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Cheesegrater mac is back!

Prockamanisc

Senior Member
I thought Apple's Pro App team was working with John Powell to create something that was truly great. Based on the results of this machine, he probably said "Remember the cheesegrater? Just give it Thunderbolt and make it as powerful as it would have been if you hadn't abandoned it." I was really expecting something special, like ~0 latency, ~0 buffer size, and touch-editing via iPad. All of the major innovations went to the video side of things. Here's what the audio Pro App people said:

Avid
“Avid’s Pro Tools team is blown away by the unprecedented processing power of the new Mac Pro, and thanks to its internal expansion capabilities, up to six Pro Tools HDX cards can be installed within the system – a first for Avid’s flagship audio workstation. We’re now able to deliver never-before-seen performance and capabilities for audio production in a single system and deliver a platform that professional users in music and post have been eagerly awaiting.” — Francois Quereuil, director of Product Management, Avid

Universal Audio
“The new Mac Pro is a breakthrough in recording and mixing performance. Thunderbolt 3 and the numerous PCIe slots for installing UAD plug-in co-processors pair perfectly with our Apollo X series of audio interfaces. Combined with the sheer processing power of the Mac Pro, our most demanding users will be able to track and mix the largest sessions effortlessly.” – Bill Putnam Jr., CEO, Universal Audio

Link: https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019/06/pro-app-developers-react-to-the-new-mac-pro-and-pro-display-xdr/
 

Symfoniq

Active Member
Only one core (+its hyperthreaded twin) turbo boosts to 4.4 GHz on that Xeon! Maximum all-core turbo-boost is 3.8 GHz. Not a small difference, actually - especially in the case where you run a lot of heavy synths. They WILL want those extra clocks.
The enthusiast CPUs don't hit their max turbo boost speed on all cores, either. Not until the i9-9900KS is released, anyway.

I don't care if the all-core turbo boost is "only" 3.8 GHz if I still have twice as many cores than an enthusiast CPU. Back when using a high core count Xeon would have meant 2.0 or 2.3 GHz, then sure, they weren't ideal. But that's not the case anymore, and 3.8 GHz is plenty of clock speed for my audio purposes, especially when that's the worst-case scenario.
 
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zircon_st

Lead Developer
3.8 compared to 4.8+ is a big difference though. I'm running a 9900k with 4.7ghz all core right now. A SINGLE instance of Diva playing a 4 note chord with the default patch (set to "Great" accuracy, not even the highest!) is 20% of one core.

3.8ghz is about 20% slower, so the CPU usage of the same patch at 3.8ghz would probably be about 24%. Also, this is at 256 samples - if you run lower, then the CPU usage will be that much higher.

Or, with the Fluid Shorts library, loading the full string section and just playing some basic arpeggios hits up to 30% CPU (again, on a single core.) That's ~200-250 voices.

Personally, I would rather have more CPU headroom per core to stream more voices, more mic positions, higher-accuracy synth parts, more FX (etc) as opposed to more cores, considering if ONE core fails the whole thing will pop and click
 

Phil81

Active Member
Recap:

Mac Pro is not for music, guys/girls. It's for video. Why? Real-time performance = Clock speed. If anyone has missed this, please watch:
If a Mac Pro is what will make you sleep better at night, get one. I really don't understand why some Apple users put a tiresome amount of effort trying to justify keeping up with Apple's business mentality, even though they're not working for you. This is now a 9-pages long thread, with quite some valuable content, yet...

I moved from a Mac to a PC and have yet to experience issues that make me rethink my choice (and I'm not trying to be a 'douche' here - I'm just really trying to understand the psychology behind it.). Please enlighten me if I'm failing to realise something. I'm honestly curious.

Addendum: My PC machine costs as much as a Mac Pro, so it goes beyond price point.
 
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Dewdman42

Senior Member
That video is excellent, it kind of hints at the issue here. But note that he eventually arrives at the conclusion that dpc latency is a major contributor to real time performance loss. Macs do not have dpc latency problems at all, so that is actually an argument in favor of using a Mac. PC’s can be carefully configured with the right hardware to avoid dpc problems but it’s a difficult problem for some on windows platform to solve. Latencies in the whole system definitely can contribute to real time performance issues, as pointed out well in that video.

What the main problem is here with slow cores is that there can be cpu spikes during playback and if they temporarily exceed what a core can do, then you get dropouts. Typically a single plugin needs to be processed on a single core so if it has to do a lot of crunching during some moment and the core isn’t fast enough then you will get dropout, even if 11 other cores are barely breathing hard.

More cores helps with large track counts and handles them more efficiently then less cores would, but if any one plugin decides to crush the cpu in a spike then it will be drop out city if the cores are slow. You’d have to use a larger buffer to accommodate it, etc

If you tend to just samplers with low cpu overhead then slow but plentiful cores might very well be the ideal solution. If you tend to use cpu hungry plugins, you better seek higher clock speeds, even if less cores
 

samphony

Senior Member
I specced out my future computer:

Base: $6,000

Upgrade to 16 core processor: $2,000 (estimated based on iMac Pro's processor pricing)
(16 cores seems to be the sweet spot between clock speed and core count for this computer)

Upgrade to 64gb RAM: $400
(I can always throw in more RAM, but I'd like to start with 64)

Upgrade to 1TB SSD: $600
(I only need 500GB, but I'd rather be able to never have to think about this in the future)

Apple Total: $9,000 + tax

Additional:
PCIe card for NVMe drives: $400
(this is what this is really about for me...and a faster OS drive)

8TB in NVMe drives (4x 2TB): $500 x 4 = $2,000

Additional USB ports: $100
(isn't it ridiculous that I'm excited to just have extra USB A ports for dongles and keyboards?)

Dedicated UPS just to match the power requirements for this computer: $200

Total Total: $11,700 + tax + very long fight with the wife

And imagine, all this money just to run 6 simultaneous instances of Omnisphere.
You should lease it instead of buying.
 

Phil81

Active Member
But note that he eventually arrives at the conclusion that dpc latency is a major contributor to real time performance loss. Macs do not have dpc latency problems at all, so that is actually an argument in favor of using a Mac. PC’s can be carefully configured with the right hardware to avoid dpc problems but it’s a difficult problem for some on windows platform to solve. Latencies in the whole system definitely can contribute to real time performance issues, as pointed out well in that video.

What the main problem is here with slow cores is that there can be cpu spikes during playback and if they temporarily exceed what a core can do, then you get dropouts. Typically a single plugin needs to be processed on a single core so if it has to do a lot of crunching during some moment and the core isn’t fast enough then you will get dropout, even if 11 other cores are barely breathing hard.

More cores helps with large track counts and handles them more efficiently then less cores would, but if any one plugin decides to crush the cpu in a spike then it will be drop out city if the cores are slow. You’d have to use a larger buffer to accommodate it, etc

If you tend to just samplers with low cpu overhead then slow but plentiful cores might very well be the ideal solution. If you tend to use cpu hungry plugins, you better seek higher clock speeds, even if less cores
My PC dpc latency reaches 115us and I'm yet to see any performance differences on 64 samples buffer size (while tracking) on both machines (Mac/PC) - With ASIO Guard ON on all other tracks except the one I'm playing live. Odd? Yes. How? Not sure. Using RME over here. I also feel that Pro Tools runs slicker on my PC than on my Mac.
 
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Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
Harmonia is basically unison, multiplies the voices played and you can offset parameters between them. That was in the old one IIRC as well. It's basically stacking voices, so the whole voice is duplicated, and with it, CPU load as well.



That explains it.
I use plug-in effects on the channel strip, just not a lot of built-in ones.
 

Wolfie2112

Senior Member
I moved from a Mac to a PC and have yet to experience issues that make me rethink my choice (and I'm not trying to be a 'douche' here - I'm just really trying to understand the psychology behind it.). Please enlighten me if I'm failing to realise something. I'm honestly curious.
Well, for me it's the whole allure to the Apple world. I switched to Mac in 2013 and love it. I think it's that allure that creates a false sense of security, as I feel I'll be somewhat "downgrading" by switching back to PC. I have said I'd never go back, but the future looks damn expensive if I stay in the Apple camp. Luckily, I still use Cubase along side Logic, so when I go back, it will be a smooth transition. Deep down I know I'll be switching, but that will depend on how long my MacBook holds out....and that may take a while!
 

Phil81

Active Member
Well, for me it's the whole allure to the Apple world. I switched to Mac in 2013 and love it. I think it's that allure that creates a false sense of security, as I feel I'll be somewhat "downgrading" by switching back to PC. I have said I'd never go back, but the future looks damn expensive if I stay in the Apple camp. Luckily, I still use Cubase along side Logic, so when I go back, it will be a smooth transition. Deep down I know I'll be switching, but that will depend on how long my MacBook holds out....and that may take a while!
Am I the only one who found benefits of running a PC machine without thinking about overall costs?
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
I do love my 5,1 and will continue using it 2-3 more years, no doubt. Unless I fall in love with Cubase then I may run Windows on it.

We're really talking long term here. And without question Windows provides orders of magnitude more hardware options and more assurance that it will be able to run windows down the road without being exiled.

for me the main benefit of a PC is being able to build a mid tier machine with PCI slots and internal storage inside the case. That is what Apple doesn't offer and probably never will.
 

Phil81

Active Member
I doubt it. At least you'll be future proof with Windows, and your upgrade/configuration options are bountiful.
The primary reason why I switched was mainly because PT and Cubase are visibly more efficient on my Windows machine. In terms of the OS itself, I've been getting more and more upset with each MacOS iteration to the point I told myself..ah, sc*** it, can't be bothered.
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
seriously. MS takes care of that WAYYYYY better then Apple ever will.

MacOS Catalina is going to be 64bit only. I'm running Mojave and there are quite a lot of applications that popped up a little warning message the first time I ran them saying that this app won't be able to run on the next version of MacOS(Catalina). It reminds me of the PPC changeover. Maybe not quite as extreme, but for a lot of companies, they will not be able to easily port to 64bit, so a lot of software is going to break on Catalina, IMHO.

Apple has done this before, they don't mind. Issue warnings, try to force everyone to deal with it and hang on while everyone runs around trying to update their stuff to Apple's newest software requirements. So many developers have expressed frustration about having to constantly update their software to run on the latest version of OSX. This is a hard fact about Apple that has been true for decades and will not change.

Mind you, I love UNIX way more than Windows and the windows registry makes my head want to explode... but in terms of forward AND BACKWARDS compatibility...Apples loses and Microsoft wins...hands down.

And then we have this new SwiftUI thing.. Just wait...iOS on the desktop...where is that going? How many apps is that going to break eventually?

Yes I do still love using OSX more though...
 

Phil81

Active Member
seriously. MS takes care of that WAYYYYY better then Apple ever will.

MacOS Catalina is going to be 64bit only. I'm running Mojave and there are quite a lot of applications that popped up a little warning message the first time I ran them saying that this app won't be able to run on the next version of MacOS(Catalina). It reminds me of the PPC changeover. Maybe not quite as extreme, but for a lot of companies, they will not be able to easily port to 64bit, so a lot of software is going to break on Catalina, IMHO.

Apple has done this before, they don't mind. Issue warnings, try to force everyone to deal with it and hang on while everyone runs around trying to update their stuff to Apple's newest software requirements. So many developers have expressed frustration about having to constantly update their software to run on the latest version of OSX. This is a hard fact about Apple that has been true for decades and will not change.

Mind you, I love UNIX way more than Windows and the windows registry makes my head want to explode... but in terms of forward AND BACKWARDS compatibility...Apples loses and Microsoft wins...hands down.

And then we have this new SwiftUI thing.. Just wait...iOS on the desktop...where is that going? How many apps is that going to break eventually?

Yes I do still love using OSX more though...
I have never touched Windows Registry and hope to never have to.

You've just mentioned one of the reasons why I left the Mac realm. :)
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
Main problem with the Registry, regardless of whether you actually open up RegEdit or not, is that many companies stuff all kinds of stuff in there and don't clean it up afterwards and if it gets corrupted in any way, you are pretty much SOL.

With the Mac, you have a directory full of pref files, which you can generally just delete at any time and be back in business if something gets corrupted...or you have Application Support folders...which same as above, can be deleted on demand without issue. Its orders of magnitude easier to understand and is not this big monolithic database like the windows registry is. Inside the Registry are endless forms of redirection and serial codes to reference things, rather then by name, etc.. Most people in fact SHOULD NOT ever open RegEdit and touch it. But if your registry gets messed up...and it can happen...then guess what your only real option is reinstall windows. I know because over the years I have had to reinstall Windows so many times I lost count and I have never once had to reinstall OSX.
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
another example... this year I installed windows 10 on a machine. it worked fine until there was a power outage while running. Ok. After reboot, the search bar would not work anymore. At all. I tried everything and googled all over the place searching for solutions none of which solved the problem. Tried recovering and everything else...nope. Only final solution recommendation...reinstall windows. Well i didn't reinstall windows...and thankfully some major windows update somehow magically fixed it again a few months later. So whew lucked out, I got my search bar back...but aside from that...the only way to apparently get it working properly again after a power outage was to reinstall windows.

That is the kind of headache that always bothered me about windows and continues to this day and I expect to be a problem for years to come if I decide to go the PC windows route again. Things are fine on Windows until they're not.....

I have found OSX to be way way more resilient to those kinds of issues.
 
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