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cpu passmark scores relation to DAW latency/cpu usage?

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  • cpu passmark scores relation to DAW latency/cpu usage?

    I used this website extensively when researching to buy my current laptop, 7 years ago.
    Now it is showing me signs that i should start researching for it's replacement, as it may simply never switch on again one day, in which case i will need to make an instant replacement.

    So i think it is about time i ask a question:
    How much do higher CPU benchmark scores on this website reflect improved performance for audio related tasks?

    For example:
    I have an i5-460M with a score of 2334 (1073 single thread)
    how much of an improvement would i see if the new laptop had an i5-7200U at 4663 (1739 single) or an i-8250U at 7638 (1933 single) ?
    let's say i am currently running a project on my DAW with the buffer set at 512 samples, with 30 tracks, most of them synths, with around 5 vst effect plugins each, and the cpu meter is maxing at 90%.
    would the 7200, which has a double benchmark score result in halving the cpu usage to 40-50%? and the 8250 with a triple score result in the cpu usage dropping to around 30%?
    or is it the single thread that matters more?
    or both?
    or none, meaning that other factors are much more important than cpu benchmark scores?
    and do they also affect the ability to set extremely low buffer sizes (for less heavy projects obviously), or is that mostly dependent on other factors such as quality of usb ports, audio interface drivers, etc.. ?

  • #2
    We don't know anything about the DAW software. So we don't know how well it can use multiple CPU cores, and if it used the disk / internet during typical projects.

    If you are switching from USB2 to USB3, then that will be a big gain. If you switch from a old HDD to a M2 SSD then that will also be a huge gain. The machine will boot way quicker and applications will load much faster. Obviously the CPU load will come down (or tasks will complete sooner at similar load), but I can't tell you by exactly how much.


    • #3
      thanks for the swift response!

      Originally posted by David (PassMark) View Post
      If you are switching from USB2 to USB3, then that will be a big gain.
      yes, my current laptop is usb2 only, and the next one will obviously be usb3.
      but the audio interface will still be usb2. will i still see a gain due to the usb3 port on the laptop? (due to more reliable chipset, implementation, etc?)
      and if yes, will i see even more gain by switching to a usb3 audio interface in the future?
      according to this article:
      there are no real world benefits of usb3 over usb2 (when it comes to Audio Interfaces), unless you are recording a large number of tracks simultaneously. or is it just a marketing excuse to justify not using usb3 for their new interfaces?

      as for benchmark scores in relation to cpu load, if we set aside the relation to the DAW (Ableton Live in my case), does a double benchmark score mean double processing power capabilities in general, or am i completely misunderstanding what the benchmark scores represent?


      • #4
        A USB2 device on a USB3 port will function only at USB2 speeds. There is no gain. I don't know anything about your particular USB devices, so I don't know if switching to USB3 would help.

        Yes, double the CPU mark roughly means double the potential performance. Not all software can use all the potential however. Single threaded software being the most common example. But a lot of software is also disk or network bound, So additional CPU power doesn't always help.