Hard drive question

I’m looking to get an SSD just for my working project drive. I have a 120GB SSD boot disk, which the Cubase program itself is installed, and runs. What size SSD should i consider?

My biggest Project folder is 112 GB (way too much audio, I know. It should be 3 separate projects…)
If I’m working on a full length for a band, and I want quick access to any song at any point in time, I want to be working on the flash storage. Do i need a huge ‘x’ TB flash_(so ~500 gigs of .wavs can be stored)_ OR, can I put the project file only on the SSD (using a smaller cheaper drive) and store the big audio files on HDD, and expect the same work speed?

I’m new to the capability for 5 hard drives, really, so forgive me for sounding ignorant. Searches for “SSD” didn’t net much on here.

Honestly, I would stay with a regular 7200rpm drive(s) for projects and audio. From my experience, a SSD doesn’t make a lot of difference unless you are streaming large sample libraries. I’d just slap in another 7200 into the Mac, unless you are totally willing to pay the premium for a large capacity SSD. If you had Thunderbolt 2 (which unfortunately you don’t), a Thunderbolt-ready SSD is incredibly fast…but VERY expensive.

I confirm this. I configured my new MP (2012 6 core 3.3) with a 512 system SSD and another 512 SSD for media. I hoped this would speed up some aspects of Cubase, specially the slow save times as a project gets bigger, and after slicing drums. It didn’t. The problem is Cubase, not the disk drive. It takes nearly 30 seconds to save a project with sliced and crossfaded drums, whether I use the SSD or a SATA internal HD, even though the actual project file is only a few MB.

I also run Final Cut Pro 10.1, again having the media on SSD makes very little or no difference.

The faster graphics card (5770) in the new mac speeds things up compared to my older 2008 8 core MP 3,1.

This is my MP, and I purchased it with an AMD 5770 1GB already in it. I still get choppy graphics using cubase… Maybe it needs to be dusted off real good. the general guts of my MP were a hazy grey from the last year of ownership.

I guess I can’t really complaoin about the startup time of Cubase, since that is hosted on the SSD, and it takes maybe 2 minutes to load a project file (outright massive project file, at that) (…only takes me 5-10 seconds to save typically)

Should i step up to a higher spindle rating then? faster than 7200 rpm. I may try that. 1TB drive(10/15k) for working projects, and then 2 2TB drives for all of my general data in a RAID 1. Thanks for the replies

Great info. I was curious about this myself.

I noticed someone said it was decent for loading samples. That was my main reason for considering SSD so that my Trillian and Omnisphere would load up faster. Has anyone confirmed that this helps speed up VST Instrument/Sample loads? Also, if I purchased an external SSD would there be a bottleneck at the Firewire or USB3 connect?

Thanks! Great response and info.

Unless using a lot of tracks or higher samples rates, a 7200 HDD will do just fine.

You only need to have current projects on the ‘project’ drive, but you will want a rugged backup and archiving system (that is, process, software and hardware) to ensure you don’t lose completed ones in the cracks!

If using a large HDD for projects, use a sufficiently sized (that is, not too much larger than likely to be needed at most) partition as the first on the disk. This ‘short stroking’ will ensure that head travel is minimised.

Conversely, do NOT put ANYTHING in other partitions on the same drive that you will need during project use, otherwise you are FORCING excess head travel. Every ms of head travel means your drive cannot actually be transferring data.

You can use the other partitions on the same or other HDDs for backup copies of your current and old projects. The time taken for the extra head travel is not critical for these operations.

Format all media partitions with 64KB sectors. Even on HDDs, I found that copying several GBs of mixed sized files between drives with 64kB sectors to be up 30-50% faster than with the default 4kB sectors (for Windows). The downside with larger sectors is that if a file does not fill a sector, the remainder is wasted. Since multimedia files tend to be very much larger than 64kB, and only the last sector is unfilled, partitions/drives for those files only have 0.5% dead space, compared to 8% for an OS drive.

Is ~40 tracks and 64fx sends enough to warrant an SSD?

I’m going to use a 2TB drive and a 200gb partition for working projects. Mirror to another 2TB and keep an external for back ups

Aloha guys and great thread!

Tanx for all kool the info.

In the DAW world it always seems the times are ‘a changing’.
Nice to know some truths remain.
(Love this board).

To solve the whole, removable / mobility vs performance issue, combined with the issue of backups and mirrors, this is what I’m doing now and it’s really sweet:

I use an SSD for my audio projects in a removable tray. So, it’s an “internal drive” with full 6gb bandwidth, but in a format that pops out. The cage for the tray fits in a standard 5.25" bay (i.e., where a DVD goes) and supports up to six trays! So, many libraries, or a RAID 0 for speed could be easily configured.

Here’s the product: ICY DOCK Full Metal 6 x 2.5" SATA HDD & SSD HotSwap Backplane Cage Mobile Rack for 5.25" Drive Bay - ToughArmor MB996SP-6SB - Newegg.com

Because it’s removable, I can swap between machines (as long as they also have that 6 tray bay accessory).

It can even be used mobile with a cable that converts SATA III to USB3 and also powers it from another USB (the adapter uses two USB ports). Just pop it out and take it on the go. Best of both worlds.

Also, to solve the issue of backups / mirrors and project sharing / collaboration, a new app called BitTorrent Sync (for PC, Mac and Linux) is really solving all those problems well. It’s like DropBox, only zero cloud. So, for those who don’t want their studio on the internet, it’s a brilliant solution.

Sidenote: Though the BitTorrent brand may seem “questionable,” this is their pro-level product. As an IT professional myself, I would not use something that would be even slightly on the malware end of the spectrum. So, don’t be put off by the “bittorrent” connotation. This thing is a lean, clean, enterprise-grade app that is easily configured to not so much as ping outside of the LAN – fully self-contained. It can also be configured to sync a folder to another computer over the internet, but that is an optional feature and can be fully disabled. Anyway, they’re clearly going after DropBox, Crashplan, etc. and working on their brand perception with this new app being an obvious key strategy to that end.

So, it’s like DropBox only with no need for an internet connection, it all works cloud-less over a LAN. Since many studios need this requirement, I though I’d share this great new app (and it’s free).

The one downside is that it’s slightly CPU expensive. So those running a project at 95% utilization, might need to disable it while they’re recording (a simple right-click in the tooltray [for PC] / menubar [for MAC]). Once you’re done, just launch it again and let it run overnight, over lunch, etc. (just put it in your taskbar/launchbar for a one-click launch). Easy.

These two little tips are combining, in a synergistic way, to give me great options, mobility, performance and peace of mind. Just thought I’d share, as they’re both slightly obscure, non-obvious and relatively new products. Very DAW-friendly solutions.