Best Processors for Music Production
Whatever it is that you do on a computer these days, you should have at least somewhat decent components in it. However, some fields would require more power and features. If you’re into music production, you’re fully aware that you need decent RAM specs, a solid-state drive, additional hard disk storage space, and a powerful CPU. With this in mind, we did some digging and singled out our pick for the best processor for music production, along with a few solid runner-ups.
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In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top 3
5 of the Best Best Processors for Music Production
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
Intel Core i5-4690K
What Specs to Look at for the Best Processors for Music Production
We could go on for days about specific CPU details and specs that come into play here. However, we’ll try to keep things brief and as concise as possible, singling out the most important features you need to know of. We also looked into some comparisons online using different services to come up with the list.
While doing research on the best processors for music production, one should consider some of the basic features, like the number of cores and threads, as well as the average and maximum clock speed.
There are some discussions whether higher speeds or more cores work better for recording, producing, and mixing music. However, it would all depend on the kind of digital audio workstation you’re using and what kind of a project you’re running. Higher speeds will handle single processes faster, but more cores and threads will do more tasks at the same time.
Number of cores and threads
The first thing you should always look into is the number of cores and threads. While we all know how important the cores are, threads do sequences of instructions that tell your computer what to do. Cores and threads work in pairs. With more threads, the CPU can work more than just one process at any given moment. Sometimes, processors with more cores and processing speed might not be as powerful as those with more threads and fewer cores.
For music production, you’ll most likely require more threads as they’ll allow more processes to happen at the same time. After all, you’ll have a bunch of different tracks and VST plugins running simultaneously. Of course, the number of cores and threads can significantly increase the price.
For those who might not know, core speed or clock speed is always measured in Hertz (Hz for short). The frequency at which cores operate is of great importance to the speed of the running processes. However, things aren’t that simple anymore and a higher frequency core won’t necessarily make everything go faster.
While it is still an important indicator of overall speed, you should always look into “instructions per cycle” specs on a processor. Most of the quality processors these days can go way over 3 GHz (gigahertz), sometimes even over 4 GHz. That being said, the frequency is just one of the indicators and the overall performance will still depend on the number of cores and threads in a processor.
What also makes one product the best processor for music production is the amount of cache memory. To put it simply, cache memory is similar to the standard storage or RAM of your computer. The cache of a processor is a small, temporary storage memory unit that it uses to quickly access programs and other data.
The CPU uses this small amount of storage in some cases because it’s faster than using RAM. When accessing data for a specific program, the CPU will first start checking in its cache memory. This way, faster operation is ensured. Technically speaking, the more cache memory, the higher the chances it will do things faster. These days, CPU caches can go up to 70 MB.
Operating at such high speeds for prolonged periods of time, it’s only obvious that processors will heat up. With an adequate cooling system, a CPU should not reach temperatures above 65 degrees. The processors we’re talking about here will need some serious cooling solutions. This will all depend on the processor’s thermal design power.
If your processor comes without a cooler, then you must find an appropriate one for its thermal output. Otherwise, you’ll be at risk of permanently damaging your CPU due to high temperatures. When looking for an adequate cooler, you should look into all the specs of the CPU and precisely determine what cooler will be sufficient for it.
Compatibility with your computer’s motherboard will be one of your primary concerns. You don’t want to spend money on both the CPU and the motherboard just to find out that they’re not compatible with each other. The type of socket for the CPU on the motherboard will ensure a successful connection between the two components.
This is something you should be careful of especially when buying the newest processors. For instance, AMD Ryzen 9 requires an AM4 socket on your motherboard. This one also supports the Zen and Excavator family of processors. If you’re building your computer based on the processor that you want, start from there and then get an appropriate motherboard for it. There’s just no other way around it.
Whatever it is that you want to do, the first thing you should always have in mind is your budget. This is what will determine what kind of processor you’ll be looking for. The next thing to consider is the type of work that you’ll be doing. If you expect to have loads of tracks and VST plugins included in your DAW project, then you might want to consider a processor with more threads. But at the end of the day, you can’t really go wrong with any of these. Guaranteed they’ll be enough for recording and producing music.
Thank you for reading, and we hope this provided some value and insight on your search for the best processor for music production!