How fast does a Cubase Project Drive really have to be?

Running out of space here, will be investing in a new drive. I want to use it for Cubase projects - only.

I have a seperate system drive, and 4 sample drives.

I am wondering, how fast does a Cubase project drive have to be?

If it is only to be used to write projects at back ups and exits and to read them on loading, then surely a SSD with around 520 Mbps is good enough? Are there any futher benefits to be had in using an M.2 drive with speeds of + 3500 mbps? Does Cubase constantly write to the disk deposited project file?


Well, remember the time when we didn’t have SSDs but saved everything on slow rotating hard disks? That worked, too :wink: with audio files, samples and whatnot…
So if you just have your project files and maybe some audio files on it, any SSD will do imho…


I remember the times when we just had floppy disks!

Any SSD is more than fast enough.

You lucky, lucky bas…s player! :smiling_imp: We used to 'ave to write them in our own blood, on bits of cardboard, bottom of septic tank … but try telling the kids that these days!


:rofl: thank you!

You had cardboard?? Lucky you!

Yes, me too! But at that time we only had midi. :grinning:

But seriously! You could easily get away with a 7200rpm sata drive for your projects. Imagine, that an usb2 (60mb/s) audio interfaces can handle hundreds of audio tracks simultaneously. Modern 7200rpm sata drives have a speed of at least 180 mb/s and most are higher. The slowest SSD drive has about 500 mb/s. So any drive will do.

Ah cardboard! you make me nostalgic! Every Christmas, our family of 23 used to save some from the heating, a big sacrfice at the time and create a cardboard mock up of a turkey for our Xmas lunch. One year I got the leg!
Times were better then, we had a sense of communal spirit, if there was a potato in the house we all got to share it, a slice each. Not so in these modern times, where anyone can get their own slices merely by opening a bag of crisps!

The project files are quite small so drive speed is not that important for them.

If you have a lot of audio recordings, then, yes, a fast drive is good, but any modern SSD is easily good enough.

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Will you be moving the rig alot, or does it sit in one place?
Is noise a big issue for you?

If it’s a portable rig, or your rig needs to be uber quiet, stick with SSD.

If it’s a rig that rarely moves and noise isn’t an issue, quality platter drives intended for AV streaming, or enterprise class server drives can still get the job done quite well for a fraction of the price.

Pop in a dual sled mount, and set up the drives to be AHCI ‘hot-swappable’ for convenience. If you mount them in sled (or some other way that’s easy to disconnect), you can pop them out to save ‘energy’ when you’re not working with the DAW.

Unless you are doing hundreds of audio tracks, or use insanely high sampling rates and bit widths for recording (and even then you could spread the load across multiple drives), almost any decent hard drive optimized for AV work should work fine. When I say decent drive…I mean choose something designed to handle constant A/V streaming types of access (good at heat dissipation and built to last). I’d avoid the lower RPM drives built for ‘backup/archiving’ since they’re prone to things like going to sleep frequently and parking their heads.

Unless you are hosting sample libraries, or work with lots of short samples on a platter, huge read caches or SSD hybrids won’t help much, so don’t waste money in huge read-cache memory for straight up project drives, but instead focus on durability, raw seek times and general build quality/warranty.

If you go back to platter drives for the main project directories it might not hurt to defrag them before starting a new project (or if performance starts to wane).