Ultimate Music Production Workstation?

I’m purchasing/building a new workstation computer and was hoping to get some practical/real world input about hardware:
Do steinberg products benefit at all from intel processors with more than 4 cores (8 threads)? Can cubase even take advantage of a 6 core (12 thread) or 8 core (16 thread) machine? Or is it plug-ins and soft instruments that would?
Also, some of these machines can support 32, 64, and even 128GB of RAM. Would music production even come close to taking advantage of all that? What is a practical “more than enough” amount?
I completely understand the idea of building more than you need in the hopes of longevity, and future compatibility/capability, but if I just plain don’t need it, and won’t need it in the foreseeable future, I wouldn’t mind spending some of this budget on gear.

Desperately looking forward to your opinions on this.
Thank you for your help.
Jason

[quote=“BoydPro”]I’m purchasing/building a new workstation computer and was hoping to get some practical/real world input about hardware:

—) My opninion, FWIW.

Do steinberg products benefit at all from intel processors with more than 4 cores (8 threads)?

—) yes

Can cubase even take advantage of a 6 core (12 thread) or 8 core (16 thread) machine?

—) yes

Or is it plug-ins and soft instruments that would?

—) the plugins used should be able to handle multicore processing

Also, some of these machines can support 32, 64, and even 128GB of RAM. Would music production even come close to taking advantage of all that?

—) It depends on the overall balance of your setup. Oversized RAM configurations are only usefull when you need them. (i.e. you use a lot of sample players with gigabytes loaded in RAM)

What is a practical “more than enough” amount?

—) I think 16 gig is more then enough for 99% of the situations. But it really depends on what you want to load.
If you want very large setups with everything active, 16 gig is not enough. None of the systems i have being told of have more then 64 gig. There is a limit in how much memory a motherboard can handle and in most situations that is the limiting factor. And i think supercomputers like they do exist nowadays are overkill for a DAW-computer. :slight_smile:

I completely understand the idea of building more than you need in the hopes of longevity, and future compatibility/capability, but if I just plain don’t need it, and won’t need it in the foreseeable future, I wouldn’t mind spending some of this budget on gear.

—) just google around and look for pro-audio systems. Look what they offer, and this is most of the time configured for what musicians would need.

example: http://www.adkproaudio.com/choose2.asp
(with a horrible gramatical failure on their site for the moment (corre), but they are pro) :slight_smile:

—) there is also a method to use multiple computers in a network to spread the workload if you really want to go big.

example: http://www.viennaensemblepro.com/
(but there are other brands on the market too)

kind regards,
R.

I always build my own DAW Windows PC. This latest time, 3 years back now, I decided to invest in a rather expensive processor and got a 6 core extreme 3.33GHz Intel X980 i7 @ about £900. I always pay top dollar for the mobo, £150, and get top spec RAM (but only 6GB to keep cost down). My general theory is that if I buy top spec components then they work well and smoothly together for longer. After about 5 different self-build PCs, roughly one every 3-4 years, each one doubling the power (clock speed or cores), my systems are generally stable with plenty of power (for about 3 years). Cost of the last PC was about £1800.

The cost of my 6 core chip wasn’t economical it because it was well over double a 4 core version, but I do think it’s given me more power from this PC because I rarely get it over 50% ASIO usage (however, I do have 2 UAD quad cards, but then I’ve had these for more years than the current PC). Difficult to say whether the cost was justified, but on a purely personal level I still feel pleased that I have a powerful system.

As for memory, I still only have 6GB and I’ve not run out. I don’t use orchestral or sample VSTi’s much though so I don’t need lots of memory (except when running Photoshop at the same time as Cubase!). Generally I’m seeing 4GB used up under normal Cubase use. I would like to upgrade this but memory’s still quite expensive and besides I haven’t hit the limit yet…

Finally, I think that we may be coming to a plateau in terms of power needed by plugins. Over the years I’ve really needed to upgrade my PC because plugins have demanded more and more power with each iteration. But I haven’t noticed this so much over the life of this current PC. And barring a few plugins like tape emulations which definitely have got CPU heavy recently I can run as many plugins as I need for a large pro project still with plenty of ASIO headroom. Therefore I can’t really see myself needing more power in the near future, so perhaps this PC will last another 3 years…

Mike.

Cubase and most plugins now reliably use multicores very well. Having run both PC and Mac rigs now, the only big differences I’ve seen are hardware and software reliability over time.

If you want your 'puter to still be running reliably in 6-8 years, get a Mac Pro (but not the new one—that thing’s sketchy as hell right now).

If you want faster, lower-latency performance—but are OK with the risk of the OS completely falling apart, with a cooling fan that becomes louder than your vocalist after a year, get a Windows PC.

(Let the PC vs. Mac flames begin! LOL)

OK I’ll oblige.
My Intel 3.2 x6 Windows 7 computer has worked perfectly for 4 years. I can’t hear the cooling fan. A musical friend of mine has a MAC and always wrestles with upgrade the Mac OS. I say why not leave it, but he say a lot of the new software only works on the newer OS??? I don’t know whether this is true but there do seem to be a lot of complaints from people upgrading their OS.

A lot of this stuff rests upon preconceived notions about taste and perceived quality. This is partly because Apple has a one size fits all policy and this means that they go with what generally works and there is less room for customisation. Windows machines tend to be built in many different forms. Most people who have problems tend to have components that not very compatible. I learn’t my lesson with a Gigabyte Motherboard. Like anything it pays to do your research when building, or having a computer built for you.

A carefully specified Windows PC is the equal of a Mac Pro, just as reliable, potentially more powerful and a hell of a lot cheaper. The shape! I mean what were they thinking?

I am not saying that Mac are not great. I respect that many users love them. However many PC’s can rise to the same heights and can be in the right builders hands, more tailored to your own individual needsand as a result potentially more versatile.

+1. I don’t want a Mac/PC war. I built my own PC prior to owning the Mac and it worked great.
A PChas to be very carefully built though. My little dogs about the fan and OS getting bloated were in reference to, say, buying a Dell or HP off-the-shelf. It’s basically a dice-roll if you do that.

There is no war!
I totally agree with you about the careful build. The import thing is that you are happy with the performance of your machine and that it does what you want be it Mac or PC.

[emoji445]
PC and Mac / Side by side, on my piano keyboard / Oh Lord / Why don’t we? [emoji445]

How about an AMD/Intel “war”?

I use the former because of more advanced SSE instructions, hence less bugs overall.

I think the reason that you might have less bugs, if I remember rightly, is possibly that you have very few plugins installed in your system.

My processor supports AVX.
cpu.jpg
I don’t know about i7

Those CPU temps are incorrect BTW. There’s a program called “SpeedFan” as pointed out in another thread that gives more realistic system temperatures, as well as allowing arbitrary adjustment of fan speed.

Strange settings sycopant.
You are running at 1,4 GHz with a 3+ core ?

1.4Ghz is that high or low?

Build your own , keep it lean and you should have a super machine . Built mine 2 years ago I’ve only installed the essentials so there are no conflicts with drivers and ive had absolutely no issues with the Steinberg recommended Z77 chipset . :wink:

Your CPU is an unlocked Quad Core that has a standard core speed of 3,8 GHz, and with turbo 4,2.
For some reason the program indicates your multipliers are only set to 14 and thus the cores are running at 1,4Ghz.
That would mean you are using less then half of the available CPU-potential if the indications on that picture you posted are correct.
Did you change the multiplier settings ?

I use BIOS defaults, I don’t tend to mess with settings around overclocking.

My BIOS is the latest available (I am using a UEFI motherboard).

Are you saying that my CPU cycles are being limited somehow?

The system runs fine, I don’t experience any hard disk bottlenecks since I am using large disk clusters except when I am copying back to an old SATA drive so is this a setting in BIOS or is it a utility?

Thank you for pointing that out.