Building a custom power PC - processor question

Configure and optimize you computer for Audio.
steffeeH
KVRist
275 posts since 22 Sep, 2013

Post Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:17 am

So I'm going to purchase computer parts and build together my own desktop power PC. Or well, I don't know if it could be considered a power PC to you... but for me it is ;)
Anyway, I have a budget of $2000, and while I've pretty much decided the most parts that I'll buy, I'm very, very unsure regarding the CPU.

I want a powerful CPU, as I'm tired of the current number of buffer underruns that I have, as well as the thermal throttling. Surely they will probably always happen, but I want way better performance.
I have good friends that knows a lot about hardware, that can help me picking the right processor - but they're no music producers, so they don't know what type of processor I need for my computer.

You who know computers and also know music production - what is more important if you're dealing with heavy MIDI-data and somewhat heavy plugins, an enough number of cores and threads, or faster processor speed?
I mean the more cores you have the slower the processor speed you generally have per core if both are within the same price range, but some programs prioritize the number of processor cores rather than the processor speed.
So to state a quick exaple should I pick a quadcore processor with 4 gHz per core, or a sixcore processor with 3 gHz per core?

And what about DDR3 vs. DDR4 in the music creation world? Some processors that I've taken a look at require a DDR4 motherboard, but is it really worth it, or can I stick with a DDR3 system?
The reason why I'm asking about DDR4 vs DDR3 is because for the processor itself I've set a budget of $580 or so, but pretty much the only processors falling within that price range that I've found are DDR4, and if I want to stick to DDR3 I'm pretty much falling into $440 or so. But perhaps the others are only more expensive because they're DDR4? Meaning I migt as well cut my budget and buy a cheaper DDR3-processor? Or will I lose performance?


Some info and background about my current setup that may be helpful:
DAW: FL Studio 12
Computer: Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E530 3259-MAG NZQMAMS (Laptop) with Windows 10 64-bit
Other gear: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 (using built-in Focusrite ASIO driver)
Production habits: I don't use much loops, but more synth instances with heavy MIDI usage. The synths I use (such as Massive and Serum) themselves doesn't have the best polyphony settings/optimization and consume more CPU than the stock synths. And for more important synths I stack maybe 4 layers sometimes, each layer may be playing 5 notes or so at the same time, with maybe a standard unison with 8 voices. So sometimes I may end up with a total polyphony of 160 or so, and then my current computer goes crazy and I have to freeze the audio.

Be humble, I may be experienced with using computers, but I'm a bit unexperienced in this area :)

Thanks in advance!

Kaine
KVRAF
1928 posts since 4 Nov, 2004 from Manchester

Re: Building a custom power PC - processor question

Post Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:53 am

This will help answer a few of those questions at least as far as the differences in performance between the 5820 and 6700k. The 6700K isn't on there as it came out a few months later, but it benches around the same lavel as the 4970K which is on there, so use it to compare.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul15/a ... e-0715.htm

I reckon all desktop systems will be DDR4 by the end of the year (current gen Intel is currently mostly already there) and I suspect at the rate we're going and DDR 3 and DDR4 are slowly drifting towards each other price wise, but admittedly the's still a bit of a gap right now and really the choice here is dicatated by your choice of CPU.

theEmbark
KVRian
512 posts since 4 Dec, 2015

Re: Building a custom power PC - processor question

Post Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:11 am

@steffeeH - I have built many custom PC's especially for audio production. What other parts are you using? Because if you already have aa motherboard you are going to be tied down to the type of socket it has. If you haven't picked out or bought other parts yet you really should start with the motherboard and the CPU as this is where you want to spend the bulk of your money. Everything else you can upgrade if you need to down the road. Having said that with a $2000 budget you shouldn't need to upgrade for a long long time.

If you haven't already picked a motherboard look for one with a 1151 socket. This with an intel i5820k should be perfect for audio. The trick is finding a good balance between cores and RAM the 5820 is plenty fast and provided 6 cores to spread your processing power. This will also answer your RAM question because with this CPU you have to run DDR4 RAM. I'd also suggest a minimum of 16gb of RAM. It doesn't sound like you NEED 32gb with what you are doing but if you want it that's an easy upgrade. What else are you doing on this computer? Because honestly I think you could build a power house of a PC with less than $2000. Also can you confirm what OS you want to run?

I'm short on time now but will post back a bit later.

Best regards,
Kevin
Win 7 | Dual Xeon x5680 | 48 GB RAM | Saffire Pro 40 | Yamaha HS50 monitors |Cubase 8.5 Pro|
Image
Kevin DiGennaro

Scotty
KVRAF
2015 posts since 23 Dec, 2002

Re: Building a custom power PC - processor question

Post Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:41 am

For a moment there I thought you were going to try to make an OS 9 Mac clone.... formally powered by Motorola Power PC processors.... back in the day.

theEmbark
KVRian
512 posts since 4 Dec, 2015

Re: Building a custom power PC - processor question

Post Thu Jan 14, 2016 1:08 pm

Just for reference here's a build I'm getting ready to put together that comes close to that price range. It could easily fit the price range if you are only using it for audio.

http://pcpartpicker.com/user/theembark/saved/RwPCmG
Win 7 | Dual Xeon x5680 | 48 GB RAM | Saffire Pro 40 | Yamaha HS50 monitors |Cubase 8.5 Pro|
Image
Kevin DiGennaro

incubus
Banned
5378 posts since 7 May, 2015

Re: Building a custom power PC - processor question

Post Sat Jan 16, 2016 2:48 pm

Kaine wrote:This will help answer a few of those questions at least as far as the differences in performance between the 5820 and 6700k. The 6700K isn't on there as it came out a few months later, but it benches around the same lavel as the 4970K which is on there, so use it to compare.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul15/a ... e-0715.htm

I reckon all desktop systems will be DDR4 by the end of the year (current gen Intel is currently mostly already there) and I suspect at the rate we're going and DDR 3 and DDR4 are slowly drifting towards each other price wise, but admittedly the's still a bit of a gap right now and really the choice here is dicatated by your choice of CPU.
Man, I can't read that graph :lol: (magnified it's very poor res so that doesn't help)

Would like to know what they say for someone that can read it.

I gave up on trying to go full retard and making a monstrosity machine than I have because real world performance is not guaranteed. I'm 4770k (and it's mildly OC'ed) and it's fine (have great cooling) but not sure about this MOBO (and it's just too expensive to have to get ram, the board AND another OEM doze)

@theEmbark: That's a ton of dough. I over spent on this computer two years ago (about 1500) but SSD was more expensive back then I think. BTW, DO NOT get the TP link card!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TERRIBLE drivers. Look into linksys or whatever ADK is recommending for a wifi.

theEmbark
KVRian
512 posts since 4 Dec, 2015

Re: Building a custom power PC - processor question

Post Sat Jan 16, 2016 2:57 pm

@incubus - it is a lot of money but a good portion is going into GPU and hard drives. In fact also a $1000. Some of these drives I already own. This build is to replace my old work computer so it's a bit over kill. That being said the OP said the budget is $2000. As I stated he/she can probably spend less depending on needs and wants.

The TP card was picked because it works out of the box with Mac OS. I am not running Windows on this build.

I'm on my phone but when I get to my laptop later I'd be happy to pull some data for you guys on differences in CPUs

Best regards,
Kevin
Win 7 | Dual Xeon x5680 | 48 GB RAM | Saffire Pro 40 | Yamaha HS50 monitors |Cubase 8.5 Pro|
Image
Kevin DiGennaro

incubus
Banned
5378 posts since 7 May, 2015

Re: Building a custom power PC - processor question

Post Sat Jan 16, 2016 3:15 pm

Oh, well hope it works out. My TP link card was nothing but trouble.

theEmbark
KVRian
512 posts since 4 Dec, 2015

Re: Building a custom power PC - processor question

Post Sat Jan 16, 2016 3:16 pm

What OS were you running?

edit: Here's a pretty good showdown between the 5820 and 6700 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFNhlq2b518

Here's another video specifically about audio production and building a computer for it. Although the video isn't that great but see around 5 mins to see information/sample of CPU usage across cores in audio production. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wer-AwGCD2o

Hope it helps,
Kevin
Win 7 | Dual Xeon x5680 | 48 GB RAM | Saffire Pro 40 | Yamaha HS50 monitors |Cubase 8.5 Pro|
Image
Kevin DiGennaro

incubus
Banned
5378 posts since 7 May, 2015

Re: Building a custom power PC - processor question

Post Sun Jan 17, 2016 8:39 pm

@OS: win7

steffeeH
KVRist
275 posts since 22 Sep, 2013

Re: Building a custom power PC - processor question

Post Mon Jan 18, 2016 12:26 am

theEmbark wrote:@steffeeH - I have built many custom PC's especially for audio production. What other parts are you using? Because if you already have aa motherboard you are going to be tied down to the type of socket it has. If you haven't picked out or bought other parts yet you really should start with the motherboard and the CPU as this is where you want to spend the bulk of your money. Everything else you can upgrade if you need to down the road. Having said that with a $2000 budget you shouldn't need to upgrade for a long long time.

If you haven't already picked a motherboard look for one with a 1151 socket. This with an intel i5820k should be perfect for audio. The trick is finding a good balance between cores and RAM the 5820 is plenty fast and provided 6 cores to spread your processing power. This will also answer your RAM question because with this CPU you have to run DDR4 RAM. I'd also suggest a minimum of 16gb of RAM. It doesn't sound like you NEED 32gb with what you are doing but if you want it that's an easy upgrade. What else are you doing on this computer? Because honestly I think you could build a power house of a PC with less than $2000. Also can you confirm what OS you want to run?

I'm short on time now but will post back a bit later.

Best regards,
Kevin

Sorry I didn't see your reply until now.

Thanks for the suggestion with the motherboard + CPU. I've decided to go with the 5820k CPU, and I'll overclock it to to 4 GHz or so. I'll also buy a better fan so I have better cooling on the CPU. With this I'll go with the motherboard Asus X99-A. There's a nice bundle deal that I'll get with the motherboard + CPU:
http://www.webhallen.com/se-sv/datorkom ... ndations_2

For this I'll have 16 GB of RAM, 3000 MHz, Corsair Vengeance. I probably only need 16 GB as I'm not using that many stems and loops, but more raw data with MIDI and synths etc.

For graphics I'll go with the Geforce GTX 970.
For me I'm happy with 1 TB of space, as I already have an external 1 TB drive that's far from full. But I'll also add a small but fast SSD of 30 GB or so just to install the system on, so the computer starts fast and such.

I'm gonna use Windows Vista Home Premium.... nah kidding ;) I'll go with the Windows 10 Home.
While this computer is mostly aimed towards MIDI-heavy music production, I also love to do some gaming, so that's why I go with the GTX 970. I know it may not be 100 % suitable for the setup as it's a gaming card and not a multimedia card, but it should still be able to deliver quite well. And I'd rather sacrifice a bit on the production-side with the graphocs card if that means wonderful gaming quality :)
I'm just a home producer who wants a major computer upgrade, so I'm not the one who think he needs a computer for nothing but music production only.

Kaine
KVRAF
1928 posts since 4 Nov, 2004 from Manchester

Re: Building a custom power PC - processor question

Post Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:40 am

incubus wrote: Man, I can't read that graph :lol: (magnified it's very poor res so that doesn't help)
Top of the article has a download link to the full sized graph.

http://dt7v1i9vyp3mf.cloudfront.net/ass ... u6Qn92BgGM

You should be able to zoom on that one.
theEmbark wrote: If you haven't already picked a motherboard look for one with a 1151 socket. This with an intel i5820k should be perfect for audio.
Won't work, the CPU requires a 2011-v3 chipset based board to work.

PapaLazarou
KVRist
112 posts since 2 Dec, 2015

Re: Building a custom power PC - processor question

Post Mon Jan 18, 2016 6:26 am

steffeeH wrote: Sorry I didn't see your reply until now.

Thanks for the suggestion with the motherboard + CPU. I've decided to go with the 5820k CPU, and I'll overclock it to to 4 GHz or so. I'll also buy a better fan so I have better cooling on the CPU. With this I'll go with the motherboard Asus X99-A. There's a nice bundle deal that I'll get with the motherboard + CPU:
<span class="skimlinks-unlinked">http://www.webhallen.com/se-sv/datorkom ... ns_2</span>

For this I'll have 16 GB of RAM, 3000 MHz, Corsair Vengeance. I probably only need 16 GB as I'm not using that many stems and loops, but more raw data with MIDI and synths etc.

For graphics I'll go with the Geforce GTX 970.
For me I'm happy with 1 TB of space, as I already have an external 1 TB drive that's far from full. But I'll also add a small but fast SSD of 30 GB or so just to install the system on, so the computer starts fast and such.

I'm gonna use Windows Vista Home Premium.... nah kidding ;) I'll go with the Windows 10 Home.
While this computer is mostly aimed towards MIDI-heavy music production, I also love to do some gaming, so that's why I go with the GTX 970. I know it may not be 100 % suitable for the setup as it's a gaming card and not a multimedia card, but it should still be able to deliver quite well. And I'd rather sacrifice a bit on the production-side with the graphocs card if that means wonderful gaming quality :)
I'm just a home producer who wants a major computer upgrade, so I'm not the one who think he needs a computer for nothing but music production only.
The only bit I can see being an issue is the 30 Gb SSD. You could run Linux fine off such a drive, but it might prove to be a headache as Windows updates get installed and the install grows - running out of space on your system drive is no fun, and it would happen quickly. On my Windows 10 system the C:\Windows folder alone currently shows nearly 30Gb used... The smallest I would consider would be 120 Gb, and they can be quite cheap now e.g. http://pcpartpicker.com/part/sandisk-in ... sda120gg25

steffeeH
KVRist
275 posts since 22 Sep, 2013

Re: Building a custom power PC - processor question

Post Mon Jan 18, 2016 7:41 am

PapaLazarou wrote:
steffeeH wrote: Sorry I didn't see your reply until now.

Thanks for the suggestion with the motherboard + CPU. I've decided to go with the 5820k CPU, and I'll overclock it to to 4 GHz or so. I'll also buy a better fan so I have better cooling on the CPU. With this I'll go with the motherboard Asus X99-A. There's a nice bundle deal that I'll get with the motherboard + CPU:
<span class="skimlinks-unlinked">http://www.webhallen.com/se-sv/datorkom ... ns_2</span>

For this I'll have 16 GB of RAM, 3000 MHz, Corsair Vengeance. I probably only need 16 GB as I'm not using that many stems and loops, but more raw data with MIDI and synths etc.

For graphics I'll go with the Geforce GTX 970.
For me I'm happy with 1 TB of space, as I already have an external 1 TB drive that's far from full. But I'll also add a small but fast SSD of 30 GB or so just to install the system on, so the computer starts fast and such.

I'm gonna use Windows Vista Home Premium.... nah kidding ;) I'll go with the Windows 10 Home.
While this computer is mostly aimed towards MIDI-heavy music production, I also love to do some gaming, so that's why I go with the GTX 970. I know it may not be 100 % suitable for the setup as it's a gaming card and not a multimedia card, but it should still be able to deliver quite well. And I'd rather sacrifice a bit on the production-side with the graphocs card if that means wonderful gaming quality :)
I'm just a home producer who wants a major computer upgrade, so I'm not the one who think he needs a computer for nothing but music production only.
The only bit I can see being an issue is the 30 Gb SSD. You could run Linux fine off such a drive, but it might prove to be a headache as Windows updates get installed and the install grows - running out of space on your system drive is no fun, and it would happen quickly. On my Windows 10 system the C:\Windows folder alone currently shows nearly 30Gb used... The smallest I would consider would be 120 Gb, and they can be quite cheap now e.g. http://pcpartpicker.com/part/sandisk-in ... sda120gg25
That is a possible issue, however I do right now have the same feature inside my laptop running Windows 10 Home, and it's only 16 GB.
But thanks for highlighting it, I'll look into this in more detail. The only thing is that cheaper SSD's may be slower, sometimes even to a degree where you pretty much can skip it completely and install the system on the disc instead. If I'm gonna go with this setup, to install the system on an SSD, then the SSD must be good enough so it's worth it. So if possible, I'd rather go with as smaller but faster SSD than a larger but slower one.

theEmbark
KVRian
512 posts since 4 Dec, 2015

Re: Building a custom power PC - processor question

Post Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:19 am

Thanks for the correction. I must have had the 6700 on my mind.

I agree with the concern about the SSD. I personally would pick up one of these http://m.newegg.com/Product/index?itemnumber=20-147-372. You could get a 120gb drive but the piece difference between that and the 250 is negligible.

The other thing I see is the 3000 speed RAM. I've seen a lot of bench marks comparing ddr4 ram speeds and just haven't seen that much of a difference. In the future that may change but right now I'd personally go for a slightly slower speed and get 32gb of ram. I think you will see a larger difference in performance.
Win 7 | Dual Xeon x5680 | 48 GB RAM | Saffire Pro 40 | Yamaha HS50 monitors |Cubase 8.5 Pro|
Image
Kevin DiGennaro

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