Production question regarding external monitors, usb hubs, and drives


New member
Hi all! Greetings from Seoul.

Hope everyone is pushing through these stressful times.

I have been producing music for some time now, but having no knowledge about computer hardware, I have got some general questions regarding external gears that go with music production and their mechanisms that I’m sure other aspiring musicians share.

1) external monitors - To give some background, I use a low-specs 2015 retina macbook with an ext SSD which works beautifully, but I am at a point in my work where I have so many tracks that, even if I use tricks such as bouncing to audio and using sends to limit myself from running too many vsts at once, the CPU usage bar on my DAWs makes me a bit nervous during my sessions. I was told by a genius bar expert that whereas desktop imacs come with a built in graphics card (whatever that is) that keep the use of screens from affecting cpu load, the macbook does not. As of now, I use a small crappy low-resolution LCD via HDMI, which I’m sure isn’t affecting my cpu load too much, but I want to upgrade to two bigger and better ext monitors, which I’m sure are going to bear heavy on my cpu usage during sessions. Is there a way to buy an “external” graphics card, if there is such a thing, so that the monitors dont interfere with my main macbook cpu at all? And if you would, could you explain the mechanics of how external monitors affect your cpu usage?

2) USB hub - the version of macbook that I own was released when thunderbolt 2 cables were the most efficient and safe connection for many external devices. Unfortunately, some of the older external ssds that allowed for the use of thunderbolt 2 cables were all sold out when I began to look for products to purchase, and I had to go with an external ssd that only supports usb 3.0. Because my macbook only has two usb outlets, I have to use one of them for the harddrive for a safe connection, which forces me to connect my audio interface through a USB hub along with my midi controllers and keyboards. Because a lot of electricity runs through monitor speakers, I am afraid that this might be affecting the sound quality of my recordings / latency, the security of the connection between the interface and my laptop, or worse yet, is damaging my computer. My question is, will buying a nicer USB multiport (the ones that you can plug in to electricity outlets) help the use of my interface? If not, what are my options if I were to continue using my macbook pro 2015?

3) I have an HDD ext harddrive for time machine backups and an SSD ext harddrive to have plugged in during my sessions. I have downloaded large vst libraries (omnisphere, komplete) onto the ssd in hopes that it will help with the cpu usage problem, but other than emptying space on my main harddrive by doing so, I don’t know what I could be doing to utilize my ssd better. Is there more I could be doing to speed up my workflow and split the workload between my main hd and the ssd?

Your expertise and help would be much appreciated!!
Thanks so much and have a great day