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Buy more ram or upgrade to SSD's?

pderbidge

Senior Member
I know there has been discussion on this and I've tried to decipher what I "think" is the consensus but please indulge me just to help me feel more confident.

I currently have an i7 4770k system with 32GB of ram and a 250GB drive for my OS, a 4 TB 7200K drive for Kontakt samples. I have a 250GB SSD for my East West Hollywood stuff. I've been considering upgrading my system to a new Ryzen CPU with 64GB of memory, leaving most everything else the same. Would I be better off keeping what I have and replacing my 4TB HD that houses my Kontakt samples with a couple of 2TB SSD's? Since I use a lot of Kontakt and based on what I've been reading I'm beginning to think that SSD's will make a bigger impact than more ram. Of course both would be ideal but since my current system would require a new MOBO and CPU to support 64GB of ram doing both is not in the budget right now. Your wisdom is appreciated.
 

T-LeffoH

#CitizenSleuth
If you want to keep the budget down, SSDs for now and eye the MOBO/CPU upgrade later.

In the interim, until you can get your optimal upgrade I might suggest reviewing templates for anything you rarely use and just make a leaner template for the time being.

The logic being you can utilize the SSDs in your future setup, so it's a lighter investment for now but the SSDs can still be used later with your next MOBO/CPU/RAM investment.
 

XDR

New Member
More RAM will only have an effect if you actually fully use your current 32GB at times. SSD's will always make your samples load much faster than a HDD.
 

Damarus

Active Member
imo, no point in getting RAM unless you reallly need it. Opt for a large SSD over multiple SSDs.

I would wait till the end of the year for deciding on a CPU. New Ryzen has got some good specs on paper, but Intel is still going to be better for Audio applications. Their 10nm processors should be coming out later this year
 

Guy Rowland

Senior Member
Yup - I'd say SSDs, even perhaps just the one 2TB for your most used stuff, and then explore working with a disabled template either in your DAW or VE Pro. I have 64gb but rarely get near the 32gb limit to be honest. For me the days of massive RAM requirements have been and gone.
 

GingerMaestro

Active Member
Slightly off topic, but related, If you set up a big template in Logic using Kontakt Instruments, can you tell Kontakt or Logic, not to load the samples until you need them (ie to save ram) and how do you do that ? Or is it better to get VE Pro ? Thank you
 

storyteller

Senior Member
imo, no point in getting RAM unless you reallly need it. Opt for a large SSD over multiple SSDs
This isn’t necessarily true depending on what you are doing. Multiple SSDs means workloads can be divided across drives to keep your sample buffer and latency lower. For example, if you are streaming in real-time an orchestra, then having Strings, Brass, Winds, Percussion on multiple SSDs will yield much better performance. This is much more ideal than having everything on one drive.

If you are freezing and bouncing as you go, multiple drives won’t matter as much.

In either case, the OP will find that he can have a lower sample buffer in Kontakt with an SSD which means he will experience having more ram available than he is currently used to having available with a spindle drive.
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
The bottom line is that they do different things.

RAM lets you load more programs into memory. You add RAM if you're unable to load everything you want cued up and ready to play.

SSDs improve streaming performance, load times, and everything you do on your computer *like crazy*. You can set smaller preload buffers if you're using SSDs, so they do let you get a little more mileage out of your RAM, but that's not the big fish.

If you don't have an SSD as your system drive, I'd start with that. It's like getting a new computer, only you're skipping what was once several generations of computer upgrades.
 
OP
pderbidge

pderbidge

Senior Member
The bottom line is that they do different things.

RAM lets you load more programs into memory. You add RAM if you're unable to load everything you want cued up and ready to play.

SSDs improve streaming performance, load times, and everything you do on your computer *like crazy*. You can set smaller preload buffers if you're using SSDs, so they do let you get a little more mileage out of your RAM, but that's not the big fish.

If you don't have an SSD as your system drive, I'd start with that. It's like getting a new computer, only you're skipping what was once several generations of computer upgrades.
That's a great explanation. In reading your post it started to click. I can see that both ram and SSD could benefit me. I think SSD for samples (I have one already for my system drive) will benefit me the most. After looking at the performance meter on various older projects I can clearly see what's going on now. I remember a few projects lagging quite a bit due to maxing ram. I started using the purge feature in Kontakt and it solved latency from ram issues however every time I loaded the project I had to play through the entire song before the samples would update and play smoothly so this solution created a new kind of latency, although much better than the issue with maxing RAM. RAM usage went down to around 15 to 20GB of my 32GB. So while updating the sample pool reduced RAM usage it did increase the need to stream from my HDD which creates a different kind of lag but still better than the latency with not having enough RAM. So it seems to me that an SSD will be the most useful as long as I continue to use the purge feature I shouldn't max out beyond 20GB of RAM and benefit from near real time streaming from SSD. Ultimately I'll upgrade to 64GB of RAM but I think I'm going to go the SSD route first and go from there. This way when I do upgrade my CPU and RAM I can focus on getting the CPU I want instead of getting something just for the sake of supporting more RAM.
 
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Damarus

Active Member
This isn’t necessarily true depending on what you are doing. Multiple SSDs means workloads can be divided across drives to keep your sample buffer and latency lower. For example, if you are streaming in real-time an orchestra, then having Strings, Brass, Winds, Percussion on multiple SSDs will yield much better performance. This is much more ideal than having everything on one drive.
Unless there's some test showing this, pretty sure that is not true.

1 SSD is 'technically' faster, and easier to manage and organize. Also great for future expansion.

Samples get held in RAM, which is why you need so much for large templates. Your hard drive is mostly for storage. SSD's just help with loading times in that regard.
 

storyteller

Senior Member
Unless there's some test showing this, pretty sure that is not true.

1 SSD is 'technically' faster, and easier to manage and organize. Also great for future expansion.

Samples get held in RAM, which is why you need so much for large templates. Your hard drive is mostly for storage. SSD's just help with loading times in that regard.
This is very much true. Performance and mileage will vary based on the various types of SSDs though. Those using older 2.5" SSDs will notice the example above before someone who may be running the latest, fastest SSDs available. We've talked about it plenty on the board here over the years. The downside can be organization though. You are right that 1 SSD is easier to manage and organize. And, if you are using something like Apple's latest and greatest internal SSD, you likely won't ever experience any hiccups as outlined above. I only brought it up because the original statement given was absolutist and for other people reading this thread, they need to understand that performance - even with an SSD - is still relative to the hardware and variables involved.

If you want to understand the logic behind how SSDs can vary in performance, check out this article: http://www.thessdreview.com/featured/ssd-throughput-latency-iopsexplained/
 
OP
pderbidge

pderbidge

Senior Member
Eventually I want 64GB of ram with the option to upgrade to 128 for piece of mind. This would require a new MOBO and CPU. Although I think an SSD will benefit me the most up front, in the long run it would be much easier to do the painful re-install of my system now (plus upgrade to win 10 since I'm still on Win 7) rather than later since replacing a sample drive with SSD is much less painful to do down the road.

In looking at the DAWbench tests it seems that Ryzen may not be the best choice for me. First off, I don't actually need a more powerful CPU so a Ryzen 5 2600x should be plenty powerful for me compared to my i7 4770k. The problem is that max memory supported on the AM4 chipset is 64GB of memory, so there goes my future proofing to 128GB. The Intel Z390 chipset does support 128 so that means finding a cpu that matches or beats what I have. That looks to be the i7 8700k. I like the price of the i5 9600k better though and according to what I can see the i5 still beats my old i7, even though I lose 2 extra virtual cores/hyperthreading I gain 2 physical cores which are more efficient than those hyperthreaded cores anyways. But then again the 8700k is a much better performer than both the Ryzen and the i5. I just hate to spend the extra when I could put that towards an SSD. Decisions...

Edit: If only the Ryzen 5 and 7 had 128GB memory support then there would be some more alternatives to my wants/needs ): sigh!

Double Edit: With prime days coming up and AMD just realsing the new Ryzen 3000 series I think we're going to see some price drops within the month so I'm holding out, but don't want to hold out too long because I've got to get this thing done asap.
 
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