Need more RAM for sample libraries. Xeon setup or slave machine?

Thanks in advance. I know this i9 vs XEON vs AMD subject is a minefield of differing experiences and opinions.

My current system is an i7-5820 @3.3Ghz. ASUS X99-A Mobo with 64gb RAM. RME HDSP AES-32 PCI card.

Obviously it’s not that old and works basically fine for what I do except I’m maxing-out my ram with the amount of larger orchestral sample libraries I use (Spitfire, EW, Cinematic Studio, Cinesamples, and memory-hogs like Omnisphere, etc). I like to have everything loaded in one machine, don’t like to print/freeze tracks (slows down workflow if changes are needed), and I dread using slave machines. At this point to get more RAM (even 128GB) I’m looking at a new MOBO/CPU/RAM. And frankly, I’d like to go beyond 128GB ram just so I can keep everything I might want to use loaded (I use VEPro on the same DAW just to host) and have breathing room for future ginormous libraries. But to go beyond 128GB I have no option but to go XEON at this point. I work enough to justify the expense so it’s really about my trying to avoid regretting the hassle of setting up the new system and installing/authorizing all that stuff, only to find out that it doesn’t work as well as what I have (except for the RAM).

The question for me is, am I going to pay a performance price due to the lower clock speed (yet more cores)? I’ve seen the other XEON-related threads but I’m getting some conflicting info.

My usage is mostly sample playback…a lot of voices but I haven’t tried to calculate the actual number. The usual plugins (compressors, EQ, Waves stuff, FabFilter, some reverbs - altiverb, valhalla, and UAD plugs (I rarely max out a UAD2 DUO…I mostly use the compressors and the Plate verb). And 20-30 channels of recorded audio…sometimes more, sometimes less. It’s really about sample playback and having my go-to sounds already loaded and easily accessible without having to switch to slave machines and change patches.


Side note 1: I’ve never been able to work without my latency at 256 samples, at least on my big hybrid/orchestral projects. How are people doing 64? Just playing one VI with some audio?

Side note 2: For those who are interested, my sample library sits on 4x4TB drives in a 12TB RAID5 setup (via a Highpoint RAID card). Wanna fight about it? :wink: All I can say is I’ve had drives go bad and RAID5 has always been worth it, and Highpoint cards have been worth it because you can rebuild the RAID in the background which I don’t think you can do on the built-in MOBO RAIDs.

I use VEP Pro on a separate machine with 32 gig ram. The second comp doesn’t have to be screaming fast, just lots of ram and SSD’s preferably.

If you use SSD drives instead of hard drives you can stream the samples off the drives and you’ll need less RAM.