How much processing power do I need

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supermel74
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How much processing power do I need

Post by supermel74 » Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:56 am

Getting a new pc, not specifically for music but I'd like to be able to run soft synths, sequencers and recording software smoothly. Is a 3.2ghz dual core processor going to be enough to handle the workload? A 3ghz quad core is also an option but would raise the price a bit.

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Re: How much processing power do I need

Post by Ashe37 » Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:40 am

You'd be better off with a slower-clocked quad core then a faster dual core.

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Re: How much processing power do I need

Post by loungedumore » Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:37 am

New machine for music production

More cores the better . Anything over 2 ghz in a quad will be pretty damn decent .

Get as many hard drives as you can afford : one for system and apps one to record to , maybe one for sample libraries too as they keep getting ungodly huge . Make sure to have one big enough for backing up your songs and sample libraries too . BACK UP / BACK UP / BACK UP ! If you have to go with external HD's for recording go with firewire 400 or 800 . USB2 is faster , but lacks the band with to stream the kind of data a heavy mix demands and is another burden on your cpu .

As much ram as you can afford - This will help your recording application - audio track count , sampled instruments etc.

Get an ASIO Driver based sound card - Get it from a music shop or online music shop AVOID computer store sound cards

These things all in mind should get you a solid DAW
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Re: How much processing power do I need

Post by cartesia » Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:15 am

The system you choose won't stop you from using any plugin/music software, it will just determine how many plugins/tracks you can run simultaneously.. I use a dual 2.16ghz c2d still and it's fine as long as I dont stack up a bunch of the really ridiculous mastering plugins on top of all the instruments/effects..

running the DAW itself and doing audio recording are not going to be an issue with any new processor.. If you plan on doing alot of recording and audio work the interface and your hard drive(s) will be important

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Re: How much processing power do I need

Post by steveman » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:05 pm

Ashe37 wrote:You'd be better off with a slower-clocked quad core then a faster dual core.
All the tests I've seen suggest clock frequency is the bgger determinant of speed. There's VERY little software that uses multiple cores efficiently.
Now that of course will hopefully change, but right now...

Depending on what softsynths you're planning on running a 3.2Ghz dual core shouldn't have any issues.

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Re: How much processing power do I need

Post by supermel74 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:48 pm

Yeah, I think quad core would be unnecessary and probably overkill for my fairly basic needs. Thanks for the replies guys.

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Re: How much processing power do I need

Post by Ashe37 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 2:22 am

steveman wrote:
Ashe37 wrote:You'd be better off with a slower-clocked quad core then a faster dual core.
All the tests I've seen suggest clock frequency is the bigger determinant of speed. There's VERY little software that uses multiple cores efficiently.
Now that of course will hopefully change, but right now...

Depending on what softsynths you're planning on running a 3.2Ghz dual core shouldn't have any issues.
I totally disagree. It partly depends on your VST host, but I was able in testing a Xeon 3520 (Same speed/cores/memory speed as a Core i7 920) machine to run it up to 85% CPU usage (cumulative, across all cores) on the Tom's Score test. Sure, each 'instrument' was layered and detuned against each other to give a fuller 'ensemble' sound and sure, the VSTs were chosen to be a: without licensing issues and b: heavy on the CPU, but it was threading quite nicely across the four cores that were in the machine. In the same testing, DAWBench shows significant increase by number of cores- including a 71% increase from turning hyperthreading on. The DAWBench tests got as high as 95% CPU usage (once again, across all cores) before the audio started breaking up.

On my personal systems and in my personal work I see VSTs propagating across multiple cores quite quickly. I have two 2.66 GHz machines here, of the same CPU generation- one Core2Duo, and one Core2Quad- and the quad core gets about 75% more performance, so I can keep a significant portion more of the tracks interactive instead of mixing them down to audio tracks.

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Re: How much processing power do I need

Post by meatballfulton » Fri Oct 01, 2010 2:56 am

Get plenty of RAM. Upping my old and slow XP laptop from 512MB to 2GB made a huge difference in performance.
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Re: How much processing power do I need

Post by druzz » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:04 pm

steveman wrote:
Ashe37 wrote:You'd be better off with a slower-clocked quad core then a faster dual core.
All the tests I've seen suggest clock frequency is the bgger determinant of speed. There's VERY little software that uses multiple cores efficiently.
Now that of course will hopefully change, but right now...

Depending on what softsynths you're planning on running a 3.2Ghz dual core shouldn't have any issues.
most modern DAWs take advantage of the multiple cores , (studio one , cubase, reaper ... even fl studio 9 i think).

having a modern operating system will also help getting the best of your modern hardware .

@supermel
the multiple cores split the job so when youre running many high resolution pluggins it can defenitly help the stability of the system and avoid cumulative peaks. specially if you use VST synths ( i dont use any at the moment but seems like the best ones also demand a fair amount of cpu ) and then if you re the kind of guy who wants an EQ on each track , dynamic processing here and there , some reverb and other effects ... do you like glitches ?? if its not critical for you to get the most reliable and unrestictive system then its an other storie!! dual core processors are very powerful and thats what you get in most 1500$ macs these days if i'm up to dates (wich is not certain)


if you plan on running a web browser , a firewall , and other c**p at the same time as your music application i think the multi cores helps further


any way i'm far from being a computer genius but i was in a similar situation with similar questionning six months ago

what DAW do you plan on using with wich pluggins ?? the answer to that should gide you in the rigth direction with a little reasearch

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Re: How much processing power do I need

Post by Ashe37 » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:56 pm

druzz wrote:
most modern DAWs take advantage of the multiple cores , (studio one , cubase, reaper ... even fl studio 9 i think).

Logic multithreads as well, and so does Pro Tools 8 (added to pro tools somewhere around 7.5)

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