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Logic 8 Anyone recently buy a new 8 core over previous and why

Discussion in 'Logic 8' started by synesthesian, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. synesthesian

    synesthesian New Member

    i know right now it's probably best to get a older 8 core, but what will it be that logic implements in their software that would make it worth spending the extra money for a new 8 core? 64 bit ? multi threading? and what specifically will the new machines give you that the old ones won't?
    would love to hear from some of you who did get a new one and why.
  3. Orren Merton

    Orren Merton Logic Samurai / Administrator Staff Member

    I don't have a new 8-core, in fact I have a first gen Mac Pro, with only 4 cores (two dual 2.66GHZ CPUs). All those things you mention (multi-threading, 64-bit, and so on) would be just as applicable with an older 8-core as a newer 8-core.

    The main reason to buy a new machine is if you like some of it's other features—it's internal design, the video card it comes with, etc. But for Logic, any 8-core Mac Pro is going to be a spectacular machine! :thmbup:

  4. Jay Asher

    Jay Asher Senior member

    Also, in the attempt to be future proof, as nature abhors a vacuum and developers will no doubt take advantage of the additional power eventually.
  5. Spectral Mechanics

    Spectral Mechanics New Member

    Have an early 2008 octocore 32gB ram
    I looked at the nehalem platform but passed on it for a few reasons

    the first being hyperthreading, the second is that this is a first generation platform and as with everything first's going to have a refining stage..if you check the benchmarks and real world's not the same sort of leap you'd expect for a +1000 premium, maybe the 2010 model will get my money, just not this one
  6. daveyboy

    daveyboy Senior member

    I have an "old" 8 core, 2.8 that I have never pushed using Logic (yet). If I had the $ though I'd go for a new one, mostly because of my technology addiction! But, I don't think that right now I'd see much benefit. I guess we need to hear from someone who pushes their older 8 core who has upgraded to see how much better it is.
  7. georgelegeriii

    georgelegeriii Senior member

    Yep, that is for sure. Setting up a few for sample playback and Logic, and they simply make any earlier Mac G5's seem like a 98 pound weakling...

    They are by far the most powerful computers I have ever seen from Apple, even making a recent Mac Book Pro kind of anemic... a machine that was about 35% more powerful that the G5 I had worked on for years.

    If I had the money, I'd go for the last generation, save a few buck and pit it into more ram, and laugh like a mad scientist!

    Bwa ha ha ha ha!

    George Leger III :)
  8. fingerstyleguitar

    fingerstyleguitar New Member

    Yesterday I went to my local Apple store and gave the stock 4 core 2.66 Mac Pro a little stress test. I prepared a Logic project with alternating ES2's and Sculpture on each channel strip with a different stock patch selected on each channel, with a simple MIDI region 1/4 notes for 4 measure. I also had a delay designer, ad-limiter, and space designer inserted with stock patches on each channel strip. I tried to pick the most stressful patches (i.e. long space designer delays, complex delay designer patches).

    The 4 core machine showed 8 CPU's in Logic's performance meter and the CPU load seemed to scale across them pretty well. I got 27 tracks of this going and roughly 60% cpu usage on each core. I then added a channel EQ per track, opened the channel EQ plug ins on the screen and turned on the channel EQ analyser for each channel to further stress the meters.

    I forget the exact sequence of events at this point but I got tired of adding channels and started to copy the MIDI regions on each track and overlap them to increase the polyphony load of each soft synth and that's when the machine started to get a bit bogged down. The channel meters started to slow down and get choppy, I then closed each channel strip to get rid of the analyser refresh loads and the Channel strips became much more responsive. Eventually I got a CPU overload, but it took a while. I think copying the MIDI regions over each other finally brought the system to an overload.

    To get rid of the overloads I needed to option click on the soft synths and plug-ins, simply muting the tracks didn't seem to have much effect. It's hard to say what exactly started to bog the system down the stock system had only 3 gigs so memory issues may have been at play along with CPU loads.

    I'd love to try this on a stock 8 core Nehalem to see how well Logic scales across all 16 virtual cores to see if the 8 core machine is worth the price difference, but there aren't any on display at any Apple stores in the SF bay area. I'd like to compare the effects of the faster clock on the 4 core machines against the slower clock speed 8 cores to see what makes more of a real world difference.

    But the bottom line is any of these machines is really quite powerful for complex music production. My 2.4 MacBook Pro seems like a toy compared to the 4 core Nehalem Mac Pro. I might go for a 2.9 quad with 8 gigs of memory and wait a year for the 4 gig SIMMS to come down in price before upgrading to 16 gigs. But I'm hoping to check out the stock 8 core machine if I can find one before making a final call.

    Does anyone have any stress results for the new 8 core machines?
  9. Janne

    Janne Member

    I think Logic is optimized for 8 cores, I've seen reports on the net that Logic doesn't perform good on the new 8-Core machines, probably due to the illusion of 16 cores.

    But on the other hand, on the Swedish LogicPro forum, we have a thread going were we are publishing the results of a common Logic test project on different machines.
    (First post in English, the rest is in Swedish, You've been warned: Logic Performance chart)
    Today we got results from one of the new 4-core/3GB Nehalem MacPros and it manages to perform our test close to 80% of what the previous 2.8 Mhz/8-core MacPro did...
  10. yore

    yore Member

    As I'm about to buy a new Mac Pro in the coming months I find this very interesting topic. I would almost :) bet my money on that sometime in the near future both Logic and OS X will be better optimised to work with the new Nehalem 8 core Mac. Thankfully I'm in no rush to get the new Mac and have decided to wait for at least until June - July, if not longer, to see what the situation with Nehalem Macs and Logic is. The 4 core system would otherwise be OK but the max RAM of 8 GB is a serious deal breaker for me to go for the more cores Mac.
  11. Tough Kid

    Tough Kid New Member

    Logic Pro will not be able to use all 16 Cores of a Nehalem MacPro because the additional 8 are virtual Cores. You can't use these virtual Cores for real time floating point processes.

    Tough Kid
  12. fingerstyleguitar

    fingerstyleguitar New Member

    Janne - Thank you for posting the link to the thread! After using google translate I got some interesting info in the thread particularly on the 4 core 2.66 Nehalem.

    Jorma - The 4 core systems have 4 memory slots ( a real bummer) but they do accept 4 gig memory modules so you theoretically could stuff it with 16 gigs. It is really expensive to do now but it should get a lot cheaper in a year or so. If I get a 4 core I'll probably stuff it with 8 gigs and wait for prices to go down and Mac OS/Logic updates to make it worthwhile to upgrade the memory.

    Tough Kid - I'm not sure what you mean by virtual cores not being able to do floating point. The 4 core system I tested showed 8 cores (with 4 virtual cores) in Logic and they all lit up as I started to push the system. I think the issue is that Logic can't handle more than 8 cores whether they are physical or hyperthreaded. Do you have some technical details on why the virtual cores have floating point limitations? I'd like to know as it would affect my purchasing decision.

    In any case these new systems and their respective price points make me lean towards a 4 core. Partly because I don't want to spend the money on a system that is yet to be fully supported and partly because I have a sneaking suspicion that the 4 core 2.93 will feel like a snappier system in my day to day work with Logic and other audio and notation SW than the dual 2.26. Sure it will run out of processing power sooner, but I doubt I'll reach those limits in real world situations.

    The price difference for bumping up clock speed on the dual cores makes them way too expensive for me. I've been getting by with a 2.4 Macbook Pro, so any of these systems will be a major upgrade for me.
  13. Tough Kid

    Tough Kid New Member


    the "big ones" are not build with 16 identical cores, it is definitely a matter of floating point capability of virtual Cores. This technical background leads to the fact that Logic will only be able to use 8 Cores, even so if the OS is detecting 16 Cores.

    If you can live with the RAM limitation of the "smaller" ones (8GB) then I would buy one of these.

    The bigger ones will be a little bit faster due to the pure GHz number for each Core, but they will not double the amount of useful Cores for Logic.


    Tough Kid
  14. stuartf

    stuartf New Member

    Hyper threading allows the CPUs (or cores) front-end scheduler to process two instructions from two separate execution threads at the same time. This in theory allows the CPUs resources to be used more efficiently. If the two threads play nicely together then in a single cycle the CPU could in theory execute two times the workload.

    Think of the scheduler as someone trying to fill a suitcase quickly against the clock before the lid closes. The chances are there will be a lot of unused space. Let two people do it at the same time and you will probably get more in but unless they are both very neat it won't be pretty

    In practice the gains from having two schedulers will not be anywhere near 2x. If one of the threads grabs all the best resources then the performance gain could be zero.

    I'm pretty sure from what I have read that the Nehalem Xeons have multiple floating point units available on each core so in theory it is possible for two threads on the same core to execute floating point at the same time. Some of the published benchmarks show significant floating point gains for the Nehalem/Mac Pro architecture and others show issues in floating point benchmarks.

    It gets confusing because due to hyperthreading the CPUs front-end scheduler is presented as two separate CPU's to the operating system which it isn't. So on a four core chip the OS is just seeing the 8 schedulers, not 8 CPUs

    Intel quoted as far back as 2003 when the Pentium 4 introduced hyperthreading that the expected gain would on average be 120% across a mix of workloads. I would like to think that this has improved since then

    The bottom line is that the performance gain depends on many factors. From the hardware architecture, the operating system being aware of the threading features available and the application code playing nice in a multiple CPU (or core) environment.

    There are always balanced articles on if anyone is interested in reading further.

    Apple have documented that they are investing in new technologies for 10.6 that will make it easier to take advantage of multiple-cpu/core environments. Grand Central being one of them

    I suspect that as these technologies mature then we will see applications such as Logic Studio improving further in their use of multiple cores.

    Is this an issue today? I run a first generation 3 GHz 8-core Mac Pro that I bought in April 2007. In most things I do I barely tickle the edges.

    In any situation my advice would be buy the best you can afford at the time and look where you can claw back cost by adding extras elsewhere. E.g. Buying disks and memory upgrades from a third party.

    I personally always look at the purchase of a new machine with the view that I will keep it for three years and allocate the year by year costs accordingly.

  15. fingerstyleguitar

    fingerstyleguitar New Member

    Thanks for the additional info Stuart and Tough kid. I wish I could do a hands-on test of the 2.26 Dual to compare it with the single 2.93 since they are pretty close in price, but I think I'm over-analyzing. The single core 2.66 seems to have plenty of horsepower and the recent Barefeats comparison between a 2.93 dual and 2.93 single:

    makes me think that the single is the better overall value for audio apps.

    I wouldn't even think twice about it if it wasn't for the memory slot limitation of the single core machines and current upgrade cost of the 4 gig memory modules.
  16. stuartf

    stuartf New Member

    I would personally look at it a little differently.

    If you buy the Dual then you have a guaranteed 8 CPU cores of horsepower and it will last you for a long while. If the applications improve then you will get an incremental increase of some multiplier of 8 which is less than 2!

    If you buy the single then you will never ever get the equivalent of 8 CPU cores.

    The current version of Logic seems to do quite a good job of spreading work across 8 real cores

    Also think about other uses that you might branch into over the next few years such as video encoding.

    I would take the Barefeats benchmarks as an indicator but not consider it a deal maker.

    Just my opinion.

  17. Alan Branch

    Alan Branch Logic Samurai

    I have an 8 Core about a year and a bit old and it's perfect, never ran out of power once! which for me is a first! I have had loads of huge mixes in Logic, including surround projects over 100GB in size and 2 hours long, works a treat. Can't wait for Snow leopard though, faster screen redraws would be nice:)
    I dunno about the new ones I'd certainly wait till the end of the year to get any manufacturing bugs out, but they are bound to be mighty quick with the faster Ram.

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