Old 09-24-2017, 03:54 AM   #1
SomersetSongwriter
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Default Processor speed and RAM memory for music PC?

Hi all

I am looking at buying a new PC for my studio, as the plug-ins and other software I am running alongside Reaper, is overloading the current computer's capabilities.

Reading a different older thread, people were suggesting high end processors and minimum 16gb RAM, but that was back in 2014, so I would expect that in today's world, even more would be needed.

I am based in the UK and need to find the kind of ready-made machine, that will cope with fast multi-track recording using Reaper and various thirsty outside plug-ins such as Limiter No. 6 etc. Obviously one gets what one pays for, but budget is an issue!

Tips, suggestions and links greatly welcome.

Thank you
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Old 09-24-2017, 04:11 AM   #2
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UK? You can see what Scan has to offer for you. They do custom built DAWs. I'd rather spend more for a good machine, if possible, than get one with randomly picked parts with no thought on how things need to be in a DAW.
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Old 09-24-2017, 04:18 AM   #3
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Thanks for that. Funnily enough, I was on their site when your reply flagged up!

I must admit to getting a bit confused with processor speeds etc, all I know is that what I have just isn't coping now with bigger productions and a lot of heavyweight plug-ins!
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Old 09-24-2017, 04:34 AM   #4
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First, yep 16 is minimal requirements. 1 patch at Keyscape loads 2 gb my RAM.
Better 32, of course.
DDR3 or 4 not so critical. 4 is more expensive but adds only 10-15% to perfomance of RAM.

You absolutely need SSD for windows, reaper program folder, vsts & kontakt. mb 256 mb more. It affect on load speed & file transitions.

/CPU/
Hm i prefer intel, but hear some rumors about amd rysen. Most of popular programs use only 1 core & don't have good support for multicore except reaper. But in any case most important characteristic is a clock frequency per core (start at 4.00 GHz). And 4-6-8 cores is a minimal specs. Better less cores but more clock frequency.

Briefly=)

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Old 09-24-2017, 04:46 AM   #5
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Thanks. Looking at one on computerplanet.co.uk that seems to meet most of the requirements, and is a specialist music audio production PC, but comes out not far short of £1200 I guess though, you only get what you pay for!
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Old 09-24-2017, 06:26 AM   #6
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Absolutely don't accept anything less than an i7 CPU. The more cores the better, the more GHz the better. 4 cores at 4 GHz+ is going to be better than 6 cores at 3.5 GHz.


And yes, you get what you pay for. What is your current configuration, and which plugins do you intend to run in your projects?
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Old 09-24-2017, 07:58 AM   #7
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Seriously, talk to Peter at Scan computers. He is muso and they offer good value and reliability.
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
Absolutely don't accept anything less than an i7 CPU. The more cores the better, the more GHz the better. 4 cores at 4 GHz+ is going to be better than 6 cores at 3.5 GHz.


And yes, you get what you pay for. What is your current configuration, and which plugins do you intend to run in your projects?
What about the new Ryzen cpu's?
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SomersetSongwriter View Post
Hi all

I am looking at buying a new PC for my studio, as the plug-ins and other software I am running alongside Reaper, is overloading the current computer's capabilities.

Reading a different older thread, people were suggesting high end processors and minimum 16gb RAM, but that was back in 2014, so I would expect that in today's world, even more would be needed.

I am based in the UK and need to find the kind of ready-made machine, that will cope with fast multi-track recording using Reaper and various thirsty outside plug-ins such as Limiter No. 6 etc. Obviously one gets what one pays for, but budget is an issue!

Tips, suggestions and links greatly welcome.

Thank you
Give this guy a bell.

http://www.moltenmusictechnology.co.uk/
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
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What about the new Ryzen cpu's?
OK for the money but they have issues with lowest buffer sizes (64, 128).
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:26 AM   #11
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Just recently involved with Orchestra/Cinematic fun and has been first demand for very high Ram capability.
DDR4 offers 16GB sticks which (for most MBs) at least gets you to 64GB .. potentially.

May be a consideration toss in?
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:26 AM   #12
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DAW benchmarks:
http://www.scanproaudio.info/2017/08...r-1920x-1950x/
http://www.scanproaudio.info/2017/07...ke-x-editions/
http://www.scanproaudio.info/2017/03...ook-for-audio/

http://techreport.com/review/32390/a...us-reviewed/14
http://techreport.com/review/32111/i...wed-part-one/7
http://techreport.com/review/31366/a...us-reviewed/12

The Intels got Thunderbolt, AMDs not.
Looks like Intels are better for smaller buffer and AMDs for bigger buffer.

I think it is a good idea to wait just a little bit and get
the new 6 core Intel i7-8700k + motherboard with z370 chipset.
https://hothardware.com/news/intel-c...ng-motherboard

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Old 09-24-2017, 08:41 AM   #13
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Yeah, I would also suggest waiting for Coffee Lake 6-cores, if possible/can afford. Should be a pretty great CPU.
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:55 AM   #14
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UK? You can see what Scan has to offer for you. They do custom built DAWs. I'd rather spend more for a good machine, if possible, than get one with randomly picked parts with no thought on how things need to be in a DAW.
I got my computer from Scan, along with a Zoom UAC-2 Interface. I got one with an i7 6700K processor and 32GB of RAM, but that was well over a year ago.

So far it's been able to easily deal with anything I throw at it (without any audio issues) and I've had some pretty big projects.

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Old 09-24-2017, 09:11 AM   #15
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Just recently involved with Orchestra/Cinematic fun and has been first demand for very high Ram capability.
DDR4 offers 16GB sticks which (for most MBs) at least gets you to 64GB .. potentially.

May be a consideration toss in?
Last time I looked 64GB of DDR4 was eye wateringly expensive. You would need a beast of a CPU too, unless you keep freezing tracks (which can get a bit tedious). No doubt serious orchestral composers freeze a lot of their tracks.

Without freezing tracks when I tried orchestral tracks with Kontakt and ST3 the quad core i5 3.4ghz CPU started to run out of steam around 11-12GB (16GB system).

That's partly why I upgraded to the i7 in the same system. I expect the i7 extra speed, cache memory hyperthreading and generation upgrade will only buy me a few more tracks though. No idea if the i7 hyper threading virtual cores really help in this kind of project.

Hope this waffle helps the OP.
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Old 09-24-2017, 09:33 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SomersetSongwriter View Post
Hi all

I am looking at buying a new PC for my studio, as the plug-ins and other software I am running alongside Reaper, is overloading the current computer's capabilities.

Reading a different older thread, people were suggesting high end processors and minimum 16gb RAM, but that was back in 2014, so I would expect that in today's world, even more would be needed.

I am based in the UK and need to find the kind of ready-made machine, that will cope with fast multi-track recording using Reaper and various thirsty outside plug-ins such as Limiter No. 6 etc. Obviously one gets what one pays for, but budget is an issue!

Tips, suggestions and links greatly welcome.

Thank you
The biggest factors are CPU speed (and speed before more cores) and using a SSD.

Marketing types have learned the term "ram" it seems... There are a few modern sampler and MIDI instrument plugins that can actually use a few GB of ram. Unless you're using one of the heavier weight versions of one of these, you won't see much more than 2GB ram used for audio work. Even with low latency live work or studio mixes with hundreds of tracks.

16GB is pretty cheap now so might as well. Just don't be disappointed if 14GB worth sits there idle.

Using a SSD for OS/apps is important. Use the free space for your high performance audio workspace.

Audio has a real time thread that can't be split up. Once the CPU core hosting that hits max, you're done. Hence the advice to shop for speed before more cores for audio work.


Look at the specs beyond ram! A pro machine a few years old with a higher end CPU can run circles around a new machine with a slower i7 CPU made for light internet use that also throttles down all the time (but has 16GB of ram that never really gets used).
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Old 09-24-2017, 09:35 AM   #17
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No idea if the i7 hyper threading virtual cores really help in this kind of project.
Actually Reaper prefers to manage its own multicore use and runs much better with hyperthreading disabled.

Which follows with the speed before more cores thing.
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Old 09-24-2017, 09:53 AM   #18
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Actually Reaper prefers to manage its own multicore use and runs much better with hyperthreading disabled.

Which follows with the speed before more cores thing.
I always say a more powerful core (clock for clock) is more important to DAW music production than the number of cores. It is easy to see this.

OTOH hyperthreading is a different kettle of fish.
Do you have proof of this?
Could you you point towards any articles, or is it personal tests?

I wonder what Justin's take is on this?
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Old 09-24-2017, 10:07 AM   #19
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I think it is a good idea to wait just a little bit and get
the new 6 core Intel i7-8700k + motherboard with z370 chipset.
https://hothardware.com/news/intel-c...ng-motherboard
This...wait!

serr, you have hyperthreading off and you say this will boost reaper performance?
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Old 09-24-2017, 10:11 AM   #20
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if budget is not a limit? then rig like mine (my signature here on forums) is "minimum" haha
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Old 09-24-2017, 10:14 AM   #21
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I always say a more powerful core (clock for clock) is more important to DAW music production than the number of cores. It is easy to see this.

OTOH hyperthreading is a different kettle of fish.
Do you have proof of this?
Could you you point towards any articles, or is it personal tests?

I wonder what Justin's take is on this?
The first time I had a mix get into 300 track territory with just as many plugins (a few years ago now) I ran into a wall. Disabling hyperthreading was one of the fixes. I could A/B it.

The other factors were 'anticipative fx processing' and 'number of audio processing threads'. Some 3rd party plugins aren't compatible with AfxP and you can disable this per track. Do NOT disable AfxP globally though! I also changed the # of audio processing threads in preferences from 1 to the number of physical CPU cores (8 here) which seems to go against conventional wisdom. Now I can no longer come up with any way to max out this machine.

All of the above mentioned settings can be played with and set completely 'wrong' for average sized projects and it seems to make no difference.


So that's why when I see mention of needing the highest speed CPUs or needing 16GB or more of ram I ask just what someone is trying to do. If you don't answer "Huge orchestral project with hungry sampler and MIDI instrument plugins on 400 tracks!" then something else is at play.
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Old 09-24-2017, 10:39 AM   #22
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I've been looking at CCL computers in Bradford for a custom machine. Basically grab one of their i7's, and then top up/customize with the extra goodies - e.g. more ram, bigger SSD, bigger internal HD etc ... using their on-line "configurator"

By the time you hit just over £1k, you have a beast of a machine ...

dB
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Old 09-24-2017, 12:08 PM   #23
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.....

Now I can no longer come up with any way to max out this machine.
..........

So that's why when I see mention of needing the highest speed CPUs or needing 16GB or more of ram I ask just what someone is trying to do. If you don't answer "Huge orchestral project with hungry sampler and MIDI instrument plugins on 400 tracks!" then something else is at play.
I can give you a clear answer to that. Pure software synthesis tracks. All VSTis.
Software synths can vary enormously in their hunger for CPU power. One track you could use 50-60 instances. Another perhaps 8-10 will push your CPU hard depending on the synth/s, quality settings and patches involved.

If you are used to only creating mainly sample instrument tracks such as orchestral tracks you will see what a relative pussy cat sample engine are compared to the most CPU hungry soft synths (most aren't that hungry, I'm talking about the exceptions).
Download true soft synths (IOW not the likes of Omnisphere, which is a hybrid sample synth) U-HE Diva, Ace, Reaktor Razor or AAS Chromaphone (then use pitch bend with the latter). Run any of these synths in max quality modes with high polyphony.
Try multiple instances with high polyphony running together, keep adding adding until your CPU hits the wall, if you know the most hungry patches it won't be long (Try multi core modes on and off within the plugins) . Then you will find you can potentially max out even the latest 2017 CPUs with tracks numbering in their tens, never mind hundreds. I don't need really high numbers though.

Software synth vary enormously. I've made tracks with around fifty or more modest budget synth instances ( no freezing stereo tracks) using a humble Core 2 9550 without the CPU struggling. OTOH single patches of U-HE Diva swallow alarming percentage of the CPU.
Synth 1 for instance could be using 1-2% of your CPU core where Chromaphone or Diva will ask for near all of it, depending on the patch!

The correlation between sound quality and the most CPU hungry synthesis is dubious because some relatively CPU friendly synths sound excellent.
Pianoteq is actually synthesizer too but it a relatively pussycat compared to these most greedy (and more obvious synth) synths.

I haven't really tried with orchestral sample projects much since getting the i7 but I will, then these optimizations will be revisited.


Quote:
Originally Posted by serr View Post
.
All of the above mentioned settings can be played with and set completely 'wrong' for average sized projects and it seems to make no difference.
.
Which is when it comes down mainly to raw CPU muscle methinks.

Last edited by Softsynth; 09-24-2017 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 09-24-2017, 12:34 PM   #24
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Good info Softsynth! (And living up to your name as well. )
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Old 09-24-2017, 01:13 PM   #25
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Good info Softsynth! (And living up to your name as well. )
Yes Sir,
Thank you very much Serr!

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Old 09-25-2017, 10:20 AM   #26
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Offtopic and sorry for the hijack:
Softsynth, why would you use more than say, 3 or 4 instances of a synth on one track? I'm assuming they'd all be on the same channel and therefore receiving the same notes, else you'd just use different tracks, no? I've got a song where I use the same synth but transposed an octave up, and that was convenient to have on the same track. Just curious.

Back on topic:
As a hobbyist recording electronic stuff and some metal using only in-the-box-processing for the guitars, I've been very happy with my SSD, I7-6700, and 16 GB of DDR4.
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Old 09-25-2017, 11:07 AM   #27
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Hobbyist as well .... but learning lots on VI-C Community Forum re. Orchestral/Cinematic/Epic/Trailer interests.
Lotsa folks commenting about required 'portability', laptops, 32GB RAM limitations.

Ready to Update 1 of 2 PC DESKTOP DAWs now, and feel 64GB RAM is mandatory to be as flexible as possible on single PC.

Do not want to even think about multiple-PC setup using VSL _ VEP6 ... or something comparable .... YET
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Old 09-25-2017, 01:16 PM   #28
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Offtopic and sorry for the hijack:
Softsynth, why would you use more than say, 3 or 4 instances of a synth on one track? .......
Watch any DAW tutorial on YT, you will see high numbers of tracks on most people's projects.
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Old 09-25-2017, 02:22 PM   #29
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Watch any DAW tutorial on YT, you will see high numbers of tracks on most people's projects.
OK, that makes more sense. This:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Softsynth View Post
... One track you could use 50-60 instances. ...
Reads as though there are 50-60 instances of the same synth on one DAW track, which I didn't see the usefulness of.
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:41 AM   #30
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The Intels got Thunderbolt, AMDs not.
Update:
The new Gigabyte X399 Designare EX looks impressive!
https://www.anandtech.com/show/11847...9-designare-ex
It is the first AMD with Thunderbolt, but when it will work?

BTW, for Intel Z370 the Gigabyte Z370 AORUS Gaming 7
https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard...aming-7-rev-10
Got my attention with its sound, 121dB SNR AMP-UP Audio with ALC1220 +
ESS SABRE 9018 DAC + WIMA/Nichicon audio capacitors +
Smart Headphone AMP(variable impedance).
The USB DAC-UP 2 is also interesting https://youtu.be/MPKJfP3BrW0

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Old 09-26-2017, 10:57 AM   #31
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Update:
The new Gigabyte X399 Designare EX looks impressive!
keep in mind AMD Ryzens are inferior to Intel "K" series in terms of low-buffer processing/handling, basically the more "complex" cpu solution means more overhead/latency in processing cycles (just to mention dual-cpu stuff like Xeon workstations introduce even more overhead delay due to ram handling across 2 physical cpus),
that said I'm afraid there's a huge difference between mixing/mastering and recording/synth-playing workstation cpu requirements
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Old 10-05-2017, 11:29 AM   #32
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i7-8700K reviews with DAWBench results:
http://techreport.com/review/32642/i...pu-reviewed/14
http://www.scanproaudio.info/2017/10...ine-injection/
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