The best CPU for Maschine

Liquidedition Member Posts: 9 Member
edited July 2022 in Maschine

Looking to make a dedicated Maschine rig for the lounge room. A DIY briefcase build. Just plug in the Mk3 and jam away. Now what is the best cpu? I've been reading that Maschine doesn't utilise extra cores and it's more about raw clock speed and cache size? I'm thinking an older extreme edition cpu might be the best option? CPU: Intel®️ Core™️ i7-9800X X-series Processor 16.5M Cache, up to 4.50 GHz 3.8 Ghz Core frequency Intel turbo boost support

Obviously with 64 gigs of RAM and a decent ssd too.

Any help would be greatly appreciated



  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,762 Expert
    edited July 2022

    Maschine is able to use more cores. What Maschine does in a strange way is the use of hyperthreading.... Some people insist that Maschine does not use hyperthreading... My experience is it does use all cores (physical/virtual), but not to full capacity. Generaly it takes 50% of CPU power at most....

    IHHO, AMDs are better choise than current Intels.... I have Ryzen 7 APU 5700G (8C/16T 4+ GHz with all cores full load - sustainable...) It is 65W CPU and it takes 85W at most. Most of time sub 40 W. It is easy to cool. And it has decent iGPU (better than Intels.)

    5700G is somewhere in between M1 and M1 Pro.

    Within few months ZEN 4 AMDs should come. It will have new socket and DDR5. AMDs do not change socket every day, one may use it for several CPU generations, so no problems to switch to stronger CPU that comes in three, four years. But it pays to buy motherboard from respectable manufacturer and not the cheapest one. Not all manufacturers update motherboard firmware/BIOS for new CPUs.... :-((((

  • awol9000
    awol9000 Member Posts: 69 Advisor

    I have an I5 9400 and it's more than enough for me. I never use Kontakt so not sure if it holds up there

  • Liquidedition
    Liquidedition Member Posts: 9 Member

    Thanks for your replies. Really appreciated.

  • Flexi
    Flexi Member Posts: 366 Pro

    I would avoid spending out a ton of money on a project like this right now, if NI do port it over to Apple Silicon, you will probably find that for a smaller cost you can grab an older M1 Mac Mini and use the board out of that, that will be comparable to anything current on Windows (If they port it correctly that is) and will be tiny/silent/cool.

    I have been shipping Dell and Lenovo Tinys with gen 8-10 I5s and have yet to see a project that could bring one of those to their knees, it is not like many people would be insane enough to write orchestral in Maschine.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,762 Expert

    it is not like many people would be insane enough to write orchestral in Maschine.

    Yes, but one may use Maschine HW and any DAW for orchestral....

    And orchestral is not that CPU demanding, more RAM demanding. But Massive X is pretty CPU hungry, also many of reverbs, and Komplete Light Series is pretty CPU intensive (heavy use of reverbs), ....

    M1 might do, but what about long term compatibility? And learning and maintaining one more OS.... And rather linited RAM and SSD? But passive cooling is attractive. But one might use 15W APUs from AMD and also cool it passively... It would be at least as strong like M1, one could have more RAM and SSD size which suits needs and Windows...

    While my AMD 5700G has active cooling, it is very quiet (using Noctua low profile cooler) and small (15x15x8 cm).

  • Mutis
    Mutis Member Posts: 472 Pro

    Key parts are “if NI do port it over Apple Silicon” (which is a priority) and “that will be comparable to anything on Windows (if they ported correctly that is)

    NI needs to port everythimg possible over Apple Silicon (and probably deprecate/legacy which not) and do it correctly so performance should be comparable (if not better the moment optimization is set in place).

    Magic? No, hw+sw combination which, even fanless, outperform x86 when properly developed (not Rosetta but dedicated APIs like Metal, Bionic, proper memory use, etc etc etc). We will see or we will see NI deprecating lots of products (and soundwide releasing new proposals) or the final fail/nail-in-the-coffin as brand. It’s not a brute-force problem where AMD release better chip tomorrow (which are @Kubrak argument most of the time), it’s a matter of NI spending resources porting sw over new platform as a must with dedicated hw technologies that probably hurts x86 development (making it even slower than usual) and Soundwide management board looking at numbers and understanding how important is AS transition for a musicmakimg brand.

    I told it many times, the worst competitor to M+ is Maschine mk3 over AS mac. You can run the ful sw (even over Rosetta) and you get more for less money (and fanless, battery powered with some of the Apple options). NI can’t avoid port their catalogue because competency will take profit of these technologies and show how unaware and wrong was NI strategy related to AS vs x86 lossing user base and market share. They need to do it right and faster as possible.

    Buying a computer at this moment of AS transition has some risk due we don’t know how it will go NI development and how much catalogue will be ported and how much deprecated due technical debt and x86 dependencies.

    Time goes and users buy AS macs because is the musicmaking standard and come here (to the forum) asking for compatibility. Maybe the solution is paid upgrade as @Kubrak usually proposes but it’s hard to justify when competency isn’t doing it. Just look how bad is going “Traktor plus subscription to extra features” and remember someone from NI stated “it could be the model for other products” (aka Maschine and Komplete) but it will require user adoption (which actual user base is rejecting almost at forum) so, one more time, strategy seems meh at its best… making the OP decission even more risky.

    I can be totally wrong or almost (I hope) NI has truly right timeframed their deadlines and AS under control. Time will tell, I will not advice buy a new computer (any) for NI products until dust settles.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,762 Expert

    There is no risk in building x86 Widows platform for Maschine. And Mac is not standard for music making. If it were AS native NI product would be here many months ago....

    While M+ is not ideal (hardwarevise INHO), many users are happy with that. Yes one may attach M1 or x86 computer to MK3, but it is not the same feel... It would work, but still it is sort of compromise...

  • Flexi
    Flexi Member Posts: 366 Pro
    edited July 2022

    Mac is very much the standard for music making, the fact you stated that tells a lot.

    I mainly use Windows myself, but our studio HAS to have Macs in it, otherwise clients will not want to work there, that is a fact.

    Mac not being standard in studios has nothing at all to do with Soundwide not pushing funds and development time at porting to AS, NI software is second fiddle to PA and Izotope, both of which ARE Apple Silicon and amount to a much bigger catalogue.

    Mac IS studio standard, NI IS the only part of Soundwide that is not Apple Silicon, and that amounts to one of two things, either NI was purchased for IP and the current software will disappear entirely, or (and this is most likely) Soundwide only has real interest in a few pieces of NI software and the rest will go legacy after being sold off in cheap bundles (see Izotopes model, Plugin Boutique etc)

    We know that Kontakt and Reaktor will make the cut, they both have 3rd party licencing to keep them alive, beyond those two and the library content, no other NI plugin/Software has any real guarantee of getting updates, even Reaktor is near enough a hobby project, Kontakt has been their only real money making software for a long time,why exactly do you think NI needed so many buyouts in recent years? because they were so financially secure?

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,762 Expert

    Maybe that Mac is "standard" in US and UK. It does not make it world standard... NI could tell what proportion of Mac and Win users has...

    We will see, I do not think many/any NI plugins will go legacy any time soon... The only real difficult thing to convert to AS is Reaktor...

  • Flexi
    Flexi Member Posts: 366 Pro

    Not only is some of their software extremely old and possibly based on libraries etc that will never be ported to Apple Silicon (Massive, Absynth, FM8) add to this all the plugins that were made by 3rd parties for NI, nobody knows how those will pan out in terms of architecture updating.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,762 Expert

    Yes, it is possible. But, no, real problem for x86 Windows. Those plugins will be usable 10+ years more even if NI will leave it as it is. And, if NI has source code, it should be possible to port it.

    Still, it is more difficult to port Reaktor to AS. Or Massive X.

    We will see soon. NI proclaims that all plugins might be ported at the end September/October... If things go as expected...

  • ozon
    ozon Member Posts: 1,246 Expert
    edited July 2022

    @Flexi wrote:

    some of their software extremely old and possibly based on libraries etc that will never be ported to Apple Silicon (Massive, Absynth, FM8)

    A good deal of NI's (not Kontakt based) products started out as Reaktor Ensembles and were later converted to self contained plugins. Early versions if Massive and FM8 can still be found in the Reaktor library. Latest example is Super 8, AFAIR. Some products remained Reaktor Ensembles based on special performance optimized modules/core cells (e.g. Monark, Razor, Prism etc).

    Thus I’d expect porting Reaktor to be the key to many products, because it seems to actually be NI's in-house synth and effects IDE.

    all the plugins that were made by 3rd parties for NI, nobody knows how those will pan out in terms of architecture updating.

    Are there any which are not just Kontakt libraries?

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,762 Expert

    Back to topic. If one wants dead silent (pasive cooling) x86 Win setup, this might be the way....

    There is also Intel based one....

  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 2,748 mod

    "Best" depends on what are your needs and budget.

    Personally I wouldn't invest on a Skylake CPU in 2022 unless you found an amazing deal on it used, it's super capable especially just for Audio but around the same price as a current gen i9-12900K, RAW numbers matter but the CPU generation also does, at every gen theres a performance gain %. Regardless both options should be more than enough for most musicians IMO.

    64GB of ram is overkill for most people not needing high amounts of multi-sample instruments AKA orchestral production. Start with 2x16 (32Gb in 2 sticks) and if you see that you really use all that then buy 2 more sticks.

    If theres "50% hyper-threading" or none at all doesn't matter, most high-end consumer CPU have the tech anyway so that shouldn't change anything about your choice.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,762 Expert

    If theres "50% hyper-threading" or none at all doesn't matter, most high-end consumer CPU have the tech anyway so that shouldn't change anything about your choice.

    But if Maschine SW handles hyperthreading in strange way.... It might be better/cheaper have CPU without it... But still, there is not only Maschine, so I would not avoid CPU with hyperthreading just because of Maschine...

    Some small factor motherboards have only two memory slots. In that case I would see 2 x 16 GB as minimum. But it wastly depends on what one wants to do. For few years 8 GB was OK for me, then I needed upgrade and had 16 GB, it was OK just for few months.... Now I have 64 GB and need sub 32 GB.

    12th gen is big.little, which is new in x86 world and Win. Win thread sheduler was not very good even before that. Now it handles new Intels to certain extent.

    I would not go for Intel even for free. Just the cost of electricity would cost me more than paid AMD and electicity it consumes... And more costly cooler for intel....

    Good intels will not come sooner than in 16th gen, if Intel will be lucky...

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