How to tune up my windows machine??

My new windows laptop ( windows 7 64bit, 8 gigs ram, 1 T hard drive, 2.5ghz intel processor )  seems to be bogging down much more than I thought it would. It does not perform that much better than the computer it replaced, which was a 32bit 3g ram 2.4 ghz system.  I thought my new system would way out perform my older computer.

But it does not.  What can I do to tune it up for music production? What should I look for. This is strictly a studio computer. I have a separate computer for everything else.





brian sansone 5 years ago | 0 comments

4 answers

  • lsc9x
    11 answers
    16 votes received
    5 votes

    I'm a computer professional, and would totally agree with cygnal that your new machine isn't much different from your previous one. 

    Here's some additional info:

    2.5GHz is only 4% faster than a 2.4Ghz, and you're only going to notice that difference (IF you can notice it) for processor related functions like rendering audio files, for example.  Load times, for applications and samples are more dictated by HD speed.  For example a 7200rpm drive is going to load applications and samples faster than a 5400rpm drive.  You would actually notice this more than the processor speed difference in your case.  Likewise, when rendering audio, you are writing data to the hard drive, so a faster drive will help.

    Unfortunately there are a lot of laptops out there that use 5400rpm drives to save power when working on battery!  (Tricky bastards...) If this is the case, find out from your laptop manufacturer if you have a 5400rpm drive or a 7200rpm drive.  If you have a 5400rpm drive, consider upgrading (if possible!) to a 7200rpm drive.  This is the easiest, cheapest upgrade for a laptop.  Please note that you have to be absolutely sure that your laptop's BIOS will actually support a 7200rpm drive because if it doesn't then you can't upgrade to it.

    Second, the RAM in your new computer, 8GB vs. 3GB isn't going to make much difference because you are likely using a 32 bit version of Ableton.  32-bit applications can only access 4GB of system RAM so essentially everything above that in your new machine isn't being used unless you are using a 64-bit version of Ableton, and even then the extra RAM is only going to be utilized IF you have so many samples and audio files loaded that you actually USE more than 4GB of RAM.  Again, there is no significant performance advantage using a 64 bit version of Ableton. (Per Ableton's own FAQ).

    There MAY be a slight difference in speed if your new 8GB of RAM is faster than your old 3GB of RAM.  RAM actually has a speed:  1333ghz RAM will run slightly faster than 1066ghz RAM.

    So, the bottom line is that you're only going to see a big performance gain if you jack up your processor speed to something like a 3.1 or 3.4ghz processor, and run on a 7200rpm drive.  Then you WILL notice a big performance gain! 

    Having said that it's important to note that the number of processor cores you have will NOT make a difference with Ableton 32 bit because 32 bit apps are not optimized to take advantage of more than 2 processor cores.  In Ableton's case, neither is the 64bit version of the application (most likely because it is not multicore optimized code...).

    To sum it up, the #1 way to make Ableton go faster is to get a much faster processor and the highest speed hard drive you can get.

    The GOOD news, as far as Ableton 32-bit is concerned, is that you do NOT need to go for an i5 or i7 processor to get this performance gain.  An i3 processor has 2 physical cores and 2 virtual cores, so if you get a 3.4ghz i3, Ableton is going to perform a bit faster than a 3.1ghz i5 or i7. The only functional difference that might push you toward an i7 is during rendering of audio files, but again if you are running 32 bit Ableton, those extra 6 cores are not going to be utilized anyway, so an i3 is just as good as an i7.

    The i5 and i7 processors are really designed for applications that take full advantage of the extra processor cores, such as next-gen 64-bit optimized games (coming soon...) and high end video and 3d rendering applications such as AutoCAD, 3DS Max or Adobe Premiere.  if you are running that stuff, then you will need to ditch the i3 and go for an i7.

    Finally, there ARE ways to make Windows run snappier and faster, and Sweetwater has an excellent guide on how to squeeze every last drop of performance out of your system:

    IMPORTANT: Optimize your system at your own risk!  There are suggestions in the above optimization guide that advise you to change your hard drive "cache" settings.  I would strongly recommend that you do NOT do this, because if you get a power outage during rendering it could ruin data on your hard drive, potentially destroying your data and rendering your computer useless.  All of the other optimization tips should not cause any significant problems.  And, as always BACK UP YOUR FILES TO AN EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE REGULARLY.

    Sorry of the caps on that, but I can't stress the need for backups enough.  There is nothing more soul-crushing than losing months or even years worth of hard work.  Any data you don't have backed up on 2 or more hard drives is data you don't care about losing.

    Anyway, hope this all helps and happy music making!  =)



    5 years ago | 0 comments
  • cygnal
    62 answers
    66 votes received
    2 votes

    There isn't much difference in hardware between your last setup and your new setup. Your music project probably don't need more than 2G of RAM. Assuming your new HD is as fast as the previous one, I'm not surprised you're not seeing much improvement. Also assuming you have a dedicated audio interface.

    On the software side, what I would make sure is that you're using the "High Performance" power plan in Control Panel > Power Options, and also disabling the wireless adapter under Network and Sharing Center > Change Adapter Settings.

    The Task Manager (accessible by right-clicking the task bar) shows you the programs, some of which might run in the background or as "Services"; there are a lot of system-essential services, but there are a few (like the "Theme" service) which are only make-up. A lot of programs nowadays will install additional "Services" so make sure you know what's going on.

    5 years ago | 2 comments
  • rsmus7
    1 answer
    1 vote received
    1 vote

    you could try the optimizations mentioned here:

    5 years ago | 0 comments
  • TroyP
    2 answers
    2 votes received
    1 vote
    5 years ago | 0 comments

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