Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Opteron vs. C2D for Audio Production.

Last response: in CPUs
Share

For Audio/Music Production; Intel or AMD?

Total: 29 votes

  • AMD
  • 35 %
  • Intel
  • 66 %
March 31, 2007 10:28:35 PM

Hi,
I'm planning on building a new system for my home studio; And concidering my budget i have two main options.
Either ill will go with a E6600 system with an evga mobo.
Or a Dual : AMD Opteron 2210 dual core cpu system on a Tyan Board (S2927A2NR).
Now ill be mainly using FLStudio and Cubase and various VST/i's (for those who are familiar with this stuff...)
Which is more powerfull in my case? the AMD or Intel?
Please note that on the AMD system ill be using corsair two 1Gbyte Twinx Dual Kit 4-4-4-12 667Mhz. and on the intel ill be using Corsair dominator CL4 2Gbyte kit.
Both systems include a 36.7Gbyte Raptor for the OS, Audio programs and VST/i's.
Another question while at it... Will a low-performance video card (XFX 6200LE) slow down my whole system in anyway?


Thakns in advance;).
March 31, 2007 10:44:56 PM

Depends on the applications you use; In general, with today's multithreaded applications, you will get more performance by a dual Opteron 2210 than a single E6600 or any Core2 dual core. You will also be able to upgrade to a couple of K10 quads when they're out and that will be really cool stuff.
March 31, 2007 11:11:12 PM

Tell ya what, those X2's might not be the fastest kids on the block anymore, but now that they are dirt cheap, they are hard to resist from a value standpoint. Even if you have your heart set on Opty's or C2D's, I would say give the X2's a good hard look and make your decision after that. Good luck!

-The String
Related resources
March 31, 2007 11:15:20 PM

Depends of what kind of software are you going to run. Most audio software is single and dual threaded. So, you'll practically have no use of more than 2 cores. IMO E6600 is a better choice not only for audio, but for most applications available today. Raw performance is still more important than many cores. Here is a simpel comparison of 4x4 vs C2 for audio:
http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/11/30/brute_force_quad_cores/page9.html#audio
C2 X6800 outperforms both QX6700 and 4x4 in Lame MP3 and Ogg Vorbis Audio encoding.
April 1, 2007 12:03:27 AM

I have used Cubase, Sonar, and Reason occasionaly for a few years, and pretty much any current processor is up to the task, although dual cores can make a difference. A super fast chip will process audio files faster, but probably more important is the amount of RAM. I've used these packages with AthlonXP's up to now with an Opteron 170, and it's all been capable of making music. Multiple VST's consume resources, but I'd consider throwing more money into a pro level soundcard/hardware interface/controller(Houston,Control Freak,Lemur etc.) than multiple CPU sockets, although with unlimited resources, I'd freak on everything. :wink:
Your video card is irrelevant, as long as it is a discrete card with its own memory, preferably with two outputs, as those programs definitely benefit from screen real estate, and preferably passively cooled as alot of stock GPU coolers use small fans at high RPMs and therefore higher frequency sounds.
A quiet case, perhaps with sound dampening material and large diameter fans with a fan speed controller is also desirable, so you can tune the fans to be efficient yet as near silent as possible (perhaps the guys into Home Theater PC's can give you a hand there.
I'd concentrate on your case, interface/controller hardware, oodles of RAM, and quiet, fast HDDs with alot of storage as sound files are huge at high bitrates - a drum machine like BFD has somewhere around 9 gigs of samples available in just a couple kits.
April 1, 2007 12:04:21 AM

Quote:
Another question while at it... Will a low-performance video card (XFX 6200LE) slow down my whole system in anyway?


Only in Gaming would you notice performance on that card.

Other then that, it shouldn't affect any performance in Audio Studio projects. Unless maybe perhaps if your playing music and want to use like plug-ins (visualizations) to run with the audio at high resolutions. In that case, it may run choppy.
April 1, 2007 11:34:12 AM

xaat_kil has it right.

It does depend on how you're using the programs. If you're using a lot of samplers and soft synths, then your memory is going to be the most important factor. If you're manually recording stuff (i.e. doing something that actually takes some talent), then it's your hard disks that really matter. If you're a massive tinkerer, and like to play around with Q-points, audio-stretching etc., then the CPU speed becomes relevant. Even then, though, you'd never notice the difference between AMD and Intel.

If I were you, I would get the e6600 on a proven stable board like the Gigabyte DS3, but get a WD raptor for the hard-drive and 2gbs of decent memory. The AMDs are fine, but produce more heat, ceteris paribus.

EDIT: you'll need a bigger raptor. Get the 150gb model. Memory is fine.
April 1, 2007 11:55:58 AM

If you are using a lot of synths you'll want the extra cpu power
Cubase is multi-threaded, so you will gain from it.
It all depends how much you have going on though.

What is your current rig? Are you hitting the limit on it?
April 1, 2007 12:37:05 PM

i cant believe im saying this but clockspeed is a very important factor in these systems, i'd go with the intel system and overclock it, and sure, the program is multithreaded i know but doesn't gain extreme amounts from the more cores, it gains more form the clockspeeds, only certain parts of the operations can be made parallel, but most are serially dependant.
April 1, 2007 5:59:38 PM

Quote:
i cant believe im saying this but clockspeed is a very important factor in these systems, i'd go with the intel system and overclock it, and sure, the program is multithreaded i know but doesn't gain extreme amounts from the more cores, it gains more form the clockspeeds, only certain parts of the operations can be made parallel, but most are serially dependant.


I'd have to disagree.
The difference you see when changing affinity is huge.

Just set affinity to 1 core, then add synths till it farts then enable the other cores.

Audio is very easy to scale to multicore since pretty much each track is independant of the next.
Plus cubase was designed with SMP systems in mind.

The mhz will come in handy if a particular plugin is cpu intensive initially.
April 1, 2007 8:29:26 PM

You'll need a patched version of Cubase SX V2 onwards to take advantage of multiple cores. That said, having two cores will give older versions of Cubase more headroom as the system overhead will load the cpu less.

I am in the process of upgrading to a C2D setup as I'm struggling for CPU on large productions on my Athlon XP 2400+
April 1, 2007 10:40:16 PM

Quote:
Depends of what kind of software are you going to run. Most audio software is single and dual threaded. So, you'll practically have no use of more than 2 cores. IMO E6600 is a better choice not only for audio, but for most applications available today. Raw performance is still more important than many cores. Here is a simpel comparison of 4x4 vs C2 for audio:
http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/11/30/brute_force_quad_cores/page9.html#audio
C2 X6800 outperforms both QX6700 and 4x4 in Lame MP3 and Ogg Vorbis Audio encoding.

Hehe; it's not fair to display only single and 2-threaded apps so that a 4x4 uses only 1 of the 2 CPUs while the E6700 works on full load :wink:
Even a K8 quad core (or in this case 2 x dual core) system outperforms a Core2 dual core in professional multithreaded apps, no matter if that is called Core2.
April 1, 2007 11:38:57 PM

Sorry if my english is not good, but reread my post, please. I said that it depends of the software. I haven't said that a dualcore Core2 will outperform a quadcore K8 or Core2 for multithreaded(more than two threads) applications.
As you explained, in the one and two threaded apps, the 4x4 will not use it's full potential, but the Core2 Duo will. So, because most of the software today is not four threads optimized, the C2D raw performance will prevail. In near future there wouldn't be so much quadcore optimized software. And no matter how the software is optimized for quadcore(or multicore) CPUs, the performance will not scale linear to the number of cores. Expect first software to be poorly quadcore utilized.
That's why I think it is better to go with Core2.

What is not fair?
April 2, 2007 6:35:59 AM

Quote:
i cant believe im saying this but clockspeed is a very important factor in these systems, i'd go with the intel system and overclock it, and sure, the program is multithreaded i know but doesn't gain extreme amounts from the more cores, it gains more form the clockspeeds, only certain parts of the operations can be made parallel, but most are serially dependant.


I'd have to disagree.
The difference you see when changing affinity is huge.

Just set affinity to 1 core, then add synths till it farts then enable the other cores.

Audio is very easy to scale to multicore since pretty much each track is independant of the next.
Plus cubase was designed with SMP systems in mind.

The mhz will come in handy if a particular plugin is cpu intensive initially.

well personally, i don't think if we are getting to this kind of level that cpu will be important, the difference will be negligible, the most time consuming part of this will be the human interaction. also, why, if you can get 2x dual core opterons, can't you get one quad core intel?
April 2, 2007 10:26:04 AM

Quote:
i cant believe im saying this but clockspeed is a very important factor in these systems, i'd go with the intel system and overclock it, and sure, the program is multithreaded i know but doesn't gain extreme amounts from the more cores, it gains more form the clockspeeds, only certain parts of the operations can be made parallel, but most are serially dependant.


I'd have to disagree.
The difference you see when changing affinity is huge.

Just set affinity to 1 core, then add synths till it farts then enable the other cores.

Audio is very easy to scale to multicore since pretty much each track is independant of the next.
Plus cubase was designed with SMP systems in mind.

The mhz will come in handy if a particular plugin is cpu intensive initially.

well personally, i don't think if we are getting to this kind of level that cpu will be important, the difference will be negligible, the most time consuming part of this will be the human interaction. also, why, if you can get 2x dual core opterons, can't you get one quad core intel?

Well, that would be my recommendation. Not sure why you'd want an opty system especially with that mobo.
April 2, 2007 11:50:41 AM

Please do not forget that i have a budget to stick to...:S
If ill get only the Intel QX6700 (even the qx6600 is out of my budget) with an EVGA board it would cost me more than an Opteron system that includes the motherboard, 2Gbyte RAM, HDD, and a video card.
In my budget : that maximum i can get from a core 2 duo is E6600 with an with the same EVGA board above (EVGA nForce 680i SLI 775)...
Would that outperform the opteron system(on stock or if i overclock it?)?
another option is that I would give up on the HDD and get the E6700; but would that make a noticeable difference from the E6600 considering they both are from the same architecture and only have 266MHz difference?

About what/how i used my programs:
I mostly use Image-Line FLStudio and Steinberg Cubase SX3; And Create mostly electronic music; so there isn't much to record and most audio files i used are small (kick, snare; and so on..).
I mostly rely on VST effects and VSTi instruments... so i need s system that would be able to handle alot of these...

Edit : DJgandy; Why did you say "Especially with that mobo" - is it very weak or something?

Thanks in advance;)
April 2, 2007 5:20:28 PM

Thats an expensive mobo, were you planning on getting 2 opterons?

Can you list your prices, I can't see how that board + 2 opterons will cost you less than an EVGA board + a C2D.
TBH if you are spending money on a good board i'd go for a lower cpu and overclock it.

What plugins are you using, perhaps i can tell you a bit more. I'm not sure what the intensive ones are these days. I got some hardware so never need the plugins as much anymore :p 
April 2, 2007 10:05:44 PM

VSTi List :

1. Cakewalk Z3ta+
2. Native Instruments FM7
3. Native Instruments FM8
4. Native Instruments Massive
5. LinPlug Octopus
6. And soon to start using Cakewalk Dimension Pro.

I cant remember them all... But the ones that i almost use in every project are Z3ta+ and Octopus.
And i sometimes fill 100% in my FLStudio when i use around 8 instances of Z3ta+ (That project even fills 90% when only opened; without playing it it)(while running on an Echo Audio Mia MIDI on ASIO Drivers; with 1024 Samples Buffer)

About the prices... Around here they are a bit different (or simply more expensive) than the US...
And i just checked; only the EVGA nForce 680i SLI 775 and QX6600 would cost me like the Opteron system. I cant work with that; i still need the HDD and RAM.

About Overclocking; Most Dual Opteron Motherboards don't have any overclocking capabilities since they are built towards the corporate market with stability in mind; Not enthusiasts.
So i cant count on being able to Overclock that much and still having a stable system if the motherboard isn't built to support it.

Thanks;)
April 2, 2007 11:40:30 PM

I'll dig out z3ta for you tomorrow and see what I can do.
I remember there was a z3ta patch that absolutely caned my XP2800, but i have the feeling the C2D will eat it alive :D 
Think it was one of the nord lead patches.

My rig handles FM7 and FM8 really easily though, tbh i don't have to worry about cpu power anymore, I'd have to have a lot of instruments to get near using it all.
April 5, 2007 4:16:21 AM

Anyone else?

Thanks;)
!