Which type of CPUs perform best with Gig Performer 4?

Long story short I’m going to be building a PC to use for performing. I browsed through some of the threads semi-related to this topic but couldn’t really get the info I needed from those, probably because I’m still not as tech-savvy as I’d like to be. Which benchmark(s) should I be focused on in deciding between processors? Been looking mainly at Intel.

Semi-related question, does running multiple instances of GP force the CPU to use multiple cores and would that economize CPU usage or is it generally good practice to run a single instance unless I have an explicit need to do so? The threads I did find on this topic were a little over my head.

Some plugins may have multi core support. But I think that’s not very common.

Using multiple instances of GP will use different cores.

Generally you would stick with a single GP instance unless you are running into cpu limitations (and often there are other options) or have other needs like running separate setups for different uses/musicians on the one machine.

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Ok that makes sense, thanks for the info! Any idea how I could compare CPUs based on that? Am I looking for single core performance speed only or are there other factors at play (how many cores, threads, etc.)?

When it comes to “other factors at play”, see here, point No 4. FREE e-book by Deskew - Optimize your Windows PC for the stage!
A community user @Hermon did a little bit of testing various BIOS/UEFI settings concerning the CPU.

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My anecdotal observation after a few months with the unlocked P-A GP license on a custom Ryzen 8-core I designed and built a year ago, is CPU cores vs performance is mainly down to the VSTs in use, and how. How’s that for a broad generalization?

You could certainly build some top-end beast on Intel or AMD with dozens of cores and still run up against available CPU running a physically modelled Atmos convolution reverb.

One thing that occurs to me is Waves Audio just the other day launched their new set of “real time” DSP servers. You might want to ferret out the machine specs on those—could make a good model to start from for your own design?

I think on any machine, going through all the considerations provided in Deskew’s kindly provided free e-book on optimizing any computer for latency and performance in digital audio applications is a key. These steps should yield better “performance” anyway (available CPU cores vs VSTs for example).

More specifically in my first couple months using GP on a custom build of my own (8-core Ryzen) I’ve found performance vs cores to boil down to VSTs in general and even patches in particular.

For instance I’ve found the P-A Oberheim has some patches that can just jam the CPU utilization right through 100. I’m not exactly sure why this happens yet; and I’m not even sure if the Oberheim VST itself is spiking that—and I haven’t ruled out something else reacting in my processing chain. The Knifonium will do the same for some patches, but the Oberheim seems to have more such patches. It’s probably related to the built-in effects in the stock patch I would guess.

Anyone want to chime in about optimizing the P-A VSTs?

Another consideration though — and maybe an important one — is that I believe the GP CPU number at the top R reports only CPU utilization related to audio processing (GP devs? Yes/no?). I don’t know the answer but it occurs to me if you’re selecting an Intel processor for this build, you might want to lean towards the ones with the most internal busses (and therefore affects your MOBO/chip set selection as well) because that might help efficiency in the case of GP. No doubt that’s an oversimplification on my part, but it may be a resource to consider.

I’ve seen Arturia Analog and KONTAKT players have settings about multi-core utilization. I haven’t tried to figure out optimization of those yet. I have yet to find any such preference in any of the P-A VSTs.

Another question that HAS to impact CPU utilization is sampling engine Vs synth VSTi performance. Anybody have observations or anecdotes about that?

Sorry if I’m randomly opening a half a dozen cans of worms here, but this seemed like the most appropriate place for it on the internet.

I am loving GP to be clear! I got two! And a huge part of GP is the support quality.


Much has been written on this topic in this forum, and the info you need is definitely available. To shorten your quest, one of the recent topics should help:

For an outside review that covers the topic for both Intel and AMD, check this link here:

In a nutshell, audio processing requires raw speed and power and does not depend so much on the number of cores a processor has. However, more attention to parallel processing is being made by a number of plug-in manufacturers, with some going beyond that to offload what they can to GPUs if you happen to have a hefty video card in your rig. Fast RAM is also important - some huge sample libraries and the use of multiple voices will stop your rig in it’s tracks. From my personal experience, in order of importance: Speed and power of the CPU; quantity and speed of the RAM; fast Storage (as in fast SSDs); cores; GPU. At the end of the day the determining factor will be what you are running and trying to do. Hope this helps.


Like all things tech related, you’ll get less and less incremental return for each extra dollar spent as you move up the price ladder.

I just built a new Windows 11 based machine for myself. I went with an Intel Core i5-12600K processor on a Z690 chipset based motherboard. My specific motherboard is the Asus Rog Strix Z690-A Gaming board. There are not a lot of motherboard choices in that will take the 12th gen Intel chips (LGA 1700 form) and support DDR-4 memory. DDR-5 memory is a lot more expensive and for audio work there’s no real performance benefit.

I put in 64 gb of RAM and have a 1TB M.2 NVME system drive and 2TB M.2 NVME data drive.

In general you can set these up to run audio applications with a clockspeed of 4.7gHz all the time, and under relatively light load (where only 2 primary cores are running) mine ramps up to 5.3 gHz.

Nice thing about the 12th gen Intel processors is they have a bunch of “efficiency cores” or “E-Cores” that in theory will handle much of the Windows background tasks and leave the primary cores more available for our audio threads. I have no idea if that really does what is says, but the benchmarking performance on these 12th gen chips is pretty significantly higher than the prior gen chips.

Regarding multiple cores and multiple instances, GP will run different instances on different cores. In general I would highly recommend using the latest generation of processors, and if you’re going to do that you’re going to have a bunch more cores than you really need.

There’s very little incremental value in going from an i5 to an i7 or i9 unless you’re planning to run some really crazy stuff. I wouldn’t consider an i3 over an i5 unless you’re really looking to save pennies. The i5 is generally the sweet spot from a price/performance perspective.


Thanks everyone for all the information and perspectives. I’ve got a lot to consider here. Tons of helpful links (reading through them now) and the personal experiences are also really useful for informing my decision. @Vindes Can I ask why you went with 64 gb of RAM? All of the other specs make sense to me but I was under the impression anything over 32 gb for audio production/processing was overkill. I definitely could be wrong here and am still relatively new to the whole computer specs vs. audio performance thing, but I’d definitely be interested to hear why you went so heavy on RAM instead of opting for an i7-12700k and 32 gb memory.

The more RAM you have the more samples you can have in RAM at once. Also some synths like apparently Omnisphere is notorious for this have patch scenarios that use a lot of RAM. In the case of Gig Performer, predictive loading can preload entire sets of VSTs to accomplish patch persistence and seamless, glitchless, musically overlapping switching among synth and effect sets.

The more RAM you have the bigger the smile will be plastered across your face every time you change sounds live with GP, I think, especially if you are using large sample sets.


I understand your question because in my case, being a guitarist, and although I occasionally trig virtual instruments and sometimes some sample-based instruments, most of my tools are audio plugins that do not consume RAM and with 16 GB I have plenty of room to make do with that.
For keyboardists for example, the case scenario will be different of course.

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I can’t speak to Oberheim, but I have Knifonium and have noticed similar spikes CPU usage on certain patches. Don’t get me wrong, it sounds amazing, but the CPU usage has pretty much guaranteed I’ll never use Knif in a live setting. My music desktop isn’t top of the line by today’s standards but it’s got pretty good specs and can handle most anything I throw at it but I was kind of surprised after using Knifonium to see the CPU jump by double digits on specific patches. I’m assuming it uses a single core. I can’t imagine a plugin optimized to use multiple cores having that kind of CPU utilization. I would assume the same goes for Oberheim. But someone with more knowledge than me please feel free to correct me.

This is why for sounds that I really want in my live rig but also tax my CPU, I usually try to sample the VST directly and turn it into a soundfont. It’s far from perfect, and obviously is missing things like portamento, but it gets the job done, especially if my focus is on the sound texture itself rather than all the features.

That being said, Gig Performer tends to handle VSTs in a much more CPU economical way than any other DAWs I’ve used. It’s allowed me to use VSTs I had previously thought would be too resource-intensive to set up. Props to the devs. It’ll be interesting to see if/when multicore support is included (I read in a previous thread it’s on their eventual to-do list) how much the CPU use is affected in a practical sense.

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For my audio use case 64gb RAM is pretty significant overkill. I do like to use large sample libraries from time to time, particularly if I’m loading up a couple different Superior Drummer kits that can get to 4 or 5 GB without trying too hard, but even then it’s overkill.

The real reason is that I occasionally use my audio PCs for image processing. That’s a use case where I could justify stepping up to a processor with more cores, but in this particular case I still get more bang for the buck with extra RAM over extra CPU and in the end the constraining factor is actually heat dissipation. I’m using a cheap liquid cooled system for the processor, and if I really wanted to expand this very specific type of image processing I’d have to buy a higher capacity cooler, which would require a larger case, and a larger case doesn’t really fit the physical layout. Plus I’d just be way into throwing money away for relatively little gain at that point.

I think the i7-12700k’s are only about $100 more than the i5-12600k’s on B&H Photo right now. For that you get 12 cores instead of 10, and in theory a slightly higher clock speed. I don’t know, if I was doing it again today I’d actually probably spend the extra $100 for the i7 just for the heck of it. Seems highly unlikely to me I’d ever be operating in territory where the i5 will audio glitch and the i7 won’t, but given the all in costs what’s $100.

These Waves machines run the gamut in terms of processors from Celerons (non-starter) to i9’s (very robust) ranging from $850 - $3500 USD. They are also dedicated devices for processing their plugins, not running GUIs etc so it’s a bit of an apples to oranges comparison.

A few thoughts…

I find that with some of my VSTs the biggest hit I take is the GUI (Autruia Mellotron, B3X to name a couple culprits).

If you use thunderbolt devices… stay away from AMD processors.

the x299 chipset boards for Intel machines are probably the safest bet all around if you’re going desktop or their equivalent for other form factors.

I’d spring for an i7 over an i5 for certain. Stay away from Celerons.

Better is an i9 or Xeon but both are likely overkill for most users and the latter requires a dedicated GPU since the processor has no imbedded graphics support (Iris). Still… the most rock solid processor out there is the Xeon with its error correcting RAM. If I were performing at a high level or was backline engineering support for a mission critical situation, like a big name touring act, I’d want Xeon processors.

I’m running GP on a older 2017 Xeon laptop (4 processors, 16 cores, 32 GB RAM) and its very capable but I didn’t buy that laptop for GP.

In my line of work, I get optimal use out of a machine for about 3 years and then I need to have a budget in place for an upgrade. I’m already behind that schedule for my main desktop rig, a 20 core i9-7900x by a year but I am also waiting out for the x299 chipset successor to become available before I re-up. That machine is not for GP!

Point being… your budget is what it is… but consider the longevity of your investment and don’t under-spend and have to re-spend in just a couple years to be happy with your performance and to keep up with software.

That’s why I suggested looking at Waves’ latest DSP server specs because no matter how they have the OS set up, and no matter which degree of performance you consider; they’re all still MOSTLY running the same Waves VST code, and that code’s developer spec’d that hardware for price/performance.

I can’t see how comparing the CPU performance they chose at any price to performance point to CPU performance you can choose to build a machine with is an “apples to oranges” comparison, since the comparison is running VST code on the Intel or AMD processors Waves chose vs running that same VST code on Intel or AMD processors anyone could choose.

Even if those specific processors aren’t available to the retail market, and even if the machines run a customized lightened optimized embedded headless Linux as the OS, you can still locate a very similar model CPU that is available. That’s why I suggested looking at their latest picks as a guide to selecting a CPU that is better suited to running VST code that tends to be CPU intensive for the price in their opinion. It might be a cheap way for the OP to gain valuable insight for building his own machine.

Also Waves tends to have a lot of old code in their VSTs which could function as a worst case model. Why would they build and sell a purpose built machine that does a bad job of handling their own code? Of course there will be limitations given price to performance needs.

That’s why there’s nothing “apples to oranges” at all about my comparison suggestion. I offered it in good faith and I didn’t make it without some
background and consideration for the OP’s question. Characterizing something as “apples to oranges” intends to dismiss my suggestion as unserious on the face of it. Despite your implication, that’s not why I suggested it. I was responding to the OP, not dismissing anyone else’s response.

If Plug-in Alliance sold a low cost server to run Gig Performer and some of their VSTs for live use, would anyone say comparing their CPU selection to whichever one you could build your own computer on was an “apples to oranges” consideration?

I don’t know what your premise is, but mine was that looking at those specs might be a useful guide to building your own purpose-built live VST processing machine.

Nice to meet you by the way @brandon

easy there… don’t read so much criticism into my thoughts. I do think its a good idea as a reference, I certainly did ferret out their machine specs out of interest as you suggested… but their affordable model of reference is based on Celeron processors and IMHO that is not a good investment in a GP machine and their high end is an i9, probably overkill, with little in between.

These are headless machines… only tasked with VST processing on a proprietary ‘network’ with very low OS overhead, probably a custom Win build stripped down or possibly Linux.

A computer running GP is doing much more than that which is why it’s a baseline comparison for the audio processing side and ‘apples to oranges’ in terms of what an end user would be using the machine holistically for. Those Wave’s machines are not running a GUI, not running GP, not running many of the other Windows features a laptop would be, not accessing disk drives, not running wifi, etc…

If Plugin Alliance did sell a dedicated GP machine, that would be great but it wouldn’t be an appendage DSP/VST server dedicated to that task, I don’t think GP could work with an outboard processor like that… could be wrong. A Plugin Alliance machine it would have to be a fully fledged standalone machine you can program a GP interface with, use which ever plugins you desire, etc…

I kind of like some of the ideas this company has on form factor for a dedicated GP machine like this one with an RME Hammerfall card in it with a touch screen might be a cool idea properly configured: Expansion Mini PC with PCIe Slot & Multi Gigabit LAN - LPC-480E | Stealth

Based on the original question of the thread, my impression is the user was looking for off the shelf parts that he could throw together, install an OS, and make music. That he mentioned, “the threads I did find on this topic were a little over my head” reinforces that to me.

So with the hope of trying to keep things simple, intelligible, and aligned with “general consensus” on machine priorities…

Assuming current gen processors, main factors in order of importance are:

  1. optimizing windows for audio on your machine
  2. how much latency you’re really able to hear/tolerate
  3. sustained processor clock speed
  4. number of cores

Number 1) just requires time and being able to figure out where all the parameters are after this month’s Windows updates. If you let Windows park cores or throttle clock speed to save power you’re going to glitch. This is especially true on laptops, where it can be more difficult to stop your laptop from trying to maximize your battery life by lowering CPU power.

Number 2) most people can’t detect 10ms latency, and many aren’t bothered by 20ms or even 30ms. I recommend people start out at 256 @ 48khz (or 44kHz). See if it’s bothersome. One can spend a whole lot of money chasing processing power that they can avoid by just bumping up the sample count. Do you want a $10K machine at 32 samples or a $1K machine at 256 samples if you can’t hear the difference?

Number 3) is clockspeed is because most people run one instance of GP and more or less all the audio is processed in series on one core. So most of the time a 3gHz 64 core processor is going to glitch before a 5gHz 8 core processor. New core i5,7,9 processors can pretty easily handle being overclocked to 5 gHz full time as long as the overall load is light. I’m not as familiar with AMDs. I’m guessing most people around here don’t overclock though.

Number 4) more cores is never going to hurt, so if you have the cash, why not. Same with memory. I’d say at least 16gb, and more is never going to hurt you.

Being an electrical engineer and general music geek, I do love seeing threads showing off people’s super-rigs and the techno details of multi-machine setups. I’m just not sure a general “what CPU should I buy” thread is best served by turning it into one.


Whoa guys! At the risk of getting flamed and roasted, I personally did not think either of your posts or replies as being rudely critical or personal - until the last couple of them. I have yet to encounter anyone in this forum that is truly incorrigible and out to ding others here. In my old job one of the things that was often mentioned was that the written word is actually pretty poor in relating what people are really thinking and 20% of the whole picture you’d get in person comes across, at best. I’d also like to say that I have found the information that both of you provided to be interesting and worth reading. Just sayin’!


Hey people, calm down :slight_smile:
All’s good, proceed with other suggestions to this topic.

Thank you :beers:


Come on guys, conflicting opinions are not attacks. You’re musicians and music is supposed to soften the spirit. Look at what’s going on in the world and where some person’s misplaced pride leads. Come on, I’m counting on a virtual handshake between you and we’ll switch to something else. :pray:


I’m running currently a i9 11900K at 5Ghz on a Maximus Extreme XIII Hero, and 32 Gb Memory ( and 2 x 1 Tb pcie x4 nvme m.2 ). Regarding CPU I don’t have any issues. I run most of the time 4 GP instances at a time. ( I seldom hit 30% CPU utilization )

As a keyboard player though I hit more often then not, the 32 Gb Memory limit. So going to jump to 64 Gb shortly. If you are planning to use a lot of sample libraries, 64 Gb is not a luxury but more a necessity…
I also noticed that while opening my Gig it initially needs a lot more memory, and then after a while it shrinks often to like 50-60% of that. That’s not an issue of GP, but more an issue of the Sample Libraries (Kontakt eg.) and the way how they load their libraries.