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The best possible computer combination for VSL work?
Last post Wed, Jul 29 2015 by plurye, 16 replies.
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Posted on Thu, Jun 18 2015 18:59
by plurye
Joined on Sun, Nov 19 2006, Posts 304

So... if money were no object, what would be the highest-performing master-slave computer combination that could be bought for VI-intensive/MIR Pro work? Can be Mac or PC. Would love to know whatever is known about this. For the purpose of this thread, I'm talking about a two-computer set-up—one master, one slave. Ideally I'd stay with Mac as the master computer, but even that's up for discussion. My holy grail here would be a huge set of VI libraries plus MIR Pro on my slave computer with lots of individual audio busses travelling back and forth to and from my master computer, along with the ability to run DP on my master computer at a buffer of 128 (or if that's truly not attainable, then totally hiccup-free at 256).

Does anyone have any hard data on this? Or, failing that, useful hands-on experience?

Thanks,

Peter

Posted on Fri, Jun 19 2015 14:10
by aplanchard
Joined on Tue, Feb 06 2007, New York City, Posts 144

You could max out a system from a custom audio computer builder (e.g., adkproaudio.com - dual Xeon 14-core; 128GB ram and 3TB SSDs in Raid), but that is probably way more than is needed

Posted on Fri, Jun 19 2015 14:18
by plurye
Joined on Sun, Nov 19 2006, Posts 304

Thanks—looks like a good place to start. Yes, more than I need—but I thought it would be interesting to see what the optimal system would be and work down from there.

PL

Posted on Fri, Jun 19 2015 22:06
by Paul
Joined on Sat, Aug 03 2002, Vienna, Posts 12121

Hi, 

I´d suggest to contact the hardware specialists with this question. 

Best, 
Paul

Paul Kopf
Product Manager - Vienna Symphonic Library
Posted on Fri, Jun 19 2015 23:03
by plurye
Joined on Sun, Nov 19 2006, Posts 304

Yes, I have a friend who's very happy with his Vision DAW machine. However I've heard that the new "trash can" Macs also do great with VEP—a lot of people are apparently successfully running on one machine. Any comments?

Peter

Posted on Sat, Jun 20 2015 07:57
by DG
Joined on Wed, May 12 2004, Posts 8608

There is nothing wrong with the new Mac Pros. They are very fast machines. However, I would raise two points:

  1. Due to the lack of internal storage (and other things) you will be hanging a lot of stuff off it, and external drives are more expensive than internal ones.
  2. You are paying a lot of money for a graphics card that is pretty much useless for music applications.

If you want to stay with OSX there are better options, IMO, but realistically you need to decide on your sequencer and once that is decided various doors could be closed anyway.

DG

Nuendo 6.03, 4.3
2 x Intel Xeon x5675 3.07GHz Hex Core
48GB RAM
Windows 7 (x64)Pro
RME Multiface II
Intensity
ATI HD5400 series graphics card
Posted on Sat, Jun 20 2015 10:06
by plurye
Joined on Sun, Nov 19 2006, Posts 304

Originally Posted by: DG Go to Quoted Post

There is nothing wrong with the new Mac Pros. They are very fast machines. However, I would raise two points:

  1. Due to the lack of internal storage (and other things) you will be hanging a lot of stuff off it, and external drives are more expensive than internal ones.
  2. You are paying a lot of money for a graphics card that is pretty much useless for music applications.

If you want to stay with OSX there are better options, IMO, but realistically you need to decide on your sequencer and once that is decided various doors could be closed anyway.

DG

Thanks. Good point about the graphics card. My sequencer is DP, and has been for over 20 years. Curious for your thoughts about better Mac options, if you don't mind. Thanks.

Peter

Posted on Sat, Jun 20 2015 10:44
by DG
Joined on Wed, May 12 2004, Posts 8608

Assuming that you want to use a slave machine, you could look into running DP from an iMac or even a Mac mini and then getting a couple of PC slaves to do the sample playback.

If you want to run everything from one machine, use OSX and not get a Hackintosh, then a Mac Pro is probably your only option. However, do be aware that you are paying well over the odds, but if money is not problem, then that shouldn't worry you, I guess.

DG

Nuendo 6.03, 4.3
2 x Intel Xeon x5675 3.07GHz Hex Core
48GB RAM
Windows 7 (x64)Pro
RME Multiface II
Intensity
ATI HD5400 series graphics card
Posted on Sat, Jun 20 2015 12:07
by plurye
Joined on Sun, Nov 19 2006, Posts 304

Thanks. To be clear, I didn't just win the lottery, and I'm not looking to spend as much money as possible!  It just occurred to me that I had never seen the question asked in the form, "What's the best possible system in theory, regardless of money?," and that that might be an instructive starting place for discussing the implications of various hardware choices. Understandably, the question is virtually always framed as "What system gives you the best value for your money?," which is a great but slightly different question. Here's an example of what I mean, again from the top of the market, but it could apply equally to the high middle of the market. The "trash can" Mac Pro is configurable three ways in terms of processors:

  1. 3.5GHz 6-Core (with Turbo Boost up to 3.9 GHz
  2. 3.0GHz 8-Core
  3. 2.7GHz 12-core

My priority, as I said, is to work with as low a buffer setting as possible while actually sequencing. So, which is the best choice for working with DP and VEP? With each increase in the number of cores, processor speed drops, so it's not clear which choice would better help me reach my holy grail of working at 128. This is a question that would need to be answered with custom PC's as well.

PL

Posted on Sat, Jun 20 2015 14:18
by DG
Joined on Wed, May 12 2004, Posts 8608

Unfortunately there is no answer, because everyone's needs are different. However, as a rule of thumb, plugins like more cores, sample streaming likes higher clock speed. However, if you are factoring MIR into the equation I can't really help you there, beuase I don't use it.

You should also think about SSD as that will help your voice count dramatically. FWIW using VIP I've never had any problems running as many instruments as I like at 128, on my machine, unless I use Dimension Strings.

DG

Nuendo 6.03, 4.3
2 x Intel Xeon x5675 3.07GHz Hex Core
48GB RAM
Windows 7 (x64)Pro
RME Multiface II
Intensity
ATI HD5400 series graphics card
Posted on Sat, Jun 20 2015 14:36
by plurye
Joined on Sun, Nov 19 2006, Posts 304

I've heard the same re cores. Impressive that you've been able to work at 128! I fear that could be a Nuendo vs. DP thing. Sigh...

Posted on Sat, Jun 20 2015 15:12
by DG
Joined on Wed, May 12 2004, Posts 8608

And a Windows thing.

DG

Nuendo 6.03, 4.3
2 x Intel Xeon x5675 3.07GHz Hex Core
48GB RAM
Windows 7 (x64)Pro
RME Multiface II
Intensity
ATI HD5400 series graphics card
Posted on Sat, Jun 20 2015 15:44
by plurye
Joined on Sun, Nov 19 2006, Posts 304

Yeah, yeah, rub it in! 

Posted on Sun, Jun 21 2015 23:45
by Cyril Blanc
Joined on Thu, Dec 19 2002, Paris France, Posts 2658

Originally Posted by: plurye Go to Quoted Post

Yeah, yeah, rub it in! 

Will you use MIR in 5.1 ?

If you are short with money and in hurry :

If you can get a second hand 12 core Mac  with a raid of ssd like mine, you can do a lot with it !

The other solution is to have a Mac Mini to run your DAW only and send Midi and Audio track the second hand 12 core

It is very important to use ssd 

If you are not short in money : wait a few month for next generation of MAC and buy 2 x trash can Mac

MacPro 2010 12 core 2.93 ghz 64 GB Mac OS X 10.11 2722 Rocket Raid Sata III card with 8 x ssd
VSL lib on a Raid 0 of 4 x 256 GB ssd Sata III - Raid 0 of 4 x 64 GB for other libs
System on a 1 TB ssd
Audio Motu PCI system 84 ins / 64 outs
Kbd : P80 Yamaha, S88 and S25 Komplete Kontrol, DX7
I-Controls Pro, 2xMidi expression pedals
Synth : many....
---
Macbook pro Retina 2.7 ghz 16 GB
---
Mac Mini server 10.10 (server EyeTV, Itunes, WEB, and Backup )
--
Logic X , Dorico, Band In A Box, ORB Composer
VSL : MIR PRO, Appassionata Strings I, Solo strings , Wind and Brass Complete, Dimension Brass, Overdrive
Kontakt, Omnisphere, QLSO, QLSC, CS 80, Arturia V5, Maximo, Realivox Blue. CS 80 V3, The Orchestra, Art Conductor 5, Genesis Children Choir, Lunaris, Lacrimosa

Final Cut pro
Camera full HD
Posted on Wed, Jul 29 2015 10:07
by DAW PLUS
Joined on Wed, Nov 16 2011, Posts 9

Originally Posted by: DG Go to Quoted Post
However, as a rule of thumb, plugins like more cores, sample streaming likes higher clock speed. However, if you are factoring MIR into the equation I can't really help you there, beuase I don't use it.

Pretty good info, but note that some CPU hungry plugins like core speed as well, especially when stacked in the same channel (master). In the latter case, a single track may overload a processing thread, which causes dropouts while all other cores may be idling.

Note that VEP is an extremely efficient host, so using plugins in VEP where possible certainly offloads CPU demand of most other hosts.

At least on Windows, low latencies are pretty easy to reach with current systems. We test our VSL systems with a 64 samples buffer at 44.1kHz. Especially the faster systems (hexacore 3.5GHz and dual Xeon systems) handle large/complex mockups.

Leon
Project Manager Audio
www.xi-machines.com
Posted on Wed, Jul 29 2015 12:04
by plurye
Joined on Sun, Nov 19 2006, Posts 304

Leon—are you saying that all plug-ins instantiated in series on the same track of a DAW necessarily use the same core? That's useful info if so.

 

Peter

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