I am going to buy SSD for my DAW. One question I wonder is SSD better for Operation System drive or Samples Drive? Because I use separate drive for samples, VSTi lybrary and system operation.

Obvious answer: both.
General answer: difficult to say. It al depends on the drive workloads (usage profile) and which operations you want to speed up.

But on the other hand: because SSD drives don’t have any seek latency, you may as well get along with single SSD drive without separate drives for OS and samples.

For light loads, one might get away with all on one SSD, and be able to handle heavier workloads than with HDDs.

With heavier loads, using separate drives is still recommended.

But there are so many personal variables affecting the balance point, you will only find what works for you by trying.
In general though, SSDs will allow lower latencies/heavier loads than HDDs.

Personally, the quiet, cool operation and performance improvement are worth the extra expence.

Thanks for your reply.
I mean if I have one SSD so which is better to use for? System or samples driver?


But only read speed is important for that.

Unfortunately I have a different opinion. Now, lets look at (extreamly simplified) usage profiles of these 2 different kinds of drives:
OS drive: accessing hundreads or thousands of small files constantly in (pseudo-)random order.
Sample drive: accessing few large files every now and then.
While SSD can speed up both operations, it really shines on random access operations, because of the lack of seek latency (no heads to move, no waiting to disk to rotate on specific sector). So, for a specific operation, you’ll get a lot more speedup when using SSD as an OS disk. But then … what is the percentage of OS disk operations against sample disk operations … and what is the time consumed on each one. That’s something we have no data for here.

But hey! What should I know? I only studied computer performance analysis at the university :stuck_out_tongue:

A compromise would probably be the hybrid Seagate Momentus XT 500GB 7200RPM drive with 4GB of SSD.

Definitely an interesting drive architecture, but only 4G of SSD is ridiculous. If it had 50G of SDD, it could be a viable solution.


Samples are not just big files.

Playing one multimedia file, like a video or mp3, it would be read rsequentially.

Play multiple samples, and one part from each sample file involved is read, then the next part of each of those sample files is read, ad nauseum!

On heavy loads, there will be a lot of head movement for a HDD as it travels up and down the drive for the next part of each sample. That is a lot of time when nothing can be read. On an SSD, it can be reading almost ALL the time because of the ~0.1s access time.

That is why SSDs are recommended for large libraries (like EWQL Hollywood series).

OS drive use is sporadic in general use, but when using a DAW, with everything needed (plugins, etc) loaded witjh the project, the OS drive use will be much less.

Of course, buying SSDs for library use will be more expensive than for OS use, because of the large library sizes compared to OS and program sizes. If you can afford them, get SSDs all round. You will be happier for the no noise (vibration and chatter) and little heat.

Interesting discussion…

I’ve recently invested in SSD’s for both OS and sample drives.

Here’s what I’ve found…

The SSD on the OS is nice - fast boots, responsive.

Samples on SSD’s (I spread them over several 240GB drives) is amazing. I have perhaps half my sample libraries now on SSD’s, and the performance is extraordinary. Especially using Kontakt, and to some extent Play 3. Took some tweaking of kontakt prefs, but getting there slowly. Its almost a journey that never ends - there are so many different ways of balancing the system… but am getting there.

The biggest lesson I had though is that 2 x drives as separate disks gave me better performance (higher polyphony, and quicker load times) compared to running them in a Raid0 array - even though the raw performance of the raid 0 array approached 1Gb/s!

Cheers, B.


Of course. It all depends on usage profile. What kind of samples? What kind of sample players used? How samples are used? … etc … etc. If using sample players, which loads everything into memory, SSD is affecting only initial loading time. If using streaming samples from the disk, it depends: using relative small samples over and over again, they’ll be on OS’s cache: again only startup (first time use) will be sped up. But, if using HUGE sample libraries, which don’t fit into memory, then YES! SSD definitely improves performance.

And don’t get me wrong: I’m not suggesting, it’s better to use SSD for OS drive than sample drive. I’m just saying: You’ll never know before you’ve analyzed/tested what’s best for you. I have both on my DAW: one SSD for OS/software, one for audio/samples. But if I had to choose one: I’m definitely not sure which one would I choose. Audio/sample drive would definitely reduce total wait time during a one day’s sessions, but for OS drive it would reduce the most frustrating wait times (booting, software startup).

And as my final statement: if you cvan only have one, but if you can have one large enough for both OS/software and audio/samples, I would definitely recommend having one SSD and to ditch HDD. Why? Because, first of all: performance would be far better than with 2 HDDs (reason for having separate disks is mostly because you don’t want to have race condition of OS and DAW seeking around your HDD at the same time and with SDDs you have zero seek penalty). And the other important reason: you’ll get rid of HDD noise.

OS is a complete waste of money the only benefit is faster boot or slightly snappier windows experiance.
there is absolutely NO preformance gain for audio as an OS.

samples is the only place it makes any sense and due to the cost and small size of the drive its not worth it unless you are doing live gigs.
considering a good 250G is $600…

Aloha J
Thank so much for that info.
I too am considering a 256 SSD for my macbook (see sig)
for live work.

So in my case only one drive is involved.
Right now I am using 125G of samples on a 256 HHD.

My question for anyone reading this is,
since we know ALL devices made by humans eventually fail,
when SSDs fail, what’s the skinny??

1-How are they most likely to fail?
2-What causes most failure?
3-How can failure be avoided (minimized)?
4-Can an SSD be repaired?


Some information about SSD failures:,2923.html

So glad to see this post. I was just getting ready to post a new topic on a possible problem with SSD or Hybrid drives. about three months ago I purchased 3 Seagate Momentous Hybrid laptop drives, 500gb a peice. (500 gb, 32 meg cache and 4 gb SD Flash) I put one in my MAC Book Pro 17" and I put the other 2 in a G-Tech G-Raid Mini configured in Raid O to house all of my exteranl sample data and libraries. Once everything was up and running, I noticed an immediate decrease in load times for loading samples and was significant. I aslo noted a much quicker MAC. What I did not notice was the heat generated by the Hybrid SSD drive. About a month ago, the raid structure failed because one of the drives quit. Thank goodness for back ups. One of the drives is completely toast. Now I notice that half way through a song with a lot of Audio tracks recorded, the fans in my MAC Book Pro are screaming, (from the one I put in the laptop) and I attribute this to the heat produced by the Hybrid drive, so I am considering removing the drive. Bottom line is that I love the performance of these drives but heat is definately an issue and will kill them in a short period of time if not ventilated properly. Since they are laptop drives, that scenario is an oxymuron.


Aloha and thank you J
for that link.

Just what the Doc ordered. Good info.