Best Hard Disk Solution for Cubase 13 Pro

Hi all.
I have a Dell PC (XPS 8940) with an i7-11700 cpu and 96 mb of RAM (DDR4 3,200mHz).
I have three internal hard disks in the PC:
(1) Kingston NVME SSD - 2 TB (50% full) - Read /Write: 3,500/2,800 mb/s
(2) Crucial MX500 Sata SSD- 1 TB (0% full) Read/Write: 569/510 mb/s
(3) Western Digital Hard Drive - 1 TB (50% full) (7,200) Significantly slower than 1 & 2.

The Question:
What would be the optimal; (faster?) solution for Cubase Pro 13:
(a) Both Application and Data Files on the Kingston NVME?; or
(b) Application on the Kingston NVME and Data Files on the Crucial MX500?

I suspect, given the fanciful(?) R/W numbers that: (a) might provide better performance; but being a traditionalist, application and data on separate disks makes sense. As does quarantining all my recording data on one SSD (I regularly backup the entire PC).

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Cheers & thanks!

Which one is your system disk?

I would work from the Kingston (system istall, Cubase install and active working projects) and let WD HD only for archive (finished sessions/backup). You can try to install VSTi libraries to your Crucial and see if it is running smooth. You can move libraries to Kingston later if you wish.

If you have a spare M2 slot I would add another Nvme drive and use that for system projects and any programs that will install on a drive other than C:
The SSD could be used for installing libraries and samples as they tend to increase over time, and use the WD HD for backups etc.
I also use an external 4TB Seagate HD for backups of the backups :smiley:
That is the system I use and it does make things simpler ( for me ) .

First the easy suggestion: use your hard drive only for cold archiving or stuff you never use but must keep anyway.

At risk of sparking heated debates, even if you have one ssd much faster than the other one, the difference won’t change your life either way.

Large sample libraries (sometimes multi-GB) should/must be on the faster drive, but besides that, I would consider reliability over speed diff., and I would never put anything crucial on a Kingston drive… pun intended :upside_down_face:

Last bit of advice, don’t fill your SSDs more than about 90%, pref. less. (Long explanation… pls just trust me on this one.)

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many thanks for the suggestion. I’ll try this approach.

I think you are right about the negligible ‘real’ difference in speed from one SSD (Nvme) to another (sata). Escpecially given my current changes are all around latency and controlling it!

thank you for the suggestion,. I have a spare NVME drive, but my video card is blocking the available slot. I have put the Nvme card in an external usb ‘chasis mount’.

I’ll try this external drive setup to see what the actual performance is.

I think SSDs of all stripes are overrated.
[Rolls up his sleeves and gets in a defensive boxing position]
Put your OS on the smaller Crucial drive;
replace the Kingston;
projects on the HDD;
samples on an SSD.
I use a WD Black for projects and tried saving projects on my Samsung 980 and the speed difference is negligible, where loading of projects is concerned. Most of the time Cubase takes to load a project is taken up processing plugins.
There, I said it!

I agree. Remember that we were able to run DAWs just fine some 15 years ago when all there was was HDD. Huge sample libraries is a different story though, but only when it comes to loading times and/or RAM is not big enough to hold all the samples and “Direct from Disk” has to be used.

I moved all my sample libraries from SATA SSD’s to fast NVME drives when I built a new computer last year. This is a very noticeable improvement.
Projects are still on SATA SSD’s. Not much/nothing to be gained by switching to NVME.
I also upgraded my OS & programs device to a faster NVME drive. Can’t tell the difference, actually. Maybe a couple of seconds of boot time.

I said goodbye to spinning rust years ago except for DAS backups.

I had the same situation with the video card blocking the Nvme slot, so I took the video card out, put the Nvme card in and reinstalled the video card and both work fine.
I don’t know what motherboard you have so I can’t tell if you can do that.
You may have noticed the negative comments on using a Kingston drive and I have to concur, I wouldn’t trust them at all due to their record.
I have Samsung cards, sure they are more expensive but peace of mind is important to me.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do !

Hey Googly Smythe,
I much appreciate your input and will follow this approach (except for replacing the Kingston). I’ve just spent a fair bit on upgrading RAM and buying a Sata SSD. I have a very robust backup regime, so am prepared to take the risk that the Kingston Nvme will die. It seems to be performing really well so far.

As always, latency is my primary problem.


I don’t recall having huge latency issues (pops, clicks, dropouts) when using Cubase 6 and recording with a 10 year old laptop (8 gig RAM) and 15 year old interface…

Hi Zip, very interesting.
I suppose my original question could be rephrased as:

With the availability of ultra fast NVME storage, is it now beneficial to split Cubase applications & data over two drives, particularly when the second drive (Sata SSD) is appreciably slower than the NVME?

I am now thinking that I should just put everything on the Kingston NVME and hope it doesn’t crash!


Hi Paul,
Unfortunately, I don’t have a spare NVME slot on my mother board (Dell - 3 years old - I would never buy a Dell product again!). It only has two NVME slots and one (very short) is taken up by the wireless card.

The slot I was going to use is a spare PCIE x4, but it is only 2-4 mm away from the video card. I was thinking that I could get a PCIE extension cable + a PCIE to NVME converter card and then add another NVME drive.

It’s starting to get too complicated and, based on feedback, I don’t believe it will make a significant difference to performance. (And I will still have my latency problems …)


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If you have plenty of space, move everything to NVME.
I only have several drives because 1 large NVME drive is too expensive(I would need 12 TB)
As for brands, the only SSD that ever died on me was an OCZ that was known to be less than stellar. All my other SSD’s(lots, different brands) still work. Even the 10 year old ones.