Workarounds for extremely slow responses

I’ve read all I can about this, but some of the posts are quite old, so I’m taking the liberty of asking this: what are the workarounds for the fact that some processes, in the 15-flow vocal score that I’m working on, take such a long time that with some of them I can literally make myself a cup of coffee while the wheel is spinning? The only ticked layout, in all flows, is a Custom Score for voices and piano, but it still takes maybe two minutes to add one instrument from the left column to it. Is this fairly standard, or is there anything else I can do to speed things up?

If you make a search for “many flows” you can find some information. I hope it’s not a question of system performance… :confused:

Are you noticing any difference in responsivity between when you’ve just booted up the program vs. when you’ve been working on the project for several hours? In the latter case, the RAM may tend to fill up and slow things down.
How big is the project? Just voices and piano or is there an orchestra behind the scenes which needs re-condensing every time?

I’ve restarted the program several times today for various reasons, so I haven’t been working for very long at any one time, but I’ll try and discern in future if there is a slowing down. At the moment, the only staves in use are voices and piano and a few bars here and there on instrumental staves, but it’s only voices and piano that are on the custom score layout that I created in order to try and speed things up a bit, and it’s the only layout that’s active (if that’s the word) - i.e. every other layout, including Full Score, is unticked throughout the score.
What worries me is that as I fill the orchestral staves with material the program will become impossibly slow, but - if this were generally true - users working on larges scores in Dorico would have given up on it. So I’m figuring there must be something awry with my system. Here are my computer’s details - it’s a newish ThinkCentre solid-state machine, but I’m no good at figures of this sort. Is the processor my problem? image

Hi, you could use some more RAM I think. Minimum 8GB, 16GB even better.


Oof. That processor’s dual core, meaning (in very simplified terms) that it can do two things at once. You’re likely to run into these sorts of bottlenecks on bigger projects unless you replace with a quad core processor (four things at once), minimum. Caveat: I know that things have improved in the last few versions of Dorico - I’ll try a few things out on a big piano vocal score on my dual core machine in 3.5 and let you know whether it still struggles.

I recognise that the system requirements listed e.g. here suggest you can get away with 4gb of RAM, but I wouldn’t spec a computer with less than 16gb these days.

With so little RAM, have you tried running it with the Silence playback template loaded? Then just load the instruments when you absolutely need them to make a mockup, proofread, etc.

As Leo pointed out, your processor is pretty slow. It looks like it was released in Q2 2012, so that CPU technology is almost 9 years old at this point. At some point you might consider an upgrade.

Thanks all. I shall upgrade immediately.

I totally sympathise. Those of us who work with real-time audio or video editing (or gaming) are used to keeping up with technical advances in computer technology, as these sorts of programs tend to demand the best equipment we can afford, but those of us who are used to a bit of word processing, some internet browsing and a bit of notation work perhaps aren’t.

Dorico’s main competitors developed much of their respective codebases some 20(+) years ago, so those programs were originally written to run on slower, older equipment. Though these programs have been through lots of changes in the past 20 years, their underlying architecture largely still operates on the basis that you can change a setting and then separately ask the program to recalculate - think reflowing bars in Finale or resetting Note Spacing in Sibelius. Dorico was written much more recently with much more powerful equipment in mind - with Condensing, for instance, it was possibly even written with future equipment in mind - and so it makes many more calculations in real-time.


I don’t know if you are building a PC yourself or looking to buy it somewhere, but checking with a CPU Benchmark site can give you a rough idea of CPU performance. Here’s a link to high end CPUs and here’s one to current “best value” CPUs. Some of the AMD Ryzen chips are great values but are really tough to find now due to supply shortages. (I’ve sorta been hunting for a Ryzen 5950x myself.) If not building it yourself, you may want to consider a custom PC builder like Origin, Xidax, Falcon, etc. to get exactly what you want/need. It may depend on what, if any, components you are planning on keeping from your current PC build, like power supply, cooling, graphics card, sound card or external DAC, etc.

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This has been suggested to me by my supplier. Any good? HP Z4 G4 Tower Workstation with Xeon® W (4 cores) - HP Store UK

From my limited understanding, Xeons are largely unnecessary: they’re expensive and use a lot more energy, because they’re designed for ‘mission critical’ kit that mustn’t fail.
(I await to be schooled by someone who knows more.)

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CPU seems strong, but I admit I don’t know much about the Xeons as they are workstation CPUs. 16 GB of RAM is fine, but if you use a lot of VSTs for playback, obviously more is better. It doesn’t look like there’s a graphics card or any audio card/interface other that what’s going to be on the motherboard (which I don’t see specified). Of course that may be by design if you are planning on keeping what you already own. 512 GB SSD is tiny, but you know how much you need, or if you use external drives, or if you are keeping some existing internal drives. Dorico needs 12 GB of that anyway. If you have several sound libraries they can eat up space in a hurry, as can lots of audio files, video, photos, etc, unless you store that kind of stuff only on the cloud.

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I’m not a Windows guy but I note that for a thousand pounds less you could pick up a one of these: HP ProDesk 400 G5 Mini with i5 - HP Store UK

The tower’s more upgradable, sure - you can have a CD drive if that’s helpful to you, and at least a couple of hard drives, but if Dorico’s the only place you’re noticing problems then it might be that you don’t have a barrage of resource-hungry playback VSTs/video rendering files etc. and that you don’t need the might of Xeons. My suspicion is that there are certain actions (particularly in Setup mode) that do take longer even if you throw more processors and more money at the problem (see Dorico performance benchmarks? for some numbers).

Now sure, that little mini thing isn’t going to serve your needs if you need to run multiple displays, and you’ll end up spending some money on a USB hub (and for that matter it’s the somewhat antiquated USB2 only), but for many people this sort of machine still suffices.

Hopefully more Windows users will come to your aid soonish.

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This one is £100 more, but has a Ryzen 3700x CPU which scores a 22,816 on CPU Benchmark vs 11,586 for that Xeon build. It has twice as much RAM (32 GB), a good NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Super 4GB graphics card, a 500MB m.2 drive (which you will use for OS and programs) and a 2TB SSD for files and other stuff. A great Fractal Design R6 case which is super quiet. I have the Fractal 7 Compact and they make great cases. I admit I don’t know much about the manufacturer, I saw you were pricing in £ and just googled custom PC makers in the UK, but that’s a way stronger machine for not much more money. I’m sort of assuming you already have some sort of audio interface, otherwise it’s just the motherboard audio. (The motherboard is a Asus PRIME X570-PRO Motherboard which looks really nice though.)

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Thanks to all. My computer builder is suggesting 2x1TB SSD and 16GB RAM, so I’m hoping that’ll go some way towards easing the bottlenecking. (Amazing that they got men to the moon and back with 72KB of RAM and a 0.043MHz processor…)
Of course I’ll need to transfer Dorico and all its associated files to the new machine, so I’m glad to see that there’s a lot of helpful material regarding relicensing and so on out there.

Maybe it’s better to use 1 nvme 1GB ssd for windows and your programs and a bigger one 2GB for projects and storage,
The come cheap nowadays.
I’d recommend 32GB ram , ram prices are low now.
Amd 3700x is a good choice but the newer ones - 5800/5900 are about 25 % better .


What exactly is he recommending with that? One m.2 NVMe and one SATA? SATA SSD prices have dropped so much that a Samsung 2TB drive is the same price as two 1TBs on Amazon. NVMe read/write speeds are way faster than SATA. Here’s a sample chart:

Putting your OS and programs on a NVMe drive will really speed things up, even if you put your files on a different drive. NVMe drives are a bit more expensive, but not prohibitively so. For example on Amazon in USD, a Samsung 860 1TB SATA SSD is $115, a Samsung 970 1TB m.2 NVMe is $150.

Just curious what the specs of the two drives are. If at least one isn’t m.2 NVMe I would request that.

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If you can find them, LOL! They seem backordered everywhere and the eBay flippers have jacked the prices way up.