What's a reasonable CPU usage expectation?

Firstly, let me say that I absolutely love this concept and this community! It’s a real breath of fresh air seeing such a huge amount of activity around an open source project! My main concern is how power hungry this app is out of the box. I’ve got a fairly recent Macbook Pro 2018, and Idling on the demo set it’ll take up to, even past 300% cpu. Makes me concerned I won’t be able to tinker with the app until I have some real horsepower. Am I experiencing some kind of bug, or is this a power hungry app?

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some modules are more power hungry than others. If you aren’t playing or recording live into it e.g. from a midi controller then up the buffer size as this will help and also choose the option re number of threads that matches your total number of cores.

One big help is that there’s a built in option to see cpu usage as a percentage by each module so if you are getting that then turn it on in the menu and try swapping in different modules to do a particular task to see if you can find something more power efficient that sounds as good or better. Turn that option off when you are finished with it though as it itself has a power draw.


This is a machine you have to set the app to run at standard resolution rather than Retina. I don’t have a Mac so that may not be exactly the best description of how it works but search the forum, it’s the first thing everyone has to do to get it running with a reasonable CPU load.



I have an iMac 5k and like you, I struggled to run my patches when I start using vcv. Then I search the forum and found some tips which works for me but may not work for all

  • In Engine menu, I tick the real time option and start with 2 CPU, increasing CPU number only if I get glitchy sound but never use all CPU
  • Audio 8, I increased the block size
  • Menu view - frame rate: I set to 20
  • in the setting.json, I’ve modified the autosave time as my rack folder is part of my main folder with realtime backup on a NAS and I’ve noticed each time a save happens it impacts vcv performance. I’m not connected via wifi
  • with big patches, close all other software

To make my video with REC module, I need to arrange my patch with an automated start/stop trigger as the CPU increase up to 80-90%, the sound is horrible and vcv no more responsive or very slow. But REC is amazing at the output file is very good.

Some module are high cpu usage and even if I like them, I have to remove it to save CPU. My resolution’s screen is 2560x1440, not full 5k. I may need to test with a lower one.

F3 helps you to see the usage of modules but at one point it become unusable as it adds its owns load to the patch and I can use vcv anymore - sound is ruined.

I read vcv will may take advantage of METAL which may help.

My last advice, start with small patch first and have fun