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Apple M1 first test

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

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Apple M1 first test

PostMon Nov 30, 2020 2:08 pm

Hi,

I have bought an apple MacBook Air with the M1 processor, to replace an somewhat aging 2012 MacBook Pro. Clearly using it for Hauptwerk wasn't my main use for this computer, but I couldn't resist install it on the MacBook Air and have some testing. I couldn't test it with a sound card yet, as my Roland sound card (octa-capture) has no driver yet for Big Sur, and even less for M1. I have another behringer basic sound card that doesn't need a driver, but this one doesn't have midi ports...

The install of Hauptwerk 5.01 went fine although I really had to insist for the installation to take place (I didn't update to Hauptwerk 6 yet, actually my dedicated Hauptwerk computer, an even more aging 2008 Mac Pro still runs Hauptwerk 4)

I played some polyphony test, and it sounds promising. As I can't yet connect a physical device to the computer I just used the polyphony test with a sequencer (reaper). I stoped with 6000 pipes, and I suppose I could have gotten much higher than that as the activity monitor didn't go higher than 300%. So I suppose 8000 or 9000 pipes in the polyphony test is achievable without a problem, maybe more.

All this of course with x86 emulation, with a dead quiet computer (it doesn't have a fan)...

Sure the limitation of 16Gb ram doesn't make a M1 Mac mini or whatever M1 MacBook a very decent choice for hauptwerk, but I guess it will soon change and those computers will make much sense, even in that regard.

I am very impressed so far anyway... I supposed I'd have to keep the 2012 Macbook pro, but this first test indicates I'll be able to give it away (to family !) as, even emulating intel, I couldn't find anything that this little MacBook Air couldn't do better than the MacBook Pro it replaces...

Pierre-Henri
Last edited by phjo on Mon Nov 30, 2020 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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mdyde

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Re: Apple M1 first test

PostMon Nov 30, 2020 2:19 pm

Hello Pierre-Henri,

Thanks very much for the information -- that's good to know. On the 'Help | About Hauptwerk' screen, am I right in thinkin it would report 'SSE2' (not AVX or AVX2) in brackets for 'Build'? Presumably you had no problems getting iLok License Manager to run and for your Hauptwerk v5 licence (e.g. iLok dongle) to be recognised?
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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phjo

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Re: Apple M1 first test

PostMon Nov 30, 2020 2:23 pm

Yes, Martin, you're right, although to be more precise, it shows SSE3.

And no problem with iLok either, although I didn't try the dongle yet. (I have one ready to be configured, but I didn't yet)
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mdyde

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Re: Apple M1 first test

PostMon Nov 30, 2020 2:35 pm

Excellent. Thanks. (Yes -- my apologies for the confusion -- I meant SSE3.) If you do try it with an iLok dongle, please do let us know if it recognises it successfully.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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phjo

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Re: Apple M1 first test

PostTue Dec 01, 2020 2:44 pm

Yes, no problem with iLok usb dongle. iLok License Manager on the apple M1 MacBook Air shows the hauptwerk licence I just copied to it using another computer, and hauptwerk 5 launches fine.
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mdyde

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Re: Apple M1 first test

PostWed Dec 02, 2020 4:37 am

Thanks again, Pierre-Henri. Excellent.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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Re: Apple M1 first test

PostFri Dec 04, 2020 9:59 am

I’m an Apple person, and would like to know if anyone has had issues with a new M1 MacBook Air overheating, while running Hauptwerk. I’m trying to decide between a new MBA or MBP to use for Hauptwerk, and from some reviews of both computers, the Air throttled down when the temp went up, while the Pro turned on the fan and didn’t skip a beat. I have no idea if the tests that were run were more extensive than what Hauptwerk would require. I guess my concern would be a long practice session, with the Air throttling down due to temp. Cost wise, it’s about a $200 difference between the Air and Pro configured the same. I do plan to use the computer for other things, nothing extensive, but that’s why I want a MacBook. It will mostly be used for Hauptwerk.
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larason2

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Re: Apple M1 first test

PostFri Dec 04, 2020 9:35 pm

I have a MacBook Air that is a year old, and is Intel. Initially, the fan never turned on, and it never overheated. However, over the course of several updates it started running hotter and hotter, and the fan would run 24/7, even if I was doing basic tasks. Eventually got a laptop cooling pad, and it was much better. But now, with the most recent OS release (Big Sur), I don’t have to use the cooling pad very much anymore, because fan running is not a problem. This is all to say that you may not have any troubles with the M1, because Apple has been doing a lot of tweaking to the cooling control recently. Also, like me, if you find overheating a problem, you can always buy a cooling pad like I did. For the meanwhile though, I wouldn’t buy an M1 for Hauptwerk yet because they max out at 16 GB of RAM. That’s what I have currently, but I would recommend at least 32 GB, otherwise you won’t be able to load a large set at 24 bits. Given that, I would either wait until the Apple silicon can do 32 GB, or buy an intel Mac now.
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KenC

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Re: Apple M1 first test

PostFri Dec 04, 2020 10:01 pm

Thanks for your input larason2! It will probably be a while before I actually purchase a new Mac. I’m about to embark on a VPO project with an older (pre-digital) 3 manual Rodgers console. It will probably take a while to gut it, install midi, etc..., and can use my iMac to test it out at first.
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phjo

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Re: Apple M1 first test

PostSun Dec 06, 2020 4:38 am

larason2 wrote:I have a MacBook Air that is a year old, and is Intel. Initially, the fan never turned on, and it never overheated. However, over the course of several updates it started running hotter and hotter, and the fan would run 24/7, even if I was doing basic tasks. ...

The intel MacBook Air from one year ago, while being nice as a general purpose laptop, is really thermally constrained, and the fan is not really useful...

The MacBook Air M1 is quite another beast, but indeed, 16Gb may be a bit short depending on the samepleset you wish to load, and another limitation comes from compatibility with external sound cards... I suppose I'll soon buy a simple sound card which needs no third party driver to be recognized so I can use my MacBook Air as a mobile hauptwerk solution.

As for overheating, there is not much risk of that I think... In the worst case scenario, it might reduce a little the frequency of the cpu, and it probably won't be noticeable.
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phjo

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Re: Apple M1 first test

PostWed Dec 09, 2020 9:15 am

System fully tested with a just bought Presonus Audiobox Usb 96 soundcard, which doesn't need to install a third party driver.

The only problem I had was with installing Zöblitz sampleset, but it appears it had nothing to do with apple M1 nor big sur, but rather with some incompatibility between this sampleset and HW V. I downloaded version 1.03 of the sampleset from prospectum and it then installed fine.

First impressions are very positive and confirm my first tests. All samplesets (tried Azzio, Zöblitz and Izola dry) loaded 24 bits, lossless compression. Loading is superfast. With Zöblitz premium (surround) with almost every stop engaged, with IR (which Zöblitz definitely doesn't need) with the longest reverb from Hauptwerk installed (6.7 seconds I think), I couldn't tax the cpu more than 100% playing big clusters of notes. I couldn't hear any glitch whatsoever.

So this little computer, running hauptwerk V with Rosetta 2, is quite powerful enough for my needs regarding Hauptwerk use...

YMMV of course,

Pierre-Henri
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KenC

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Re: Apple M1 first test

PostWed Dec 09, 2020 10:18 am

If I understood the test videos correctly on the M1 MA & MBP’s, the new M1 MacAir does not have a cooling fan. That’s why I was concerned with possible throttling from it getting hot from extended use.
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Re: Apple M1 first test

PostWed Dec 09, 2020 11:31 am

I'm quite impressed with your testing of these early M1 chips! Considering Rosetta2 is not an emulator per se but rather a translator, the executable binary is "recompiled" on the first launch of any program. Interestingly it does not translate some of the newer instructions. Following is a quote from a technical article (my bold):
------------------------------------ Start quote ----------------------
Rosetta can translate most Intel-based apps, including apps that contain just-in-time (JIT) compilers. However, Rosetta doesn't translate the following executables:

- Kernel extensions
- Virtual Machine apps that virtualize x86_64 computer platforms

Rosetta translates all x86_64 instructions, but it doesn't support the execution of some newer instruction sets and processor features, such as AVX, AVX2, and AVX512 vector instructions. If you include these newer instructions in your code, execute them only after verifying that they are available. For example, to determine if AVX512 vector instructions are available, use the sysctlbyname function to check the hw.optional.avx512f attribute.
------------------------------- End Quote ------------------------

So I am really impressed with the chips themselves as they are running as 'old' Intel chips while running Hauptwerk! The rumor mill has Apple in final design stages of a 24 core chip for next year's higher end computers! Now, if they will only include large memory footprint chips. I'm wondering about that since many testers are reporting needing MUCH less memory for everyday tasks since the processor itself is so fast. One can only hope...

Regards,
Ray
Last edited by RaymondList on Wed Dec 09, 2020 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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phjo

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Re: Apple M1 first test

PostWed Dec 09, 2020 1:38 pm

Yes, Rosetta 2 translates x86 code to arm the first time a x86 application is run, and it is then cached to allow for faster subsequent launches. And of course, every call to macos libraries do not have to be translated.

But it is still to me mind-blowing that for such a bare metal cpu intensive task such as running hauptwerk the m1 chip works so well with unoptimized binary.

As for the macbook air having no fan, again, your mileage may vary, but I seriously doubt it could be a problem, as this laptop stays very cool under load... and from my initial testing, the load that Hauptwerk needs is quite reasonable. (When I say 100% cpu, it means one high performance core fully loaded, but there are 4 of them, along with 4 efficiency cores, so there is a lot of room there...)

Of course, I haven't yet tested Hw VI with the computationaly intensive improvements it offers, and it might make things more difficult for this little device, but if you don't need 40 or 50 stops and 6 channels (you wouldn't have the memory for that anyway...) I suppose it would still be fine.

Yes, indeed, the big question for next year computers will be how much ram you can have with them...
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Romanos

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Re: Apple M1 first test

PostThu Feb 25, 2021 2:47 pm

I'm glad to know it's working on M1. I will need to make an investment soon for a secondary instrument. I suppose the mini with 16gb would meet my needs for it.

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