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Mac Pro Westmere Performance with Apple Logic Studio

Last updated 2010-11-20 - Send Feedback
Related: Mac Pro, Macs, memory

See test machine configuration.

Knowing next to nothing about audio requirements other than what common sense and an engineering background tell me, I played a bit with Logic Studio.

This benchmark was suggested to me.

Audio is a case of real time softwaresound has to be processed fast enough to play as we want to hear it, e.g., wall clock time or real time. Playing 10 milliseconds later is not good enough. See the Apple Technote.

Observations and suggestions:

  • CPU clock speed is critical, because some tasks must run on the same CPU core.
  • Multiple cores are important, but dual CPUs might perform better than a single CPU, due to increased memory bandwidth.
  • Disk I/O might or might not be an issue, depending on how many sounds are pulled in from sample libraries.

Logic Studio 9.1.3

Apple’s Logic Studio upgrade to version 9.1.3 resolved some issues with the number of CPU cores on the 3.33 GHz 6-core Mac Pro. See Apple Tech Note 2565 for details on the update, and also Apple Tech Note 3561. The bug where the track numbers go unreadable still exists in 9.1.3.

With all these figures, there can be intermittent “overload” failures; these figures are what I could reliably achieve for at least one minute, though with a few false starts (overload failures). Obviously, one does not want other programs running, because they can use CPU time that can interfere.

Figures below are after a few warm-up tries; play fewer tracks then add a few more, and it seems to go just fine, also I quit the Finder.

With the 3.33GHz 12-core

Using my specially-upgraded 3.3GHz 12-core Mac Pro, I observed the following performance; a 12-core machine has substantially more grunt. A 2.93GHz machine cannot be expected to achieve these rates; lop off 14% from the figures for a 2.93GHz Mac Pro.

While the 12-core at 192.000 kHz was twice as capable, it was not twice that of that 6-core at 96.000 kHz.

44.100 kHz: not tested
96.000 kHz: 88
192.000 KHz: 54
*hyperthreading enabled, 16 threads, 48GB memory, quit Finder

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With the 3.33GHz 6-core

Using the 3.33GHz 6-core Mac Pro with 24GB memory, and by setting Processing Threads to 12 as shown below.

44.100 kHz: 115
96.000 kHz: 59
192.000 KHz: 27
*hyperthreading enabled, 12 threads, 24GB memory, quit Finder

This is quite an impressive improvement over version 9.1.1, and even besting the 12-core 3.33Ghz Mac Pro (with 9.1.1). I ran the test with Logic in 32-bit mode.

Logic Pro 9.1.3 processing threads set to 12 on a 6-core 3.33GHz Mac Pro

Toying around, you might be able to get to 115 tracks (I did).

Logic Pro 9.1.3 with 112 tracks
(click to see larger)

With older Logic 9.1.1.

Stuff below is from August 2010. Please refer to 6-core data above for newer graphs.

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On the 3.33GHz 12-core

This is your machine for heavy-duty work with Logic Studio.

I could reliably play 68 tracks without a glitch. Beyond that, and up to 84 tracks, it would play a few times, then produce the “overload” message. I did not try more than 84 tracks.

Logic Pro 9.1.1: At least for a few passes, 84 tracks works (more might be possible)

On the 3.33Ghz 6-core

I was able to play about 46 items (not even sure of the right term) before I saw the System Overload message, with nothing else was running. Running anything else brought the message earlier.

Logic Pro 9.1.1: About 46 tracks overload the 2010 Mac Pro 6-core 3.33GHz

On the 2.4GHz 8-core

Clearly something works with 8 cores, because I was able to get to as many as 78 tracks without the system overload message, at least occassionaly.

More reliably, I saw 62 tracks work for some periods of time, which is a lot more than with the 3.33Ghz 6-core machine.

Logic Pro 9.1.1: About 62 tracks overload the 2010 Mac Pro 8-core 2.4GHz
(but up to 78 tracks migh work briefly)

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