AMD Threadripper or Intel i9?

Discussion in 'PC/Mac Builders, Mods, Peripherals - New' started by Paul T McGraw, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Paul T McGraw

    Paul T McGraw Senior Member

    Feb 14, 2012
    I am in the process of building a new PC for music. I am considering the new I9 9900k or perhaps the AMD Threadripper 2950? The biggest question in my mind is RAM. I think 64gb is more than enough RAM right now. But will it be enough in 3 or 4 years? I would like this system to last 5 to 8 years, so I like the idea of being able to increase RAM to 128gb if I ever need it.

    Also, the Threadripper 2950 has more cores and threads 16 and 32 respectively. Will that be a big help when using a DAW? I don't know.

    So, what to do, Intel or AMD?
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  2. Sami

    Sami The Undisclosing

    Jul 23, 2017
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  3. Tim_Wells

    Tim_Wells Tim Wells

    Oct 22, 2018
    Why not? My i7-2600K is well over 7 years old and going strong.
  4. whiskers

    whiskers play stupid games, win stupid prizes ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Sep 5, 2018
    that's not at all unreasonable. That being said newer softwares' requirements may dictate a sooner upgrade; it's really hard to predict what will be required of newer software as far as resource needs. But 5-8 years doesn't seem too unreasonable for a CPU. My processor is almost 5 years old and is still going strong. Granted, I'll probably upgrade this or next year, but still.
  5. Sami

    Sami The Undisclosing

    Jul 23, 2017
    I would be upgrading every 3 months if I could be bothered :D
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  6. kitekrazy

    kitekrazy Senior Member

    Dec 23, 2008
    This was brought up on another forum and a DAW builder recommends Intel. AMD would be a better choice if you are a video person. Also using AMD eliminates the possibility of using Thunderbolt. Not all software is capable of using a lot of threads.
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  7. kitekrazy

    kitekrazy Senior Member

    Dec 23, 2008
  8. tack

    tack Damned Dirty Ape

    Aug 3, 2013
    If you're ok with higher ASIO buffers (preferably 256 minimum, ideally 512) the 2950X would make a fine choice. If low latency is important, Intel is still king.

    I moved from an 8700k at 4.8GHz to a stock 2950X and the tradeoffs were in line with my expectations.


    To be clear, the 9900k would make a fine choice too. :)

    The 2950X would squeeze out more VI voices, but single core constrained tasks like recording and certain synths will still do much better with the 9900k. All depends on what aspects are most important to your work.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
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  9. Damarus

    Damarus Composer n stuff

    Nov 15, 2017
    This looks pretty misleading. Most of those tests are irrelevant for real world DAW performance, which historically has shown us that higher clock speeds are better for overall performance (ideally a good mix between multi-core and single core, favoring single core).

    If you look at a 2950x and a 9900k or even the 8700k in per-core performance, the 2950x is much further behind. Not to mention the Intel can overclock far better.

    The 2950x is made for applications that can utilize as many cores as you can give it (rendering and other modeling applications).
  10. tack

    tack Damned Dirty Ape

    Aug 3, 2013
    I did those benchmarks for the things that were important for me. For DAW use, look at the Reaper tests only. I assumed this would be obvious to readers here?

    Whether this is the most important consideration depends: do you want to maximize VI voice count? Or do you want the lowest possible latency for live recording, or use demanding single-threaded synths?

    This is the point, isn't it. You can't generalize, it comes down to specific priorities. The 2950X has lower single core performance, yes, but it's absolutely not further behind when it comes to voice counts on large projects. Whether or not that's important to you is another matter.
  11. steveo42

    steveo42 Active Member

    Jan 20, 2013
    Intel, Intel and Intel.... I've been building my own PC since the early 80's where my first IBM PC was assembled on a piece of plywood due to no aftermarket cases being available yet.... I've lived through AMD, Cyrix and so forth and over the years Intel has always been the best overall. The software manufacturers write code for Intel.
    For a general purpose computer, yea AMD might be a better value, but for a DAW, I would go near AMD. It's simply not worth the minor cost savings for me.
  12. markleake

    markleake Recovering sale addict

    Nov 8, 2015
    The traditional pick is Intel, if your ONLY need is music work. Especially because of Intel's better single core performance. But like @tack says, that may not be the most important factor, as even though the AMD single cores are slower, overall the AMD CPU is more powerful at the same price point. AMD is competing better with Intel now, and the larger multi-core chips are becoming the norm (even for Intel), so the software writers will continue to move to better multi-core performance, even if it takes them several years. Looking ahead it's pretty clear that single core performance will continue to become less of a factor.

    Besides, AMD just announced their new Zen 2 CPU lineups, and they look fantastic (on paper).

    Anyone building a new PC should wait for mid-year when AMD releases these, and then either take advantage of better deals on the now older chips, or get the newly released AMD chips. Single core speed seems as though it will be similar or better (!) compared to Intel with the new chips (again, on paper, real performance comparisons will need to wait).

    The important thing to make sure of is your motherboard and CPU both support 128 GB of RAM.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019 at 5:16 PM
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