Significant performance improvements running Nuendo on M1/M2 Macs vs Windows)?

I see a few posts here and there, but nothing conclusive. I wanted to ask if anyone’s made the complete switch from a PC / Intel machine to any of the new M1 / M2 Macs running Nuendo (either natively or under Rosetta), and whether or not the investment in the hardware was worth it?

I’ll be looking at either a new PC build within the next year or considering the possibility of making the switch, so I’m curious to hear how it’s been running for others on these newer Macs.

It’s a big committment, and I already know many of my plug-ins won’t run unless they are under Rosetta, etc.

If you’re on Windows I would stay there. No reason to switch to a company that forces you to upgrade all the time and you’ll save a lot of money too. Keep in mind you can never upgrade an M1 or M2 chip but you can easily upgrade a PC if you need more power. I recently upgraded my system to Windows 11 and had zero issues including all of my plugins installing without issue.

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I run Nuendo alternately on both platforms, and apart from the stunning form factor (and lack of fan) of the MacBook Air, I see no real advantage with Apple Silicon. There’s no way to run everything natively, too many of the more “exotic” plug-ins are still missing. And Rosetta slows things down even more.

IOW: If Nuendo is your only reason to buy a Mac, then there’s no real reason to do so - unless it makes you feel special. :sunglasses:

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Mac user here, so biased.
First off, if a lot of plugins force you to run rosetta, wait for a better moment. Rosetta is a great hold over, it is pretty fast, but only for mac users who are hooked on specific plugins.
As for windows vs mac and upgradeability. I’ve worked on an MBP 2015 until 2022 and it still runs fine but since i’ve started doing atmos/ambisonics it is not fast enough. If I would still be doing 5.1 i could use it just fine. So yeah unupgradeable but it stills runs great.
I recently bought a M1 Max Mac Studio and honestly, unless it breaks or I want to run very very exotic AI stuff , i don’t think i will need a faster mac for the next 10 years. And i paid 2100€ for it.
It really really depends on your case/context and wishes.

Intel fell off the horse for a few generations with their 10nm snafu…
Now it’s back to normal, that is the latest flagship of a company will outperform the previous gen of the others.
M2 beat Alder Lake, but Raptor Lake now beat M2, M3 will beat Raptor, then Meteor Lake blablabla… something like that, you get the picture. All these comparisons are only half-truths anyway, and mostly distracting us from the real question.

Good read BTW:

Always recall that benchmarks always reflect only a very small part of the complete experience.

With any recent/descent computer, it’s easy to avoid the dreaded latency issues, clicks, pops, etc., and now the slowest part of a workflow is not the computer anymore, but it’s the monkeys (yeah… you and I :wink: ) holding the mouse and keyboard… :monkey::monkey:

Moving to Mac just because M1/M2 is “hot tech” will bring satisfaction for only a brief moment…
If you master your tools in Windows, stay there, especially if some of your plugins won’t move seamlessly with you across the street.

I love what innovations Apple brought with their M1/M2 !! My inner geek wants one! But I don’t have enough free time to waste for this sort of trip and keep a day job.

As long as I will have time to master only 1 computer, it will be a PC.
If my setup was already on Mac, I would equally stick to Mac.

This is already a too-long post… SORRY… but to be complete:
If I started fresh and had never used neither Mac or PC… then my decision would be 1st to align with whatever my closest friends and colleagues are using!

And if that was still inconclusive… then the decision algorithm is quite simple:
If I needed a computer only for content creation (audio, video, or graphic), then I would pick Mac.
If not… then PC.
Just sharing my personal 2-cent! Not trying to start another religious war…

As others have said, no there’s no magic sauce in the M1/M2 processor like Apple likes to pretend. They are just ARM CPUs. Good ARM CPUs, but that’s all. ARM hasn’t discovered a magic cheat code that lets them be better than everyone else. In general there’s a “how much power something draws vs how much it performs,” tradeoff and it is non-linear.

If you want to switch to a Mac, do it because you want the Mac experience that being their OS, their design, their hardware-software integration. Don’t do it because of performance claims, Apple has always made big performance claims for as long as I’ve followed them and they’ve never been realistic. For those keeping track this is their 3rd architecture switch (they started on 68k, then PPC, then x86, now ARM) and each time they claimed how amazing the improvement was and how their computers were the fastest in the world and so on.

Also make sure you are ok with the tradeoffs namely that they will change how things are done at a moments notice and you simply have to accept that, they have a short support cycle (an OS is only supported for about 2 versions back, usually 3 years, as opposed to MS or most Linuxes that are 10 years), and tend to be very much a “you get what you get, and once you buy it there’s no upgrades” sort of company.

All that aside, unless you are working on extremely high end projects, in which case you may want to look at a multi-CPU server or workstation, CPUs are so fast these days you needn’t worry much. They will all be plenty fast enough; Intel vs AMD vs ARM just doesn’t matter they can all do what you need no problem.

So if you like Apple’s offerings for some reason other than the CPU, like you really like MacOS, then it could be worth looking at. However, if it is just a FOMO thing about the CPU don’t worry. All the CPUs are fine these days. Technically Intel has faster CPUs for their desktop parts because they choose to push them harder. The high-end 13th generation chips pull a lot of power, and as such can get really high clocks. It makes them much less efficient per-watt (they can be quite efficient per watt if you set them to back off on the clocks) but that is the tradeoff that they decided was desirable for high end desktops.

That could all change at any time, a new AMD CPU could come out that trounces Intel, or a new M series CPU that does the same. However none of it will be a big deal as those other CPUs will all still be good and do their job perfectly well and usually when people talk about a new one “trouncing” existing ones it is usually more like a 10% performance uplift. Not nothing, but not so much you’d actually care.

As a final example I do fairly small stuff in Nuendo, only maybe 10-20 tracks and I upgraded from a 8700k to a 13900k a number of months ago. I notice no difference in Nuendo. It’s fun and all, the CPU usage meter is lower, but I was having no issues with the 8700k. Despite it being a massive, like 4x, power jump I already had no issues so it didn’t change anything.

For a lot of audio uses, what we have CPU wise is already plenty good.

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If you don’t mind me asking, why did you upgrade? My daw-only computer is still a mildly o’c 8700k, running anything I throw at him, so I’m always a little curious about what I may be missing.

Mine is not a DAW only PC, it does everything including, or perhaps more accurately primarily, gaming.

So, the reasons for getting an upgrade for me broke down roughly as follows:

10% is that games are starting to need more CPU power than the 8700k has, particularly poorly coded games that hit 1-2 threads heavy and leave the rest of the CPU largely untouched. The 13900k has significantly better single thread performance than the 8700k because of both optimizations to the cores and higher clock speed.

5% wanting more nVME drives. I wanted to move samples and such over to nVME, since nVME drives cost about the same as SATA SSDs these days, and the new platform supports as many as 4 nVME drives.

1% futureproofing/making sure I had lots of power for Nuendo. If I went real ham with instruments with heavy scripting, I could see that CPU bar creeping up, so more headroom would be nice so I don’t hit any limits in the future.

84% wanting a shiny new toy. Seriously. Most of it was just that I wanted a new computer, and can afford it. I’ve always been a techie, I love new hardware.

And nothing wrong with that :slight_smile:
Out of curiosity, did you run on any heat issues regarding those new drives? My primary drive is nvme, the others sata ssd, so no issues, but I’ve been reading on heat running a lot of them.
Yep, the inner “gearslut “ in me is also wanting to poke around a new pc, but the pro in me can not justify the expense, as it is really doing well. If it was a multipurpose pc, like yours, matters would be different (my home pcs are way newer).

No issues with heat. Now I do have a case with good airflow, and the motherboard I have has some heat sinks (sort of, heat spreaders might be more accurate) over the nVME drives but ya, no issues. Like most modern chips they can get pretty toasty and still be happy.

If you are worried you can buy 3rd party heatsinks for your nVME drives. They aren’t generally necessary though. They might be for the PCIe 5 variants, but I don’t think those are on the market yet, nor are any motherboards that have useful support for them.

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My only issues with the new MAC is the power button…

Beware Apple BS & new product hysteria.

I made the move from PC to Mac a few years ago. From a self built machine to a Mac Pro 5.1 and a MacBook Pro. Now 1,5 years solely on a MacBook Pro M1 Pro 32GB memory I’m finally fully portable as in no desktop/tower computer needed.

I run pretty big projects, sometimes 4-500 channels 2+ hours long. Not having to keep multiple machines in sync is a biggie. Having a totally quiet laptop with full power on battery with hours of run time also makes working in different locations sooo much easier. I’m still running mostly under Rosetta, and I’m totally happy with the performance. I think all my go to plugins do run natively but it works well now so… It totally gives me a “native” experience anyway. But guess some use cases still have a different load.

I save so much time knowing that I can bring the production environment and always be up and running as soon as the lid is open. Waing a few more seconds for a render is nothing compared to that. Plus this is much faster than what I had before, in every way. And when I get to the studio, one TB4 cable for charging, monitors, soundcard, midi interfaces, keyboard, mouse, ethernet.

Best regards


I made thie mistake of going for more cores with my 9800XE CPU instead of paying more attention to single -core clock speed. The 9800XE is only 2.9 GHz / core, which (for heavy sound design) isn’t the best speed I should have looked for (I think I would have been happier with something akin to the 12900K, but that wasn’t out then).

This is one avenue where I definitely agree. Even the developers do not get access to the new Mac OS until it’s almost out.