CPU's: number of cores vs clock speed

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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sweetjesus
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CPU's: number of cores vs clock speed

Post by sweetjesus » Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:01 am

Hi everyone,

Just curious what other peoples thoughts and most importantly, experiences are on the topic of whether Live benefits more from additional cores or increased clock speed with fewer cores.

I use a lot of newer plugins which pretty much rape my i7 920 and bring it to its knees even with a fairly low track count (Slate VTM & VCC to name a couple) along with a lot of outboard gear using the External Audio Effect device which seems to have a huge impact on Live's performance.

Been looking at upgrading to either one of the 12 core Mac Pro's (dual xeon 2.4 Ghz) or a 3.33Ghz 6 core Xeon and not sure which path to go down.

What do you think?

fishmonkey
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Re: CPU's: number of cores vs clock speed

Post by fishmonkey » Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:14 am

it really depends on your usage and routing. sometimes you can improve your CPU utilisation by changing your routings.

the main thing to remember is that the processing requirements of a single track or continuous signal path are never split across multiple cores.

http://www.ableton.com/articles/high-cp ... e-machines

kitekrazy
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Re: CPU's: number of cores vs clock speed

Post by kitekrazy » Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:25 am

That amount of cores would only benefit for video. I think it's on the developer's end as far as whether their software would use a lot of cores.

toph
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Re: CPU's: number of cores vs clock speed

Post by toph » Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:53 am

Thanks for the link, fishmonkey. - Do you (or anybody else) know what that means for return-tracks? - If I'd have a project with 10 tracks, that are all routed through the same return-track containing a reverb for example. Would that result in all tracks being processed by one core because of the return track routing?

fishmonkey
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Re: CPU's: number of cores vs clock speed

Post by fishmonkey » Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:11 am

it's easy enough to test.

and when i test it, using a return track does not force all the sending tracks to be processed by a single core, they are still processed on different cores. each track is processed in parallel and then the combined audio is summed at the return.

sweetjesus
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Re: CPU's: number of cores vs clock speed

Post by sweetjesus » Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:20 am

the killer question for me is .. what core does the master channel get processed on and whether or not we can influence this in any shape or form

fishmonkey
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Re: CPU's: number of cores vs clock speed

Post by fishmonkey » Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:55 am

in my testing on my MacBook Pro, the master processing seems to always happen on the first core, and the first core seems to be shared with whatever the rightmost track in my set is, which sorta makes sense since someone from Ableton once said that the audio engine works by calculating samples left to right along the tracks.

this is all well and good, but i have no idea how the tracks get distributed when you have more tracks than cores available, which is usually the case...

3dot...
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Re: CPU's: number of cores vs clock speed

Post by 3dot... » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:21 am

order of time created would be a rational answer..
a track is probably assigned to a core when it's created
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sweetjesus
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Re: CPU's: number of cores vs clock speed

Post by sweetjesus » Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:21 pm

well, i bit the bullet and just picked up a 12 core Mac Pro, will report back on how Live performs as soon as I can.. although it may take a bit longer as I'm also migrating from Mac to pc!

3dot...
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Re: CPU's: number of cores vs clock speed

Post by 3dot... » Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:40 pm

that doesn't make any sense...
you bought a MAC and are migrating to PC ?
:lol:
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sweetjesus
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Re: CPU's: number of cores vs clock speed

Post by sweetjesus » Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:54 pm

3dot... wrote:that doesn't make any sense...
you bought a MAC and are migrating to PC ?
:lol:

haha .. that's my subconcious taking over and telling me WHAT THE FCK U DOIN!

I'm migrating from PC to mac :)

pencilrocket
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Re: CPU's: number of cores vs clock speed

Post by pencilrocket » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:02 pm

Well, you should have searched more carefully.
http://barefeats.com/sandy01.html
60% faster than apple toy.

http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench2/572555
*also, Win7 performs better than apple's operating system.

By the way, I'll reconemd you to take a look at this thread before investing multicore.
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=172654
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kitekrazy
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Re: CPU's: number of cores vs clock speed

Post by kitekrazy » Mon Jul 16, 2012 6:33 pm

pencilrocket wrote:Well, you should have searched more carefully.
http://barefeats.com/sandy01.html
60% faster than apple toy.

http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench2/572555
*also, Win7 performs better than apple's operating system.

By the way, I'll reconemd you to take a look at this thread before investing multicore.
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=172654
Looks like you are too late.

sweetjesus
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Re: CPU's: number of cores vs clock speed

Post by sweetjesus » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:34 am

kitekrazy wrote:
pencilrocket wrote:Well, you should have searched more carefully.
http://barefeats.com/sandy01.html
60% faster than apple toy.

http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench2/572555
*also, Win7 performs better than apple's operating system.

By the way, I'll reconemd you to take a look at this thread before investing multicore.
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=172654
Looks like you are too late.
I've always known Live has had a bit of shakey multicore support. (I've been an alpha and beta tester for ableton for many years) but as my work in the studio is becoming more and more mission critical, I'm left with no choice but to consider using other tools such as Logic for final mixdowns and taking things beyond the concept level, and for that scenario 12 cores will rock.

This actually stems back to Live 4 or 5 in 2007 or so when Hyperthreading was new, the way that Live would behave on CPU's with multi-threading was questionable and inconsistent. Until now, the solution has been to throw more processing power at the problem, but I've reached a point where I need to look at a more enterprise solution. It's not good enough to have a system that crackles and hits 80% CPU when on other DAW's a similar setup would barely tickle the processor.

Hopefully Live optimizes its code or introduces lookahead type functionality for situations where making live changes are not necessary such as using Live as a writing tool in a traditional DAW format in the studio and my cores will work more efficiently.

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