How much RAM does Cubase need?

Trying to decide between 12 and 24 GB RAM. (big cost difference)

Anybody using 12 GB here?

My projects are audio-heavy surround projects with lots of tracks (up to 80), automation and plugs. Usually 3-6 MIDI tracks of VSTi’s (AD drums, Kontakt instances) but no more than that.

I’m obviously hitting the wall with my stock 6GB RAM, so I’m wondering if doubling my RAM to 12 will really be enough.

Thanks for your replies.

Read the system Requirements: Cubase needs 2 GB of RAM.

Obviously we are talking 64 bit here. I use 12GB. Only when I’m doing large orchestra sample stuff do I use all of the RAM. On an optimized W7 machine, the OS takes about 1.2Gig, Cubase takes another 120MB or so. That leaves over 10 Gig for working. That should be plenty of overhead for the number of audio tracks you are working with. I’d be looking at disk streaming bottlenecks if I were you. 12G should be plenty.

Yeah, or SSD drives for the sample libraries.

Yeah, I was under the impression that the Cubase app itself requires relatively little RAM; it’s when you start piling on the VSTs and stuff that the memory usage increases. Only having 6GB RAM at the moment, it’s just I have little idea of how much my projects really need…

Only when I’m doing large orchestra sample stuff do I use all of the RAM.

So do you regret not having more memory? How does this impact your workflow?

I’ve moved samples to SSD,s and Kontakt and Halion both have really good streaming now. So, no I personally don’t have work flow issues due to lack of RAM. But, that is going to be a person by person thing.

The more the better. I think it’s well affordable to get about 12gig to use with large VSTi libraries.
Some considerations.
Do you really need surround sound? Check how much reverb if you use it as inserts on many tracks and not sends.
Do you, if you do, need to work at any more than 44.1 / 24 or 32 bit sample rate? If you work at 96kHz your files get larger.

If you’re using large libraries and surround sound then you need to know all this stuff so keep asking but ask all over the place and not just here. Get to know as much as you can.

FWIW, I work primarily at 96/24. 12Gig is 98% of the time plenty. There are occassions when I have a huge number of articulations going that I get right to the edge and I wish I had a bit more, but that is rare and easy to compensate for with bouncing. I rarely have to bounce anymore though. Between my 980x (6/12 cores) OCed to 4.5Ghz, 12Gig RAM, SSDs, and a few UADs … I can have massive projects loaded with no troubles.

As an older guy, I think it’s kind of embarrassing how much we worry about “power”. You can do more on a modern $750 off the shelf laptop than you could on a $3,500 custom built DAW 5 or 6 years ago.

Okay, thanks for the info.

As an older guy, I think it’s kind of embarrassing how much we worry about “power”.

Yeah, I hear you. At the risk of dating myself, I started out with a four-track cassette and later graduated to 8-track ADAT. I certainly don’t take for granted the options and flexibility today’s rigs provide. With this new 3.33 hex-core Mac Pro and UAD-2 (moved up from a G5 with a UAD-1), I’m utterly amazed at the freedom I have to produce without worrying about bouncing or having to budget my resources! In fact, I find the CPU is taking a nap most of the time, so I just don’t want to short-change myself by skimping on the RAM upgrade.

Just a word of caution. When I was going to 12Gig (about 2 years ago), I was seriously considering 24Gig. However, all of the information indicated that 24Gig systems were very unstable. It was difficult to get 24Gig of memory that was matched well enough to perform trouble free. So, I went 12Gig because stability is very important to me. I don’t know if that is still true though. But, it is something you should look into.

Okay. I’ll look into it. Thanks!

My 8gb isn’t cutting it, the more VI work I do. I need to replace / update my RAM. I have an off the shelf Gateway FX “gaming” system. Where might be a good place to shop for ram? I think 16gb would be better.


Edit: I probably should have said “in the US” given the international nature of the net.

I have been using mushkin redline in my systems for a number of years.

People always think it’s about the ram but 90% of the time it’s not. If you want to run at low buffer sizes then you need a combination of things to be upgraded (number of cores, processors, Ghz, usb model, ram, etc.). Cubase is limited with the amount of ram it can use (for some reason I remember 4gbs of ram or something like that). I hear the number of gigs your computer has only helps to run bigger sample libraries NOT plugins. We’ll I put that to the test myself and upgraded from 4gb to 8gb of ram and it did not make the SLIGHTEST difference running my projects at lower buffer sizes. So unless your computer is bogging down because of the number of sample libraries you’re using (which is a rare case), it’s not the ram.

Also, do the test yourself and open up task manager and check how much CPU Cubase is using while running your big projects with them lagging/glitching/popping… if it shows that cubase is only using 2.1gb of ram and your computer has 4gb of ram, then you can be sure it’s not the ram.

Hey there friend,

So I have two approaches that may offer you insight and experiences.
I have a main PC I built that has 40GB RAM
I have a Laptop I use for mobile composing that used to be 12GB (was flawless, I upgraded to 16GB ram for Running an extra DAW)

I barely noticed a different anything after 16GB to 40 unless Im doing Orchestras where I have about 16 channels as MIDI and 20-30 tracks as Audios of instrument recordings.

Even with this same project, when I would bounce to laptop It would run fine on 16GB, just with a minimal beachball or blue hoola hoop loading time, but nothing to test patience.

I think We underestimate RAM these days in music production, I found having a better processor and Solid state drives truly make more of a difference, ESPECIALLY with VST’s and sample libraries.

Id say you should be Optimal at 12GB. 16Gb would rid almost any bog with multi channel’s of you also have SSD and good processor.

My laptop is a cheapo Dell Latitude E7270 which has Core i7 and I am shocked with all the abuse I can throw at her in Cubase. But again, think this goes to the processor not my Ram since from 12-16 I did not see that much increase in performance.

I often times use my laptop more too, since its those strange hours like 3AM when Im most relaxed that a melody creeps into my mind, or some cool dynamic percussion so I always have it close and leave my Station in the studio to either expand on or sit and complete a project.

To sum up in case of TL;DR

12GB ram should suffice even if you are orchestrating with insane levels of VST.
16GB would most certainly help but not much considering you have SSd’s and a great processor.

32G+Ram seems useless to me, for what I personally use. As I told you I slowly inched all the way to 40 and did not see notable viable difference. I do use a lot of live instruments recorded INTO the daw though, I only use slight VST’s but I do overhaul on effects and plug ins. So highly depends on your workload and VST use and what drives they are stored on.

At least from my experiences… Processor and SSD’s really increase performance, being at 12GB Ram is mighty fine for music producing. More isnt always better… 32GB+ seemed like a waste of funds to me for what is in demand. But technology also changes, in 10 years 32GB may be the new “8GB recommended”.

Good luck, and hope this helps! :slight_smile:

what about memory quality/speed?

does that matter a lot?

i have 16GB 2300mhz in my new AMD 5950x build, only the memory is ‘old’.
I want to upgrade to 32gb 4000mhz ddr4

Ryzen CPUs are sensitive to memory speed and latency. Your CPU is effectively slower with old RAM. Upgrade to the lowest latency 3600MHz RAM you can get.

For production 16GB is really what you should be shooting for as a minimum. For orchestral stuff, 32GB is a minimum. 64GB is comfortable - assuming you are hosting the libraries in Cubase.

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thanks, will keep that in mind