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Old 11-21-2019, 08:59 PM
music_bor music_bor is offline
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Default RAM, SSDs, and Audio Interfaces

Hi there! So I have a first generation MS SurfaceBook with i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB internal HD. It is connected to a MS SurfaceBook dock, to which an external Samsung T1 SSD with my EW libraries and a PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 are connected.

Software-wise, I'm running Cubase 10. Once I eliminated the 1000ms latency by switching to ASIO4ALL, it runs pretty well for just a few tracks (strings and piano, MoR guitars and bass, and BFD3 drums), though I do sometimes get some popping.

As I increase instruments in the near future (looking to do some full orchestra stuff), I just wanted to get some thoughts about how increased RAM vs. a better audio interface vs. additional SSDs weigh against each other. So with that in mind:

If I were to get a new computer at some point with significantly more RAM (64GB+), will the AudioBox bottleneck the performance of many tracks playing back at once, or does having a lot of RAM make up for soundcard/audio interface shortcomings?

Conversely, if I had to choose between RAM and a more powerful audio interface, which would make the bigger impact in this scenario (or both equal in different ways)?

Regarding RAM vs. multiple SSDs: Since SSDs are so much faster to stream samples off of then traditional hard drives, is adding additional SSDs with the samples split among them a better performance investment than adding more RAM?

I guess I'm generally trying to get a feel for which of these items (RAM/audio interface/SSDs) delivers the best performance for the money, if one had to choose which to upgrade first.

Thanks!
- Rob
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Old 11-22-2019, 12:12 PM
mohsohsenshi mohsohsenshi is offline
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Quote:
If I were to get a new computer at some point with significantly more RAM (64GB+), will the AudioBox bottleneck the performance of many tracks playing back at once, or does having a lot of RAM make up for soundcard/audio interface shortcomings?
The Presonus AudioBox can do the job well. Of course upper class Audio interface with thunderbolt 3 has lower latency at smaller buffer size(32/64), but the playback performance depends mostly on computer hardware.

Quote:
if I had to choose between RAM and a more powerful audio interface, which would make the bigger impact in this scenario (or both equal in different ways)?
Choose more RAM.
32GB can handle a template within around 50 or 60 instruments.
You need at least 64GB for a full orchestra setup with over 2 mics position on.

Quote:
Regarding RAM vs. multiple SSDs: Since SSDs are so much faster to stream samples off of then traditional hard drives, is adding additional SSDs with the samples split among them a better performance investment than adding more RAM?
Streaming from multiple SSD works for the past 10 years. But things have changed since late 2018, Nvme SSD with PCIeX4 becomes much cheaper, you can get one with a reasonable entry price in 2019.
High performance Nvme SSDs are 3 or 4 times faster than traditional SATA SSDs. They also have much higher 4K random/4K 64 thread random read speed which really matters the live playback performance in DAW.

I launched a test with a Samsung 860 evo 500G and a Sabrent Rocket Nvme 1T. Steaming Hollywood Orchestra, 2 mics position.
860 sometimes gets pops/clicks/dropout under complex automation envelopes.
Sabrent hardly produces such things and loads samples much faster.

So you will benefit from putting EW samples in a High performance Nvme PCIe SSD rather than streaming from multiple SATA SSDs.
Consult price and performance datas from userbenchmark before buying SSD.
Pay attention to 4K random read speed and 4K 64 thread(deep queue) random read speed, these are the factors you should care about for DFD streaming(especially for EW libraries, ah the PLAY engine.......) .

Bottom line:
Large RAM allows large template and more preload size samples loaded in.
High performance Nvme SSD provides a smooth live playback, away from dropout and clicks.
RAM+Nvme+CPU+Audio Interface as a system who results in good playback at low latency.
In your case:
RAM>=SSD>audio interface
In my opinion, spend on 64GB RAM and 1T Nvme SSD(Samsung/WD/Sabrent/Adata...I will put a review below) would be a good choice.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlGjd1GZWdo
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Old 11-22-2019, 03:59 PM
mohsohsenshi mohsohsenshi is offline
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RAM>SSD>audio interface

64GB RAM is necessary for full orchestral template with Hollywood Orchestra Diamond 4 mics position.

A high performance Nvme PCIe SSD greatly improves streaming for HO Diamond rather than multiple SATA SSD.
4K Random Read speed and 4K 64 thread Random Read speed are the most important factors to get away clicks.
Audio Box can do the job of live playback, even at low latency buffer size.
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Old 11-24-2019, 09:13 PM
music_bor music_bor is offline
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Awesome, thanks for the great info!
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