More ram = less cpu?

Phryq

AlbertMcKay.com
So I just want confirmation on something. Setting the Ram Preload buffer very low in Kontakt will tax the CPU more than setting it very high. Is there a limit to this? If I set it all the way to the right, will that use minimal CPU?

In that case, does buying a new computer with more RAM means I can get a less powerful CPU (I'm building a system to run a full orchestral template, many VSTi, a few verb sends and comp/EQ).

Less powerful CPU has 2 benefits

1 - Less $$
2 - Less heat
 

rvb

Active Member
Well I am not an expert when it comes to Kontakt but just want to share this with you:
I have a 6 core Mac Trashcan and I bought 32g extra ram (now I have 64g) around two months ago, and honestly, I notice no difference with kontakt nor any other plugin or daw performance ever since. Only the ability to use this forum for example while having the daw opened and playing through the project without issues. Further more no increase in performance with Kontakt or anything, big projects still have the same cpu usage. So in the end, I regret my 32 extra ram at the moment haha, I am very open to the idea that I am doing something wrong here with kontakt settings though, I don't know.

EDIT: I probably could use more kontakt instances, but the cpu still gets hit first, so there is no real gain for me at the moment
 

Desire Inspires

To the stars through desire....
64GB of RAM? WTF! How do you guys afford all of that computing power? Are these systems being custom built?
 

Mihkel Zilmer

Senior Member
64GB of RAM? WTF! How do you guys afford all of that computing power? Are these systems being custom built?
Not sure if you are serious :) Most of the composers I know who do detailed work with orchestral samples consider 64GB just a starting point and 128GB sufficient for most tasks.

Loading the full Spitfire Symphonic Orchestra with just one mic position will use around 32GB.
Berlin Series is less efficient, with Berlin Brass being the worst offender - it can easily eat up 32GB by itself, fully purged.

The busier and more established composers either order their machines from a specialized DAW builder, or get an assistant to build one. Those of us who are more budget sensitive tend to self-build - it's really rather easy and you can put together a monster machine even on a moderate budget.

Only the ability to use this forum for example while having the daw opened and playing through the project without issues.
This is the best use of extra RAM I've ever heard of!
 
OP
Phryq

Phryq

AlbertMcKay.com
Maybe I should not have mentioned FX use (EQ, compression etc.) because of course RAM will do nothing for these.

@rvb. Simply having more RAM will not help you; you must *use* that ram by going into your Kontakt settings and sliding the preload buffer to the right. Slide it until you have basically no RAM left (so you have 64gb of RAM, slide it until you're using 58gb with your samples, if possible). Streaming samples from RAM is less CPU intensive than streaming them from disk... so I really shouldn't be asking whether this will save my CPU; it's a fact that it will. My question is, where is the point of diminishing return, if any? 60kb, 120kb? 240kb?

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/KpjmbZ3h9KA/maxresdefault.jpg
 

rvb

Active Member
Maybe I should not have mentioned FX use (EQ, compression etc.) because of course RAM will do nothing for these.

@rvb. Simply having more RAM will not help you; you must *use* that ram by going into your Kontakt settings and sliding the preload buffer to the right. Slide it until you have basically no RAM left (so you have 64gb of RAM, slide it until you're using 58gb with your samples, if possible). Streaming samples from RAM is less CPU intensive than streaming them from disk... so I really shouldn't be asking whether this will save my CPU; it's a fact that it will. My question is, where is the point of diminishing return, if any? 60kb, 120kb? 240kb?

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/KpjmbZ3h9KA/maxresdefault.jpg
Sorry, I should have mentioned that I did adjust the Instrument Preload Buffer Size setting first thing when I got the new RAM. I didn't change anything else, such as the amount of cores used when I got the extra RAM. Maybe there is a difference to be found in performance there. But as someone else stated before, I think the difference will be more significant when I get the 128 upgrade. 64gig is merely a starting point for the big Kontakt libraries I imagine.
 

Michael Antrum

Only the good die young....
Well I am not an expert when it comes to Kontakt but just want to share this with you:
I have a 6 core Mac Trashcan and I bought 32g extra ram (now I have 64g) around two months ago, and honestly, I notice no difference with kontakt nor any other plugin or daw performance ever since. Only the ability to use this forum for example while having the daw opened and playing through the project without issues. Further more no increase in performance with Kontakt or anything, big projects still have the same cpu usage. So in the end, I regret my 32 extra ram at the moment haha, I am very open to the idea that I am doing something wrong here with kontakt settings though, I don't know.

EDIT: I probably could use more kontakt instances, but the cpu still gets hit first, so there is no real gain for me at the moment
Actually the thing with more ram is that it doesn't actually speed your computer up. What it does is stop your computer slowing down (often dramatically) - which is what happens when you start to get low on RAM. Run out of RAM, and your computer will start writing things to the page file, which is normally many many times slower than RAM. So if you have 32GB RAM and are only using 24GB, then adding another 32GB of RAM is not going to help very much.

What I have seen is that when I get close 64gb RAM used by Kontakt then my CPU's on my Mac start to get fully loaded up, so that if I needed to go above 64 GB, i'd probably get another slave. I imagine that will vary a great deal with the libraries and engine used. Hollywood Orchestra Diamond and a couple of other decent instruments and that's it on my Mac Pro. (16 cores total)

I use a great little task bar thing called iStat Menu, which sits on my macs menubar and shows me how much CPU on each core is being used, and the amount of RAM each App is using. It's a very useful tool.
 

MarcusD

Senior Member
So I just want confirmation on something. Setting the Ram Preload buffer very low in Kontakt will tax the CPU more than setting it very high. Is there a limit to this? If I set it all the way to the right, will that use minimal CPU?

In that case, does buying a new computer with more RAM means I can get a less powerful CPU (I'm building a system to run a full orchestral template, many VSTi, a few verb sends and comp/EQ).

Less powerful CPU has 2 benefits

1 - Less $$
2 - Less heat
All programs get loaded into RAM, for example: if you had 16GB in your system it dosn't mean 16GB is available at any time because every program that's running, DAW, background services etc.. are all using RAM. So the more RAM you have in your system, the better because it allows your CPU to run more efficiently.

If you have a boot load of plugins running in your template and not enough RAM for VST Instruments your CPU will try to take on the load and cause it to have a heart attack. But if the CPU is rubbish to start with then it might not run great anyway (even with lots of RAM) because it can't handle all the data being sent to it.

Best option, if you're wanting to create huge in-the-box sessions using loads of effects and sample libraries, is to get a 6 core CPU (to be on the safe side) or a decent overclockable 4 core and stick 64 - 128Gig of RAM in it with decent SSD storage. Some samples let you stream from disk, which helps, but if you have a slow storage device you'll get bottle necks and performance will become sluggish.

Master and slave setups will always be the best, and you could use your old system as a slave. There are many guys on here who would be better explaining how to set that up.
 
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Mihkel Zilmer

Senior Member
I think the difference will be more significant when I get the 128 upgrade.
Apologies - I realise my previous post could be a bit misleading, because I wasn't actually answering the original question, just talking about how much RAM people use these days.

@MarcusD and @mikeybabes are right on the money! You will see absolutely no increase in performance if you upgrade to 128GB. The only difference will be the amount of samples you can load. If your CPU is already struggling to fully utilize 64GB then adding more RAM won't help.

CPU upgrades (and CPU overclocking) will improve your performance. Also, if you are basing your performance evaluation on the ASIO / Core Audio meter then the audio interface you are using and its drivers will also make a difference.

So I just want confirmation on something. Setting the Ram Preload buffer very low in Kontakt will tax the CPU more than setting it very high. Is there a limit to this? If I set it all the way to the right, will that use minimal CPU?
Increasing preload buffers substantially will not translate into greatly reduced CPU workload, you will most likely see very small gains once you go higher than 60kb.

The benefit of having more RAM is being able to load more instruments simultaneously. But if you're considering going with 128GB RAM then unless you get a very high end CPU, the CPU itself will become your bottleneck and you won't even be able to fully utilize all your RAM.

I would also suggest getting a CPU with the highest base clock and good potential for overclocking to achieve optimal results. If this is your only PC and you'll be doing lots of sample work, go for 6 cores.

Another CPU parameter that seems to matter a fair bit for sample streaming (I have no hard evidence on this, just personal observations) is the CPU cache size, which makes sense because it allows for faster communication between CPU and RAM.
 

chimuelo

Star Of Stage & Screen
You want better performance on the same machine get rid of FX plug ins and buy a UAD.
I bought an XITE-1 back in 2009 as UAD was still incapable of real time work.
It handles all FX and mixing, routes in hardware via AES/EBU, MADI, XLR and ADAT.

It was basically a streaming SSD PC.

I’ve since added VSTi synths so upgraded from i7 2600k to i7 3770k, now i7 4790k.
Not a big difference, maybe 10/15%, hard to gauge.

But recently added 3 hardware synths, and an extra Hardware FX unit.
Ran UVI, Kontakt and PianoTeq.
No synths, no FX.

I went from 4.4ghz back to 4GHz.
Task manager says 15% every now and then.

It’s a screaming streamer.
Wickedly fast.
 

wpc982

Active Member
I've been using a 64 Gb computer for a couple of years, with a pretty good processor 6 core (i7-5820). I hit ram limits first, rather than CPU limits, but with a nearly full ram the cpu does begin to show load. Just ordered new version (building my own again) with 128 Gb and an 8 core processor, a little faster clock speed. Hopefully both limits will rise gracefully!
 

chimuelo

Star Of Stage & Screen
Just curious before I start shopping for Orchestral Libs.
When you load up 6 different mic positions for these massive instruments do they switch from various mic positions in real-time, without having to record each placement seperately?

Thnx
 

Mihkel Zilmer

Senior Member
Just curious before I start shopping for Orchestral Libs.
When you load up 6 different mic positions for these massive instruments do they switch from various mic positions in real-time, without having to record each placement seperately?

Thnx
You can control the level of each mic in real time by using MIDI CC. By default the output is a single stereo pair, but most developers allow you to also assign different outputs in Kontakt to each mic, so there's a lot of flexibility for routing, processing etc.
 
OP
Phryq

Phryq

AlbertMcKay.com
I remember some time ago looking into getting a PCIe NVMe drive, and being told it'd do nothing, because the bottleneck was in the CPU, and that I was better off getting more RAM (even though I could fit my libraries into my current ram by setting preload buffer all the way to the left) because the bottleneck was in the CPU and that CPU usage was higher when streaming from disk than streaming from RAM.

So you're saying the above statement is *not* true, yes? In that case, if I have an SSD, there's absolutely no reason *not* to have the preload buffer set all the way to the left, and in theory, using a registry tweak, could set it even lower (since NVMe has a much higher random read than normal SSDs).

Because I'm homeless and travel regularly, having a slave isn't an option. As for UAD, it's still extra baggage, and is limiting what plugins I can run (is a UAD not just a kind of slave? I'm guessing it has it's own custom OS? Why couldn't I just build a slave using similar hardware for cheaper?)

Actually, what I've been trying to do is create a kind of UAD shaped slave-box that would fit in a backpack, but the kind of CPU power I need requires cooling which wouldn't fit in such a box.
 

Mihkel Zilmer

Senior Member
I remember some time ago looking into getting a PCIe NVMe drive, and being told it'd do nothing, because the bottleneck was in the CPU, and that I was better off getting more RAM (even though I could fit my libraries into my current ram by setting preload buffer all the way to the left) because the bottleneck was in the CPU and that CPU usage was higher when streaming from disk than streaming from RAM.

So you're saying the above statement is *not* true, yes?
Correct, it is not true. If your CPU is the reaching the limit it can handle then more RAM will not help.

In that case, if I have an SSD, there's absolutely no reason *not* to have the preload buffer set all the way to the left, and in theory, using a registry tweak, could set it even lower (since NVMe has a much higher random read than normal SSDs).
Also basically correct. Although the CPU will take a small (probably hardly noticeable) hit from having lower preload buffers. But the SSDs will do most of the hard work.
 

chimuelo

Star Of Stage & Screen
I’m a traveling minstrel too Phyrq.
No more road crews, no management, etc.
I run a very powerful small rig.
This is my UAD replacement.
I route hardware FX + Hardware synths into its project window.
It’s actually my MIDI Devices, Mixing and DSP FX.
The mixers are unconventional and rather advanced.
Total automation.

http://scope.zone/

Here’s my current fast set up rig.
TC Fireworx/Bellari RP562 w/ RCA Tubes depending on the gig.
The Tubes make my EPianos, synths and Hammond B3 VSTis Fat.
LASS and several Horn libraries prefer the TC Fireworx.
My son has a 4U with RME AIO and the i7 7700k. New Akai Controller 47 Note.
He plugs into house systems and takes minutes to set up.

46488ACB-522F-453A-97AD-C39660B4EDBA.jpeg 239687E7-DC93-45AF-9A11-DB1A0676C508.jpeg

Mixers are custom made to ones needs.
Collapsing channels for using multiple mixing stages.
Better than hardware mixers costing 10 times as much.

7FB95614-C046-43C0-A151-8B1BED0D525C.jpeg
 
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OP
Phryq

Phryq

AlbertMcKay.com
So that scope thing has it's own Custom CPU? Can it really be better than Intel / AMD? Or is it that it's a specific 'audio' CPU (never heard of that). How does it actually work? And it'd still have the same UAD limitation (can't put on my favorite verb / EQ etc... Kontakt instruments).
 

sphinx

Sphinx
Both Soniccore and UAD use Analog Devices SHARC DSPs
• XITE-1 Processors: 12 x SHARC (333 MHz, 4. Generation 21469) + 6 x SHARC (60 MHz, probably 21369)
• The UAD-2 OCTO, along with UAD-2 Satellite and Apollo, use SHARC 21469 processor chips while PCIe-based UAD-2 SOLO/DUO/QUAD cards use the SHARC 21369. The newer 21469 chips are smaller and consume less power than the 21369, allowing 8 processors on a "short" PCIe card for the OCTO.