Multi-core CPU handling FAQ

  • Live Versions: 9 - 10
  • Operating System: All

What is a multi-core CPU and what advantage does it have?

A multi-core CPU is a computer processor which has two or more sections. Each section of the chip executes instructions as if it was a separate computer. The actual processors are still on one chip. A dual-core processor is a multi-core processor with two independent microprocessors. A quad-core processor is a multi-core processor with four independent microprocessors. Multi-core processors allow more efficient simultaneous processing of multiple tasks, making them more powerful than single-core processors. Virtually all modern systems have multi-core processors as standard.

How do I enable multi-core support?

A multi-core processor is the minimum requirement to run Live 10, therefore it is always active by default. Live 9 can run on single core computers, but performance will be limited. In Live 9’s Preferences you can enable or disable multi-core support on the CPU tab.

What is a thread?

A thread is a sequence of instructions executed by a CPU core. A program can divide itself into several threads in order to be able to run on multiple cores. A thread in Live might typically constitute an audio clip playing, followed by an audio effect, then an output to the Master track.

What is hyper-threading?

Hyper-threading is a feature of certain processors which allows them to further subdivide cores so that two concurrent threads can be handled per core. Hyper-threading is enabled by default for computers with multi-core processors. In Live 9, if your computer only has a single-core processor, hyper-threading is automatically disabled in order to preserve the correct order of the threads to be processed.

How many cores of a multi-core processor can be utilized at once?

On Mac up to 64 cores and on Windows up to 32 cores are supported.

How many threads are used per Live track?

Live usually uses one thread to process a single track. However in certain cases, such as using racks with multiple CPU-intensive chains in parallel, it’s possible that more than one thread might be used.

Are side-chained or dependent tracks allocated one thread or two?

If two tracks are "chained" by routings, like with a side-chain routing, a track being fed to a return track or any tracks being fed into each-other, they are considered dependent tracks and count as one signal path. Therefore each dependant set of tracks will require one thread each.

Why do I have high CPU load in a set with just one track?

Because Live uses one thread per track or signal path, a set with just one track could potentially result in high CPU load if the track contains, for instance, a CPU-intensive instrument followed by a chain of CPU-intensive effects.

Which is more beneficial, a faster CPU speed or more cores?

Both are important, but this depends somewhat on your workflow. If you're using various devices in one track in series, then only one thread will be used for that particular track, and in this case a higher clock speed might be more beneficial. However if you're spreading out your instruments and effects over different tracks, then more cores might be beneficial. If your budget allows it though, we recommend getting the fastest processor and maximum amount of cores that you can afford (bearing in mind the maximum amounts that can be utilized: 64 Cores on Mac and 32 Cores on Windows).

Further reading