Today, we’re going to dig in a little bit deeper and talk about PC specs you should be looking at for music production, as well as what models of PC might be the best choice.
The most straightforward answer for how much RAM you need for music production in 2023 is 8 GB of ram. Of course, the answer to that question may depend on the style of music production you are into, what kinds of VSTs you use, etc.
How Do I Build A PC For Music Production?
The computer you choose has the ability to make or break your overall productivity. There are a few specifications that are essential when maintaining a steady flow in production, and if overlooked could seriously hinder your workflow and efficiency.
Here is a list of 3 most essentials components for music production:
Your central processing unit is arguably the most important part to consider when searching for the perfect music production workstation. This is the foundation of your productions, as it will ultimately determine the speed at which you can perform various tasks – editing, playback of complex projects, and even some MIDI-oriented programming.
You will want to prioritize your expenditure here to get the best CPU your budget can afford. Ideally, you will want an 8-core CPU, however, if you are confident in the modesty of your projects then a 6-core CPU should suit you perfectly.
If you are looking to build the best computer possible then I would absolutely recommend you go up to the 18-core options that exist in today’s market, though as you can imagine – this is where it starts to get highly expensive.
RAM, otherwise known as Random-access Memory, is another highly important component to consider when building the ultimate music production workstation.
Here you will need to consider not only the size of your RAM but also the speed at which it operates.
You can afford to strike a nice balance here between affordability and efficiency, and I would recommend for first-time purchasers a 16GB, DDR3 1600MHz. However, if you know that you like to use a plethora of programs in concurrence, it might be in your best interest to opt for a faster RAM – if you are comfortable with overclocking your CPU that is.
Large SSD or HDD
It may appear obvious that internal storage is essential when building a PC, but it is often overlooked by newcomers. If you choose to skimp on onboard storage, you will lose out on the freedom to create as many projects in your DAW as your heart desires.
Your quest to acquire hundreds of snare samples in an attempt to find the perfect hit will be limited, and your lifelong goal of producing a film score with a huge orchestral ensemble, utilizing Native Instruments’ sampling libraries, will be put to an end.
While external storage is a good solution and is starting to become increasingly affordable, the convenience of a large internal SSD or HDD is unparalleled. We recommend opting for a 2TB HDD, which will serve you well for the first few years of music production, dependent on your taste in sample libraries.
Best RAM For Music Production: 6 Picks For Comfortable Workflow 2023
1. Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32GB DDR4 3600
The Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32GB DDR4 3600 is a high-performance RAM kit that can be a great choice for music production.
Its 32GB capacity provides ample space for large sample libraries and other memory-intensive tasks. The 3600 MHz speed ensures fast data access and transfer, which can improve the overall system performance when working with large audio projects.
The RGB lighting adds an aesthetic touch to the build and can be customized to match the user’s preferences. However, the cost of this RAM kit may be higher than other alternatives with similar specifications, so users should consider their budget and other options before making a final decision.
The RAM is ideal for users who prioritize customization and performance. Its customizable RGB lighting adds a stylish flair to any build, while the low heat production ensures minimal noise. This RAM kit balances aesthetics and function, making it an excellent choice for users looking to build a high-performing system with personalized lighting.
- Brand name
Corsair is a well-known and respected brand in the computer hardware industry, and the Vengeance RGB Pro series has a reputation for being reliable and high-performing. The kit also comes with a limited lifetime warranty, providing peace of mind for users who want to protect their investments.
- High Capacity
With a total capacity of 32GB, this RAM kit provides ample space for memory-intensive tasks like music production, video editing, and gaming.
- High speed
The 3600 MHz speed ensures fast data access and transfer, which can significantly improve system performance when working with large files and applications.
- Low heat production
The DDR4 architecture ensures low heat production, which reduces the need for additional cooling solutions and helps to keep the system noise levels low. However, it’s still not as low as similar products in the market in the same range.
- Sleek and durable design
The heat spreader is constructed with high-quality aluminum and is designed to help dissipate heat more efficiently. The kit’s RGB lighting is also customizable with Corsair’s iCUE software, allowing users to create unique lighting effects and synchronize with other compatible components.
The Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro has been optimized for high-frequency performance with Intel and AMD motherboards, making it a great choice for those looking to push the limits of their system’s performance. The RAM’s XMP 2.0 support allows easy overclocking, increasing the system’s performance potential.
2. XPG Spectrix D60G 32GB DDR4 3200
The XPG Spectrix D60G 32GB DDR4 3200 RAM can be a reliable music production option due to its high-speed performance and ample storage capacity.
The RAM allows music production software to operate smoothly and with minimal latency, resulting in better performance. Additionally, the visually appealing RGB lighting on the module can add a touch of style to the music production setup.
- High-speed performance
With a frequency of 3200MHz, this RAM can offer fast data transfer rates, allowing for the quick and smooth operation of memory-intensive applications.
- Ample storage capacity
The 32GB storage capacity can simultaneously accommodate multiple applications and software, making it ideal for content creators, gamers, and music producers.
- RGB lighting and XMP 2.0 support
The RAM features RGB lighting that can be customized using software to create a unique and personalized look for the computer build. In addition, it supports Intel’s XMP 2.0 technology, allowing easy memory overclocking for even better performance.
- Heat spreader
The RAM has a heat spreader that dissipates heat efficiently, keeping the module cool even under heavy loads. That results in tremendous energy savings and low heat production, preventing the RAM from overheating, which can lead to performance issues and even damage the component.
The efficient heat dissipation provided by the heat spreader allows the RAM to operate at optimal temperatures even under heavy loads, ensuring reliable and stable performance and a noise-free environment.
3. Crucial 32 GB DDR4 3200 (Budget)
The Crucial 32 GB DDR4 3200 RAM is an excellent choice for music production.
It is a high-performance memory module that can easily handle large amounts of data and multitask, making it perfect for running music production software. The high-speed memory and low latency of the DDR4 3200 RAM provide fast and reliable data transfer, which is essential for music production.
With 32 GB of RAM, you can load multiple virtual instruments and effects plugins simultaneously without worrying about performance issues. Overall, the Crucial 32 GB DDR4 3200 RAM is a great investment for any musician or music producer looking to enhance their computer’s performance for music production purposes.
Lastly, although it comes without a heatsink and may produce slightly more heat, the RAM is still recommended for builds without transparent casing. The extra heat produced may cause a slight increase in chassis fan noise, but the RAM’s affordable price makes it a good value option nonetheless.
- High-speed memory
The DDR4 3200 RAM is designed to deliver faster data transfer rates, making it an ideal choice for demanding tasks like music production. The higher the data transfer rate, the faster your computer can access and manipulate data. This means you can load and manipulate large audio files quickly and efficiently, saving you valuable time and boosting productivity.
- Low latency
RAM latency refers to the time it takes for your computer to access data stored in the RAM. The lower the latency, the faster your computer can access data, resulting in faster performance and reduced lag. The Crucial 32GB DDR4 3200 RAM has a low latency, so your computer can quickly access data stored in the RAM, resulting in smoother performance.
- Large capacity
With 32GB of RAM, you can run multiple music production software and virtual instruments simultaneously without any performance issues. This is particularly useful for music producers who work with large audio files and require multiple software applications to run simultaneously.
The large capacity of the Crucial 32GB DDR4 3200 RAM ensures that your computer can handle multiple tasks without slowing down.
- High compatibility
The Crucial 32GB DDR4 3200 RAM is compatible with a wide range of motherboards, making upgrading your computer’s memory easy. This means you can use the RAM with most modern motherboards without worrying about compatibility issues.
- Efficient power consumption
The DDR4 technology in this RAM consumes less power than DDR3, resulting in better energy efficiency and longer battery life. This is particularly useful for laptops and other portable devices, as it helps to extend the battery life. The efficient power consumption of the Crucial 32GB DDR4 3200 RAM makes it an excellent choice for energy-conscious users.
- Easy installation
The Crucial 32GB DDR4 3200 RAM is easy to install and requires no special tools or software. This means you can upgrade your computer’s memory quickly and easily without technical expertise. The RAM comes with detailed installation instructions, making it easy for even novice users to install.
Top 14 Desktop PCs For Music Production 2023
Top 6 Motherboards For Music Production & DAW 2023
Top 11 Numeric Keyboards For Music Production 2023
6 Best GPUs For Music Production & DAW 2023
Top 10 PC Monitors For Music Production 2023 (LCD, LEQ, QLED)
AMD vs. Intel vs. Apple Silicon: Which Is The Best CPU For Music Production?
Top 11 External SSD For Sample Libraries 2023 (Kontakt & Others)
Top 6 Internal SSDs For Seamless Music Production 2023
4. Kingston FURY Beast RGB 32GB 3600
The Kingston FURY Beast RGB 32GB 3600 is a great option for music production due to its high-speed performance, large capacity, and visually appealing lighting effects.
Its 3600MHz speed allows fast data transfer, which is particularly useful for complex tasks like music production. With 32GB of capacity, this RAM can simultaneously support multiple plugins, sample libraries, and virtual instruments. Its energy-efficient technology results in longer battery life, making it a great option for laptops or other portable devices used for music production.
Additionally, the added lighting effects provide a visually appealing touch to any music production setup.
- High-speed performance
The Kingston FURY Beast RGB 32GB 3600 operates at a clock speed of 3600MHz, making it one of the fastest memory modules available. This high-speed performance results in fast data transfer rates and low latency, essential for gaming and content creation.
- Large capacity
With 32GB capacity, FURY Beast can handle memory-intensive applications such as video editing, 3D rendering, and virtual machine environments. It also allows for running multiple applications simultaneously without any performance issues.
- Easy installation
The RAM is easy to install and requires no additional software or tools. The memory module is compatible with many motherboards and processors, making it an ideal choice for upgrading your system.
- Heat spreader design
The Kingston FURY Beast RGB 32GB 3600 features a stylish heat spreader design that enhances the visual appeal of your system and helps dissipate heat. This design helps maintain stable performance even under heavy loads, making it an ideal choice for high-performance systems.
- XMP 2.0 support
The RAM supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) 2.0. XMP 2.0 lets you overclock your memory modules and achieve higher performance levels.
The FURY Beast is compatible with a wide range of Intel and AMD platforms, making it a versatile choice for various systems. In addition, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty, providing peace of mind to the user.
- Quality control
Kingston, the manufacturer of this RAM, has a reputation for quality and reliability. All Kingston memory modules undergo rigorous testing and quality control measures to meet high standards.
5. Corsair Vengeance 32GB DDR5 5600 (Future-Proof)
The Corsair Vengeance 32GB DDR5 5600 RAM is an excellent choice for music production due to its high-speed and low-latency performance.
With a capacity of 32GB and a frequency of 5600MHz, this RAM module can handle multiple music production software and virtual instruments simultaneously while providing fast and reliable data transfer rates. The Vengeance DDR5 RAM is optimized for Intel motherboards, ensuring compatibility with various systems.
It also consumes less power than DDR4 RAM, resulting in better energy efficiency and longer battery life. Installation is easy and requires no special tools or software. Overall, the RAM is a high-performance solution for music production.
As DDR5 memory technology is still relatively new, there may be some stability concerns with the Corsair Vengeance 32GB DDR5 5600 RAM. However, Corsair Vengeance is the least problematic DDR5 RAM available in the market but is not recommended if stability is your priority.
- High-speed performance
The Corsair Vengeance 32GB DDR5 5600 RAM is designed to provide high-speed performance, with a memory speed of 5600MHz. This makes it ideal for demanding applications, such as gaming, video editing, and 3D rendering.
- Large capacity
With a capacity of 32GB, the RAM is ideal for users who need a large amount of memory to run multiple applications simultaneously or to handle large data sets.
- Low latency
The device has a low CAS latency of 32, meaning it can access data quickly and efficiently. In addition, the RAM is designed to support Intel XMP 3.0, allowing users to overclock the memory for even higher performance easily.
The Corsair Vengeance DDR5 RAM is designed to work with the latest DDR5 motherboards and chipsets, providing users with a reliable and high-performance memory solution.
- RGB lighting
The RAM features RGB lighting, allowing you to customize the system’s look with various lighting effects and colors.
6. G.Skill Trident Z RGB 32GB 3600
The G.Skill Trident Z RGB 32GB 3600 is a high-performance memory module designed for gamers, content creators, and other power users.
Its 3600MHz clock speed ensures fast data transfer rates and low latency, critical for demanding applications like gaming and content creation. Its large 32GB capacity allows for multitasking and running multiple applications simultaneously without any performance issues. The customizable RGB lighting effects add a visually stunning touch to any setup.
The RAM is an excellent choice to enhance your system’s performance and aesthetics. However, it could be a bit pricy, even though the brand behind it is well-trusted.
- High-speed performance
With a clock speed of 3600MHz, this RAM offers fast data transfer rates and low latency, improving performance for demanding applications like gaming, video editing, and content creation.
- Large capacity and can handle heavy loads.
The 32GB capacity allows you to multitask and run multiple applications simultaneously without any performance issues. In addition, its heat spreader design helps dissipate heat, maintaining stable performance under heavy loads. These features are especially helpful for PCs/laptops in music or recording studios.
- XMP 2.0 support
The RAM supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) 2.0, a technology that enables users to overclock their memory modules and achieve higher performance levels.
- Quality control
G.Skill has a reputation for quality and reliability, as All Trident Z RGB memory modules undergo rigorous testing and quality control measures to meet high standards. In addition, it is compatible with a wide range of motherboards, making upgrading your computer’s memory easy.
- Overclocking capabilities
While this RAM is already designed to be high-performance, it also has significant overclocking capabilities. The XMP 2.0 support allows easy overclocking, allowing users to push the RAM beyond its standard clock speed for even faster performance.
- Enhanced aesthetics
This RAM’s customizable RGB lighting effects can be synchronized with other compatible RGB devices, such as fans and LED strips, for a cohesive and synchronized look. Additionally, the heat spreader design not only helps dissipate heat but also adds to the aesthetics of the RAM with a sleek and stylish design.
- Lifetime warranty
G.Skill stands behind the quality and reliability of its products, offering a lifetime warranty on this RAM. This gives users peace of mind knowing they are investing long-term in their system’s performance.
Does RAM size matter for music production?
Yes, RAM size is important for music production. Music production software can be very demanding on a computer’s resources, especially when working with large audio files or running multiple virtual instruments and effects plugins.
Enough RAM can help ensure your music production software runs smoothly without any performance issues or crashes. If your computer doesn’t have enough RAM, you may experience slowdowns or have trouble running multiple programs at once, which can be frustrating when working on complex music projects.
The exact amount of RAM you need for music production will depend on the specific software you use and the size and complexity of your projects. For example, for electronic music producers who rely primarily on software synthesizers and other virtual instruments, the RAM requirements are typically lower than those of users working with large sampled instruments.
That is because electronic music producers often use synthesized sounds and audio effects, which require less RAM than sampled instruments that use pre-recorded audio samples. The RAM requirements for sampled instruments, like Kontakt instruments, can vary widely, depending on the size and complexity of the sample library.
Hence, we have included 32 GB RAMs, which cover the requirements of everyone from electronic music producers to film/orchestral composers/producers who work on huge Kontakt or other sampled instrument libraries.
Lastly, if you want to use video editing and photo editing software, a good baseline for RAM is 16GB, with 32GB or more recommended for larger projects. The exact RAM requirements will depend on the specific software being used and the size and complexity of the files.
How fast should RAM be for music production?
The speed of RAM, also known as the RAM frequency or clock speed, can affect the overall performance of your computer when using music production software. However, the impact of RAM speed on music production is generally not as significant as having enough RAM capacity.
RAM speed is generally measured in megahertz (MHz) or gigahertz (GHz). The higher the frequency, the faster the RAM can transfer data. However, the performance difference between RAM and different speeds may not be noticeable in most music production scenarios.
For music production, a good baseline for RAM speed is DDR4, with a frequency of 2133 MHz or higher. However, faster RAM can be beneficial in some cases, such as when working with large sample libraries or running many virtual instruments and effects simultaneously. In these cases, RAM with a frequency of 3000 MHz or higher may slightly improve performance.
However, it’s important to note that once RAM speeds reach a certain threshold, such as 3200 MHz, the performance gains of faster RAM become less noticeable, and the benefits of having more RAM capacity become more significant. That is because once a certain RAM speed has been reached, the bottleneck in performance shifts from the RAM to other components such as the processor, storage drive, or graphics card.
In other words, while faster RAM may improve performance in some scenarios, it is no longer the primary factor limiting a computer’s performance. Secondly, when it comes to computer performance, the speed of the RAM is only one of several factors that can affect overall system performance.
Other hardware components like the CPU, storage drives (e.g., SSD, HDD), and graphics card can significantly impact system speed and responsiveness. For example, if the CPU is not powerful enough to keep up with the data transfer rate of high-speed RAM, then the RAM speed will not provide a noticeable performance improvement.
Similarly, storage drives with slower read/write speeds can limit the overall system performance, even with fast RAM. Now let’s get to the main topic of discussion.
Last Words about RAM For Music Production
In conclusion, choosing the right RAM for music production is crucial to ensure smooth and reliable performance while working on large audio projects. The six picks listed above provide ample storage capacity, high-speed performance, and customizable RGB lighting options to enhance the overall aesthetic of the setup. From the budget-friendly Crucial 32 GB DDR4 3200 to the future-proof Corsair Vengeance 32GB DDR5 5600, there are options for every user’s needs and budget.
First, the Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32GB DDR4 3600 offers high performance, ample storage capacity, and customizable RGB lighting, making it an excellent choice for users who prioritize aesthetics and function. Next, the XPG Spectrix D60G 32GB DDR4 3200 is reliable, with high-speed performance, low latency, and visually appealing RGB lighting.
The third RAM on the list, the Crucial 32 GB DDR4 3200, is a great investment for any musician or music producer looking for an affordable option to handle large amounts of data and multitask. Next, Kingston FURY Beast RGB 32GB 3600 offers high-speed performance, large capacity, and energy-efficient technology, making it a great option for music producers using laptops or other portable devices.
The Corsair Vengeance 32GB DDR5 5600 is a future-proof RAM module with high-speed and low-latency performance, making it an excellent choice for music production. Finally, the G.Skill Trident Z RGB 32GB 3600 is designed for power users due to its high clock speed, large capacity, and customizable RGB lighting effects, making it a visually stunning addition to any setup.
Ultimately, the choice of RAM will depend on the specific needs and budget of the user. However, any RAM modules listed here can enhance a user’s music production setup and improve overall system performance.
Which Processor (CPU) Is Best For Music Production in 2023?
1. Intel i7 12700K
The Intel i7-12700K desktop CPU (Central Processing Unit) is part of the Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake series.
It is built on a new hybrid architecture with high-performance and energy-efficient cores. It is designed to offer improved performance and efficiency for various tasks, including music production. The i7-12700K features 16 cores, including eight high-performance (P-cores) and eight energy-efficient (E-cores) managed by Intel’s Thread Director technology to ensure optimal performance and efficiency.
It has a base clock speed of 3.6 GHz and a boost clock speed of up to 5.0 GHz. The i7-12700K also supports PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 memory, providing faster data transfer rates and improved memory bandwidth. This can be beneficial for music production tasks that require transferring and processing large amounts of data, such as recording, editing, and mixing multiple tracks.
- High Core Count
With 12 cores, including eight high-performance cores and four energy-efficient cores, the i7-12700K can handle multiple tracks, plugins, and effects simultaneously, allowing for smoother and more efficient music production workflows.
- Thread Director Technology
The Thread Director technology manages the workload between the high-performance and energy-efficient cores, ensuring optimal performance and power efficiency. This technology can be particularly beneficial for music production tasks that require a balance between performance and power consumption.
- PCIe 5.0 Support
The i7-12700K supports PCIe 5.0, providing faster data transfer rates and improved bandwidth. This can benefit tasks such as recording and transferring large audio files, working with high-quality samples, and using external audio interfaces.
- DDR5 Memory Support
The i7-12700K also supports DDR5 memory, which can benefit music production tasks that simultaneously require working with multiple tracks, effects, and plugins.
- Improved Energy Efficiency
With its hybrid architecture and Thread Director technology, the i7-12700K can offer improved energy efficiency, benefiting music producers who must work on their projects for long periods without worrying about power consumption.
- Thermal Performance
The i7-12700K has a TDP (thermal design power) of 125W, similar to other high-performance desktop CPUs. The TDP represents the amount of heat the CPU produces and needs to dissipate to maintain stable performance. To achieve this, the i7-12700K uses Intel’s 10nm SuperFin process technology, which can help improve its thermal performance compared to previous generations of CPUs and also results in relatively quieter studio environments.
- Great Price-to-performance Ratio
Considering the current market, the Intel Core i7-12700K offers a better value for money than its previous offerings and has competitive trade-offs against AMD’s Ryzen 5000 desktop chips. It is also up to 20% cheaper than AMD’s competing offerings. The mid-range and enthusiast-class Alder Lake chips are performing well, and Intel is currently winning the value proposition in the 12-core and 10/8-core markets.
In addition, it also is a very capable CPU with good price/performance. It performs better than the average CPU due to its higher CPU speed, RAM speed, number of threads, smaller semiconductor size, bigger cache, and higher PassMark result.
2. AMD Ryzen 7 7700X
The AMD Ryzen 7 7700X processor is a powerful CPU well-suited for music production and audio engineering applications.
Its high core count, unlocked multiplier, high clock speeds, large cache, and PCIe 4.0 support make it a great choice for musicians, producers, and engineers who require fast and efficient processing of large audio files and complex software instruments.
With the Ryzen 7 7700X, users can run multiple audio plugins and virtual instruments simultaneously without experiencing any lag or delays, resulting in smooth real-time audio processing and reduced rendering times. Additionally, the CPU’s support for PCIe 5.0 enables faster loading and saving of large audio files, making it an ideal choice for those who require quick access to frequently used data.
- High Core Count
The Ryzen 7 7700X has eight cores and 16 threads, allowing fast and efficient processing of large audio files and complex software instruments. This feature enables audio engineers to run multiple audio plugins and virtual instruments simultaneously without experiencing any lag or delays.
- Unlocked Multiplier
The CPU is an unlocked processor which can be overclocked to achieve higher clock speeds. This feature can be especially useful for music production and audio engineering applications because it allows faster audio data processing, reducing rendering times and improving performance.
- High Clock Speeds
The processor’s clock speed can boost to 5.4 GHz, making it ideal for running demanding music production software. This feature allows for smooth real-time audio processing and reduces the likelihood of audio dropouts or glitches.
- Large Cache
The Ryzen 7 7700X has a large 16MB L3 cache, which provides quick access to frequently used data. This feature can be especially useful for music production and audio engineering applications, as it allows fast retrieval of audio files and samples.
- PCIe 4.0 Support
The CPU supports PCIe 5.0, which enables faster data transfer rates between the processor and other components, such as graphics cards and storage devices. This feature can be especially beneficial for music production and audio engineering applications, as it allows for faster loading and saving of large audio files.
3. Intel Core i9-13900K (Future-Proof)
The Intel Core i9-13900K is a powerful processor that can easily handle music production tasks.
With its 24 cores and support for Hyper-Threading, it can efficiently handle multiple tracks, effects, and virtual instruments simultaneously. The processor’s high clock speeds and advanced cache management make it ideal for processing and manipulating large audio files and samples.
Additionally, the i9-13900K’s support for DDR5 memory ensures fast data transfer and reduces latency, improving overall system performance. The integrated Intel UHD Graphics 770 can also help with graphics-intensive music production tasks such as video editing and 3D modeling.
Due to its high processing power, the CPU is recommended for those who want a system for more applications than just music production, like video editing, content creation, gaming, etc. However, it’s priced at about $570, which is relatively expensive compared to other processors in the market.
- Alder Lake Architecture
The i9-13900K is based on the latest Alder Lake architecture, which features a hybrid design combining high-performance and power-efficient cores. This enables it to deliver both high performance and energy efficiency.
- 24 Cores and 32 Threads
The CPU has 24 cores, including 16 high-performance and eight power-efficient cores. Hyper-Threading can handle up to 32 threads simultaneously, allowing efficient multitasking and faster processing times, which helps with running multiple plugins and virtual instruments on your DAW.
- High Clock Speeds
The i9-13900K has a clock speed of up to 5.8 GHz. That makes it ideal for demanding music production, video editing, and gaming tasks.
- DDR5 Memory Support
The processor supports the latest DDR5 memory, offering faster data transfer rates and lower latency than DDR4 memory. This can improve overall system performance and speed up music production tasks. Lastly, its DDR5 RAM support and incredible processing speed provide a longer runtime for the CPU.
- Intel Smart Cache
The i9-13900K has 36MB of Intel Smart Cache and 32MB of L2 cache. The Smart Cache technology dynamically allocates cache between the high-performance and power-efficient cores to optimize performance.
- Integrated Graphics
The CPU has Intel UHD Graphics 770 integrated graphics, handling basic graphics tasks and light gaming. This can be useful for musicians and music producers who also need to handle graphics-intensive tasks such as video editing and 3D modeling.
4. AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (Budget)
The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is an excellent CPU for music production, offering a balance of affordability and performance.
With six cores and twelve threads, it can simultaneously handle multiple tracks, effects, and virtual instruments. At the same time, its base clock speed of 3.6 GHz and boost clock speed of up to 4.2 GHz make it ideal for processing and manipulating large audio files and samples.
The processor’s support for DDR4 memory ensures fast data transfer and reduces latency, while its advanced cache management helps to improve overall system performance.
- Great Performance
The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is a high-performance CPU that can easily handle music production tasks. Its six cores and twelve threads can efficiently handle multiple tracks, effects, and virtual instruments simultaneously. Its high clock speeds and advanced cache management make it ideal for processing and manipulating large audio files and samples.
The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is an affordable CPU, priced competitively against other mid-range CPUs. Its price makes it an excellent choice for musicians and music producers on a budget who still want a high-performance processor.
- Cool Temperature
The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is a relatively cool-running processor. Its maximum temperature is 95°C, but it typically operates at much lower temperatures, especially with a good cooling solution. The processor’s low power consumption also helps to keep temperatures down.
The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is generally considered a quiet CPU, especially compared to high-end CPUs, which help with recording and studio processes. The stock cooler with the processor is relatively quiet, but some users may want to upgrade to a more powerful and quieter cooler for better performance and lower noise levels.
- 7nm manufacturing process
The Ryzen 5 3600 is built on AMD’s 7nm manufacturing process, which allows for increased power efficiency and lower temperatures.
- PCIe 4.0 support
The Ryzen 5 3600 supports PCIe 4.0, the latest standard for high-speed data transfer, and provides faster access to storage devices and graphics cards.
5. Intel Core i5-12600K
The Intel Core i5-12600K is a powerful CPU well-suited for music production.
Its ten cores and 16 threads can handle multiple processes simultaneously without slowing down. This makes it great for running digital audio workstations (DAWs) and other music production software. Its high clock speed of up to 4.9 GHz also ensures fast audio data processing, while its support for DDR5 memory provides ample bandwidth for large projects.
- Core Count and Clock Speed
The i5-12600K is a 10-core processor with a base clock speed of 3.7 GHz and a maximum turbo frequency of 4.9GHz. This high core count and clock speed make it easily handle complex music production tasks.
- Cache Size
This CPU has a large cache size of 20MB, so it can quickly access frequently used data and instructions. This can help speed up your music production software and simplify your workflow.
- Integrated Graphics
The i5-12600K has integrated graphics in the form of Intel UHD Graphics 770. While dedicated graphics cards are typically preferred for demanding graphics workloads, the integrated graphics can still provide a decent level of performance for music production software that doesn’t require heavy 3D rendering.
- PCIe 5.0 Support
This CPU supports PCIe 5.0, which means that it can handle high-bandwidth peripherals like PCIe 5.0-based NVMe SSDs, which can improve loading times and overall system performance.
- Memory Support
The i5-12600K supports DDR5 memory, the latest high-speed RAM standard. This can help ensure that your music production software runs smoothly and that you can have multiple programs and plugins open simultaneously without any issues.
6. AMD Ryzen 7 5700X
The AMD Ryzen 7 5700X is a powerful processor that can be an excellent choice for music production tasks.
With its 8-core, 16-thread architecture and a clock speed of up to 4.6 GHz, it can easily handle demanding music production software. Its large cache size of 36MB can help speed up your workflow, while PCIe 4.0 support allows for high-speed connectivity to peripherals like NVMe SSDs.
Additionally, its energy-efficient design can help reduce power consumption and heat output, making it an ideal choice for studio setups. Overall, the AMD Ryzen 7 5700X is a powerful and efficient CPU for music production tasks. However, it’s the last CPU on the list because of the newer and more updated AMD lineup. But that also resulted in reduced processor pricing, which you can use.
- Core Count and Clock Speed
The Ryzen 7 5700X is an 8-core processor with a base clock speed of 3.8GHz and a maximum boost clock speed of 4.6GHz. This high core count and clock speed make it easily handle complex music production tasks.
- Cache Size
This CPU has a large cache size of 36 MB, so it can quickly access frequently used data and instructions. This can help speed up your music production software and simplify your workflow.
- PCIe 4.0 Support
This CPU supports PCIe 4.0, which means that it can handle high-bandwidth peripherals like PCIe 4.0-based NVMe SSDs, which can improve loading times and overall system performance.
- Energy Efficiency
The Ryzen 7 5700X is built on a 7nm manufacturing process and has a low thermal design power (TDP) of 105W. This energy-efficient design can help reduce power consumption and heat output, making it an ideal choice for studio setups.
- Multi-threaded Performance
With 16 threads, this CPU can simultaneously handle multiple music production tasks without slowing down or stuttering.
The AMD Ryzen 7 5700X is priced competitively for its performance and features. It sits in the mid-range segment of the market, making it an attractive option for those who want a powerful CPU without spending too much money. Its price may vary depending on the retailer and availability, but it generally falls within the range of other mid-range processors.
While cheaper options are available, the Ryzen 7 5700X balances performance, efficiency, and features, making it an excellent value proposition for music production tasks.
Other Great CPUs:
1. Intel Core i9-12900K
Intel Core i9-12900K is an excellent CPU for music production.
With 16 cores and 24 threads, it offers incredible processing power, allowing you to run multiple plugins, virtual instruments, and effects without lag or latency. Additionally, the CPU has a base clock speed of 3.2 GHz and can boost up to 5.2 GHz, making it one of the fastest CPUs on the market.
This speed is ideal for running demanding digital audio workstations (DAWs) like Logic Pro, Ableton Live, and Cubase. Moreover, the i9-12900K has a large cache of 30MB, enhancing its performance and making it an excellent choice for music producers who want to create high-quality music without any performance issues.
- Alder Lake Architecture
The i9-12900K is based on the new Alder Lake architecture, which features a hybrid design with high-performance cores (known as Golden Cove) and power-efficient cores (known as Gracemont). This design improves performance and power efficiency, making it an ideal CPU for music production.
- Overclocking Capabilities
The CPU is also unlocked, so you can overclock it to achieve even higher clock speeds. Overclocking can be useful for music production tasks that require more processing power, but it should be done carefully to avoid damaging the CPU.
- Thermal Design Power (TDP)
The TDP of the i9-12900K is 125 watts, which is relatively high. The CPU may require a good cooling system to prevent overheating during heavy workloads.
- Quick Sync Video
The processor also features Quick Sync Video, an integrated hardware encoder to accelerate video encoding and decoding tasks. This can be useful for music producers who also work on video content and who do live streaming of their mixing/production sessions or musicians who are also content creators.
- Enhanced AI Capabilities
The i9-12900K also features enhanced AI capabilities, which can help in music production tasks like identifying the key of a song or suggesting musical arrangements.
- Thunderbolt 4 Support
The CPU also supports Thunderbolt 4, which allows for high-speed data transfer and can be useful for connecting external audio interfaces and other peripherals.
- Intel Thread Director
This feature optimizes the CPU’s performance by balancing the workload across the CPU’s cores and threads, ensuring that each core performs at its best.
2. Apple M2
The Apple M2 CPU is a new-generation processor from Apple with an 8-core CPU and up to a 12-core GPU with performance improvements over M1.
As a music production CPU, the M2 features 20 billion transistors and offers faster performance, improved power efficiency, and advanced features such as support for higher RAM and PCIe 5.0. Additionally, the M2 features an enhanced Neural Engine that can provide improved AI-based processing capabilities, benefiting music production software that relies on machine learning algorithms.
- Advanced 16-core Neural Engine
The M2 chip’s Advanced Neural Engine is designed to enable new capabilities and better security for the Mac. It can process up to 15.8 trillion operations per second, up to 40% faster than the previous generation. This new engine is particularly useful for machine learning tasks, such as voice recognition, image processing, and natural language processing.
This can benefit music production software that relies on machine learning algorithms for tasks such as auto-tuning, noise reduction, etc.
- Smaller size
The M2 chip is built using the enhanced, second-generation 5-nanometer technology. The 5-nanometer process is a semiconductor manufacturing technology node that produces chips with increased transistor density, speed, and reduced power consumption compared to the previous 7-nm process.
- 24 GB LPDDR5 memory
The M2 chip can be configured with up to 24GB of fast unified memory, significantly increased compared to the maximum of 16GB available in the M1 chip. The M2 chip uses LPDDR5-6400 memory, which supports 100GB/second of memory bandwidth, providing 50% more than the M1 chip.
The LPDDR5 memory is a low-power, high-bandwidth memory technology optimized for mobile devices and is more power-efficient than the previous generation LPDDR4 memory.
- Customization and Integration with Apple’s Ecosystem
As with all Apple products, the M2 is optimized for seamless integration with Apple’s ecosystem of hardware and software, providing a smooth and cohesive experience for music production workflows.
3. AMD Ryzen 5 5600G
The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is a mid-range processor with six cores and 12 threads that can easily handle music production tasks.
It is a hybrid processor with a CPU and a GPU on the same die, making it an excellent choice for music producers requiring basic graphics processing capabilities. The processor supports dual-channel DDR4 memory, providing fast data transfer rates and improving overall system performance.
Overall, it offers quiet performance but has a lower return on investment, as a more powerful CPU is a better investment than a CPU and GPU hybrid for music production. However, the APU can be a great choice if you want a gaming or editing computer on a lower mid-range budget.
- Core Count and Clock Speed
The Ryzen 5 5600G is a 6-core processor with a base clock speed of 3.9GHz and a maximum boost clock speed of 4.4GHz. These clock speeds make it fast enough to handle complex music production tasks with ease.
- Integrated Graphics
The processor features integrated Radeon graphics, providing basic graphics processing capabilities—this benefits music producers who use their computers for other tasks like video editing and gaming.
- Cache Size
The system has a large cache size of 19 MB, which can improve the speed of data access and instructions retrieval, making it a good choice for music production software.
- Multi-Threaded Performance
With its six cores and 12 threads, the Ryzen 5 5600G can easily handle multi-threaded music production software, providing fast and responsive performance.
- PCIe 4.0 Support
The Ryzen 5 5600G supports PCIe 4.0, which can improve system performance by allowing for faster data transfer rates between the CPU and other system components.
- Overclocking Capabilities
The processor can be overclocked to achieve even higher clock speeds, providing a performance boost for music production tasks.
Does CPU matter for music production?
Choosing the right CPU for music production is crucial for achieving efficient and fast processing of audio files and software instruments. The CPUs above provide various options for different budgets and performance requirements.
Firstly, the Intel i7-12700K is one of the better choices for music production with its new hybrid architecture, 16 cores, and PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 memory support. Next, the AMD Ryzen 7 7700X and Intel Core i9-13900K are powerful options for demanding music production tasks.
For those on a budget, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 and Intel Core i5-12600K are great options that balance affordability and performance. Further, the AMD Ryzen 7 5700X is a powerful and efficient CPU. Even though it’s the last on the list due to the newer AMD lineup, you can take advantage of its reduced pricing.
Then, the bonus section included the Intel Core i9-12900K, which is another great CPU for music production with 16 cores, 24 threads, and a base clock speed of 3.2 GHz (boosting up to 5.2 GHz) that allows for the smooth running of demanding digital audio workstations (DAWs).
Next on the bonus list, the Apple M2 is the next-generation CPU from Apple. It has improved power efficiency, faster performance, higher RAM support, PCIe 5.0, and an enhanced Neural Engine, making it an excellent choice for music production software that relies on machine learning algorithms.
On the other hand, the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G, a mid-range processor with six cores, 12 threads, and basic graphics processing capabilities, is a good option for music producers with a lower mid-range budget. Still, it may not be the best investment for music production, as a more powerful CPU would be a better choice.
Ultimately, choosing the best CPU for music production depends on individual needs and preferences, and these options provide a good starting point for making an informed decision.
Is RAM Or CPU More Important For Music Production?
CPU is far more important in music production than RAM. Not many people realize that you can upgrade RAM later down the line. However, when it comes to CPU, you can’t upgrade or add a new processor down the line.
From a technical standpoint, you could, though CPU evolves fast, and it could be the case that your motherboard is not available anymore by the time you want to upgrade it.
When you have a high clock speed, the calculations performed by your CPU move at a much faster pace; having additional cores is essential as well, as you’ll achieve much better application performance in applications that utilize multi-threading (aka all major DAWs).
If technological history is an indication of anything, it is that RAM is becoming cheaper and cheaper. You can expand RAM later on, which is why we recommend starting small and growing as you go rather than spending tons of money on RAM initially.
It is worth noting that some newer laptops and computers, such as those from Apple, do not allow you to expand or exchange memory once you have made your purchase. In that unique case, you should max out your memory when you purchase your system.
8GB Ram VS 16GB RAM For Music Production – How Much Do I Need?
If you are running on 8GB of RAM, you should have more than enough power to run up to 25 tracks of audio, including multiple instruments, plugins, MIDI, VSTs, and effects (reverb, delay, compression, EQ, saturation, etc.) For small projects, 8GB should provide you with all you need without any performance issues.
For larger projects, 16GB is optimal, especially if you plan on using multiple applications at one time.
Here is a small chart breaking down what you can expect while using specific RAM specs.
8GB of RAM
16GB of RAM
Entry-level studios or producers, podcasters, audio editors, and small bands
Experienced producers, musicians, bands, sound engineers, and composers
Up to 25 audio tracks with a few MIDI tracks
Up to 60 audio track with many MIDI tracks
Instrument recording, non-intensive mixing, mastering, and lightweight plugins / VSTs
Instrument recording (including multiple instruments and overdub recording), mixing, mastering, sample library use, moderate plugin use, and orchestral comps.
Is SSD Or HDD Better For Music Production?
SSDs perform about 4-5x faster than your average HDD thanks to the fact that they do not utilize mechanical parts. SSDs are much faster and more reliable. Plus, you’ll never really have to worry about dropping your SSD, as they are far less prone to breakage.
Due to their lack of mechanical components, SSDs last much longer than HDDs too.
Around ten years ago, we would have said the opposite. SSDs didn’t have the storage capacity of HDDs prior to 2010, which is why music producers with large sample libraries couldn’t use them.
Looking at some of the best SSDs on the market today, such as the 860 EVO SSD from Samsung, and you have 4TB of storage, which is far more than enough for even the most demanding sample libraries out there.
Sample libraries are getting larger and larger every year. Future sample libraries will contain higher sample rates, more velocity layers, and a more comprehensive range of round-robin variations, as these characteristics will create a far more realistic sound for virtual instruments.
The thing with SSDs is that they do cost more than your average HDD. On average, SSDs go for around $0.16/GB, while HDDs go for about $0.045/GB. However, paying a bit extra in this case means greater reliability, fewer clicks and pops during mixing, and faster loading times.
Do I Need a Good GPU For Music Production?
Music Production is a CPU-intensive process rather than GPU. You don’t need any special graphic card to make music in your DAW software. Also, RAM is much more important than GPU when it comes to producing music.
What Laptops are suitable for music production?
- Apple MacBook Pro 13″
The Apple MacBook Pro 13″ hits the sweet spot in terms of price and specs for the majority of music producers. You’ll enjoy Quad-core Intel Core i5-i7, 8GB-32GB of RAM, 256GB-4TB of SSD storage, and a 13.3″ Retina display with True Tone.
The 16″ MacBook Pro may look pretty, though the price is a bit hefty for most producers. Plus, the portability of the 13″ can’t be beat, especially for producers who often find themselves on the go.
The recently refreshed Apple MacBook Pro 13″ comes with the latest Magic Keyboard from Apple, which is one of the most comfortable computer and laptop keyboards on the market today. Plus, you’ll get more storage and much faster options for processing than ever available.
If you’re planning on buying the Apple MacBook Pro 13″, we would highly recommend going with one of the higher-spec models, which include four Thunderbolt 3 ports rather than the standard two on the base model. When you begin plugging in additional MIDI keyboards, external hard drives, and audio interfaces, having those extra ports comes in handy.
Of course, you also have the Touch Bar. While many producers aren’t quite sold on its usefulness, we absolutely love it. For musicians, in particular, the TouchBar is incredibly helpful.
On the downside, you don’t get to upgrade once you have the MacBook in your possession, meaning you need to pay more off the bat for optimal specs. Also, you must pay extra for additional ports as well. Of course, you can offset the cost of additional ports by using a USB port hub, but it’s just something extra to have to carry around.
For a balance between price, power, and portability, the Apple MacBook Pro 13″ is one of the best laptops that you can buy.
- Dell XPS 13″
To this day, the Dell XPS 13″ is one of the best laptops ever made. It comes with an eighth-generation Intel Core i5-i7, an Intel UHD Graphics 620 card, 8-16GB of RAM, 256GB-1TB of SSD storage, and a 13.3″ FHD.
Even after a few years of this laptop being on the market, it is still one of our favorite laptops for music production. The 2020 iteration is slim and portable, yet comes with a powerful display, handy touchscreen capabilities, and a variety of color options so that you can customize your computer o your liking.
The bezel-less Infinity Edge display looks great too, which is a huge plus.
The beauty of the Dell XPS compared to the MacBook Pro is that you have a wide variety of customization options available. You have the ability to craft the perfect laptop to fit your needs for music production at the right price.
It doesn’t hurt that it is a PC either, meaning you have the ability to upgrade the RAM once your purchase it. On the downside, the Dell XPS has a much steeper starting price than the MacBook Pro, which may deter some budget users.
- Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is one of the best Microsoft laptops on the market for music production. It comes with an Intel Core i5-i7 CPU, an Intel UHD Graphics 620 card, 8GB-16GB of RAM, and a variety of storage options ranging from 128GB-1TB.
This is Microsoft’s third attempt at a pure laptop, and we absolutely love it. Yes, it is not a major overhaul of the first iteration of the original Microsoft Surface Laptop, though there are a few noteworthy improvements, including the hardware.
The power level is quite competitive, making it perfect for producers on the go, and the keyboard is much quieter, which makes for a smoother workflow. In terms of aesthetics, the new black color scheme is lovely.
What we don’t like is that there is no option for Thunderbolt 3, and there aren’t many ports considering the large size of the laptop.
Are Gaming Computers Good For Music Production?
Due to their powerful hardware specs, gaming computers are excellent for music production as they come with tons of RAM, and often great CPU. It is worth noting that gaming computers may generate quite a bit of noise due to the fans.
If you plan on doing any live recording in the same room as your computer, this can be a serious problem. In some cases, it can even present issues during the production and mixing phases as well. Most of the time, electronic music producers don’t need microphones to produce music, meaning external factors like fan noise might not be a serious problem.
However, many gaming computer users find methods to manage fan speeds and sound levels, creating the same speed and reliability without the nuisance of noise.
It is worth noting that gaming computers are GPU-oriented. You don’t really need an insane graphics card for music production, as we said above, which is one reason many find it difficult to justify the price.
Getting The Right Computer For Music Production
Buying the right computer for music production can seem quite complicated, especially when you consider how many things you need to think about when buying one.
The beauty of modern technology is that buying a fast computer is cheaper than it ever has been. With just about any decent machine on the market, making great music is quite easy. That sentiment can be quite encouraging, especially if you are new to music production, and you are in the process of purchasing a music production computer.
We hope that this little guide helped you to narrow down your decisions and gain a better understanding of what to look for in a computer when music production is your main focus!
Tyler Connaghan is a producer, composer, and engineer based in Los Angeles, CA. He studied music for two years at the University of Southern California before landing a job at Killingsworth Recording Company, where he currently produces music for television and film.