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Which CPU

Buying or building computers for Hauptwerk, recommendations, troubleshooting computer hardware issues.
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LenS

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Which CPU

PostMon Feb 15, 2021 7:27 pm

HI All,
Re CPU's I read the point that more cores are best, but I do understand there are other factors that come into play too.
So is there a better option out of these two??

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 3.8Ghz 12 Core 24 Thread
OR
Intel Core i7 10700KF 3.8GHz Comet Lake 8 Core 16 Thread LGA1200

Or should I be looking at other options?

Thanks
Len
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larason2

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Re: Which CPU

PostMon Feb 15, 2021 8:08 pm

The best is using a CPU benchmarking database:

https://cpu.userbenchmark.com/

Which suggests the Intel is a better buy, however they both would be pretty good at running Hauptwerk, I suspect.
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engrssc

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Re: Which CPU

PostMon Feb 15, 2021 10:32 pm

In some ways, it's like asking which is better - Ford or Chevy?

OTOH, I've found Intel CPU''s have less compatibility issues, Martin has said HW has been designed "more favoring" toward Intel CPU's, altho there are many AMD CPU's being used with HW. You can flip a coin which if it lands on it's edge,doesn't count. :roll:

Even tho the "K" version allows for overclocking, I can't see the need to do this. Likewise the onboard graphics of most CPU's so equipped is more than adequate for Hauptwerk.

Myself, I've had all around good fortune with an Intel Core i7-9700K. Important factor is reliability and to some degree speed. A factor of speed is the drive being used. Here my preference is a Samsung 980 PRO 2TB PCIe NVMe Gen4 SSD.

Numbers of cores and threads isn't as big a deal because presently Hauptwerk isn't set up to use all of these resources yet - (per Martin) as one would want to consider when thinking in terms of a gaming computer. A bigger deal, these days is finding a supplier that has inventory and sells at a reasonable price.

Rgds,
Ed
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vpo-organist

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Re: Which CPU

PostTue Feb 16, 2021 2:57 pm

Look here: https://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

- 3900X => 32,850 => $484.00
- 10700KF => 19,637

Ryzen 9 5900X => 39,528 => $549.99

I think 5900X is the right cpu monster :-)
If you click on this entry you can see CPU Test Suite Average Results for comparing.
You can click on the "+ Compare" Button and compare the cpu with other processors.

My CPU is i7-3930K @ 3.20GHz, 6 cores and has 8,168 Average CPU Mark.
I can use my sample sets PAB with 92 Stops or Pasadena 97(?) stops without any restrictions.

My configuration is some years old. Today I would prefer any CPU over 30,000 CPU marks.
The reason: 8 channel sample sets, more memory usage, higher resolution (96kHz).
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engrssc

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Re: Which CPU

PostTue Feb 16, 2021 4:09 pm

mdyde wrote:this post covers loading speeds from SSD, and the fact that the per-core CPU speed might become a bottleneck with ultra-fast recent SSDs (and perhaps also with traditional SATA SSDs in RAID0):

https://forum.hauptwerk.com/viewtopic.p ... 6&#p142756

mdyde wrote:Here are some topics on loading speeds from cache:

- With extremely fast (PCIe etc.) SSDs the per-core CPU performance is likely to be the bottleneck.
- When loading from cache Hauptwerk is currently (v5) able to take advantage about 5-6 cores (but more won't hurt).
- Hauptwerk is tested with and optimised for Intel CPUs, but I know of no reason that an AMD CPU with AVX2 shouldn't perform well, and Hauptwerk v5 should detect it as having AVX2 (check the 'INF:4165 ... Processor build type' in the activity log after launching Hauptwerk) and use that capability.
- Hauptwerk v5 should load caches a bit faster than v4 did, but making it take full advantage of the performance capabilities of very fast PCIe SSDs would be a fairly big project -- one for the future.


Rgds,
Ed
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JulianMoney-Kyrle

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Re: Which CPU

PostWed Feb 17, 2021 4:03 pm

I remember a related discussion last year, and Martin Dyde joined in. Among other things he said that Hauptwerk had been written to take advantage of a new type of instruction set that only the latest Intel processors used. I can't say that this is something that I am familiar with, but my understanding is that it enables more of certain types of processing to be done with fewer clock cycles. That would suggest that, leaving aside clock speed and number of cores, Hauptwerk will run faster on more recent Intel processors.

He also said that baseline clock speed was more important for Hauptwerk than number of processor cores. Hauptwerk is able to use multiple cores but beyond about 8 there is no advantage. With regard to clock speed, he did not recommend over-clocking.

At the time HW was at version 5. I don't know whether version 6 is able to use more processor cores. However, with both of the new audio enhancements enabled 96 KHz processing and sample repitching) the load on the processor increases by a factor of four, or in other words the maximum polyphony is quartered. Polyphony requirement is affected by number of stops, amount of reverb (since the samples continue to sound until the reverb has died away), how fast you are playing and number of surround channels. For some of the larger organs such as St. Martinikerk, Groningen, the sample set provider (in this case Sonus Paradisi) will give an indication on their Web site of the polyphony required to run that sampleset optimally.

On that basis the Core i7 that you are considering seems to me to be a better option than the AMD Ryzen. Though I think it would be worth taking a look at that discussion, which I think was in this section of the forum about a year ago.

Processor speed also affects the time it takes to load an organ. Since the samples are loaded from the cache, it also makes sense for this to be on the fastest drive you have available. However, the cache can't be split between drives and if you have a lot of large organs, or multiple configurations (each of the four HW configurations has its own set of files in the cache) you can end up requiring a large drive for this, which means balancing capacity and speed against cost. I have over a terabyte of data in my HW cache, and a 2TB PCIe NVME SSD (much faster than SATA SSDs) costs about £300 - £400 in the UK at the moment. You will need a similar amount of space for "Hauptwerk internal working files", which can be on a different, and probably slower drive. Also don't forget the drive space for all your downloaded installation files, HW itself and samples, though these can be on an external drive as (hopefully) you will only need to use them once.
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Re: Which CPU

PostThu Feb 18, 2021 1:09 am

As a Ryzen 3900 user, let me chime in. It is true that old-school Ryzens lacked the AVX extended instructions that once conferred a performance advantage to Intel. However, that was resolved a number of years ago - I don't know how far back, but any "Zen 2" or later AMD CPU has the required instruction set - that would include the 3xxx series from 18 months ago, and the current 5xxx line-up.

I recall a discussion with Martin regarding core usage - I believe it was in loading a sample-set that the usable core/thread-count parallelism of HW is somewhat constrained. Enough so that the very latest SSD's may be somewhat faster than the CPU bottleneck, and improved HW multi-threading for loading instruments might allow room for further improvement in load-times when using the latest fastest CPUs and SSDs. Regardless, using an M.2 NVME SSD for your softwaer and HW cache will very significantly reduce load times from any SATA SSD, let alone an HDD. Note however, that unlike during loading, when actually playing an instrument, HW's core/thread usage is quite well balanced, making excellent use of the many cores/threads available.

I'm running a 3900x (not overclocked) with 12 cores/24 threads, with a Gen3 M.2 NVME SSD for my OS, software, and HW cache. Last time I bench-marked using the HW test organ, it was under HW5, so my result does not reflect the higher CPU load of the recent Hi-Def/96 kHz enhancements of HW6. Under the test organ, I reached 30,000+ pipe polyphony, the maximum the test would run - that's all 61 keys depressed with the highest polyphony test organ. That resulted in ~50% cpu usage from Window's perspective (Task Monitor), fairly evenly balanced across all 24 CPU threads.

Under HW6.01, Hi-Def pitch shifting and 96 kHz enabled, "Redeemer Aeolian Skinner surround extended" loaded, I pulled every stop (all 53), every Sub and Supra Octave coupler, and every other coupler (all 28), except Unisons Off. All 5 Divisions sounding. Polyphony set to 3100+. Playing large chords and runs rapidly, I was able to hit the first yellow-bar for polyphony, and 6 green-bars for CPU, within HW's monitor panel.

Under HW6, cached instrument load time examples, from "go" to playable: St. Anne's - <6 seconds; Schyven Laeken - 13 seconds; Cembalo Mietke - 6 seconds; Redeemer Aeolian Skinner Surround Extended - 19 seconds. All organs were configured in their largest, most memory-intensive configurations.

Last, with the modern CPU & ASIO drivers, no concessions to "tuning" have been made, such as historically was required under Windows to avoid audio glitches due to latency and buffer under-runs. I run Windows out of the box, all features enabled, Internet on, AV on, local and cloud backups in real-time on, many background tasks running, and Folding@Home running using 100% of my CPU (at low priority) - and have never experienced an audio glitch. One caveat - when I load a really large, high polyphony instrument I pause FAH - but not for anything small to mid-size. No glitches, ever.

These days, parts availability may be a significant concern. In the USA at least, many of the most recent mid-to-high end chips are almost lottery items. I suspect that anything of the 3900/5900 class from AMD, or the equivalent Intel chips, would do great.
Cheers, Bob
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engrssc

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Re: Which CPU

PostThu Feb 18, 2021 2:10 am

In essence, pretty much what I've been saying above. For the most part, I don't have an issue using higher end hardware as long as there's a decent return on the investment - seeing positive good USEABLE results at a reasonable cost. Today we see the scalpers taking advantage of those seeking to have the latest and the greatest no matter at what cost. To gain a second or two or a very minimal performance improvement at a premium cost, I have to ask myself is it really worth it?

I've already mentioned that many years ago when starting out in a fairly lucrative career, I used to drive a high end red Corvette. Really nice car, at a significant cost. However it offered me features - speed among other things - that I couldn't use without getting an expensive ticket and possibly losing my driver's license. After adding big time to the bottom line of the insurance company, I gave up the idea that having bragging rights was important. Getting married and raising a family became my focus. I think what I'm getting at should be obvious. I'm still open to improvements that are in process, but I don't need to be the first one out of the gate. OTOH, having all those cores pumping out heat, requiring a big power supply and a "hot" CPU requiring a big liquid cooler may be an advantage right now with the below freezing temps we're having. Could be I may have to re-visit this line of thinking. :roll:

Rgds,
Ed
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mdyde

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Re: Which CPU

PostThu Feb 18, 2021 5:41 am

JulianMoney-Kyrle wrote:I remember a related discussion last year, and Martin Dyde joined in. Among other things he said that Hauptwerk had been written to take advantage of a new type of instruction set that only the latest Intel processors used. I can't say that this is something that I am familiar with, but my understanding is that it enables more of certain types of processing to be done with fewer clock cycles. That would suggest that, leaving aside clock speed and number of cores, Hauptwerk will run faster on more recent Intel processors.


Hello Julian,

I would have been referring to the AVX instruction sets. If buying a CPU for Hauptwerk you would definitely want to get one that supported at least the AVX2 instruction set, since that will give a significant performance benefit. However, I understand that recent AMD CPUs do support AVX2, so should be fine in that regard (but do check that any candidate CPU supports AVX2). Hauptwerk's convolver might possibly perform a bit better on Intel CPUs with AVX2 or AVX-512, but that's unlikely to be an issue unless you're using many separate reverb instances simultaneously.

JulianMoney-Kyrle wrote:He also said that baseline clock speed was more important for Hauptwerk than number of processor cores. Hauptwerk is able to use multiple cores but beyond about 8 there is no advantage. With regard to clock speed, he did not recommend over-clocking.

At the time HW was at version 5. I don't know whether version 6 is able to use more processor cores


I believe you're thinking of my reply from this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=18044&p=137110#p137110

mdyde wrote:More CPU cores do potentially benefit polyphony, but per-core CPU performance is still very important, since threads running on different cores inevitably sometimes need to communicate with each other (thread synchronisation, exchanging data, etc.). [Edit: P.S. Also, the more cores there are, the more the overheads in keeping them synchronised, so with huge numbers of cores there may eventually be a point beyond which more cores even reduce overall performance.]

Although I can't give advice based on benchmarks, my inclination would be to be wary of going much beyond about 8 physical cores if doing so also involved a trade-off in base clock speed (per-core performance).

CPU cache and memory bandwidth are also extremely important, as is making sure that any candidate CPU has support for the AVX instruction set (ideally also AVX2 and/or AVX-512).


I said that I would be wary of going much beyond about 8 physical cores if doing so also involved a trade-off in base clock speed (per-core performance). Hauptwerk's audio engine can certainly take advantage of more than 8 cores. (Some CPUs with high cores counts, e.g. server CPUs, have low clock speeds.speed, hence my note of caution in that regard.)
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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bobhehmann

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Re: Which CPU

PostThu Feb 18, 2021 5:08 pm

Ed - love the car analogy, and absolutely agree. Finding one's comfortable spot on the cost/perf curve (and hopefully avoiding the steep upper-end slope!) is important. I would not want to be building a PC today, with the market prices all skewed due to extreme over-demand relative to availability - both CPUs and GPUs. In my own use case, video editing and AI modeling were also key configuration drivers, in addition to HW. With C19 arriving shortly after I built my PC, I decided to donate my GPU/CPU time to F@H research, which does not play well with video editing and AI. However, HW lives on, and peacefully co-exists, mostly!

One key consideration is sample-set requirements- for small/mid-sized instruments, especially if one forgoes surround channels/ranks, I'll bet most modern mid-range CPUs would provide excellent service - for the last year or so, current gen Intel and AMD CPUs execute enough instructions/sec per core to reduce or even eliminate the audio-glitch sensitivities we historically had under Windows. In my case, my benchmark target was Laurenskerk Marcussen in surround. That class of instrument benefits well from lots of middling-fast cores. For the previous decade, I would have gone Intel without hesitation, but that changed substantially in 2019, when for most uses, Ryzen significantly surpassed Intel in price/perf and multi-thread total performance, while being barely under Intel in max performance-per-core (but more cores/$.) In the current generation, that trend seems to have further consolidated in AMD's favor. For the larger instruments we are now seeing, plus the increased CPU demands if one uses the Hi/Def & 96kHz enhancements of HW6, CPUs of the R3900/5900 (or their Intel performance equivalents) seem about right to me, with some headroom remaining for the next few years as demands continue to increase. 3950/5950-class CPUs (16 cores/32 threads) are probably presently overkill if HW is one's entire use-case, though I'm guessing we may not think so a few years from now. HEDT/Server class chips, such as Threadripper, XEON and their like seem entirely unnecessary for HW these days. I don't own Marcussen yet, but played around with the 24-stop demo version last week - it was the one organ I had to turn off Folding@Home to play reliably on the 3900x, under HW6, when maximally configured.

I don't recommend liquid cooling for these chips, unless one is intending to significantly overclock - more common with Intel than Ryzen. In my own case, I ran fine for about 6 months on the cooler that came in the box with the 3900x. (AMD mostly no longer provides a cooler in the box for this class CPU.) At that point, I upgraded to a commercial tower fan that is silent to me and far more effective (Scythe Fuma2), for about $60 (USD). Only because I was running F@H 24x7 at 100%CPU, and wanted a quieter cooler. Just looked, at 12 cores/24 threads @100% CPU under F@H, I'm drawing 145 watts at the CPU, CPU temp is 71C, fan is silent. If I pause FAH, CPU draw during normal use (browsing/editing...) is about 45-50 watts. GPU power draw is far higher, but that wouldn't normally be a factor for most HW users.

Summary - expressly understand ones use case(s) and budget target, avoid the steep cost penalty for the top-line products, consider near-term (1-3 year) growth desires. There are many creditable YouTube channels that provide good info regarding price, performance, price/performance, quality et al. They tend to cater somewhat to gamers, but generally cover low-mid to affordable high-end processors in great depth, including CPUs, Motherboards, cooling solutions, power supplies, storage solutions, and cases. And visit pcpartpicker.com if doing your own build - that website models almost all current product set, and continuously informs you about system component compatibility - power needs, does that fit with this inside that case...
Cheers, Bob
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engrssc

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Re: Which CPU

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bobhehmann

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Re: Which CPU

PostTue Feb 23, 2021 4:01 am

Good article Ed. Availability has been a real problem here (doesn't much matter what you "want", if you can't get it or it costs 2 or 3x retail.) My son was looking to build his own machine, and is defering for an indeterminate time until inventory & prices get back in alignment.

This discussion got my curiosity back up, as I'd last run the polyphony test organ under HW5, before 96kHz and Hid-def shifting - that's were I got 30,000+ at about 50% CPU as measured by the OS on the 3900X (would be a 5900 today, which would improve matters somewhat, but likely be in the same ballpark.) 4 threads, probably synchronizing the organ, had one distinct usage pattern, and the remaining 20 threads shared equally - probably sound processing. So parallelism looked excellent. Seemed like limitless headroom. I hadn't chosen the 3900 because of HW - had I only been building for that use-case, I'd probably have bought a 3600, half the number of cores (6C/12T). Would have been a mistake. Other workstation uses drove my 3900 over 3600 choice.

I retested about an hour ago, under HW6 with the new features enabled - that dropped my raw polyphony max to ~13,000 when audio breakup began, so a HW recommended setting of ~4,500 polyphony was indicated. I just installed Allesandria tonight: with the tutti stop pulled and HW polyphony set to 4,672, all features enabled in full including surround channels - simple fast runs on a single keyboard maxed out the polyphony meter to yellow, and put HW CPU 2 bars below yellow - so HW is trimming out pipes. It also ate 105GB memory! (I have 128, so I ran 24-bit uncompressed.) All of a sudden, I'm not feeling like there is unlimited headroom, and in a few years will likely be back to doing cache-build optimizations, choosing what to trim. Oh well - one of Parkinson's laws in action, the sample-sets expand to fill up current CPU's capacities....

Best wishes, time to hit the sack here...
Cheers, Bob

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