Testing the Strength of a 28 core "MacPro" for Computer Music
Testing Out the Fastest MacPro with Logic X
We have purchased a MacPro (released in late 2019) with the maximum of 28 cores. We will be testing it’s strength for making computer music (music production)!
Below is the live stream of the event from Feb 23.
Testing the Strength of a 28 core “MacPro” – Video Access
The specs of the MacPro we purchased are as follows:
- CPU : Selected max. of 28 cores
- Memory : Though you can expand up to 1.5TB (1500GB), we decided it would be unnecessary for computer music/video production and kept it to 96GB
- Graphics : Though it doesn’t relate to music production very much, we selected the highest level graphic board to fulfil our video editing purposes
What suprised us the most about this MacPro is how silent it is.
No matter how hard the task, the fan doesn’t get louder and it stays very quiet.
Using Logic X and Comparing to the Old MacPro
In our live stream we compared it with the old MacPro.
We will be using Mac’s “Activity Monitor” to see how the CPU is working.
You can open it from “Applications” → “Utility”.
In addition, by holding the activity monitor, you can display the CPU meter.
Because the new MacPro’s CPU uses 28 cores, 56 meters are displayed.
In order to allow us to record smoothly in real time, we set Logic’s “Buffer Size” to “64 samples”.
This is an ideal amount that makes sure we have very little latency when recording in real time.
To get the most out of our CPU, the processing thread has been set to the maximum “56”.
We used “SERUM” which is a softsynth that requires a considerable amount of CPU, as well as made some unison settings and multiple effects to try and put more strain on our CPU.
There is most likely not many synths that will be more demanding than the synth we have set up for our example.
While checking the CPU meter, we gradually duplicated this SERUM track.
With 10 tracks up and running, the old MacPro began to produce noise and reached its limit.
We tried recording but here we were also faced with noise as well as latency.
In comparison the new MacPro is much stronger.
We had no issues so far, so we continued to increase the number of tracks.
With 30 tracks total, it still runs effectively.
Because there seems to be more room to go, we decided to add “Ozone 9” to the 30 tracks, further placing heavy strain on the CPU.
Still no issues appeared in functionality/playback.
Guitar was also recorded in real time on top of this.
We used “AmpliTube 4” which is a guitar effect with considerable CPU strain.
There was little latency and noise, allowing us to easily record.
To emulate a band recording, we duplicated this guitar track to a total of 10, and still faced no issues.
It is safe to assume that most productions will not go over this point in terms of required processing power.
We were highly suprised that it continued to function without issues despite the high level of tasks given to it.
Comment Requests from our Video
We had a number of requests in our comments during the live stream, which we will mention below:
Trying Studio One/Cubase
We tried using the DAW Studio One with the same setup.
We realised that the was CPU is used is different from Logic.
We started to get some noise at around 26 tracks and things began moving slower/unstably.
Next we have Cubase.
Though there was some noise as we increased the number of tracks, it would stablize after playing for a while.
The MIDI playback sometimes shifts off place, and its most stable at around 20 tracks.
Because of this, to get the best performance out of MacPro, we recommend using Apple’s “Logic X”.
Using with the Softsynth Massive X
We received a request to try this with “Massive X”.
When we used unison and maxed out the settings, it strained the CPU quite a bit.
4 tracks were the limit, and we got noise/errors from the 5th tracks.
This may be because multiple cores aren’t being used at all to share the CPU load, and it may have to do with Massive X’s settings as well.
Softsynth Omnisphere 2
Though we looked at soft synths that require heavy CPU, we took a look at the sample based “Omnisphere 2” as well.
Sample based sound banks need to read sample info, and require more memory usage, which we took a look at in the process.
When compared to the CPU heavy soft synths from earlier, because they require less CPU we could run 100 tracks without any issues.
Though the memory usage will depend highly on the sounds and presets selected, we used up 11GB with 100 tracks.
This still allows for plenty more to use.
It’s said that the MacPro uses alot of power, so we decided to see how much electricity (cost) it uses.
We used “ELPA Electrical Measure EC-03EB” to see this.
When running the heavy project above, we got a result of around “8 yen per hour”.
The 2018 MacBookPro ran at around 0.5 yen per hour.
A hair dryer used on a max settings uses around 26 yen per hour, and the MacPro is also on the high side considering this.
This completes our look at the MacPro.
- Music hardware/software introduction