Best CPU for orchestral production

MikeCH Member Posts: 2 Newcomer
edited September 2022 in Tech Talks

Title says it all. Specifically between these three:

Procesador Intel Core i7-12700, S-1700, 2.10GHz

Procesador Intel Core i5-12600K, S-1700, 3.70GHz

Procesador AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, S-AM4, 3.70GHz

For usage with Cubase 12


  • JesterMgee
    JesterMgee Member Posts: 2,262 Expert

    Title leaves out too many unknowns since CPU is not the only link that makes a reliable chain...

    • How many tracks typically (20+, 50+, 1,000+)
    • Using mostly sample based orchestral instruments (which ones typically), synth or combination of?
    • What RAM, MOBO, SSD/M.2 drives?
    • Streaming from network, local drives, USB3?

    Personally, i'd be choosing the Intel "K" version of the chip "Core i7-12700K" but not that I would suggest that if you don't know what to do with it. The K variant allows overclocking and has potential up to 5Ghz which with decent cooling, patience and knowhow you can get close to that. My tired old 4820K is overclocked from 3.2 to 4.8Ghz and I noticed a huge drop in performance after years when I was testing my system and dropped it back to stock speed. Also, would always suggest disabling speed stepping for a CPU in a production environment and just having a stable clock without any power save or "turbo" functionality (that is all BIOS/EFUI)

    The i7 will offer more cores over the i5, better for more tracks however the i5 has more performance power so would be better in heavy loaded tasks but typically a DAW is using multi-threaded tasks.

    The Intel i7 v AMD, i7 appears to support DDR4/5 while AMD is DDR4 only, Of course depends on the MOBO you would be selecting and the Intel is a newer chip than the AMD so based on that I would be selecting Intel if this is your choices. Personally I prefer Intel just because I have never had issues with an Intel chip in 25+ years and countless build, just not game enough to switch and figure out an AMD chip.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,571 Expert
    edited September 2022

    I would avoid current Intels. Intel is lagging behind AMD and its CPUs are more Frankenstein monsters than anything other. They draw too much power (harder to cool), their big.little is more obstacle than progress and they are factory overclocked (not much room if any for overclocking).... Intel has long term problems with its dye processes.... It has been forced to use TSMC in new generation CPUs...

    I do not see into heads of Apple managers, but I guess there were two reasons for switching to ARM, 1) More profit for Apple and unification of entire platform (all products on ARM). 2) Longterm poor advance of Intel CPUs "4 cores will do 4ever all....".

    AMD has changed x86 world by intoducing Zen CPUs, few years ago. Boosting x86 progress. 16 full cores are feasible, 8 full cores in notebook easily possible. And in 2023/24 16 full cores....

    There will be new Intel CPUs and also AMD ones, in about month. So, it might be good to wait a little.

    Concerning new AMDs.

    1) They will be in a new Zen4 in socket AM5. That socket will be (unlike Intel) supported by several CPU generations. So, one may stay on one motherboard, RAM, SSD for 6-10 years and just update CPU, or whaterer is needed.

    2) New platform uses DDR5.

    3) New platform supports PCIe5 (allowing fast NVMe SSDs - important for big sampled libraries).

    4) New platform is 20-40% faster than Zen3.

    5) I has 5.5+ GHz boost.

    6) TSMC 5 nm node (the same like Apple M2)

    If you have big budget, you might have look at ThreadRipper - up to 64 cores and lots of RAM.... But current ThreadRippers are Zen3, hard to say when Zen4 ones will come. It might take more than a year.


    Saying that, I might be slightly biased in opinion towards AMD. I use AMD now and I am highly satisfied, but have used Intels for past 20 years and still regullary use them in my 4 older computers, but not for music production.

    IMHO, it says a lot, if one looks at development of Intel marketshare and also at its financial results...

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,571 Expert
    edited September 2022

    I would add that 1Q2023 should be available Zen4 with 3D cache. It will have real huge cache from which might Kontakt benefit.

    I haven't found any info if there is any improvement using Zen3 3D for Kontakt.... So, not sure Zen4 would benefit from 3D...

    @EvilDragon or Kontakt developers might know, if Kontakt would considerably benefit from huge cache (32+64 MB, or even 64+128 MB in case of Ryzen 9).

  • MikeCH
    MikeCH Member Posts: 2 Newcomer

    Sorry, should have cleared that. I work with symphonic orchestra so we're talking around 32 individual MIDI tracks directed to between 8 and 10 instances of Kontakt running mostly Spitfire Studio Orchestra Professional (Sampled), running different mic positions so +64 or more audio vst audio outputs.

    I'm building the PC from scratch since my current PC runs a Core i7-4770 on an H97 Gaming 3 MOBO so... yeah... Currently considering either Gigabyte Micro ATX B550M or Gigabyte ATX B660M (processor choice will determine that). Probably running on 64gb RAM. Running mostly local drives and USB 3.0 SSD.

    Intel i7 k version beyond budget. Where I live prices for these are widely different. Considering that all three CPU options provided (+MOBO) are around the same price for me.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,571 Expert

    If your budget is tight, I would wait for Zen4, if you decide for AMD. More expensive now, but usable and expandable for years.

    Or I am happy with AMD APU Zen3 Ryzen 7 (8C/16T @ 4GHz+) using ASRock DeskMini X300 barebone miniPC (15x15x8 cm aprox. 6x6x3 in.). 64 GB RAM, two NVMe SSDs and two positions for SATA 2.5" discs.

    But no position for expansion cards, no dedicated graphics, no firewire. It is stronger than Mac with M1 and a bit weaker than M1Pro.

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