Helpful Replyi7 or more RAM??

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rodreb
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2016/11/04 19:46:16 (permalink)

i7 or more RAM??

I am running a pretty recent i5 with 8 GB of RAM. What would give the most benefit, switching to an 17 system or adding more RAM (my system can handle 16 GB max).
I don't run any samplers. Most projects have 16 to 24 audio tracks. I do use quite a few plugins, including Drumagog in many projects.
Obviously, switching to a new i7 system would be pretty expensive whereas, adding RAM would be much more affordable.
Any thoughts on this? 



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#1
Tané
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/04 19:54:26 (permalink)
If it was me I would first go for the cheaper option of buying more Ram and see how your system works. At the very least if you later  moved up to an i7 system, the extra money you spent on Ram for your old system would make the 2nd hand price more interesting to someone looking for an upgrade system of their own.
Hope it helps.
#2
chuckebaby
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/04 20:04:53 (permalink)
an Intel I7 bro.
Rodney, I buy all my stuff here. my latest build is using this processor
http://www.microcenter.com/product/434176/Core_i7-4790K_Devil's_Canyon_40GHz_LGA_1150_Boxed_Processor
Its an Intel I7 4790K 1150LGA.
 
its only 289.00 but if you buy the processor you get a mobo at like 75%off. they are combo packages.
there is one here in Boston. I live out of this store.
 
my latest build with that intel I7 has 16 GB of RAM a 250 SSD. I built it for under 600 bucks.
now I know it sounds like im throwing money around like paper airplanes but this was a planned build for quite some time.
 
I have found buying more ram to be an actual band aid compared to upgrading the CPU.
don't get me wrong, more ram is always a plus. but if you are running 8 GB as of now, I don't see another 8 taking you to new heights as I would a new CPU with the same RAM (if possible).
 
I see people using 32Gb of ram and laugh. no offense to those people but I find an adequate amount of RAM and a good CPU is better than a mid grade CPU and a boat load of ram. 

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#3
rodreb
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/04 20:49:51 (permalink)
Dammit chuckebaby, you would have to say that!!! Ha ha!!! Since I've retired money is a little tighter than it used to be! I know you're right (you always are).
My current i5 does fine with all but the largest of my projects. Could bumping my RAM up from 8 gigs to 16 gigs give me any noticeable improvement in performance for the time being. If so, I could put off the larger expense of a new i7 system until I can better afford it.



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#4
The Grim
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/04 20:59:03 (permalink)
you could always check out the specs for your current motherboard, what cpu's it supports, maybe you can upgrade just the cpu to something that will give a noticeable and worthwhile performance improvement, and then with some of that money you saved on a complete new system get that extra ram as well ? just a thought
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microapp
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/04 20:59:22 (permalink)
rodreb
Dammit chuckebaby, you would have to say that!!! Ha ha!!! Since I've retired money is a little tighter than it used to be! I know you're right (you always are).
My current i5 does fine with all but the largest of my projects. Could bumping my RAM up from 8 gigs to 16 gigs give me any noticeable improvement in performance for the time being. If so, I could put off the larger expense of a new i7 system until I can better afford it.

Check the RAM usage in the performance monitor and/or Task Manager to see if you are anywhere near 8GB.
Unless you are running several instances of Kontakt or some other sample based synths, I doubt you will even notice doubling the RAM.
+1 to the I7-4790K. Still the best bang for the buck. I built a 4790 PC for my friend's studio this summer and it rocks.

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#6
Fabio Rubato
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/04 21:52:44 (permalink)
I have an i7 Quad overclocked to 4.4 with 16GB's of memory. It handles most jobs although with several instances of Kontact running such modules as Pro Horns or Pro Session Strings, I've seen memory get up to 12GB's. At this amount, things start getting a little sluggish in Sonar. I've been thinking more ram with these types of modules, would probably help relieve some of the system sluggishness. However for most projects, 16Gb's is more thatn enough. But yes I agree, an i7 with at least 8Gb's of ram would suffice most projects. Even if you use lots of Kontact modules, you can always freeze the synth once you've finished editing. 

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#7
bigfrog
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/04 23:10:11 (permalink)
If you're feeling the money crunch just buy some RAM, then start putting those pennies in the piggy bank for 6-12 months and buy today's latest and greatest for a couple hundred bucks cheaper.
 
But then if it's really stifling your creativity maybe it would be best to buy a new pc. 
 
Maybe you describe what exactly is not performing as desired and it could provide us with a little more insight. 

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rodreb
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/04 23:44:28 (permalink)
Just ran Task manager while having Sonar open and running.
On an average project - CPU = 40%     Memory = 30%
 
On a large project - CPU = 66%     Memory = 39%
 
bigfrog: On large projects everything just seems a bit sluggish compared to average sized projects. Not a game stopper. Just wondering what/if any difference adding RAM might make as opposed to upgrading my whole system.



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tomixornot
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/05 00:36:21 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby JRoque250 2018/01/18 20:47:06
Do you need to add more latency buffer for large project with 66% CPU compared to those with 40% ?
 
How about making a test project matching your usual tracks / plugins to about 80% or more CPU usage.. same latency or need to increase ? You will know if you need to handle such larger projects to decide CPU upgrade or not.

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Kev999
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/05 03:42:27 (permalink)
microapp
Check the RAM usage in the performance monitor and/or Task Manager to see if you are anywhere near 8GB.
Unless you are running several instances of Kontakt or some other sample based synths, I doubt you will even notice doubling the RAM.

 
Exactly. If you are not maxing out your existing RAM, then you don't need to add any more RAM. I've only got 6GB and its sufficent for me. I don't have Kontakt though.

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Sanderxpander
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/05 06:19:44 (permalink)
My desktop and my previous laptop both still had 8GB and were fine with that. I don't do orchestral stuff really but I do use plenty of Kontakt for piano, Rhodes and the odd string part or something more specific. They're both I7 though and I think the extra cores really make a difference, especially now with plugin load balancing. To be completely frank I would never even consider building a DAW with anything less than a quad core I7. Are there no I7s that fit in your mobo?
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slartabartfast
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/05 06:19:48 (permalink)
tomixornot has the right idea.
 
If you are engineering an upgraded system, the first requirement is to determine what problem the present system is having that the new one will solve. The processor upgrade will possibly allow you to run with smaller audio buffers (for lower latency), and is most likely to help if you use a lot of CPU intensive softsynths or effects. More memory can allow you to run more from memory, and if you are using samples that can be loaded into memory (as opposed to live streaming from a disk) can give you ultrafast access to samples. If you have so little RAM that you are constantly writing to virtual memory, then your performance will well and truly suck, but otherwise you may be surprised at how little you need. You can get a good idea about what you need by using the Windows Resource Monitor, as well as the SONAR metrics, which are not exactly measuring the same thing. If you are already running your projects without having dropouts at low latency, then you should probably not change anything.  Wait a few years when anything you buy now will be out of date, and you can justify expenditures then in order to be compatible with the as yet not invented software and hardware of the future. If you spend now on stuff that will not improve your workflow, you might not have it when your needs increase, or your system is aging out of new technology in the future.
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chuckebaby
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/05 09:10:09 (permalink)
its a tough call Rod, I do know the place I deal with directly (Microcenter) have stores across the continental US.
they and a lot of other places that sell RAM (like New Egg, Exc) will allow you to return it if you find it "Defective" per say. some places wont even ask, just simply send it back and get your money back. Its hard to say with RAM, especially considering the each of us work individually in different ways. Some of us use a large amount of soft synths/sample library's, mixed with Audio tracks. while others use a ton of soft synths/sample library's which determines a large amount of how your RAM is being dispersed.
 
Back to my original suggestion, Order the RAM and give it a test run. if you don't like it, return it and get your money back. kind of a no loss situation. I've built several  DAW's in my time, both AMD and Intel and I have found Intel to be much more expensive and for years I battled with the assumption that the money was not justified for the extra price of an Intel. but after this latest build (I build back in April) I have a different opinion. I believe the extra money is well worth it for the Intel. they just seem to process everything so much faster.
 
I built a top of the line AMD build 3 years ago and it was fast. I had many debates with Jim Raseberry over the differences between AMD and Intel and I still stick by most of my theory's but he was right. Intel is far superior to AMD. though I will give AMD the upper hand when geared toward some of the gaming systems.
but were not playing World of Warcraft here
 
when your ready to upgrade (even if its in a few years) call me, I'll walk you through it.
we'll get a list together and build it from scratch. trust me I was in the same situation. I saved for almost 2 years putting change aside, extra money, sold one of my desks (Tascam M-50) and did it up good.

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#14
DrLumen
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/05 14:04:35 (permalink)
You might check into the specs of your current processor compared to the i7 you are looking at buying. The number of cores and/or threads help but they don't scale linearly. Doubling the amount of cores does not mean it will be twice as fast - lots of factors affect performance here... Doubling of the L2 cache on the chips help too but it does not double the performance.
 
Clock speed does scale so if the new cpu is twice as fast then that would be a big help.
 
As to RAM, it helps but again if you double your ram it is not going to double the speed. I can see more ram helping if you have a lot of audio clips that require caching or vsti's that have large samples.
 
I know this is still all very subjective but it depends on your system, what you use (Sonar, Vegas, games) and how you use them (multiple large audio tracks, many video effects, etc.). If and how the developers use multiple cores is a factor too.
 
One thing to consider is that if you do buy additional ram, you may be able to use it when you do upgrade to the i7.
 
I will also second what Chuck said. In my experience there are a lot less issues with intel cpu's. The old intel cpu and motherboard combos were rock solid and almost bulletproof. Too bad they don't make consumer boards any more. <sigh>

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kitekrazy1
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/05 14:53:08 (permalink)
I do believe the difference between an i5 and i7 is the latter has hyper threading.  Also look for ways to reduce resources in your projects. I believe most developers these days care less about resource efficiency. 

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kevinwal
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/05 15:05:29 (permalink)
The answer is of course to upgrade both. :)
I'm a big believer in more RAM is always a good decision. I like to have enough RAM in my system to completely eliminate the need for a page file. It's true that after a certain point more RAM doesn't speed things up, but it doesn't slow things down either. So if you're more able to purchase RAM now, I'd say get it. Once you have enough, then you can go for that CPU.

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microapp
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/05 15:57:01 (permalink)
kevinwal
The answer is of course to upgrade both. :)
I'm a big believer in more RAM is always a good decision. I like to have enough RAM in my system to completely eliminate the need for a page file. It's true that after a certain point more RAM doesn't speed things up, but it doesn't slow things down either. So if you're more able to purchase RAM now, I'd say get it. Once you have enough, then you can go for that CPU.

I agree with this in principle but I assume your current PC uses DDR3 RAM. The current I7's use DDR4 which is not compatible. If you update to the older I7-4790K (which is still a good chip) or a Broadwell family chip , you can use your DDR3. If you update to to Skylake or newer DDR3 will not work as DDR4 is the latest and greatest.
I would advise you to save your $$$ for a new CPU/PC. Have you looked at whether you motherboard will support a better CPU.
I had an E8400 CPU with 6GB of RAM and never had show-stopper issues with some fairly substantial projects.
Just get by for now with freezing synth tracks or tracks with monster FX chains if you have memory issues until you can afford to upgrade the CPU.

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chuckebaby
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/05 16:40:52 (permalink)
kitekrazy1
 
I do believe the difference between an i5 and i7 is the latter has hyper threading.  




You are correct, basically hyper-threading and cache are the only two things separating an i5 from an i7.
Similar to my 4790k. its a quad core but shows 8 threads in Sonars Performance module.
 
For a 300.00 dollar CPU this thing fly's. (with only 16GB of RAM) That's the one I linked in my first post (The Devil's Canyon).
I've done a lot of testing over the years. I have built many PC/DAW's. Im not going to lie, this latest build would have been easy but it turned all trivial on me because of one stick of bad RAM. didn't take long to troubleshoot but I was convinced at first, I didn't have the CPU locked down tight enough, thus causing a Blue screen after posting.
 
if I had not been so ignorant and not gone with my gut instincts, it would have been a 2 second fix.
but instead, I tested the RAM last .
 
 

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#19
microapp
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/05 17:21:25 (permalink)
I think the I5 (at least the haswell one) benchmarks single core at 7000-ish and the 4790K at 11000-ish.
Most of that is due to the higher clock (4.0 Ghz). Throw in the hyperthreading and Sonar will exhibit really noticable improvement.
Both the I5 and 4790K use LGA1150 socket and both use DD3 RAM.
Rodreb may be able to simply swap the CPU in his PC then buy more DDR3 RAM when he can afford it.
Just make sure motherboard/bios supports 4790K (it should).

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#20
rodreb
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/05 18:51:45 (permalink)
The RAM is, indeed DDR3. My current processor is an i5 2400, 3.1 GHz, quad core. The motherboard will support the following i7 processors - Ivy Bridge quad core and Sandy Bridge quad core.



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#21
microapp
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/05 19:20:37 (permalink)
No go on the I7-4790K drop-in replacement.
Your I5 CPU is socket LGA 1155. I assumed you had a Haswell I5 (LGA 1150).
Best CPU for LGA-1155 socket is prob I7-3770K (Ivy Bridge) and a quick look shows it as kind of pricey (~$400). If you could find 3770K on Ebay or somewhere for $150 I would say OK but it is no where near worth $400 over the I5-2400.
See here
http://cpuboss.com/cpus/Intel-Core-i7-3770K-vs-Intel-Core-i5-2400.
 
If you have built PC's before I would say swap the motherboard, otherwise save up for a new PC.

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#22
Anderton
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/05 20:22:45 (permalink)
I am thankful I leave spec'ing computers to the experts  Trying to follow this discussion makes my head explode...I think it's time to play some guitar, but not without saying I am always VERY impressed by the level of expertise exhibited in this forum. In the immortal words of Ali G..."Respect."

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Sanderxpander
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/05 20:37:42 (permalink)
I run a non K 3770 on my desktop and it's still a great CPU. I don't think the diff between the 37xx and 47xx was that huge and getting a "K" CPU is really only worth the extra dough if you're going to overclock which opens an entirely new can of worms. I haven't looked but I'm assuming the 3770 is more affordable, assuming it's still easily available.
post edited by Sanderxpander - 2016/11/06 11:53:12
#24
tlw
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/05 22:49:16 (permalink)
My rule of thumb is that more RAM will only help if the system is currently short of RAM. If task manager shows a steadily growing page file, with lots of disk trashing or even pauses while Windows shifts stuff between page file and RAM then get more RAM. Task manager showing almost all the RAM is used but without swapping going on isn't necessarily a problem. A lot of that "used" RAM may well be there because it was being used for someting, but Windows hasn't cleared the memory locations yet. Which it will do in fractions of a millisecond if the RAM is needed for a currently active application, driver, whatever.

Equally it's unusual for Windows not to put some stuff into the paging file. Maybe stuff connected to drivers which are loaded but not in use, or things like Acrobat's "helper" resident tasks or a third party antivirus. The thing to watch for is swapping going on at a level that interferes with what you are doing. At that point, or just before it if you are sure it's going to happen when you load that new sample library, put in more RAM.

A faster cpu, on the other hand, will always return a performance increase. As, up to a point, will more cores and hyperthreading. But again, only if the current cpu can't keep up. Personally I'd build any DAW around an i7 for preference every time, but my DAW use involves audio, lots of dx plugins but few software synths or samplers other than AD2 and sometimes a wavetable synth. Big orchestral libraries and similar RAM hogs aren't part of what I do, but cpu hungry real-time monitoring of lot of effects are.

For what it's worth, I think my Sonar usage would mostly work as well in 8GB RAM as it does in 16GB. I can't say an i5 would do as good a job as the i7.

Sonar Platinum 64bit, Windows 8.1 Pro 64bit, I7 3770K Ivybridge, 16GB Ram, Gigabyte Z77-D3H m/board,
ATI 7750 graphics+ 1GB RAM, 2xIntel 520 series 220GB SSDs, 1 TB Samsung F3 + 1 TB WD HDDs, Seasonic fanless 460W psu, RME Fireface UFX, Focusrite Octopre.
Assorted real synths, guitars, mandolins, diatonic accordions, percussion, fx and other stuff.
#25
rodreb
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/05 23:13:45 (permalink)
Page file may be an issue. I recently increased the size of my page file. I do have it static, not dynamic. When I run Latency Mon, the page file is the only thing that is even close to being high. Can you run with no page file? I admit, I'm not real savvy on that.
OOPS! I meant page fault in Latency Mon!!
post edited by rodreb - 2016/11/06 04:24:31



ROD

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#26
DrLumen
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/06 02:09:03 (permalink)
You can run without a windows paging file but windows doesn't like it and slows down without one. If you have an SSD, set the paging drive on your SSD at twice your current RAM for the min and max size. This makes what was once known as a RAM drive and helps a lot. The size is subjective but twice was once the common setting. Ultimately, setting the page file on a SSD separate from the OS drive is optimal.
 
If you don't have an SSD then try to put the paging file on a drive separate from the OS drive (different drive channels). Use the same settings as above.
 
Even locking the page file size down to the OS drive helps a little. FYI, locking down the page file size stops some disk fragmenting due to the changing page file size. Also, windows won't resize and possibly rewrite the page file at whim.

-When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

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#27
Pragi
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/06 02:07:03 (permalink)
DrLumen
You can run without a windows paging file but windows doesn't like it and slows down without one. If you have an SSD, set the paging drive on your SSD at twice your current RAM for the min and max size. This makes what was once known as a RAM drive and helps a lot. The size is subjective but twice was once the common setting. Ultimately, setting the page file on a SSD separate from the OS drive is optimal.
 
If you don't have an SSD then try to put the paging file on a drive separate from the OS drive (different drive channels). Use the same settings as above.
 
Even locking the page file size down to the OS drive helps a little. FYI, locking down the page file size stops some disk fragmenting due to the changing page file size. Also, windows won't resize and possibly rewrite the page file at whim.


Good point,
if you don´t already run a ssd drve for your OS and DAW
this is the component that will give you the most benefit .
#28
Kev999
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/06 02:22:11 (permalink)
If you have sufficient RAM and never run out of RAM, then the pagefile never gets written to. At the end of a session, if you look at the timestamp on the pagefile and it shows the same time as when you last booted up Windows, then that means it hasn't been used at all during the session.

SonarPlatinum(22.11.0.111)|Mixbus32C(4.3.19)|DigitalPerformer(9.5.1)|Reaper(5.77)
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#29
bitflipper
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Re: i7 or more RAM?? 2016/11/06 11:33:32 (permalink)
microapp
Check the RAM usage in the performance monitor and/or Task Manager to see if you are anywhere near 8GB.
Unless you are running several instances of Kontakt or some other sample based synths, I doubt you will even notice doubling the RAM.
+1 to the I7-4790K. Still the best bang for the buck. I built a 4790 PC for my friend's studio this summer and it rocks.



^^^This. More RAM will only help if it's a bottleneck now. Without using samplers, it's unlikely you're tapping out the 8 GB you already have, in which case adding more will do nothing for you. Sorry.
 
A faster CPU, OTOH, will allow more tracks and more effects before it runs out of steam, and video may be smoother. 
 
However, the same principle applies as with memory: there's no advantage to having more than you need. It's not a video game or a sports car. If your i5 has no problem keeping up now, and you don't plan on starting significantly larger projects, then you may be disappointed by a CPU upgrade as well. Windows will boot faster, SONAR will come up faster, but you won't notice any difference in your recording projects.
 
It comes down to whether or not your current system is ever NOT up to the task, e.g. you're having to freeze tracks to avoid glitchy audio, you avoid certain plugins because they cause dropouts, or you want to watch YouTube videos while you're recording (not recommended). 
 
Here's a thought: if you're looking for a cheap upgrade, consider adding a 1 TB external disk drive for backups. One you can disconnect and stash elsewhere in case your computer gets stolen.


All else is in doubt, so this is the truth I cling to. 

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#30
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