X99 / Intel i7 5960 - Upgrade Complete

Upgraded to the new X99 platform this weekend with an Intel i7 5960x 8-core CPU and 16gb of Corsair Vengeance 2666 DDR4 running on an Asus X99 Deluxe mobo. The machine is humming along (OC’s) at 4.44GHZ and Cubase is stable and happy. No issues. Overall CPU performance is 35.5 ghz.

I can double the load of just about everything VST-wise (having upgraded from an Intel i7 2600k), at least in terms of what Windows performance monitor has to say. What is less satisfying is that ASIO performance, while moderately better, is not twice as good as it was notwithstanding the huge increase in CPU and memory bandwidth. This is a mystery to me but as folks have said before, ASIO and CPU performance don’t have a direct correlation. This could be related to the Lynx AES16e ASIO driver but who knows.

Anyhow, no negatives to speak of. Nice and stable.

I can see how going from 2600k (2011 vintage, IIRC) to 5960x can make everything substantially speedier. But as attractive as the 5960x/x99 combo looks like, I don’t think I’d see noticeable gains upgrading from my 4770k to justify the investment. I guess I’ll have to wait for the next i7 generation…

Yeah, makes sense. I’d wait if I were in your position.

So did you actually manage to load double as much VSTs?

I am in the same boat here, since I want to upgrade to 5960x in the next weeks from an i7 940. Going by the RCX DAW Benchmarks I was expecting at least a 100% performance gain.

Sounds like a great machine, good choice of mobo, I have never had trouble with them.

I use an old i7 and this is good here, well it was the first machine that could actually run Cubase - I had at least 8 machines before that never quite managed, since sx3.

Maybe I don’t need to upgrade, but then maybe I will just because I can


Here’s what I have seen so far. CPU utilization is basically 50% of what it was using my core set of VSTs - Halion, SSD, RND comp and eq, Lex verbs and Guitar Rig 5. Basically a 100% improvement.

ASIO performance, on the other hand, has only improved by about 50%. But there’s the really weird part. The ASIO performance meter tolerates a higher number of plugins before maxing out even though when only three or four VST instances are in place the ASIO meter shows pretty-much the same as it did on my old rig. In other words, the rate of ASIO load increase seems to decrease with each additional plugin.

I expected to see a linear curve in ASIO performance but it turns out to be more of a log curve. No idea why this might be.

Still early days though and these tests are by no means exhaustive. I’ll post back as things develop.

Yeah, I upgraded for the same reason. Seemed like the right time - old machine was a little long in the tooth even though things were running well. I also wanted to get off of Windows 7 as if the future is anything like the past, MS will make it harder and harder to skip OS generations when migrating and I’m hoping there will be a relatively painless upgrade path from Windows 8.1 to Windows 9.

really interesting cause i have i7 2600k a fireface 800 on win7, and plan to upgrade to i7 5960x cause i have a project when my vst perfomance is full but on windows cpu meter i only 50% (quite 50% on each core)…so to you if upgrade to i7 5960x i ll be able to double the number of plugin of this project?

or it only use less cpu…which it s not really the same thing with this damn asio…how much pourcent more of plugin can you use please?
regards (sorry for my poor english …)

I have found that (generally) I get much better performance from the 5960 as long as it is running around 4.5 ghz and memory is running around 3 ghz which, for me has been fairly stable OC profile. I can get ~ 250 plugins running on the rig as along as asio guard is enabled. What fouls thing up is even one instance of a huge, single-threaded CPU hog like Ozone 5 running in IIRC3 mode. Ozone can eat half a 5960 logical CPU (one CPU thread). When that happens and, in conjunction with whatever else has been allocated to that thread by Cubase, I can go over the top. So it comes down to how much each plug consumes and whether the plugin itself uses multi-processing (unlike Ozone which does not appear to multi-thread). All in all the 5960 is highly recommended - Oh, and get the fastest memory you can afford. I have found this makes a big difference.

I also completed my DAW build and I am glad I went with a professional builder, since I read in other forums that many people have problems with certain motherboards and audio performance.

I’ve got no problems so far and everything runs like a charm, finally no dropouts with my MR816csx anymore and the pc runs so quietly, it is a joy making music again.

My 5960X CPU is not overclocked, but I am still satisfied with the ASIO performance under Cubase 8 compared to my old computer.

I hope performance improvements in Cubase only get better.

Just curious… Why do you not OC? Is it a stability/longevity issue? Thermals? Other?

thanks cpechet1 last question you said around 250 plugin now at which rate 44100 or 88200 , can you give me an average pourcent of benefit from i7-2600k to i7 5960x plz…(don’t know if your previous i7 2600l was overclocked mine is stable at 4.7ghz and 2133 mhz for the memory , i am able to run about 172 vst fx waves,fabfilter,ni and softube in 88200/32bits)
for every day use it’s quite sufficient but on some projet (shit in -> shit out) i need too much power…i was just afraid that an 4.4 oc from i7 -5960x vs 4.7 on i7 2600 wasn’t enough even if there are 4 cores more…thx very much regards

Hi ardier… Overall I would say the improvement is ~ 50-70%. The 4,7 clock speed you are getting is great for those plugs that hog an entire CPU thread (like ozone) so that’s a good thing. Where multiprocessing is well-implemented I find the 5960 is better overall… Oh… my benchmark was 44.1 32 bit using 80 channels each comprised of minimonsta, RND comp and Lex Hall. Also, this test was conducted without ASIO guard. I should re-run the test using ASIO guard and check the results.

thank you ! i m curious to see if asio guard will improve your perfs…as far as i m concerned moving from cubase 7 to cubase 8 didn t improve anything in asio load…but asio guard helped me to have better perfomanxe …what do you think of cluster of server like dell c6100 (48 cores@2.5ghz no turbo) could it be a good slave?

Great question… From time to time I have considered a Xeon solution but have never pulled the trigger. I use lots of different Dell Xeon-based servers in my work and am impressed with their performance in the context of their various roles (database servers/web servers etc) but I don’t really know what to expect in terms of near real-time DSP. Also (and I know this is stupid and trivial but…) they are really loud and I don’t have a machine room for something like that. I would be curious to know what other people’s experiences are using this sort of platform.

With Xeons not allowing overclocking, you need to specify the system to be able to handle the worst case project you will be likely to run.

In contrast, with consumer i7 CPUs, having the potential to overclock means that the system only needs to be specified to cover most of your likely projects, using overclock to get that extra when required.

Of course, if you max out your i7 GHz with OC permanently, you have hit your hard limit, becoming like a Xeon. At least an OC-maxed i7 will probably trounce a Xeon, GHz-wise.

For sure… But aside from fixed-clocking I do not understand the hardware architecture sufficiently to determine the effects on real-time DSP. Also, I’m not even sure if the server BSP provides the requisite drivers for consumer OSs (I have never run a worktstation OS on a server). Can you provide insight?

The reason i don’t overclock is because the pro builder didn’t suggest it because of stability and heat and I would loose the warranty. plus it is so super quiet right now, i don’t know if i could keep it that way overclocking.

You don’t have to run a server OS on a server mb. Server OSs usually have a greater number of system management services and utilities than workstation/consumer OSs, so you would probably not want them running on a DAW anyway.

My Asus P9-x79-E WS is a workstation mb that uses a 2011 Intel socket and allows either consumer or Xeon CPUs. I chose the i7-4930x CPU because of the reasons I stated in my last post. I believe the 2011-3 mbs may also allow either stream of CPU.

Consumer Windows runs both Server and Workstation (network client) services simultaneously.