Mac Pro 6 vs 8 core, speed or core/cache better for musician?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by stormchaser977, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. stormchaser977, Dec 19, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013

    stormchaser977 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2013
    #1
    I am trying to decide which Mac Pro Configuration to go with. Which is better? Faster 6 core with less cache or Slower 8 core with more cache? Speed or cores more important? Price aside, I want to know which machine would be best for musicians?
     
  2. propower macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    #2
    First you need to read how the Turbo states work
    http://www.marco.org/2013/11/26/new-mac-pro-cpus

    If the CPU is kept cool enough by the new heatsink there will be very little difference in performance when loading 6 cores. If on the other hand you are using enough VI's and such that you will be loading 6 cores up to like 70% or more - the 8 core is the better choice.
     
  3. jivemaster macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2011
    #3
    This depends on your DAW stormchaser. What music applications are you running? Some music applications will use every core available, in which case the 8 would be the best. If however your applications only use a couple of cores, then the 6 would be a better choice as the extra cores in the 8 won't be utilised and you'd simply be spending money on an upgrade for no reason.
     
  4. stormchaser977 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2013
    #4
    Well I am trying to think of the near future because I am not sure which programs I will be using for music and recording yet. I have heard the sweet spot for musicians is 8 core, but I'm torn because I don't want to lose the speed.

    ----------

    Also, another thing I've heard to consider is the noise of the fans. Will more cores, create more noise or would it make it more quiet?
     
  5. aLfR3dd macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2007
    #5
    Clearly you want to go with 8 since applications such Logic X, Cubase etc. take advantage of multi cores especially on big projects
     
  6. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #6
    I wouldn't base my decision on cache size. 2 or 2.5GB of L3 per core is a significant amount by any measure... I suspect neither will cause much stress on the memory sub-system except in the most edge-case workloads.
     
  7. vladi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    #7
    That's one part of the equation.

    You will not be able to see the difference, actually I will go further and claim that faster CPUs with less cores will perform better than slower CPU with more cores.

    If you are recording a whole freakin band at the live event or orchestra then yeah you need more ... dedicated hardware such as Pro Tools recording tools.

    If you are mixing audio signals in your DAW check this out, stick to the quad core and get RAM. Remember that most of the plug-ins are not utilized to take advantage of a lot of cores anyway.

    Plug-ins are another part of the equation.
     
  8. vladi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    #8
    What are you trying to accomplish? Just record music, produce music, mix and master or all of it. Definitely we can help you out but you need to specify, just a bit :)

    Remember that upgrades you do in hardware can take a lot of from you in software. For a $500 upgrade that would take you from quad to hexa can get you either a Soundtoys bundle, Native Komplete bundle or Spectrasonics Omnispehere. Or another piece of hardware such as Akai Max49 midi controller.

    Be wise with your money.
     
  9. stormchaser977 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2013
    #9
    I wish I knew the specifics of what I am going to be doing. The main reason I am buying the Mac Pro is because I am a photographer, however I am also a singer/musician and I'm not sure how I will be utilizing recording/production stuff in the future. I mean, I have no idea if in the future, I am wanting to try to record, mix, master my own demos or if I'm just going to be recording. I honestly have no idea lol. I guess my thinking is, since I have to get the mac pro for my photography business, I might as well get the best one that I can that will help me with music too. Hopefully that helps a bit! :)
     
  10. propower, Dec 19, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013

    propower macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    #10
    Based on what I read from you I would suggest the Hex core. This is going to be an incredible music machine. I have been a ProTools user for 15 years and my Late 2013 imac i7 is running PT HD Native at 96kHz and the lowest buffer - a killer recording rig at less than 20% CPU usage (16 tracks). I can also switch to high buffer and run a truly stupid amount of plug ins, VI's and mastering tools (hundreds). I have yet to go over 30% CPU usage on anything I do. The Hex is on the order of 50% more powerful... And if the nMP isn't dead quiet (less than 18dBA) up to 50% load (or more I hope) I will be very disappointed.

    I was tempted to suggest the imac but have no problem saying the nMP Hex either. If you got the dough - why not. The 8 core is a waste (IMHO) unless you are already close to maxing out a quad or hex. Spend those $$$ on external drives, RAM, and software.

    And you still need to read the article about Turbo I posted for you. Until you LOAD that nMP up with a ton of plug ins and VI's (ie get those cores really working) there will be virtually no difference in speed between the 4,6 or 8 core -- or my imac for that matter :)...
     
  11. jivemaster macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2011
    #11
    If you're doing complex arrangements with a lot of plugins *and* your software supports as many cores as you can throw at it, then the 8 core would be beneficial. However, from what you've told us, you're only kinda starting out, so I would think the 6 core is plenty for you.
     
  12. stormchaser977 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2013
    #12
    Well that's the thing. I am planning on keeping this for many years and by that point, I won't be starting out so I want to make sure I get the best thing for the future since I am spending this much money anyway for photography. Is it more of a bang for your buck reason that you wouldn't recommend the 8 or is the 6 really better because of the speed? I mean, I guess I just want to know if cores or speed win out in the end for musicians/recording/etc.

    ----------

    pretend money is not an issue lol
     
  13. propower, Dec 19, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013

    propower macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    #13
    My last post....

    I stand by my Hex recommendation...

    You want a simple answer and there just isn't one -- try this paradox first...
    For realtime super low latency recording - speed trumps cores
    For mixing and plug in density - cores trumps speed.

    For lighter loads (like 20% across 6 cores - a huge session) there will be no difference in speed between the 6 and 8 core - likely the 4 core too... (you have to read the Turbo article)

    It will take virtually a Hollywood movie level production to saturate a Hex Core machine - hundreds of tracks - tons of I/O - hundreds of plug in ins and VI's. If you max that machine (Hex) out you would be doing such serious audio production (and making commensurate coin) that a 12 core would be warranted as well as likely a huge investment in I/O and processing.

    But there is an easy answer - spend as much as you can stand - get the most you can rightly afford today and you won't have to wonder if you should have gotten more...
     
  14. stormchaser977 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2013
    #14
    Thank you for explaining that further and yes I did read that article. Still deciding, but I appreciate everyone's input! :)
     
  15. cinealta macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    #15
    What are your specific needs? What software do you use? DAW only or virtual instruments & numerous plugins? Would a Mac Mini work?
     
  16. stormchaser977 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2013
    #16
    I honestly have no idea what software I will decide to use in the future. :/ As a singer, I may try to record and mix demos with all the instruments,etc. I just don't know enough about differences in the DAW or the Virtual Instruments to know what I need in that direction. I know for sure that a Mac Mini will not work since I need all the thunderbolt ports for my monitors, so just trying to decide between the 6 or 8 core Mac Pro. :)
     
  17. propower, Dec 19, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013

    propower macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    #17
    No worries. Glad to help!
    As a vocalist - you want super low latency - Speed!
    An 32G ram minimum- 64 even better and you will be able to load huge VIs to RAM and depending on software choice whole sessions to RAM.

    Now to do the nMP justice.. You will have to decide on the other super important pieces to make a real system-
    - TB hard drives (for recording and sample libraies)
    - Software - ProTools, Logic, MOTU and Cubase are good starts...
    - Audio Interface (look at Apollo, Symphony, Lynx Hilo and AVID HD Native to start - only TB ones I can think of).
    - Great vocal mic (FLEA 47)
    - Great Mic Pre (Aurora GTQ2)
    - Monitoring chain - speakers
    - Plug ins - VI's - etc...

    Hope you didn't think the computer would be the expensive part ... LOL...
    Best of luck - check Gearslutz and the Digi user group for thousands of relevant posts.
     
  18. cinealta macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    #18
    You've got good taste.
     
  19. propower, Dec 19, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013

    propower macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    #19
    Many thanks! I am in love with this chain on vocals :)
     
  20. cinealta macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    #20
    Vocal compressor of choice?
     
  21. propower, Dec 19, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013

    propower macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    #21
    Past the front end I am all ITB - though a single real vox comp has crossed my mind...

    ITB, Love the Softube Classic Channel. Sometimes add TLA comp and do two with low ratios... Love the Waves CLA and Vcomp but WAVES is not working at 96k/64 buffer (1.8ms latency) in PT11HD where I do all of my work (my baby HDx setting - LOL). Maybe PT11.1 and Maverick will fix this in a while but right now the Softube (and AVID) stuff is working and sounding great...
     
  22. stormchaser977 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2013
    #22
    CRAP! I never thought about latency on vocals. Now I am going the other direction and leaning toward the 6 core lol. But will the 6 be able to handle all the other tracks of a demo like guitar, background vocals, drums, bass, etc and mixing efficiently?
     
  23. DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    #23
    If you monitor through your audio interface's built-in near-zero latency digital mixer (which most interfaces have these days, and many have built-in reverb for "wet" monitoring while tracking) you won't have to worry about throughput latency. Regardless, if you operate your DAW with a small buffer (64/128) you will be fine regardless of which Mac you select.

    I am a pro doing heavy audio recording (tracking and mixing bands plus lots of sound for picture and production work involving multiple VI's) on a hex 3.33 4,1>5,1 and have yet to max out this machine, even with heavy VI use at buffer of 128. If you are doing straight audio work, there is no way you will able to overload a nMP hex, I don't care how many compressors, EQs, Altiverbs and FX you use. Only if you get into full VI orchestrations is there a chance you will need more Mac. But you will first need more storage (SSDs).

    In fact, based on your plans, I'd be willing to bet you would never even push the nMP base quad. Put the extra money toward a nice mic and mic pre and some great monitor speakers.
     
  24. stormchaser977 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2013
    #24
    Thank you for the input! It's good to hear from others that do great on a hex. I think what I am most worried about is in a few years if technology changes in the software or components, would I be better off with more cores and cache? It's hard to anticipate that stuff and I don't want to regret my decision whatever it is.
     
  25. pprior macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    #25
    This is a GREAT link and explained things to me perfectly. Thanks so much for posting it. I've been using computers since the 8086 days and I don't understand modern CPUs at all, really not since the 486 days….
     

Share This Page