Apple Silicon M1 - system-on-a-chip to Rule Them All.

Thanks! That’s super helpful. I think I’ll try and wait for the next iteration of Apple silicon if possible…

All laptops will thermally throttle after sufficient time with sufficiently heavy use, that doesn’t make them a no-go. The only relevant question is: Can it run the patches you want to run for long enough. There is no question the M1 machines are a massive improvement over previous Mac’s. The question is: Is it sufficient, on something like the Air, to run Rack comfortably?

I’ll get my testing of Rack done on the girlfriends’ M1 Macbook Air in a jiff, promise. You could help by pointing me to a light, a medium and a heavy patch to test, which are publicly available, and uses free modules. In the meantime I can report that it’s a gorgeous laptop, the new standard I would definately recommend to ordinary people. Fantastic screen, trackpad and keyboard, unreal battery life, extremely snappy and performant, runs completely cool and makes no noise what so ever. It’s like running an iPad with all the greatness of a computer. Massive leap for Apple hardware.


sure, that is correct, but most laptop have at least a fan to cope with that for a bit, in this case the mac air does not.

And what i meant with a no-no is that relating to the amount of people complaining about issues with their notebook while running VCV, here on the forum etc. Most of the time is directly related to CPU thermal throttling, and GPU’s issue’s. Therefor a laptop that gets crippled by thermal trotting to the fact that it can not perform anymore, for me definitely is a no-no.

But yes of course i would like to see real world performances on both 3 new mac machine’s that show promising/convincing handling of VCV Rack. The same way as i would be using it on my current laptop: hours on, extensively.

As for a monster patch, there was someone on this forum (or on fb when i was still there) , that made such a huge testing patch. Goodluck, love to read about your testing results :slight_smile:

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Running Rack with Rosetta 2 seems pretty performant and snappy, but I don’t know if it can compete with a current Intel Mac from the pro line. For me compared to my old 2013 MBP it a huge difference even in graphics.

If you want to handle large tracks with you DAW you may wait for the M1X which will come with way more RAM onboard and a faster 12 core SoC. But keep in mind that it these models will be also much more expensive.

Rack running on native arm64 would be really fast, but I think it will be take time until it’s officially supported.

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always got the following error, if I try to start Rack: “make: ./Rack: Malformed Mach-o file”

I tried various compiler options, but it resulted always in the same error. I have the feeling that it’s something with the linker… any ideas?

Got it :slight_smile:


maybe a patch like this could help for a kind of benchmarking:

this are 36 instances of dexter, they should be 300 - 350% if you F3 press, but my laptop cpu (AMD Ryzen 5 4600H) is only ~50% running 4 threads in rack. You could add dexters to max it out.

here is the patch:

2020-11-20-rsmus7_36x_Dexter_001.vcv (417.5 KB)


Finally I got it working :smile: It still needs to be optimised but so far audio is working and it’s ultra fast! I will prepare an experimental release later this week.


For comparison MacBook Pro (13-inch Retina Late 2013) can do only 8 instances of dexter.

I have currently no comparison to a current intel model. When I set the internal samplerate to 768k and poly to 16 channels, I can play the standard patch without any problems at 80% CPU… any comparison to that? Thanks!

My 2019 iMac runs the Dexter array with no problems at 44.1 and 48Hz, after that it starts to break up. Meters showing 67% CPU usage. Frame Rate 59Hz.

  • MacOS Catalina 10.15.7
  • Processor 3 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i5
  • Memory 8 GB 2667 MHz DDR4

Just tried the same on my 2018 Macbook Pro (i5 2.3GHz Quad core, 16GB RAM), 16 voices with the default patch and I can only get up to 384kHz sample rate before it craps out with distortion and goes over 400% cpu. Can’t wait to get me some Apple Silicon (but I’m waiting for next year’s pro versions).

Screenshot 2020-12-03 at 10.39.41

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I honestly don’t think throttling will be a big issue. From people’s testing so far (large video/audio renders, and gaming) the penalty appears to be quite small. These things are so fast that a hit of 15-20% will still leave you with a huge amount of processing power.

how is the cpu usage of the native arm64 version compared to rosetta 2 + intel in the case of vcvrack for some equal patch?

True heroes. The depth of courage, ingenuity and tenacity in the face of such overwhelming odds shows a wellspring of pure, indomitable will that is frankly staggering.

Along with the tireless hospital staffs in the trenches battling wave after pandemic wave, the VCV Rack dev community exemplifies that core of human excellence that gives us the inspiration, the hope to soldier on.

–Sterling Marlborough


Will examine this weekend :wink:


Congrats, that is very exciting! Could you share the patches or zipped source tree (with all modified deps), and a precompiled binary, for early testers? (or upload to github)

I am about to prepare a public version which will be available later today… stay tuned!


For all early birds - here is a prerelease of Rack.arm64

No documentation etc. bundled with a couple of modules. Tomorrow I will release a better tested version with some additional notes.


Cheers, Patrick


Hey Patrick, I get this when launching the arm version of Rack:

Hm… what system you’re on? Sorry, was late yesterday… there will be a working version later :slight_smile: