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BlueSwan
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13th March 2010
Old 13th March 2010
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How much RAM do you use?

About to invest in a new DAW. Core i930 based running W7 64-bit to finally be able to utilize some more RAM.

But how much RAM is appropriate. I produce heavily layered electronic music using tons of soft synths and plugins. I don't use huge orchestral sample banks (at least not yet), but do use a lot of Romplers like the Spectrasonics stuff, refx Nexus and the likes.

I'm thinking of buying 6GB of triple channel Corsair XMS3 1333 mhz or 1600 mhz RAM.

Would you think I would see a significant performance gain by adding another 6GB or would the RAM just sit there and do nothing?

You might suggest that the proper solution to this is to buy 6GB first and then if I need more get another 6GB, but for tax purposes I need to buy everything I need at once!

Also, does anybody know what the advantage of getting the Corsair Dominator RAM over the regular XMS3 RAM is if one is NOT looking to experiment with overclocking.
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13th March 2010
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I hardly ever go over 2 maybe 3 with tons of stuff up. I don't use too many sample libraries either just the IK Multimedia workstation stuff and vsts. I think 6 should be fine.
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13th March 2010
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I have 8 GB in my i7. I have filled almost 7 with Kontakt Orch stuff, and I have a few Drum Libraries for my Vdrums, Spectrasonics and a bunch of VST instruments and FX, loaded at the same time with an Autoload.

Right now I am using the 64 Bit PC with VSL Ensemble Pro connected to my Mac Pro and I have all my instruments at my disposal. Its probably overkill but I like to have busses with all my FX ready at different bass instruments ready for songwriting.

So I would say go for 8 GB but at least 6GB. Those multisample instruments can take a bunch of memory.
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13th March 2010
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I'm running PT M-Powered 8.03 on an antiquated AMD Athlon 64x2 3800 with 2 gig of ram. No issues, but I don't run a bunch of softsynths. I have a separate P4 machine with Gigastudio on it.
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13th March 2010
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I'm still on a 4gb WinXP PC. I use every bit of the 2.8gb I can load when I'm doing strings.

If I were to actually load my VSL and EW orchestral stuffs...and an EP...and a BFD Deluxe drum kit...8 would probably get me by w/o freeze/unloading.

I intend on moving to an i7 w/12gb for some overhead, since 8 isn't really even doable with triple channel RAM...your options become 3, 6, 12, 24. 24 is ungodly expensive. I guess you could mix and match size and get some inbetweens, but as soon as you start buying 4gb sticks, the price goes way up. 6x2 is the price/performance leader.

...but, if I end up going with a MacPro, I'll bump it to 16gb, since they have 8 slots.
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13th March 2010
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I suppose I could go with 9gb (3x2 + 3x1) - I hadn't even thought about that for some reason.
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13th March 2010
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start with 6 you can add 6 more later 9 is not right

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13th March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcschild View Post
start with 6 you can add 6 more later 9 is not right

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Yeah, as I said that would be the sensible approach, but for tax purposes I have to buy everything now. It's not as if I can't afford the 12GB, I just don't want most of my RAM sitting around doing nothing.

But if you say that 9gb is dumb, then I'm definitely not going down that route! :-)
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13th March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcschild View Post
start with 6 you can add 6 more later 9 is not right

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+1
....or....if you can afford the 12 get it!
You can never have enough RAM in a computer......period!
Everything that gets executed in your computer uses RAM regardless if the data resides on a HDD or comes from some hardware on the bus....nothing is executed by the CPU processor outside it's RAM. If the CPU can't load the entire executable data into RAM first it maps out what it has room for and then swaps page files....more RAM space means less swapping which takes time...and RAM is the second fastest object you have in your computer!
The more you have the faster everything will load, execute, operate, less stalls and snappier response!
It has nothing to do with how much space you have on a HDD...it's all about bus speed CPU speed and RAM space.
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13th March 2010
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speed

Most Mobo's can only drive ONE high speed ram BANK. If you buy ONE set of 6Gig/1600, you should not add another bank. Or drop the speed of all of them. Speed is more important that "I maybe need more". You could wait for 3x4Gig sticks, but for now I would go for something like Corsair TR3X6G1600C7. C7 being the latency (lower is better). Dominator is just the same ram, but with a bigger heatsink. Overkill if you are running only one bank at the speed that the ram is made for. Only needed with overclocking (bad/unreliable) or double ram bank. If you are using the PC in warm conditions, make sure that the cooler you are using draws air over the ram.

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13th March 2010
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Is that true? I've never heard that.

That's significant for me. The i7's cpu/RAM speed is the reason I'm moving...you're telling me a Gigabyte or Asus mobo with 6x2gb won't run as fast as 3x4?

Does this also apply to the config of MacPro (xeon) RAM?
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It really depends on what your doing. I have 3 Mac Pro's each with 14GB, 16GB and 24GB of RAM. We run 500+ track Orch Templates in realtime. Needed for what we are doing. Not needed for recording music or basic work. 8 GB should be perfect for 75% of the people out there I would think. It really depends on what your are running and how you are pushing the machine. Good Luck!
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14th March 2010
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There are no 4Gig sticks yet as far as I know. I came to all these conclusions after trailing the net for several weeks before building my machine. For starters, i7 rocks, whatever you are going to do with it. The i7 runs its ram at 1066 standard. 1333 is 25% faster and 1600 is 50% faster (calculator). These sticks have XMP, a preset to tell the bios to run this ram at optimum 1600/c7 settings, without you having to do anything. If the ram overflows, the cpu uses your harddisk. You better make sure it is fast as well. I thought Raid 0 was scary stuff, but I was wrong. Very easy to set up on my asus board. Also, this board has some reasonable A/D converters too, so you could use these as spare channels. My true noise floor with input slider at 25% lies at -81db. Hope this helps.
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14th March 2010
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Of course there are 4gb sticks of RAM...WTF? That's how you get 32gb in a MacPro or 24gb on a new i7 PC mobo.
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14th March 2010
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1: Where do you find 4Gig DDR3/1600C7 sticks?
2: Who is running TWO sets of these without the i7 dropping from three stick into two stick mode.
3: I have got no Mac experience.

If you trawl the net, you will find that a lot of people have ram problems after putting in a second fast bank. It sometimes works, but sometimes you have to lower the frequency or change the latency to make the system stable again, or to see the full 12gig. Not seen any 4Gig stick issues yet.
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14th March 2010
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My point is that that 12gb is $700-800...and a 6x2gb set of the same CasLatency runs $350.

You're saying that putting in the 6x2, will for some reason make the board not use triple channel mode? That honestly makes no sense to me why that would be the design.
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Did not know about the 3x4GigDDR3/1600c7. Seems a good option. My point is that there are no problems for the inbuild memory controller of the i7 to drive two banks of memory at the standard 1066 speed, maybe at 1333, but there might be problems if you are going to use two banks at 1600 speed or higher. One bank of 3x4Gig might be better than two banks of 3x2Gig for that reason.
(3x2Gig Corsair 1600/c7 was here US$200 last year)
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14th March 2010
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In order to use the Intel triple channel DDR3 memory controller you need to use 3 matched chips. So depending on how many banks you have it would be 3x2Gb=6Gb with two banks=12gb that would require 6 slots on the motherboard. If you only have four slots you can only use three in a triple channel mode or use all four in dual channel mode....
What LeeYoo was saying is there are no 4Gb triple channel chips at 1600 which would be 3x4Gb=12Gb x 2 banks which would give you 24Gb.
If you don't use three matched chips it reverts to 2 channel speeds.
Also triple channel is interleaved...
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Hi djmukilteo,
I think you are confusing chips with sticks. Chips are soldered onto sticks and two or three stick make up a memory bank. The i7 uses three sticks per memory bank to run in DDR3 and motherboards can have room for one, two or more banks. This is about the i7 dropping (not recognising) one or more sticks that are plugged into the motherboard. As far as I understand, the i7 reverts to the DDR2-two stick mode if things go wrong.
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14th March 2010
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Regardless of what configurations....the OP should buy the most RAM he's willing to afford. Win7 64bit with 6Gb of RAM is the same thing as WinXP with 2G of RAM it's a minimum configuration....and IMHO once you build a computer your not that likely to change it or add more memory or upgrade in the future....usually by that time your off building the next version....so buy what you can up front and be happy!
All within your budget of course!
FWIW AMD systems are all dual channel and they work just fine too...
Having lots of RAM is really important for large computational tasks but most audio applications will work fast and smooth with 12Gb and having that headroom is good...you'll never know when and if the processor needs 8Gb but at least it will be there when and if it needs it!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeYoo View Post
Hi djmukilteo,
I think you are confusing chips with sticks. Chips are soldered onto sticks and two or three stick make up a memory bank. The i7 uses three sticks per memory bank to run in DDR3 and motherboards can have room for one, two or more banks. This is about the i7 dropping (not recognising) one or more sticks that are plugged into the motherboard. As far as I understand, the i7 reverts to the DDR2-two stick mode if things go wrong.
chips sticks blocks, thanks for the clarification Lee.
and yes you are correct the Intel memory controller will only run triple channel mode with matched sticks installed in the correct bank configuration(s).....some of the motherboards only have four DIMM slots some have six...if the timing and configuration does not match the controller will revert to dual channel and you will not see the top end specified speeds..there is an excellent white paper on the Intel site describing JEDEC memory configurations for the i7.
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Hi BlueSwan,
Recapping it all, I think the best option for you is to go with the Mushkin ram in the link from popmann, if that is within your budget. Otherwise go for the Corsair in my post. Stay away from budget 1066,1333,C9 ram. This way you won't have to upgrade in the near future.
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14th March 2010
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how much do I use? generally not more than 4 gig.. I have 22 im my mac .. now that logic is 64 bit i will be using more than 4..
having a extra horse power is never a bad idea.. if you can afford it get all you can.. it never hurts .. I am a big fan of more cubic inches and lots of ram
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14th March 2010
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do you guys know which part of daw recording eats up the most ram? is it the audio tracks themselves or is it sample-based plugins like the omnisphere type plugins?

im curious because i have a core2duo laptop with xp with 3gb ddr3 ram. i haven't had any issues yet. i dont use any sample-based synths, just synth squad, ezdrummer, and some compressors and eq's.
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14th March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeYoo View Post
Hi BlueSwan,
Recapping it all, I think the best option for you is to go with the Mushkin ram in the link from popmann, if that is within your budget. Otherwise go for the Corsair in my post. Stay away from budget 1066,1333,C9 ram. This way you won't have to upgrade in the near future.
Complicated stuff. I'm a bit baffled myself that 12gb (6x2) could potentially be WORSE than 6gb (3x2). The 3x4gb solution looks ridiculously expensive though - a bit like buying a 6-core CPU right now.

I have seriously spend at least 2-4 hours every day (often more) for the last 2-3 weeks figuring out what to get for my new DAW build and I still feel like a bit of a noob, even though I also build my last system myself (4 years ago).
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Quote:
do you guys know which part of daw recording eats up the most ram?
Sample based virtual instruments. Nothing else uses any significant amount of RAM.
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14th March 2010
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Hi BlueSwan,
The i7 CPU is more than most of us have right now and 6Gig of ram seems to be enough for most applications. On my i7, Win7/64 is currently using 1Gig, so 5Gig is available. Ram just plugs in and out and you could always sell it on ebay if you ever need 12Gig.
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14th March 2010
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Quote:
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Hi BlueSwan,
The i7 CPU is more than most of us have right now and 6Gig of ram seems to be enough for most applications. On my i7, Win7/64 is currently using 1Gig, so 5Gig is available. Ram just plugs in and out and you could always sell it on ebay if you ever need 12Gig.
Realistically, I think 6gb is probably enough for me. After all, I only use 2gb on my current XP 32 bit. It's just that I really want a KILLER system!
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Hi BlueSwan,
We have got 4 machines running, most of them XP32. i7 is a big leap forwards if you have to do things like video compression. What my P4/2.4Mhz laptop does in 2hours, my i7 does in 15 minutes. Remember what I mentioned about Raid0. The harddisk is the slowest part in the PC!
PassMark Software - Hard Drive Benchmark Charts
With 2 drives in Raid0, you are going to double this. (Max=6drives/2Tb)
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