Anyone running separate Read and Write hard drives (Read for Project)(Write for Recording/Export)

I was thinking about setting this up, it’s not as needed as say video which has much larger files sizes.

I do try to work 32-bit 88.2khz and some of my sessions get pretty big.

I don’t know how many tracks you are using but read/write times are so high for a modern SSD that it’s really not an issue…not even close.

32bit 88.2khz is under 3Mb/s per channel
NVMe (!) SSD sequential write maybe 2500MB/s or even much higher

note one is Mb/s and the other MB/s

And SATA interface will potentially limit this (sata III = 600MB/s…etc etc)

Just look at the resource manager (windows) when you are playing back a test project.

I run 4 solid state drives:

  1. C Drive for Win10 and Applications
  2. Projects Drive for Cubase Projects
  3. Samples Drive for streaming samples / sample libraries
  4. Acronis Emergency Recovery Drive

I have a bunch of large external drives for backing up.

Thanks, yes I have a similar set up…

My inquiry was more towards dividing Read and Write tasks to different drives, ie having the project folder on a read drive, and then recording and exports being written to a different drive. separate data streams = more efficient

but as @Dr.Strangelove pointed out, it’s maybe not necessary… Although the nerd in me is tempted to do it anyway because… “what if I have to record a 200 piece orchestra”/probably will never happen…but… what if it does…

In Cubase if you right click on a track, you can set a record folder (and then you could save project as a template) which you could set to a different hard-drive.

^^^^ sounds like a lot of time filemanaging

yes, but not really. It’s fairly easy with Cubase.

First of all, any bounce you do will then be written back to the read drive into the project audio folder/pool.

And then you can simply ‘Prepare Archive’ to transfer all used media in the project, back to the actual project audio directory/pool

It actually keeps the project size low and saves space for ‘Read’ drive.

still sounds like more work to me - and more to go wrong…

I know you’re not being literal as you wouldn’t normally individually mic an orchestra but even if you did (and you have 200 inputs on your audio interface ?)

do the math :slight_smile: - wouldn’t be a problem on an SSD.

Recording a handful of tracks takes approx ZERO write bandwidth on an SSD - no reason to make special precautions for it.

I’d suggest that the biggest drive bandwidth user is READING big sample libraries - either on initial load or for disk streaming. That’s where performance will be noticeable.

Depends how much you’re reading and writing at the same time (and of coarse the resolution.bit depth), and if there’s video involved. And also I believe the BPM of project.

Reading and writing are two different processes to aren’t they? can’t remember if rules apply differently with simultaneous read and write when calculating hard-drive speed, and if in that regard, SSDs behave differently than Disks?

I’m - pretty - sure, exports will go quicker if they are done to a different drive.

But I’ll do more research and math as you suggest.

The only thing that could go wrong, is if you move a project folder manually instead of moving it via ‘Back Up Project’ or first preparing archive. That’s the only rule.


I think you’re correct in singling out the NVMe drives, those are the ones that can execute parallel commands read/write.


To what degree I’m not sure



you over estimate the bandwidth required for a 44.1khz 24bit audio file…it’s tiny about 1Mb/s
new Samung 980 EVO nvme up to 7000 MB/s

I’ve already given you the numbers but you didn’t work out what that meant.

That’s 56,000…FIFTY SIX THOUSAND times higher bandwidth than a single track - ok, so it’s never gonna do that in the real world…let’s say it’s really poor in real life and you only get 10% performance…that’s 5,600 tracks of audio.

Do you think that the bounce you are doing is gonna overload the hard drive ?

You have devised a (strange ) solution looking for a problem IMO - if this was an issue (it ain’t) - then there are much neater solutions…but it’s your computer :smiley:

Samsung 980 EVO Nvme write is actually 5000MB/s so not quite 56,000 - but still enough to Mic up and record the entire population of a small Canadian town on their own track simultaneously

SATA III ssd drives are limited by the SATA interface - nominally 600MB/s - so in that case you are 'limited ’ to around 4,800 tracks…(give or take)

Your math is one way speed, not two way. isn’t there a difference? multi-thread simultaneous operations different than one single data stream.

Also heat will affect performance, and the more the controller has to sort out, the hotter it will get I’m pretty sure.

I need to do the math but also research the technological limitations as well which might affect the math. I think you are reading the ideal-circumstance-consumer spec… Single one-way data stream, no heat issue, no sustained 14-hour use, etc.

I will calculate for 4k video read, 200 audio track read, 64 track write @ 192khz, 32bit even though this is unlikely session specification

Obviously the real life performance is very different - but that’s really missing the point.

Just out of interest - what interface are you using that can input 64 tracks @ 32bit/192khz ?

None at the moment, but I use the classic Lynx Aurora, not sure what the newer Lynx Auror (n) can do… I think 32 in and 32 out on one 1u unit via Dante or TB. The new Antelope Galaxy does 64 in and 64 out on one 2u space and believe it can at 192. Only 96/88.2 is really necessary though.

ahh ok…seems you’re just guessing it’s a problem without calculating what is needed - or even measuring the bandwidth or IOPS on system with your current largest project.

IMO You have all the information you need to decide what is best for you, I think.

Well, I’ve mostly used SATA spinning drives up till now, and my system is relatively old - I haven’t changed to Windows 10 yet and am going to build new system when I do.

Projects easily get up to 100-200 tracks and then have to record a full mics drum session, so, problems have occurred in the past.

If all that can be fixed just by getting the latest SSD tech, then great.

problems related to drive bandwidth…? on an old PC you are more likely to hit CPU or processing limits before hard drive bandwidth under ‘normal’ circumstances.

I’ve done tests recording 192 tracks simultaneously - worked fine.

Personally I’d get a motherboard with 2 nvme slots - a big intel CPU and the largest nvme drives you can afford and call it done.

I’ve hit both… been dying for a multi-track freeze feature for some time…

how did you know you hit the disk bandwidth - what did you use to measure it ?

Cubase Disk performance meter

ok that explains it - that’s really not a good indication of what is maxing out.