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BBC SO Pro, CPU/RAM bottleneck

Hi Folks,

Recently purchased the BBC SO pro and running on a self-built Windows PC (all sample files running off separate HDD), after loading the template into Dorico it looks like I may need to upgrade my RAM, which is currently at 16GB.

I can juice up to 32 or 64GB however, I'm slightly concerned that my CPU may be a bottleneck. It's an i7-6700 quad-core, and I see on the specs that a 6-core is recommended. Does anyone have any thoughts on whether upgrading my RAM may or may not make this library more workable in a large orchestra setting?


  • I have a i7 6700. I recently upgraded to 32 gb ram and bbc pro seems to work fine (I did have problems with Ram when I didn’t realise it was prudent to disable unwanted articulations when you load an instrument). I don’t, however, tend to use more than 25 to 30 tracks in a song. At this level I do often go over 16 gb ram usage threshold from recollection.

    I also use a ssd for bbc pro. I have been having a few problems with instruments loaded on a hdd.

  • What have you been experiencing on an HDD? I'm wondering if it's worth it to upgrade to 32GB and also an SSD for my samples, but considering I just dropped some cash on this library I'm not exactly flush right now. I guess I'm trying to prioritize... probably RAM?

  • Gut feel is SSD will give you better/faster/smoother experience every time you are playing, more RAM will help when you get lots of instruments, mics and articulations in use so it probably depends how often you are likely to do that as to what you prioritise. I've got Mac 4core i5 1.4Ghz 16GB RAM with samples loaded on external SSD and internal SSD running the DAW. I often use Pro mixed with 2-3 other libraries - largest size is 70 tracks and I've not run out of RAM yet. I do get loading issues when switching between multiple projects but as long as I take a few minutes to let it all play through (stopping and starting a few times) it works fine after that.

  • I get a bit of drop out/distorted with my hdd (but it may be because it is old and may be slower than more recent example hdd). As Stuart says above ssd might be the best first solution. I appreciate you don’t want the additional expense at the moment but an SSD is generally useful to have. The memory upgrade, while cheaper, you can potentially update at a later date and do a few work arounds if you find you are maxing it out. Although I believe there are a few work arounds with hdd like changing preload buffer to increase amount loaded to Ram (which presumably will then increase the pressure on Ram).

    I’m about to buy a 2tb ssd as I have run out of space on my 1tb. I will use the 2tb for samples, and then maybe use the 1tb ssd for my PS5 (as I said generally useful to have).

  • SSD seems to mostly affect loading the samples into your RAM; I'm not sure how much it affects playback past that.

    I only have BBCSO Core (and a ton of free stuff on Kontakt) BUT I believe everything following this is still relevant:

    I run my Spitfire libraries from an SSD; I just upgraded RAM (yesterday lol) to 64GB from 16GB. The playback has technically not changed. I get occasional white noise/cracked notes, BUT I am able to load the entire BBCSO Core library (plus some RAM hungry solo instruments like Virtuoso Violin + Cello). I also have noticed that my computer doesn't feel like it's slowing down when I'm playing back these large patches.

    So on 16GB of RAM, when my template took up 12-13GB of RAM, the sustains felt sluggish and had cracked/white noise. I felt like my computer was struggling to produce any feedback. The sound playback was the most sluggish problem; the mouse, changing tracks, CC controls were all functioning in real time. Also, I couldn't have Google Chrome opened up while running my DAW since it ate up 3GB of RAM just flat out. That's 20% of my RAM out the door.

    On 64GB of RAM, the "huge multi-articulation" playback is a lot less glitchier (every 1 out of 5 attempts I get a clean sound). My computer is not struggling to play it back, it feels lively and responsive. My full template takes up about 15-16GB of RAM (it's not a lot, but I upgraded to do some future proofing), and I know that if I loaded another giant library into my template, I'd still have a great responsive playback. Maybe not live, random, smack the keyboard a few hundred times playback, but if I put in all the MIDI notes, it would play it without the glitchy distortion.

    TLDR: if your template is above 12GB of RAM, an upgrade will give you a perceivably more responsive and 'in real time' sound. If your sound is lagging, but your actual DAW seems to be operating fine (no screen glitches), upgrade that RAM. If your mouse is slowing down, your screen is buffering (not talking about loading a new plugin, that's a mix of RAM and CPU), then you'll want to upgrade your CPU.

    I will need another SSD for more libraries though. My current 1TB SSD is at like 700GB, and Studio Strings Professional is around 200GB. So I'm gonna just move all my Spitfire stuff onto a separate SSD when I get there.

  • Angus
    Angus admin
    100 Comments 100 Likes 5 Answers Spitfire Employee

    Just reading the OP, the issue here pertains to two issues.

    1. The Library is stored on a HDD drive, which will incur slow load times and disk clipping.
    2. Dorico does not currently have a freeze/ mute track function that unloads the plugin like Cubase. So therefore, if you load a full BBC SO Template, you will be using around 13GB of RAM. Typical DAW's use 4-6GB of RAM, so you will more than likely be exceeding your limit.

    I'd recommend you look at storing the samples on an SSD drive to begin with before upgrading RAM. Samsung T5's are reasonably priced these days, as that model has been super-seeded by the T7.

    Within BBC SO, you can mitigate RAM load by removing any techniques you are not using:

    For more information on how Disk clipping can affect sample streaming, see the link below:

  • To add my own experience, my PC is running an i7 4790, an even older quad-core CPU than the OP, with 32GB RAM and BBC SO Pro on an SSD and I experience no issues in Cubase.

  • johnrakemusic
    edited May 1

    I ended up biting the bullet and upgrading to 32gb and got an SSD for my samples. Does anyone know if there are issues with that if the OS drive is an HDD? I reckon I'll upgrade it to an SSD at some point but I'll have to a) wait till I have some more $$ and b) wait till can set aside the time to migrate my OS.

  • Angus
    Angus admin
    100 Comments 100 Likes 5 Answers Spitfire Employee

    There are two main issues with HDD drives. First, the can only read or write which means the performance is a lot slower than SSDs- which can simultaneously read and write. Secondly, HDDs have mechanical parts inside, which are subject to breaking if the hard drives are subject to an impact, and the parts degrade overtime- which means the lifespan is considerably shorter compared to SSD.

    I would always recommend having your system drive as an SSD, and then storing sample libraries on an external SSD drive, formatted to your OS.

  • I have a question what would be the ideal configuration in the BBCSO configuration panel if I have 32g ram, a samsung 860 evo ssd disk and an intel core i7700 I mean buffer size and things like that I can't find a place where they make any recommendations

  • Angus
    Angus admin
    100 Comments 100 Likes 5 Answers Spitfire Employee

    @Jhon Alexis we recommend keeping the plugin audio settings at default. In terms of streamlining your workflow, if mixing with many BBC SO Mics, you should increase your sample buffer rate to the highest available (most likely 1024 samples). You should also conserve RAM by purging any techniques you are not using (see video above)

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