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DAWBench for live performance

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DAWBench for live performance

Postby johnny h » Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:53 pm

As much as I appreciate the hard work done by the community with dawbench tests between various cpus, it’s very frustrating that they are so focused on Reaper, and to a lesser extent Cubase.

As useful as these DAWs are for traditional purposes, Ableton Live is by far the dominant DAW in electronic music and live performance and has very different (higher) demands on a system than the linear, traditional DAWs.

Would it be possible to do a shootout that included daws like Ableton and Bitwig? I feel a huge section of us have been left in the dark when it comes to daws that are designed to handle live performance.

Also, what happened to OS X vs Windows results? I don’t find Ableton works that well on my pc even though it’s geekbench scores are significantly higher than my MacBook Pro.
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Re: DAWBench for live performance

Postby Pete Kaine » Tue Feb 18, 2020 5:10 pm

Vin doesn't appear on here all too often, so you might be better placed trying his threads on GS or mailing him directly for clarity as it's his project and not mine.

The Reaper build ran into issues with the 18 cores and how Kontakt was load handling in the configuration we had, so Vin's just been through 2 month of test rebuilding and closed beta sessions in order to be sure it works smoothly on the larger chips and so we can start benchmarking again.

With the best will in the world it's an utter time suck to do the testing already, let alone build and matain more tests on top of what we already have. All I care about ultimately is seeing how the CPU's fare on a results curve generated by a level playing field and to be able to present that in a way that makes sense.

If a set of tests in Reaper tells me that CPU's A,B,C are coming 1st,2nd,3rd in the performance rankings, then I honestly don't expect Ableton or any other DAW to show any different unless they have issues running on one platform or the other.

Of course, I agree each DAW should be checked on each platform simply for compability reasons, but I don't see what's to gain by testing all the chips on all the platforms with all the DAW's when the value curves are unlikely to change in each instance.

Unless i'm missunderstanding here and you simply want a DAW shootout to compare the software clients and not the chips? That would be interesting admittedly, but it's so far down my to do list that unless my schedule clears up we'll probably have Quantum computers by the point I finally do.

Lastly, the OSX Vs Windows is a question squarely for Vin as I don't have a MAC to hand and I've no interest in spending the money on finding out.
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Re: DAWBench for live performance

Postby johnny h » Tue Feb 18, 2020 5:50 pm

Pete Kaine wrote:V
If a set of tests in Reaper tells me that CPU's A,B,C are coming 1st,2nd,3rd in the performance rankings, then I honestly don't expect Ableton or any other DAW to show any different unless they have issues running on one platform or the other.

Of course, I agree each DAW should be checked on each platform simply for compability reasons, but I don't see what's to gain by testing all the chips on all the platforms with all the DAW's when the value curves are unlikely to change in each instance.

Unless i'm missunderstanding here and you simply want a DAW shootout to compare the software clients and not the chips?
DAW shootouts have been done and its clear that Reaper is the stand out performer in terms of performance.

My issue is that live DAWs like Ableton and Bitwig are unable to optimise playback in the same way that Reaper and Logic do (in terms of heavily buffering non-armed tracks). This makes me suspect that single core performance is more important.

You have shown how the new AMDs can sometimes have issues with low latency sample playback compared to Intel (thanks for your hard work on this btw!). I'm unaware of any testing which shows whether similar issues effect live-orientated DAWs.
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Re: DAWBench for live performance

Postby Pete Kaine » Wed Feb 19, 2020 2:15 pm

johnny h wrote:My issue is that live DAWs like Ableton and Bitwig are unable to optimise playback in the same way that Reaper and Logic do (in terms of heavily buffering non-armed tracks). This makes me suspect that single core performance is more important.

You have shown how the new AMDs can sometimes have issues with low latency sample playback compared to Intel (thanks for your hard work on this btw!). I'm unaware of any testing which shows whether similar issues effect live-orientated DAWs.

Agreed that it's going to be worthwhile establishing if they have any specific shortcomings in those regards, although I've got some interesting info regarding the latency problems on the lowest buffer we've seen previously.

I'm just compiling a current run of testing and I've spotted a solution for that as I've gone. AMD recommend 3200MHz RAM still, but they've noted publically that 3733MHz is the native internal bus for the CPU itself, which means that the RAM is running off a multipler by default.

Switching from standard 3200MHz to the "AMD optimized" packs that are available these days brought it down from 25% loss to about 15% loss in overhead. Moving it up from 3200MHz to 3600MHz removes the latency issue completely.

It looks like getting as close to the native internal bus clock is the key here, 3733MHz RAM is expensive as it's a rather uncommon clock rate, but highly tuned (cheaper) 3600MHz seems to be up to the job. You can overclock standard RAM packs to get in the right ballpark, but it's a lot less hassle to aquire the pre-validated packs where possible.

It's interesting in that 3600Mhz wasn't exactly common even a year ago when Ryzen 2 launched let alone when the 1st generation chips hit the market, so we've been seeing a platform in circulation that seems to be ahead of the rest of the tech that's being plugged into it but is finally catching up..
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Re: DAWBench for live performance

Postby johnny h » Fri Feb 21, 2020 12:25 pm

Just to be clear, the solution is to overclock 3600 ram to 3733MHz and that clears up all the low latency issues? This surely makes AMD the clear winner over Intel?
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Re: DAWBench for live performance

Postby Pete Kaine » Thu Feb 27, 2020 3:50 pm

Sorry, absolutely wanted to be clear, so knocked up the coverage piece first.

http://www.scanproaudio.info/2020/02/27 ... -overview/

That'll cover what, why etc... but yes, AMD with the tweaked memory has it.
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Re: DAWBench for live performance

Postby Agharta » Thu Feb 27, 2020 4:40 pm

Pete Kaine wrote:Sorry, absolutely wanted to be clear, so knocked up the coverage piece first.

http://www.scanproaudio.info/2020/02/27 ... -overview/

That'll cover what, why etc... but yes, AMD with the tweaked memory has it.
Very nice Pete, thanks for all the hard work. :thumbup:

One small error in that AMD only showed the 4000 series APUs at CES which are Zen 2 based. These top out at 8 cores.
The Zen 3 based 4000 chips were only mentioned in passing when it was stated that Zen 3 will be seen this year.
These are the ones that will scale to at least 16 core.
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Re: DAWBench for live performance

Postby Pete Kaine » Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:52 pm

Sorry, fair point... I've corrected it to point at them as impending and noted in passing.

Cheers,
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