Question about computer RAM and Dorico performance

Very quick question which I hope has a very quick answer.

I am writing an operatic score on Dorico 4, on a less than stellar PC (Intel Core i5 oldish model, 8Gb RAM. HP Pavillion about a year old).

Now I’m up to 160ish pages in the full score (c. 45 mins of music) it’s starting to get a little bit sluggish. I am fully aware that this is my own stupid fault for trying to do massive scores on a cheese-powered computer.

Would upgrading from 8Gb to 16Gb RAM make any noticeable difference? My alternative is to work on smaller projects each containing a smaller number of flows and then combine at the end, or even just put in a page number offset in the later ones.

I should make it clear that I am fully aware that the actual answer is “Don’t expect necessarily resource-heavy software to run on a potato”.

First, you need to use some sort of utility tool that will show you how much memory you’re using, and whether you’re swapping out to disk, or doing memory compression.

Dorico doesn’t actually use that much RAM – but the VST Engine can do, if you’re using massive sample library data.

Large scores can start to get sluggish – Dorico has to start at page 1 and work sequentially through the score. It can’t multi-task working on the pages because it won’t know what goes on each page until it has done the page before. This is mostly CPU single-core bound.

You don’t need to split up the project file: just create a Layout with only a few flows in it. Use the Instruments Filter, too. Galley View is faster, because it’s not layout stuff out.

However, more RAM is always good. It’s bound to improve things overall, so you can have Dorico and a whole bunch of other stuff open. If it’s affordable, and you plan to keep the PC for some time, then it’s definitely worthwhile.

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That’s excellent advice - thank you!

You can open Task Manager in Windows, then click the performance tab. With your large project open, what percentage of CPU and Memory is being used?

40% CPU, 83% memory.

Which is quite a lot, right?

Yeah, I would think you would get better performance if you had more RAM. If the computer is using the swap file because you are low on RAM it will really slow things down.

And that was after I created more layouts with a few flows each.

Oh, good lord. 8Gb to 16Gb upgrade, and it all just suddenly… works. Best £14 spend EVER.