High end i7 CPU vs. Dual Quad Core XEON

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
sweetjesus
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High end i7 CPU vs. Dual Quad Core XEON

Post by sweetjesus » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:51 am

Hello,

I'm curious if any of you have experience or can help me determine whether or not a dual Quad Core XEON will be a better option or a high end i7 machine with DDR3 RAM for using Live.

I use a hell of a lot of CPU nowdays and really need as much juice as possible for Live.

Any thought comments, or pictures of vermin would be appreciated.

Cheers
SJ

felipescalador12
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Re: High end i7 CPU vs. Dual Quad Core XEON

Post by felipescalador12 » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:03 am

the Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz will have all the power you need and beyond..

I run very heavy video editting aplication..
lots of VSTs
and ableton

And the price is very rasonable. That xeon is the same as the one in the mac pro?? right?? the intel i7 also cost a fraction of the other one

beats me
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Re: High end i7 CPU vs. Dual Quad Core XEON

Post by beats me » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:11 am

Not to go off sideways, but do you use a Receptor or any other DSP boxes?

adventurepants_
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Re: High end i7 CPU vs. Dual Quad Core XEON

Post by adventurepants_ » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:33 am

Luckily, benchmarks exist for CPUs.

This isnt directly related to DAW software, but will give you an indication of raw grunt.

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

But what he said up there is right, the i7 is king at the mo.
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sweetjesus
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Re: High end i7 CPU vs. Dual Quad Core XEON

Post by sweetjesus » Wed Aug 05, 2009 4:08 am

felipescalador12 wrote:the Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz will have all the power you need and beyond..

I run very heavy video editting aplication..
lots of VSTs
and ableton

And the price is very rasonable. That xeon is the same as the one in the mac pro?? right?? the intel i7 also cost a fraction of the other one

I should add, i currently run a Q6600 and I'm using up every bit of CPU available and need something that would provide substantially more juice.

The i7's may very well provide me with the juice i need, but my logic is.. with the dual quad xeons, i should get pretty much double the power i have now (which would indeed make me happy).

Am i dreaming?

sweetjesus
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Re: High end i7 CPU vs. Dual Quad Core XEON

Post by sweetjesus » Wed Aug 05, 2009 4:44 am

beats me wrote:Not to go off sideways, but do you use a Receptor or any other DSP boxes?

nope

all native plugins.

but 100% need more CPU these days. ive looked at DSP solutions, but the specific things which are raping my CPU are native plug-ins.

beats me
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Re: High end i7 CPU vs. Dual Quad Core XEON

Post by beats me » Wed Aug 05, 2009 5:02 am

sweetjesus wrote:
beats me wrote:Not to go off sideways, but do you use a Receptor or any other DSP boxes?

nope

all native plugins.

but 100% need more CPU these days. ive looked at DSP solutions, but the specific things which are raping my CPU are native plug-ins.

Cool (well not cool if you're having problems), just thought it might be some kind of weird immediate future proof solution. I guess the other problem with DSP solutions is they're not really "on the go" items if you want to be as mobile as possible, with the possible exception of the UAD express card stick.

What plugs are raping the cpu?

jasefos
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Re: High end i7 CPU vs. Dual Quad Core XEON

Post by jasefos » Wed Aug 05, 2009 5:30 am

sweetjesus wrote:Hello,

I'm curious if any of you have experience or can help me determine whether or not a dual Quad Core XEON will be a better option or a high end i7 machine with DDR3 RAM for using Live.

I use a hell of a lot of CPU nowdays and really need as much juice as possible for Live.

Any thought comments, or pictures of vermin would be appreciated.

Cheers
SJ

I too am finding my Q6600 running XP32bit is starting to get a little challenged with my current projects but this is most likely due to having so many beta versions of different things. When I first bought it I was absolutely blown away with it's performance and in general I still love the performance of the system (especially compared to the crap performance of my Mac Book Pro which truly blows) however, as with every computer I've had before, a year or 2 down the track I'm feeling it's CPU limitations. I'll keep running this system however as a "lock away" time capsule - the pinnacle 32bit OS DAW (allowing me to continue to open older projects regardless of what happens in the future).

I'm definitely looking forward to an i7 myself next year when they're even cheaper and will probably take the opportunity to head into Windows 7 with a 64bit install. Finally, with all the updates being released for my core instruments, 64bit is starting to look very promising. I don't like the chances of my Yamaha 01X + i88x audio interface rig making the transition to 64bit ... oh well ... time to get something better!
JaseFOS

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sweetjesus
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Re: High end i7 CPU vs. Dual Quad Core XEON

Post by sweetjesus » Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:05 am

beats me wrote:
sweetjesus wrote:
beats me wrote:Not to go off sideways, but do you use a Receptor or any other DSP boxes?

nope

all native plugins.

but 100% need more CPU these days. ive looked at DSP solutions, but the specific things which are raping my CPU are native plug-ins.

Cool (well not cool if you're having problems), just thought it might be some kind of weird immediate future proof solution. I guess the other problem with DSP solutions is they're not really "on the go" items if you want to be as mobile as possible, with the possible exception of the UAD express card stick.

What plugs are raping the cpu?
im using more of the dcam stuff and a lot of convolution based plugins, but moreso i am finding that i layer quite a lot of synthesis plugins these days to get the sounds i want and if you think about it.. several synths for each synth-type sound + all the bells and whistles on top .. starts to add up!

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Re: High end i7 CPU vs. Dual Quad Core XEON

Post by leedsquietman » Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:39 am

For a DAW build, there's a lot to be said for Xeons. i7's may produce more raw power, but Xeons have been powerful and are known in pro studios for their ability to be hit harder than Mike Tyson's punchbag for 14 hours a day for year after year with no problem.

i7's may well be a much better processor for gaming, but Xeons are built for servers and reliability - many guys on the Cubase forum swear they will pick a Xeon system over an i7 any day of the week. This is one of the reasons why the Mac Pro towers are built almost like a desktop server, with ECC server memory and dual Xeon processors - I guess a lot depends on HOW you are using the system and for HOW LONG per day, but most pro studio setups are still using double Xeon setups from what I can tell on many other forums and don't plan on changing.

If you want the best framerate on Halo 4 though go with an i7.

This is a quote from one studio owner at Cubase.net
The Xeon is not about speed (well it is, but that is only half the story). It is about being able to drive it like a mule for about ten times the life of an i7. That's why I ran Opterons in my DAWs a few years ago. The Opti 185...TRY to kill it. Once my fan failed and it was minutes before I noticed. The Opteron survived. Superior silicon. That is what server chips are about. Wink
If you are running a quad into the gorund, I think you need to think of workflow improvements or make use of things such as track freeze/flatten or render some stuff out. VSTis, especially sample heavy playback type ones, can be quite taxing even on a more powerful machine, and stuff like 'do I really need 7 instances of a convolution reverb ??' *can a less taxing algorithmic verb do for some, can you strip away 2 or 3 of those plugins etc*. I'm only running a Core2Duo laptop with L7 Suite and I can do a heck of a lot with it, and in Cubase 5, I can run several dozen audio tracks, group tracks, several sends and a few inserts and rarely have to freeze (offline processing is a better option, as it has a whole history which you can go back on and adjust settings etc).
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adventurepants_
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Re: High end i7 CPU vs. Dual Quad Core XEON

Post by adventurepants_ » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:19 pm

leedsquietman wrote:For a DAW build, there's a lot to be said for Xeons. i7's may produce more raw power, but Xeons have been powerful and are known in pro studios for their ability to be hit harder than Mike Tyson's punchbag for 14 hours a day for year after year with no problem.

i7's may well be a much better processor for gaming, but Xeons are built for servers and reliability - many guys on the Cubase forum swear they will pick a Xeon system over an i7 any day of the week. This is one of the reasons why the Mac Pro towers are built almost like a desktop server, with ECC server memory and dual Xeon processors - I guess a lot depends on HOW you are using the system and for HOW LONG per day, but most pro studio setups are still using double Xeon setups from what I can tell on many other forums and don't plan on changing.

If you want the best framerate on Halo 4 though go with an i7.

This is a quote from one studio owner at Cubase.net
The Xeon is not about speed (well it is, but that is only half the story). It is about being able to drive it like a mule for about ten times the life of an i7. That's why I ran Opterons in my DAWs a few years ago. The Opti 185...TRY to kill it. Once my fan failed and it was minutes before I noticed. The Opteron survived. Superior silicon. That is what server chips are about. Wink
If you are running a quad into the gorund, I think you need to think of workflow improvements or make use of things such as track freeze/flatten or render some stuff out. VSTis, especially sample heavy playback type ones, can be quite taxing even on a more powerful machine, and stuff like 'do I really need 7 instances of a convolution reverb ??' *can a less taxing algorithmic verb do for some, can you strip away 2 or 3 of those plugins etc*. I'm only running a Core2Duo laptop with L7 Suite and I can do a heck of a lot with it, and in Cubase 5, I can run several dozen audio tracks, group tracks, several sends and a few inserts and rarely have to freeze (offline processing is a better option, as it has a whole history which you can go back on and adjust settings etc).
id like to see benchmarks showing that xeons beat i7's doing the same DAW task. Im not aware of anything in the Xeons architecture that would lend it any benefit in a DAW over an i7.
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ekwipt
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Re: High end i7 CPU vs. Dual Quad Core XEON

Post by ekwipt » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:49 pm

A i7 will beat an Xeon if it's faster than the Xeon and the current processes need more grunt in processing power (ie effects) but once you move over a certain threshold of instances of tracks or samples an xeon wil win as there's more phisical cores to take on the processing. I think that's about right...

Ed J
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Re: High end i7 CPU vs. Dual Quad Core XEON

Post by Ed J » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:56 pm

ekwipt wrote:but once you move over a certain threshold of instances of tracks or samples an xeon wil win as there's more phisical cores to take on the processing.
In theory, but I doubt Live was completely multi-threaded for a 4-core machine.

The main problem with quadcores is that very few applications take advantage of their extra power, it's very hard to do most processing in parallel.
Some stuff, and some other stuff. Honest.
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beats me
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Re: High end i7 CPU vs. Dual Quad Core XEON

Post by beats me » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:57 pm

sweetjesus wrote:im using more of the dcam stuff and a lot of convolution based plugins, but moreso i am finding that i layer quite a lot of synthesis plugins these days to get the sounds i want and if you think about it.. several synths for each synth-type sound + all the bells and whistles on top .. starts to add up!
Makes sense, crazy how some of the even more minimal sounding stuff is actually a bunch of sounds stacked which would also explain why not everybody is just churning out hit after hit cause they can't get the sound dialed with just one synth.

Now back to people actually answering your question....

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Re: High end i7 CPU vs. Dual Quad Core XEON

Post by sweetjesus » Wed Aug 05, 2009 2:34 pm

Ed J wrote:
ekwipt wrote:but once you move over a certain threshold of instances of tracks or samples an xeon wil win as there's more phisical cores to take on the processing.
In theory, but I doubt Live was completely multi-threaded for a 4-core machine.

The main problem with quadcores is that very few applications take advantage of their extra power, it's very hard to do most processing in parallel.
i guess thats what it comes down to isnt it

from my understanding, Live is 100% multithread friendly. from what ive been advised, this is how it works:

in a quad core setup, this is how live assigns threads/resources:
track 1 = core 1
track 2 = core 2
track 3 = core 3
track 4 = core 4
track 5 = core 1
track 6 = core 2... so on and so forth..

if it truly works like this, id imagine a dual xeon providing more resources for Live to play with.

For an i7 to beat that kind of setup (in theory) it would have to have twice the power/performance of an equivelant speed XEON chip per core.

then theres the new xeons.. the 55xx series based on the same architecture as the i7's i.e. Nehalm or whatever its called.
I dont know if its truly the same as an i7, but yeah thats the kind of stuff im trying to get my head around.

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