Use a laptop to expand desktop CPU power?

hi, are there any users that have linked up a laptop to their desktop to provide additional CPU processing? By this I mean having Cubase run on the main desktop and connecting a laptop via USB (or Ethernet)and running additional vst instruments which would use the CPU of the laptop rather than desktop. I want to purchase another vst instrument something like massive but can’t see cubase 8 being able to run this on top of current VSTI. I am having a problem like many running VSTi on CUBASE 8 with performance meters. I feel sure this can be done with my i7 desktop and i7 laptop?

Any help appreciated

I would use midi, a cheap usb audio interface for the laptop that has midi. Then run the vsti stand alone on the laptop, connect midi and audio and you got yourself another virtual instrument. Or use something like CubaseAI if you want more VSTi running on the laptop. Cubase could really need a update in that area, something LAN based simple to setup solution.

That’s what Cubase VST System Link is for but you need two compatible audio interfaces linked together and you also have the combined latency of both DAW/audio interfaces. The interfaces need a SPDIF in and out. Not all interfaces with SPDIF will work but I know that when I had my Steinberg MR816CSX’s, they worked. It’s actually much cheaper for you to upgrade your computer though.

a lot of people are using Vienna Ensemble for this… Well priced and includes many samples. All u need is ethernet and midi and audio can be handled.
Your slave machine will host Kontakt Vi or other vst afaik.

Hmm I was hoping I could simply connect my laptop to desktop via sub or Ethernet, run the vst and have everything handles through the usb. I know there are keyboards that do this already, everything goes through usb with only a small latency.

as someone else above said, Vienna is a good solution. just connect the Ethernet ports and you can host instruments and effects on the slave machine. unlike vst system link, you DON’T need a soundcard in the slave system. audiodeluxe did a good price on it when I bought it last year as a downloadable license. One of my clients uses it to host mega orchestral libraries, slaved to his main pc. It’s fiddly to get it all setup, but of course you create templates so once done you just open a song and the settings should be remembered anyway. What I would say is maybe you should slave to another desktop pc rather than a laptop. in my case I have my native instruments complete loaded up on the Vienna machine, ready to go with negligible cpu drain on the main pc. but to be honest, in the heat of a paying session I always just use the local pc for adding vsti because it’s in front of me and the machine can take it! my advice; try pushing the main pc first, remember you can freeze tracks etc. too. Ed

Farming out (as is the proper name for this feature) is very co0mmon in the the video and graphics industry. Steinberg has had VST System Link for years. Once upon a time (no it’s not a fairy-tale :wink: ) they had a utility, called VSTack. This was essentially the mixer potion of Cubase. The major disadvantage with the VST System Link is that it works with physical audio interfaces, which may have been a good idea once upon a time. I have waited, in vain, for years for Steinberg to update it to work with Ethernet.

As beerbong pointed out, the Vienna proposition (which works via Ethernet) looks quite interesting. Maybe something for Steinberg to be “influenced” by.

Unfortunately, both are quite expensive solutions. VST Link because it requires investing in (at least two) audio interfaces, which will cost about 2-3 times Cubase Pro itself for multitrack work. The Vienna option because it requires the investment in the “Vienna Ensemble PRO” library (€235).

I may be wrong, but I do believe Apple are providing a free Ethernet based farming utility with Logic Pro. How about that for a suggestion for a future Cubase update?

Yeah I didn’t really want to fork out much more than say £50 to achieve this. I heard of a program a number of years ago that allowed vsts on a laptop to work on the desktop using Ethernet. I can’t think of what it was and was expecting most people to suggest this. I will keep looking as keen to make use of my laptop somehow.


“I can’t think of what it was”
Fx teleport or wormhole?

Teleport rings a bell, I will google that thanks

I had fx teleport in the past. I think that technology was integrated into sonar (the graphics for their bridge were identical). support seemed slow and it may have died? it was like Vienna in the sense you could open fx plugins etc. but it had no mixing facilities built in. and it required an Ethernet card as a dongle I think (been years since I last used it so I may be wrong). good luck. I’d go for Vienna if you can afford it.

Wormhole looks like it may work? Has anyone used this?


I have almost identical specs on my PC and can run all sorts of VSTi. You should be able to run Massive with no problems as it isn’t very CPU hungry.

Unless you are running a very large number of tracks and VSTs, your system should handle it.

Have you checked your ‘Power’ settings? Are your CPU cores ‘unParked’?

Good luck.

Vienna Ensemble Pro. Best $300 I ever spent. MIDI and audio over Ethernet. A little hard to understand at first, but once you do, it’s genius. All other connection protocols are majorly inferior.

Vienna is great solution for some/most BUT NOT ALL issues and VST plugins. F. ex. Altiverb does not work on VEPro (version 6 also not in C8 - you must remember) but works on C6 so sometimes you need this host and phisical audio connection between the two machines.

Hi Bluzcat, the reason I wanted to try external or running another computer is that since the Cubase 8 I have had major peaks and spiking in performance meter. Your specs are very similar other than having double my RAM, do you not experience any spiking issue since Cubase 8, What Audio Interface are you running?