Old 10-01-2019, 02:57 PM   #1
netphreak
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Default i3 Gen9 CPU?

I am planning to build a "guitar amp head". Well, not really the conventional type:

1: Matrix GT1500FX amplifier
2: Focusrite 18i20 Gen2 soundcard (maybe replaced by a more decent preamp later on)
3: Computer with RME Raydat

We already have a bad ass computer for recording 25 - 30 tracks simultaneously, works great. But I feel the need of fooling around with my dedicated Reaper with VST's for real-time rehearsal, and be able to bring it home from time to time.

So in essence: I will have Reaper with one track (maybe two at times, jamming with a keyboard player or another guitarist) - loaded with a number of VST's. Latency is of course the main concern - what CPU do I need? I have a B360 motherboard, so I can use Gen8 and Gen9 CPUs from Intel.

I am hunting for GHz, right, not number of cores? Will an i3-9359KF (4GHz, 4 cores) be a cheap option?
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:18 AM   #2
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No thoughts on CPU's? Does everybody just order an I9 CPU, without knowing if there's any real benefit or wasted resources/money for their usage?

I'm not impatient, just a little surprised. Maybe this is the wrong place for such topics?
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Old 10-08-2019, 06:35 AM   #3
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Seems like this is a "Live" project so you might better use the appropriate reaper Live forum.
But I doubt anybody will be able to provide a good answer for this. "i3" is somewhat weak and Live use can be very demanding CPU wise, and totally depends on the individual setup.
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Old 10-08-2019, 07:10 AM   #4
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What's the Focusrite doin' in there, if you also have a RayDat?

A RayDat is fine if you need lots of channels, but you state you'll be recording just one or two?

And, yes, I think an i3 could be fine. It depends on what you will be doing with the setup.
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Old 10-08-2019, 09:12 AM   #5
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A live performance rig (which means low latency will be required and run that way all the time) with 2 audio interfaces (which requires an aggregate device setup) with a watered down i3 CPU?

You're gonna have a bad time with that I suspect.

FYI, that Focusrite is USB, not pci.

Get a single interface that has the I/O you need and a pro level model that lets you hit low latency (like under 10ms round trip latency) with a relaxed block size (like 128 samples). Cheap interfaces need a much lower block size to hit that latency and you'll use up all your CPU power just doing that before you even get many plugins up.

Look at an i7 instead too.
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Old 10-08-2019, 04:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by netphreak View Post
I am hunting for GHz, right, not number of cores? Will an i3-9359KF (4GHz, 4 cores) be a cheap option?
I found i3-9350KF when searching so I'm guessing that's what you meant.

It should be fine. I have an i3-6300 in one of my computers (3.8 GHz, 2 cores/4 threads) and I'd used it with Reaper a fair bit. It performed well with live plugin use on a single track, and the 9350KF is significantly more capable than that.

Just don't run too many plugins live. Choose more CPU-efficient plugins if needed, and also avoid any plugins that have latency (requiring plugin delay compensation aka PDC). When you have a plugin selected in the fx browser, look at the bottom left for "CPU" and "samples". You want lower CPU % and also 0 samples (of PDC). If a plugin requires PDC it'll just add latency to your setup and you don't want that. Keep in mind if a plugin is using oversampling and you see a "samples" (PDC) reading, you might get it to 0 samples if you turn off oversampling and it'll probably sound about the same anyway.

Lots of plugins which need more CPU can be substituted for plugins which need less CPU, without sacrificing quality. Same goes with PDC (with some exceptions due to how some effects work, since some would require a bit of PDC). So keep an open mind when you're checking out what plugins you're planning to use. Your ears should be the judge.

You might have to play with some settings in Preferences to maximize its performance for live use, but it should work well. If you were planning to run a large project while also having inputs with live fx on them, that might be different. For using it as a "guitar amp/fx computer" though, I don't see why it couldn't do the job.

I don't know about your interfaces specifically since I haven't used them. I'd expect the RME to be capable of getting very low latency (3 ms round-trip is probably possible) without stressing the CPU much, based on what I've read about their drivers. As for the Focusrite I still think it'd be possible to get around 10 ms round-trip latency without the computer bogging down. I was able get that, or close, with my i3-6300 system and various inexpensive interfaces (including Realtek audio devices on the mainboard using WASAPI driver, or using the included ASIO driver which surprisingly was there on the mainboard's disk...it turns out Realtek has been making ASIO drivers for a while). Anyway I'd consider the RME first if latency is your concern.
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by netphreak View Post
I am hunting for GHz, right, not number of cores? Will an i3-9359KF (4GHz, 4 cores) be a cheap option?
AFAIK:

Any "i" architecture is available with several configurations of Ghz and CPUs.

The "i-Number" is more about instructions efficiency, i.e. "Performance per GHz" for each of the cores.

Hence a i3 with 4GHz, 4 cores will be a lot slower than an i7 with 4GHz, 4 cores, but (if same µm Structure) presumably use up less Power and run cooler.

(The count of threads per core makes this stuff even more complicated... )

-Michael

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Old 10-09-2019, 01:17 AM   #8
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_Lake

Simply put, the differences within a generation of processors sees the i3 versions with fewer cores/threads, and less cache RAM (usually scaled due to the reduction of cores the CPU has). The other differences are minor. So this i3 he mentioned is perfectly fine for having 4 cores, and won't work more "slowly" than an i5 or i7 of that same CPU frequency rating within that generation of CPUs. It just doesn't have as many cores as the i5+ CPUs in that generation of CPUs (which affects the total available CPU in Reaper, or total number of plugins possible to run simultaneously).
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Old 10-09-2019, 04:05 PM   #9
netphreak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrano View Post
What's the Focusrite doin' in there, if you also have a RayDat?

A RayDat is fine if you need lots of channels, but you state you'll be recording just one or two?

And, yes, I think an i3 could be fine. It depends on what you will be doing with the setup.
RayDat for low latency, driver stability and TotalMix - Focusrite for something to plug my guitar into (no preamps on RayDat). Preferably a better preamp later on. Focusrite and RayDat connected with ADAT, so it's only one interface (RayDat) with an extension (Focusrite).

Does Reaper use all cores for plugins? This is really unclear to me, and of great interest.

Thank you for your thoughts guys
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