LPX System Specs & Overload Issues

LPX System Specs & Overload Issues


Lately I've been getting asked, and seeing in forums a lot of Logic Pro X "Overload" messages. These are mostly from either older Mac laptops, or newer Mac laptops and iMacs with very little RAM, or small system drives. Thus I will post this information to try to help some of you folks out.
LPX System Specs & Overload Issues

Lately I've been getting asked, and seeing in forums a lot of Logic Pro X "Overload" messages. These are mostly from either older Mac laptops, or newer Mac laptops and iMacs with very little RAM, or small system drives. Thus I will post this information to try to help some of you folks out.

To start with, in today's recording industry, a lot of sample instruments, or virtual instruments are being used. Native Instruments is probably the most widely used, most popular, and best quality. Not to mention the tons of fourth party add-ons to their Kontact (and Komplete Kontrol) system that are available now. These store tons of samples and such, eating up a ton of drives pace. They also eat up lots of RAM when in use.

Plus, the LPX stock instruments are really nice, Alchemy is a powerhouse, but these eat up drive space and RAM, also.

RAM
This means the very first thing to do is be sure you have at least 16 GB RAM. I know Apple says LPX will run on 8, but that's bare minimum. You can do Mary Had A Little Lamb on a piano with 8 GB RAM. PLEASE upgrade to 16, you'll be so much happier. And this is probably the cheapest improvement. I highly recommend going to
OtherWold Computing for RAM upgrades. (I have no connection, nor get any compensation from them.)


SYSTEM DRIVE
The second thing you need to do is get your hard drives in order. Be sure all connected drives, ESPECIALLY your system drive, has 15% of its total capacity as free space. This allows the operating system and applications to write all the temporary data files they need to do work. These are hidden, you never see them. Plus a lot of your RAM is not in the RAM cards you install, but on the hard drive itself, also. Again, I recommend OWC for upgrades. Here's a rough chart:
Capacity Min Free Space
4 TB 600 GB
2 TB 300 GB
1 TB 150 GB
512 GB 77 GB
240 GB 36 GB



MEDIA DRIVE
I would never put my media or project files on my system drive. There are several reasons, the most significant being the data stream bottleneck. The data pipe between a hard drive and the CPU is limited. Like the bandwidth of your local Internet connection. It only goes so fast, then clogs up. Media work in Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X, Motion 5, etc, requires live media streams. Several of them at once. And this can quickly clog up a hard drive's data pipe, or bandwidth. The applications and operating system also need that bandwidth to do their work. All of that on one drive can potentially be disastrous. Thus, we put the media and project files (and cache files if the app permits) onto a secondary drive. Or what I call The Media Drive. This frees all that bandwidth up for media data streams to flow quickly and unencumbered.

If your Mac supports USB 3.0, that's a great protocol. Obviously Thunderbolt is better, but sometimes can be overkill, and cost extra. USB 2.0 is to be shunned. It simply isn't fast enough, and works on a burst mode protocol, not a steady stream of data. SSD drives can be faster than spinning disk drives, but are much more expensive, still. So an external or secondary drive, 7200 rpm spinning disk, will work fine. Avoid slower rpm speeds. A RAID made of two or more 7200 rpm drives is even faster. I'd get a RAID of spinning disk drives before getting a single SSD drive. A RAID made with SSD drives is even better, but can be overkill, and expensive. Thunderbolt RAIDs are the ultimate. But only go with T'bolt if you have really large projects and tons of media and add-on's.


SOFTWARE
This issue is very simple. Be sure all your software is up to the latest version, granted that version has been out for at least 3 months. Be sure all add-on's are up do date with compatible versions. Be sure all hardware drivers or utility applications are up to date with compatible versions.

After that, some simply routine maintenance will go a long way to helping keep your system healthy.
Once a week, verify the amount of free space on each of your drives.
Once a week, launch Disk Utility and run Disk First Aid on all drives.
Once a month, launch Disk Warrior (paid for third party application) to repair the Directories on all of your drives.


Trouble Shooting And Setting Adjustments
Logic Pro X has some settings for dealing with latency (things happening too late). These "overload" issues are always one of three things: CPU, hard drive, RAM, or some combination of those three. It is easy to verify what the status of these are inside of LPX. You're going to use the built-in tools and adjustments to deal with any latency or Overload warnings you may get. And Apple has a great page online walking you through it.
Click here for Apple's "Overload" page.


WRAP-UP
So there you have it, all the information you need to run a clean, smooth LPX system (or FCPX/Motion). Once an Overload message is dealt with, you'll probably never be bothered with it again, as long as you've made sure your system is up to par.