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2GB of ram and no improvement!?! Reverb & Delay Plugins
Old 23rd May 2006
  #1
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2GB of ram and no improvement!?!

I just installed 2GB of ram in my Powermac G5.

I have been hitting the ceiling on some mixes I was working on with just the 512MB of stock ram and was hoping this would free me up to use more plugs, etc. Yet, when I open sessions the CPU usage window is still at the same point it was before.

Am I missing something? I thought that's what ram was supposed to help with.

It's showing up in my system profiler, so I'm pretty positive it installed correctly.

Any advice?
Old 23rd May 2006
  #2
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It's 'cause you need six gigs.

Seriously, though, I got a big performance increase at every RAM upgrade.

Can you give us your system details so we can get you up to speed?

You might be missing certain things about system configuration, and there are lots of guys here who are squeezing every drop of CPU out of their machines.
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Old 23rd May 2006
  #3
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The amount of plugins you can run mostly depends on your CPU speed.
Old 23rd May 2006
  #4
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I've got (latest generation) a dual-core 2GHz powermac, running on the latest OSX.

The sessions I've been doing have been 48k with around 20 tracks. 1 or two plugs a track. Something isn't adding up.
Old 23rd May 2006
  #5
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you're right...
hum..

Maybe it's the plugs you're using?

I'd try the following:
- Load the 20 tracks with no plugins. See the % of CPU used.
- Then load 1 plugin and see the % of CPU used..
- them load 1 more.. and see the %.. etc

Maybe the particular plugs you use are very CPU heavy.
I use the Waves IR1 plugin when I need a good reverb, but alone it takes about 20% of my CPU, forget it on every track as an insert!


- It's definitively not your hard drives.. an old 5400rpm can run 20 tracks..
- It's not the amount of RAM.
- It's not the CPU..

what's left to check is the plugins, and the overall OS health
good luck!
Old 23rd May 2006
  #6
Yeah... RAM is one thing; CPU processing speed is another; and, of course, the speed and efficiency of the data pathways to/from RAM are a factor as well.

If you're running out of RAM, then increasing RAM can help, but is not a sure-fired guarantee. But if it's simply a matter of plugs sucking down CPU cycles, there ain't much you can do besides get a faster processor or better throughput to the memory system.


There can be a huge diff in the amount CPU-consumption between plugs. Something complex and demanding like a convolution reverb could probably consume 50 times the resources (I'm just pulling that out of my ass but you get the idea) of a simple plug.

I can stack many of my plugs in one after another and not see much of a hit on my CPU meter. But a single instance of my convolution reverb can tack another 8 or 10% on the CPU meter on my modest rig.
Old 23rd May 2006
  #7
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Generally, the plugs work your PROCESSORS much more than your ram. Your ram upgrade still will help, and will still be a good investment towards your machine.
Old 24th May 2006
  #8
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i hit the ceiling all the time on g5's.. they suck heh
my dual core opteron hasn't hit the ceiling yet. hasn't got close actually and it only has 2gig of ram too
just messing around with my guys dual 2.7 g5 i maxed it out just testing 20 colortone free's under PT7 tdm... i had over 41 on my DC opteron and it wasn't even at 50%
??? to each hs own, i hope the intel macs are a lot stronger than the other G5's
Old 24th May 2006
  #9
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lobsterinn's Avatar
Thanks for the ideas. I will try to figure out which plug(s) are eating the most power.


"The amount of plugins you can run mostly depends on your CPU speed."

What would you say ram DOES help? Track counts? Speed?
Old 24th May 2006
  #10
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what plugins are you using?
Old 24th May 2006
  #11
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I use a lot of URS eq plugs, some of the URS compressors, a few smacks, a few analog channels, some digi eqs and comps, generally just one convolution verb (about 10-15% CPU power), and isotope ozone on the master fader (probably 20-25% CPU)
Old 24th May 2006
  #12
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Seriously, though. What is the main benefit of adding ram for a PTLE user??


I think I'm just bummed because I could have used that money for something fun, like a mic or beer or something.
Old 24th May 2006
  #13
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DAWgEAR's Avatar
 

Quote:
The amount of plugins you can run mostly depends on your CPU speed.
thumbsup

Quote:
What would you say ram DOES help? Track counts? Speed?
It can help with general performance if you don't have enough to begin with. 2GB or even 1 GB is well beyond this threshold, hence not much additional general performance gain.

Large amounts of RAM are useful -- no, essential -- for simultaneous use of virtual instuments loading large amounts of samples (drum instruments, piano instruments, etc.)
Old 24th May 2006
  #14
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i'd take ozone off the master and bouce the song with out it then import the bounce and use ozone on the hole mix. back in the day when i use to use ozone i did my mix via nuendo or PT and used ozone in wavelab.
ozone does take a lot of cpu power and has a lot of latency also.

i've never been a PT fan nor have i liked the way it handles plugins... nuendo always seems to handle the same plugins in a better manner(being able to use more)but i guess thats the rtas code vs the vst code...
Old 24th May 2006
  #15
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lobsterinn
Seriously, though. What is the main benefit of adding ram for a PTLE user??


I think I'm just bummed because I could have used that money for something fun, like a mic or beer or something.

The main reason I have six gigs is because I do use BFD on some projects and there's a 'load all sounds to RAM' feature. I find that giving the RAM some 'room to breathe' by useing more than the designer spec'd can help. It's certainly not a magic bullet, but in my case, it's really helped.

I use PTLE 6.9.2 with a dual 2 Gig G5 (second gen.) and two UAD cards (which are resource sucking pigs on my G5.. if the Pultec and the 140 didn't sound so good I'd fling the cards out in the yard. And fast.)

But, look, I get a lot of performance out of my rig; more than I thought I ever would. I rarely run out of power to run plugins these days.

So maybe there are other things about your config. that could help.
Old 24th May 2006
  #16
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List your host software (version), I/O interface, buffer settings, etc. Too little info here for anybody except the Windows trolls.

Are your using an external hard drive? Which conv reverb?

Set your processor performance to "highest", make sure no apps are running in the background.

Don't feel like you wasted your money on RAM, though. 512 is good for basic tasks like email and surfing, but will contribute to slow downs for media-related tasks as the computer starts to use the hard drive for virtual memory...
Old 24th May 2006
  #17
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I'm running on OS 10.4 and PT 7.1 (digi 002) and I use external Lacie drives.

I am using the Trillium Labs verb.

I just switched my prosessor performance to the 'highest' setting. It seemed to help a bit.

I'm pretty sure I have updated all my plugs for PT 7- I'll double check.

After some testing I think the reverb and Ozone are by far the biggest culprits. I don't mix with Ozone, I just throw it on before I give out rough mixes to gussy it up a little.

Anyway, thanks for the help. Maybe the answer is just to invest in more outboard gear... Once I've paid off the computer.
Old 24th May 2006
  #18
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Your RAM will really help with sampled instruments--especially those of high quality--like those on BFD, multi-out Reason NN-XT, Kontakt 2, etc.
I didn't see what DAW you were using, but some DAW's allow you to load audio files into RAM (which decreases processor speed and the pipeline limitations that can occur when reading from the harddrive or an external drive). You might want to options like this with your DAW.
If you are still having CPU problems, you're going to have to rely more frequently on a freeze function or render/export your MIDI or effects on top of audio.
Have you considered getting an external effects processor to help lessen the load on your CPU (reverb, compression, delay, equalization).
Also, why bother with Ozone (a hog on CPU) within your DAW. Perhaps you could look at mastering as a separate step within a dedicated audio editor (like Sound Forge or something like that).
Old 24th May 2006
  #19
Gear Nut
 

Dont bother using those CPU crazy plugs on bounces man. Just bounce and then rebounce. I know someone already said that, but I am reiterating. There is no reason to use about 1/4 of your CPU power on one plug.

I used to do it kinda often and I would get frustrated and then I realized that its just a stupid thing to do;]
Old 25th May 2006
  #20
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I know. It's just such a pain in the ass (not to mention the less than steller results of bouncing in PT) to set up a whole new session, etc.

Obviously, I could always audiosuite in more stuff, use outboard, etc. In the perfect world I could just mix and not sweat cpu issues. I was hoping more ram would bring me closer to that. I'll live...


On a happy note, I just got a Mytek! Maybe that will make my mixing life easier with better sounding tracks.
Old 25th May 2006
  #21
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amost's Avatar
 

Quote:
I think I'm just bummed because I could have used that money for something fun, like a mic or beer or something.
Hah! Feeling your pain. I just upped from 512 to 2GB today on my off the rack Gateway/Nuendo/Lynx Two A machine. I actually think I'm able to get a few more Ren Comps up...just a few. I decided on an 002 over a Mix Plus rig which is coming tomorrow, figured it couldn't hurt to have the Ram although beer sounds good.
Old 25th May 2006
  #22
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atticus's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lobsterinn
On a happy note, I just got a Mytek! Maybe that will make my mixing life easier with better sounding tracks.
If you have any questions you know how to reach me...
Old 26th May 2006
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lobsterinn
I'm running on OS 10.4 and PT 7.1 (digi 002) and I use external Lacie drives.
.
I'll echo others and say get even more ram!! Also maybe try an internal drive.
Lastly what are your Ptools settings at? you could try raising the buffer in ptools and see if that helps. That dual G5 has plenty of power so sumpin is up, good luck!
daniel
Old 26th May 2006
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lobsterinn
I just installed 2GB of ram in my Powermac G5.

I have been hitting the ceiling on some mixes I was working on with just the 512MB of stock ram and was hoping this would free me up to use more plugs, etc. Yet, when I open sessions the CPU usage window is still at the same point it was before.

Am I missing something? I thought that's what ram was supposed to help with.

It's showing up in my system profiler, so I'm pretty positive it installed correctly.

Any advice?
I've said this many times before on this forum, but I'll throw it out one more time. RAM is *not* magic. More RAM may not do anything but empty your wallet. It is trivial to find out whether you need more RAM or not. Reboot your machine (to start with a clean slate.) Launch your DAW, load your plugs, do what you do. Then launch Activity Monitor, click on the "System Memory" tab, and then look at free memory and the Page Out count. If you have a reasonable amount of free memory (more than a few MB) and your Page Out count is zero (the Page In count will always be nonzero, ignore that) then adding more memory is a waste of money.

Adding RAM doesn't help CPU load in a meaningful way anyhow; what it helps is to keep the system from twiddling its thumbs waiting for data and instructions to page in from disk, which otherwise slows everything down drastically. A system in the throes of paging thrash may in fact show *lower* CPU usage because the CPU doesn't have any data to crunch, or instructions to execute to crunch that data.
Old 28th May 2006
  #25
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Lobsterrin.

I have a Dual 2.0 gHz as well. You're hitting the CPU's brick wall. I do it all the time. There's nothing you can do but bounce or hit that audio suite.


This Mac has really been a pain in my ass. What makes the situation worse is that the cat's with the 2.7's ain't running into this problem. Urggggggh.

And, of course, the Opteron's are like, "more plugins? whatever."
Old 28th May 2006
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobR
Lobsterrin.

I have a Dual 2.0 gHz as well. You're hitting the CPU's brick wall. I do it all the time. There's nothing you can do but bounce or hit that audio suite.


This Mac has really been a pain in my ass. What makes the situation worse is that the cat's with the 2.7's ain't running into this problem. Urggggggh.

And, of course, the Opteron's are like, "more plugins? whatever."
Hey are you guys running all rtas? and running firewire drives? How many tracks?
Just wondering, I haven't yet run into this.
thanks
daniel
Old 28th May 2006
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkatz42
IAdding RAM doesn't help CPU load in a meaningful way anyhow; what it helps is to keep the system from twiddling its thumbs waiting for data and instructions to page in from disk, which otherwise slows everything down drastically. A system in the throes of paging thrash may in fact show *lower* CPU usage because the CPU doesn't have any data to crunch, or instructions to execute to crunch that data.
I dunno, seems to make things more stable though. I done sessions with 512,2 gigs and 4 gigs of ram and the extra ram was well worth it imo.
Really helps with final cut too.
daniel
Old 28th May 2006
  #28
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blaugruen7's Avatar
what is the disk buffer size in your audio app?
set it to 1024.
Old 28th May 2006
  #29
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jazztone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lobsterinn
I'm running on OS 10.4 and PT 7.1 (digi 002) and I use external Lacie drives.

I am using the Trillium Labs verb.

I just switched my prosessor performance to the 'highest' setting. It seemed to help a bit.

I'm pretty sure I have updated all my plugs for PT 7- I'll double check.

After some testing I think the reverb and Ozone are by far the biggest culprits. I don't mix with Ozone, I just throw it on before I give out rough mixes to gussy it up a little.

Anyway, thanks for the help. Maybe the answer is just to invest in more outboard gear... Once I've paid off the computer.



I think what you are experiencing is the way Protools LE performs. When I first started with my current set up, I bought the digi 001 setup and was given a copy of Logic 6. The same type of session could go way further in logic. I had twice the track count and three times the plug in capability.I became a Logic user.EvenNuendo(which sounds better than Logic) can't handle resources like Logic. I can get about 75% as far on a Nuendo session as a logic session. But if you put Nuendo on a P.C. it will run circles around MAC and LOGIC. If you need more track count and plug ins, I would buy Logic for your mac and use it to mixx.
Old 2nd June 2006
  #30
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I work with a lot of low-income artsy fartsy types. A lot of sharing of work. They all jumped on the Protools bandwagon. Not much choice.


As for maxing out the G5. I'm using things like Altiverb, URS, PSP, Soundtoys.
All, surprisingly, efficient. Still, we're talking big numbers. Two cpu's, means 2 bits at a time, one by one (albeit, lightning fast).
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