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Quad core or Hex core? Single proc or dual? GT's/s question


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#1 markba633csi

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Posted 24 March 2016 - 11:49 AM

I want to get a decent computer for a home Digital Audio Workstation using the excellent LMMS workstation software. When comparing Xeon processors I see several quad and hex units listed as 6.4 Gigatransfers/sec even at different clock frequencies. How to choose? Will a hex core always outperform a quad if all other factors being the same? Or does it really depend on the software being used?  I realize a large memory bank and 64 bit OS would be esssential if I wanted to use several plug-ins, especially filters which I understand are very CPU intensive. Thanks

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#2 ScathEnfys

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Posted 24 March 2016 - 12:17 PM

Number of cores is useless unless the software is written to utilize them. May I ask why you are specifically looking at Xeons? the core-i series should perform just as well unless you need ECC RAM or something of that nature.

While I have no knowlege of audio editing software, I would not expect it to need dual processors. It's usually more cost effective to go with a more powerful single processor than a pair of weaker processors.
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#3 markba633csi

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Posted 24 March 2016 - 12:57 PM

I was liking the older Dell precisions (t3400, 3500) as they look like a lot of bang for buck and are fairly quiet; they use Xeons for the most part. Point taken about dual processors, possibly overkill for this particular software. Isn't the amount of cache memory important too- more=better?

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#4 ScathEnfys

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Posted 24 March 2016 - 01:36 PM

In theory, yes. In practice there are a lot of variables that go into CPU performance. here is a wikipedia article if you want to know more about caches. I honestly would recommend looking at benchmarks of similar processors.
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#5 jonuk76

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Posted 24 March 2016 - 05:13 PM

I have used LMMS in the past, and found it doesn't really need huge amounts of memory or processing power.  I found it crashed a lot though (Windows version).  It depends on the complexity of your projects I guess.

 

I suspect the Gigatransfers/sec you quote are referring to the speed of the QPI - basically the link between the processor and the chipset.


Edited by jonuk76, 24 March 2016 - 05:41 PM.

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#6 markba633csi

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Posted 24 March 2016 - 08:12 PM

Thanks Scath for the cache info- wow lots of tradeoffs- I must cogitate on this.

Jon I haven't crashed it yet but I haven't really pushed it hard either.  I read that some of the formant filters can

bring even modern hardware to its knees;  the program supposedly benefits from multi-core processors, but I haven't found any

real definitive guide on choosing a suitable computer platform- anything would beat the pentium 4 dinosaurs I have now LOL

Mark S.



#7 jonuk76

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 12:01 AM

I'm not an expert on DAW's either (it's quite a recent interest for me :) ), but yes some effects and synths can be processor intensive, especially if using a lot of them at the same time.  Most DAW's (I'm not sure about LMMs) allow you to "freeze" individual tracks to disk which lightens the load on the processor.  Say for example you have a MIDI track with a really CPU heavy synth plugin and maybe some further effects running on it.  Freezing converts it temporarily to a simple audio file which needs minimal CPU to play back.  Of course you have to unfreeze it if you want to make further changes to that track.

 

The LMMS crashes, were usually either when I loaded a VST plugin it didn't like, but also simple things like importing a MIDI file sometimes broke it.  Again, this was a Windows version, I'm not sure if the Linux version does the same.  I currently use Tracktion, Ableton Live Lite and Cubase.


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#8 markba633csi

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 01:00 PM

Jon was that a 32 or 64 bit OS version you were using?  Thanks for the freezing tip BTW

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#9 MadmanRB

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 05:32 PM

I learned the hard way that more cores doesnt make a better processor.

Sure you may get more processing power in certain areas such as video rendering but not in terms of gaming and the like


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#10 jonuk76

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 11:40 PM

Jon was that a 32 or 64 bit OS version you were using?  Thanks for the freezing tip BTW

Mark S.

 

Using 64 bit Windows, but 32 bit LMMS (and plugins).  There are more plugins in the 32 bit format, particularly free ones!  I didn't know it at the time, but the x64 version of LMMS has a 32 bit "bridge" to allow it to work with 32 bit plugins, however these bridges are really a last resort, as they tend to be unstable. In general, if you use 32 bit VST's use a 32 bit DAW or vice versa.

 

I've read the crashes on importing MIDI files is a known issue, which is supposed to be improved in the next release.


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