Should I install Cubase on c drive or audio drive?

Maybe a bit a a silly question but I have to reinstall windows 7 to go to 64 bit (from 32 bit).The main drive has an audio partition and one for the os.When I’m at the point of putting programmes back is there any difference on installing to the the c drive which is the os partition or to the audio drive ? Previously I have gone with the c drive option but just wondered if there are any benefits either way?

I have the Cubase installation on the C: drive and separate (physical) drives for various media.

I have the same configuration, and this is the same configuration you’ll see if you purchase a pre-built DAW from music gear retailers.

Typically, it is best to install software on the same drive as the OS. I’d say the first reason is that software developers typically test the software with its default installation location, so it more likely to encounter stability issues if you install software anywhere other than its default desired location.

Your questions is a little bit double loaded because we just recommended two physical drives, so let break it down to specifically to your questions.

  • If you have one physical drive, you will not gain any real performance from using two partitions. However, it will be better for the OS and software files to be on one partition and remaining media (i.e. your recording sessions) be on a second ‘data’ partition. The benefit here is the file systems are easier to defragment this way (PC only) and are less likely to corrupt this way, and if they do corrupt, it is easier to fix them separately because you will have less Used Space to deal with (i.e. backing up and restore). It’s much more likely to encounter complete hard drive failure than a file system corrupting on one of two partitions, so this would be a moot point. Data corruption shouldn’t be a real problem for you if you constantly backup.
  • If you have two physical drives, you should take advantage of the opportunity to gain performance by splitting up the work by having the OS and software separate from the data (i.e. audio files). If you have many tracks of audio streaming, it takes a toll on the hard drive (imagine a bottle neck), so having two drives splits up the work (sort of like mutl-core processing).
  • Ideally, three drives would be configured like this:
    1. OS/Programs
    2. Page file or ‘swap’ file
    3. Data (i.e. audio files)
      The OS reads and writes a lot to the swap file, so giving it its own drive will provide better performance in exchange for more heat from your case and more hard drive noise.

In all scenarios, you pretty much must have a 7200 RPM drive or faster with plenty of internal cache, 16MB or more. In my past, I managed to get away with a single 5400 RPM drive on a P3 with 1GM of RAM :open_mouth:, but I certainly don’t advise it.

Thanks for that it all makes a bit more sense now!

This is a working machine used here:

C: (RAID1, 2x1TB) - Setup all software installations with default settings, Cubase, etc.
D: (RAID1, 2x2TB) - Cubase “My Projects” goes here.
F: (RAID1, 2x2TB, external) - Hosts custom libraries of media files. Copies of all custom presets, unorganized media files, lyrics, etc. anything that is deemed keeper stuff from the C: drive.

The logical drives are physically separate and each RAID have “spares” (empty drives that, should an active drive fail, takes over its role). This configuration could of course be used with 3 separate single (no RAID) drives for the same functionality.

This way the OS and all software can be reinstalled any time, if needed. (Setup licenses, apply settings, pointing mediabay to the libraries, copy stuff back to C: from F:, etc. and Voila!)

Projects are copied off (at checkpoints) to other external media, as needed. (This is a pain to manage, because some projects are just huge.) If old projects needs revival, they are reloaded onto D: and they are available right away.

RAID configurations have better performance for machines with massive throughput, like huge databases, so it’s easy to imagine that audio throughput would be similar. For some reason I’ve come across tests that show that RAID systems provide a marginal performance improvement in DAWs. Unless my PC sat in a separate sound isolated room, the noise trade off for using more drives (6 in Elektrobolt’s example) is certainly not worth it.

However, the organizational strategy that Elektrobolt supplies is excellent. I would definitely also experiment by putting the page file on the third drive on but on a separate logical partition.

We use RAID1 for reliability, not performance.

For some reason, I read the initial question as a performance question. I’ve never personally dealt with RAID, so does it really automatically fix itself if you put in a blank drive, even while the computer is turned on?

I use Clonezilla for my D.R., but to my knowledge no disk imaging is possible with RAID. I also use PathSync for copying files between my drives. I basically reserve some space for data duplication, and I also use it copy data to other networked computers.

Sorry, didn’t mean to come off as an ass there, and just wanted to clarify what we use it for.

Yes, RAID1 is fairly simple (in terms of its topology). There are as many copies (of the data) as there are disks, so a RAID1 with two disks has two copies of the data, so to speak. If you have a “spare”, you have an “instant” disk replacement if one of the active disks goes bad. When this happens, the spare takes the role of the bad drive, and it is activated and mirrored on the fly even while the computer is being used. How this is done depends on the implementation.

And technically, RAID1 can provide performance increase, but that also depends on the implementation.

Not to bud in on the OP - but…
I get it totally about separating audio and OS - thanks everyone - but I have a couple of related questions. I am building a new system for Cubase 6 and right now I have:

Intel Core i5 2500K
16GB DDR3-1333 SDRAM
2 x WD Caviar Green SATA3 500GB/32MB
Windows 7 Home Premium 64

I am planning on separating OS etc. and Cubase audio between the two drives. My question is what do I do with the Cubase project files (non-audio), VSTs, VSTis, and sample files. If I stick with the two drives, where are they best placed? On the OS drive or the audio drive (or some on one and some on the other)? If I put in on the OS drive, should I put that stuff on it’s own logical drive (partiton)?

For example:

drive 0: OS
drive 1 partition A: samples etc.
drive 1 partition B: recorded audio


drive 0 partition A: OS
drive 0 partition B: samples etc.
drive 1: recorded audio

I was originally thinking of putting my samples/VSTis on the second drive since it is also audio, but after reading this thread I’m not sure. I have two additional drives that I could use (and could set up as a RAID0 array) if this would be better:

2 x Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 SATA2 120GB/8MB

Would it make a huge difference - worth the extra noise of two additional drives (home studio - the PC is in the recording room) - to use these as a third drive (RAID0) or third and fourth drive (non-RAID)? In the four drive scenario, what goes on the third and fourth drives respectively?

(Aside: I’ve looked and cannot find any good detailed docs from Steinberg on building a DAW that goes into this sort of detail - all they have is a seemingly old doc that is rather general. Why is this?)

GGBB, what is THE most important aspect of your setup (in terms of computer, Cubase, audio, etc.)?

A little intrusion (for a similar problem) that can maybe help you (or not?)
I’m starting with win7 on a new hd dedicated only to CB6
With 2 7200 rpm hd my idea is:
Hd1: win7 + Cubase 6 + libraries (particulary HSO II)
Hd2: partition 1 with win xp (dual boot) + programs not for music + Cubase projects
All with 8gb ram (for win7 and CB6, of course).
My idea comes from the fact that when I load samples from vst HSO the hd with libraries is not busy (sounds are into ram).
So the stressed hd became the one for projects, writing streaming audio during hd recording.
It’ a right idea (with 2 hd only) or not?
Thanks a lot

Sounds right the way you describe it! :slight_smile:

You could also use the second drive as storage for custom libraries, and as you already were thinking, anything that comes out of a box (presets, HSO, etc.) goes on HD1 (the reason for this is because everything that needs installation, usually needs reinstall anyways). That way, in case you need to reinstall Windows, you are basically where you left off with HD2.

Also, you could copy off your own presets (from the VST Presets directory), configuration files, etc. to HD2 often. That way, all you have to do is copy them back if/when Cubase has been reinstalled.

After reading a few other things around the net, I ended up doing the following (for now):

Drive 1 (SATA3 - 500GB) - OS, program files incl. Cubase
Drive 2 (SATA2 - 120GB) - pagefile.sys (swap) plus other crap that doesn’t get used much
Drive 3 (SATA2 - 120GB) - Libraries, sample content
Drive 4 (SATA3 - 500GB) - Cubase projects and recordings

The 500GB SATA3 drives are new WD Caviar Greens and are nearly silent even when seeking. The SATA2 drives are from my old system and while they used to be a bit noisy as main drives, they have quieted down to near silent in the roles they now play. Overall my new system is noticeably quieter than my old system even though it has twice as many hard drives. Performance is fantastic so far (but I don’t push it very hard) and whisper quiet - I am very happy with the outcome.

Sounds like a great configuration there!

(As you can see above, except for the page file stuff with which we’ve had no problems, it’s very similar here.)

Thanks to everybody, I’m with 2 hd now but the problem it’s become another.
Whith Cubase 6 64bit, win7 with 8gb of ram and a tricore Phenom 8450 2,1 when I launch HS SE , when I open the fifth sound my vst performance meter is at 100% and I’m stopped with my project…
I’ve opened the task manager and the result is that only one of three core are at 100% busy cause the others two are sleeping.
Where is the problem? What can I do? I’m so frustrated, after I have changed ram, purchased win 7 (and cubase 7 and HSO for upgrade my system) it seem that I’ve let monay for nothing!!, (excuse me for my english).
Any suggestion is precious for me, please if someone has Win7 64bit with CB6 working well help me!!!