5 questions for a new workstation

I am building a PC for huge sessions dealing with lots of tracks and processing. I use Cubase 8.5

  • CPU is i7 6900K
  • 64GB RAM (4x16GB) G.Skill Ripjaws
  • I will use for libraries 3x1T SSD’s and some other 7200 HD for general storage


  1. which drive do u recommend for OS, M.2 SSD (Samsung 950 M.2) or regular SSD (Samsung 85o SSD)? There is any real difference in DAW performance with M.2 SSD?
  2. which motherboard do u recommend for my purposes?
  3. which GPU? I want to connect a 4K monitor.
  4. Do u recommended to do any RAID to get more speed?
  5. Eventhough the i7 6900K specs saysp DDR4 2400, will I get any benefit using a faster RAM? Like 3200 (price is very similar)

Thanks in advance!

My rather uneducated thoughts on this.

  1. I don’t believe it makes that much difference but if no budget restriction then why not. It has no effect on DAW performance afaik…only boot time and general windows prog startup etc.
  2. Asus X99 Pro is a fairly solid option with good oc options if you want to go that route.
  3. I’ll have to pass on this one!
  4. No
  5. RAM speed is really nowhere near a limiting factor for DAW use. Approach faster specced ram with caution!

1] Wait for the Samsung 960 Pro M2, its being shipped now, and its seven times as fast as conventional SSD at 3.5 gb per second, faster than the 8.50s

2] Don’t know, but sometimes a mobo has an upper limit of 128 gb of RAM. Asus mobos need latest bios. Samsung have just launched 32 gig sticks |(meaning possible 256 gig of RAM, but most boards don’t yet support them - you might find one.

3] The GPU is not that important for Cubase I use a fanless AMD Radeon, for less noise. If you get a top of the range it may actually beg power from your CPU - I hear. I run two TV 49" monitors at 1920* 1080. I find them fine. If I upgraded I would get two 4k TVs even bigger ones but cheap - as you won’t need the bells and whistles. A third monitor to have manuals open on is also handy, but for me I would just have a small one for this. Screen real estate is where its at I have 6ft x 2.5 ft - it’s great!

4] Never done RAID but what I have is fast enough and its less than your spec.

5] I am not sure it will be much - in comparison to DDR4 compared to DDR3. You have to make sure the bios is right as it won’t set up properly by default.

I am also building a HUGE template, its at present 750 Tracks, and rising. I have learnt a thing or two and if you pm me I shall provide a draft of a piece I am writing about the build. Here are a few essentials:

You can run absolutely massive projects on one high spec PC. You dont need Vienna Symphonic Orchestra - Cubase 8.5 with disable tracks function and visibility can do what you need.
Set up Kontakt, Halion, Vienna, and other players so that they dont load unnecessary crap you don’t need. For example in Halion, unload extra channels in the mix tab. You may want to purge - called optimize by Vienna, but then you must remember to unpurge. Using disable, and purging unloads all those unnecessary samples you don’t need hanging around in RAM. Once you have done this save a ‘default multi’. Only after this start creating your tracks. This way there will be no unnecessary overheads.
I write one bar with no music at the beginning of each track, with expression and mod wheel initialization. I also write four bars of music for each instrument family, a C scale written in the range of the instruments. Each track has one four bar track - its easy to make comparisons then, between say flutes. These can be muted of course.

Work with one instrument track, per instrument using keyswitched instruments where you can. I did several weeks of research before coming to this conclusion. Don’t use Multis, for many reasons, one of which is your sanity when routing and disabling.
Set up using folders and sub folders, sometimes sub sub folders. Keep a simple colour scheme for you main folders. Have a colour for Group tracks.
Work with everything disabled until you need it.

I built in three stages: Track entry, routing, mxer views. It’s a LOT of work, but its worth it.
With 750 tracks loaded but Disabled, my machine is currently reading 7.5 gig of RAM and 13% CPU. So, you see, you wont need more than one hot PC, you may not even need more than 64 gig of RAM. Even though you may have thousands of instruments in your Template, you will never need them all at once.


Thanks a lot Zerozero for taking the time to share your thoughts.

  • Regarding the RAM, I don’t want to compare DDR 4 to DDR3, I would like to know if you get any benefit using DDR4 3200 with the i7 6900k, that is suppose to admit only until DDR4 2400. I ask this because I have seen some pro people doing reviews and testing on this CPU using this RAM set up (DDR4 3200).

  • Regarding monitor. Then for Cubase use, I don’t need to buy a monitor? A 40" 4K TV even with big input lag is gonna be ok? No problem to work with?

  • Regarding session: I am new on cubase…so lot of headache coming…I have been using Logic many years on Mac Pro. Thanks for the tips on orchestral writing, I do mostly the same on my templates. I don’t like multis either to keep things easy and clear. I load only one instrument in every Kontakt instance. That instrument may have multi techniques option (leg, stac, pizz, etc.) with key-changes, so I apply that in the midi track.

Thanks for allowing me to pm you, I appreciate that.

It’s subjective at the end of the day, but I don’t expreience any issues wqith my monitors. I don’t play games and Cubase does not need fast graphics. Some say fast graphic cards inhibit the audio - depends I am sure.
IMO remember you don’t need Vepro, it will be a hidrance, unless you go across severl machines which is not necessary.

I am still mid build, I did a few weeks reseatch and now the build is taking over a month -don’t expect a huge template in a few hours. Do some test builds, proof of concept.

BTW don’t forget expression maps. Frankly they are very odd to construct but once you get the hang you can get one going in five minutes - but if you have 350 tracks to do… you know the math. Some you can get online, but not all, often they need customising

Hey Zero,

Im looking to drop my VE Pro slave pcs and migrate to a single computer. The disable feature certainly seems like a game changer… and of course a template can have 2000 tracks as long as disabled. My question is have you ever tested your system on how many tracks you can have which are activated and actually playing at the same time?

I think this is an important question… any insight you can give on this would be greatly appreciated.


No, not yet, (I am still building) but I wake up today and find that with this 750 track (many keyswitched) project loaded, my RAM is at 4.6gig !!! Most of which is used by Windows 3.4gig. This leaves me 27 gig on my fairly modest system - enough to run a few tracks nes’t pas?

It also make me aware that when you open and close VSTI’s they can leave garbage behind in the RAM, as this figure crept up (but was never a problem) during the day. I shall remember to restart every now and then.

This is a gamechanger, I do hope Cubase 9 brings more, for example why can’t it be optional for mute to behave like this?