Dummy question about priority order before getting a new mac studio

So, I’ve finally decided to get Ultra model, migrating from intel chip mac mini 2018.

But sadly, my budget is a bit tight,
So, here are some options for me:

  1. Mac Studio m1 ultra - 64gb ram - 4TB (refurbished)
  2. Mac Studio m2 ultra - 128gb ram - 1TB (more pricy)

And this got me thinking,
for someone who only works inside Cubase 12 Pro,

what would be the most important spec and the least…?

if I understand correctly, would it be,

CPU core numbers > RAM capacity > SSD size…?

When I use Cubase 12 pro on mac mini, I see my ‘CPU’ usage gets increased,
not so much of my RAM getting choked…
Perhaps I never needed 64gb ram in the first place u know…?!
But are these all co-related…?

I have this freaky thing that, I just cannot stand leaving VSTis (heavyweights) turned on all times,
So I try my best to commit and ‘render’ them as quickly as possible.

What are the true benefits of having large ram, would it solely be
on using heavy KONTAKT libraries…?!

for my case, I hardly use Kontakt these days…

If someone could chime in and let me know I would be appreciated.
RAM is still mythical to me, I don’t know still that I ever used 64gb ram to its full potential even when I was mixing my own projects (100 tracks around, render time to time, mostly mixing plugins such as Waves, Soundtoys, Softubes, Fabfilters the usual)

Ram upgrades seem to be very expensive… as… always haha…

Thanks in advance!

Just to verify by ‘CPU’ you mean numbers the Mac is providing and not the VST Performance Meter in Cubase which some folks equate with CPU.

Not a Mac user so can only comment in generalities. When I semi-recently got a new PC I went with 64GB figuring I could increase it later if needed. Never even got close to thinking of buying more.

Pretty much, although not just Kontakt but other sampler libraries & anything that needs to load a lot of data into memory (so in a DAW that’s almost always only going to be sample libraries).

You should just load up & run the biggest most flabby Project you have and see how much RAM and CPU it is using. Then you’ll have a sense of your high-water mark. The RAM use should be a straight comparison while you’d need to take into account for the different CPUs.

Unless you are actually at risk of running out of resources there isn’t much reason to spend any effort doing this. Lots of folks seem to think it is somehow more virtuous to use 35% of their CPU capacity rather than 70% - it isn’t.

At the moment, almost maxed ‘ASIO-GUARD’ meter.
I normally put it on ‘normal’.
Buffer at biggest, ‘2048’ samples. (when mixing yeap, or it just cannot run)
64bit processing on the setup.
On, CleanMyMac info center, I read, 23% loaded CPU, and 37.83GB available,
7/8 of ASIO-GUARD meter is filled.

(370GB ssd capacity still remained.)

This means, I run it heavy right…?!

Multi-processing is ticked.

I am not so sure though, because it seems, mac is not using its full spec for Cubase, or maybe I don’t know.

Hello John,

You may be using this already, but if not, try running the Mac’s Activity Monitor while running a big Cubase project. At the top, select Memory instead of CPU. On the bottom right you’ll see a small graphic called Memory Pressure. See what happens to that while you load up sample libraries. I did that before buying MacBook Pro M2 with 64gb RAM. It works effortlessly for the projects I run, but I don’t run massive sample library heavy projects (although it is my intention to run more). Having said all that, buying something with 128gb of RAM would probably future proof you for years.

Totally agree, I would save money on hard drive space. I think there’s a good argument for saying external SSDs for e.g. sample libraries are better than internal drive space - certainly n a Mac because they charge so much money for storage. For audio use you don’t need the blisteringly fast transfer rates of Mac internal drives.


For your reference,

I have a Mac Studio M1 with 10 Core, 64GB of RAM and 1 TB of SSD…

Mostly I don’t use my internal storage for my projects, I run only my softwares in it.

Regarding RAM and CPU, I mostly do mixing so I mostly deal with Audio Tracks and the effects plugins like FabFilter, Eventide, Waves, etc., and the recent project I am working on has around 750 tracks… and for the first time ASIO Guard hit the peak and my playback got choked, then I set my buffer size to 2048 and it all started working fine… and in all these time my CPU was : around 60%, my RAM was 45% only…

Hope this gives you an idea…

Wow, that is a lot of Tracks. The actual Track use will impact your performance. An Audio Track vs. a Sampled Instrument vs. a Synthesized Instrument are going to consume different mixes of computing resources.

Yeah I am able to manage because all tracks are Audio tracks only… even if something needs to be programmed, I immediately bounce those tracks…

ok ok I will do that! thanks!

Um, just always wanted to optimize my macs when I am using Cubase but um,

Do you think, my intel mac mini has been used to its full potential and it is definitely a good timing to upgrade my setup from this to Mac Studio?

Some confusing infos are on the net, stating that, Cubase DAW itself cannot fully use mac’s multi core tech… but I don’t want to get too nerdy here! hehe… I just want my system to be a bit more hadlable :slight_smile:
Like, so I can play around with numerous VSTs when I am in my zone, mixing you know :slight_smile:

Just was a bit confused since my CPU reading and RAM reading were not too close to 100%, but I guess that is not all under the hood :slight_smile:

This also got me thinking, ‘would it be a waste to go for m2 ultra, and I shall go for m1 ultra…’
Cause it has about 1k around differential budget wise.

So yeah! I wish there could be more detailed info about how to maximize solely for Cubase DAW on mac… i know it is way more compicated that this :slight_smile:

Thank you!

*I always put on Asio-Guard on normal and I find asio-guard helped me a lot when I am mixing :slight_smile:
*Also just found out about turning suspending vst3 option on? but this did not help me much!

I guess I am using some heavy vst at the moment, I do have number of Weiss DS-mk3 and EQ1 which are extremely heavy.

By the way, asio-guard meter is about 7/8 filled, without it, cubase is dropping.
Memory Pressure: about 1/10, one tenth filled with light green wave.

Physical Memory: 64GB
Memory used: 20.28GB
Cached Files: 6.93GB
App Memory: 15.84GB

Yeah, so pressure is low! :slight_smile:

(Luckily I am just finishing this project anyway so … :))

I turn my wifi on always for some Sonnox plugins.

If those are the figures from your intel mac mini then that does suggest you are pushing your cpu more than your memory. My experience in moving from intel to Apple silicon has been hugely positive, even though I’m running Cubase in Rosetta 2 at the moment because a lot of Spitfire Audio libraries don’t run natively in Apple silicon. I’m sure you’ll find you can run your existing projects with much more headroom. Good luck.


1 Like

thanks! will do! :slight_smile: yes, finally time…!