New Pc build, but what cpu is the best for intensive plugin (vst3) use?

Hi there,

I’m planning to build a new pc for live use. I’m using a lot of vst3 plugins but i’m always struggling with loading time of some samples and latency. I’m using a RME Babyface Pro fs as audio device. The current latency is 512 with 48 khz. when i go to 256 i can get sometimes hiccups or spikes. I’m using a i7 8700 with 32gb ram.

I’m planning to buy a AMD 7950X3D but IT-specialist try to convince me that a AMD 7800x3D is a better option.
Is there someone who has any experience with one of these cpu’s ?

Gr David

I can’t answer the actual question, but do you still get the occasional glitches after applying the principles of Brad’s “Glitch Free” book?

Also, is ASIO4ALL an option? Maybe the provided drivers are at fault.

Yes, I’m convinced that I have tried everything to get the best results. I can play 2 or 3 VSTI with 64 samples and with 48 kHz. But I am a heavy user of VSTI, and I have a live set of 15 to 20 songs per set. It’s safer with this hardware to keep it in 512 samples.

I haven’t tried those particular processors, but my experience is similar to OP’s (I’ve tried everything to reduce glitches and can’t get below 512 samples safely on my high-end laptop). On paper, the AMD 7950X3D option seems superior in every respect (faster clock, more cores, larger caches), so I would expect it to do best.

A few tips that I haven’t found in any guide, but that have worked wonders for me:

  • Launching multiple copies of a VST and spreading notes between them using SpreadVST has changed my life. It often halves my Time Load in Cantabile’s Performance Profiler with no discernible sacrifice in sound quality.
  • Thunderbolt 3 & 4 audio interfaces are faster than USB because the Windows 10/11 Thunderbolt software stack is more performant than its USB stack.
  • If playing many sampled instruments, having huge amounts of ram is important. I need at least 64GB to keep all samples in memory for 15 songs.

FWIW, I’m using a gaming laptop with an i5 9300h, 16 gigs of RAM. Running this as a live mixer/recorder with about 14 audio inputs, each with a good 2 to 4 VSTs each (filtering, EQ, compression, gating, the usual), plus 4 outputs, each with a graphic EQ and compressor/limiter, plus a basic reverb for in-ear monitors.

Using a Behringer UMC1820.

I’m also experimenting using Sampletank to trigger pads for a song or two. All of this running at the same time live.

48khz and a buffer set to 256. No glitches.

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Sometimes having the latest powerful i9 is useless. The graphics card (or its driver) can generate DPC events, that wipe out the processor’s performance.
I can say this because it has happened to me several times. That’s why I prefer processors with integrated graphics.
It makes no sense to use an RTX3080 or 4080 for a system that does not use graphics, but needs to produce music.


One thing is sure DON’T use Asio4all with an RME card wich provides the absolute best driver for their card.
I use a Ryzen 7700X with 32gb RAM, RME RayDat and I’m very pleased with the results. ASIO driver if of paramount importance. RME is usually rock solid. As suggested, make sure to read the documentation that Brad wrote “glitch free…”

I use 128 buffer to stay on the very safe side but it runs well at 64

Demand is the factor.
A system which can run well at 64 will certainly not run well at that buffer when demanding plugins are being run hard. We all know that some plugin synths can break a well spec’d desktop machine into a sweat.
Optimizing demand is as crucial as optimizing spec.

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Same here, the UMC202HD at 48khz and buffers at 256 runs great, I do try to avoid big sample based instruments but it never has a problem with huge drumkits in Superior Drummer

that’s the key - I’m running a pretty complex setup with dozens of active plugins per song and >170 pre-loaded on a boring old Core i5 at 128 samples buffer. I’ve optimized my arsenal of plugins over the years and eliminated all CPU and memory hogs.

And I’ve moved completely away from laptops or NUCs - using mini desktops helps eliminate most of the the tricky power management hiccups


And even memory hogs can be great if given room to operate and used ‘sensibly’. My laptops are also i5s
Cantabile’s ability to direct power where and when it’s needed allows these machines to punch way above their weight.

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Resurrecting this because I think we need to provide some context. What this means, I would suggest, is ‘my choice of plugins, and the patches chosen, allow my system to run well’.
Until we use a common test project, it’s very hard to know what ‘runs well’ means.
Perhaps this has been attempted before, but if a project were made available here, with MIDI files loaded into Media Players, addressing a common set of plugins to be run at 32,64,128 buffers and the results presented, we would know something tangible.


Since everyone has a different plug-in selection that would be nice to have a “load emulator” to do specific cases simulations.
A kind of Cantabile-Benchmark software. This way one could compare with others and determines if the system performances is on-par with comparable systems. then it’s easier to see if the performances are affected by poorly written plug-ins or drivers…

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I think it’s possible to get everyone onto the same plugin by nominating a freebie or demo version.
Cherry Audio’s Sines is great for crippling a CPU :smiley:
All highly patch dependent.
Surge would be be a good contender.

Some things to think about:

  1. What are you surrounding your fast processor with? The motherboard bus speed, use of SSDs and their speed, RAM amount and its speed, and how your graphics are handled all have a direct bearing on overall system speed. Do not use a graphics card; use integrated graphics instead.

  2. Not trying to start a fight because i know many are successful with laptops. I personally would use a pc mounted in a small rack. The performance tradeoff with a laptop’s portability and a pc is significant and you pay a premium for that portability.

  3. By all means follow the tuning tweaks in glitchfree. Consider using System Lasso to further optimize software processing.

  4. I dont have any experience with AMD; my pc is based on i7-13600. For all the reasons mentioned above I can run 48k 64-128
    buffer depending on vst3 load and rarely ever glitch. I use the new MOTU 828 interface. It is outstanding.

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I built kind of a “standard benchmark” some time ago using a free vst synth - see this thread:

This song uses five instances of the free Tyrell synth (current download link: here) and plays an E chord on song load - careful, this can become loud…

To eliminate audio interface and drivers from the equation, tests were made with the null audio engine - see the original post.

latest test results are here: