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My Proposed Computer

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

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My Proposed Computer

PostThu Feb 25, 2021 2:25 pm

I am planning to commission the building of a new PC for Hauptwerk only. I understand a little about computers and would be grateful if somebody would glance their eyes across some of the items I have included. My current machine uses an i7 processor and has 24 Gb of Ram. 24 Gb is the limit. For a number of organ sets, I have to work hard to get them to fit inside this and as yet I have not used surround sound or the extra performances capable with version 6. I seem to remember that I read in one of the posts that more than 8 cores did not add much to Hauptwerk performance. Other than having one, does the graphics card matter? The items below are what I believe are the important items. Before anyone asks, there is no 2nd drive!
Processor (CPU)
Intel® Core™ i7 Eight Core Processor i7-10700K (3.8GHz) 16MB Cache
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z490 UD (LGA1200, USB 3.2, CrossFireX) - ARGB Ready
Memory (RAM)
128GB Corsair VENGEANCE DDR4 3000MHz (4 x 32GB)
Graphics Card
1GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GT 730 - DVI, HDMI, VGA
1st Storage Drive
2TB Samsung 870 QVO 2.5" SSD, SATA 6Gb/s (up to 560MB/sR | 530MB/sW)

Thanks for any advice you have to give me.
(Dr.) David G. Baldwin
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mdyde

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Re: My Proposed Computer

PostThu Feb 25, 2021 3:16 pm

David Baldwin wrote: I seem to remember that I read in one of the posts that more than 8 cores did not add much to Hauptwerk performance


Hello David,

Just to clarify: I think you may be thinking of Julian's recent topic. However, Hauptwerk can certainly take advantage of more than 8 CPU cores for its audio and convolution reverb engines:

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=19516#p146578

mdyde wrote: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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engrssc

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Re: My Proposed Computer

PostThu Feb 25, 2021 5:39 pm

Intel Core i7-10700K is an unlocked processor with integrated graphics so an extra graphics card is not needed for (normal) use with Hauptwerk unless you want to also use the computer for such things as gaming. (It supports over-clocking and RGB for visual effects 8) , nothing to do with HW.)

There is a HDMI port on the mobo's I/O shield.

Rgds,
Ed
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IainStinson

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Re: My Proposed Computer

PostThu Feb 25, 2021 6:27 pm

Hi David
I would consider using the M.2 slots on the motherboard for the "disk" with a solid state "drive" such as a Samsung 970 EVO (or EVO Plus) 2TB rather than the SATA ports . More expensive but much faster because the protocol used for data transfer is more efficient than SATA . There seems to be two M.2 slots on this motherboard.

I would have two drives. Perhaps a second 2TB SATA drive for sample sets storage or another EVO in the second M2 slot.

It is worth getting your builder to check that using the M.2 slots and the SATA ports don't reduce the data transfer rates.

I would probably have the separate graphics card only because I prefer a separate graphics card!

Make sure the case has sufficient airflow and that the power supply is more than adequate.

Do you need WIFI and or Bluetooth on the machine?

I've not really commented on the processor - it has good single core performance which is good for HW. it has eight cores with two threads per core. Some of the other (more expensive) Intel processors have more cores with good single core performance and this helps Hauptwerk. I've been looking at the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X (12 cores, 24 threads) and Core i9-10900K (10 cores 20 threads)


Best of luck!

Iain
Last edited by IainStinson on Fri Feb 26, 2021 4:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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engrssc

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Re: My Proposed Computer

PostThu Feb 25, 2021 7:05 pm

IainStinson wrote:I would consider using the M.2 slots on the motherboard for the "disk" with a solid state "drive" such as a Samsung 970 EVO (or EVO Plus) 2TB rather than the SATA ports . More expensive but much faster because the protocol used for data transfer is more efficient than SATA . There seems to be two M.2 slots on this motherboard.

I would probably have the separate graphics card only because I prefer a separate graphics card!


Agree with using the EVO Plus for all the reasons Iain stated. File rate transfer will be governed by the slowest device, which would be SATA if that's what would be used.

As far as using a graphics card, fine if you need it. Thoughts - extra cost, extra power required, extra heat generated.

If "pushed" to any extent, you require adequate cooling for that CPU. There is a tradeoff between performance and such things as power required and heat generated.

Rgds,
Ed
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IainStinson

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Re: My Proposed Computer

PostFri Feb 26, 2021 4:28 am

Check how many USB ports you need and the system has and exposes via accessible connectors). You might also consider a usb card with a good number of USB ports and eliminate the need for a external usb hub. If you have an addition usb card make sure that the builder installs any connections to give the card sufficient power to drive each of its USB ports. Sometimes these cards have an additional power connection which is needed to drive all of the ports.

Make sure the case has accessible USB ports for installation, backup and file transfer. Are these on the top or on the front?

It is surprising how many ports can be required.

(It is easy to spend other people’s money!)

Iain
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bobhehmann

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Re: My Proposed Computer

PostSat Feb 27, 2021 3:35 am

Going M.2-NVME SSD will have a huge positive effect loading large sample sets (or other mass-I/O functions.) Strictly speaking, M.2 is the socket, NVME is the interface protocol. Important as there are M.2-SATA SSDs as well as NVME ones: the SATA ones will suffer the same bottleneck as your "normal" SATA. Most MOBOs will support both SATA and NVME SSDs in an M.2 socket, selecting the protocol that matches the device you plug into it. Based on benchmarks on my PC with an M.2-NVME SSD (Samsung 970), a regular SATA SSD, and several large SATA HDDs, the SATA SSD is about twice as fast as the HDDs, and the NVME SSD is 4-7 times faster again than the SATA SSD, depending on the function. Subjectively, the difference is fully inline with the benchmarks. From the M.2-NVME, Friesach configured full out, 32+GB, loads in 15 seconds; Alessandria full out, at 106GB, in 73 seconds.

You might also notice PCIe3/4 referenced in MOBO and SSD specs - this is far less important than NVME vs SATA (M.2 connects directly through the PCIe buss.) Higher-end AMD processors and their MOBOs started supporting the theoretically faster PCIe4 a while back, and the latest-gen Intel equivalents are going that way also. While faster in theory, in practice folks aren't reporting getting much perceivable improvement using the pricier PCIe4 NVME SSDs compared to the PCI3 devices. The 3/4 variants are totally cross-compatible, so you can plug any PCIe3 or 4 device into any PCIe3 or 4 socket, and it will work without any substantial performance penalty - you'll get the full performance of the slower/limiting half of a mixed pairing. If you find a PCIe4 SSD at close to the price of an otherwise equivalent PCIe3 device, and your MOBO supports 4, no harm, but I wouldn't put much extra $$ into the PICe4 - perhaps in the future, but not now.

And I can confirm that HW5/6 does very well indeed in getting full use out of many cores/threads when rendering sound. In an exchange with PiotrG regarding Alessandria, he replied that he too has an AMD 3900x as his personal HW PC, and the newest sets are now capable of beginning to push such a processor, especially with the HW6 CPU-intensive features enabled. A year ago, not even close. So if you project a couple of years forward, and see larger/surround sets in your future, if budget permits, I would consider AMD/Intel CPUs closer to the 12 core-class rather than to the 6-cores I would have settled for a year ago (and would now be regretting.)

Good luck!
Cheers, Bob
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engrssc

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Re: My Proposed Computer

PostSat Feb 27, 2021 4:38 am

On most mobo's, one M.2 socket runs at full speed while the other one runs at half speed. Easy to detenerme by using CrystalDiskMark:

https://crystalmark.info/en/software/crystaldiskmark/

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: My Proposed Computer

PostSat Feb 27, 2021 11:44 am

I Notice that Martin says a processor with AVX2 or AVX-512 would be greatly beneficial to performance.

Does V6 support AVX-512?

thanks


David
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mdyde

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Re: My Proposed Computer

PostSat Feb 27, 2021 12:15 pm

Hello David,

For that, please see my reply here:

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=19320&p=145042#p145042

mdyde wrote:The main potential benefit of AVX-512 to Hauptwerk would be that it allows more CPU registers, thus potentially reducing stress on the CPU cache and RAM, especially benefiting polyphony. It may also allow more efficient convolution reverb, since more data can be processed in a single instruction.

However, Hauptwerk doesn't currently (v5 or v6.0.1) have a dedicated AVX-512-optimised executable included in its installer, due to a possible problem that was found with it on one one particular AVX-512 CPU model. Hence for Hauptwerk v5/v6.0.1 currently the AVX-2-optimised executable will be installed instead (which is definitely safe with on all AVX-512 CPU models). In the longer-term, we do hope to include a dedicated AVX-512-optimised executable, which would gain the full benefit from an AVX-512-capable CPU.


The same still applies (v6.0.2). AVX-512 might possibly still give some performance advantage above AVX2 for the convolution reverb engine, though.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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bobhehmann

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Re: My Proposed Computer

PostSat Feb 27, 2021 1:52 pm

Ed's absolutely right. Often you'll find the specification in the marketing info and/or the MOBO's installation guide, but it can easily be lost in the techno-speak. A good starting guess is that the M.2 socket closest to the CPU is the fastest one, when there are differences - that one has a very direct link to the CPU, shortest signal paths, least intervening circuity, usually dedicated. Additional M.2 sockets often share their path to the CPU with other high-speed devices, and have more logic between them and the CPU, which can slow them down. They'll still be noticeably faster than SATA paths, but not as optimized as the primary M.2 socket. If a pro is building it for you, they should make the optimal choice.
Cheers, Bob
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Re: My Proposed Computer

PostSat Feb 27, 2021 5:46 pm

I have no experience with PC computers (Mac man) so talk of sockets etc is new to me.
It would be great if one of you who have contributed could sum up with a list of components you consider to form the ideal VPO stand alone computer. Thanks in advance.
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engrssc

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Re: My Proposed Computer

PostSat Feb 27, 2021 7:11 pm

An important point to consider between PC's and Mac's is that there many individual choices of the various components that can be integrated in a PC vs in a Mac where these choices are made by Apple on our behalf. That's not a negative but rather the way it is. Not every component choice is necessarily optimum re PC component choices, whereas most expect that Mac's internal parts are designed to be a compatible entity. So these differences cater to a vast variety of computer users.

There are many "loyal" Ps users as well as many "loyal" to Mac users. And there are many reasons for these "loyalties".

Rgds,
Ed
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Erzahler

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Re: My Proposed Computer

PostSat Feb 27, 2021 8:02 pm

Thanks but I did not want to open a debate between Mac and PC.
I want to move to PC which I hope someone can build for me and would like basically a shopping list based on the advice already contributed in this post of components to make an ideal computer for organ playing. Thanks anyone.
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engrssc

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Re: My Proposed Computer

PostSat Feb 27, 2021 8:22 pm

An important decision needs to be - your expectation and than how much you are willing to spend. Beyond that would be if you want a pre-built or a custom? In order to address these points, you would need to do some research. As a ball park figure, I'd say a very basic adequate PC for use with Hauptwerk presently can be built starting at $1,000 USD.

I made the PC vs Mac comments because with a PC there are many more decisions to be made. Very recently, I was asked to help a Mac user wanting to switch to a PC. I went thru an abbreviated list of PC questions, even referring him to PC Part Picker and several other info sources. The present situation - his comment 'I never had to do all that with a Mac. I think I'll stay with the Mac.'

Consider a simple question such as what case do you want? I can easily think of at least 60 possibilities. Then the electronics with each one have likewise many. And each decision in many cases affects many other decisions. Not at all trying to dissuade you from going with a PC, Meself, I have.presently 4 different flavors of Mac's here from a Mac Pro to a Mac Mini. And many species of PC's as well. No such thing as one size fits all. There are many Forum members who will share with many saying given the choice they might do things differently. .A point of consequence is the present lack of components/chips worldwide which will probably last for the rest of the year. I'm looking for some specific parts which cab had, but at ridiculously high prices. I check Amazon and Newegg dailly and their prices keep increasing. So do you want an average,adequate PC or have specific requirements such and how many and which sample sets. What about your audio requirements?

Slightly off the, but my wife and I used to frequent (often) a restaurant in Chicago - Soup's On. What was so neat was the menu -4 different, all you could eat, homemade soup. (Which changed daily). Trying to get the right PC (for your needs) isn't simple like that analogy.

As a starting point, why don't you spell out what you have presently and what you may want to add to that.

You can expect any reputable custom builder will ask many questions. I'd think a bit if a builder has 'just what you need' because he may be.trying to move some outdated parts. My present PC that I built very recently is using a 7th generation CPU while presently a popular CPU is 10th gen. This discussion about sockets refers to the CPU socket on the motherboard which vary according to the CPU.

Keep in mind, the right PC for me may not be the right one for you. Above all, don't be intimidated by all this tech speak.There isn't one here who was "born" with all this knowledge. The best is to attempt to make informed decisions and this. Forum has some of the most knowledgeable anywhere. Any many of these most knowledgeables don't comment unless they feel they have something to contribute at their level.

You might want to spend a few minutes and watch this video as it may help to answer some of your questions. Even if you've never considered building your own PC, it is very doable. and you'll come away with knowledge.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_71ArmcP9G8

Rgds,
Ed
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