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Misha

For Cakewalk, which is better More cores - less frequency or more frequency less cores

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One older article I found online on subject "More cores - less frequency vs more frequency less cores" had this:

" Faster clock speeds means more responsiveness when running heavy linear tasks such as running single-threaded applications. Most programs still function in a linear fashion, making use of only one core. In these cases, clock speed is king."

Can anybody shine a light this and if it relates to Cakewalk on how it handles VST plugins and tracking? If I have to choose between:  more cores - less frequency vs more frequency less cores, what would be a better choice?

Particulary i7 7600U  2 CPU cores with Hyper-Threading support clocked at 2.8 - 3.9 GHz (2 core Turbo also 3.9 GHz) vs i7-8650U four cores but at a lower base frequency of 1.9 GHz. The Turbo Boost can go up to 4,2 GHz ?

Main concern is which of these CPUs  will handle better multiple instances of VST on separate tracks and tracking (no "bouncing" or archiving or freezing advise please. This is a specific CPU question)

Thank you.

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There's really no "one" answer to this, as it largely depends on your plugins, the number of tracks etc.

When using one core, all your plugin processing is done by the CPU quickly  swapping between each plugin. So it does a little bit on one plugin, then swaps to the next etc. This gives the effect (no pun intended!) of things happening at the same time.

However, when a particular plugin is very CPU intensive, this impairs the CPU's ability to switch quickly as it can be stuck on one plugin for longer than usual.

A faster processor means the CPU can do this intensive task quicker, so it can switch to the next more quickly.

Multi core CPU's allow the CPU to do things at the same time, so on a dual core CPU there's half as much task switching (this not strictly true, but you get my meaning). While one core is busy doing it's heavy DSP processing on a plugin, the other cores can be used for other things.

So I guess the short answer is that both are important for VST handling, although more CPU intensive plugins might benefit more from more cores with load balancing enabled. 

Its worth mentioning though for tracking, I/O speed is also a factor. When you're tracking you're writing as well as reading from disk. There's also a lot of memory swapping going on too.

Bear in mind also, that I/O and memory access can also be a bottleneck with multi cores as not everything can be accessed at the same time, so they may be waiting in a queue for the resource for a few microseconds or so.

So faster memory, faster I/O, CPU cores, CPU speed all play a part. Some plugins need more CPU than others, some need more memory (or faster memory due to lots of copying of memory around) than others.

This link may explain things better than me... https://create.pro/blog/cores-faster-cpu-clock-speed-explained/

 

Edited by msmcleod

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39 minutes ago, Misha said:

One older article I found online on subject "More cores - less frequency vs more frequency less cores" had this:

" Faster clock speeds means more responsiveness when running heavy linear tasks such as running single-threaded applications. Most programs still function in a linear fashion, making use of only one core. In these cases, clock speed is king."

Can anybody shine a light this and if it relates to Cakewalk on how it handles VST plugins and tracking? If I have to choose between:  more cores - less frequency vs more frequency less cores, what would be a better choice?

Particulary i7 7600U  2 CPU cores with Hyper-Threading support clocked at 2.8 - 3.9 GHz (2 core Turbo also 3.9 GHz) vs i7-8650U four cores but at a lower base frequency of 1.9 GHz. The Turbo Boost can go up to 4,2 GHz ?

Main concern is which of these CPUs  will handle better multiple instances of VST on separate tracks and tracking (no "bouncing" or archiving or freezing advise please. This is a specific CPU question)

Thank you.

Well since that is a mobile CPU, it will never achieve the performance of a desktop equivalent.  That is a dual core CPU.

https://ark.intel.com/products/97466/Intel-Core-i7-7600U-Processor-4M-Cache-up-to-3_90-GHz

The low end desktop i7-7700T CPU for that generation offered 4 cores, and 8 threads.

Mobile CPU's are designed with lower power consumption (improved battery life) and lower heat output (small enclosure with limited ventilation) as design criteria. Performance is not as high priority in a mobile application as in a desktop.

I'm not passing judgement, just stating the technical reality. It is what it is.  If you are limited to two cores, then you are probably going to want the fastest clock that you can get.

 

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abacab thanks, that does not answer the specific question I asked. 

I will repeat it , because some folks have tendency of answering to last/previous poster rather than initial question:

 Cakewalk ... how it handles VST plugins and tracking? If I have to choose more cores - less frequency vs more frequency less cores, what would be a better choice?Particulary  i7 7600U  2 CPU cores with Hyper-Threading support clocked at 2.8 - 3.9 GHz (2 core Turbo also 3.9 GHz) OR  i7-8650U four cores but at a lower base frequency of 1.9 GHz. The Turbo Boost can go up to 4,2 GHz ?

Thank you.

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The faster the speed of your CPU, the faster it'll handle tasks like rendering (effects processing/exporting wav stems). So mostly people who want high speed rendering (online/offline) would choose the first CPU.

 

But since you want more VSTs running at once, I think having more cores is better for you. However, it comes with a catch— you won't be able to run gigantic VSTs at once though...or even one! (I doubt there are any plugins THAT gigantic though)

Soooo I think...go for more cores! But keep in mind that too many online (inside DAW) pitch shifting, vocoding etc won't work well (it'll take a moment to finish) due to the slower speed. 😃 Reverbs, delays, compressors etc etc should work fine, but you might have to wait a bit for pitch changes and vocoder changes to complete before you can playback the audio.

 

Hope that helps!

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10 hours ago, abacab said:

Well since that is a mobile CPU, it will never achieve the performance of a desktop equivalent.  That is a dual core CPU.

https://ark.intel.com/products/97466/Intel-Core-i7-7600U-Processor-4M-Cache-up-to-3_90-GHz

The low end desktop i7-7700T CPU for that generation offered 4 cores, and 8 threads.

Mobile CPU's are designed with lower power consumption (improved battery life) and lower heat output (small enclosure with limited ventilation) as design criteria. Performance is not as high priority in a mobile application as in a desktop.

I'm not passing judgement, just stating the technical reality. It is what it is.  If you are limited to two cores, then you are probably going to want the fastest clock that you can get.

That is true, for the U-class CPUs, which are ULV Laptop CPUs.  You get better performance by getting an H-Class CPU (HQ in 7th Gen); like an i7-7700HQ, which was common in Gaming Laptops.  2.8-3.5'ish GHz, 4 Core 8 Thread with DDR4-2400MHz RAM.

Honestly, though,  DAWs aren't as "demanding" as NLEs...  It was (probably still is) pretty common to use MBAs during Live Productions, and those shipped with Dual Core CPUs.  The 7600U probably will be good enough for what the OP needs.

OP should look into Laptops with an i7-7700HQ and see what those options are, and how they are priced compared to the machines with the two CPUs he has listed...

Also, consider Laptops with Ryzen APUs, as well...  Ryzen performs pretty well, and you get pretty good Core/Thread Count and Clock Speeds at lower prices compared to i5/i7.  The performance disparity is not huge enough to matter.  The only thing to consider is whether or not you will be using it to edit video, if you shoot predominantly compressed formats (AVCHD, H.264, HEVC, XAVC-S, etc.).  A lot of NLEs only have Decode Acceleration for QSV, not AMD UVD.

Edited by SomeGuy

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Kaustub, thank you for input. 

SomeGuy, thanks,  I do understand difference between "U" and "H".  My question  is not about general choices of a computer or laptop.

My question is more specific: Tracking / handling of VST  in Cakewalk...which resource is more important / responsible for handling things better # of cores or speed? 

*And sub question. Assuming it is speed of a single core (linear) that plays main role, does "Turbo Boost" number makes any difference or it is minimal for the tracking/VST? 

I used " plug-in load balancing" that Scook suggested and It got the project I am working at under control, but buffer is more than I want to be. I am  amateur musician and I know my limits for DAW recording. Meaning, I can "predict" my largest project .  I do not need an expensive gaming machine for that.  There are very specific laptops I am looking at, that  fits my budget and want to make educated choice, so it handles tracking and VST  better than my current setup.  

Would appreciate an answer from somebody with specific knowledge  to answer my question(s).

Thank you.

 

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Msmcleod,

thank you for detailed information. Yes, I have read the blog you mentioned prior to posting.

I guess, these are what tripped me off:

1) "Most programs still function in a linear fashion, making use of only one core. In these cases, clock speed is king."

2) Why "load balancing" was not set by default in Cakewalk, as it seems to make more sense of having it checked for efficiency...?

I guess the essence of my question is related to Cakewalk specifically.  Does it use core efficiently or "just makes use of them".  

speed vs cores :)

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1 hour ago, Misha said:

2) Why "load balancing" was not set by default in Cakewalk, as it seems to make more sense of having it checked for efficiency...?

I guess the essence of my question is related to Cakewalk specifically.  Does it use core efficiently or "just makes use of them".  

speed vs cores :)

Now that I've delved more deeply into performance settings in Cakewalk and Windows 10, your #2 question puzzles me as well, not only for that, but for a couple of other settings as well. There are buffer settings that would seem to have very little "cost" in terms of memory that result in smoother performance. Memory was once a rarer commodity so I suspect that some default settings might need to be updated.

When I saw the option for plug-in load balancing, I found it difficult to envision a condition where I wouldn't want that enabled. A few ExtraPlugInBufs seemed to make my system breathe easier.

One big thing to consider that I see people failing to ask a lot of time in these discussions is what type of recording you are doing, audio or soft synth? That really affects resource usage.

You can get a rough idea of how Cakewalk is using cores on your current system by using Task Manager and Resource Monitor. Right click on your "start menu" button and run Task Manager, then click on the Performance tab, then down at the bottom, click on Resource Monitor, and it will launch a tool that will show you how busy each of your cores are. Click on the CPU tab.

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I'd be wary of that second CPU if wanting to use it for DSP because the base speed indicates to me that it's design was focussed on maximally extended battery life. This generally implies thin and light, which often means less than decent cooling. So whilst the boost frequency is respectable the question is can it maintain it without throttling? If it can't then it's basically a 8 thread 1.9GHz CPU, which i don't think is fast enough for anything approaching real time complicated DSP (i'm thinking of VSTi's like Omnisphere, Falcon, Diva, Tassman, Iris 2, etc), let alone trying to do it at low latencies. My guess is that it'd also be inadequate for various VST's too (Abbey Road reverbs, Vocal Synth, Shaper box, etc).

If i had to take a blind chance of one of those i'd choose the first. It's base speed is such that i'd assume it's beafier in the cooling department which could lead to a higher chance of maintaining the turbo clock. It's base speed is also a lot better so even if it can't maintain the turbo for a long time it still has a somewhat decent speed.

Although what is it they say about assumptions...

Either system is more than adequate for recording audio.

Cakewalk's multicore utilisation is good.   

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ien,

thank you for balanced answer. This is what I have i7 7600U  2 CPU cores 2.8 - turbo 3.9 GHz,  I was thinking of upgrading to the comp with 8650U, but seems not much of the upgrade is there, even when it has double the cores of my setup...

The 7600U was not the first choice of computer for audio recording, but I had it and that is what I am using.  Here is note to skeptics.  I had doubts initially, but after almost a year of testing, I must say it runs Cakewalk absolutely great with 5-7 instances of  CPU hungry VSTs, such as Neutron, Nectar, Kontakt etc.  on  about 12 audio tracks (some of them with multiple takes) +5-8 midi channels.   

 

 

 

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