2019 Mac Pro DAW Benchmark Test Results

BenHicks

Professional Lurker
I figured it would be easier to keep track of the different DAW benchmarks/stress tests for the new Mac Pro in one thread rather than randomly throwing them in other Mac Pro related topics, breaking up whatever the current conversation was. For anyone else who has decided to take the plunge and pick up one of the new machines, feel free to post your machine specs and performance results here as well. Also, feel free to suggest different tests and I'll do my best to accommodate. I'm hoping this will help some of you that are on the fence with the nMP make a decision.

I've already posted a couple different videos of tests I've run (first two videos - test conditions in the description), but here's another (third video).

::MAC PRO SPECS::
16 Core
128GB RAM
Radeon Pro 580X (baseline)

::TEST SETTINGS::
DAW: Cubase 10
Buffer: 256 (EDIT: originally thought it was 512) (ASIO buffer set to High)
Sample Rate: 44.1kHz
Bit Rate: 24
Library: Kontakt 6 - Metropolis Ark 1 "High Strings Spiccato Unison" with the default 2 mic positions

I'm curious as to why I'm not seeing the CPU turbo to anywhere near its max (4.4gHz). Might reach out to Apple about that. If I can find a way to get the machine to boost its base clock speed during heavier loads, that'd be absolutely HUGE. Even still, every older project of mine that used to bring my 8 core trashcan to its knees is basically nothing for this machine, so I'm pretty happy. I hope to see more results from you guys. Cheers.



 
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BenHicks

BenHicks

Professional Lurker
Another quick test. Same settings as above, except with 850 instances of Absynth playing 16th notes. (bonus points if you know what score that little ostinato is from)

While there may appear to be a decent amount of CPU headroom left over, Cubase started getting angry when I got over 900 tracks, causing lots of stop and go hitches, even when idling.

 

SanderB

New Member
Hi Ben,

Thanks for these tests! I am looking to buy a new Mac Pro, probably the 12-core. It will give me more than enough power I think.

About the core speeds, I saw other forums who said the CPU can’t get to base clock speeds. I think I will wait and see what apple has to say about this.


 

BRVLN

New Member
This is super insightful!
I wonder why Absynth was able to push the CPU to 3.9 while Kontakt couldn’t reach 3.6...

And I’m also afraid of what that entails for the 28-core (since that is the machine I’m eyeing).

Please keep us updated with your findings.
Thank you!!!
 

michaelrohanek

New Member
Very keen to follow. I'm using an older iMac 27 and going to upgrade soon. I'm hoping the Mac Pro can be the answer I've been after for a while... heaps of CPU for intensive VI's, and RAM to load them in, and easily support a larger display. Does anyone else think this machine could be a 10 year purchase, just upgrade the components when you can?
 

SanderB

New Member
I think it does. I have a Mac Pro 5.1 for 8 years now and for the most part still going strong. What config are you looking to buy?
 

michaelrohanek

New Member
I have no idea! Waiting on the advice of others. I assumed a 16 core, 256GB RAM would do for some time, but after reading the stuff about the the clock speed being below base clock has me concerned, I'm sure apple will fix it but why is it like this at all? I also hope that 5 years from now a faster processor and more ram can be added to the same machine.
 

BRVLN

New Member
You probably couldn’t upgrade your CPU from Apple, but I bet OWC will sell upgrade kits or something like that.

I’m waiting to see the performance on the 28-core machine to make a decision on which spec to get... but please don’t buy you RAM from Apple. It’s just the same RAM you can get with 3rd party brands and SO overpriced!
 

michaelrohanek

New Member
You probably couldn’t upgrade your CPU from Apple, but I bet OWC will sell upgrade kits or something like that.

I’m waiting to see the performance on the 28-core machine to make a decision on which spec to get... but please don’t buy you RAM from Apple. It’s just the same RAM you can get with 3rd party brands and SO overpriced!
Yes BRVLN I tend to buy my ram from crucial in the US. It works out to be a quality product and at the right price. I think the only products you buy apple RAM are the laptops and iMac Pro.
 

-tm-

New Member
I figured it would be easier to keep track of the different DAW benchmarks/stress tests for the new Mac Pro in one thread rather than randomly throwing them in other Mac Pro related topics, breaking up whatever the current conversation was. For anyone else who has decided to take the plunge and pick up one of the new machines, feel free to post your machine specs and performance results here as well. Also, feel free to suggest different tests and I'll do my best to accommodate. I'm hoping this will help some of you that are on the fence with the nMP make a decision.

I've already posted a couple different videos of tests I've run (first two videos - test conditions in the description), but here's another (third video).

::MAC PRO SPECS::
16 Core
128GB RAM
Radeon Pro 580X (baseline)

::TEST SETTINGS::
DAW: Cubase 10
Buffer: 512 (ASIO buffer set to High)
Sample Rate: 44.1kHz
Bit Rate: 24
Library: Kontakt 6 - Metropolis Ark 1 "High Strings Spiccato Unison" with the default 2 mic positions

I'm curious as to why I'm not seeing the CPU turbo to anywhere near its max (4.4gHz). Might reach out to Apple about that. If I can find a way to get the machine to boost its base clock speed during heavier loads, that'd be absolutely HUGE. Even still, every older project of mine that used to bring my 8 core trashcan to its knees is basically nothing for this machine, so I'm pretty happy. I hope to see more results from you guys. Cheers.



Very curious if Apple will release an update for the CPU speed issue you mentioned.
I hope you'll file a bug report! :grin:
 

Olfirf

Active Member
@BenHicks How many Kontakt voices do you count your last YT video with lots of Kontakt sustain patches? Depending on the sustain instrument, loaded mic positions, overlapping releases etc a sequence of notes can produce vastly different amounts of voices. So, it would be great to know that number for the sake of better comparison with scan pro audio tests on various CPUs from Intel and AMD.
512 samples buffer is pretty high. Only the latest tests from scan pro even include this setting. 256 is a pretty good average.
 
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BenHicks

BenHicks

Professional Lurker
@BenHicks How many Kontakt voices do you count your last YT video with lots of Kontakt sustain patches? Depending on the sustain instrument, loaded mic positions, overlapping releases etc a sequence of notes can produce vastly different amounts of voices. So, it would be great to know that number for the sake of better comparison with scan pro audio tests on various CPUs from Intel and AMD.
512 samples buffer is pretty high. Only the latest tests from scan pro even include this setting. 256 is a pretty good average.
The video with 530 instances of Metropolis Ark 1 High String Spiccato Unison fluctuated between 16-20 voices per instance. Also, I was in error. After re-opening that project, I realize that I was actually at 256 buffer during that test, not 512. I'll correct that in the video description as well as on my initial post. My apologies.

As far as the test with 50 instances of Minimal being recorded simultaneously, there were only 4 voices per instance. Does that answer your question? I hope I'm understanding you correctly. Let me know otherwise.
 
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BenHicks

BenHicks

Professional Lurker
Here's a Logic Pro X test (Ver. 10.4.8) for you guys. I haven't used Logic for the last 3 years, so it took me a bit to remember how to set up the project and whatnot. lol

Test:
80 instances of Omnisphere ("agape warmth" patch) playing a 5 note chord with the following 5 plugins on each instance:

FabFilter Pro-Q 3
Soundtoys Tremolator
Soundtoys Decapitator
FabFilter Pro-C 2 (4x Oversampling enabled)
2C Audio B2 (Duo Den Exp: Cinematic Long Hall preset)

Buffer: 256

For reference, my 8 core trashcan could barely run a project with just 8 instances of the B2 loaded in as sends.

 

BRVLN

New Member
Crazy!!
How do you think the 28-core would compare to this test?
Would it be better or worse because of the lower clock speeds?

only reason I’m asking is because I’m considering both models. (16 and 28)
 
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BenHicks

BenHicks

Professional Lurker
Crazy!!
How do you think the 28-core would compare to this test?
Would it be better or worse because of the lower clock speeds?

only reason I’m asking is because I’m considering both models. (16 and 28)
I have no idea, tbh. However, I know that there was a similar debate back when the trashcan Mac Pro's were coming out. Is the 8 core the sweet spot? Are the clock speeds too slow on the 12 core? Etc.

From what I saw looking back, my friends who owned the 12 core trashcan were able to run larger projects with more plugins than I could with my 8 core, so I think it's safe to say that if you were to get the 28 core, you'd be more than fine. Some people like to run projects at a buffer of 64 or even 32, however, so in those instances, maybe there would be a performance difference due to the lower clock speeds of the 28 core. I'm no expert when it comes to judging that sort of thing, though, so take that with a grain of salt.

Personally, I'll likely never run a project with 80 instances of the 2C-B2 (let alone 80 instances of Omnisphere). If you require more horsepower than what I ran in this test, then you might want to consider either getting the 24/28 core, or just not buying the Mac Pro at all and instead going with a super-beast hackintosh/PC.

All that being said, after seeing how well this machine easily handles older projects of mine that used to absolutely choke my 8 core trashcan, I think it's safe to say that I'm probably good for at *least* 7 years, at which point I'll just upgrade my CPU. That's the beauty of them going back to the modular design.
 
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BRVLN

New Member
I have no idea, tbh. However, I know that there was a similar debate back when the trashcan Mac Pro's were coming out. Is the 8 core the sweet spot? Are the clock speeds too slow on the 12 core? Etc.

From what I saw looking back, my friends who owned the 12 core trashcan were able to run larger projects with more plugins than I could with my 8 core, so I think it's safe to say that if you were to get the 28 core, you'd be more than fine. Some people like to run projects at a buffer of 64 or even 32, however, so in those instances, maybe there would be a performance difference due to the lower clock speeds of the 28 core. I'm no expert when it comes to judging that sort of thing, though, so take that with a grain of salt.

Personally, I'll likely never run a project with 80 instances of the 2C-B2 (let alone 80 instances of Omnisphere). If you require more horsepower than what I ran in this test, then you might want to consider either getting the 24/28 core, or just not buying the Mac Pro at all and instead going with a super-beast hackintosh/PC.

Personally, after seeing how well this machine easily handles older projects of mine that used to absolutely choke my 8 core trashcan, I think it's safe to say that I'm probably good for at *least* 7 years, at which point I'll just upgrade my CPU. That's the beauty of them going back to the modular design.
Thank you for the honest answer!
Yeah I never work with low buffers, and I think I would appreciate the extra headroom.

I think I’ll give the 28-core a try. If it’s gonna act funky I’ll just switch to the 16, which you proved to be PLENTY strong!

Thanks!
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
the new 28core is way overkill for what we do and would be a tremendous waste of money! I even happen to think the 16 core is a diminishing return. The new 12 core macPro would be my choice today if I were going to buy a new mac in 2020. But i"m not because its just too darn expensive.

In some of the tests being done on this thread it is important to distinguish which tracks, if any, are live and armed for recording. That has a huge impact on the core utilization, most DAW's will put live tracks to a single core...including if you have a bunch of sends to AUX's hosting 8 instances of Breeze for example.

Once you get to the mix down stage you should be ensuring that no tracks are armed in live mode and even my aging old computer can handle many instances of many plugins without issue. So some of the impressions on this thread are conflating a few things I feel. Most people would not need 8 instances of breeze on a live armed track while recording it, for example.

And by the way, the above issue, will not be improved at all with 28 cores or 16 cores. The 12 core machine will perform just as well for those tracks...because its the single core performance that matters. In fact an i9 iMac will perform even better for that particular thing.

When you are talking bout multi-core performance, the 16 and 28 core MacPros obviously have tremendous power but we don't actually need all that much multi-core performance, even my ancient 5,1 MacPro can keep up with just about everything when you get into multi-core mix down mode.

Paying for 16 or 28 cores is for millionaires or video rendering houses. We don't need it here.
 

michaelrohanek

New Member
the new 28core is way overkill for what we do and would be a tremendous waste of money! I even happen to think the 16 core is a diminishing return. The new 12 core macPro would be my choice today if I were going to buy a new mac in 2020. But i"m not because its just too darn expensive.

In some of the tests being done on this thread it is important to distinguish which tracks, if any, are live and armed for recording. That has a huge impact on the core utilization, most DAW's will put live tracks to a single core...including if you have a bunch of sends to AUX's hosting 8 instances of Breeze for example.

Once you get to the mix down stage you should be ensuring that no tracks are armed in live mode and even my aging old computer can handle many instances of many plugins without issue. So some of the impressions on this thread are conflating a few things I feel. Most people would not need 8 instances of breeze on a live armed track while recording it, for example.

And by the way, the above issue, will not be improved at all with 28 cores or 16 cores. The 12 core machine will perform just as well for those tracks...because its the single core performance that matters. In fact an i9 iMac will perform even better for that particular thing.

When you are talking bout multi-core performance, the 16 and 28 core MacPros obviously have tremendous power but we don't actually need all that much multi-core performance, even my ancient 5,1 MacPro can keep up with just about everything when you get into multi-core mix down mode.

Paying for 16 or 28 cores is for millionaires or video rendering houses. We don't need it here.
Hi Dewdman, to prove your point, (which is fair, but possibly not quite right for my workflow) can somebody please load 60 instances of kontakt with a whole variety of spitfire orchestral library sounds using a blended mic setting, and accompanying MIDI tracks playing all of them at once. Then add a Spectrasonics Keyscape Piano, an Omnisphere pad and 9-10 other instrument tracks of average CPU-hungriness (if there's such a word), plus a few reverb sends, delay, a few izotopes, Soundtoys and FabFilters.

This is a normal session file for me. I don't think an i9 will handle it as well as a high core Xeon. Right now my i7 iMac 2014 chokes on less than half of that, it won't work even on a buffer size of 2048, and thats with my reverb offloaded to a UAD Apollo. I freeze a lot and I'm tired of it.
 

jarjarbinks

New Member
Here's a Logic Pro X test (Ver. 10.4.8) for you guys. I haven't used Logic for the last 3 years, so it took me a bit to remember how to set up the project and whatnot. lol

Test:
80 instances of Omnisphere ("agape warmth" patch) playing a 5 note chord with the following 5 plugins on each instance:

FabFilter Pro-Q 3
Soundtoys Tremolator
Soundtoys Decapitator
FabFilter Pro-C 2 (4x Oversampling enabled)
2C Audio B2 (Duo Den Exp: Cinematic Long Hall preset)

Buffer: 256

For reference, my 8 core trashcan could barely run a project with just 8 instances of the B2 loaded in as sends.

Fascinating. Using Cubase, my Intel 4790k hackintosh can do about 32 instances of Omnisphere with the same per-track processing. Only difference is the reverb (I dont have the 2C Audio B2 so used Liquidsonics Reverberate instead).