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Is there is a significant advantage to having a processor with an 8mb cache instead of 4mb as applied to a DAW?

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djmukilteo Sat, 01/09/2010 - 10:13

llatht, post: 297506 wrote: Is there is a significant advantage to having a processor with an 8mb cache instead of 4mb as applied to a DAW?

Pretty much everything runs into and out of the cache into the having a larger cache available to it will obviously make it operate quicker and more efficiently. Anything the CPU computes or data it moves between RAM to the cache and then into it's internal registers will increase its throughput...
Significant advantage is a tougher question. This all depends on how the applications are programmed. If the programmer takes advantage of the throughput than it could be significant, but in most cases it's not that important to have that sort of performance. You might not notice any difference.
In the case of cache more is always better, how significant 4mb over 8mb is a lot like trying to determine if one A/D/A converter is better sounding than the other. Maybe you can tell maybe you can't

llatht Sat, 01/09/2010 - 10:15

I basically have to chose between
- an i5 3.2 ghz with a 4mb cache -or-
- an i5 2.66 ghz with an 8mb cache
I'm going to be running either Sonar 8.5 or Cubase 5.
I think I understand a little better now how more cache affects the system. Just don't know if it would be better to have the bigger cache or faster processor.

llatht Sat, 01/09/2010 - 13:24

Thanks for the reply djmukilteo! I actually ended up going with an i7 which was $100 more than the i5 with the larger cache. It's been over 5 years since my last computer so I figured the i7 might help me make it another 5-6 years. Now I just have to demo Sonar and Cubase to see which one is going to work for me. I've always used Cubase until now but I keep hearing great stuff about Sonar 8.5. I've read that it's the only Windows program right now that fully utilizes the 64 bit OS. Is that correct? Thanks again!

djmukilteo Sat, 01/09/2010 - 14:03

Cool....just make sure you get plenty of RAM and buy the fastest best chips you can afford. Win7 is a huge hog so make sure you get rid of anything that makes the thing all pretty looking and go for setting all of the performance settings in the System folder to "best performance" and leave the cool looking GUI stuff for somebody that cares...I just finished setting up a friends Cubase Studio 4 on his new Win7 64bit OS Dell system and the performance went way up after getting rid of all the crap and serious tweaking....without doing that it was just as slow as his previous system!

I believe the latest Cubase version 5.1.1 is 64 bit for Windows 7.

I'm still using Cubase 4.5.2 with a RME FF800 and a ZED16R ADAT/mixer which works perfectly fine for me with my WinXP Pro 32 bit and I have no complaints with Cubase....I tried Sonar LE and to me it was fine just different look and would be a whole new learning curve that I'm not that willing to get into right now....I like my work flow and am pretty comfortable getting things set and tracking which is my main goal...and I'm more focused right now on mixing ITB/OTB with the ZED.

IMHO getting different software doesn't make better mixes or better can create amazing recordings with either package and the main functionality is really the same....the only thing different will be the plugin sets and maybe specialized features that I don't often use anyway.
FWIW....We're always so quick to jump onto a new bandwagon before we've even exhausted the possibilities of what we already have in our own two hands!!

llatht Sat, 01/09/2010 - 14:50

I'm going to be working with 6 gigs of ram so hopefully that'll be fine for a while (what do you think?). I could've gotten 8 gigs but it was either that or the i7. It can expand up to 16 gigs later on if needed. I do plan on turning the settings down on everything that doesn't affect the audio. My interface is a Tascam FW1884 and unfortunately it doesn't appear that the drivers are out yet for Windows 7. So I got the version that has the XP mode on it as well.
Ideally I would like to stay with Cubase for the very reason you cited. I'm a singer/songwriter who mostly just does audio tracking (not much midi at all). I was on Stienberg's website and must have overlooked that Cubase is now 64 bit. Mainly I was just concerned that if it wasn't 64 bit, I wouldn't be able to utilize more than 4 gigs of ram. I have to admit I'm excited about demoing both of the programs. It's been a long time since I updated (I'm still using sx2). Here's some of the stuff I've recorded with my ancient software.

djmukilteo Sat, 01/09/2010 - 21:36

6G of RAM seems like a minimum amount for Win7 already! LOL....sort of like 4G was for XP, I'm positive 8G would be better, but hey you make do with what ya want...right.
So is the 6G triple channel (3) 2G sticks which fills up all the RAM slots on the MB? If so, when you go to try and increase your RAM you might find out you need to change all of the sticks to something bigger. If you get 8G with say (2) 4G sticks then you would probably have another 4G stick you can add later for 12G, but I don't know what motherboard you're looking at or what the RAM configuration you're looking at so I'm guessing here.
FWIW...the 2.66 i5 with 8G would be plenty fast....but that's just the way the technology goes I'm afraid. It's all a tradeoff. The i7 is quite a bit more expensive for what you get....and Win7 can run any 32bit software you have just fine and just as fast, but as far as the drivers for the Tascam, I'm not sure....I do know that Vista drivers aren't all that much different from what they are for Win7. There are some minor differences between the two OS's.
If price is no object and your going for a brand new DAW anyway, then I would go 64bit all the way, but that would mean a major change of everything your using now.
You could see a big difference in your existing setup just by going with the i5 and 8G and then put the saved $$$ into something else....
Listened to your tunes on myspace and they sound really clean!....nice sound!
I'm wondering if you just need a little faster computer and continue working Cubase!
I sent you a friend request

llatht Sun, 01/10/2010 - 14:26

Thanks for the compliment and friend request! The ram is devided into 4 slots - 2 2gig and 2 1gig and it's the 1333 mhz type. I tried to modify the order but it's already being built and unfortunately I would have to wait until it's shipped and then return it if I wanted to make any changes. So I don't know..I guess I'll try it out and give it a real hard test and see how many plugs I can run smoothly.
I'm a little confused on how much of the ram can actually be used in a 32 bit system. I've read that it's no more than 3 1/2 gigs. As I understood, the advantage to running a 64 bit system is that more ram can be accessed. Is all that correct?

TheJackAttack Sun, 01/10/2010 - 14:56

The maximum RAM that can be addressed by software in a 32bit operating system is 3.2ish gb. You can't afford the maximum for a 64 bit system. Now that said, a 64 bit os is still limited by the CPU/memory controller/PCI bus. If you're looking at mobo's that can take an I7 this should be a moot issue. I haven't checked out any i5 mobos so couldn't tell you anything about those. Bear in mind that some mobos even with an i7 max at 8gb ram. Check the specs with your DAW builder. If it isn't a DAW builder then check with the computer builder or mobo manufacturer.

djmukilteo Sun, 01/10/2010 - 21:23

4 slots is good then you can upgrade later if you want to...
I have seen some systems where they had filled all the slots with 6G which makes it more difficult to upgrade.
You should be fine though....
I'm not real sure on the RAM memory mapping in Win7.
In XP if you had 4G, it will use 1G right off the bat for system files and then leave you a full 3G to run application and 4G is the maximum address space in a 32bit system. Win7 is a 64bit OS so it's addresable space is way out there, I think its 24G or something like that so you won't have any limitations there. The way Win7 runs 16bit or 32bit applications is it just reserves a block of RAM space and then executes the application within that reserved block as a shell....but still executes all it's system files in another block in 64bit. Win7 will create two program folders...."Program files X86 folder" which is for legacy 32 bit applications and then the usual "Program folder" for 64bit applications....64bit applications aren't that common yet...I'm betting if you get Sonar8.5 or Cubase5.1 they will be the only programs you will have that are...

llatht Mon, 01/11/2010 - 02:34

It's a P55 chipset. I guess it's a new one that was mainly designed for the i5's. It has 4 dimms, each being able to hold up to 4 gigs, for a max of 16. Now forgive me if this is a stupid question (cause I love asking stupid questions) but that does mean that my DAW -as is right now- could actually make use of up to 16 gigs of ram in a 64 bit OS, right?
Hey djmukilteo, how do you like that convolution reverb on cubase? It's not on my current version.

TheJackAttack Mon, 01/11/2010 - 10:35

@djmulkiteo-XP, Vista, and Win7 all come in a 32 bit version and a 64 bit version. It is the bit window which determines how much RAM an OS can address. Hardware limitation is a separate issue of course.

llatht-I don't know which branded P55 board you have for sure. Most of these have a specified maximum total memory of 16gb which is far less than the tech specs of a 64bit OS iteself. You won't be able to pop in 16gb per slot (16gbx4=64gb) but a total max of 16gb. Again the limiting factor in this case is the motherboard architecture. Again I haven't looked at your particular board so I couldn't say whether there are other limiting factors. Go with the DAW builder specs if in doubt.

Matched pairs of ram is still the best way to go and in fact the only way to achieve complete benefits of dual channel DDR.

djmukilteo Mon, 01/11/2010 - 11:44

Ya...64bit addressing would go out to terabytes I the memory controller and number of slots and the RAM chips themselves all need to be part of whatever motherboard you use and they dictate the maximum allowable amount of RAM. Most of the new Mobo's are at 24G of RAM using DDR3 chips up to 1800Mhz clocking speeds.
llatht: What brand of computer motherboard and RAM chips are you getting?
I think what llatht is wondering (and I'm not sure) is if he uses his old Cubase in 32bit mode will the extra RAM do anything for him....and I think the answer to that is Cubase is programmed to use some amount of RAM while it's executing, that might be 1G of RAM space total or it might balloon to 2G at some stage but it I doubt it......Cubase usually states that you need a minimum amount of RAM (1G) to run Cubase so that will be all it will ever need. Now the 64bit version of Cubase might be able to use more RAM if Cubase wrote the program that way to take advantage of the additional memory and speed.....but that's not something I might be able to get that info from the Cubase forums.

TheJackAttack Mon, 01/11/2010 - 11:59

If llatht is using a 32 bit operating system then 4 gig of ram is the best he can utilize. The software itself will only address 3 gig, but in certain circumstances of Vista 32bit and Win7 32bit the System will reserve and utilize the remainder instead of sucking from the 3gb software pool. In otherwords, if the OS is 32 bit then it was a waste of money to install 6gb of ram.

To receive complete benefits of a 64 bit OS then not only does the entire computer need to be 64bit compliant (cpu/ddr/pci bus/memory controller) but the software must be utilizing a 64bit engine. 32 bit software will in fact only address 3gb of ram. Excess ram not then utilized by the OS is then just dormant.

Codemonkey was describing this phenomenon a while back. Perhaps I have misunderstood my findings and/or what Codemonkey described but I don't think so.

djmukilteo Mon, 01/11/2010 - 13:09

Maybe were not talking about the same thing here....any application is written in such a way to use x amount of minimum memory to execute and when it is launced the first thing it does is initialize and allocate some block of space in RAM.....if you had a computer that only had 1Gb of RAM and the software has a minimum system requirement of 512Mb the application will load and execute with half of your RAM, leaving half of your RAM left to run everything else the CPU needs to do. In fact WinXP typically will take up to 1Gb of your RAM just to operate....leaving you with 3Gb of available space in a max 4Gb system.
And that is the best you can do with WinXP 32bit
The application will still use 512MB to run and typically won't ever use more than that...which I think was the question.

Having more RAM available frees the CPU up for swapping memory blocks when it has too small an amount of RAM available and nothing to do with how much RAM the application needs to execute.
In a program like Cubase it will run on some minimum x speed CPU with some minimum x amount of RAM and that's it.

When you start running multiple instances of plugins for example or start doing something else with the computer more RAM blocks will be needed to be allocated for the processor to use to execute those applications. This goes on and on until you max out your RAM. If the processor has vacant available RAM space it will simply continue to allocate until it runs out of room....and this is where system speed comes into play...The system can begin to bog down and stall....if the processor has to stop and move certain blocks of allocated space to the HDD in order to free up more space it needs that all takes time and slows the CPU down. If you've ever tried running something like Cubase on a 512Mb laptop you know what I'm talking about! takes forever and appears not to will respond....eventually....but that's the time being taken to move stuff around and free up some RAM, so it can do what you asked it to do. Of course we never like to wait for it to finish and we begin clicking more things in desperation adding more things for the CPU to do until pretty soon the poor little guy is so confused he throws up! LOL
Having large amounts of RAM will always keeps the processor from running out of room and having to swap....hence speed and processing time is very short and fast...the more RAM the faster your system will operate and will be less likely to stall or be unresponsive....and nothing to do with the application itself other than it's minimum program RAM allocation.

llatht Mon, 01/11/2010 - 18:58

Ok, well I tried finding out what the motherboard is exactly but could not. What I did find out is that it is'nt a p55 chipset after all but the brand new h57 (which is supposedly a more high end version of the p55). I guess I'm just going to have to look under the hood when it comes in to see what all the hardware is.
What I want in the long run with this system is to have it be truly 64 bit because I want it to last me for at least 5 years. I've been looking around in the Cubase forum to see what version 5 users have to say about the 64 bit version, and it seems like right now there are many problems when it comes to using the 32 bit plugins that it was designed with in that 64 bit mode. For me that would be a big problem as I only have a few UAD plugs to go along with whatever comes in the sequencer. What I may end up doing if I choose to stay with Cubase is not use Windows 7 at all right now and just do a clean install of XP until Cubase gets it's 64 bit problems all sorted out. Then I would install W7 in 64 bit so I could utilize all the ram. Does this sound logical?
Thanks alot for all the info guys! I'm learning alot. It's very much appreciated!!

djmukilteo Mon, 01/11/2010 - 19:54

Ok, well sounds like your getting a computer that will have plenty of horsepower with what you're getting with Win7, so I wouldn't worry about the computer. There are multiple flavors of Win7 just like Vista had. The best to get would be Professional. No matter what you do after that as far as new software (32bit or 64bit) will run just fine on that system in either mode. You can load any software you currently have (32bit) and it will run it. I'm pretty sure the UAD plugins are 32bit.
Mixing 64bit applications with 32bit plugins like some people are experimenting with right now is going to have issues that won't be solved until the plugins become 64bit compatible or Steinberg has patches to handle legacy VST 32bit plugins...I believe the newer VST3 plugins work just fine. Sonar8.5 probably has similar problems with legacy 32bit plugins, so they're both going to have to deal with that or people will need to wait for patches. I know people who are using both those programs successfully.
The problem is....right now the whole 64bit environment isn't that mature yet so anything you do should be with 32bit stuff in mind and future upgrades to 64bit when those are available and bug free.
There's nothing stopping you from installing WinXP but that seems sort of going completely backwards as Win7 is there and will run just like WinXP out of the box!
FWIW I would get your computer, get used to using Win7. Install SX and all of your current stuff, try it for a while and if you don't like it the increase in speed and performance, then consider an upgrade to Cubase 5 or Sonar....who knows maybe there will be something else available that's better then either of those two!

llatht Mon, 01/11/2010 - 20:26

In the end I probably will end up getting Cubase 5. The only thing that stopped me from upgrading when 4 came out was my computer. I'll definately give Sonar an honest try and maybe Traction and Audition too. But it will be hard to navigate away from something I've used for 5 years now. My only fear is that if I do upgrade now, that the 64 bit kinks may not get all ironed out until the next version of the software is out. And wouldn't that be a bummer!
Oh bye the way, it is W7 Pro that's coming with it. Thanks again!

djmukilteo Tue, 03/23/2010 - 19:50

That is should check your old plugins and see if they have a 64bit version and install those if your going to use Win7 64bit and Cubase 5 64bit.
There is a program out there called J-Bridge that is supposed to "bridge" 32bit plugins to the 64bit environment, but you would still need to make sure that works with your specific plugin...

djmukilteo Wed, 03/24/2010 - 09:32

ocdstudios, post: 344552 wrote: I think I'll just run Cubase5 in 32-bit for now. with 8 gigs in the new computer I should still have 4gig left for Cubase even after windows 7 pro loads...

djmukilteo - you are running the ZED I see - with a 800 FW card. Any issues? I have read that it works well on a 400 card as well... True or not?

If you have a bunch of third party plugins that you can't live without and they don't have newer 64bit versions then 32bit Cubase will work just fine in Win7 64bit. I just finished installing it that way on a friends setup. If your using just the plugins in Cubase 5 then you don't need to worry about those.

Neither Win7 or Cubase will ever use that much RAM when loaded or running...having more RAM will keep your computer from stalling during streaming recorded audio and managing bus related tasks to HDD....the more you have the faster and smoother your computer will seem to run.....Win7 only needs 1Gb to run....Cubase only needs half that!

The only reason I have both the FF800 and ZED 16R is because I had the FF800 first and then wanted a "hands on" analog mixer for ITB/OTB mixing, so I bought the ZED. I could sell the FF800 and just use the ZED, but I like the FF800 too much and can't let it I use both. I have the ZED hooked up as 16 channels ADAT in/out to the FF800 and it works great that way...but I could use either unit. The stability of the FF800 with FW/ADAT is so good IMO and it has never missed a beat. Some people have had issues with the ZED FW drivers so I've bypassed all that by going through the FF800. The ZED alone with its FW would be all anyone would ever need with all its features to run 16 channels..and it has a real distinct analog sound to it, which does sound different than the FF800. I wouldn't say it's better or worse but it is different....