Yes, I’m suggesting that you look at an 8-core (however they name it) whether it be on a Mac or PC for your next system. This is not the consideration of a geek who has nothing better to do all day then read tech manuals as he drinks chai tea.
Sorry, this is the in-the-trench observation of someone writing and producing music and video who can see the handwriting on his screen.
Mene mene tekel parse.
Translation: You have been weighed in the scales of justice and found wanting.
That about sizes it up.
Simple Example #1 – As part of job in writing for Film Music Mag I have to go to Best Buy every so often (I would personally prefer Olive Garden but there aren’t any computers there to look at). “I looked over Jordan and what did I see?” A brand new QUAD core in Best Buy comin’ after me, for GAMING! That’s right – gaming. A gaming computer from Alien Ware is running a QUAD! Now if it takes a QUAD to run a game (albeit a writing source for many), why are we surprised in music that we need a quad or dual quad (8-core) to produce our music?
This article from InfoWorld was written by Randall Kennedy. I post this because, and not to be critical, we have this tendency to become myopic and not look outside music production to see where development is going to better understand what’s happening in our world. Kennedy points out that by year end, it’s going to be an 8-core world, not a Core2Dual world.
Simple Example #2 – My P4 can beat up your Core2Dual.
“No it can’t!” you say!
“Yes it can!” I retort!
“So’s your old man!”
“Neno neno neeee no!”
Proof on the PC. On a Core2Dual with 2GB of RAM my poor wife is trying to do some work in Photoshop and InDesign. The Core2Dual with Vista grinds to a halt. (Heavy sigh!). She then burns the project to CD, goes into the studio and powers up her P4. The job is done in a fraction of the time. Literally.
Simple Example #2 My dual G5 2.7 Ghz can beat up your Core2Duo on OS 10.5
I’m handed a trailer in QuickTime format. They need 30 seconds of music. For fun, I load it into Logic 8.02 on my wife’s Core2Dual with OS 10.5. On its own, it runs fine. Inside Final Cut Express, it runs fine. Inside Logic 8, I had to call the Rescue Crew to resuscitate the poor thing.
I then run the exact same video inside my “old” G5 with Logic 8.02 on OS 10.4.11 and it purrs like an engine given an oil change with Castrol.
My point here is that while the Core2Duo is a great CPU for certain applications, for heavy duty stuff, a more powerful CPU is needed, or is going to be needed.
I extend this observation (for my studio and yours) to those computers we now call farm systems. Here’s the caveat emptor: depending on your virtual instrument choices, and the direction Native Instruments goes with 64bit Kontakt, you may not be able to put your virtual instruments on a cheap or cheaper machine.
For Vienna, those who opt for MIR, will need a powerful farm machine to run MIR, the Vienna Ensemble 3, and the Vienna Instruments. Depending on development time, by late Q3 or Q4, the multi-DVD set of MIR will be released which will also run other company’s virtual instruments. So a powerful machine is going to be needed there.
For EastWest, developer Nick Phoenix wrote on one of the forums that PLAY was designed for 8-core and the future.
SONiVOX made the business decision to not be backwards compatible on the Mac for the G5s for their new downloadable players.
In the absence of companies producing benchmarks, all I can do is read the anecdotal information and watch the trends. In doing that, why should we be so surprised that music technology, like game technology, like art graphics technology, is pushing the frontier for faster and bigger.
If you’ve got P4 systems running now and they’re working great, keep working ’em! That’s what I’m doing for sure. But if you’re going for new, again I say, new, then looking at anything less than an 8-core might be an unwise choice.
There is, however, another consideration, one which interests me a great deal and soon I’ll be getting a review unit to tell you about. That’s the Muse Receptor which runs under Linux.
Muse Receptor has not been as well received by we writers as it has by live performers. One thing for sure, it runs Kontakt, and hence, Kontakt libraries and virtual instruments with no problems. It comes with its own internal mixing board and UniWire, which means audio and MIDI travel over a LAN cable. But it does have a pair of audio outs and a MIDI connector on the back if you want to go in that direction.
What I have been told, but what I haven’t seen demonstrated, is that because the system is under Linux, operating system bloat is eliminated with many programs running faster and better under Receptor than with a standard computer.
If you don’t want to wait for my review, you can book a private demo.
Speaking for myself regarding the farm machine situation, I’m looking to see what virtual mixing board I’m going to use. That for me is the determinator, not the CPU. My preference is to wait for the version of the Vienna Ensemble that runs all the VSTi’s, as long as I can get it not bundled with MIR. If one virtual mixing board will do the job, then I can wait because I have no desire to learn the ins and outs of three or four virtual mixing boards no matter how “cool” the features. And it’s dual platform.
I can buy that.