PC hardware recommendations for N8/RX7


I want to buy a new PC, which is going to be used mostly for working with audio for video, using Nuendo 8 and Izotope’s RX7. Are there any hardware recommendations? Will Intel processors be performing better than AMD? How much RAM should I get? Are there any counterintuitive tips, like say “buy a processor with fewer cores/threads but higher clocking frequency because Nuendo can use them efficiently anyways” or something like that?
Looking forward to hearing from Steinberg representatives as well as fellow users.


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…

Oh, and about overclocking:

From what I can tell Intel overclocks well, but gets real hot. So hence a 70+ dollar cooling solution. I would guess that for those $70 you can run the newest CPU at about 4.7GHz on all cores, and to get to 5GHz on all cores you’ll need a more expensive cooling solution.

AMD CPUs are behaving a bit differently I think. The Ryzen 7 1700 that I have goes from I think 3.2GHz stock to 3.7GHz with the stock cooler with no problem, on all cores. The 2700x overclocks easily as well, but it has a pretty firm limit.

Regarding speed versus number of cores though when it comes to overclocking the chips have built-in “Turbo” and “XFR” and whatnot. So what happens is that they will bump up the speed to the max for one core, a bit lower for two, and then continuously lower speeds as more cores get faster. I believe a lot of testers found the 2700x to work just fine without forcing overclocking on all cores just because the included automatic overclocking was pretty good. On Intel I’m not sure what the consensus is…

Sorry,I meant b450 and x470, not the 300-series…

Thanks a lot, great stuff, it actually took me a couple of days to wrap my head around all this and this is what I came up with:

  • I already have a video card (not a great one), I might even upgrade in the future so there’s no value in Intel GPU
  • i9 and threadrippers are out of my price range
  • most of the time I’m editing/mixing, so I don’t really care much about virtual instrument performance (I use with them sometimes but definetly not for orchestral scoring or anything resource heavy like that)
  • I don’t think I will be needing Thunderbolt any time soon - USB audio interfaces seem to perform nearly (90+%) as good their thunderbolt counterparts, NAS work fine via 1Gbps Ethernet, so I don’t see much other use for it
  • i7 seem really overpriced, and the more I look into it, the more 2700x seems to be the way to go
  • m.2 nvme might be overkill for audio, but they’re not that expensive, so I’ll give it a shot
  • from what i’ve gathered you could overclock 2700x on a stock cooler, but it gets really loud, and that’s annoying when working with audio… Not sure if I need to OC though, at least not right away

So I’m probably going to buy something like this:
AMD Ryzen 2700x
Gigabyte X470 AORUS ULTRA GAMING CPU - it has 4 x USB 2.0, which is useful, because some MIDI controllers, audio interfaces etc. seem to have problems operating via USB 3.0. Is it worth buying anything more expensive?
Samsung 970 Evo 500 GB M.2
G.SKILL 16GB 3200MHz Ripjaws V Black CL16 (2x8GB) - do i need more than 16 GB?
Still need to find a case… Are there any with good noise reduction and will that cause higher temperature when overclocking?
I’ll take the rest out of my old PC.

Not to get into the age-old debate. I was a staunch AMD advocate for many years. If low-latency in real time is not an issue the AMD s are fine. But as you get to smaller and smaller buffer sizes something about the Intel architecture performs better. Not a little, but a lot.

I have built dozens of rack mounted high-end PCS both for myself and others. You don’t need a great video card for a DAW unless you are pushing 4K monitors. And even then it’s still not nearly as demanding as video gaming.

Anyway lots of good advice in this thread and available elsewhere. The only thing I would reiterate is if you are concerned with low-latency performance for audio recording then Intel is a fairly clear choice. It was a painful thing for me to admit initially but I cannot deny the performance difference in that setting.

I’m using an Antec case, can’t remember the model number. It’s probably about 10 years old almost. It was marketed as being a pretty silent case and it is. The cooler that came with my Ryzen 1700 isn’t all that loud actually. I also got the quietest GTX 660 I could find at the time. So my computer isn’t that loud. OC to 3.7GHz on all cores.

If I were you I’d just get run the CPU at stock and see if you need to OC it. If you don’t, then there’s no reason to.

I don’t know the motherboard and haven’t used Gigabyte before. Looks fine to me. Always read the fine print on memory compatibility (list) and also slot/connectivity sharing in case you are planning on expanding (there are some shared items).

Yes, I agree, and it bears repeating.

That said I do post production at high buffer sizes anyway…

Exactly. If it’s always post pro, either is fine and AMD is less $$$ per horsepower. I record vocals and the occasional inst. overdub and like to monitor through the software, not Direct. So for me, it’s overclocked and liquid cooled Intel. But I still have a soft spot for AMD.