XEON vs. I7 for Ableton?

Discussion of anything not related to audio or music production
Timbeaux
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XEON vs. I7 for Ableton?

Post by Timbeaux » Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:24 pm

Hey there,

i have some money in my bag and thinking about buying a new computer. Will a Intel Xeon be better to do that job then an i7 in ableton/music production?

for example, if i would compare an Intel Xeon E5-2658 v2 @ 2.40GH with a Intel Core i7-4930K @ 3.40GH (they have nearly the same benchmarks: http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html.

Are there any benefits for one of them against the other?

May someone have some experience with that question.

H20nly
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Re: XEON vs. I7 for Ableton?

Post by H20nly » Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:48 pm

if it were me... i'd go with the i7.
here's why

Xeon are typically used in servers... it's not a server, it's a DAW.
i7 are typically used in DAWs, many happy customers right here on this website.

the performance of the Xeon is enhanced by a huge cache and such, but let's face it... all that is doing is bringing it in line with an i7 that already has a much higher clock speed.

and last, but certainly not least... is the price man. seriously?

i7, 64 bit environment, 12+ GB of RAM... forget about it.

if Live can't work in that environment then something is all wrong... there is a plugin problem or a poor computer management problem... or something going on that is hogging all the fucking resources in an out of control way.

use the 1000 dollars you save toward a bad ass interface or a beefy pre-amp if you use mics.

/my .02

Timbeaux
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Re: XEON vs. I7 for Ableton?

Post by Timbeaux » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:21 pm

thx 4 ur opinion.

but i dont use hardware (except controllers) i have had a few synthesizer but i sold them, cause i can make much more in a virtual surrounding. also i dont need to record more then one input. So I just use many vst's and track lanes.

I already have a I7-2600K 64 bit with 12gb ram, but i often need to bounce to get the performance i need.

So will there be no benefit at all? Is there some more technical explanation behind ur statement or a link where i can read (cause i cant find some newer daw benchmarks?

Khazul
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Re: XEON vs. I7 for Ableton?

Post by Khazul » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:56 pm

The reason to go with a Xeon system is if you want to set up a dual or quad xeon system. For single chip, then may as well just go with an i7. Also I think the 12 core Xeon have a dual memory controller setup should might help performance but they are ridiculously expensive.

Of course a dual E5-12 core system would be insane :)
Nothing to see here - move along!

H20nly
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Re: XEON vs. I7 for Ableton?

Post by H20nly » Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:16 pm

Timbeaux wrote:So will there be no benefit at all? Is there some more technical explanation behind ur statement or a link where i can read (cause i cant find some newer daw benchmarks?
i think your benefit will be negligible on a lower clock speed per core chip (Xeon). the Xeon is meant for multitasking, that's why it's typically a server chip. don't think of this in terms of running a couple more VSTs and jBridge. think of this in terms of running a massive database while simultaneously managing the traffic to and from 600 users performing the data entry,
a Domain Controller managing 300 Active Directory users and 350 computers,
a DNS server translating thousands of URLs or computer names into destination IP addresses....
or more likely still... think of it as a VM-Ware server... that has virtualized versions of the all the servers used to perform the tasks i just mentioned (except the Domain Controller, you don't virtualize those)
throw in a File & Print server with 150 installed printers and 50 shared folders and couple of terminal servers all to be managed on this 12 core Xeon.
that's where this chip shines... when it acts as the (2.4 Ghz) processor for multiple servers.

i think you will be disappointed with the cost vs. performance return on investment. i also believe Live will benefit more from a faster single core speed of 3.6 Ghz vs. 2.4

i really do believe you will get more benefit by upgrading from 12 GB of RAM to 16 or 20... and if you're building a new box, then grab the new i7 you mentioned and take the performance boost from it... 3.6 Ghz per core x 6 mang... that's fucking 8)

Khazul
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Re: XEON vs. I7 for Ableton?

Post by Khazul » Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:02 pm

H20nly wrote:i think you will be disappointed with the cost vs. performance return on investment. i also believe Live will benefit more from a faster single core speed of 3.6 Ghz vs. 2.4
With live that's probably still true as it used to only split threads dumb round-robin between tracks and would still bottle neck if there was heavy load on one track. I don't suppose that has actually changed.
Nothing to see here - move along!

H20nly
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Re: XEON vs. I7 for Ableton?

Post by H20nly » Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:11 pm

^ doubtful...

i wonder if the Abes would give an opinion on the matter if a request was sent to support@ableton.com :?: :?:

tecgen
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Re: XEON vs. I7 for Ableton?

Post by tecgen » Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:17 am

Timbeaux wrote: I already have a I7-2600K 64 bit with 12gb ram, but i often need to bounce to get the performance i need.
At which clock speed you are running your current i7-2600K ? Only at stock speed of 3.4Ghz? I could simply overclock my 2700k to fixed speed at 4.2Ghz no matter how much core are used at the same time. Maybe this would give you the extra performance you need.

Best regards,
Marco

Timbeaux
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Re: XEON vs. I7 for Ableton?

Post by Timbeaux » Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:06 pm

yes at stock speed. many people like to overclock their systems, but iam not one of them. but thanks for the advice :).

btw, iam not just want to improve performance, also my tower is way to loud atm.

H20nly
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Re: XEON vs. I7 for Ableton?

Post by H20nly » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:46 am

Heat pipes will solve that... And/or bigger fans.

jestermgee
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Re: XEON vs. I7 for Ableton?

Post by jestermgee » Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:57 pm

H20nly wrote:Heat pipes will solve that... And/or bigger fans.
Yep.

The loudest fan in your tower will be your CPU fan. Stock fans are not only terrible at cooling but fast and loud (cheap!!).

For a new tower if you are doing a self build, plan the thing out:

- Big oversized tower (if you have space) such as one of the large Coolmasters. That allows plenty of space inside for heat and air to move through and to work on for upgrades.
- After market CPU cooler. Water coolers are nice but even just a good heat pipe design such as the Noctua coolers are a good bet.
- Look for a large diameter slow RPM intake and exhaust fan. Some good cases will come fitted with these and they basically don't make a sound. They have big blades with a deep pitch but spin at a low RPM.

In terms of performance for the machine. As H20nly said originally, I have not come across anyones specs here (or most places) that are using Xeon processsors. On paper they may seem like a good bet but their mathematical processing and cache arrangements may be tailored to massive amounts of separate number crunchin. It may not handle the demands of a realtime audio application in the same way.

A top of the line i7 processor and some slight tweaking to overclock is a better option. It's pretty easy to overclock a CPU these days and it can get a lot of extra number crunching power out of it. My machine is an older i7 920 2.8Mhz overclocked to 3.9 and has been solid with many tracks of VST (Omnisphere, Trilian, Native Instruments etc etc) and I have rarely needed to bounce tracks.

One last recommendation if you need the most out your machine. Keep a tidy ship:
- Don't install games
- Don't install most general programs
- Uninstall all the stuff you don't need
- Research on disabling or removing un-needed services
- Make an image of your OS when all your main software and VSTs are installed.
- try and roll back to your "clean backup" every 12 months or so and just do some updates. Helps cl;ean things out a bit.

My next machine will be whatever is the top i7 CPU with at least 32G ram and a couple of SSD drives. Budget will be set at about $2000 for the tower and hardware but I need to set aside that coin first so will be a few months to watch the markets.

Machinesworking
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Re: XEON vs. I7 for Ableton?

Post by Machinesworking » Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:11 pm

I will say this, Live runs just as well if not better on my 2009 8 core 2.66 Xeon Mac Pro as is does on my 2013 four core 2.7 i7 macbook Pro.

Though if I was to build a PC I would go with 8+ core something, i7 or Xeon. Typically DAWs assign a single core to a single track, so if you're using lower tracks counts with heavy VSTs it will matter. I don't know for sure, but my assumption would be that a 4 core 3+Ghz machine in a lot of applications musically would be less productive than an 8 core 2.3ghz machine. Again things like loading VSTs on the Master track for mastering etc. would probably be a bigger issue for the 2.3 VS the 3+ though.

Also larger caches typically mean more VSTs, that was brutally apparent when I upgraded from a 667mhz laptop with almost no cache to a 800mhz one with a huge level 3 cache. The 800 was easily twice as powerful.

Hyperconfidence
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Re: XEON vs. I7 for Ableton?

Post by Hyperconfidence » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:59 am

Hi Guys,
A new version of same question.

DELL Precision 5520 32GBRAM with Xeon E3-1505MV6 with Discrete ( I think this means internal video card as some Xeons don't)

or

DELL XPS 15 32GRRAM 7th gen i7 (cheaper by about $1K)

or

Macbook Pro 15 16GBRAM 7th gen i7 same as XPS (same price as DELL Precision with much less RAM)

Mostly trying to figure if the DELL Precision with Xeon is worth it. Mr DELL thinks it's a rocket and waaaaay better than other two, plus it's a certified machine so has 3 year warranty.

What would you buy? Will there be much difference in performance between these using ABLETON with lots of plug-ins etc?

Thanks in advance
DELL Precision 5520 32GBRAM 7th Gen Xeon E3, PUSH 2, Roland Duo Capture EX, AKG Mic, Novation Launchkey 49, Novation Launchpad 2. Plenty of Waves and NI Plug-Ins. Total noob with computer hardware, but a fast learner.

Stromkraft
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Re: XEON vs. I7 for Ableton?

Post by Stromkraft » Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:14 am

Hyperconfidence wrote:Hi Guys,
A new version of same question.

DELL Precision 5520 32GBRAM with Xeon E3-1505MV6 with Discrete ( I think this means internal video card as some Xeons don't)

or

DELL XPS 15 32GRRAM 7th gen i7 (cheaper by about $1K)

or

Macbook Pro 15 16GBRAM 7th gen i7 same as XPS (same price as DELL Precision with much less RAM)

Mostly trying to figure if the DELL Precision with Xeon is worth it. Mr DELL thinks it's a rocket and waaaaay better than other two, plus it's a certified machine so has 3 year warranty.

What would you buy? Will there be much difference in performance between these using ABLETON with lots of plug-ins etc?

Thanks in advance
Comparing Geekbench scores, while not absolute, gives a good indication on the relative performance you can expect.

The MC tests, multi-core, for a distributed work load and the SC, single-core, tests for seeing how much work one core can do.

As overloading one core is enough to cause issues that shouldn't be overlooked.

See some user scores here for the quadcore Intel Core Xeon E3-1505M v6, and search for the quadcore Intel i7-7820HQ or the quadcore i5-7440HQ to compare with.

Of course, CPU benchmarks are only part of the story and I also think you'll find performance differences between Xeon and i7 to be somewhat marginal in the mobile area. The bigger question I would ask is how good a music machine the Dell models or any other models are. Have you read any reviews of the models you're interested in?
Hyperconfidence wrote: Macbook Pro 15 16GBRAM 7th gen i7 same as XPS
6th Generation "Skylake". There are unfortunately no MBPs with 7th Gen processors yet.
Last edited by Stromkraft on Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
Make some music!

Hyperconfidence
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Re: XEON vs. I7 for Ableton?

Post by Hyperconfidence » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:27 pm

Thanks Stromkraft.

I'm not very tech, but was just trying to get the most powerful, reliable machine I could afford.

Although it's design and not DAW related, I found this article:

http://www.digitalartsonline.co.uk/feat ... s-artists/

Although the processor comparison you posted shows a faster i7, will the 32GBRAM in the 5520, instead of 16GBRAM in the Macbook Pro make up for it?

I imagine both machines are more than capable for doing what we need in Ableton?

I do like the up-gradable feature of the DELL though. Apparently I can put 64GBRAM into it later if needed.
DELL Precision 5520 32GBRAM 7th Gen Xeon E3, PUSH 2, Roland Duo Capture EX, AKG Mic, Novation Launchkey 49, Novation Launchpad 2. Plenty of Waves and NI Plug-Ins. Total noob with computer hardware, but a fast learner.

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