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  #1  
Old 06-14-2020, 02:21 PM
Lockemusic Lockemusic is offline
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Default Just got my new Mac Pro 2019, 16 Core Review: worth upgrading?

Just got my new 16 core Mac Pro 2019 this week so I thought Id share my feedback:

With my previous pro tools 2020 sessions on a 6 core MacBook Pro i9 2018, the CPU hovered around 50% max and I would get errors.

With the 16 core, CPU is hovering around 25% to 30% - although an improvement, I would like to know your thoughts on upgrading to the 28 core?

My sessions are virtual instrument heavy with lots of tracks (100 or more).

At the moment I haven't upgraded the 32GB ram or SSD storage but will be doing so, do you guys recommend any (Ram is showing about 50% usage). On a positive note, its very quiet ...no more fan city woo!
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  #2  
Old 06-16-2020, 12:28 PM
loud neighbor loud neighbor is offline
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Default Re: Just got my new Mac Pro 2019, 16 Core Review: worth upgrading?

I have the 16 core 7,1 with 224GB RAM and two additional internal PCIe M.2 NVMe SSD's for VI's and sessions - bought the extra RAM and SSD's at OWC and would highly recommend them as well.
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  #3  
Old 06-16-2020, 02:31 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is online now
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Default Re: Just got my new Mac Pro 2019, 16 Core Review: worth upgrading?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lockemusic View Post
Just got my new 16 core Mac Pro 2019 this week so I thought Id share my feedback:

With my previous pro tools 2020 sessions on a 6 core MacBook Pro i9 2018, the CPU hovered around 50% max and I would get errors.

With the 16 core, CPU is hovering around 25% to 30% - although an improvement, I would like to know your thoughts on upgrading to the 28 core?

My sessions are virtual instrument heavy with lots of tracks (100 or more).

At the moment I haven't upgraded the 32GB ram or SSD storage but will be doing so, do you guys recommend any (Ram is showing about 50% usage). On a positive note, its very quiet ...no more fan city woo!
If it's running OK why do you need to upgrade? 28 core scalability will be very dependent on your session/workload/plugins used. So I'm not sure advice from others is that helpful. And sadly CPU meter % is not that useful for knowing you *won't* have problems (if you were seeing high % usage now then that's a more useful predictor of issues... and saldy even what the CPU meter means with hyperthreading enabled is really hard to make sense of), and whether that problem will be helped (or made worse) by adding more cores.

I'd focus my spend on what is important to improve things. What problems do you want to solve? Session startup time? Plugin sample load times? Making better backups? Getting CPU errors now or expecting to run larger sessions (and you can't freeze tracks?).

If you have memory free make sure you have set disk cache to a size, not "normal", to accommodate all your session in memory (look at the disk cache meter).
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  #4  
Old 06-16-2020, 11:17 PM
Marsdy Marsdy is offline
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Default Re: Just got my new Mac Pro 2019, 16 Core Review: worth upgra

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lockemusic View Post
Just got my new 16 core Mac Pro 2019 this week so I thought Id share my feedback:

With my previous pro tools 2020 sessions on a 6 core MacBook Pro i9 2018, the CPU hovered around 50% max and I would get errors.

With the 16 core, CPU is hovering around 25% to 30% - although an improvement, I would like to know your thoughts on upgrading to the 28 core?

My sessions are virtual instrument heavy with lots of tracks (100 or more).

At the moment I haven't upgraded the 32GB ram or SSD storage but will be doing so, do you guys recommend any (Ram is showing about 50% usage). On a positive note, its very quiet ...no more fan city woo!
The business manager at my local Apple store is well versed in pro audio. His take on it is that the 16 core is the sweet spot for PT and audio use and he could have tried to flog me something with more cores!

Apparently, it’s mostly number crunching scientific apps that are really optimised for very high core numbers and high core counts come at the expense of core speed. Since Pro Tools doesn’t spread plugins/VIs across multiple cores then there’s always going to be a balance between the number of cores and core speed.

Having had my 16 core for a few weeks I’m inclined to agree with him. If you look at the single core benchmark of your MacBook Pro (I have the same one), it’s not a million miles away from the single core benchmark of a 16 core 7.1 Mac Pro. Whenever I use my MacBook Pro with VIs in Pro Tools the fans are ridiculously noisy!

I got for RAM from https://www.mrmemory.co.uk/ VERY cheap but quality RAM, 5 year guarantee and 100 day returns.
When I bought mine a month ago I was supplied with Crucial/Micron memory but apparently it’s sometimes Samsung depending on availability.

Storage, depends on how much you need, what you need it for, and how many free PCIe slots you have?
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  #5  
Old 06-17-2020, 11:48 AM
Lockemusic Lockemusic is offline
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Default Re: Just got my new Mac Pro 2019, 16 Core Review: worth upgrading?

Cheers for the replies guys, enjoyed reading all your comments.

Going to try to keep it brief as Im still in my return period for the Mac Pro and need to troubleshoot Also on Monday Apple will have some news on their Arm Processor and new iMacs so looking forward to that :)

1. How can I improve the Restoring Tracks Time of my Pro Tools Sessions. It takes a while, is this related to number of cores, or the read speed of the Mac HD or even memory related?

My current sample library is a Samsung 850 EVO SSD via USB 3, would I see a big improvement investing in an internal OWC PCIe SSD or even the Sonnet one (is there fan noise with the latter?)

Today Ive added 2 x 64 GB Samsung RAM modules (160 GBP total with the original 32 GB RAM). Memory Meter in Pro Tools is down from around 70% to 10%. Woo!

I have seen the CPU shoot once to 100% red and go back down. This gives a distorted playback which I can fix by toggling the Buffer Size in the Playback Engine. Im always working on 1024 Samples and don't experience latency when recording MIDI unless I have the track routed to a group buss with plugins on. Is the only way to fix this to change the output to Analog 1-2 and then bus after when Im happy with the track? What H/W Buffer size are you guys using? Would love to have it right down :) I tested a VI track today with some plugins fx on routed to a buss but even at 32 Samples its unplayable. Is this even possible or hdx only?

2. Using several displays issue: Ive attached 2 HDMI displays and a VCA display and the Mac Pro always has a bit of trouble recognising them when starting up. Is there a correct order to help with this? i.e power displays on first, followed by the Mac Pro
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  #6  
Old 06-17-2020, 02:48 PM
Marsdy Marsdy is offline
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Default Re: Just got my new Mac Pro 2019, 16 Core Review: worth upgrading?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lockemusic View Post
Cheers for the replies guys, enjoyed reading all your comments.

Going to try to keep it brief as Im still in my return period for the Mac Pro and need to troubleshoot Also on Monday Apple will have some news on their Arm Processor and new iMacs so looking forward to that :)

1. How can I improve the Restoring Tracks Time of my Pro Tools Sessions. It takes a while, is this related to number of cores, or the read speed of the Mac HD or even memory related?

My current sample library is a Samsung 850 EVO SSD via USB 3, would I see a big improvement investing in an internal OWC PCIe SSD or even the Sonnet one (is there fan noise with the latter?)

Today Ive added 2 x 64 GB Samsung RAM modules (160 GBP total with the original 32 GB RAM). Memory Meter in Pro Tools is down from around 70% to 10%. Woo!

I have seen the CPU shoot once to 100% red and go back down. This gives a distorted playback which I can fix by toggling the Buffer Size in the Playback Engine. Im always working on 1024 Samples and don't experience latency when recording MIDI unless I have the track routed to a group buss with plugins on. Is the only way to fix this to change the output to Analog 1-2 and then bus after when Im happy with the track? What H/W Buffer size are you guys using? Would love to have it right down :) I tested a VI track today with some plugins fx on routed to a buss but even at 32 Samples its unplayable. Is this even possible or hdx only?

2. Using several displays issue: Ive attached 2 HDMI displays and a VCA display and the Mac Pro always has a bit of trouble recognising them when starting up. Is there a correct order to help with this? i.e power displays on first, followed by the Mac Pro
Don’t know what VIs you’re using but Kontakt takes a long time to instantiates in Pro Tools, even from super fast storage. An external SSD via USB3 is literally 6 times slower than one fast Samsung m.2 drive on an internal PCIe adapter.

I’m currently running with a buffer of 256 although I’m hosting most VIs in VE Pro. I’m using HDX though.

Don’t know about your display issue sorry.
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  #7  
Old 06-17-2020, 03:49 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is online now
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Default Re: Just got my new Mac Pro 2019, 16 Core Review: worth upgrading?

Yep plugin startup times may be improved by moving to fast PCIe internal SSD. If you have space on the current boot disk you can try copying some of your sample libraries there for a test. Those M.2 drives Marsdy is talking about are a frigging bargain.

You mean "restoring tracks" when opening a session? What drive is the sessions on? If it is not the internal drive then copy a session there and try that. It won't have anything to do with memory... you had more memory than you needed before.

But now you have the extra memory you should try setting disk cache to a size to accommodate your session, not leaving it to "normal". Watch them load in the cache performance meter (it turns green when done). Setting the sesion to use disk cache like that should guarantee you the best overall performance... and now you may have way more memory than you likely need you might as well use if for disk cache.

For the other non-Pro Tools related questions you may be better off asking on other Mac specific forums.

Last edited by Darryl Ramm; 06-17-2020 at 04:14 PM.
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  #8  
Old 06-18-2020, 01:28 AM
Lockemusic Lockemusic is offline
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Default Re: Just got my new Mac Pro 2019, 16 Core Review: worth upgrading?

Thanks for all your replies I appreciate it :)

I think I will stay with the 16 core and just install my Sample Libraries and Sessions on internal M.2. Is it better to put everything on a single 2TB M.2 or having separate 1TB sticks? Ive heard good things about Samsung 970 EVO but not sure whether to go for the pro or pro plus model. Does anyone know where I can get the OWC or Sonnet card for M.2 in the UK? Amazon do the SSD sticks.

Darryl Ramm:

Yes the "Restore tracks" is once Im in Pro Tools and click "Open Project".

Ive set the Disk Cache to 100 GB, takes a while to process but when it does the Disk Cache meter shows Memory at 74%. I'll test the performance, would you recommend setting higher or lower value? Pro Tools says I can now go up to 154 GB. Ive always set it to normal but makes a lot of sense to use it seeing as I have more memory.

Marsdy:

Yes I do use Kontakt quite a bit. Out of interest would you recommend the HDX card for 16 core users, Im guessing you are using to get track with low latency? Ive always worked on MacBook Pros so its nice to finally have PCIE slots


Overall Im really liking this new setup and Pro Tools 2020.5 is running like butter on Mac OS Catalina 10.15.2
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  #9  
Old 06-18-2020, 02:30 AM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is online now
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Default Re: Just got my new Mac Pro 2019, 16 Core Review: worth upgrading?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lockemusic View Post
Thanks for all your replies I appreciate it :)

I think I will stay with the 16 core and just install my Sample Libraries and Sessions on internal M.2. Is it better to put everything on a single 2TB M.2 or having separate 1TB sticks? Ive heard good things about Samsung 970 EVO but not sure whether to go for the pro or pro plus model. Does anyone know where I can get the OWC or Sonnet card for M.2 in the UK? Amazon do the SSD sticks.
I think you mean the Evo Plus not Pro Plus.

Just go with the Evo. The Evo Plus is not really an improvement and the Pro only improves write performance slightly and wear life... none of which matter with a sample drive that is almost all read. They are cheaper, put that money into larger or more drives.

One or two or more M.2 drives... the first thing is how much space do you need.

Adding more of these drives can typically help performance some, but with very diminishing real (not benchmark) returns... there are technical reasons why many RAID performance claims don't apply well here. And if you stripe (RAID 0) those drives you are decreasing the drive reliability, and just also making failure more likely because the setup is a bit more complex.

So I'd tend to not bother with RAID with these fast SSD unless I knew I had a performance issue it would likely fix. And I'd prefer to manually put different plugin libraries on separate M.2 drives.... but all my storage would only be be on M.2 PCIe/NVMe drives, SATA SSD and HDD are too slow and for backup only.

Quote:

Darryl Ramm:

Yes the "Restore tracks" is once Im in Pro Tools and click "Open Project".

Ive set the Disk Cache to 100 GB, takes a while to process but when it does the Disk Cache meter shows Memory at 74%. I'll test the performance, would you recommend setting higher or lower value? Pro Tools says I can now go up to 154 GB. Ive always set it to normal but makes a lot of sense to use it seeing as I have more memory.
Are your sessions really are around 74GB? Well that explain why they take time to restore Does that kinda gel with how much space do they take on disk? Do you have lots of hidden tracks or audio content in the sessions you are not using? Lots of playlists? Are you doing stuff like whole albums recorded into one session? This is larger that I was thinking and at this extreme I'd not make it larger. And even with large sessions like this if they are only 74GB that extra unused several 10s GB is not helping you. You normally just need a little extra. And you don't want to strangle the system out of usable memory for other stuff.
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  #10  
Old 06-18-2020, 02:42 AM
Marsdy Marsdy is offline
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Default Re: Just got my new Mac Pro 2019, 16 Core Review: worth upgrading?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lockemusic View Post
Thanks for all your replies I appreciate it :)

I think I will stay with the 16 core and just install my Sample Libraries and Sessions on internal M.2. Is it better to put everything on a single 2TB M.2 or having separate 1TB sticks? Ive heard good things about Samsung 970 EVO but not sure whether to go for the pro or pro plus model. Does anyone know where I can get the OWC or Sonnet card for M.2 in the UK? Amazon do the SSD sticks.

Darryl Ramm:

Yes the "Restore tracks" is once Im in Pro Tools and click "Open Project".

Ive set the Disk Cache to 100 GB, takes a while to process but when it does the Disk Cache meter shows Memory at 74%. I'll test the performance, would you recommend setting higher or lower value? Pro Tools says I can now go up to 154 GB. Ive always set it to normal but makes a lot of sense to use it seeing as I have more memory.

Marsdy:

Yes I do use Kontakt quite a bit. Out of interest would you recommend the HDX card for 16 core users, Im guessing you are using to get track with low latency? Ive always worked on MacBook Pros so its nice to finally have PCIE slots


Overall Im really liking this new setup and Pro Tools 2020.5 is running like butter on Mac OS Catalina 10.15.2
I really like HDX providing I don't mix native and DSP plug-ins too much. It works fine if you don't keep switching back and forth between the two. I do have quite a few hardware synths/modular/drum machines etc. that I monitor live in Pro Tools so the low latency is great for that.

I'm using Samsung 970 EVO Plus drives and they work great. The Pro version just isn't worth the considerable extra expense IMO.

I would definitely go for the Sonnet card because it's a faster x16 card, than the OWC x8 card, 4 lanes per m.2 stick AND there's a brand new version without a fan!
https://www.scan.co.uk/products/sonnet-m2-4x4-pcie-card
I got my older fan version from Scan and it arrived in stock when they said. They can be very difficult to get hold of! I literally waited months.

Two 1TB M.2 sticks in RAID 0 will be faster than one 2TB stick. I have four Samsung 970 EVO Plus drives on the Sonnet card and get read speeds regularly up to 8500MB/s.

However, depending on how much storage you need you might get away one 2TB stick on one of these to get you going.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
That will get you the full performance out of one m.2 drive.

The beauty of this super fast storage is you can tweak Kontakt performance. Preload Buffer Size can be lowered from the default 60KB so libraries don't have as much to load into RAM. I have it set to 24KB and I'm sure I could go lower .

Also make sure Load Samples in Background is on although I think it is by default.
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