I just checked some prices here in the US and;
Intel 8700k $380 (Newegg)
Intel 9700k $580 (Newegg - sold out)
Those are what people are looking at for a PC DAW build. If you have a video card already or are planning to get one then you can forget about the value of the integrated graphics of those CPUs. As a matter of fact I believe there are reports here in the Nuendo forum of problems using that IGP.
For AMD you’re looking at either first generation Ryzen chips for a very good value or the 2700x for still good value. The 2700x can be found for $280 at Microcenter in the US, $310 at Newegg, and comes with a cooler included. So at the lower end of the high end pro-sumer spectrum you’re really looking at:
$310 for a 2700x
$450 for a 8700k + cooler ($70 or so)
Review charts can be found here:
If you’re just mixing and aren’t concerned with low-latency and virtual instruments then the main graph to check out is the first one called “DAWbench-SGA-Classic”. In pure numbers according to that chart when comparing prices of CPU+cooler (and ignoring video) you can see that at 256 samples buffer
- the 8700k offers about 20% more performance over the AMD 2700x, but at 45% higher cost.
- the 9900k offers about 32% more performance over the AMD 2700x, but at 110% higher cost.
- the 9900k offers about 11% more performance over the Intel 8700k, but at 45% higher cost.
So it seems that the 2700x is the best value as long as you’re sticking to mixing, based on those tests.
Other things to note:
I believe both sockets for the above allow for a maximum of two channels of DDR4. If you buy a motherboard with four DDR4 slots they will thus run as pairs. I’m not entirely sure if there are any benefits to running for example 2x16GB or 4x8GB. Generally speaking however the testers I know of found no direct benefits running memory at higher speeds or more than two channels, so you should be fine. Just remember that if you buy two sticks they should go into different pairs/channels.
On AMD you should aim for memory that can run at 3200MHz. There are specific reasons for why that’s a benefit for Ryzen chips.
AMD’s platform currently does NOT support Thunderbolt. So if you need that you’ll need Intel.
I can’t speak for Intel because I’m not 100% sure, but on AMD you have four PCIe 3.0 lanes going straight into the CPU from an m.2 nvme SSD slot. This is about the fastest storage solution you can get. It’s probably overkill for audio, but if you want it it’s there. You could of course drop bandwidth-hungry video on there if you wanted to.
Both Intel and AMD have as you can see in the charts higher-performing chips. They’re generally more expensive and use different sockets and different motherboards. The benefit of the current AMD x399 motherboards are more PCIe 3.0 lanes with generally three slots for m.2 drives. Still no Thunderbolt though. Quad-channel DDR4. Cores for both platforms go from 8 up to 32. But it gets pricey.
Don’t know specifically about Intel, but for AMD the low end motherboard chipsets are B350, and the higher end chipsets generally are x370.
There’s the possibility that you get issues above a certain amount of cores, there’s a page on Steinberg.net about it (I forget where it is). You might not bump into the issue, but then again you might. If you do there’s supposedly a per-customer solution that you can approach Steinberg for.
That’s all I can think of right now…