Upgrading Your Current Computer
If you’ve experimented with the suggestions we’ve covered above and are still running into performance issues, your Live Sets are pushing the limits of what your hardware is capable of handling. The next option is to look at upgrading your current computer.
This option may not be easy or cheap, depending on your skill level and wallet, but it can defiantly make a huge difference in your production workflow.
Upgrade your RAM – The first thing to look at upgrading is RAM. (RAM stand for random access memory, not a Daft Punk reference!)
RAM, just like a hard drive, stores data. The difference is that RAM stores it temporarily. Your computer uses RAM memory to process tasks such as opening an application, installing a program, or playing a game.
Live uses a lot of memory. Each audio effect and instrument that you use in a Live Site uses up a little of your available RAM. In Live, 4GB of RAM is really the minimum that you want to work with. The more you have, though, the faster your computer will run.
- Ableton recommends using the 32-bit version of Ableton Live on machines with 4GB memory or less, or on machines with a 32-bit operating system.
- They recommend using the 64-bit version of Live on machines with a 64-bit operating system and more than 4GB installed memory.
RAM is relatively cheap now, so if you’re not running with at least 8GB, it’s an inexpensive upgrade. If you’re comfortable with DIY upgrades, we’ve had good luck with using Crucial for both RAM and information on installing RAM in specific computers. If you know what you need, though, Amazon often has better prices than Crucial.
Get A New Drive – The next thing to consider is upgrading your hard drive.
Obviously you could just get a bigger hard drive and call it a day, but we’d recommend something much more effective – Solid State Drives (SSD).
An SSD is basically a hard drive that uses non-volatile flash memory instead of mechanically reading from a magnetic platter. The main difference that you’ll notice is it SSDs dramatically cut the load time for everything – your OS, apps like Ableton Live and even your Live Sets. You will notice your computer will boot very quickly and Live will open faster. An SSD can easily cut your DAW load time in half.
The big downside of solid state hard drives is their price tag. To put it in perspective, a 500GB standard hard drive will now cost around $50-65. A 500GB solid state drive can cost over $200. If you can get past the increased cost and treat this an investment in saving your time, a solid state hard drive upgrade could be a dream upgrade.
Another option to consider is RAID arrays, which combine multiple drives to achieve both high capacity and high performance.