Optimizing your computer for audio

To get started, here is an optimization video that covers every approach I have ever heard of.
(Aimed at Win 10, but principles should work as far back as XP or further.)


UPDATE!!! - Download the latest version of Brad’s new (free) book, Glitch Free here:



Nice video, however one part that stuck out to me was at the one minute mark regarding virtual memory. If you have enough physical RAM to handle C2 or C3 and all the VST’s loaded without needing physical hard drive space then make sure you disable memory paging. This is a quote from Presonus on optimizing Windows for music production:

Virtual memory (or paging files) is a technique that involves using a dedicated section of the hard drive as though it were additional RAM. The downside is that hard drives invariably process data slower than RAM does, so using paging files decreases performance. This can be beneficial for low-performance, high-data applications where lots of material is loaded into RAM but does not need to be processed extremely quickly. With audio applications, this is not a good idea because they are very demanding on system resources, so using a lower-speed hard drive is not a viable solution.

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I find that bit about turning off or disabling memory paging interesting coming from Presonus, as I’ve always been warned that Windows needs SOME paging memory even if you have a ton of RAM (just not the 1-1/2 times your memory size rule of thumb amount of paging memory). Is that still true with Windows 8.1 and 10? Anyone know?

I have 16 gigs of RAM and would happily turn off paging memory! :smile:


[EDIT] - Here is a discussion of that over at Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/Windows10/comments/3ispnp/is_a_page_file_really_needed_with_16gb_of_ram/

[EDIT2] - And here is likely an even better answer: http://superuser.com/questions/810170/should-i-disable-swap-file-if-i-have-lots-of-ram-or-should-i-move-it-to-a-virtua

[EDIT3] - A really good answer for Win7 and likely beyond where tests were done: https://tweakhound.com/2011/10/10/the-windows-7-pagefile-and-running-without-one/

[EDIT4] - Interesting summation: http://duc.avid.com/showpost.php?s=532edf2af03e1c7ee0138f8699d469f8&p=1812994&postcount=9

Conclusion - I’m leaving mine on, but set to 3000 min/max for now, as that is more than adequately above my peak commit. I will test later allowing the system to manage it, and will watch what settings it goes for over time, and then make those the min/max with a little headroom.

Terry, Thanks for posting the video.

Very interesting reads. I’ve also researched a few other sites and find very few mentioning to turn off virtual memory paging. The laptop I’m using was built by PC Audio Labs. It came built and customized specifically for intense DAW applications. The virtual memory settings were configured for no paging when I got it. Here are the specs:

  • 2.8 GHz Intel i7-4810MQ Processor (4 cores, 8 threads, 6MB cache)
  • 32GB HYPERX DDR3 1600 RAM
  • Primary Drive (OS): 512GB mSATA SSD (Samsung 850 EVO 6Gb/s)
  • Second Drive (Audio): 1TB mSATA SSD (Samsung 850 EVO 6Gb/s)
  • Third Drive (Audio): 1TB mSATA SSD (Samsung 850 EVO 6Gb/s)
  • Second & Third drives are spanned for 2TB total for all sample libraries
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1

The way it’s configured the thing absolutely cooks. When I initially was testing the whole concept of Cantabile and VST’s I used a Dell Precision desktop, 8 core CPU and 12 GB of RAM utilizing 1 Samsung 840 EVO 3Gb/s SSD, Windows 7. During testing I used “Thesycon’s DPC Latency Checker” which showed a lower latency with Virtual Memory paging turned off. However, with my current Windows 8.1 build the DPC latency checker does not work correctly or show the correct values. So far on their site they haven’t produced a working latency checker for Windows 8.1. Perhaps I will do some testing with my laptop using “LatencyMon by Resplendence”.

Although I work in the IT field, I am not in anyway claiming to be an expert. I can tell you in short, what your OS does in regard to a swap or page file.

A computer can only “work” on something in memory. When you are attempting to load more into memory than your system can handle, it swaps the program / data you are not using to the page file as pages (or chunks), and loads the program or file you are trying to work on. This is why, when we have eight programs running, you can hear the hard drive crunching as you switch back and forth between programs. You computer is dumping some of the data in memory to the hard drive… and pulling the stored data back into memory.

If you create a page file, but do not exceed your memory limitations… your OS “should not” use the page file. This is not an absolute… but in general it should apply

I would personally use one. If you need it, and it is not there, I have seen things get cranky

But then… I use SSDs



You’d think that would be the case but I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in practice. The mysteries of Windows memory management really are a mystery.

Also, while we’re on the topic, Cantabile has an option “Prevent paging memory to disk” - do not use this option on Windows 10. Cantabile will display a warning if you try, but it conflicts with Windows 10’s paging system where it compresses pages written to disk and ends up causing excessive CPU usage.

In general I wouldn’t recommend disabling the swap file unless you have gobs of memory.


Just noticed I hadn’t added the link to the Glitch Free book in the first post yet - that is now fixed! :sunny:


Hey Everyone,

There’s a New Version of LatencyMon by Resplendence Software that has support for windows 10 users. This good because the memory management is different for Win 7, 8 & 8.1, and 10. Now all are covered.

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hey @dave_dore, I installed latencymon and ran it but not being particularly OS literate, I’m not sure what to do with the results. I did disable wifi before running it. The system looked fine until about the 20 second mark and then here’s what I saw:

I found my audio driver on the Process page:

Not sure what to do with these results. Can you help?


Hey Lee,

I’m not sure I can help but I have a few questions,
a - what os are you running? (The settings are different for Win7 then what you are using)
b - is file paging turned off? (lots of page faults, but they may not be a problem)
c - was LatencyMon the only program running when test was run? (system should be measured at idle condition)


Windows 10

b - is file paging turned off? (lots of page faults, but they may not be a problem)

 ummm, I don't know think so, but I'm not at my laptop to check

c - was LatencyMon the only program running when test was run? (system should be measured at idle condition)

no, I had a virus program running, Malwarebytes, also Cantabile and a screen capture program called ScreenPresso. Yes, I know not to run the virus programs when I’m gigging, but at home I usually keep them open because I’m accessing the internet.

OK, Start by testing the system at idle. (start the machine and after fully booted run LatencyMon).
Don’t start any other programs before you run the test. Try that and see what happens.

I disabled all the background processes from Windows 10 that made huge CPU peeks.
Also I used Ultimate Windows Tweaker to disable lots of functions. That left me with a crippled W10. But I don’t care, as long as it’s stable on stage.
Isn’t there a script yet or some decent guide for windows 10? (yes I should start reading Brads free PDF :wink:

Well — yeah!! :relieved: