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New Black Mac Pro vs last gen 12-Core MP ?
Last post Tue, Jan 21 2014 by cm, 61 replies.
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Posted on Wed, Dec 18 2013 18:03
by Chris T
Joined on Fri, Mar 23 2012, Posts 39

I think I'm in need of a new Mac Pro. My dilemma is: do I wait (indefinitely) for the New Trashcan MacPro or do I go with a (tried and tested) last gen 12-Core machine (hopefully get a refurb one from Apple).

I'm skeptical about the new Trachcan Mac since it's brand new and there are ALWAYS issues with the first models in a new series. (My 2,1 mac has always had some funky issues - notably PCI slots etc, so I had vowed to avoid early models in future).

I really need the power boost since I run the following:

My workhorse is a 2007 8-Core (dual 4) Mac Pro with 28GB of RAM. I run DP 8.05 (64bit). Memory therefore is not my problem: my issue is running out of processor power when on heavy projects (which is often). I'm still running OS10.6.8, and of course will upgrade to the latest OS once I get the new system.

I have 2 external Mac Minis running dozens of Kontakt plugins in 3 or 4 VEP instances on each machine. One MM is Strings, Kbds and Keyd Perc, the other is all Brass/Wind. My sample libraries are Cinesamples, Cinematic Strings etc. and Giga sounds in GPlayer. MIDI and Audio go over the network. I print audio back onto my main Mac Pro. In addition I use 2 power PCs - one runs East-West Symphonic Gold and Symphopbia, the other is all percussion (CineS, Stormdrum etc).

There is a large audio throughput into my Mac (MANY audio tracks and Aux busses for printing/monitoring). Also, the multiple VEP Event Input plugins on my Mac Pro, in addition to the several different Altiverb instances (for simultaneous mix stemming) and multiple Kontakt, RMX and Omnisphere players loaded in DP have made my system sluggish and unstable. Even after putting my Buffers at 1024 I get a lot of audio crackles, implying that my processor is being seriously taxed. (I used to mostly run Kontakt and Omni on VE PRo on the same Mac, but it caused similar problems).

My question for the Mac Pro users out there is:


Will I see a SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT in computer performance (stability / speed etc) if I migrate to a last-generation mac Pro (12 core), with the same amnt of RAM, or should I hold out and wait(?) for the even "faster" Mac Trashcan, (though currently of unkown stability?....). Your thoughts/opinions would be much appreciated!

Posted on Thu, Dec 19 2013 02:03
by Errikos
Joined on Tue, Jun 12 2007, Posts 1046

Free trip to Vienna to the one that will spot the 'hidden' VSL libraries in the above post... 

He does have all the automaton-libraries though.

If you can't notate/MIDI it yourself, it's NOT your music!

In these modern days to be vulgar, illiterate, common and vicious, seems to give a man a marvelous infinity of rights that his honest fathers never dreamed of. - Oscar Wilde
Posted on Thu, Dec 19 2013 03:58
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5497

I am waiting for the new Mac Pro which looks fantastic.  The Xeon processors and especially the flash memory which will be a tremendous boost to sample performance.  That is something that really matters. Also, with the terabyte flash drive you can store all the current VSL samples and load them very fast.  It will be desirable to max out to 64 gb RAM.

Posted on Thu, Dec 19 2013 19:26
by MDT
Joined on Mon, Apr 27 2009, Posts 16

I was always told it was better to keep the OS and applications on a separate drive to the sample libs etc.

Is this still the case? 

I want to wait for the new MP and wonder if it's better to stick with a smaller internal flash - tight budget- and go external SSD for the libs and projects etc. I could then spend less on flash and more on memory and number of cores etc. 

Make sense?

Posted on Thu, Dec 19 2013 21:55
by hetoreyn
Joined on Sat, Nov 27 2004, Vancouver, British Columbia, Posts 1157

Trash Can Mac? ... Jeez .. way to disrepect something thats going to be f**king awesome!

Yes it will be MUCH better than anything currently available. I can't wait to get one myself. Personally I do very well with my 3 iMacs (2011-2012 versions) soif you're all strapped for cash why don't you think about having a central computer to write with and slave machines to run your libraries.

P.S .. please remember to put some spaces between your paragraphs.

Hetoreyn
http://www.hetoreyn.com

Mac Pro 2013 - 3.5 ghz, 32 Gig RAM (Master)
27 inch iMac i5 2.7 Ghz 16 Gig RAM (Slave)


Pro-Tools 12 (Native), Mbox Pro 3
Logic ProX
Notion SLE

VI Pro, VE Pro, MIR, Vienna Suite, Omnisphere, Slate Digital Plugs.
Posted on Fri, Dec 20 2013 01:19
by Cyril Blanc
Joined on Thu, Dec 19 2002, Paris France, Posts 2649

You should look for benchmarks :

Here is one 

mac_pro_12_2013_gb3.jpg

late_2013_max_gb3.jpg

The article is in french but the tables are in English

http://www.macbidouille.com/news/2013/12/15/de-nouveaux-resultats-geekbench-du-mac-pro-2013

The price of the 12 core new Macpro is VERY expensive !

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 Sat, Dec 21 2013 03:03
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5497

Hetoreyn, that is what I am thinking.  To use my current PC MIDI, a PC slave (that was my main slave originally) and a new Mac Pro with the flash memory as a second slave.  With that system, and 64gb of RAM on the Mac Pro, you could probably do large orchestral setups without any glitches. (such as a glitch I recently had - a large group of instruments suddenly doing extreme velocity crossfades, all of them separately - it almost blew the entire neighborhood's power supply.)  Partly because I like the MIDI sequencer I am using, but also because it will maximize the sample performance which is my main interest.  Also, apparently the flash memory is faster than SSD. 

I wanted to ask cm if he knows whether it is necessary to store samples on a separate hard drive on the new Mac Pros.  I am thinking it would not make any difference because it is all totally RAM?  So you could you have a single terabyte flash drive with everything - OS, MIR  and samples? 

Posted on Sat, Dec 21 2013 05:36
by Cyril Blanc
Joined on Thu, Dec 19 2002, Paris France, Posts 2649

Hi William

What DAW do you use ?

How will organized your orchestral template ?

What players are you using ?

You are speaking of large template, how large ?

Will you have more than one MIR ?

Best

Cyril

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 Sat, Dec 21 2013 08:15
by cm
Joined on Fri, Dec 20 2002, vienna, Posts 9084

William wrote:
I wanted to ask cm if he knows whether it is necessary to store samples on a separate hard drive on the new Mac Pros.  I am thinking it would not make any difference because it is all totally RAM?  So you could you have a single terabyte flash drive with everything - OS, MIR  and samples? 

correction: it is not RAM, but Flash connected via PCIe (similar to Angebird Wings) - SSDs contain Flash memory.

so far i couldn't find any ram-disk except gigabyte i-ram, meanwhile considered to be legacy http://www.gigabyte.eu/products/product-page.aspx?pid=2678#ov

as data throughput (on the new mac pro) has been measured 900 MB/s write and 1200 MB/s read i'd assume it is configured as 2 x 512 GB in raid-0 (stripe).

 

every controller ourdays is using some random-write algorithm to avoid writing to certain memory-cells too often, so data will be spread across all cells from start and things like de-fragmenting or storing data in blocks is history.

not sure though if all will fit on a 1 TB *drive* (system, software, data, recordings, various garbage ...), also consider operating systems tend to *grow* little by little ...

and remember: a CRAY is the only computer that runs an endless loop in just four hours ...
Posted on Sat, Dec 21 2013 09:21
by Cyril Blanc
Joined on Thu, Dec 19 2002, Paris France, Posts 2649

it is better to have 3 places

1) system 64 or 128 GB

2) VSL libs (on a raid 0 on the older Macpro, no idea about the new Macpro)

3) HD or ssd to put your audio files

Thunderbolt to PCIe is around an other 1 K euro

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 Sat, Dec 21 2013 14:43
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5497

cm,  thanks, but to clarify are you answering it doesn't matter if one stores samples along with the OS?   The reason I ask is - if you use a separate drive for samples perhaps you will lose some of this advertised speed of the PCLe memory?  I would  not be doing any recording of audio on this computer, only playback of samples which are recorded externally.   

Cyril this is a slave and the DAW is not on the sample playing computer. The orchestral setups I am talking about are the hypothetical largest that can be done. 

One other thing I wonder is - if one is using this computer almost totally for VSL, is there really a big advantage of having more Xeon cores than 4 or 6 other than bragging about it and looking cool?  Isn't the real factor in increasing VSL reliability and performance the MEMORY AMOUNT AND SPEED?  I am trying to keep the rather high Apple price down just a little bit.  Another way of putting it is  - where should the most money be spent in order to optimize VSL performance? 

Posted on Sat, Dec 21 2013 16:26
by cm
Joined on Fri, Dec 20 2002, vienna, Posts 9084

now using the macpro just as a sample player is  - phew - cool ;-)

having the samples on a separate drive at comparable access will IMO require 2 flash-drives in a raid-0 via thunderbolt.

USB3 has 5 Gbit/s theoretical throughput, thunderbolt2 has 20 Gbit/s, the fastest SSDs deliver ~600 MB/s (usually *only* 480 - 500 MB/s), which means a SSD raid-0 will deliver more than even USB3 is able to transport (1 Byte = 8 bit + overhead).

 

it doesn't matter at all to have OS and samples on one drive - after the OS (+ applications) has started there is almost no more drive access from the OS, everything is handled in RAM. some access could happen for the OS' pagefile (which also resides on disk), but to my knowledge this is not the case with VEPRO or MIR (once the arrangement is loaded).

 

how many cores are required/reasonable ... hmmm, besides that will strongly depend on your arrangement and amount of plug-ins unfortunately i currently don't have any performance figures for the Xeon E5 generation at my hands.

and remember: a CRAY is the only computer that runs an endless loop in just four hours ...
Posted on Sat, Dec 21 2013 18:04
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5497

 Thanks cm that is very helpful and exactly what I was wondering about. 

Posted on Tue, Dec 24 2013 14:25
by julian
Joined on Fri, Jan 07 2005, UK, Posts 720

i'm too looking at a new MacPro. After my experience with my 8 core machine I'll opt for the pricier 12 core as Logic really uses the cores very well. Logic has already been updated for the new MacPro. I've been reading astonishing perforance figures for MacPros running 4k video with Final Cut Pro - also configured for the Mac - seems it tasks the dual GPU's so the real world performance is way way higher than you would imagine just looking at the Geek bench scores.

I run all my VSL stuff using VI Pro as an au plug-in in Logic. As Apple have tweaked Logic to play with the MacPro will that also make the VI-Pro able to use the power of the MacPro?, and a question for the software experts - is the processing power in the dual GPU's of any relevence to Audio Apps?  -if it was then it might make sense to opt for the higher powered GPU option.

Thanks

Julian

Posted on Tue, Dec 24 2013 17:11
by Cyril Blanc
Joined on Thu, Dec 19 2002, Paris France, Posts 2649
William wrote:

Cyril this is a slave and the DAW is not on the sample playing computer. The orchestral setups I am talking about are the hypothetical largest that can be done. 

The DAW is important, it might put limits !

Hypothetical is not the way you go with computer ! 

Some people are using many players !

You better wait for benchmarks !

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 Tue, Dec 24 2013 17:16
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5497

I was recently looking at high end HP workstations - same or better specs but one half the price.  So I'm not sure what I'll do...

Posted on Tue, Dec 24 2013 17:42
by julian
Joined on Fri, Jan 07 2005, UK, Posts 720

Hi William,

With multiple SSDs and cheaply available RAM I find the only thing holding back mega VSL sessions is CPU. Now if the new MacPro is handling 4k video like a high end PC handles HD then it's sort of giving 4 times the performance. This could equate to about 400 instances of VI-Pro.

http://www.fcp.co/final-cut-pro/articles/1307-the-first-24-hours-with-apple-s-new-mac-pro-and-final-cut-pro-10-1

Now if this can be translated into audio then having everything on one machine will be much more elegant, timesaving and powerful. Just have to see how the software evolves.

Julian

Posted on Tue, Dec 24 2013 20:53
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5497

You're probably right about that.    4 to 12 core processors are available on both the HP and Mac computers.  However I notice that RAM is much more limited on Mac.  The HP Z820 workstation I was looking at  has 16 DIMMs so you can expand to a huge amount of RAM.  That can be very important for MIR.  

Though again,  the Mac has a PCLe drive which is faster than previous SSDs for loading samples.  But I've found such a huge improvement with loading of samples from the Crucial SSD I installed recently that it doesn't need to be much better!  So the inflated price of Mac is looking less necessary to me.   I priced two systems - one an HP Z820 and one a Mac Pro with almost exactly the same specs (actually more RAM on the HP) and the HP was around $6,000 and the Mac Pro $11,500.

Posted on Wed, Dec 25 2013 02:06
by Cyril Blanc
Joined on Thu, Dec 19 2002, Paris France, Posts 2649

Can you give us the link with the HP Z820

this link : http://shopping1.hp.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/WW-USSMBPublicStore-Site/en_US/-/USD/ViewStandardCatalog-Browse;pgid=xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?CatalogCategoryID=x.IQ7habXDwAAAFCulgtkXzC

Does not show that the HP is 6K$ but 9,9 K$ and for this price does not include a graphic card !

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, Dec 25 2013 18:01
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5497
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