its darkest hours. That community is waiting with bated breath as to any new Mac Pro announcements.

Thank you very much but I am very aware of what’s going on with Apple and the Mac Pro. I still think they will update it in the next weeks even if this might be the last time before it gets discontinued. As for the PC world, I have my eyes on this:



ADK workstations

Of course, I’d get one with 2 dual Xeons E5 (the ones released today from Intel).

You could probably play back a few stereo tracks with a machine like that. I bet it even runs a few real-time plugins. :mrgreen:


Call them

As tom said!

Exactly right. This is your processing buffer setting in Logic… Low=512, Medium=1024, High = 2048. Set Cubase to 1024 and look how much you can do…trouble is look how much latency you get! I am a mac person through and through after years of PC abuse and don’t want to go back (I’ll be kicking and screaming) so I just have to work around the whole thing freezing tracks or using VEP on slave machines.


It’s amazing how much work I am somehow able to get done on an early 2008 2.8 gig 8 core Mac Pro.
Sure, I’d like more power,lower latency would be nice-still, I am able to do most things in real time with no freezing or committing tracks to audio-not to mention the fact that the computer itself has been rock solid-literally no hiccups in almost 4 years. Throw in the fact that I bought it as a refurb, thereby lowering the price by the grand, and you get one happy Mac Pro user.

I’m still on 2007 Quad core PC. And have no plan to upgrade for at least couple of years.

Aloha F,

As a Mac user I find that my buddies PC just hauls ass compared to my iMac.
Stability seem roughly the same.
(His studio is down just slightly more than mine.
But when it is up-and-running it kicks butt).

However IMHO $10.000 would be best spent on getting your
recording enviorment (room(s) pro-ready and after that a nice
selection of mics, pre’s, with good monitors and a nice mixing console.

Then it’s time to talk ‘puters.



But we don’t know, if OP has $10.000 just for his DAW and has another $10.000 for acoustic treatment and yet another $10.000 for other gear. Or maybe he already had all these other things sorted out.

While the DAWBench stuff is certainly informative, it is in no way conclusive. For starters, he tested C5 with Kontakt4 on Windows 64-bit and OSX 32-bit. He say that shouldn’t hamper performance since the test file size are only 2.7 GB, but that is NOT a level playing field. Plus, he performed the OSX tests on the same system, ergo a Hackintosh.

However, there is no reason to doubt that Cubase works better on Windows, it is based on the original Nuendo engine which was developed for Windows (after the SGI thing went south) and only later ported to Mac.

That said, my '09 MacPro (2.66 quadcore) is happily churning along and with a 128 sample buffer it can handle pretty much anything I throw at it. In fact, I had inadvertently left it at 64 for a while, and didn’t really notice the difference until I loaded some heavier projects. Mind you, that is with C5.5.3 which is 32-bit only.

The uncertainty surrounding the MacPro’s future and Apple’s increased preoccupation with all things “i” have me looking at Windows alternatives, but not because Cubase does not work well on OSX. At the contrary, I find that windows management and generalnworkflow is MUCH better on a Mac.

Since my machine doesn’t crap out with my typical workload, I wonder how much of an advantage Windows’ perceived performance superiority really is? So maybe you can run 100+ voices at a 32 buffer, I don’t really need that. Like I said, I barely noticed the difference between 64 and 128 when playing some pretty involved up-tempo jazz piano.