Is the I9 9900K overkill for music production?

Configure and optimize you computer for Audio.
Straight2Vinyl
KVRist
195 posts since 10 Mar, 2017

Post Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:22 pm

Tomorrow the i9 9900k processor comes out. It's definitely a beast on paper and given all data that has been collected in the past by dawbench regarding intel processors, it will likely be the new king for computer music heads. However, this thing is being priced awfully high right now. For 2 more cores than the 8700k, is it worth it? Is there any music software that doesn't run easily already on the previous generation of processors?
My own PC has bit the bullet it seems, so I may be due for a major upgrade, but the i9 9900k is priced at $500 US (669 CAD for me) and the 8700k is $370 US.
Also priced in between the two is the less popular 8086k which of course is still 6 core, but provides a faster base speed.

So I guess the question is, do music producers/composers/engineers really need an i9 9900k and will they any time in the near future? Or is this simply overkill?

3ee
KVRAF
3656 posts since 8 Mar, 2006

Re: Is the I9 9900K overkill for music production?

Post Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:49 pm

It really depends on what you do.. but from what I learned so far... CPUs are NEVER 'enough'! (I currently have the 8700K)
+ they must be coupled with a great ASIO driver/interface to get the most of it.

jdnz
KVRian
728 posts since 3 Oct, 2011 from Christchurch, New Zealand

Re: Is the I9 9900K overkill for music production?

Post Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:16 pm

If you want to really chase lots of cores forget the i7/i9 line - you want a big xeon and a multi-cpu board

It's relatively asy to get a system with 56 cores with a 2-cpu board (28 cores per xeon platinum cpu) - needless to say not a cheap option though

egbert
KVRAF
3956 posts since 21 Oct, 2001 from my bolthole in the south pacific

Re: Is the I9 9900K overkill for music production?

Post Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:25 pm

Multi CPU means NUMA - which has some adverse implications for low latency performance. ie the same sorts of issues as the threadripper CPUs but latencies would be greater between CPUs in different sockets (Dual Xeon setup) than between different dies in the same CPU (Threadripper).

Straight2Vinyl
KVRist
195 posts since 10 Mar, 2017

Re: Is the I9 9900K overkill for music production?

Post Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:21 pm

3ee wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:49 pm
It really depends on what you do.. but from what I learned so far... CPUs are NEVER 'enough'! (I currently have the 8700K)
+ they must be coupled with a great ASIO driver/interface to get the most of it.
Indeed. In my own personal case I'll be grabbing more of s budget interface for the next year or so. When it's time for performance maybe a Presonus Quantum.

How have you found the 8700k so far? My old pc was enough for most things, but iris 2 especially brought it to its knees in seconds. Reaktor didn't work great either.

Straight2Vinyl
KVRist
195 posts since 10 Mar, 2017

Re: Is the I9 9900K overkill for music production?

Post Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:22 pm

jdnz wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:16 pm
If you want to really chase lots of cores forget the i7/i9 line - you want a big xeon and a multi-cpu board

It's relatively asy to get a system with 56 cores with a 2-cpu board (28 cores per xeon platinum cpu) - needless to say not a cheap option though
Hasn't all the available research, sparse though it may be, already said the xeon is bad at low latency audio performance? Why would anyone want that?

lfm
KVRAF
4864 posts since 22 Jan, 2005 from Sweden

Re: Is the I9 9900K overkill for music production?

Post Fri Oct 19, 2018 12:30 am

Check some general benchmarks here:
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/

As said already - it's more about how drivers are written.
Don't know where all this focus on cpu and audio come from.

A computer switch tasks and threads all the time, called context switches.
More cores allow for less overhead between switching context - it's not multiplying performance.
But still every core run multiple threads and share the same memory to be accessed with other cores.
Where large amounts of data to be transferred, there are also special uses of cores to divide load on many cores - but this is very specific loops you can mark for this in code, where this is suitable.

I think you could say that Xeon is focused on server applications with loads of users getting faster access to the data they need. But it hardly crackles earlier because of that - since audio driver probably is just a few threads anyway(often running realtime priority, to get time slices more often). But you probably don't get good moneys worth since not that many things need to be handled by a single user doing daw work. If many plugins run in their own threads, you probably can handle larger projects before it crackles. But if it crackles you just freeze some tracks/instruments and done. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.

AcrossTheSky
KVRist
86 posts since 3 Jul, 2016

Re: Is the I9 9900K overkill for music production?

Post Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:01 am

so....are you upgrading?? what are you using?

to cut it short I'd say:

go for best CPU MEMORY and Motherboard that will do best to make it all work 100%
this cpu i9 9900K only supports 2 chanels 64GB max - QUAD is way better so you'd need 2x32gb
also good DDR4-2666 type - the nr of cores is not so important BUT some DAWs VSTs will benefit from that..also obviously it will depend on what you do. High CPU frequency is great as well as large (16 MB) SmartCache ...surprised not to see the Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 3 there as it would further help
single core when there is demand for it...etc..

the whole CPU game changes all the time - it makes you buy not just the cpu but the whole system needs upgrading - thats the way Apple... Intell.. etc make their money..

dont waste it too quickly on the shiny stuff that comes so often..;-)

or time to play the lottery ...today ...I guess.. :dog:

User avatar
VariKusBrainZ
KVRAF
8738 posts since 16 Dec, 2002

Re: Is the I9 9900K overkill for music production?

Post Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:47 am

Straight2Vinyl wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:22 pm
but the i9 9900k is priced at $500 US (669 CAD for me)
You think thats expensive for a newly released model CPU :o

3ee
KVRAF
3656 posts since 8 Mar, 2006

Re: Is the I9 9900K overkill for music production?

Post Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:34 am

Straight2Vinyl wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:21 pm
3ee wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:49 pm
It really depends on what you do.. but from what I learned so far... CPUs are NEVER 'enough'! (I currently have the 8700K)
+ they must be coupled with a great ASIO driver/interface to get the most of it.
Indeed. In my own personal case I'll be grabbing more of s budget interface for the next year or so. When it's time for performance maybe a Presonus Quantum.

How have you found the 8700k so far? My old pc was enough for most things, but iris 2 especially brought it to its knees in seconds. Reaktor didn't work great either.
The 8700k seems great so far! ... I'm currently using it with Audient iD4 (v4 drivers) but has mediocre performance drivers, they are not bad but nothing "outstanding" speed/CPU wise. I'm eyeing something like a RME Babyface Pro or higher

Straight2Vinyl
KVRist
195 posts since 10 Mar, 2017

Re: Is the I9 9900K overkill for music production?

Post Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:40 pm

AcrossTheSky wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:01 am
so....are you upgrading?? what are you using?

to cut it short I'd say:

go for best CPU MEMORY and Motherboard that will do best to make it all work 100%
this cpu i9 9900K only supports 2 chanels 64GB max - QUAD is way better so you'd need 2x32gb
also good DDR4-2666 type - the nr of cores is not so important BUT some DAWs VSTs will benefit from that..also obviously it will depend on what you do. High CPU frequency is great as well as large (16 MB) SmartCache ...surprised not to see the Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 3 there as it would further help
single core when there is demand for it...etc..

the whole CPU game changes all the time - it makes you buy not just the cpu but the whole system needs upgrading - thats the way Apple... Intell.. etc make their money..

dont waste it too quickly on the shiny stuff that comes so often..;-)

or time to play the lottery ...today ...I guess.. :dog:
I'm still trying to vet my old pc up and working again but if no dice I'll be getting a new machine.
I've been using an AMD Athlon lol quad core 2.6 or 2.7ghz. 16gb ram ddr3.
I'm actually leaning toward the 8700k due to the price difference but considering the 9900k is apparently out of stock EVERYWHERE!lol it may not be up to me. I may grant a z390 motherboard though in case I find for some reason I do need more power. Also the USB 3.1 ports cant be a bad thing.
Most of my project are no more than 16 tracks with a lot of native instruments stuff being used and also sampling vinyl and using s bunch of vsts. Daw is reaper.
My biggest issue with my old system was the single core performance I think, as it simply buckled under the weight of some reaktor ensembles and many of the iris 2 presets.
It'll be a while before I can upgrade to a pci or thunderbolt audio interface, so I'll have to make sure with the behringer 404 most likely.

I'm not sure what turbo boost you think is lacking in the 9900k. It's got that by the ton from all reports I've seen. Up to 5.0ghz on all 8 cores.

User avatar
BONES
GRRRRRRR!
7561 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Re: Is the I9 9900K overkill for music production?

Post Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:09 pm

3ee wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:49 pm
It really depends on what you do.. but from what I learned so far... CPUs are NEVER 'enough'! (I currently have the 8700K)
+ they must be coupled with a great ASIO driver/interface to get the most of it.
I dunno, I don't even bother with i7s any more. Until about three months ago, I was working on an i5 4200 U without any problems at all, after moving from a quad-core i7 the year before. I had expected to have to freeze tracks and/or strip parts out to get things to work but every song we have played fine on it.

Now I've got an i5 7200U and I rarely see my CPU go over 50%, even with the latency down to 2ms. I tend to run with around 8ms, though, which is plenty low enough and gives me a little more confidence in reliability on stage. I can't see myself ever bothering with a top-of-the-line set-up again, it's just not necessary any more, although I'd probably use Korg's ARP Odyssey a bit more if it wasn't such a CPU hog.
NOVAkILL 3.0 : Acer Switch5 (Core i5, 8GB RAM, Win10), Yamaha AG06, Orion 64 bit, Roli Seaboard Rise 25, Ultranova, Rocket, Pulse 2, Analog Keys, MicroMonsta, Uno.

Straight2Vinyl
KVRist
195 posts since 10 Mar, 2017

Re: Is the I9 9900K overkill for music production?

Post Fri Oct 19, 2018 5:01 pm

BONES wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:09 pm
3ee wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:49 pm
It really depends on what you do.. but from what I learned so far... CPUs are NEVER 'enough'! (I currently have the 8700K)
+ they must be coupled with a great ASIO driver/interface to get the most of it.
I dunno, I don't even bother with i7s any more. Until about three months ago, I was working on an i5 4200 U without any problems at all, after moving from a quad-core i7 the year before. I had expected to have to freeze tracks and/or strip parts out to get things to work but every song we have played fine on it.

Now I've got an i5 7200U and I rarely see my CPU go over 50%, even with the latency down to 2ms. I tend to run with around 8ms, though, which is plenty low enough and gives me a little more confidence in reliability on stage. I can't see myself ever bothering with a top-of-the-line set-up again, it's just not necessary any more, although I'd probably use Korg's ARP Odyssey a bit more if it wasn't such a CPU hog.
What's the rest of your system like? Any vst instruments or effects struggling?

User avatar
nIGhT-SoN
KVRist
479 posts since 19 Jan, 2008

Re: Is the I9 9900K overkill for music production?

Post Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:28 pm

If money is a problem, I think AMD offers better price/performance ratio. Also, 9900k and 9700k are quite hot chips and you'll also need a cooler cause there is no stock one, unlike AMD's 2700x. Also you could run 2700x with a B450 board and save a lot of money. You might think that B450 is a mainstream board and might not be that good, but things have evolved and even the entry level boards are pretty good. You go for x470 boards only if you are into sli, super overclocking and other stuff like that.

Another suggestion might be to wait till spring, AMD will announce Ryzen 2 (3000 series) which will be on 7nm node. Right now Intel chips are overpriced because of the whole manufacturing problems and low supply.

I'm running the first generation Ryzen 1700 and haven't had any problems with latency, I can go as low as 2-3ms with Steinberg UR22 MKII, though I usually run at 6-7ms cause I don't feel the difference and I don't like to worry about increasing latency later. PS. Haven't managed to max it out yet, I got it to like 50% and I use mostly synths (Omnisphere 2, Serum, Spire etc).

User avatar
BONES
GRRRRRRR!
7561 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Re: Is the I9 9900K overkill for music production?

Post Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:18 am

Straight2Vinyl wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 5:01 pm
What's the rest of your system like? Any vst instruments or effects struggling?
It's an Acer Switch 5, as per my signature. When I first switched from hardware to software in 1999, CPU usage was a monumentally important thing but for the last 5-10 years it just hasn't mattered so much. Sure, there are still some real CPU hogs around but when you can buy an instrument of the quality of DUNE 2, which only uses 2% CPU per voice, even on patches with dozens of oscillators running at the same time, you have to wonder if those CPU hogs are worth the effort.

To be clear, I have a bit of hardware but we only use that live, all our recording is done completely ITB.
NOVAkILL 3.0 : Acer Switch5 (Core i5, 8GB RAM, Win10), Yamaha AG06, Orion 64 bit, Roli Seaboard Rise 25, Ultranova, Rocket, Pulse 2, Analog Keys, MicroMonsta, Uno.

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