2019 i9 PC using twice as much CPU as five year old MacBook Pro i7?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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Krisser
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2019 i9 PC using twice as much CPU as five year old MacBook Pro i7?

Post by Krisser » Mon Dec 09, 2019 3:09 pm

I wonder if anyone can advise me if the following is indicative of a problem that can be solved with tinkering, or just the way it is and something I've got to take on the chin...

So I just bought a Windows 10 laptop - top end i9 9980hk hexacore, 32gb RAM, and when i run the Ableton 10 demo track the CPU if flying all over the place, starting at about 19% and peaking at up to 35%.

I tried the same track on my Mid 2014 Mackbook Pro 15 i7 quad core with 16gb RAM, and the CPU was stable around 15%! Sheesh...

I was using the same iConnect Audio interface with both computers, the PC using ASIO drivers and Mac Core Audio.

So what do you think - is this par for the course when it comes to Macs vs PCs in 2019? Are five year old Macs with significantly slower CPUs and less memory twice as powerful as top end Windows laptops? Surely not...
Last edited by Krisser on Mon Dec 09, 2019 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

garyboozy
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Re: 2019 i9 using twice as much CPU as five year old MacBook Pro i7?

Post by garyboozy » Mon Dec 09, 2019 3:23 pm

is the new laptop set to 'high performance' mode (power options i think)?

yur2die4
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Re: 2019 i9 using twice as much CPU as five year old MacBook Pro i7?

Post by yur2die4 » Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:04 pm

Power resources on Windows is often a big issue. You need to make sure that your CPU is set to be 100% available when you’re using Live. There is a power profile setting which allows you to change power profiles on Windows. If your CPU is set to conserve power, it’ll often times be conserving and when asked to do demanding tasks at the snap of a finger, you’ll really abruptly be expecting a lot of it. That instantaneous change requires a lot of work. But if the cpu is set to 100%, it’ll use more power on a regular basis but it’ll be ready to play ball.

Aside from that, a number of other factors can influence performance. Individual core speed might be lower, or your buffer settings might need a tweak. Make sure you are using ASIO drivers. Aside from that, when you first run Live after a fresh install it could spend some time indexing stuff. That takes resources too. So it’s good to let Live run a little without doing much until it seems like it’s no longer grinding away at that.

Krisser
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Re: 2019 i9 using twice as much CPU as five year old MacBook Pro i7?

Post by Krisser » Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:15 pm

Thanks for your replies. Unfortunately it’s plugged in and power is set to maximum. The laptop even has a turbo button - which I’ve tried on and off. So it’s not that. And it’s been on the computer and used for several days, so indexing isn’t the issue either.

I’ve tried the iconnect asio driver a well as asio4all - both result in similar crappy results.

I wonder what cpu readings other people are getting with the live 10 demo.als?

It’s zenbook pro duo by the way - in case that info helps. The cooling is pretty good - so throttling also seems unlikely.

jonljacobi
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Re: 2019 i9 using twice as much CPU as five year old MacBook Pro i7?

Post by jonljacobi » Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:28 pm

Could be the turbo boost kicking in and out. Check and see what else is running in the background as well. I have noticed the CPU load indicator runs higher in Windows (Boot camp) than in macOS.

Krisser
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Re: 2019 i9 using twice as much CPU as five year old MacBook Pro i7?

Post by Krisser » Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:35 pm

Yeh, could be the boost kicking in and out, but even when it’s ‘in’ it’s running at higher cpus than my five year old Mac. Damn - I so want to leave Mac behind, but every time I try - something seems to crop up that makes me think again...

pottering
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Re: 2019 i9 PC using twice as much CPU as five year old MacBook Pro i7?

Post by pottering » Mon Dec 09, 2019 6:50 pm

Are the sample-rate and buffer sizes the same too? They should be the same for a comparison.

Are you running other apps at the same time (especially on Windows), like a web browser? Nothing else should be running, only Live (on Windows there is a antivirus running by default) .

And Live's indexer can use can use extra CPU for a while until it scans everything new (in a new computer it will be everything you just installed). Maybe you should wait until the indexer "settles" before testing.

TLW
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Re: 2019 i9 PC using twice as much CPU as five year old MacBook Pro i7?

Post by TLW » Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:54 am

I would expect a fast i9 to be noticeably quicker than an i7, especially an i7 from several years ago.

Having said that, Macs (and Linux machines) generally seem to use fewer resources running the operating system than Windows PCs.

I kind of went the opposite way to you, my lat Windows PC/DAW decided to die from an unknown ailment and I spotted this refurbed Mid 20134 Retina MBP on Apples website for about the same price as building a complete PC would have cost me, thought "why not" and grabbed it. Theoretically it's much less powerful than the PC it replaced but I can't say I've seen much real world performance drop other than the lack of a dedicated graphics card and having to sort out Live 10's strangely heavy loading of the WindowServer.

Core Audio/MIDI is way easier to deal with than Windows, even if Apple dropped the ball badly on the initial release of Mojave and the T2 chips have also had USB audio related issues which required an OS update to fix as well. I don't know if it's still an issue, but switching off core parking made quite a difference to my Windows DAWs as did switching off most of the C sleep states in the BIOS.

If you've not already done it download and run latencymon.exe. It might reveal something that's causing a problem.
Live 10 Suite, 2014/15 MacBook Pro 15.3” Retina i7, OS Mojave 10.14.5. RME UFX, assorted synths, guitars and stuff.

Angstrom
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Re: 2019 i9 PC using twice as much CPU as five year old MacBook Pro i7?

Post by Angstrom » Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:13 am

There's something unusual with your setup.

My old 2013 era PC desktop playing the L10 Suite Demo hovers on 30%
it's an i7 2600k @ 3.4Ghz with 16Gb memory

I didn't try the L10 set on my laptop (also PC) it's nothing special, but it will be slightly better than that.

So, if you are getting worse figures than my mid-range 2013 PC, there is something horribly wrong.
I'd expect around 10% usage, not anything like 30%.

jlgrimes
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Re: 2019 i9 PC using twice as much CPU as five year old MacBook Pro i7?

Post by jlgrimes » Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:32 am

Krisser wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 3:09 pm
I wonder if anyone can advise me if the following is indicative of a problem that can be solved with tinkering, or just the way it is and something I've got to take on the chin...

So I just bought a Windows 10 laptop - top end i9 9980hk hexacore, 32gb RAM, and when i run the Ableton 10 demo track the CPU if flying all over the place, starting at about 19% and peaking at up to 35%.

I tried the same track on my Mid 2014 Mackbook Pro 15 i7 quad core with 16gb RAM, and the CPU was stable around 15%! Sheesh...

I was using the same iConnect Audio interface with both computers, the PC using ASIO drivers and Mac Core Audio.

So what do you think - is this par for the course when it comes to Macs vs PCs in 2019? Are five year old Macs with significantly slower CPUs and less memory twice as powerful as top end Windows laptops? Surely not...
I9s are not always better than i7s especially when it comes to DAW performance.

Single Core performance is a big factor with DAWS, as DAWS usually have to run at low agencies compared to other applications.

Probably more than 4-6 cores can be overkill for DAWS and I heard of a few people getting very high core machines and being disappointed.


Focusrite has a good article on tweaking Windows 10. The power plan is the biggest tweak though but making sure you have updated drivers mainly for your interface and video card can help too.


Might want to also disable wifi and antivirus to see if that helps.

siehorst
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Re: 2019 i9 PC using twice as much CPU as five year old MacBook Pro i7?

Post by siehorst » Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:40 pm

Hi,
the Ableton 10 demo track
can you please specify which one? There are several in my setup.
horst

Krisser
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Re: 2019 i9 PC using twice as much CPU as five year old MacBook Pro i7?

Post by Krisser » Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:02 pm

It's the track that loads up first time you launch Ableton 10 Suite - don't know if it's also part of Standard.

It's simply called Demo.als.

Krisser
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Re: 2019 i9 PC using twice as much CPU as five year old MacBook Pro i7?

Post by Krisser » Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:08 pm

jlgrimes wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:32 am
Krisser wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 3:09 pm
I wonder if anyone can advise me if the following is indicative of a problem that can be solved with tinkering, or just the way it is and something I've got to take on the chin...

So I just bought a Windows 10 laptop - top end i9 9980hk hexacore, 32gb RAM, and when i run the Ableton 10 demo track the CPU if flying all over the place, starting at about 19% and peaking at up to 35%.

I tried the same track on my Mid 2014 Mackbook Pro 15 i7 quad core with 16gb RAM, and the CPU was stable around 15%! Sheesh...

I was using the same iConnect Audio interface with both computers, the PC using ASIO drivers and Mac Core Audio.

So what do you think - is this par for the course when it comes to Macs vs PCs in 2019? Are five year old Macs with significantly slower CPUs and less memory twice as powerful as top end Windows laptops? Surely not...
I9s are not always better than i7s especially when it comes to DAW performance.

Single Core performance is a big factor with DAWS, as DAWS usually have to run at low agencies compared to other applications.

Probably more than 4-6 cores can be overkill for DAWS and I heard of a few people getting very high core machines and being disappointed.


Focusrite has a good article on tweaking Windows 10. The power plan is the biggest tweak though but making sure you have updated drivers mainly for your interface and video card can help too.


Might want to also disable wifi and antivirus to see if that helps.
I tried turning off Wifi after latencymon showed potential issue with it. Didn't help. There's no additional antivirus software other than Windows Defender running on it. I'm not going to mess around turning that off - I'm going to be running Ableton for hours every day, and don't want to leave myself totally exposed.

Incidentally, I ran Cinebench R20 on it, just to check the CPU is running as it should be - got a pretty fantastic result from that, basically three times faster at rendering than my mac. So that pretty much rules out any issues with thermal throttling.

Just to make things even more difficult to understand, I tried it out with a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 using supplied drivers and ASIO4ALL and again, the 2014 Mac i 7 quad core smoked my 2019 i9 pc. It's getting really frustrating.

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