Real-world benefit from upgrading from P4 2.6 to an AMD FX 3500+?
Basically, I want to know if I would actually see a real world improvement for audio processing using the 3500. Its easy to look at techinical information and be overwhelmed, and simply put all the technical specs in the world don't hold up to proven real life performance. Everything looks positive, but you never know. Does anyone have experience in this? I would hate to drop close to 400 bucks and not see any positive effect on CPU usage when using GPO or Kontakt. I know Kontakt will probably bottleneck on the SATA drives I have installed, but GPO is very CPU dependant. One day when I'm feeling a bit more adventurous maybe I'll dabble in Giga 3 again so I'm looking into the future as well. I'm sold on the positive benefits of a faster FSB and a larger cache. Are we talking minute benefits here or real-world CPU gains that are worth the time, energy, and money invovled in this sort of upgrade.
It doesn't really show much regarding audio DSP processing though. My most recent experience has been in going from an Athlon 2500+ to an Athlon64 3000+ with faster RAM. I could run three GigaPulse instances marginally before, now I'm up to six. The FX, coupled with some really fast 2-2-2 RAM should really fly!
Yeah, I've seen all that. I mean it looks good and everything but what does it mean for what we're doing? The audio on the chart is encoding/decoding and compression and that is all very well and good but you talking about seconds here. Now video performance, if I cared, it beats it very well and looks like a good upgrade. But I just wonder in our line of work, is it worth it?
Just curious, I wonder if its any indication that all the popular DAW builders use P4 processors? Or is this just a sign that the public doesn't know anything about AMD really and that they would be a hard sell?
This may sound simple, but my general rule of thumb is not to upgrade until my current computer cannot handle a task that I need (or really want) it to do. I know, this is a subjective statement as it depends on the software used and the needs of the user. If I'm working on a project and I feel that the power of the computer (or the lack thereof) is hindering my creativity and causing me to waste time, then I would consider an upgrade.
One of my last upgrades was from a P3 600Mhz with 256MB to an Athlon 2400+ with 1.5 GB RAM. Needless to say, I saw a HUGE increase in real-world performance. The Athlon machine is now two years old, and while it's tempting to upgrade again, it still does everything I *need* it to do pretty well. Sure, it would be nice to bounce down a few seconds faster, and I wish it could handle another instance or two of Gold, but I get by.
It's tempting to look at the "cutting-edge" of technology and think, "Ooh, I need that." Sometimes the desire is justified, and sometimes it's just unnecessary. Again, this is subjective territory. The short answer to your question is that "yes," you will see a real-world performance increase. How much? Approximately $400 worth.
Seriously, if your P4 is doing everything that you *need* right now, I would consider holding off for a little while. The next Big Thing (tm) is the introduction of dual-core CPUs, both from AMD and Intel, supposedly debuting sometime this year. The potential of this technology is huge, especially when dealing with multi-thread-aware applications. Heck, the thought of a dual-core AMD64 is enough to even make me consider upgrading!
I do suggest that if you upgrade to an Athlon64, purchase a Socket 939 motherboard. The dual-core processors are supposed to have the same number of pins and will be an easy exchange if you want to upgrade later. The Socket 754 boards do not have this upgrade option.
To answer your question about DAW builders, there are a few that use AMD processors. If the majority of them do not, I'd say it's due in part to public unawareness and even ignorance. No, I'm not a fanboy; a processor is just a tool like anything else. Another reason for lack of AMD usage probably has something to do with older supporting chipsets (Via comes to mind) that conflicted with certain interfaces. This is no longer a problem, but the aftertaste is still lingering for some builders. My motherboard even has a Via chipset.
I appreciate the well worded post. You're right about all of it. I get a little gear crazy and power hungry and upgrade for the sake of it. Of course, it all just looks sooooo enticing. However, knowing that badder and better things are on the horizon, I will probably wait it out. Of course, it will be three years before that stuff is affordable for me. It took the AMD 64 this long to get into buyable range for me.
> "I do suggest that if you upgrade to an Athlon64, purchase a Socket 939 motherboard. The dual-core processors are supposed to have the same number of pins and will be an easy exchange if you want to upgrade later. The Socket 754 boards do not have this upgrade option."
Interesting about the 939. I'm glad I went with it. I just read this week that the current Intel sockets will not support dual core. It's just as well. Few have gone with the 925 anyway.