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RAM and Performance

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A few months ago I had upgraded the RAM on my motherboard to 32GB on my Audio PC mainly due to BugHead player. Didn't take much notice of it until the last few weeks. I've now noticed that JRiver and HQPlayer play without any problems. I used to get the occasional pause when playing DSD files. Now almost nothing.

 

Earlier my thinking was that 4-8 GB was plenty for an audio machine with minimal hardware. I'm starting to suspect that the better the hardware spec the better the sound on the whole. As I've begun to favor the more computing intensive players like HQPlayer and BugHead, I've found that increasing processor speed and memory has definitely improved things on the playback front.

 

Processor speed apart, I'd like to know if others have found playback quality improve just with increasing RAM.

 

 

Note: I realized that my post seems like I'm stating the obvious. However, there is the thinking that minimizing the hardware bells and whistles was the way to go i.e. minimal fanless machines with cool running processors etc. I find myself moving in the other direction.


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I've gone the more RAM and higher power route as well. With 16GB of DDR4 over the 8GB previously used the stuttering and skipping problems have been minimized.

 

I've heard that one only needs enough RAM for the OS and apps, and the size of the music file being played on top of that. That doesn't seem to be the case however. Another instance of reality winning out over theory?

 

I've also heard that for audio purposes lower capacity RAM sticks are better, i.e. 2 x 4GB rather than 1 X 8GB. So I have 4 X 4GB for a total of 16GB.

 

And a Core i7 CPU doesn't seem to hurt. I can underclock and undervolt the CPU as well and the sound does seem to smooth out a bit, but the settings can be adjusted to automatically allow more power if needed for upsampling or playing higher resolution files.

 

Just my observations with my own system.

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I've been messing around with reducing the RAM in my Audio PC from 2x8gb to just one stick. I am not sure if I hear any improvement in sound but I did notice slight lower power consumption (about 1W). In both my Control and Audio PCs running Server Essentials, Jplay, and Fidelizer my max RAM usage is only 1gb. Anyway, I like the idea of reducing power consumption so I am going to route of minimizing RAM.


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Another hornet nest for sure.

ECC or Non ECC (Or more for Xeon or not)

DDR3 or 4 (Less latency or more)

More Speed, more latency or less speed reduced latency.

Not forgetting that more sticks of ram means more electrical circuit is active.

 

Nevertheless I would think if the software is written to take advantage of bandwidth, speed,etc. Loaded machine may be better.

I will know for sure in a month, as I am sitting on 32GB of DDR4 at 2666 MHZ which will go into my new CAS.


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I've only got 4GB on a A4-5000 based system with Windows 7 Pro. 24/192 plays back with JRiver just fine. Even if I use JRiver's DSP functions.

 

The files size, bit rate, encoding, are all trivial. Remember 24/96 was easily doable 16-18 years ago on higher end setup.

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I've been messing around with reducing the RAM in my Audio PC from 2x8gb to just one stick. I am not sure if I hear any improvement in sound but I did notice slight lower power consumption (about 1W). In both my Control and Audio PCs running Server Essentials, Jplay, and Fidelizer my max RAM usage is only 1gb. Anyway, I like the idea of reducing power consumption so I am going to route of minimizing RAM.

 

You should not minimize RAM, but minimize sticks. If you have, say, 8Gb divided over 4 x 2Gb sticks, versus 1 stick of 8Gb, then the latter will probably sound better due to the lower power consumption. But on 8Gb vs 16Gb both on 1 stick, because there is less need for loading and swapping, the 16Gb stick would have the (theoretical) advantage. It gets even better when you use the RAM as a RAM Disk.


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I've only got 4GB on a A4-5000 based system with Windows 7 Pro. 24/192 plays back with JRiver just fine. Even if I use JRiver's DSP functions.

 

The files size, bit rate, encoding, are all trivial. Remember 24/96 was easily doable 16-18 years ago on higher end setup.

 

I can still run JRiver with material up to 24/96 on an old Dell Latitude laptop with 512MB RAM. It's when you move up to higher resolution and up sampling that you run out of steam. But yes, JRiver runs on that old laptop without a problem.

 

JRiver on my next machine had trouble with DSD with 8GB RAM.

Now on the same machine with 32GB RAM I'm doing 2xDSD native without a hitch.


Win10 Transport + Fidelizer 8 + JRMC 25 & HQPlayer | TotalDAC D1 USB Filter | Job INT | Western Electric 12GA | Green Mountain Audio Eos HX

 

 

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You should not minimize RAM, but minimize sticks. If you have, say, 8Gb divided over 4 x 2Gb sticks, versus 1 stick of 8Gb, then the latter will probably sound better due to the lower power consumption. But on 8Gb vs 16Gb both on 1 stick, because there is less need for loading and swapping, the 16Gb stick would have the (theoretical) advantage. It gets even better when you use the RAM as a RAM Disk.

 

Rats nest for sure. All in fun.

 

Where is it written that lower power comsumption means better sound? Honestly and with no offense to anyone, I challenge anyone to tell me that the reduction by 1 watt is going to have any affect on sound quality.

 

Paul Pang insists that each stick of RAM with smaller capacity sounds better than 1 stick with a larger capacity. (1 X 8 vs. 2 X 4).

I can't tell because I'm just human. But I trust his judgement.

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Where is it written that lower power comsumption means better sound? Honestly and with no offense to anyone, I challenge anyone to tell me that the reduction by 1 watt is going to have any affect on sound quality.

I never said that the reduction in power consumption led to better sound. I just said I like the idea of consuming lower power as a general comment. I should have been more clear.


12TB NAS >> i7-6700 Server/Control PC >> i3-5015u NAA >> Singxer SU-1 DDC (modded) >> Holo Spring L3 DAC >> Accustic Arts Power 1 int amp >> Sonus Faber Guaneri Evolution speakers + REL T/5i sub (x2)

 

Other components:

UpTone Audio LPS1.2/IsoRegen, Fiber Switch and FMC, Windows Server 2016 OS, Audiophile Optimizer 3.0, Fidelizer Pro 6, HQ Player, Roonserver, PS Audio P3 AC regenerator, HDPlex 400W ATX & 200W Linear PSU, Light Harmonic Lightspeed Split USB cable, Synergistic Research Tungsten AC power cords, Tara Labs The One speaker cables, Tara Labs The Two Extended with HFX Station IC, Oyaide R1 outlets, Stillpoints Ultra Mini footers, Hi-Fi Tuning fuses, Vicoustic/RealTraps/GIK room treatments

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I never said that the reduction in power consumption led to better sound. I just said I like the idea of consuming lower power as a general comment. I should have been more clear.

 

Point taken. My apologies.

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Media players don't use large memory. It's useless to have large RAM. Typical media players use less than 70MB, even when music DVDs are played. Music DVDs are far larger than your typical high-definition audio bandwidth.

 

I tested memory usage on 4GB RAM windows 10. I ran several big programs at the same time. It barely reached 2 GB usage. You don't run many at the same time. Media players do not use large memory. Windows 10 uses about 1.6GB. So 2GB RAM is already sufficient for media players. 4GB RAM will be more than sufficient. 32GB is gross overkill. It won't improve anything other than consumes more power. Note that more RAM means more power consumption. It's no good.

 

4GB is the best RAM size.

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Where is it written that lower power comsumption means better sound? Honestly and with no offense to anyone, I challenge anyone to tell me that the reduction by 1 watt is going to have any affect on sound quality.

 

In a lot of threads including the one of DRAM bit-flipping.


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A few months ago I had upgraded the RAM on my motherboard to 32GB on my Audio PC mainly due to BugHead player. Didn't take much notice of it until the last few weeks. I've now noticed that JRiver and HQPlayer play without any problems. I used to get the occasional pause when playing DSD files.

 

Most probably has to do with swapping. Bigger RAM definitely helps here and to an extreme, see the threads where people run the OS completely from RAM for even better SQ.


Dedicated Line DSD/DXD | Audirvana+ | iFi iDSD Nano | SET Tube Amp | Totem Mites

Surround: VLC | M-Audio FastTrack Pro | Mac Opt | Panasonic SA-HE100 | Logitech Z623

DIY: SET Tube Amp | Low-Noise Linear Regulated Power Supply | USB, Power, Speaker Cables | Speaker Stands | Acoustic Panels

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Media players don't use large memory. It's useless to have large RAM. Typical media players use less than 70MB, even when music DVDs are played. Music DVDs are far larger than your typical high-definition audio bandwidth.

 

I tested memory usage on 4GB RAM windows 10. I ran several big programs at the same time. It barely reached 2 GB usage. You don't run many at the same time. Media players do not use large memory. Windows 10 uses about 1.6GB. So 2GB RAM is already sufficient for media players. 4GB RAM will be more than sufficient. 32GB is gross overkill. It won't improve anything other than consumes more power. Note that more RAM means more power consumption. It's no good.

 

4GB is the best RAM size.

 

Yet there is anecdotal evidence within this thread that refutes your opinion. :)

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... there is the thinking that minimizing the hardware bells and whistles was the way to go i.e. minimal fanless machines with cool running processors etc. I find myself moving in the other direction.

 

I have no comment on RAM in isolation, but I have definitely noticed that a PC with a faster processor, more RAM and bigger PSU sounds noticeably better than a low-powered NUC style of PC.

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Yet there is anecdotal evidence within this thread that refutes your opinion. :)

 

There is no evidence other than placebo effect on your ears. I know computers very well, as being a computer scientist. If you are a computer professional, you won't claim that.

 

Larger RAM requires more power, which means more heat. It can have negative effect.

 

Your media player will never use more than 100MB. 32GB is a pure waste.

I used to use 0.5GB Windows XP with 24/192Khz DAC. Stuttering is often caused by the whims of multi-tasking, disk drive & CPU contentions, etc. I used SD cards to reduce stuttering.

Edited by hdo
To correct information

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Your media player will never use more than 100MB.

 

According to the Activity Monitor on my Mac, JRiver is currently using 843.5 MB of memory. I am playing a DSD file with "Play files from memory" engaged.


“All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone listening to music.”

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There is no evidence other than placebo effect on your ears. I know computers very well, as being a computer scientist. If you are a computer professional, you won't claim that.

 

Larger RAM requires more power, which means more heat. It will have negative effect on processors.

 

Your media player will never use more than 100MB. 32GB is a pure waste.

I used to use 0.5GB Windows XP with 24/192Khz DAC. Stuttering is often caused by the whims of multi-tasking, disk drive & CPU contentions, etc. I used SD cards to reduce stuttering.

 

Actually its for use with the Bug Head Player. Its resource intensive... needs both a capable processor and lots of RAM. The tradeoff is between performance and resources and totally worth it from the point of improvement in SQ.

 

Folks do know (and can hear) the difference between placebo and the real thing.

 

BHE (apart from video encoding) pretty much maxes out my i7 and 16 GB RAM.

 

I get what the OP is saying, especially in the context of DSD and high res music and upsampling the same with BHE.

 

However, personally I've had better gains going the opposite direction, a low end Pi and wireless streaming. But then I am also limited to audio CDs and FLACs and don't really upsample much.

 

The Bug is an amazing player though. I use it off and on, just not all the time though. Takes too much time, cannot access the entire library, even makes you wait for your music as it resamples and processes on the fly, but the SQ is worth it.

 

Most of the time though I'm perfectly happy with the Pi and being able to stream my entire collection to any part of the house or even out of it.


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According to the Activity Monitor on my Mac, JRiver is currently using 843.5 MB of memory. I am playing a DSD file with "Play files from memory" engaged.

 

Of course, you can store your entire music on in-memory database such as SAP HANA and write a player for that. Then 1TB RAM won't be enough!

 

Most stuttering can be avoided with faster CPU and not using the primary disk/SDD drive.

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Media players don't use large memory. It's useless to have large RAM. Typical media players use less than 70MB, even when music DVDs are played. Music DVDs are far larger than your typical high-definition audio bandwidth.

...

 

4GB is the best RAM size.

 

I don't disagree with you on the amount of RAM needed. When I run JRiver and HQPlayer on my audio machine (Win7), Resource Monitor shows that RAM usage hovers around the 4 GB mark.

 

Getting audio to work on any hardware combination is trivial. I just want to know if anyone on here has preferred going towards the higher hardware spec route - specifically RAM.

 

 

Actually its for use with the Bug Head Player. Its resource intensive... needs both a capable processor and lots of RAM. The tradeoff is between performance and resources and totally worth it from the point of improvement in SQ.

 

Yes, I had upgraded RAM mainly to use BHE which I run in "High Class Professional" mode. BHE uses a massive amount of resources and I found that increasing RAM to be the easiest way to get the program to run in HCP mode.

 

The players that I favor for critical listening (HQPlayer and Bughead) both benefit from higher processor speed and RAM both being "brute force" approaches in terms of computing.

Edited by Nikhil

Win10 Transport + Fidelizer 8 + JRMC 25 & HQPlayer | TotalDAC D1 USB Filter | Job INT | Western Electric 12GA | Green Mountain Audio Eos HX

 

 

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Most probably has to do with swapping. Bigger RAM definitely helps here and to an extreme, see the threads where people run the OS completely from RAM for even better SQ.

 

Thanks Yash! That thread came up at the same time as mine by coincidence.

Loading the OS completely into RAM is a different kettle of fish.

 

However, I did manage to run Win7 on my old Dell Latitude which came with 30GB HDD and 512MB RAM. In comparison my current audio machine has 32GB RAM alone - incredible!


Win10 Transport + Fidelizer 8 + JRMC 25 & HQPlayer | TotalDAC D1 USB Filter | Job INT | Western Electric 12GA | Green Mountain Audio Eos HX

 

 

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Joining u guys here

On 2/18/2016 at 3:38 AM, Nikhil said:

 

Thanks Yash! That thread came up at the same time as mine by coincidence.

Loading the OS completely into RAM is a different kettle of fish.

 

However, I did manage to run Win7 on my old Dell Latitude which came with 30GB HDD and 512MB RAM. In comparison my current audio machine has 32GB RAM alone - incredible!

No doubt adequate RAM is needed for high RES like DSD256, load entire track in RAM can be close to 8 GB, and once loaded to RAM the computer works less to play, rather than continuing to load and play at the same time.

i am about to get the latest MACbook Probwhich finally can do 32 GB RAM but do I actually need the excess RAM of 32GB? Would 16GB be adequate ? I suppose running DSD256 multichannel for a file >15 min long perhaps will require this amount of RAM? Like a Mahler symphony movement lasting >30min ? 

 

Nikhil, have u tried 16GB and then increased to 32 GB and there was improvement ? 

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2 hours ago, Chopin75 said:

Nikhil, have u tried 16GB and then increased to 32 GB and there was improvement ? 

 

To be honest I could not tell the difference.

 

The original context of this discussion was using players like Bughead and HQPlayer which were computing intensive.

Bughead was a real hog in terms of computing so the 32 GB really helped getting to use a performance level called "High Class Professional".

 

Since then I have stopped using Bughead in favor of JRiver, Roon and HQPlayer of which HQPlayer is the player which uses the most resources. But players have become better at handling computer resources.  I also have Fidelizer 8.2 which now has added features to handle background processes better.  In addition, I have Process Lasso software running it's ProBalance algorithm in the background which keeps everything in check.

 

  

 

 

 


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On 2/17/2016 at 11:11 PM, plissken said:

I've only got 4GB on a A4-5000 based system with Windows 7 Pro. 24/192 plays back with JRiver just fine. Even if I use JRiver's DSP functions.

 

The files size, bit rate, encoding, are all trivial. Remember 24/96 was easily doable 16-18 years ago on higher end setup.

 

I am running 72 channels convolution and another 4 channels of additional DSP on another 4 channels. Multiply this by 5 for different settings and the RAM usage is only about 56% of the Corsair Vengence LPX 8GB DDR4. And all file are always upsampled or down samples in real time. This is CPU and memory intensive playback using JRiver and DAW running simultaneously. 

 

JRiver max play by memory is limited to 3GB only. The stutter which the OP mentioned is most probably due to bottleneck somewhere inside the data transmission chain or RAM and motherboard compatibility issues. 

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1 hour ago, STC said:

JRiver max play by memory is limited to 3GB only. The stutter which the OP mentioned is most probably due to bottleneck somewhere inside the data transmission chain or RAM and motherboard compatibility issues. 

 

What processor are you using?   That is a crazy amount of processing going on!

Once again ... this is an old thread from 2016.  The original context was using BHE and HQPlayer on a Core i5 machine.


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