So, today I was working on one of my songs and I added a new synth into the mix. Shortly after that, Pro Tools crashed due to lack of ram. Since Pro Tools stays in memory after crashing (really bad programming flaw on their part IMO), I looked at how much was loaded. It said I was using 4.5 of my 8gbs of ram. Yeah, thats a lot (For the record, I had about 16 active tracks. 12 of them virtual instruments, 4 of them audio tracks).

Anyways, here are a couple tips for reducing your ram usage:

1. If you're recording, it should be the only thing open. A lot of programs eat ram like theres no tomorrow. Web browsers, iTunes, IM clients, Steam (which is a huge ram *****), Antivirus programs and such usually take up a lot of ram. You're looking at a huge chunk of extra ram you can use for whatever.

2. If its active in your session, its in your ram. Now we've all done it from time to time. You record a solo, aren't quite happy with it and you delete it and record a new one on a new track. Now your computer has an extra amp sim its not using loaded. Either use the same one or delete the track completely.

3. If you like it and don't want to tweak it, make it an audio track. This trick can be used across the board on pretty much any track you have a plugin, instrument or effect on. This trick will vary slightly from DAW to DAW but its basically the same across the board. Basically, you bus the output of the track you want recorded into a separate audio track to record it onto. This allows you to remove the original source track freeing up a lot of ram. This is extremely helpful with virtual drums or synths that use a lot of ram (like the one I use which takes up .75gb of ram per instance)

4. Keep your computer maintained. Like everything, a little maintenance goes a long way. Keep your system updated, free of viruses and spyware and, if you're like me and leave it on 24/7, reboot it from time to time.

Just a few things I'd thought I'd share. Sure, it probably won't affect most of you since most don't use ram heavy synths or lots of tracks but it helps.
Derpy Derp Derp Herp Derp
For 3, most DAWs have an option to either freeze the track or bounce as audio to a next track (for example in reaper you can apply track fx as new take, then move the new take its own track). This is a lot quicker than bussing and recording.
Quote by Odirunn
For 3, most DAWs have an option to either freeze the track or bounce as audio to a next track (for example in reaper you can apply track fx as new take, then move the new take its own track). This is a lot quicker than bussing and recording.

Yeah, I don't use reaper but I wouldn't doubt there was an easier way to do it. I need to stop writing while half awake
Derpy Derp Derp Herp Derp
When I had a shitty recording computer, I used a program which freed up RAM. It detects programs that aren't being used and frees up the RAM automatically. If you find your RAM is being highly used, you can right click on the icon in the taskbar and manually free RAM. It's very useful for RAM usage.
It's called IOBit Advanced System Care.
It has some other nice goodies as well.

IOBit also makes a program called Game Booster which I had on my old recording computer. I never tried it while recording though.
What it essentially does; It stops background programs that are un-needed. It's meant for Gaming but I imagine it could be used for Recording.

Just a few tips from me.
..I was watching my death.
one more program that can also take up a huge ammount of RAM is outlook. for those of us that run outlook (or another email client) all the time, closing it can help a lot. especially if you have the auto-download set to fairly often.
basicly, disconnect from the internet, get off IM, close your browser, turn off your AntiVirus and stop your email client. easy to do and it helps you focus!

as for tip #2, that would be why i typically set one track as my recording track (or at least one track per instrument). after something is recorded and i want to keep it, i move it to its own track. i try to keep amp sims and other vsts off my other tracks as well, until i am ready to mix. not always possible, but leaving everything you dont need right away dry helps.

and my last tip, learn to bus things together to make use of effects. i really love that a lot of amp modelers are now able to run in stereo. saves some RAM if i can send two tracks to one sim when double tracking
For ProTools, Audiosuite is your best friend. if you're worried about wanting to change it later, use playlists. save a new one for that track each time you change something so you can jump back at any time.

PTs also doesn't like some virtual instruments. i have a hard time trying to run any NI instruments in PTs.

perhaps the best way to save your computer (and your mixes...) is to make better decisions in tracking and mixing. if you track it right, you dont have to edit and process it in the mix. granted, some processing will still need to be done, but NEVER say "oh it's good enough, i'll fix it in the mix..." get it right the first time.
Also in mixing, using processing sparingly (does EVERY track HAVE to be compressed and gated?) also use your aux sends. all time based effects should be on an aux NOT on individual tracks. if you have stacks and stacks of guitars that are all being compressed the same way, send them all to a stereo bus and compress just the bus.
instead of using gates or mute automation, cut out any part that needs to be silent.

and most important of all, before doing any processing/adding plugins, ask yourself "is it absolutely necessary for this processing to be done to this track? can the song live without it?"