My Ryzen 1800x Build (DAW Bench Results) - Part 03

AMD Ryzen 1800x CPU, Corsair H60, MSI B350 Tomahawk

With 2017 now behind us, I hope you all enjoyed the holiday season and welcomed 2018 in with the people who matter most to you. In todays blog we'll be taking a look at some of the DAW Bench results for the new Ryzen 1800x build and see how it compares to my old i7 4770 rig.

Despite this build having 32gb of RAM it shouldn't really make much difference to the numbers as this test focuses more on raw CPU performance. I also slightly overclocked the 1800x to 3.9Ghz instead running its stock setting of 3.6Ghz.  Next, I loaded the same Cubase Pro 9.5 DAW Bench project used to test the Intel i7 4770 and tested Ryzen's performance across six different buffer settings. 

As expected you can quite clearly see that the performance gains over the Intel 4770 with Ryzen coping very well in the Rexacomp CPU test. I also tested Ryzen using Cubase's 32 bit engine and Interestingly, Ryzen seemed to slightly underperform. I'll be conducting a couple more tests (which I'll post ) to confirm this, but initially at a buffer setting of 64 Ryzen only managed 284 instances of Rexacomp, and at a 2048 buffer setting it handled 352 instances.

Ryzen 1800x: 44.1k Vs 96k

At higher sample rates, Ryzen starts to dip in performance. When testing at 96k running Cubase's 64bit engine, the numbers drop significantly. Moving from a buffer setting of 64 to 128, gives you roughly 50% performance increase. Moving higher up the buffer ladder yields marginal gains with the maximum number of Rexacomp instances being 140 at a 2048 buffer setting.

VST Instrument Performance

In the tests conducted above we've only really spoke about CPU performance, but how well does the 1800x cope with large templates? Well, here's the thing. Single core performance is always going to benefit you for audio production, so if you compare the Ryzen 1800x to Intel's 8700k Coffee lake, Intel is always going to have a clear advantage. Especially at lower latency settings.

If you're used to working on large projects at buffer settings of 32, 64 or 128 then you'll probably want to look at what Intel has to offer. If you don't mind working with higher buffer settings then Ryzen is going to really please you especially when it comes to price vs performance! 

On my old rig running Cubase 9.5 in 32bit, the i7 4770 couldn't handle my test template which used 77 instances of Kontakt 5 playing 5 notes of MIDI (all at the same time), using a mixture of 3rd party orchestral sample libraries.

With Ryzen running Cubase 9.5 in 64bit, my template has got MUCH larger. At a buffer of 512 the 1800x can comfortably handle 153 instances of Kontakt 5 playing 5 notes of midi (all at the same time) using a mixture of libraries, with no audio drop-outs or performance issues.

Upping the buffer to 1024 and that number goes up to 229 instances of MIDI playing at the same time. Maxing the buffer out at 2024 lets me run 308 instances of Kontakt 5 all playing 5 MIDI (at the same time), although it's not 100% smooth sailing with some audio glitches, but still capable of playback.

My Opinion

For the average composer I would say the 1800x is more than capable for handling your projects, provided you have plenty of RAM. For me, this CPU offers more than enough performance for my own musical needs. For professional composers who work in the industry using 1000 + channel templates, I'd probably suggest giving the 1800x a miss for your main workstation. However, If you're looking to build a cheap Slave Computer I can see Ryzen being a no brainer for it's price to performance. 

What really impresses me the most is how good the 1800x is for video editing, encoding and 3D rendering. For the price, It's an absolute monster! Right now in the UK, the Ryzen 1800x is still cheaper than the i7 8700k with the Intel retailing at £366 and AMD Ryzen 1800x for just £299. If AMD can improve upon what they've delivered with the Ryzen 7 line by increasing single core performance, to rival or surpass Intel's coffee lake architecture, with their upcoming 2018 releases, then we might be in for another interesting year.