Less CPU hungry VCV Rack alternatives?

I really love VCV Rack and have a lot of fun with it but I find that as soon as I progress past simple generative patches into enough parts for a full dub techno track for example (some perc + synths) I start to run up against the CPU wall very badly

Hopefully in the future things will be more optimized but right now I’m looking for something similar to VCV Rack that allows for much more modules to be used before having significant issues

Anyone have any experience with “similar” alternatives such as NI Reaktor…puredata, etc.? Do you have CPU issues building full songs in those compared to VCV Rack?

I’d like this thread to discuss the pros and cons of similar modular music software to VCV Rack, even programmatic ones like supercollider etc. :slight_smile:

I have a 3.1 GHz i5 2017 MacBook Pro btw, on max block size

if you’ve got the 15", quad core version of the MacBook Pro, then you might get a little extra mileage from a multi thread fork of rack. I’ve got one here: https://github.com/Rcomian/Rack/releases/tag/v0.6.2c-experiments

it’s unofficial, unsupported, etc.

if you’ve got the dual core 13" model then there’s not much can be done with vcv right now, as vcv will already use all your cores.


Unfortunately I have the 13 inch one! Thanks though

You’ve begged the question, what modules are you using within Rack? Some are known to be CPU-hungry.

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it’s a good point, do we have standard performance thread yet where we’re collecting the standard techniques, cpu meter to find heavy modules (with the note that the audio module goes high to low), engine sample rate, matching sample rates with audio rates, etc.

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Indeed, let me post some offenders and my vcv file

Valley’s Dexter, which I use for my dubby chords, is the biggest offender. Uses about 150 mS

Valley’s Plateau, reverb, uses about 50 mS but I only have the one

Trummor 2 uses about 50 mS each, most Vult stuff seems to use at least 30 mS

I’m using a cf chained mixer, maybe I’m being bitten by the overhead?

Most of the time I’m hovering at 100 mS remaining but it can stutter quite a lot

I’m on 44.1 kHz with 4096 block size

Check it out and see how your computer does

4th jan 2.vcv (135.2 KB)


I don’t think you’ll be able to do a lot on that laptop in any other modular software.
However, if you can afford MacBook Pro, you can defenitely afford a somewhat powerful desktop.

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maybe related to this?

ill try out the patch on my mbp and see what is up, however I am consistently getting a much more enjoyable experience with my pc laptop, so much so that the mbp might possibly end up on the chopping block to help fund a more powerful pc alternative :smiley:

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That is a brilliant patch @joebentley10.

On the i9 Vega 20 I am currently trialling:

Dexter: 63ms
Trummor: 22ms
Plateau: 22ms

mS left ~380mS

CPU: 98 degrees, 3.76GHz
GPU: 67 degrees, 90%, 61 FPS


hey Nik. Where are you pulling your stats for gpu and cpu from, I’d like to test and give the same numbers for comparison.

iStat Menus https://bjango.com/mac/istatmenus/ 15 day free trial

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With that patch, on my late 2013 iMac, I have around 350 mS left on the Audio module. No probs.

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Ouch, that’s one hot CPU… :-/

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It sure is :frowning: I curse Jony Ive daily :wink:


I think the thing is that people think: Hey, I have this amazing laptop with a core i7 CPU, and they think it compares to an i7 in a desktop system, but it doesn’t. Not by a long shot. The big difference is, that a laptop is not designed thermally to utilize a CPU like that at full tilt, and never can be. There’s simply not enough cooling and it only gets worse the slimmer the laptops become. So for CPU intensive jobs (like Rack): Desktop, desktop, desktop… sorry, but there it is.


Unfortunately health problems make it very uncomfortable for me to sit at a desk.

My now sadly under utilised 2015 iMac gives almost identical figures for Rack to the MBP that I quoted.

The CPU is running at 87 degrees, the GPU at 78 degrees.

The difference is that it is not on sitting on your lap !

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I’m really sorry to hear that Nik! I have the reverse - I could never agree with the ergonomics of a laptop, and very quickly get various irritations. I hate laptops actually…

Right. Yeah, the default iMac configurations didn’t have (still?) the best GPU’s, or disks for that matter. When I configured my late 2013 iMac, I made sure to give it a 4GB NVIDIA graphics card, 16GB RAM, a beefy core i7 CPU and a speedy SSD as the only storage. I’ve been very happy with that configuration, but it obviously wasn’t cheap, and now the iMacs have become ridiculously expensive. Apple has kind of lost touch with earth, where prices and configurations are concerned, sadly :roll_eyes:


To qualify those figures @LarsBjerregaard , the MBP seems very happy to run at those temperatures. It is 2.9Ghz, 4.8 turbo. I have several patches where it runs happily around 4GHz. I have run tests on it to max out all 6 cores and it runs at 3.3GHz, 97-98 degrees, apparently indefinitely and happily.

It seems designed that way. The problem is that it uses its entire chassis as a heatsink to achieve that.

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Yeah. I never hear my fan :wink:

The 2015 iMac is maxed out - CPU, 32Gb, 4GB 395X. The problem is that Rack runs GPUs at the maximum frame rate that they will offer.

Apple have indeed completely lost touch. I just can’t bear to go back to Windows after 18 years away from it (but having to use it in Parallels to test stuff).