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Budget CPU's Amp Sim & Guitar Effects Plugins
Old 18th September 2011
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Budget CPU's

Hi,

I'm going to buy a new PC for DAW (recording / mixing / effects etc) on a budget.

Can anyone offer advice on which of the lower-end CPU's you find in quad core systems , such as AMD phenom 11's/Athlon/645/etc are especially good (or bad) for use in a DAW, if any? Ive seen a coulple of benchmarking sites but cant make head nor tail of some of them, and most seem to focus on more advanced MBs and CPUs like i7.

Thanks .
Old 18th September 2011
  #2
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MrCrowbar's Avatar
 

Well, most DAWs even today don't do multi-threading very well. So all those many cores go to waste. You want something with few cores and as high as possible clock speed. CPUs are very different from generation to generation. You can get something decent from AMD. They run a bit hot (take more power, better and louder fans needed) but they're pretty good for what you need it to do. Gaming and DAW stuff have very similar demands to a DAW, so look around for a budget gaming rig and see what CPU they recommend.

I just get a run-of-the-mill Mac, never really ran out of CPU in Logic but I don't monitor through it either (got my mixer for that). You can squeeze out a lot of performance by creating a new user account on the system just for recording. No antivirus, no widgets, drivers, etc. you don't need. Just everything you need for audio.
Old 18th September 2011
  #3
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All major DAW's do work very well with multithreading.... Go visit ADK Pro Audio... Please do not listen to anyone who is not a PRO in computers AND audio... ADK is the place (I do not even own and will never own an ADK because I build myself, but it is THE place to go).

Statements such as this one shows you how much misinformation is going around the web...

" Well, most DAWs even today don't do multi-threading very well. So all those many cores go to waste. You want something with few cores and as high as possible clock speed."

Gaming and DAWs are not really related... You can only trust Pro Audio Daw benchmarks...

AMD are far behind Intel for DAW's...

The best advice is to talk to a PRO... Forums like this one are getting... scary...
Old 19th September 2011
  #4
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mcgruff's Avatar
 

Any chip that draws more than 100W I don't want to know about (Phenoms) but Athlon II x4 are a great choice if you're on a tight budget. They're plenty powerful for most people. I've got an Athlon x3 core I once tried to max out after an argument on these forums. Got up to 70 or so channels with a couple of plugins on each channel* before I got bored and gave up. The computer didn't even hiccup.

The sandybridge stuff is definitely more powerful but it's also more expensive. You might not really need it.

*EDIT: ...and a dozen or so soft synths.
Old 19th September 2011
  #5
Gear Nut
 
Randyman...'s Avatar
 

If you have a Microcenter near by, they sell the i7 2500K's for $179 and the i7 2600K's for $279 all day long. Stupid good deals IMO (better than anyone I've found) - and they were offering $40 off a MoBo/i7 combo ON TOP of that (don't know if they still are). That will be cheaper than most AMD CPU+MoBo setups AFAIK and spank them pretty hard at the same time...

Old 19th September 2011
  #6
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Please, listen to Randyman and get an INTEL. I have an AMD and I would NEVER buy an other one. I use Intel at work and it is much much much better and faster (We are talking about dual core Intel vs AMD quad)

The i7 Sandy bridge are really cheap for what you are getting.
Old 19th September 2011
  #7
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mcgruff's Avatar
 

Have you ever maxed out your AMD during DAW use?
Old 19th September 2011
  #8
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Have I ever maxed out AMD? Of course... At work, I usually have more than a 100 tracks with over 400 plugs.

On the AMD, max is about 200 plugs with 50 tracks.

I can run 6 instances of Amplitube 3 with my AMD, about 20 instances with the Intel (We are talking about Intel Core Duo).

I know there are other factors than just the CPU, but the AMD are very easily overloaded... By all means, if you do light production and only use the Steinberg plugins that came with Cubase, then you shouldn't have any problem with any PC... even Pentium 4.
Old 19th September 2011
  #9
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mcgruff's Avatar
 

Thanks: facts and figures help to put things in context
Old 19th September 2011
  #10
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What do you really mean?

6 instances of amplitube maxing out your CPU is FAR from enough... Yes 200 plugs of cheap steinberg EQ is ok, but try loading Many instances of 16 channels of Kontakt, Omnisphere, RMX, Play, etc....

I mean, if you want to buy something that is NOT going to last you for many years, than yes go with the AMD... When I got the AMD (2 years and a half ago), they were really cheaper than the Intel (Sandy bridge were not out yet).

But today... I know you probably own an AMD like me, but please do not tell people to buy it... it is wrong... at this precise time, it is wrong (for DAW).

But as I said before, if you are just doing this for fun, then go buy any cheap PC and stop asking...


As for now, my last remark will be to PLEASE read and study benchmark from the PROS (like ADK), that is if you are interested in facts and not opinions...
Old 19th September 2011
  #11
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mcgruff's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tenkas View Post
What do you really mean?
I mean thanks for giving some details. It helps people to decide what kind of processor to get if they have a rough idea what it can do.

If they need more power fine. Most people don't (particularly in the low end forum...).
Old 19th September 2011
  #12
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Just seems to me that one who wants to buy a CPU is willing to buy something that is more powerful for the same price, which would make it future proof.

I consider myself on the low end side and I would want to make the best purchase especially if I am on the low end side... I want to buy the best cheap... not just cheap.
Old 19th September 2011
  #13
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tvsky's Avatar
spend the extra 100$ and go straight to an i7

you'll just end up replacing it sooner and spending more money overall if you don't
Old 19th September 2011
  #14
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Or...you can forget what all of those posts above say and hold out for an AMD bulldozer, which is soon to be released. But, to answer your question, a decent budget processor would probably be an Athlon II x4 or Phenom II x4.
Old 19th September 2011
  #15
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Why wait for the Bulldozer? It might not even crush the I7 2600k....

Why wait when you can have a great system and do music NOW for a ridiculous price...

Also, Bulldozer will be new and you will need to wait until you are sure there is no issue with the chip...
Old 23rd October 2011
  #16
Gear Nut
 
Randyman...'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tenkas View Post
Why wait for the Bulldozer? It might not even crush the I7 2600k....

Why wait when you can have a great system and do music NOW for a ridiculous price...

Also, Bulldozer will be new and you will need to wait until you are sure there is no issue with the chip...
Try: The Bulldozer is barely able to keep up with a 4-thread i5 much less the 8-Thread Sandy Bridge i7's (and Ivy Bridge is coming very soon). Not looking good for AMD (current Profits/Earnings reports show Intel made like 4x in net profit over what AMD sold in total revenue! )

MicroCenter and Sandy Bridge i5/i7 = No Brainer. Stupid cheap with the $80 "instant" MoBo rebate and $179 i5/2500k or $279 i7/2600K...

Old 23rd October 2011
  #17
Gear Head
 

I think some of the confusion here about whether more cores = more performance might be owed to the following Sound on Sound article: Multi-core Processors For Musicians

which I read a few months ago about this same subject when trying to resolve an issue I was having with core utilization (I think I ended up turning off core parking in W7 and was fine). Note, however, the January '08 publication date! Software has caught up quite a bit since then.
Old 23rd October 2011
  #18
Gear Nut
 
RockstarWizkidd's Avatar
 

Just putting in my two cents, but I'm in a similar position. The i7 2600k is benchmarked much high than all of the $1500-$2000 processors. And you can overclock it? It just seems silly to spend half as much when there is such a good deal out there.
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