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AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPU's

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Posted (edited)

 

3 hours ago, Jay Soren said:

Is the AORUS lineup bad any should I avoid it?

They are fantastic boards. They are designed for hardcore gamers which means lots of tweakability in BIOS with is great for what we're doing with audio.

Edited by TerraSin

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12 hours ago, Jay Soren said:

I have an RME HDSPe AIO PCIe interface that I plan on using so disabling onboard audio would be ideal. Is the AORUS lineup bad and should I avoid it?

If you can't disable it at BIOS level, you could always disable it in Device Manager in Windows.

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12 hours ago, Jay Soren said:

I just came across this thread from google. I am actually planning on building an i9-9900K workstation with a Gigabyte Z390 AORUS ULTRA motherboard and this scared me a little bit. I have an RME HDSPe AIO PCIe interface that I plan on using so disabling onboard audio would be ideal. Is the AORUS lineup bad and should I avoid it? As some background I produce a wide range of genres (everything from EDM to film scoring) and also do a lot of Photoshop work (UI design mostly). I'm also starting to question my CPU choice and wondering if AMD would be better suited for my needs.

Jim, you really sound like you know your sh*t, would you mind weighing in?

Thanks for any advice.

 

Was only an issue on the AMD motherboards.  

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Hi Jim,

I was wondering if during your testing, the 3960X faired better with overclocking. If not, would I be better off to see what the 4th Gen Threadripper would being when they come out this year in terms of performance? Zen 3 in general is rumored to have 10-15% increase in IPC and small speed bump. I already bought a Gigabyte Designare Trx40 so I'm pretty much committed to a Threadripper build. I would be upgrading from an i7-6800K and would continue to use an RME MADIFX PCI-E card. 

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Posted (edited)

Keep in mind there is a guy (Pete) who does some great work testing these chips specifically for Audio use. As far as I know there is no one else out there doing tests targeted at audio. Here is his latest test round up of AMD and Intel chips. If you scroll down you can see the benchmark results. Keep in mind that for AMD the results are based on 3600MHz memory with optimized timings so it is fair to say that an Intel system would be a bit more plug and play for someone afraid to tweak.

http://www.scanproaudio.info/tag/dawbench/

Edited by Patrick Derbidge
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I took a look at Pete's results as I find them to be a great resource for pro audio builds. He said he was not able to get the Threadripper 3970X or 3990X to work well which is discouraging. There was another gentleman I spoke to who built his own computer using a 3960X for engineering and he is happy with it. I have the G.Skill Trident Z Neo 3600MHz kit that is currently occupying my old computer for testing purposes that I plan on putting in my future build.  I also plan on using the Ice Giant Prosiphon Elite for cooling when it gets released hopefully in the summer. The results seem promising. 

https://www.icegiantcooling.com/reviews

So I'm not in an immediate rush to build, but I would like some advice re: if I should wait for the 4000 series if it will help with low latency. 

 

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As a suggestion. Look at heat load too. Might want to add an extra air conditioning duct into your studio.  That heat has to go somewhere.

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36 minutes ago, Starise said:

As a suggestion. Look at heat load too. Might want to add an extra air conditioning duct into your studio.  That heat has to go somewhere.

I agree. Keeping everything cool is one of the most important things you can do for performance or your cpu and mobo will throttle and you won't see any performance benefits. I treat my pc like a server and have it located on a shelf in the adjacent room to my studio so that I don't have to compromise between noise and cooling too much. I get the benefit of a quiet studio and a well cooled PC at the same time but I understand not everyone has that luxury.

 

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45 minutes ago, cclarry said:

64 Core version now available

And I still won't be able to get a good mix!     😄

  • Haha 3

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1 minute ago, InstrEd said:

And I still won't be able to get a good mix!     😄

STRONG UNION! 🤪

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Patrick Derbidge said:

I agree. Keeping everything cool is one of the most important things you can do for performance or your cpu and mobo will throttle and you won't see any performance benefits. I treat my pc like a server and have it located on a shelf in the adjacent room to my studio so that I don't have to compromise between noise and cooling too much. I get the benefit of a quiet studio and a well cooled PC at the same time but I understand not everyone has that luxury.

 

This is a best solution IMO, to have the main computer elsewhere. Right now my computer is in a Fractal case and I use very quiet ball bearing fans. Noise isn't an issue. Most of the time the temp in my studio is ok all except for the hottest months here in the north east US. Humidity is more the issue. If I don't humidify I'll have 20%  or less humidity in my studio in winter months. Computers also make excellent air dehumidifiers. Most residential spaces aren't designed for additional heat load. More often contractors in  developments skimp and buy the most inexpensive systems they can put in and still get by. This means most rooms are pushing the limits even with only a few people in a space. A "studio" could be anything from a mixing desk and a PC to a pile of outboard gear, so I guess the needs vary. Anyone interested in the heat load of a space can get heat load calculations.

I am building  a new studio and that's why I thought about this . I might not actually be in it for another year because it is only part of a larger project I'm involved in. I just bought a dual zone system to augment my main home system. Part of it will condition a large room addition 14ft ceilings large windows etc. My calculation with it was less that 12,000 btus or 1 "ton"of air conditioning. The studio will be in the back portion of a garage I added on to my other garage. The 2nd zone will go there and it will be 9000 btu. Should be plenty for my purposes. I will have the option to put my main computer out in the adjacent garage.  The A/C is also a heat pump, but I added hydronic floor heat to the room addition and am contemplating it for the studio as well. Probably wouldn't be absolutely necessary in there. For those who don't know there are professional programs for heat calculations like Manual-J. I used a few online sources to get mine. Everything adds up. Wall thickness, insulation R- value, weather patterns for your area, proximity to sun, windows surface area etc. If you live in a tropical climate you will need a special tropical designed A/C system. They are made to handle more extreme heat. My system is made to go to 120F.

That high end thread ripper looks like something I could heat my house with :)

Edited by Starise
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On 4/22/2020 at 6:29 PM, Jeffrey O'Hara said:

Hi Jim,

I was wondering if during your testing, the 3960X faired better with overclocking. If not, would I be better off to see what the 4th Gen Threadripper would being when they come out this year in terms of performance? Zen 3 in general is rumored to have 10-15% increase in IPC and small speed bump. I already bought a Gigabyte Designare Trx40 so I'm pretty much committed to a Threadripper build. I would be upgrading from an i7-6800K and would continue to use an RME MADIFX PCI-E card. 

 

As someone who's built DAWs professionally for going on 30 years, here are my thoughts on AMD's latest offerings:

 

The 3970x (Threadripper) and 3950x (Ryzen 9) have very little OC headroom.

Little to none... (same with the 3960x)

If you get a Threadripper or Ryzen 9 with the idea of locking all cores at anywhere close to the maximum turbo frequency, you'll be disappointed.

 

sTRX4 motherboards have active-cooled chipsets.

You can get quiet 360mm water-cooler, quiet PS, quiet case, etc.

If you're used to something like a i9-9900k (which runs near dead-silent on quality air-cooling), the high RPM fan noise (whine) is particularly annoying.

  • Threadripper has a TDP of 280w.  (large water-cooler absolutely necessary)
  • Intel Socket-2066 i9 CPUs have a TDP of 165w (water-cooling necessary but will run relatively quiet - chipset not active cooled)
  • The Ryzen 9 has a TDP of 105w (near dead-silent with large quality air-cooler)
  • The i9-9900k has a TDP of 95w (near dead-silent with large quality air-cooler)

 

Threadripper and Ryzen 9 excel at heavily multi-threaded scenarios.

Video rendering is a perfect example.

For video rendering, Threadripper smokes Intel i9 CPUs.

Where Threadripper and Ryzen 9 are weak (compared to the i9 CPUs) is pushing heavy loads at super small ASIO buffer sizes (ultra low latency).

This is a scenario that doesn't lend itself to heavy multi-threading.

The higher clock-speed of Intel's i9 is a significant benefit in these types of situations.

 

Not every process in a DAW can be multi-threaded.

This is why clock-speed is still so important.

Another thing to note is that performance gain from adding cores doesn't scale 1:1.  

IOW, Doubling the number of cores doesn't double performance.

This is why you don't want to chose more cores at the expense of significant clock-speed.

Doing so will result in a performance "hit" (for all but heavily multi-threaded scenarios).

 

Why do I always mention the i9-9900k?

At $500, it offers a great balance of performance/cost/noise.

The 9900k can run all 8 cores locked at 5GHz.

You've got super high clock-speed... and 16 processing threads.

The 9900k will do so rock-solid... running near dead-silent.

 

Based on all the above, I was ultimately more intrigued by the 3950x.

I've tested it with both 360mm water-cooling... as well as large/quality air-cooling.

With its significantly lower TDP (105w vs 280w for Threadripper), it'll run as quiet as the 9900k.

Interestingly, when running 360mm water-cooling, there was no appreciable performance increase.

If you're talking "all core" clock-speed, the 3950x will top out ~4GHz (maybe 4.1GHz).

 

AMD is winning at IPC (instructions per clock).

However, Intel is winning at overall clock-speed.

Again, for all those scenarios that can't be heavily multi-threaded, the (relatively) inexpensive 9900k is going to best most CPUs.

 

One other thing to keep in mind... is that with AMD, you may see some flaky behavior.

Some of the motherboards don't allow you to disable things like onboard audio.

Not all software/plugins are optimized for AMD CPUs. 

To be fair, this really isn't the fault of Threadripper or Ryzen 9.

 

So what's my verdict on Threadripper and Ryzen 9?

If you're fairly tech-savvy and know what you're getting into... and especially if you're working with video rendering, you'll be fine with Threadripper/Ryzen 9.

I'd liken the scenario to old MG sports cars.  Can be a lot of fun... but may require "turning the wrench". 

ie: During several months of testing Threadripper and Ryzen 9 (including using the 3970x and 3950x in my main studio DAW), I had to reset BIOS numerous times (across multiple builds using multiple motherboards).  That's not a big deal for me personally, but for less-tech savvy... or those under pressure, it's not a welcome event.

As someone who builds machines for professional composers on demanding tight deadlines, there's absolutely no way I'd build a Threadripper or Ryzen based machine for the likes of Fred Coury, Timothy Wynn, Wayne Bacer, Evan Jolly, Noah Lifschey, etc.

 

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5 minutes ago, Starise said:

That high end thread ripper looks like something I could heat my house with :)

At 280w TDP, you could...   😉

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 In a nutshell this is not practical for the home user.

I'm a fan of stuff using less watts.

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Thanks @Jim Roseberry,

I really appreciate the time you gave me with your reply. Thought I could avoid the latency issue with the 3960X but I guess that's a nope (I  usually use  64 samples at 44.1KHz with my MADIFX). I will continue on with my Threadripper build, but I'll most likely wait till the Zen 3 Threadrippers hit the market this or early next year. I'm a bit more optimistic about that generation. I already have a bequiet! Dark Base 900 with some extra Silent Wings 3 140mm high speed pmw fans for airflow and a Corsair AX1200i PSU so I should be fine in that aspect. I consider myself decently tech savvy so I should be fine. When the new CPUs come out, I might do a comparison with the Dark Rock Pro TR4, one of the more popular AIOs, and the Prosiphon Elite when it's finally in my hands. That or I may cave entirely cause of build anxiety and just get the current Threadrippers lol.  I really wish I had this information earlier. It's a shame that reviewers don't test with pro audio and musicians in mind. 

Thanks again for your input!

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There's a lot of data to ponder when looking at modern computers. A person could read a few reviews online and come to some false conclusions. This is why I really appreciate someone like Jim who has built basically all of the most recent setups and can comment on actual use.

None of the choices seem bad per se unless you are planning mixes that could potentially bottleneck one of these computers. I remember one time we had a discussion about how many instances of KONAKT and how many plugins could be loaded on an older i7 computers equipped with plenty of memory and fast hard drives. That number was ridiculously high. Probably WAY more than the average layman home studio enthusiast will ever use. And these "laymen" are often pushing 100 tracks with effects. If you're going for lots of instances of Spitfire and VSL , then yeah don't skimp. It's really two different worlds and most of those people wouldn't be on the Cakewalk forum. Just being honest. We men like to hop stuff up and see what goes the fastest and even us lowly home recordists like to plan for the future.

My next build will probably be an i9. I admit to being a little biased because no Intel system I have built ever failed, so I guess I'm a slightly brand loyal for that reason. I still have my old quad core  DAW. It didn't die. I had to unplug it after 8 years.

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19 hours ago, Jeffrey O'Hara said:

It's a shame that reviewers don't test with pro audio and musicians in mind. 

Keep in mind that we (DAW users) are a minuscule group (number wise) compared to the general-purpose  and gaming computer users.

That's why the reviewers don't worry about audio testing...   

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11 minutes ago, Jim Roseberry said:

Keep in mind that we (DAW users) are a minuscule group (number wise) compared to the general-purpose  and gaming computer users.

That's why the reviewers don't worry about audio testing...   

Unfortunately you are right Jim.

It is nice though that AMD does have some great chips out now and hopefully the next round of AMD CPU's will have some more head room in overclocking.  Us as consumers win.

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