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Mac Pro (2020) (How many cores?)
Old 18th September 2020
  #1
Mac Pro (2020) (How many cores?)

Hi Friends.

Apologies if this has been brought up a gazillion times, and perhaps in the wrong forum, but I thought it would be a great idea to bring it up here in the Post forum. Since Post is what I do.

I just received a Mac Pro 2020 model with 8 Cores.
My colleague ordered it without my attention, and told me that for Pro Tools, we dont need more than 8 Cores (Thats what the sales person told him).

So...
Should I return the 8 Core Mac Pro and upgrade to 12 Core?
What is Pro Tools gaining out of that?
Would it be a noticable difference for Pro Tools?

I am working in 5.1 with both feature and doc films with the usual suspects like Altiverbs, Fabfilter EQs on every channel, a few KONTAKT plugins etc etc...)
BUT I also compose music in Studio One wich, tends to be far heavier with huge Kontakt libraries and fancu plugins etc.

The only thing I do know, is that I might regret the 8 core decision in like 3 years or so as PT and plugins gets more advanced and CPU heavy, but my question is rather, how it will perform right out of the box today VS 12 or 16 core.

Thank you for your time and info.
Have a great day.
//Ted
Old 18th September 2020
  #2
Well seeing that there are less and less plugin developpers making AAX-DSP plugins these days (if you are even using ProTools with HDX cards), the more cores the merrier for your PT session on a Mac Pro . If not it's Native so CPU cores all the way.
The salesperson is full of sh*t.

We went for 12 cores, which are quite happy with heavy sessions thrown at them for feature film mixes, and to me seemed like the investment "sweetspot". If you have plenty of $$ you can go higher but not sure your ROI will be really clear.
Old 18th September 2020
  #3
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here's a nice video concerning this, but this guy is a media composer, so he wants to have lots of power for virtual instruments, still a good analysis:
https://youtu.be/IXl4rPEgFBA
Old 18th September 2020
  #4
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PatrickFaith's Avatar
 

I do a lot of upgrades with OWC, and bought my 7,1 with minimum RAM and have already upgraded that without any issues. The 7,1 CPU is upgradable, and you will probably save around $4k in three years when you upgrade at that time. I only do 5.1 mixes (i.e. no atmos stuff), and 8 core's is plenty (I actually moved back my 5.1 mixing to a 2013 Mac Pro which I recently also have upgraded through OWC). For music composers that like to start off with a lot of instruments, I have noticed it's nice to have 16 cores ... but really the big advantage of 7,1 is having a huge amount of RAM to load all the instrument samples (which is easily upgradable too). Upgrading minimal initial purchases through OWC is a HUGE savings, and the 7,1 is really well thought out for upgrading compared to the 6,1.
Old 18th September 2020
  #5
I have the 16 core machine and by and large it’s excellent. A lot of heavy plugs on one bus can still occasionally overwhelm it but for the most part it will run a large session with many VIs flawlessly.
Old 20th September 2020
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowudders View Post
here's a nice video concerning this, but this guy is a media composer, so he wants to have lots of power for virtual instruments, still a good analysis:
https://youtu.be/IXl4rPEgFBA
This video was excellent, and defenitely covered a lot of questions.
Thank you for helping me out!!
Old 20th September 2020
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickFaith View Post
I do a lot of upgrades with OWC, and bought my 7,1 with minimum RAM and have already upgraded that without any issues. The 7,1 CPU is upgradable, and you will probably save around $4k in three years when you upgrade at that time. I only do 5.1 mixes (i.e. no atmos stuff), and 8 core's is plenty (I actually moved back my 5.1 mixing to a 2013 Mac Pro which I recently also have upgraded through OWC). For music composers that like to start off with a lot of instruments, I have noticed it's nice to have 16 cores ... but really the big advantage of 7,1 is having a huge amount of RAM to load all the instrument samples (which is easily upgradable too). Upgrading minimal initial purchases through OWC is a HUGE savings, and the 7,1 is really well thought out for upgrading compared to the 6,1.
Thanks a lot for this Patrick! Great to know that it works with 8cores for you.

Since, I want to use more and more Kontakt libraries etc, during post sound design, (Wich my current Imac cant handle now) I decided to return the 8Core Mac Pro and get the 12 core at least.
I might go for the 16, but havnt decided yet.

The video that another poster in this thread posted, explained the matter of Cores very well out of a DAW perspective.

Have a great day!
//Ted
Old 20th September 2020
  #8
Gear Addict
 

I would NEVER go with an 8 core. For so many reasons.

Main reasons, is the nest one up (12 core) is $1,000 more I mean if one is already paying the outrageous price of $6,000, what's another 1K to get WAY more power. Plus if I am not mistaken, you can't upgrade the 8c CPU as one can with the others

2) These are ridiculously power machines, and min 12 core should last you a good 10+ years

Plug-ins are getting more and more powerful and better every years, more CPU is needed, the 12 is the right balance and middle ground, if you're doing serious ATMOS mixes then at that point one would go with a 16c or higher

I would personally return it and go with the 12 core. with the 8 core at it's price mine as well get get a mint condition used mac 5,112core and beef it up to 3.46GZ with Nve on the boot drive and max it out to 128GB for barely under $2000
Old 21st September 2020
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDDP View Post
I would NEVER go with an 8 core. For so many reasons.

Main reasons, is the nest one up (12 core) is $1,000 more I mean if one is already paying the outrageous price of $6,000, what's another 1K to get WAY more power. Plus if I am not mistaken, you can't upgrade the 8c CPU as one can with the others

2) These are ridiculously power machines, and min 12 core should last you a good 10+ years

Plug-ins are getting more and more powerful and better every years, more CPU is needed, the 12 is the right balance and middle ground, if you're doing serious ATMOS mixes then at that point one would go with a 16c or higher

I would personally return it and go with the 12 core. with the 8 core at it's price mine as well get get a mint condition used mac 5,112core and beef it up to 3.46GZ with Nve on the boot drive and max it out to 128GB for barely under $2000
Thank you for your input!
Sooo... Now is the Big question. 12Core or 16Core??

This indecisive dilemma makes me go nuts.
Havnt got anything done at work today. Need to decide before tomorrow lunch.

I also just realised, I don´t want to be too luxurious with my sessions, so that I end up at the Mixing/dubbing stage with computers that can´t handle my sessions that have become heavier due to my powerfull new computer..
So, perhaps, 12-core is enough for me, to keep it in line with reality.

Thanks again!
//Ted
Old 21st September 2020
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Krotkiewski View Post
Thank you for your input!
Sooo... Now is the Big question. 12Core or 16Core??

This indecisive dilemma makes me go nuts.
Havnt got anything done at work today. Need to decide before tomorrow lunch.

I also just realised, I don´t want to be too luxurious with my sessions, so that I end up at the Mixing/dubbing stage with computers that can´t handle my sessions that have become heavier due to my powerfull new computer..
So, perhaps, 12-core is enough for me, to keep it in line with reality.

Thanks again!
//Ted
Well there are a few factors to consider:

1) 12 core with ProTools you're getting 24 core hyper threaded
16 core you're getting 32 cores hyper threaded

2) each one is $1,000 more, UNTIL!!! you get the 24 core where it jumps up by $6000

So those 2 are the sweet spots.

You mentioned dubbing stages, so I take it you'll be mixing films, are we talking about ATMOS? and the dozens and dozens of splits?

I can tell you now, the ONLY reason I am (later down the road of course) of getting a 7,1 compared to my 5,1 is ONLY because of the ****73 errors (using too much CPU because of plug ins).
I have Waves Mercury/Abbey, almost everything from iZotope, and 100's of others, and some plugs are show stoppers, so end up having to freeze the track to free up the CPU, on feature length films, it takes a few min. It becomes VERY frustrating doing that when you're in the zone mixing or editing 10+ hour days. And if for some reason you're like, wait, I need to back off on or make a change on something (other than levels) unfreeze, then refreeze. This is just one of dozens of examples of saying FINE! I'll spend the $$$ to just through a CPU hogging verb all over the place and not care.

3) more powerful CPU aka the 16 core, means it will run cooler, so even if you're not mixing super heavy 700 tracks, you'll have a cooler and thus quieter computer, which will make all the difference year after year after year.

4) going with a 16 core (and hopefully there'll be a CPU upgrade in 5-7 years) to take the stock 3.2Ghz up to something like 4.2. Well then this $$$ will last 15 years? and you won't have to care or worry about buying another one at their new price of $25,000 for a base model by then.


5) my 5,1 is 2.46Hgz. I got it in 2013, I put in a RX 580 8gb GPU, SSD via Pcie and it is way faster than stock and planning on getting a 3.46Ghz CPU and it should last me another few years

So if the extra $1,000 isn't an issue, then 16 core will feel like driving a Dodge Viper but with V16, 1600 Horse power and 1600 pnds of torque. You be driving in town and on the freeways in 1st gear all day long and not ever hit red line, but if you need to feel the speed (no pun) drop it in 2nd or 3rd and hold on, that same feeling you picturing... Imagine having that while mixing or editing 1600 tracks with no care in the world

6) I think Apple should give me a % kickback for this awesome post
Old 23rd September 2020
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDDP View Post
I can tell you now, the ONLY reason I am (later down the road of course) of getting a 7,1 compared to my 5,1 is ONLY because of the ****73 errors (using too much CPU because of plug ins).
I have Waves Mercury/Abbey, almost everything from iZotope, and 100's of others, and some plugs are show stoppers, so end up having to freeze the track to free up the CPU, on feature length films, it takes a few min. It becomes VERY frustrating doing that when you're in the zone mixing or editing 10+ hour days. And if for some reason you're like, wait, I need to back off on or make a change on something (other than levels) unfreeze, then refreeze. This is just one of dozens of examples of saying FINE! I'll spend the $$$ to just through a CPU hogging verb all over the place and not care.
well, that should be the only reason to do an upgrade anyway ... awesome post!!

i have had a 12 core 5,1 3,46 for several years now, tried out the new imac 2020 i7 - nah - much less realworld difference than in a 'geekbench' benchmark, threads are really important, at least with Logic. But i'm doing music, not post.

So, I'd get at least a 16 core mac pro 7,1 - if the time comes and maybe some video people will be selling these off cheaper when a 'silicon apple' superfast machine arrives.
Old 23rd September 2020
  #12
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cowudders View Post
well, that should be the only reason to do an upgrade anyway ... awesome post!!

i have had a 12 core 5,1 3,46 for several years now, tried out the new imac 2020 i7 - nah - much less realworld difference than in a 'geekbench' benchmark, threads are really important, at least with Logic. But i'm doing music, not post.

So, I'd get at least a 16 core mac pro 7,1 - if the time comes and maybe some video people will be selling these off cheaper when a 'silicon apple' superfast machine arrives.

Thanks. Good tip on the video guys selling the 7,1 come the new gens, there might be hope.

But also note there's a difference in music vs. post. Where as in a sci-fi alien action film, Dialogue/ADR/BG's/Sound effects, Music (especially if the composer delivered separate stems of the instruments all in 5.1 mix can use 500+ tracks alone, not including all the subs, then with the splits requirements i.e. Netflix, Amazon Video, etc, that's another ton of tracks. And if it's an ATMOS mix? easily can go in to 1000+ tracks. And that is where these $$$ beasts of 16 cores come in handy. Plus those with Waves Mercury and other non DSP Plugs can't load any Plug ins on the HDX cards, it's all CPU, and there are some CPU hungry plugs out there.
Old 23rd September 2020
  #13
Lives for gear
 

I have had a 7,1 16 core, single GPUs for a few months on evaluation, unfortunately I had to give it back to the video dept. Our machines will come soonish.
I really didn’t have any unexpected issues at all in actual use. What really struck me though was that I really expected MORE. I mean export times are faster, by 30% or so. I have more power, I can load more tracks and plugins, but that was not really the limiting factor in the trash can either. For me it’s hi speed exports. And it just isn’t 7 years faster than the 2013 mid range trash can. For that kind of money I really was expecting more.
So in my workflow it seems like the old adage of clock speed is still the limiting factor for a faster workflow.
Don’t get me wrong it’s a very nice machine.
But I expected more.
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