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What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

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What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby Hector Pascal » Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:43 am

I have an iMac mid 2011, and it has 3.4 Ghz i7 processor, 16 Gb Memory, AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2048 MB graphics card, and I use the latest version of Finale (although I haven't downloaded the latest update this week). Also, I have and use GPO, CAMB2, and JABB sound libraries.

Yet, with every piece (mine are usually between 20 and 80 pages) I experience slow screen scrolling when nearing score completion and having added in lyrics, hairpins, etc. It is not impossible to work with, but...

In the past, people have helpfully suggested workarounds such as "try using scroll view", turn off other apps (I do this), but the question remains:

What does one need to run Finale at its best? Am I already experiencing the best that Finale can do regardless of my computer? I am tending to think that even if I had the world's best computer, I would still experience slow scrolling when the score gets busy and near completion. ... Perhaps, if there is someone on the forum that is currently enjoying Finale at 100% speed, can you outline your computer specs and describe your user experience re: speed (when the score gets busy with lyrics, notes, etc).

Best wishes,
Hector.
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby motet » Sun Jul 09, 2017 1:55 am

One that runs Windows? :-)
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby MikeHalloran » Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:24 am

Hector Pascal wrote:I have an iMac mid 2011, and it has 3.4 Ghz i7 processor, 16 Gb Memory, AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2048 MB graphics card, and I use the latest version of Finale (although I haven't downloaded the latest update this week). Also, I have and use GPO, CAMB2, and JABB sound libraries..


I'm going to guess: Does it still have its original WD mechanical hard drive? If so, I can show you how to give this thing its Wheaties—big time. My wife has a similar machine except that it's an i5 instead of i7. When done, not only will it be faster but will run much, much cooler—the original HHDs run very hot. The savings on my energy bill paid for the upgrades I did to the three iMacs in my house.

The 2011 27" iMacs are the easiest iMacs to upgrade—period. When you know the tricks... well, it took me a half hour to do my wife's one-handed (really, my handicap has left me the use of my right arm only). A lot of the steps in iFixIt should not be done—takes too long and they are not necessary.

Mine is a 2010 and it takes longer to upgrade but, when done it's nearly as fast as a 2011.
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby fratveno » Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:47 am

With Finale, even a modest, less-than-5 year old Windows laptop will outperform a Mac Pro with a factor of 10. Apple evangelists should really eat their pride and check it out ;)
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby BuonTempi » Sun Jul 09, 2017 8:05 am

If you're not experiencing similar slow-downs in other applications, then I would suggest the hardware is not at fault. Finale on the Mac does have a few problems, though these are high priorities for MM. Some slowdowns seem to be document-specific: you might want to submit your documents to MM and see if they can fix your document, or if you can help them to fix the app.

I find Finale 25 very responsive on my two 2012 Macs, though my music is comparatively modest in its length and complexity. (I do have >100 page files, but usually with no more than 16 staves.) I do occasionally find some older documents can be slower: if you're using an old template document, that might be an issue. Try pasting your music into a brand new Maestro default file, close your old file, and see if there's any improvement, just to rule to in/out. Custom Smart Shapes have previously been a cause of slow-downs; I don't know if this has been improved, as it's not something I deal with.

fratveno wrote:With Finale, even a modest, less-than-5 year old Windows laptop will outperform a Mac Pro with a factor of 10. Apple evangelists should really eat their pride and check it out ;)

Finale may not be the main reason for choosing the Mac platform, so moving over may bring other compromises or disadvantages. We all have our baggage and preferences. However, Windows Finale could be run on MacOS in a Virtual Machine if needs be, at much less cost, giving the best of both worlds.
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby Zoots » Sun Jul 09, 2017 3:13 pm

I'm going to guess: Does it still have its original WD mechanical hard drive? If so, I can show you how to give this thing its Wheaties—big time. My wife has a similar machine except that it's an i5 instead of i7. When done, not only will it be faster but will run much, much cooler—the original HHDs run very hot. The savings on my energy bill paid for the upgrades I did to the three iMacs in my house.

...


How did you come to that conclusion about the savings? The following estimate is for a 3.5 desktop HD (for a 2.5" HD, the power consumption is virtually the same as the SSD).
If your computer runs 8 hours/day, 365 days/year a 7.5W HD will use 8x365x7.5=21900W-h or 21.95 Kw-h per year, If the cost of power is $.30 per Kw-h (and it is likely less) the cost for the HD is $6.57. A SSD uses about 1/3 to 1/2 the power so using the 1/3 value, it costs $2.19 to run, a savings of 4.38/ year. The savings payback for a $100 SSD is 100/4.38 or 22.8 years. All of the hardware will be in the dump before then. These numbers assume the drives are being actively used for the 8 hours per day and is not idling - if idling, the power consumption of either type is much smaller. To get the equivalent amount of SSD storage that you can get with a typical HD, say 500 GB or more, the SSD cost will be much higher than $100 resulting in a longer payback time.

No argument about typical SSD speed advantage but this is something that has to be measured for each application. If the program is doing a lot of "processing" of the data while it is being loaded, the disk time may be meaningless. The other lesser know thing about SSDs is that their blinding speed drops dramatically once the buffers are exhausted. This can happen with large multi-GB files such as disk image files. I can image to a HD at the same speed as I can write the image to a SSD.
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby MikeHalloran » Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:55 pm

fratveno wrote:With Finale, even a modest, less-than-5 year old Windows laptop will outperform a Mac Pro with a factor of 10. Apple evangelists should really eat their pride and check it out ;)

Absolute utter nonsense. I have the PC and Macs that one can use to compare.
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby N Grossingink » Sun Jul 09, 2017 5:04 pm

Can you try a decent Windows machine?

If Windows performs well, rather than sink money into an overpriced high end Mac, you might consider spending that money on a decent Windows machine dedicated to playback only, as well as other uses.

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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby motet » Sun Jul 09, 2017 5:13 pm

All I know is I have a 9-year-old 32-bit PC, typically work with very large files, and have none of the performance problems that I've seen scores of Mac users complain about for the past several years. I think part of the problem is that the Mac OS is a moving target--every time it's upgraded, it seems like there are new headaches for Finale (Microsoft seems more careful to make things upwardly compatible). This is all second-hand observation, though. The only slow-down I observe in Windows is using the repitch tool towards the end of a large file in page view.

If you can live with working in Scroll View as long as possible with "Automatic Update Layout" turned off, that may help. I do all the data entry this way, then turn Automatic Update Layout on only for the final page formatting.
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby MikeHalloran » Sun Jul 09, 2017 5:15 pm

Zoots wrote:
I'm going to guess: Does it still have its original WD mechanical hard drive? If so, I can show you how to give this thing its Wheaties—big time. My wife has a similar machine except that it's an i5 instead of i7. When done, not only will it be faster but will run much, much cooler—the original HHDs run very hot. The savings on my energy bill paid for the upgrades I did to the three iMacs in my house.

...


How did you come to that conclusion about the savings? The following estimate is for a 3.5 desktop HD (for a 2.5" HD, the power consumption is virtually the same as the SSD).
If your computer runs 8 hours/day, 365 days/year a 7.5W HD will use 8x365x7.5=21900W-h or 21.95 Kw-h per year, If the cost of power is $.30 per Kw-h (and it is likely less) the cost for the HD is $6.57. A SSD uses about 1/3 to 1/2 the power so using the 1/3 value, it costs $2.19 to run, a savings of 4.38/ year. The savings payback for a $100 SSD is 100/4.38 or 22.8 years. All of the hardware will be in the dump before then. These numbers assume the drives are being actively used for the 8 hours per day and is not idling - if idling, the power consumption of either type is much smaller. To get the equivalent amount of SSD storage that you can get with a typical HD, say 500 GB or more, the SSD cost will be much higher than $100 resulting in a longer payback time.

No argument about typical SSD speed advantage but this is something that has to be measured for each application. If the program is doing a lot of "processing" of the data while it is being loaded, the disk time may be meaningless. The other lesser know thing about SSDs is that their blinding speed drops dramatically once the buffers are exhausted. This can happen with large multi-GB files such as disk image files. I can image to a HD at the same speed as I can write the image to a SSD.


You are making incorrect assumptions based on generalities that do not apply to a 2011 iMac. The OE drive is a WD Caviar Black that runs hotter than most other drives. In addition, the extra heat causes the fans to run longer and faster. By replacing those drives with Samsung 850 EVO, there is a noticeable difference in the overall temperature of the rooms they are in. Fan noise is noticeable only on extremely warm days instead of all the time.

I Service and maintain 30 Macs in local businesses. It's a little side gig. I have a great deal of experience in this and happen to own three nearly identical iMacs to the OP. Of all the machines to ask about...

I use my iMac to make my living and run it 10 or more hours a day. My house is not airconditioned but my office is. Because I deduct 100% of my office expenses, I run my office on a separate meter and am able to monitor my energy usage.

There is zero guesswork in my claim that I know how to increase the performance with minor cost. Mine runs better than new as does my wife's 2011 and my daughter's 2009.
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby MikeHalloran » Sun Jul 09, 2017 5:25 pm

I' live in the Silicon Valley. Air conditioning is rarely required in my house, my office excepted, but I've been pushing for it for decades. I almost talked my spouse into it till I upgraded her iMac two years ago. Now her office is much more comfortable in the summer and she no longer feels the need. Had I known...
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby motet » Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:01 pm

-
Last edited by motet on Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby motet » Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:36 pm

-
Last edited by motet on Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby MikeHalloran » Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:22 am

There's a problem with those numbers. They're made up out of whole cloth. The max power consumption of a Samsung 850 EVO is 50mW except for the 2T which is 60mW. Look it up.
http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/minisite/SSD/M2M/html/ssd850evo/specifications.html

Plus you can't compare a WD black made now with the OEM unit from a 2011 iMac which was unique to that year as was the 2010. They are not interchangeable and a new one cannot be installed without modifications... but that's ok, I know about these things. Again, this can all be looked up. The OE drive will burn your hand. An SSD will be cool to the touch.

Good grief!

Anyway, this has little to do with the OP. He complained that his iMac is too slow with Finale. For not much money, it can be made to run Finale much faster. My recommendations will depend on how he is using Finale including whether or not VIs are involved and other uses of his Mac. This is a very easy Mac to upgrade if you know what parts to get and I do—in fact, the 2011 27" is the easiest to work on of any ever built and I'm going back to the first version from the 1990s.

There are other reasons to pull the original HHD besides heat and speed and there are other parts that should be replaced at the same time. If Hector responds, I'll explain. If not, I won't spend the time.

Back to the OP. The new iMacs rock but a 2011 can be made nearly as fast. I'll be looking to replace my 2010 this year as its theoretical speed is 50% of the 2011—real world performance is closer.

Windows is ok and I had no problem using it in my day jobs for 15 years. I never liked it for Finale, however. Personal preference. YMMV.
Last edited by MikeHalloran on Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby motet » Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:15 pm

I never doubted the SSD drive was low-power.

It's possible that Macintosh hard drives in 2011 put out a lot of heat, so I defer to your experience and have removed my posts. That's not the case with my 2008 PC, though.
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby MikeHalloran » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:54 am

motet wrote:I never doubted the SSD drive was low-power.

It's possible that Macintosh hard drives in 2011 put out a lot of heat, so I defer to your experience and have removed my posts. That's not the case with my 2008 PC, though.


And I don't doubt that either.
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby Midibim » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:15 pm

I have the same problem. Finale crashed today and I lost 4 hours of work. I then turned on auto save.i have a 2015 iMac i5 8gb ram and an onboard video card with 2 GB ram. My drive is a fusion drive but the ssd is too small to fit all the sounds. I am thinking about getting a pc. I was going to get one anyway for VR.

It could be the hard drive, but I have deep suspicions it is the graphics card. Unless you get a really high end Apple the graphics cards are generally not that good. That would explain the slow screen and the freezing up.

I also put the program in low resolution mode, and I find it helps somewhat, but in the end it still crashed... ...which further makes me wonder about if it is the graphics card. I wish the bitcoin diggers would stop already... I don’t feel like paying three times as much for a graphics card.

If you want to run it in low res mode, go into applications, find Finale and click it with the second button (right click?). Go to get info. Go down to the box that says open in low resolution and check it. Then RESTART your computer. VERY important...
It still won’t work perfect, but it will be significantly less choppy when you scroll.

My computer crashed when I was working on a full orchestration with multiple extra sounds. There was a lot of scrolling, and I think I took it to it’s limit.
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby BuonTempi » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:25 pm

Midibim wrote:I have the same problem. Finale crashed today and I lost 4 hours of work. I then turned on auto save.i have a 2015 iMac i5 8gb ram and an onboard video card with 2 GB ram. My drive is a fusion drive but the ssd is too small to fit all the sounds. I am thinking about getting a pc. I was going to get one anyway for VR.
It could be the hard drive, but I have deep suspicions it is the graphics card. Unless you get a really high end Apple the graphics cards are generally not that good. That would explain the slow screen and the freezing up.

I have a 2014 Retina MBP and a 2012 Mac Mini with a 27" TB Display. Both with Intel graphics. Finale crashes so rarely I can't actually remember it happening.

I used to be a big fan of Fusion drives, but the one in my Mini got slower and slower as it filled up. Eventually I replaced one part with a 1TB SSD and I'm not using Fusion again. There are some issues with drivers for discrete GPUs in High Sierra on some Macs, but that's not a Finale issue.

I wouldn't use Finale's autosave, but I highly recommend ForeverSave 2, which does auto-saving for any app and keep separate versions.
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby Hector Pascal » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:28 am

Hi everyone,

I'm the OP. I am pleased to have read all the input from the forum, which is appreciated. I thought I'd update you on my circumstances:

So, originally I complained about the slow speed of Finale. Not long ago, I was using it when all of a sudden the screen started to look funny and the computer turned off. I successfully booted it up again, then I wisely transferred my files to another computer for safe keeping. Having done that, I could not get the computer to boot up properly. I did extensive research and tried many tricks pertaining to rebooting and even reinstalling OS etc, but nothing worked. I took it to Apple and they said that the model of iMac that I bought (iMac 27in mid-2011) had a graphics card manufacturing fault. For a couple of years, they replaced the graphics cards for free, but I was too late to participate in the replacement program as mine didn't konk out until recently. They said they could replace it for $1000 if I hurried, adding that my machine was soon to be considered as "legacy" and therefore not repairable by Apple Centre even for any price. I was unsure what to. The faulty card was an AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2GB GDDR5. The computers other vital statistics were a 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, 16GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM 4x4GB, 2TB Serial ATA Drive + 256GB SSD.

PS: MikeHalloran, some people "baked" their faulty cards in the oven and claimed that it fixed the issue. But I didn't try it because i think it is too risky to use it afterwards for things like my work.
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby Midibim » Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:55 am

The answer to everything, and you are not going to like it

See the image I downloaded. I got it from the Finale site. Apparently, Finale v25 does not support high resolution monitors above 1080p. And The Macintosh suggestions are even more vague. It suggests up to 1080.

But the problem with Mac is you can’t change the resolution anymore, you can only scale the screen. This is a virtual scale iMacs are all high resolution computers.

Even though it does not ‘require’ in Mac to have low resolution screens, I just wonder... I wonder if that is the issue. I have tried making a ticket to talk to them but the system takes me in circles. If it wasn’t for the fact that Finale is my favorite and most useful notation program, -and I have tried them all... I own Sibelius and it’s horrible- I would get another one.
16E0D259-309A-469D-B892-0B06FE6C5AEC.jpeg
16E0D259-309A-469D-B892-0B06FE6C5AEC.jpeg (61.77 KiB) Viewed 1302 times
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby BuonTempi » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:43 am

Firstly, I'll check with MM whether those specs are up-to-date. As said, I use Finale on my Retina display with absolutely no problems. I also use it on my Mac Mini with a 27" Thunderbolt Display (2560 x 1440), and haven't seen any (related) problems in the last six years!
If those specs were true, then Finale could not be used on any 27" iMac, any MBP since 2012, or any Mini or Pro with most external monitors.

Midibim wrote:But the problem with Mac is [b]you can’t change the resolution anymore, you can only scale the screen. This is a virtual scale iMacs are all high resolution computers.

You can set the screen to its full-size un-scaled resolution in System Prefs. There are ways you can adjust the resolution beyond those given in System Prefs, but they are neither necessary nor beneficial.
Alternatively, you can set an app individually to display as "low-res" from the app's Get Info panel. But as said, that is not required for Finale to work on MacOS.

It seems like you have some other problem. It may be a defective hardware issue (I'd certainly check the drive); it may be something else.
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby elbsound » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:39 am

Three months ago I added a comparison of Finale/Windows plugin processing speeds from three computers to the notat.io forum.
As Finale is single-threaded the speed of the processor (=GHz) determines the workflow.

Windows Vista, Laptop (from 2009, 3 GB, 2,5 GHz, P9500, AMD Radeon 3400):
Single-threaded benchmark: 1145
Finale 2014.5 JW Lua plugin processing time: 16,8 seconds

Windows 10, PC(from 2013, 32 GB, 3.3 GHz, i3960, AMD Radeon 5450):
Single-threaded benchmark: 1928
Finale 2014.5 JW Lua plugin processing time: 12,6 seconds

Windows 10, Laptop (from 2016, 32 GB, 4.4 GHz, i8700, NVidia GTX 1060):
Single-threaded benchmark: 2815
Finale 2014.5 JW Lua plugin processing time: 7,1 seconds
(Fin25 also performs in exactly 7,1 seconds on this computer)

Conclusion: updating a 9 year old laptop increases Finale's processing speed significantly.
More can be found in the original post at http://notat.io/viewtopic.php?p=5440#p5440
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby BuonTempi » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:59 pm

elbsound wrote:Conclusion: updating a 9 year old laptop increases Finale's processing speed significantly.

So, faster computers are faster! :lol: I've certainly noticed a performance improvement updating from a 2012 Mac to a 2014 Mac.

Seriously, it might be useful to have some way in which anyone can benchmark the performance of Finale on their own system (as distinct from the CPU/GPU benchmarks). Either by performing some operation on a reference score, or running a Lua Script (can this report the time taken itself?)

That would be very useful for trouble-shooting. If two identical computers get different results, then that might point to some other problem beyond Finale on one of them; or if Finale is behaving slowly on particular hardware, that could be demonstrated.
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby Zoots » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:01 pm

Right!
The only benchmark that is truly valid is what you are trying to do on the machine. Sure the others are a reasonable guide but having blazing disk access speed is of no use if your task is not accessing the disk.
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Re: What computer specs would be perfect for Finale?

Postby elbsound » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:19 am

So, faster computers are faster!

Yes, but it's not as simple as that. Finale doesn't make use of multiple CPU cores. So while Finale is about twice as fast on my 2018-PC compared to my 2009-PC, rendering in my audio or video editing software is about 22 times as fast.

Lua Script (can this report the time taken itself?)

Yes, it always reports the time at the end of the processing.
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elbsound
 
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:06 am
Location: Hamburg
Finale Version: Finale 2014.5
Operating System: Windows

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