The new 'iCan' MacPro

Have to upgrade my current MacPro (2009) and thinking about the new one. Just wondering which processor config would work the best with CB7.5? More cores and slower clock speed (2.7GHz 12 core) or less cores and higher clock speed ( 3.5GHz 6 core)? or maybe the 8 core with a 3 GHz processor? Of course the Geekbench scores are highest for the 12 core (and so is the price) but Cubase wouldn’t access all the cores anyway, correct?


There was a big thread on this a while ago, search a bit down the history… I personally believe that more cores will help, but others think clock speed instead, and I reckon it’s impossible to tell which is correct. Cubase will use all the cores given a chance (I have a 4 core macbookpro and a 6 core win7 DAW), and I see it using all of my cores. But usually I’m not limited by speed or cores, I’m limited by the ASIO meter, and that’s down to latency in the soundbox and the system in general.


Aloha G,

From all my research/reading/comparing mucho POVs.

1-Speed over cores for DAW work.
2-Cores over speed for video work.

That being said, with todays 'puters, both are important.


What I’ve been gathering from reading about the 2.7 12 core nMP is that it shines when the programs are using heavy multi-processing. Since CB does seem to utilize multi-processing, one can only assume the faster the processor, the better the performance but there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on this. That’s what you seem to be saying Curt and maybe you’re right. Would hate to fork out the extra dough for this config only to find out it doesn’t make that much of a difference. If anyone is using this config on a new MacPro 2013 I would love to hear what they’re findings are!!

Mike, sorry I’m not up on this but how can you tell that CB is using various cores and that its not other programs using the cores?

Thanks to both of you for your help.


No real scientific way to find out who’s using the cores except that I’ve observed them when running just Cubase and then when not. When Cubase runs the cores/hyperthreads are used.


Gotcha, tx Mike.

Are their any utilities on OSX that can show you what the instantaneous usage of each core is?

Under Windows 7/8/8.1, I found that Cubase, while utilising all cores, did favour one more. If that one gets overloaded, it doesn’t matter how many other cores you have.

That is why I would favour more speed rather than more cores, but as a bias, rather than being fanatical about it. However, one can use local VEPro instances to ensure VST(i)s are assigned to their own cores or at least to the least used ones.

Certainly, under Windows, this means that using overclockable consumer CPUs, like the 6-core i7-4930X, are perhaps a better proposition than using a Xeon 8-core E5-2687W v2 or a 12-core E5-2697 v2 (which cannot overclock), especially since those latter CPUs are several times the cost. If the CPU usage looks like it is closing in on the limit, one can just apply some overclocking. However, the new MacPros, being all Xeon, do not offer any overclocking, so whatever you choose for a clock speed is all you’ll ever get.

From what I have seen in written and video reviews, the new MacPros would seem to be designed for video-rendering, where it really benefits rendering turnaround time by utilising all cores. It makes for predictable processing times, but the use of Xeons means that the only scaling direction is time, in that any extra processing just takes longer.

With digital audio, the ability to handle processing peaks in realtime is paramount. At least VSTis can be farmed out to slave computers using VEPro, but that still means that all plugins must be handled on-board. If you like the UAD plugins, you can at least use the Apollo via Thunderbolt, or the UAD2-Octo via a TB-PCIe cage, to alleviate the CPU load.

I would suggest that you really map out your expected usage of CPU into the future to be covered by your purchase, otherwise you may be caught out, with no cheap way out. If you use a lot of samplers, maybe going for a lower end MacPro, so your desk has the cool new look, and having a hidden Windows ‘grunt’ box for the VSTis may be the better way to go. At least with the latter, you can upgrade as required, or even add another slave.

Really, if you are following the Mac route, the MacPro is the only higher-performance option with a future open to you. Plan carefully.

Thanks Patanjali, certainly all things to consider.