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Tim Cook on Mac Desktop commitment Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 31st December 2017
  #1501
Tui
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@rezoneight and @Lady Gaia, thanks. So, it appears there's no detailed info from Apple...

Well, I'm trying to figure out if I need a new Mac. Am I seeing this correctly, current Mac Pros score worse in single-core performance than iMacs? I need strong single-core performance for playing large sample libraries...
Old 1st January 2018
  #1502
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Lady Gaia's Avatar
Most of the opportunities for performance gains in modern silicon are indeed from parallelism. Single-core performance in many core designs typically suffers, so I suspect you're reading that right. On the other hand, I'd expect a decent sample playback engine to be able to parallelize playback with one voice per core so be absolutely certain you're bottlenecked on single-core performance before making a final decision. It's also possible the actual bottleneck isn't CPU performance but memory bandwidth, which can be difficult to determine without an actual head-to-head comparison.
Old 1st January 2018
  #1503
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stratology View Post
That's the key point.


I remember 'Apple has lost it', 'Apple is doomed', 'Apple can't innovate anymore', 'Apple ignores pros' since, basically, forever. The same tired nonsense over and over again. This has nothing whatsoever to do with Jobs or Cook - remember the drama when the original iMac came out? No floppy drive. The drama when iPod came out first? Macbook Air?


When you ask about specifics, like supposed changes in attention to detail, nothing comes back. Because it's all just moody rants, trying to create a narrative that matches the idiotic 'Apple has lost it' preconceptions.
If Apple was trying to make a business based on their computer sales and not phones, the story would be different. Their phone business is propping up a lackluster computer business. Is it tired nonsense or is Apple losing serious share among music creatives to Windows and customacs? Hard to know without real numbers, but the customac movement is big and longtime mac-only DAWs have been crossing over to Windows for years now (MOTU, PT).

The lack of a PCIe bus totally sucks for actual commercial recording studios, who almost all run PT HD or HDX systems that rely on PCIe cards. The lack of an expandable case sucks for people trying to build a neat and sturdy work rig. My own OSX machine is rackmounted with hot swap drive trays along the front, and far more functional than the absurd urn shaped thing that Apple puked up when they finally jumped the shark. It also cost about $1500, not $3k or $5k or whatever other crazy numbers people are throwing around. I have literally never heard a piece of music ever that needed a $5000 all in one computer, or would benefit from one. With Apple you pay huge money for stuff you don't need (eg dual expensive video cards) in a form factor completely unsuitable for a commercial audio production space.

Now people are talking seriously about an Imac as a suitable alternative... an all in one piece of hardware with a monitor welded on. To me that is absurd. The conflict here comes down to different ideas of what pro means exactly. These machines are probably ok for some pros... (still think they are not a good value for anyone...) but they are not good for commercial recording studio facilities.
Old 1st January 2018
  #1504
Tui
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Gaia View Post
Most of the opportunities for performance gains in modern silicon are indeed from parallelism. Single-core performance in many core designs typically suffers, so I suspect you're reading that right. On the other hand, I'd expect a decent sample playback engine to be able to parallelize playback with one voice per core so be absolutely certain you're bottlenecked on single-core performance before making a final decision. It's also possible the actual bottleneck isn't CPU performance but memory bandwidth, which can be difficult to determine without an actual head-to-head comparison.
Right, thanks.

Mac Pro prices are still crazy, and it appears single-core performance would be only marginally better than with my current i7 Mini server... I am shocked. No, really. All that money would buy me no appreciable performance boost, from the look of it. Interesting points about RAM bandwidth and single vs parallel processing. I mostly use Kontakt with Logic and there seems to be "some" parallel processing going on - 2 threads - , but this varies between different libraries. (As and aside, with piano libraries, Kontakt still seems to have an issue with release samples, i.e., too many of them are triggered simultaneously causing the CPU to choke).

To get a truly faster machine, I'd have to take all my gear to a shop and try out different machines. That's not going to happen, of course. Other than that, there seems to be no way of telling which would work best... Data sheets won't tell you that.

So much for progress...
Old 1st January 2018
  #1505
Tui
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philter View Post
Now people are talking seriously about an Imac as a suitable alternative... an all in one piece of hardware with a monitor welded on. To me that is absurd. The conflict here comes down to different ideas of what pro means exactly. These machines are probably ok for some pros... (still think they are not a good value for anyone...) but they are not good for commercial recording studio facilities.
My biggest concern would be fan noise. Personally, I couldn't even tolerate a constant whisper right next to the monitors, let alone any serious revving up.
Old 1st January 2018
  #1506
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philter View Post
If Apple was trying to make a business based on their computer sales and not phones, the story would be different. Their phone business is propping up a lackluster computer business. Is it tired nonsense or is Apple losing serious share among music creatives to Windows and customacs? Hard to know without real numbers, but the customac movement is big and longtime mac-only DAWs have been crossing over to Windows for years now (MOTU, PT).

The lack of a PCIe bus totally sucks for actual commercial recording studios, who almost all run PT HD or HDX systems that rely on PCIe cards. The lack of an expandable case sucks for people trying to build a neat and sturdy work rig. My own OSX machine is rackmounted with hot swap drive trays along the front, and far more functional than the absurd urn shaped thing that Apple puked up when they finally jumped the shark. It also cost about $1500, not $3k or $5k or whatever other crazy numbers people are throwing around. I have literally never heard a piece of music ever that needed a $5000 all in one computer, or would benefit from one. With Apple you pay huge money for stuff you don't need (eg dual expensive video cards) in a form factor completely unsuitable for a commercial audio production space.

Now people are talking seriously about an Imac as a suitable alternative... an all in one piece of hardware with a monitor welded on. To me that is absurd. The conflict here comes down to different ideas of what pro means exactly. These machines are probably ok for some pros... (still think they are not a good value for anyone...) but they are not good for commercial recording studio facilities.
thunderbolt is the same protocol as pcie so you can connect your pcie cards with a adaptor box. But a pro computer should have a few pcie slots for getting thinks cleaner. Very strange approach from apple. On their laptops they remove as much connectors they can only for the looks. So mush that is soon will be useless. On their stationary they do the opposite, it requires a lot boxes to make something useful of it.
Old 1st January 2018
  #1507
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MusiKLover's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tui View Post
Right, thanks.

Mac Pro prices are still crazy, and it appears single-core performance would be only marginally better than with my current i7 Mini server... I am shocked. No, really. All that money would buy me no appreciable performance boost, from the look of it. Interesting points about RAM bandwidth and single vs parallel processing. I mostly use Kontakt with Logic and there seems to be "some" parallel processing going on - 2 threads - , but this varies between different libraries. (As and aside, with piano libraries, Kontakt still seems to have an issue with release samples, i.e., too many of them are triggered simultaneously causing the CPU to choke).

To get a truly faster machine, I'd have to take all my gear to a shop and try out different machines. That's not going to happen, of course. Other than that, there seems to be no way of telling which would work best... Data sheets won't tell you that.

So much for progress...
The Single Core Issue is not in Apple's court, but rather Intel's and/or AMD's. As stated previously, improving clock speeds would appear to be either:

a. not feasible
b. not worth the ROI
c. not as important to segments other than audio
d. not on anyone's radar

Pick one of the above, it is not happening. Modern i7 machines in general should have better Single Core performance than any of the Xeon W chips. Many i5s do as well.

Turbo boost is a benchmark they choose to market, if it actually is a reality at all times. Even if it is, modern i7s generally perform better than (or potentially equal to) Xeon Ws as respects the Single Core. i5s are right up there.

The iMac Pro might cater to a niche market today, and it would appear that this market does not include Audio Engineers or Producers. The Mac Pro will potentially rely on Xeon W chips too, thus clock speeds will not improve. I don't know of any WIN machines with clock speeds that are over 5GHz. Again, the microprocessor food chain is generally responsible for such improvements, not Apple or MS. The i9 is no better regarding this prong. Heat is the major issue.
Old 1st January 2018
  #1508
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Lady Gaia's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tui View Post
Mac Pro prices are still crazy, and it appears single-core performance would be only marginally better than with my current i7 Mini server... I am shocked. No, really. All that money would buy me no appreciable performance boost, from the look of it.
Looking at Geekbench scores, single core performance of the 4-core iMac Pro appears to be about 50% better than the highest Mac Mini score on record. As stated, you may well be pleasantly surprised at how much of a difference increased memory bandwidth would make and that score for single-threaded use is about 80% better.

The reality is that advances in silicon give much better gains for parallel workloads. This isn't some new revelation, it has been patently obvious for anyone in the industry for 15 years or more. Generational changes that yield 20-30% more performance out of a single core tend to double your multi-core score. That holds true here, with the multi-core score being 176% better on the 4-core iMac Pro than the best Mac Mini, and the 10-core model being about 450% faster.

Software that needs CPU power should be parallelized, or it's going to get left in the dust by competition that does. There's a reason the latest release of Logic can use 36 virtual cores, though I'm not sure how well it actually scales workloads across them.
Old 1st January 2018
  #1509
Tui
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Gaia View Post
Looking at Geekbench scores, single core performance of the 4-core iMac Pro appears to be about 50% better than the highest Mac Mini score on record. As stated, you may well be pleasantly surprised at how much of a difference increased memory bandwidth would make and that score for single-threaded use is about 80% better.
50% better, maybe 80% with some luck... Gone are the days - or so it seems - where buying a new computer brings you startling performance gains. Now, you pay and pay, with little to show for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Gaia View Post
Software that needs CPU power should be parallelized, or it's going to get left in the dust by competition that does. There's a reason the latest release of Logic can use 36 virtual cores, though I'm not sure how well it actually scales workloads across them.
Well, it doesn't for individual instruments. Hence my post.
Old 1st January 2018
  #1510
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MusiKLover's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Gaia View Post
Looking at Geekbench scores, single core performance of the 4-core iMac Pro appears to be about 50% better than the highest Mac Mini score on record. As stated, you may well be pleasantly surprised at how much of a difference increased memory bandwidth would make and that score for single-threaded use is about 80% better.

The reality is that advances in silicon give much better gains for parallel workloads. This isn't some new revelation, it has been patently obvious for anyone in the industry for 15 years or more. Generational changes that yield 20-30% more performance out of a single core tend to double your multi-core score. That holds true here, with the multi-core score being 176% better on the 4-core iMac Pro than the best Mac Mini, and the 10-core model being about 450% faster.

Software that needs CPU power should be parallelized, or it's going to get left in the dust by competition that does. There's a reason the latest release of Logic can use 36 virtual cores, though I'm not sure how well it actually scales workloads across them.
All Audio/MIDI apps need the Single Core for the entire Signal Chain when record-armed. Thus, the VI if applicable, Track Inserts, AUX Sends, and the 2-Bus. At the current time no host functions otherwise. If multicore can eventually handle a record-armed track, it will be in the future. Some have said for over 20 years that it is not possible as it is serial processing by its very nature. Check out Cockos' Message Board. That's part of the reason why some Producers use VEP for Serum, let alone Kontakt. As crazy as it sounds, DSP can still add value today, irrespective of the various EFX often included or purchased, because of the Single Core Issue.

VI Vendors shy away from DSP, most likely due to profit margins, hence VEP.

Last edited by MusiKLover; 1st January 2018 at 11:23 AM.. Reason: VEP comment
Old 1st January 2018
  #1511
Tui
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Tui's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusiKLover View Post
All Audio/MIDI apps need the Single Core for the entire Signal Chain when record-armed. Thus, the VI if applicable, Track Inserts, AUX Sends, and the 2-Bus. At the current time no host functions otherwise. If multicore can eventually handle a record-armed track, it will be in the future. Some have said for over 20 years that it is not possible as it is serial processing by its very nature. Check out Cockos' Message Board.
"Things are only impossible until they're not" - Captain Picard

I understand the serial nature of VIs. However, there should be a fairly simple way around it: Break up the individual voices and process them on separate cores.

Right now, I'm grappling with the demands of the Hans Zimmer Piano (a stunning library, btw. Don't believe the bad press on GS). If there was a setting that would give me the option of splitting the notes between cores and, thusly, spreading out the load, I wouldn't have any issues. With this particular library, it appears there's no fancy scripting going on between the notes, so I doubt there would be any sonic tradeoffs. Even if there were, I'd still prefer that over clicks, pops and stuttering... Which are total creative and musical killers.

Last edited by Tui; 1st January 2018 at 12:24 PM..
Old 1st January 2018
  #1512
Tui
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Tui's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusiKLover View Post
VI Vendors shy away from DSP, most likely due to profit margins, hence VEP.
So, does VEP make better use of multiple cores, even with Kontakt? (Sorry, this is OT but really important to me).
Old 1st January 2018
  #1513
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MusiKLover's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tui View Post
So, does VEP make better use of multiple cores, even with Kontakt? (Sorry, this is OT but really important to me).
I like Patrick Stewart a lot.

I believe VEP does on the mix level (sort of like an enhanced multicore.) Someone who uses it might better be able to address the Single Core Issue, and I'm sorry I can't address with conviction. I think multitimbral Kontakt Instruments benefit when record-armed, and your piano would too. However, I'd bounce it off others, perhaps even post a query on VI-Control, before making a purchasing decision.
Old 1st January 2018
  #1514
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EvilDragon's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tui View Post
If there was a setting that would give me the option of splitting the notes between cores and, thusly, spreading out the load, I wouldn't have any issues.
Kontakt's multiprocessing option does this already - it spreads voices across available threads. Also BTW, all played voices in Kontakt are discrete, there's no way they can interact between each other, either via scripting or any other means.

However, different DAWs react differently to Kontakt's multiprocessing being turned on. You can only experiment and see how it works (or not) for you.
Old 1st January 2018
  #1515
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stratology's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philter View Post
If Apple was trying to make a business based on their computer sales and not phones, the story would be different. Their phone business is propping up a lackluster computer business. Is it tired nonsense or is Apple losing serious share among music creatives to Windows and customacs? Hard to know without real numbers
The last sentence is the only one that makes (half) sense.


PC sales have declined in the whole PC industry over the last few years, with one exception - Apple is the only one with rising computer sales.

There is no foundation in reality to the assumption that, without iPhone, Apple would be less successful than it was before the iPhone came out.




BTW, before I forget: Mac and PC has same capacitor, is same.
Old 1st January 2018
  #1516
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tsrono's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stratology View Post
There is no foundation in reality to the assumption that, without iPhone, Apple would be less successful than it was before the iPhone came out.
2/3s of Apple's sales come from the iPhone.

I mean, I dunno that Apple wouldn't still be 'successful' if it hadn't released and dominated with the iPhone, but it would have MANY billions upon billions of dollars less in revenue, that's a fact.
Old 1st January 2018
  #1517
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bace View Post
thunderbolt is the same protocol as pcie so you can connect your pcie cards with a adaptor box. But a pro computer should have a few pcie slots for getting thinks cleaner. Very strange approach from apple. On their laptops they remove as much connectors they can only for the looks. So mush that is soon will be useless. On their stationary they do the opposite, it requires a lot boxes to make something useful of it.
You still need a controller to pass through PCIe over thunderbolt, not to mention additional hardware. You can hook all kinds of rube goldberg crap up to a computer if you want, but the question is why add expense, possible points of failure, and plain old clutter if you don't have to? There's no upside to crippled hardware that you have to work around (like the iUrn)
Old 1st January 2018
  #1518
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stratology View Post
The last sentence is the only one that makes (half) sense.


PC sales have declined in the whole PC industry over the last few years, with one exception - Apple is the only one with rising computer sales.
[/I]
Apple's Mac Shipments Down in Q3 2017 Amid Continuing PC Market Decline - Mac Rumors
Old 1st January 2018
  #1519
Gear Maniac
Or you could go with Q4 2017 in which Mac sales were up 10% and up 25% in revenue. 5.4 million Macs sold. Highest Mac revenue in history. (7.2 billion). In 2016 they were #5 in market share for personal computers. To call that a faltering business is a bit much.
Old 1st January 2018
  #1520
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philter View Post
If Apple was trying to make a business based on their computer sales and not phones, the story would be different. Their phone business is propping up a lackluster computer business. Is it tired nonsense or is Apple losing serious share among music creatives to Windows and customacs? Hard to know without real numbers, but the customac movement is big and longtime mac-only DAWs have been crossing over to Windows for years now (MOTU, PT).
The "customac" movement is big? Define big. It's a hobbyist market. Only a very small percentage of people are going to take the time and effort to do that.

As to Mac-only DAWs being ported to Windows I'm not sure why that would be surprising. Any business would be better served to support both platforms if it makes sense. By sheer numbers there are simply more PCs out there. That doesn't make Apple's computer business lackluster. The math is simple: there is one manufacturer of Macs and many manufacturers of Windows PCs.
Old 1st January 2018
  #1521
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Poinzy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rezoneight View Post
Or you could go with Q4 2017 in which Mac sales were up 10% and up 25% in revenue. 5.4 million Macs sold. Highest Mac revenue in history. (7.2 billion). In 2016 they were #5 in market share for personal computers. To call that a faltering business is a bit much.
We're number five!

I think iPhones generate about 8 times more revenue for Apple than its computers do.
Old 1st January 2018
  #1522
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lowkey's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poinzy View Post
We're number five!

I think iPhones generate about 8 times more revenue for Apple than its computers do.
Yep. That's about as surprising as finding out samsungs phone division makes more than it's washing machines

But despite the doomsdayers here, Apple had record revenue from computer sales. Srsly some audio guys should stick to music rather than business analysis.
Old 1st January 2018
  #1523
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stratology's Avatar
 

Quote from the article you linked to:
"It's important to note that data from Gartner and IDC is preliminary and the numbers can shift, sometimes dramatically and sometimes less so."



From the actual Apple's Q3 2017 earnings call:
"Mac revenue grew 7% year over year driven by the strength of the MacBook Pro and iMac, despite IDC's latest estimate of a 4% unit contraction in the global PC market."
Old 2nd January 2018
  #1524
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poinzy View Post
We're number five!

I think iPhones generate about 8 times more revenue for Apple than its computers do.
Hold on a second, you don't think being in the top 5 of personal computer manufacturers when you're the only supplier of both the hardware and operating system is a big deal? In a market saturated with cheap, crap Windows PCs?

The iPhone does generate a lot more revenue but nobody is talking about iPhones, they're talking about a division that is making almost 8 billion dollars on its own being lackluster. That is simply ridiculous.
Old 2nd January 2018
  #1525
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Jones Sr View Post
i see a lot of these quotes. I would like to see this broken down into numbers of computers sold. It's all very well talking about revenue up, but I'm sure a big part of this is the massive price hikes over the last couple of years for Apple computing products and accessories.
They sold 5.4 million Macs. What other number do you need? Yes the Macs cost more, and they still sold 5.4 million of them. My understanding is most of that number is the laptops.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Jones Sr View Post
The iMac Pro has no place in a studio other than someone with way too much cash buying it for fetish reasons. It will barely outperform the top iMac which is 2/5th the cost, or you can stick to a 2010 or 2013 Mac Pro and keep it 20ft away from your seating position for a fraction of the price. <lots of other stuff deleted>
And this all has absolutely *nothing* to do with their earnings numbers from Q4 2017 which were fantastic. Nice try. I get you don't like Apple or their products. Don't buy them. There are plenty of other options out there.
Old 2nd January 2018
  #1526
Tui
Gear Guru
 
Tui's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Jones Sr View Post
This deliberate hollowing out of the product line is what is driving thousands of users away, like the 'missing planet' that Obi Wan looks for in Attack of the Clones, there is an obvious imprint of a missing desktop macintosh that Apple are purposefully avoiding because it's very hard to justify Apple prices for it. Plain and simple the 'added value' is the OS itself, but if it's just got a recent i7 and ssd and 3rd party GPU inside in a mid tower case, people will be asking why it's twice the price of the same components in an HP or a self build, hence, Apple just don't make it at all and we can avoid the awkward questions.
I think you are right. The same argument is actually put forward by some of the Apple apologists.
Old 2nd January 2018
  #1527
Tui
Gear Guru
 
Tui's Avatar
@MusiKLover and @EvilDragon, thanks for the suggestions.
Old 2nd January 2018
  #1528
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowkey View Post
When you say no real world advantage I think you mean twice the bandwidth.
Aside from 4K video editors, not many users have a real world advantage of that bandwidth. For audio, I measured 25% speed increase of sample library loading in a case of a 500% bandwidth increase (and PCIe vs SATA as well), to name a scenario where it would benefit most for us. This is clearly a software limitation btw.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MusiKLover View Post
Pick one of the above, it is not happening. Modern i7 machines in general should have better Single Core performance than any of the Xeon W chips. Many i5s do as well.

Turbo boost is a benchmark they choose to market, if it actually is a reality at all times. Even if it is, modern i7s generally perform better than (or potentially equal to) Xeon Ws as respects the Single Core. i5s are right up there.
Incorrect. The 10 core Skylake W has the same base clock as the i9-7900, yet it has a 200MHz higher Turbo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poinzy View Post
I think iPhones generate about 8 times more revenue for Apple than its computers do.
And even more profit.


Quote:
Originally Posted by stratology View Post
Quote from the article you linked to:
"It's important to note that data from Gartner and IDC is preliminary and the numbers can shift, sometimes dramatically and sometimes less so."
That is why that site is called "rumors"...
Old 2nd January 2018
  #1529
Tui
Gear Guru
 
Tui's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DAW PLUS View Post

That is why that site is called "rumors"...
No sh*t!
Old 2nd January 2018
  #1530
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MusiKLover's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DAW PLUS View Post
Aside from 4K video editors, not many users have a real world advantage of that bandwidth. For audio, I measured 25% speed increase of sample library loading in a case of a 500% bandwidth increase (and PCIe vs SATA as well), to name a scenario where it would benefit most for us. This is clearly a software limitation btw.


Incorrect. The 10 core Skylake W has the same base clock as the i9-7900, yet it has a 200MHz higher Turbo.

And even more profit.


That is why that site is called "rumors"...
You added i9s; I referenced i7s and Xeon Ws.
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