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4GB ram OK for a while? DSP Audio Systems
Old 4th September 2011
  #1
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ersheff's Avatar
 

4GB ram OK for a while?

Hi.
I'm 90% sure that I'll be buying a Macbook Air tomorrow. I'm sold on the 11", but will at least be getting the one with 4GB ram and 128GB SDD.
My main machine has been a 2010 15" Macbook Pro w/ i7 and 8GB ram. It's way more machine than I need (I barely ever make it breathe hard, let alone sweat), and is also my work computer. After using it for personal and work stuff for a year, I'm finally starting to feel like a separate home/personal computer might be a good investment.
Anyway, my heaviest use would be Logic projects up to 40 tracks max, usually more like 20. One or two sampler instruments at the most. A modest number of plugins, almost all stock Logic plugs with the occasional Melodyne and Soundsoap.
I don't see my use changing very much in the foreseeable future.
What eats up the most RAM when working on projects? Is it sampler instruments? Number of tracks? Am I likely to feel cramped next year with only 4GB?
Old 4th September 2011
  #2
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SynthLine09's Avatar
 

If youre running a lot of samplers, soft synths, and plugins on a track things could start to get tight, but given the specifications youve given i think youll be fine on most projects. If you need to upgrade to 8 later, it will be a cheap upgrade!
Old 4th September 2011
  #3
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ersheff's Avatar
 

Ah, yes. But don't forget that the RAM in a Macbook Air is not upgradable.
Old 4th September 2011
  #4
Upgrades are great, and if you can do upgrade, but 4gb is still fine
Old 4th September 2011
  #5
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jbrown1music's Avatar
8gb is always better but i worked successfully on 4gb for at least 7 years. The vi's will eat the ram up so u have to be a little more choosy with how full you make the arrangements
Old 4th September 2011
  #6
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ButchP's Avatar
 

IMO 4gb is the new 2gb...e.g... the bare minimum.I'm sure most projects will be okay but more ram provides a nice cushion.

Personally the air doesn't look like a very flexible machine for a rig.It's 1.8ghz.The ram isn't upgradable,it has a TB port but there's no TB devices available yet. It has 2 usb which means your ext write drive and converter have to be USB . The internal drive is a flash drive (I thought it was SSD??).either way I wouldn't write to it..

A Mac Mini server would kick it's ass IMO. It's an i7 quad core 2.ghz has two internal drives you could make one an SSD for boot the other the write drive.Its got more flexible port... 4USB, FW800, and TB, SDXC card slot Ethernet, HDMI!!!!....Could be portable if needed and is cheaper.
Old 4th September 2011
  #7
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I agree 4gb should be the bare minimum for music now. 8 is the norm.
Old 5th September 2011
  #8
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ersheff's Avatar
 

Believe me, I would love the ability to upgrade to 8GB in the future.
The cost of a baseline 13" Pro and the one step up 11" Air is about the same, and since this was kind of a secondary machine (meaning on top of my work computer), and I don't have a lot of dispensable income, I went with the cheapest Apple laptop option that could reasonably run the stuff that I do.
The tiny footprint and weight of the Air won me over since I'll be traveling with it often and sometimes throwing it in the commuter pannier on my bike for a 25 mile round trip commute.
My concern was more about WHAT uses up RAM in projects, not so much whether or not more RAM is recommended. Gearslutz will ALWAYS recommend more RAM. goof
My current projects will do just fine with 4GB, and the 8GB in my work laptop is overkill. If I kind of have an idea of what eats up the most RAM in projects (sampler instruments? track count?) then I can keep that in mind when working on new projects.
Old 5th September 2011
  #9
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Arksun's Avatar
If you mostly use realtime sound generating VST/AU then 4gig is plenty. It only really becomes an issue when using lots of large romplers or other sample based plugins.
Old 5th September 2011
  #10
nas
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You can get a lot done with 4 GB of RAM, but a lot of it will depend on the type of sessions you run. If you use a lot of VI's it will be much more demanding on your system. Also consider the fact that as libraries and VI's get better and more advanced over time, they will eat up more of your resources and RAM.

I think though that for what you mentioned, you should be fine and you will be surprised how much you can do with the specs you mentioned... as long as you're aware of the limitations.

FWIW I've done some pretty hefty sessions with quite a few V.I. and audio trks with only 4 gigs, but you need to be resourceful and plan in advance so you can get the most out of your system.
Old 14th September 2011
  #11
ljt
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I don't agree with the 4GB is the new 8 GB. The Sandy Bridge dual core processor is very powerful, and the DRAMM is very fast on the bus architecture. So you are getting more bits processed without relying on RAM to store then process instructions. The other bottleneck is usually the disk. The new SSDs are a critical component toward limiting overhead with processing. The third factor is the HW/SW interface.

So I think you will be pleasantly surprised at your new setup. I think you will likely be limited more by an 11" interface and only 128GB storage.
Old 14th September 2011
  #12
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ARIEL's Avatar
I running only 2 gigs of ram , win xp , a quad core from 3 yrs ago . I do about 40 tracks @ 24/96k . And it runs fine . I do sometimes get a bit of cpu spiking when I use IR's for cabs and too many Altiverbs . So once I get my gtr tone I just bounce and all is good . I also master the song in the same session . You should be fine with that power .
Old 14th September 2011
  #13
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4gb is probably plenty but food for thought.. i bought 8GB of RAM from crucial for my 2011 MBpro for $53.99 so, 8GB ram kits are stupid cheap to the point of it not being worth thinking about when you are spending a chunk of coin on a laptop.
Old 14th September 2011
  #14
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dxavier's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ObiK View Post
I agree 4gb should be the bare minimum for music now. 8 is the norm.
Er!? Only if you use Virtual Instruments. If you use hardware synths and tons of guys still do, you absolutey do not need 8gb. I use hardware synths, have over a hundred tracks running with UAD and Powercore plugs, which do use your PC memory and it is more than comfortable. I do get fed up of people seeing higher spec and thinking they HAVE to have it. I know of guys making advert music, running Reason and Reaper with VST plugs on 2gb memory laptops. 8gb is the norm if you purchased your computer recently, but I have seen too many studios still using XP, which doesn't support 4gb let alone the "Norm" of 8.
Old 14th September 2011
  #15
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ersheff's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boon View Post
4gb is probably plenty but food for thought.. i bought 8GB of RAM from crucial for my 2011 MBpro for $53.99 so, 8GB ram kits are stupid cheap to the point of it not being worth thinking about when you are spending a chunk of coin on a laptop.
Sorry to call you out, dude, but what is it that people don't get about "a Macbook Air is not upgradable"?
I would hope that you all would at least give me enough credit to assume that I know about 8GB ram kits for Macbook Pro's being an option, but the question in my original post clearly indicated that I was asking about an Air. heh

Anyway, I got the 11" i5 4GB RAM 128GBSSD last week, and it's been great.
I don't feel cramped on it at all. The only time the size is a concern is when I'm trying to balance it on one leg and type. It's just too light for that, and it bounces around too much! That's something I only noticed in class the other day when I was trying to balance flipping through a textbook and typing notes at the same time.

As for Logic performance, I posted in the 11" Macbook Air around here somewhere about that. It's very near my 2010 i7 Macbook Pro, averaging only about 10% higher on the CPU meter when running the same project. And the temps on both machines were the same.
A Skype video call last night got the Air's fans roaring and, even though nothing else was pegging the CPU after the call, it didn't seem to be able to cool itself down well enough until I stopped using it all together. That was weird. I can use the Air for hours doing basic internet/email stuff without it getting hot or hearing any fans, but once it's hot, it appears to have trouble cooling itself off. I read someone else's comments about this on another forum that had the same experience. It seems like the machine is so thin that the fan can only move enough air to keep it from overheating. The actual thermal management is probably convection through the case now more than anything!

Overall, I'm very happy. The RAM will probably be an issue in a couple of years, but there's no question that this machine will be able to handle what I need it to do for the foreseeable future. Also, I'm 100% sold on these small form factor machines. Yeah, Pro's will always be faster, but "fast enough" in an 11" laptop is already here, so why go bigger if you don't need to?
Using my 15" work Macbook Pro feels cumbersome now! Who would have thought?
Old 15th September 2011
  #16
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tvsky's Avatar
im still running 2g
Old 15th September 2011
  #17
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Finnish's Avatar
 

You'll be just fine unless you are doing massive sample-stuff. Never crossed 4gb-line here
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