Building a new rig -- RAM thoughts

I’m building a new rig around an EVGA Z370 (1150 socket) w/ an I7 8700 (6 core) Intel processor. I play live, and the mobo, itself, has a TON of USB 3.0 ports. I can (finally) rid myself of the USB hub I had to use … that sometimes would turn off unused port in exceedingly “helpful” fashion.

I’ve made almost all the decisions but for the box (case) I want (I’m going rack mounted, but need to make sure the CPU and fan fit) and the amount of RAM I should install.

I was using a nice laptop – but the RAM maxed out at 8G … and so, when using Kontact, and worse, Ivory (which I love), I couldn’t stop the crackle from the driver breakup – and nobody like playing a keyboard thats sounds a half a second after the notes are hit.

DDR4 is expensive. The CPU maxes out at a 2666 clock speed, and so I’ll be sticking w/ RAM in that range … no higher than 3200 (deal dependent).

What I seek are thoughts on 16G v. 32G. Is more better … or just a waste of money? I play w/ 4 keyboards, and would only be running 4 plugs at a time … including the aforementioned sample programs.

Also – do folks out there have a brand preference over the other – or are they all about the same?

Thanks in advance for any/all thoughts!


Hi, for my new (nearly year old rig) I maxed out with the most RAM I could afford at 32 GB, on the basis that memory demands only ever go up, so it should future proof you.

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I’ve been building gaming rigs for family members for years. These mainboards have 4 RAM slots, you could just buy a pair of 8GB’s and see how things run. If you buy memory from a manufacturer like Corsair you should be able to buy the same pair a few years later to go to 32GB.

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just to give you an impression here are the sample libraries I’m using with preload atm:

NI Symphony Series String Ensamble
NI Session Horns Pro
Chris Hein Horns Compact
Ravenscroft 275
Acoustic Samples B5
Scarbee EP88
Scarbee Clavinet / Pianet
XLN Electric Grand
GeForce M-Tron Pro
Spectrasonics Omnisphere
Orange Tree Evolution Strawberry
NI Battery 4
Ampel Guitar M Lite II
Xfer Serum
Adam Szabo Viper

Together with another ton of algorithmic vsts and vstis the demand of RAM is about 13GBytes in cantabile. My 24GBytes of RAM are definitely enough to handle this.

Regards, humphrey

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If there wasn’t such a price difference, I’d likely do the same … but the math doesn’t add up.

Let me preface this by saying, “I don’t think I’ll EVER need 64G – which the board CAN handle.”

But 16G can be bought (Corsair) for about 135 bucks in 2x8 config. Bump that to 2 sticks of 16 (double) should only be double the price (2 slots @ 270) … but it’s actually $320 … another extra $50 … and my ??? is “For what?”

24G would be a perfectly acceptable (if it could be found) middle ground between cost and need.

I see this as potentially the most prudent approach. The board has four slots and is dual channel. I can see if 16G will get me there and if not, bump it up again. It would STILL be much cheaper than buying two 16G sticks.

It just seems to be a sliding scale (in the wrong cost direction), the higher the number on the stick.

As you can likely tell, I’m trying to talk/think things logically through rather than say, “Go for it” and just spend willy nilly. Thanks for the thought … you kind of said what I was leaning toward.

I hear you, it can get expensive throwing money at problems. You probably won’t ever need more than 32 for Cantabile.

Famous last words - “640K ought to be enough for anybody” :face_with_raised_eyebrow: - Bill G. claims quote is apocryphal.

Ha – so true, Doug.

In my research, I watched a bunch of RAM discussions w/ avid gamers (of which, my son is one), and to a man, they all suggested there was a much LOWER point of diminishing returns than what the machines are being built for in today’s upper end capacity.

In fact, one guy said, “Gaming, itself, barely scratches RAM and, at most, will eat only about 4G at any given time. It’s the OTHER stuff that’s tapping it WHILE you’re gaming that you have to worry about.”

That’s when I realized that aiming high was likely overkill – and it didn’t help that the manufacturer’s math is as upside down as it is.

My opinion is, if you do good instrument management (linked racks) within your cantabile concerts, 16GB would be enough. I work with 16GB for over a year now and the maximum I used was about 12GB.


Same here, using linked racks saves RAM and time (while preparing new songs).
My 16GB didn’t max out.

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I am the first to admit that I don’t employ Cantabile to its max efficiency. I mostly use it to just switch voice settings between pieces. Linked racks? Not something I’ve ever explored.

Good to know Stef. I am going to follow Doug’s advice (above) and go with 16G at first … expanding only if trouble is encountered.

Hi Kevin

It is a general consensus of many here, if playing live, to use load friendly plugs. I shy away from large sample libraries and tend to go for emulations. There are many great ones available, and, depending on live situations and venues, those huge sampled plugins many times will not sound as well as in a studio setting. I get very quick load times and state changes using 16GB.



I completely second what Corky pointed out: you should see me as one of nerds trying to push cantabile to its boarders and I confess: it‘s really great additional pleasure for me.

On the other hand: there is a price to pay to have everything nice and stable. In my case its 2 powerful laptops running in parallel with high end soundcards from RME, lots of tweaking,…

I absolutely agree: big sample libraries do not necessarily make big sounds in live situations (especially in a band context). There are lots of really good vstis around with low cpu and RAM demands (f.e. Korg M1 is one of the most underestimated plugins and still a great bread & butter machine). If you have a look in the forum, you‘ll find lots of terriffic posts on how to get great sounds with low demanding plugs.

So: when posting my list I simply wanted to show that even when using big and many libraries you can be good off with 16GBytes.

Kind regards and good luck (from a nerd :rofl:),



Actually “low drain” plugs (I use TruePiano) as a substitute are fine. But, really, all I really want is exactly what I want. :grinning:

I’m OK w/ “workarounds” …

“IF” that is what I must do. :grin:

Stability, live, is, key.

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We’ve had this talk before but live I often find than genuinely kind of crap piano sounds usually cut in the mix better than the pristine ones you’d use on a recording. In fact, of all things, I often use a CP-80. Or uprights. And I’ve got by great so far with 12Gb RAM (my main laptop has 16 but the backup with 12 does fine). I do avoid big libraries live as much I can but I still have to use a few…


To be sure, one of the drawbacks of large libraries is load time. If, for whatever reason, you’re in the middle of a set … and a restart is required, 5 minute loads on Kontact (not Cantabile’s issue) can appear an eternity … as the band “banters” to cover.

I have had that happen … fortunately only in a situation where it didn’t matter (large holiday party).

Yet – sometimes there are just sounds that only certain libraries can deliver … and in this day an age, with the technology we have, why be limited in one’s choices?

That’s when a SSD is your friend. One minute load times jump to seconds…

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