Recommend Top Notch HW for Cubase

Hey Cubase Enthusiasts and experts,

a friend is looking for a no-compromise machine for Cubase for his studio.
He’d like it to be:

  • server grade CPU
  • future proof
  • silent
  • he’d probably go with Intel, but with a convincing argument, AMD may as well be included
  • he uses lots of chained effects, so single thread is also important.

He currently has a 16 core Xeon, but only Haswell-E generation. I’ve seen the newer Raptor cove systems are at least 2.5x faster in ST. As he has high latency in ASIO guards.
The graphics card can be Palit+GeForce+GTX+1650+KalmX
this is the fastest passively cooled GPU with 4GB RAM.
Or should he go with something stronger that will be silent when not on high load? He currently has GT720 with 2GB of RAM.

He’d like it to be in a desktop board, with no fans on it, of course.

Any rough recommendations are highly welcome!

PS I saw that Cubase so far has problems with smaller cores, so I9 is out of scope, even AMD R9 comes into consideration.

We are building it ourselves, so a complete configuration is not needed.

No compromise ?

HP Z8 G4 Desktop Workstation | HP® United Kingdom

means money is no issue

Hi and welcome to the forum,

What about Mac?

I know what it means , Look at the link i posted

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TY, I looked at it, it’s ok, but if possible can I get more insights, like why this GPU, what are the sound levels?

@Martin.Jirsak I did consider a Mac, but I’m not sure he’s ready for such a switch in OS, as he currently has Windows.

I’m asking about the platform, because I have no experience yet with building anything above desktop PCs.

Hi,

Check out what’s used in the professional builds by Scan pc & build yourself or buy.
I’m quite happy with the one I bought in 2021.

SCAN UK | PC components and online computer shop

Kind regards
Mike

Well maybe Steinberg might jump in as they USED TO recommend HP Z series as the crème dela crème of Audio workstations and used them themselves

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Server-grade CPU and silent/fanless do not go well together!
I’ve been building “no compromise” (up to 100k$, 5 kwatt) servers with Xeon-SP and Xeon-D for decades, and unless you work outside at the north pole, you will need significant cooling, meaning noisy setups.

So to limit noise, there needs to be a compromise on the CPU power, unless you can go with a liquid-cooled system that puts the radiator and pump (noise) in a different room. This can turn into a 1-yr project (or nightmare) if your not a seasoned “plumber” already, with condensation issues, leaks, longevity/maintenance, etc.

To go completely fanless, your CPU cannot exceed about 35W, maybe 45W in a good day, with a massive passive heatsink, in an open-case, in a “cool” room.

You said you wanted to avoid what you called “smaller cores”, called E-cores, so that limits your options to Xeon-class. Adding your request for good ST performance on top of that… I see no good option fitting all you wishes.

Increasing your power budget to 65W means you will need a fan, but it can be very quiet if chosen carefully (large Noctua for ex.).

Then you can cool a Xeon E-2468 with very low noise.
Don’t forget BTW to get an oversized PSU that features a zero-RPM fan under low loads.

Option #2
Just forget about the E-core scare. They did have issues, and probably still have a few, but they work great with CB already and support will just get better because 95% of people will use them with a few yrs.

Then you can use i7/i9 and have many more options.
For the most quiet option, I would go with the i9-13900TE, at only 35W but still highly capable!
You could even disable all its E-cores, if you have concerns, and still have 8 P-cores that can turbo up to 5GHz.

Option #3
Put a massive (and noisy) machine in a separate room, and use a quiet smaller PC in your studio that will run a remote session (RDP) on your big machine. That’s what I do every day…
I have a silent wimpy machine in the studio running two 4k displays (without any ext. GPU) while its CPU is almost idle because all it does is being a dumb terminal to the big machine located elsewhere.
All you need is a whole in the wall to connect your USB cable to your audio interface (in the studio) to your massive server (in a separate room across the wall).

If money is really no option… then go full Dante/AVB and connect through Ethernet instead of USB and put you server anywhere, as long as it’s on the same (wired) network.

To me that’s the one and only no-compromise option… except on your wallet…
You have zero fans in the studio and/or control room, but still have all the compute power you can imagine (in the basement).

2 Likes

That would be a Mac M2 Pro/Max, with Thunderbolt interface. sorry, that’s just how it is.

Good option, they are indeed impressively quiet, but not fan-less or silent by any means.
Not that different from a well-built PC, but much easier to put together… just add-to-cart :wink:

A good pick for someone who wants to play in the MAC-OS world, but I don’t think that was the intent from the original post.

To have both true High-performance computing AND complete fan-less silence, the only no-compromise solution is still to put the PC or MAC in a separate room.

But frankly, not everyone needs to go that extreme, and some fairly quiet solutions are possible (large slow fans, with medium-power CPUs). And I would agree this sweat spot compromise is easier to achieve with an M2 these days.

Well, if you are able to hear a Mac mini m2 pro when doing normal projects I would be amazed, those machines eat plugins for breakfast

I also have a MacBook m1 Air (no fan) added 8 plugins on a track, copied it 256 times, there was almost nothing on the performance meter.

But the Mac also add easy of use, stability and thunderbolt compatibility
I would never touch a Windows PC in a studio

If he is going to use it almost excusively for audio production I can highly recommend this system - 3XS DMS790 Doctor Mix Special Edition system with Intel - 3XS

Although having a celebrity endorsement (something which usually means instant disqualification from consideration for me) I have not regretted owning one of these, the fact you can even configure quite a lot on a pre-built custom audio model PC was a nice bonus. I bought it after having issues using my everyday PC with Cubase, since I have had this little gem, not a single issue and the important metrics like latency, noise and stability have really impressed me.

Finally, if he is going to go the whole 9 yards they offer rack systems from the same line too - Pro Audio PCs Rackmountable Workstations - 3XS and although never owning one, I can certainly vouch for the company as every dealing I have had with them has been productive, professional and customer focused.

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Thank you all for your answers!
ATM we’re considering an AMD AM5 build. Due to quiet performance and socket longevity - upgrades to new CPUs without much huss - replacing the motherboard.
Any negative experience with AMD on Cubase maybe? Hope not.

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That Palit GPU may be difficult to find. You could also consider something like an MSI Geforce GTX1660 Super Gaming X (with Twin Frozr 7 Thermal Design), if you can still find one. Unfortunately, more recent and more powerful GPUs are also noisier and designed mostly with gamers in mind.

For a silent build consider large 140mm fans for the case from Noctua or Be Quiet.

Stepping back a notch on the CPU generation or speed would help keep the temperature down but AMD AM5 is probably a good choice.

There’s actually a new Palit silent GPU coming soon in February, 3050 with 6GB RAM.
This 1650 is being fazed out.

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Didn’t know that. Just looked it up. Finally, a modern fanless GPU: Palit RTX 3050 6GB reportedly in the works | Tom's Hardware

That would certainly be a very good fanless choice.

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I’ve never understood the quest for a silent PC/Mac.
My own experience is that the fans don’t even turn on unless I’m rendering audio/video/playing Shadow Of The Tomb Raider.
The GPU hovers around 45-55 C and the CPU around 35-55. (Ambient temp in my room is around 20C.)
Hey ho.
Playing a video and Cubase (12) in full swing, 2x32" monitors screenshot:
(Can’t get it to load full-size (5120x1440 so it’s blurry.)

For the GPU, it’s true the fans may seldom turn on, but for silent enthusiasts / purists a fanless GPU gives peace of mind and is a great way of ensuring 100% silent performance at all times, regardless of the task. The case fans and the PSU fan are similar. Choosing large virtually noiseless fans can make a significant difference to overall noise. This stuff depends on how close your computer is to your ears and your personal tolerance of ambient background noise. It is also dependent on the pre-existing ambient background noise level in your studio (if you are operating under strictly studio conditions). In the article quoted above they mention that a fanless GPU is also appealing to home theatre enthusiasts.