new CPU should I look for better Floating Point or Integer Performance (anything else to consider AVX?)

I’m actually jumping the gun but I’d like to make the right choice… … when my current lease runs out (and my fiance gets my current system for her science degree) there appears to be a distinct difference between current AMD and Intel offerings coming this year

AMD (bulldozer) offer much better integer calculation performance at the sacrifice of floating point calculation.

The next gen Intel will be very much the same as the current ones with faster clocks and lower tdp … they offer better floating point calculation… and avx performance than the AMD’s … (they do have fewer cores so multithreaded performance is also sacrificed but each core is able to do more so that side seems to balance)

So unless avx is implemented in ardour (can gcc do this automagically at compile time) then the primary question remains, does ardour do more floating point or integer calculations… (I’m pretty sure it’s floating point but need confirmation)

Thanks folks…

Actually I’m already running the phenom II x6 (for 6months ) and I’m very happy with it … But the rent to lease runs out (still 6 months away) I went with the phenom x6 for a shorter term lease as I knew the bulldozer design was coming out which was a complete redesign from AMD and wanted to see what it would be like before taking the plunge on a longer term system. My fiance also really needs more power for her science degree (she’s using a 5 year old CPU at the moment!!!) . I’m actually really happy with it too… by the time I’m upgrading though these parts will probably not be available anymore…

linuxdsp, your information matches what I understand from most (although apparently some DAW’s use integer), and the benchmarks I’ve been reading put the floating point performance of the mid range intels is better than the top of the range AMD’s (so similar price point). By the time I’m buying, intel will have a newer chip out with the same design but on a smaller die, so will run cooler as well as a bit faster… so price dependant that will probably be my choice.

Seablade for good quiet and relatively cheap fans I use Nexus clocked down to about 700 rpm and highly recommend them. I use them on the CPU cooler and for the case.
They run at 1000 rpm at full power so they are already very quiet, but adequate if you have a good CPU cooler.
There are heaps of good fans these days but they can get quite pricey, the Nexus are used by Silent PC Review as there reference for testing. The Noctua fans are also very good but have a more tonal character to the noise caused by the airflow…

(tip: use a good fan controller as cheap ones can lead to an electrical buzzing noise) …


I have heard good things about the noctua fans and am getting them myself eventually, once finances settle back down(And my schedule settles back down would be nice as well).

Personally I decided to go with the Phenom II x6 over the bulldozer core as the bulldozer actually does worse than the Phenom II’s in some cases, and on the high end of their respective ranges I found in my research I was probably better off with the Phenom II for bang for the buck than the Bulldozer cores. That and overclocking my black edition 1100t means I have some room to grow in the future as well should I need to;)

Not many DAWs use fixed point math anymore, I am sure there are some, but I would be surprised to hear any of the major players do these days.


Interesting question! I thought it wouldn’t matter that much; AMDs are generally cheaper, Intels faster as of now. I’m eager to hear what the devs have to say about CPUs & Ardour, though!


it’s not quite so clear cut anymore, the processors really do work quite differently and at the mid-range there isn’t really price difference … (well intel top end consumer (LGA 1155) and . fx-8150)

I don’t think the dev’s are going to weigh into which is a better processor but an answer on the type of maths ardour uses and what optimisations are employed would be useful for that decision… for the next 12 months or so before it all inevitably changes again …

As far as most plugins are concerned - which are likely to be the most significant consumers of CPU (DSP) resources when using Ardour, I expect they would normally use floating point calculations. That is certainly the case for my plugins, obviously I can’t say whether that would be the case for other proprietary processing such as Mixbus, but it is generally the industry ‘standard’ method of DSP on PCs.

linuxdsp as usual is correct, most of the math is floating point.

That being said, it really comes down to a question of price vs performance. If you want the most bang for your buck, go with AMD. If you want the fastest out there go with the high end Intel processors.

I just built myself a machine last month with an AMD Phenom II x6 processor and have been quite happy with it. I need to replace my case fans still, and haven’t looked into overclocking it yet, but so far have been very happy with it’s performance on Linux running Mixbus with a variety of DSP. But I don’t have money for high end Intel processors so I was decidedly in the bang for the buck category, and I wanted to support competition anyways.


BTW Seablade…
Had a crack at overclocking my 1090T to 3.4GHz using the multiplier … tried compiling WINE as a stress test… no good … hard lockup … however a couple of things… I didn’t increase any fan speed and I didn’t increase any voltages… I have this on a fairly cheap mobo as wasn’t intending to OC this cpu… (due to the heat it already puts out and as you can attest it’s fast enough)…

MIght give it another go … but after spending so much time and $$ (new case, SSD’s and fans) to get the system near silent … I don’t really want a faster system if it’s sacrificing my almost non-existent system noise…

Pretty much my standpoint, I actually haven’t done badly at all with system performance so far, have yet to top out my CPU with Mixbus for example, so I haven’t had a need to OC it. Ill save that for when I actually do need it. In the meantime the standard performance with a simple widget on my desktop to select power governance mode is quite nice.