Upgrading RAM – How does it affect Kontakt 5?
In theory, faster ram equals less waiting time. At least that is the principle of RAM speeds. But how does RAM speeds affect loading times in Native Instruments Kontakt?
I recently upgraded my DAW computer with new RAM (memory) from 1600 MHz DDR3 to 3200 MHz DDR4 and I decided to do a preliminary test to see if the loading time in Kontakt was any better with the new RAM.
About the test
The way I tested the RAM in Kontakt 5 was to video capture the screen and measure how long it took for Kontakt to load the samples into the RAM. This is probably the best and easiest way to measure how long a user would have to wait in a real world situation. I recorded the loading times, making sure i restarted the computer for each test. Once I had the results I compared the old RAM timings with the new RAM results.
The two RAM sets I have compared are:
- Kingston DDR3 HyperX 1600MHz 16GB (KHX1600C9D3K4/16GX)
- Corsair Vengeance LED DDR4 3200MHz 32GB (CMU32GX4M2C3200C16)
Both RAM sets ran at max speed, which means that both RAM were maxed out with their respective X.M.P profiles. With the X.M.P profiles enabled, the DDR3 had a latency timing of CL11 and the DDR4 had a latency of CL16. This means that that the DDR3 has theoretically lower speed but might benefit from the low latency.
The actual loading time in this test is from a library is opened (double clicked) to it is completely loaded into RAM. All settings in Kontakt are set to the default values on a clean installation of Kontakt 5. All samples are loaded from a traditional 3.5″ spinning hard drive.
|Instrument||RAM (1600MHz)||RAM (3200MHz)|
The test shows that the results with the different RAM modules are almost identical. Since we are talking about milliseconds in difference it is only fair to say that DDR4 at 3200MHz does not reduce loading times in Kontakt 5. At the most there is a difference of only a second. On average there is only milliseconds difference. As I have discussed in previous videos the test results indicated that even if the DDR4 ram speed is double the DDR3 speed Kontakt is not able to benefit from the RAM with higher speed. The reason for this is completely open for discussion. It is most likely that the speed of the DDR4 gets cancelled out by the latency, but in theory there is no consensus for this. Crucial is criticising that the latency-speed theory is far more complex. You can read more about this here. It might also be that the DDR4 chosen for this test is not the best on the marked. Other than that Kontakt might also not me programmed to take full advantage of DDR4 modules. It is also important to note that these results are limited to a traditional hard drive. The results might be different on an SSD drive.
Either way this test concludes that just upgrading RAM to a higher speed does not necessarily give any performance boost in Kontakt 5. If it does, we are talking about milliseconds less waiting time for libraries to load. If you have any tips on how to reduce loading times in Kontakt 5 let us know in the comments.