VST Performance and Computer Upgrades

I just loaded up my system with sample power. I have been recording mostly audio, real instruments, the last few years. Sadly I have a medical problem (MS) that is slowly stealing sensitivity from my hands, so my guitar and bass playing has gone from serviceable to pretty lame lately. But my ears and brain are fine, so I can still compose. The sampled instruments for Kontakt, Halion and Toontracks are inspiring.

My system is fully adequate to record mostly straight audio. Now with a bunch of sample technology, VST Occupancy is creeping up (about 60%) and RAM usage (under 64 Bit Win 7) is high. I have an Intel Quad system about 3 years old and 16GB RAM. I have hardly started my projects and RAM use was 13GB yesterday.

It’s not too expensive, say $250, to go to 32 GB. But will that do it?

I would like ask everyone who has been in this situation: What kind of system upgrades are really effective to improve VST performance in Cubase 6/7?

It depends on many things but, generally, try to keep this in mind. If there is enough RAM for all the samples and audio to be loaded into memory, plus some left over for calculations and what not, then the CPU can avoid streaming from the hard drive. Check your disk performance meter for indications on this. For processing sounds, like VST instruments that don’t use samples, or have fancy video displays (like NI Razor), lots of effects, etc., CPU is important. While CPU load and ASIO load are NOT the same, they are somewhat related. For example, if your CPU can not get all the processing done in time for the next sample, the audio stream could be interrupted and you could get ASIO spikes and pops and crackles.
If you are running projects up to 13 GB with 16 GB on board, it may be worth adding some more RAM. For processor upgrades, it is probably not worth the steep prices of Extreme editions but, IMO, definitely worth getting i7 over i5 (especially with the project sizes you are discussing).

More RAM = more samples loaded. Some plugs allow limiting samples loading to those used.

I have an Hp Pavillion laptop. It is an AMD Quad. I use a Kontakt5 plugin with Cubase 7.05.
I was getting alot of VST spikes. I tried almost everything in the book to fix it, but to no avail.
Then I read this post which mentioned turning off cpu multiprocessing in Kontakt. I did this
and the spikes disappeared. This has been a very helpful post. Many thanks.

Cpu and good asio drivers are what you are searching for. Fast, matched ram will also help.

Big difference for me between version 6 and 7, C7 eats resources much faster and is much less efficient. My system is relatively old, about 5 years, q6600 intel, Win7-64 8Gb RaM.

I will not be unloading 6 any time soon, until I get around to a new PC.

Thanks for the ideas.

I seem to be scraping by (with an eye on the VST Occupancy meter).

The next step in performance seems to be:


with 32 GB RAM. Also would require a new mother board as the socket is different. About $1000.

Not yet, but in 2014 I’ll probably go that way. Amazing that just a few months back I thought 16GB was all I would ever need.