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i9 PC for HW

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

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i9 PC for HW

PostWed Jun 12, 2024 6:36 pm

A couple of months ago I replaced my HW PC with a new i9 14900K based system. I have been very pleased with the improvement in performance provided by the new system.

My old system was about nine years old. It started out as a Dell Precision Workstation T3600 with a Xeon E5 1650 processor (3.5MHz plus turbo boost) and with 64GB of memory. The original small SSD and most of the hard drives had been upgraded using Crucial “commodity” SATA SSDs. It ran Windows 10 Pro. (CPU Mark 8,097; Thread Mark 1,738). When the system was new it was more than adequate for HW but over the succeeding years sample sets have got larger and more complex and HW sound quality has greatly improved but requires more processor power. Windows 10 was “retired” and the system could not run Windows 11 (without an unsupported hack).

In choosing the components for the new system I wanted to improve the I/O performance as well as the processor power – to get faster loading both needed to be significantly “better” than the old T3600. I spent quite a bit of time looking at the available motherboards paying attention to the speed of the I/O buses and looking out for some of the ways that some motherboards share data paths (and reduce performance when they are actually shared). In the end I settled on an Asus ROG motherboard as it offered PCIe 5.0 for an NVMe (from the processor) and multiple PCIe 4.0 via the Z790 chip. It also provided 10 USB ports (but I still added a multi usb card).

The detailed specification of the system is s follows.
• Quiet PC be quiet! Pure Base 500 Black Mid Tower PC Gaming Case
• ASUS ROG STRIX Intel Z790-E GAMING WIFI II ATX Motherboard
• Intel 14th Gen Core i9 14900K 3.2GHz 24C/32T 125W 36MB Raptor Lake CPU
• Corsair Vengeance Black 128GB 5600MHz DDR5 Memory Kit
• Noctua NH-D15 Dual Radiator Quiet CPU Cooler with two NH-A15 Fans
• ASUS Geforce GT 1030 Fanless 2GB Graphics Card
• be quiet Pure Power 12 M 750W 80+ Gold Fully Modular ATX3.0 PSU
• Samsung 990 PRO 4TB PCIe 4.0 M.2 NVMe SSD (7450/6900)
• Samsung 990 PRO 2TB PCIe 4.0 M.2 NVMe SSD (7450/6900)
• Samsung 990 PRO 1TB PCIe 4.0 M.2 NVMe SSD (7450/6900)
• Quiet PC Crucial T700 4TB M.2 PCIe Gen 5 NVMe SSD
• Samsung 870 QVO 8TB SSD Solid State Drive
• Supa Hub PCIe USB card (4 type A, 1 type C)
• Microsoft Windows 11 Pro 64-bit
(CPU Mark 61,216. Thread 4,790. Cinebench R23 multi 38429 Single 2358; Tom’s Hardware list 4th.

The system was put together for me by QuietPC.

Using it with HW has been very pleasing. It is about 7 times faster loading most sample sets I use than the old system. No audio problems, in fact no audio problems before carrying out any of the “usual” Windows optimisations for audio. I have run some benchmarks on the I/O system and found that the “drives” all reach their claimed level of performance – I think this is probably due to the motherboard architecture.

A couple of data points
Old system:
Duren. 24bit, 51GB.
212 seconds,
% data loading timer each stage busy: disk I/O 99.88%
Data read:245.5MB/s
Windows monitor shows average disk queue length of 1.45 during loading

Romsey Extended
24 bit, 46GB
199 seconds
Similar loading stats.

New system:
Duren. 24bit, 51GB.
30 Seconds
% data loading timer each stage busy: disk I/O 50.12%
Data read 3359.13 MB/Sec
7 times faster

Romsey Extended
27.7 Seconds
% data loading timer each stage busy: disk I/O 59.2%
Data read 2992.29 MB/Sec
7.1 times faster

I hope this lasts as long as the old system. The old system is destined to become my “new” office machine.
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mdyde

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Re: i9 PC for HW

PostThu Jun 13, 2024 3:57 am

Thanks, Iain. Excellent.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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magnaton

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Re: i9 PC for HW

PostThu Jun 13, 2024 10:12 am

Thank you Iain for posting the complete specs and sample loading bench marks! I am building PCs per HW projects that I get awarded and will reference this post as what a top tier, HW engine should look like. I still use 13 or 14 gen i7 processors as I don't see a performance advantage, with regards to HW, for an i9. However, an i9 is 'future proof'.

I do have a question. Does your ASUS BIOS recognize the 5600MHz DDR5 RAM? In other words, do you have this BIOS setting as "Auto" (which I think is the default) or manually set to 5600? The reason I ask is, I too use ASUS MOTBs and have installed faster RAM but on the front Status page of the BIOS it always shows a slower RAM speed even when manually set to the correct MHz number. I haven't bothered with trying to 'fix' it as performance in organ loading is very satisfactory.

I have 2 Hauptwerk computers to build in the next few days and I'm anxious to load Duren with a stop watch to compare with your bench mark your score.


Danny B.
VOCEInstruments.com
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ianmcw

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Re: i9 PC for HW

PostSun Jun 16, 2024 4:27 pm

Why so many SSDs?
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IainStinson

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Re: i9 PC for HW

PostMon Jun 17, 2024 3:41 am

1. I’m not able check at present, but I’m fairly sure that the memory was shown as operating at 5600.
2. I took my timings from the HW log.
3. Storage usage
* 8TB sata for storing sample set and Hauptwerk software distributions.
* 1TB for Windows and programs, incl Office.
* 2TB for settings files and recordings
* 4TB for installed sample sets
* 4TB (Gen 5) for HW cache
I could have cut this down but wanted the flexibility to do other things.
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abaymajr

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Re: i9 PC for HW

PostMon Jun 17, 2024 2:30 pm

IainStinson wrote:1. I’m not able check at present, but I’m fairly sure that the memory was shown as operating at 5600.
2. I took my timings from the HW log.
3. Storage usage
* 8TB sata for storing sample set and Hauptwerk software distributions.
* 1TB for Windows and programs, incl Office.
* 2TB for settings files and recordings
* 4TB for installed sample sets
* 4TB (Gen 5) for HW cache
I could have cut this down but wanted the flexibility to do other things.


8 TB of sampleset and software distributions?! What a gigantic library of samplesets you must have to need 8 TB... I would add a second 8 TB backup SSD as losing that amount of data would be terrible. Settings data and recordings could go straight to the cloud (that’s what I do here). Also, interesting to know that the sampleset loading performance scales very well with the CPU. I have here a MiniPC based on i7-13700H (mobile non-ultra CPU) that reaches "only" 1.5 GB/s.
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b_physics_guy

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Re: i9 PC for HW

PostThu Jun 20, 2024 10:04 am

When playing your favorite repertoire through speakers at a reasonable volume, which is worse?

1) The loss in audio quality caused by the noise of the fan cooling an i9 in turbo mode

or

2) The loss caused by the voices dropped when switching from turbo to normal mode.

The fan on my 10yr old computer goes to maximum speed at various times throughout the day for background windows tasks or rogue websites. I would want to disable that on a new computer. But I question whether that's worth the trouble if the fan noise can overpower the increased audio quality when playing organ.
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larason2

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Re: i9 PC for HW

PostThu Jun 20, 2024 2:35 pm

Usually all "turbo modes," etc. (essentially overclocking) are discouraged for Hauptwerk. Doesn't improve the sound at all, and can create audio errors/overheat the components and shorten their life. Having more CPU can mean more polyphony (you actually hear more of the available pipes) rather than an improvement in quality, if you configure it correctly.

In my opinion, if the fan is audible when playing, it's too loud. Buy a more expensive, quieter fan, or use liquid cooling or something like that to cool it.
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IainStinson

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Re: i9 PC for HW

PostThu Jun 20, 2024 3:16 pm

1. 8TB is really too large, but I was/am interested to try out a huge drive…. I backup my data to removable usb devices.
2. I’ve not experienced audio dropout with the system.
3. The fan is very quiet and not heard at all. The case is a mini tower case rather than a more compact variety, the air cooled fan keeps temperatures down to reasonable levels when driving the system quite hard.

Iain

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