IMPACT: Processor (CPU) vs. Ram(Memory)!

Discussion in 'Computing' started by eBrown100, May 13, 2005.

  1. eBrown100

    eBrown100 Guest

    What makes that biggest impact on the performance of a DAW?
    I just purchased from Dell a Dimension 3000. Comes with a P4 3.0 ghz (800 frontside bus), 256 DDR Ram, 80 gig hard drive, CD Rom, and a 15 inch analog Flat Panel Display. I paid $532.00 for it. I'll add to this system a second Hard Drive (250 gigs) and and a DVD RW drive. I plan to buy 2 gigs of DDR2 ram to upgrade the memory.

    But again my question is what makes the biggest impact on the performance a DAW? I was once told that the (processor) cpu determines how well a signal will be processed. (e.g. a Waves TrueVerb sounds better when a signal is processed with a P4 3.0ghz vs. a 3.0ghz Celeron). The same person explained to me that the amount of Ram determines the number of plugins, or tracks that could be used simultaneously.

    If someone could explain how RAM (memory) and CPU (processor) work together in a program (e.g. Sonar 4) I would appreciate it. Also does DDR2 (as opposed to just DDR) make a big difference on the speed of a DAW or is DDR2 ram for gaming? Thanks
  2. Drizzt

    Drizzt Guest

    Well i can maybe share a little in terms of performance form what i have experienced. WHen i work on music CPU seems ot play in most when you are using multiple plugins and a lack of CPU power will limit the rumber that you can use. Ram can also effect this but mostly ram seems to impact plugins or samples that need ot make calls to large sound libraries to load all of the soundns into ram as opposed to runnign them off of the hard drive.

    I'm sure that are far more expereince and knowledgable members that can give you a better insight but I would say Puugin based = CPU, sample based = RAM
  3. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    You need lots of ram to run VI's but the CPU will affect how many tracks/w/plug ins you can have before maxing out-
    The denser the mix, the faster computer you'll need- A mix with perhaps 16 tracks will run just fine in a slower computer with lots of ram- when you start getting up past 24 tracks/w/plugs no amount of ram will save you if you have a slower computer
  4. eBrown100

    eBrown100 Guest

    Thanks. So is it better to DDR2 ram (533mhz) or just DDR ram (400mhz). Ofcourse DDR2 costs more. At one time the most I would use simultaneously is Sonar 4, Battery 2, Reason, FL studio and plugins.
  5. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    In any event, with a 3 gb processor and 2gb of ram, you'll have your bases covered nicely...


    SONICA-X Guest


    lots of CPU power is number one priority! Getting a system dual core ready is even better just in case you need more power down the road.

    When looking at memory DDR400 vs. DDR2533 take a look at CAS latency as most of the DDR2533 modules seem to have very high latencies.

    sonica-x support.
  7. eBrown100

    eBrown100 Guest

    Thanks gentlemen. I've inquired about the dual processor setups and I've heard that they were mad expensive. I would like to go that route but I'm actually building a studio that is constantly draining funds. I heard that a dual processor system costs around $4,000. If you know differently let me know because I could spend maybe $1,200.
    As for the DDR2 I didn't realize that there were issues that were still unresolved. Naturally my thought is that more Ram equals more speed, but youre saying that this newer, faster Ram creates a lag in the system. I'd love to read more about this if you know of any links.

    SONICA-X Guest


    Yes, $1200.00 for a dual CPU is quite low but $4000.00 is quite high as well. 2500-3000 for dual CPU well equiped.

    Guy Cefalu
    sonica-x support
  9. eBrown100

    eBrown100 Guest

    $2,500 may be affordable if I sold some old equipment. But if I'm going to spend that much then the Mac G5 becomes the obvious. Only thing is, I use Sonar 4. But I would love to view some dual processor pc's.
    Please, list some links so that I can check out these dual processor systems.
  10. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2003
    Kansas City, KS
    Home Page:
    It is a waste most of the time. Some software doesn't even make use of the second processor, in fact it may be turned off. It is harder to keep a dual processor stable than a single. If you are using two at 40%, then it is really a waste anyway as it is choked by the slow motherboards.

    If you are going to do MIDI, then buy the biggest baddest processor. If you are going to have dense editing and good plug ins (and multiples thereof) get as much RAMM as you can swing. So, you need it all likely.

    Wait for Windows64. This should be good. 64 bit, 16GB RAMM, faster bus speeds. Can you say "recording in RAMM?"
  11. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    if you go mac, logic andf digital performer take advantage of dual processors quite nicely- $3000 will get you the top of the line, while $2000 will get you a dual 2.0- right now with the model changes you might even get a better deal
  12. SONICA-X

    SONICA-X Guest

    Dual processor systems are 100% stable.

    Sonar 4, Cubase SX and Nuendo take full advantage of dual processors.

    Dual processing is not a waste of time or money and anyone doing projects that can not be done on a single processor at an acceptable latency needs a dual processor.

    Guy Cefalu
  13. eBrown100

    eBrown100 Guest

    All of the information that you guys have written has been very helpful. The dual processors, though very powerful, are not an option; they're to pricey for me right now. I'm a rookie so I'll just learn the ropes with the Dimension system that I puchased from Dell. Actually it arrived today before I left for work.

    If anyone has suggestions about upgrades for Ram let me know. e.g. If there is a particular brand that works better than another. I found out today that some Motherboards except either High Density or Low Density Ram. There's a guy selling Memory on eBay and his listing states that his product is "not compatible with Intel and Nvidia motherboard chipsets." Does this mean that his product is incompatible with Intel processors (pentium, celeron)?
    Oh yeah, and what's the deal with Memory Coolers? They appear to be copper or aluminum covers that slip over the Memory Cards to reduce the heat.

    I would be grateful if all that posted here would post advice for my other topic, "Tweak PC for DAW Usage."

    Thanks Again.

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