Budget Ryzen vs. M1

Configure and optimize you computer for Audio.
1372 posts since 22 Sep, 2003 from New Delhi, India

Post Wed May 12, 2021 7:33 am

Hello all and I hope you all doing well!

Time flies, and I'm back posting here after almost a decade! The live scene kept me busy, and now that that's done, I'm in desperate need of a PC to get myself up to speed with the production side of things. I've got myself a S1 v5 licence, and am finding my laptop to be no capable. So... I now have a wife and she says ok, I can have a new machine. :),
But I'm a bit flummoxed with the current scenario.

I'm a secret AMD fanboy, and have been looking forward to a Ryzen build for years, but compared to the m1, I'm just not seeing the value. So i put together a parts list, and don't look at the prices, im in South Asia, and can say that the cost of the below and the Macbook Air are equal to me here. As much as I have never preferred OSX over Win10, or the whole apple garden scene, but ill use tools best suited for the job.
Around here I'm still finding Intel to be fetching a premium, so the i5/7 10th and 11 gen SKU's cost a substantial bit more (offset by cost of GPU needed with the AMD ?)

I'm targeting budget, cause anything will be a huge upgrade for me. These costs don't include a Win10 licence. Sample parts list.

PCPartPicker Part List: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/tgQdQD

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 3.6 GHz 6-Core Processor
CPU Cooler: Corsair H60 (2018) 57.2 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
Motherboard: Gigabyte B450M DS3H V2 Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3600 CL18 Memory
Storage: Crucial P1 500 GB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive
Storage: Crucial BX500 1 TB 2.5" Solid State Drive
Video Card: Asus GeForce GT 710 2 GB Video Card
Case: Fractal Design Define 7 Compact ATX Mid Tower Case
Power Supply: Corsair CV 450 W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply
Total: $954.36

What am I missing folks ? There is nothing that I'm reading that suggests this AMD build will outperform the M1 airbook, I also have no thunderbolt or AVB (which both can come handy in the live scene) which is baffling considering just the power consumption, not to mention 8gb ram.

Thanks a ton and appreciate all guidance. Be safe.

738 posts since 18 Apr, 2011

Post Wed May 12, 2021 8:03 am

Pretty close. M1 will have better single core, but AMD better multicore. But it's kind of an unfair comparison because the M1 is a laptop processor that will use waaay less energy. Hope to get one eventually because I'll soon be making in tunes in a converted attic room that gets hot quite easily.


Topic Starter

1372 posts since 22 Sep, 2003 from New Delhi, India

Post Wed May 12, 2021 8:15 am

Imagine a higher TDP M2 or whatever is in the grapewine.
I am also only seeing better multicore in some tests, not all. But i dont understand what relevance these benchmarks have to our use scenario.

A simpler question would be,

for audio production, considering compatibility is in place, for around 900USD, can I do meaningfully better than apple m1 ?

Thanks again all!

4473 posts since 22 Nov, 2012

Post Wed May 12, 2021 12:52 pm

im hearing ryzen tests better on gaming, but really, we are talking a blink of an eye here, fractions of a second. there isn't much development happening with traditional computing rn, and in fact.... there is a huge cpu shortage world wide that is beginning to start a panic. next gen processors are in the works, just havent been made "production ready" yet, and it's going to be a paradigm shift when it drops. so just slow down on the cpu focus rn. it's going to be about three hard years of sitting and spinning before cpus make the next jump honestly. go with price point and system resources used for the time being. in about three years everything will make a jump (for the worse if you are living and breathing in reality).

28431 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Wed May 12, 2021 12:57 pm

stillshaded wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 8:03 am
Pretty close. M1 will have better single core, but AMD better multicore. But it's kind of an unfair comparison because the M1 is a laptop processor that will use waaay less energy.
Exactly. And that's what those CPU's are developed for: Not for power, but for energy efficiency.

It's also a bad time to take desktop PC's price for a comparison. The prices are sky high at the moment. I'm pretty sure the mentioned hardware is at least 200 to 300 € too expensive. Compared to normal times.

As far as I Google'd, the Ryzen still kicks the M1's ass in almost every discipline though. Unsurprisingly. Again, desktop CPU vs. mobile CPU (and let's not forget that the Ryzen 5 3600 is a rather low to mid tier desktop CPU). E.g.: https://technical.city/de/cpu/Ryzen-5-3600-vs-Apple-M1
Last edited by chk071 on Wed May 12, 2021 2:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

1802 posts since 20 Oct, 2014

Post Wed May 12, 2021 1:01 pm

I would wait then one or two years, until the Apple silicon paltform has matured and prove itself. The entry product might be afforable currently, but take into account:

- very high costs for all the adapter and peripheral stuff
- not possible to upgrade at all
- extremely high repair costs (almost like buying it new)
- poor connectivity
- not yet too matured software

The PC surely will save you a lot of money over time, and then the performance isn't that worse. Also you can upgrade anytime. Once Apple would publish a device with real connectivity and a even better CPU, my view might change here, but actually I doubt Apple ever will add some USB3 ports etc to their devices, or provide SSD / HDD slots at all anymore, since you are supposed to buy expensive additional gear. Also closing the system more and more is not positive at all, too. I don't like Windows, but I have the feeling that it might be the only solution, once Apple ruined it. Just my 2 cents here ;)

2259 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Post Wed May 12, 2021 1:51 pm

I have been in similar circle for quite some time, was set on next budget desktop PC build with Ryzen 5 3600, than M1's came along and I realized same thing, that Ryzen build isn't cheaper or even more powerful (at least if I get all the components from established store), but I actually got decent i7 desktop PC that still serves my needs, so never was really in a hurry to pull the trigger on anything, so kept exploring and investigating further, when the time comes.

What interested me the most at first was M1 Mini, but than my wife got interested in Air, so I was torn between desktop and laptop, on other hand realized I don't have to actually buy every single component and can re-use SSD and PSU (which was expensive and amazing back than even), I shouldn't even buy everything at once or even buy in most established and expensive stores (which take pretty big cut), started hunting great deals in listings where smaller companies and individuals would offer components at really affordable prices and than next build was much cheaper investment.

Zen 3 processors are great for audio and seems like they sorted some bottlenecks, they can rival M1, thing is, there's no budget Zen 3 CPU, you need to start with Ryzen 5 5600X (here Ryzen 5 3600 is 170 euros, 5600X is 320 euros), only great thing with all that is that you don't need to start with that, but upgrade over time, start with Ryzen 5 3600 and on that same socket you can get anything up to 5950X, when prices drop by in few years.

Other thing to consider, Apple ecosystem and especially now with new Apple Silicon is pretty closed and small in offering, Apple don't let you use anything 32 bit, their updates even break current 64 bit plugins, that's good and bad, it's good because you really have handful of choices and just most professional developers can keep up, bad thing is, you don't have much choice.

Studio One runs better on Windows, it's a fact and check out threads over here, so if you are set on Studio One, take that in consideration.

Personally I'm leaning towards Ryzen budget build, Ryzen 5 3600 is enough for my needs and in few years I can update to 5600X or stronger, it will serve me great next 10-15 years, here's a thread where I touched little on budget Intel build, but prices in your country make it even less attractive.


128 posts since 24 Oct, 2006

Post Wed May 12, 2021 2:25 pm

Comparing a MacBook Air to a desktop makes me think you need to step back and figure out what you actually need, before thinking about performance. An M1 Mac Mini would obviously be more comparable and cheaper, if you don't need a laptop.

Regardless, I wouldn't buy an M1 machine, if you're using Studio One. I think Studio One will be one of the first native DAWs on Apple silicon, because Presonus seem to actually do their job, but I wouldn't want to wait.

In any case, using Logic is part of the whole Apple value proposition. No other DAW comes close, regarding value for money. Consider this...

M1 Mac Mini = $699
Logic = $199
Total = $898

If you were brand new to music production and starting from scratch, I don't think you could find a better deal than this. A Studio One Pro license is $400 on its own and doesn't have as much plugins or content as Logic. You would need to spend at least $100-200 more on plugins and samples. Live Suite would be $750 on its own, too. Consider where your $900 budget would go, in the Windows world.

Studio One Pro = $400
Third party plugins/samples = $100-200
Windows 10 license = $140
Money left for the actual PC = $160-260

Ableton Live Suite = $750
Windows 10 license = $140
Money left for the actual PC = $10

For the record, I own Logic, Live Suite and Studio One Pro. I don't have any personal DAW vendetta.


Topic Starter

1372 posts since 22 Sep, 2003 from New Delhi, India

Post Wed May 12, 2021 4:30 pm

hey all! Thank you again for your time, and please allow me to share my thoughts on some of the comments here. Bear with me this could get long.

Please appreciate I had zero intention of going apple after being on windows all my life, till I am confronting the cost of building a fairly modern but last gen machine, today, NOT including a half decent graphics adapter.
I am not a fanboy, I genuinely prefer Windows over OSX, find macs overpriced (intel) but will use what is needed for the job.

I would consider last gen Zen-2 Ryzen 5 with an entry level motherboard to be minimum acceptable from what i have researched. The most basic of the Ryzen 5 3600 (without hyperthreading) build would cost me as much as the M1 air. This would, from what I am reading, not be as powerful as the m1, it would give a lot if last gen USB ports.

I did first think bout the mini, but soon discovered around these parts the air is only a little more expensive. Around 68USD (additional storage/same RAM on the mini). So why not have the laptop. I needed a new laptop too anyways, my HP 8460p is no longer the rocking machine it was. And have a separate budget of bout 500USD for a used 7th or 8th gen laptop, was thinking maybe a thinkpad of a Dell latitude or the likes. Now the laptop would also double as the main computer.

I am already committed to S1, having purchased a heavily discounted licence last year. Currently I have no interest in working on a mac only platform, I still have a very functional i7 Sandybridge machine in a temp workplace. But it would be great to have the Logic option.

When I started looking late last week, i had considered a budget of USD500 capable of getting me a decent machine. This is clearly not the case. So 900 is already way past what i had planned for. And for 900 I aint getting much on the x86 platform. Can i do a build at par or better than the m1 for under a grand ? Maybe, but with too many compromises. Cheap case, cheap PSU, SSD only etc... But I would still need a half decent Graphics adapter, and I refuse to buy a GT710 in 2021 when built in graphics on the Ryzen(laptop) and intel chips do much better!

Studio one may run a little better on windows. Examples on youtube suggest otherwise when tested on similar costing machines I think, and on an emulated later. Besides we know presonus is committed to native m1 support and already have official support for using studio one via the transformation layer. From what i am seeing, running S1, the 3600 running S1 natively will not match the m1 with S1 on an emulated layer, please tell me im wrong.
Same with examples of ppl runnin AB test with a Video NLE, I believe DaVinci, the m1 just was a much better experience in every way over equally or over priced desktop ryzen build.

The only legacy support i need is for hardware. I dont need any software legacy support 32bit plugs etc. And on the hardware side of things m1 has it covered with Firewire (which I need) and future proofs with Thunderbolt. It even offers AVB endpoint functionality which I have stayed away from so far cause the cost of entry was a mac. (windows AVB solutions tend to cost as much as a mac, check out the RME AVB offerings). AVB could be important if the touring scene starts again...
My biggest gripe on the Windows ecosystem has been the extremely dismissal adoption of Thunderbolt. Its 2021 and 900USD does not even get me the latest USB gen x.x.x. 20GB/s USB on an x86 build. I dont need or want RGB!

The apple ecosystem. Ive given this some thought. Ill be purchasing thunderbolt dongles, these will be cross compatible. Hubs/dongles are here to stay in the laptop world im afraid. Im ok with it. It is an additional but inevitable expense. Only 2 thunderbolt ports is a bother. Ill need to understand how thunderbolt/usb4 works and if I can have multiple devices including USB HDD's on the same USB4 port.
I will be using S1 as my DAW and a variety of live software, all with cross platform compatibility, and most I know committed or already have native m1 support. So I dont have additional purchases, or am I missing something ?

I am very wary of repairs. I am only hopeful that with the much simplified ARM architecture, failures will be low. I mean its essentially an iPhone with a different OS (the new iPad also), and iPhones I believe are fairly sturdy ? The keyboard situation has been sorted i too believe.

Upgrades. Im my 20 years of building my own PC's, my first build was Pentium II in 1999 :), I have never ever upgraded more than storage. Reason is simple.
My last build was in 2013 or 14 i think. I have with me an Intel DX79TO LGA2011 motherboard, which can support upto an i7 3970X, I have been looking for years, and never found any upgrade path from the 3820 currently installed at a reasonable price. Same goes with that generation of RAM. So... I dont believe 3 years from now I will find a Zen3 Ryzen 7 AM4 chip for cheap. IIRC AMD is moving to AM5 soon.

What a horrible time to need a production PC, im afraid im gonna fall short either which way. M1 is first gen brand new, and intel/AMD definitely cannot sustain this with X86. I also hear the m1 is easily scalable, and upgrades can be expected this year.. We know its a mac so all audio folks will quickly code for native support.

Within a under 1000USD budget, local prices, I do not see a win for X86 here. If someone can say with confidence that a Ryzen 3600 will comfortably outclass the m1 I will still go for it. But it seems not to be.. For 500USD, maybe I can get something clever used ? Will start looking into it. Damn.

Im gonna have to swallow so many bitter pills. hehe...

2259 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Post Wed May 12, 2021 5:12 pm

As you said, it's not the best time right now to pull the trigger, M1X is around the corner, AM5, Intel is fighting back and will go with new socket too, AMD Zen 3 actually rivals both M1/11th Intel, difference isn't that big and one can't go wrong with either for desktop build... already posted this somewhere, but M1 have similar score in Logic benchmark as Ryzen 5 3600 hackintosh someone made, yes, M1 have better single core performance than that Zen 2, but maybe in real world use you probably wouldn't even notice, especially if you aren't going for lowest stable latency which are kinda bottleneck for Zen 2.

About Studio One performance, it's about bugs that doesn't occur on other OS, stability issues and all that.


Topic Starter

1372 posts since 22 Sep, 2003 from New Delhi, India

Post Wed May 12, 2021 5:30 pm

Thanks passing by. All very valid points. Yes zen3 will outperform the M1, but it is way too expensive, and none of it solves the GPU issues. There simply are none.
Skirt around the GPU by going embedded with Intel. 10th gen is more expensive than zen3 here.

2259 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Post Wed May 12, 2021 6:11 pm

It's crazy circle, I have been in it since Zen 2 came out, luckily for me I don't really need new machine (if I'm being perfectly honest with you and myself) and I have cheap GPU (which doesn't have high DPC latency issues) lying around that is actually overkill for running my Apple Cinema 20" (perfect screen for my needs), also everything I could get would be such an huge upgrade over my i7-3770, Ryzen 5 3600, Intel i5-11400F or M1 Mini... for me cheapest solution is Ryzen one for less than 400 bucks, new case (25 bucks), mobo (90 bucks), CPU (170 bucks) and RAM (80 bucks), can get more RAM over time if I need it (don't, those 16Gb is actually overkill for me), faster and bigger SSD (this one is fast and big enough for my needs), CPU (can't reach the limit of this one even), it's not big expense like that opposed to shelling out whole sum for all new parts in cash or paying installments in store that takes big cut or interest on bank loan, but YMMV and all that.

398 posts since 28 Jul, 2006

Post Wed May 12, 2021 7:13 pm

Nobody spends 400 on Studio One. I think ive seen it on sale twice in the past 2 months. I think it might be on sale again right now

128 posts since 24 Oct, 2006

Post Wed May 12, 2021 7:52 pm

Studio One definitely has had bugs on Mac that weren't on Windows. That's just the reality of most of their user base being on Windows. It also did have performance issues on Mac, in the past. None of this was annoying enough for me to stop using it or stop using a Mac. However, I'm not going to pretend it was perfect.

28431 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Thu May 13, 2021 1:34 am

Sidhu wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 4:30 pm
Please appreciate I had zero intention of going apple after being on windows all my life
I appreciate it. :hihi:
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

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