SSD recommendations for Sample Libraries...


Can anyone recommend me an SSD for Sample Libraries? It needs to be 500gb and above. Komplete 10 Ultimate is 440gb so 1TB would be better.

Also, can you fill an SSD or do you need to leave headroom like a mechanical HD? I really want the speed of SSDs but really don’t want to make the mistake of buying something lousy!

I read a while ago that SSDs weren’t suitable for recording onto due to a Read and Write limit. Is this still applicable?



What does this look like?

My suggestions as I’ve just been researching this myself for my day job as a high performance computing geek are:

  • Samsung 850 Evo (or even the older 840 if you can get it)
  • Crucial M550 (or older M100)

Whichever is cheaper from your preferred store in the size you want.

Really though, it won’t matter much what the performance of the SSD is as it will far out strip anything your likely to be able to stream from a sample library (without something else in your system overloading).

Make a backup of the SSD onto a hard disk for the day the SSD inevitably (and no doubt inconveniently) says “no more”. The principle difference between say the Samsung 850 Pro and EVO is the endurance factor (you can see it in the warranty difference and price). Not a biggy when writing once and reading many times which is mostly what the sample libraries will do.

I also have Sandisk and Intel SSD’s going strong as well. No where near the performance for read/write of mixed large and small files as my Samsung 840 Pro but plenty for your sample needs. Given the size factor (1TB I assume) and cost best to go no pro me thinks (and use the cash you save to buy a hard disk for backup purposes!).

I did wonder about a hybrid SSHD like the 2TB Seagate ones, with 8Gig SSD;s in them. Sounds small but might buffer up samples rather effectively under the right conditions and better bang for buck with all that storage.

Thank you for sharing your findings on SSDs. If using one just for Sample Libraries (as you say only writing each library once) how long do SSDs last compared to Mechanical drives? I would hate to shell out for an SSD and have it die on me rather quickly. All drives Die and I have replaced many mechanical drives in the past but spending nearly £400 on 1tb is a lot of Money!

Thanks again


SSD lifetime prediction, not sure I want to be responsible for that. :wink:

What I can say is my 7 year old Intel first generation SSD that cost $1000 for 120 Gigs, is still working!

I mention the difference because it is one reason for difference in cost on Samsung Pro and EVO drives. Different response speed for more varied IO types as well. Definitely shouldn’t scare you off for sample libraries.

The SSD will almost certainly work for long enough to earn its keep, you will probably replace others things before then.

Why back it up? Cause you should always backup!

Another thought: I’ll likely gain access to another large library soon and am thinking of getting a recent generation (e.g. 850 EVO) drive, cloning my system drive onto that one and then using my current system drive (Intel 335) as a sample drive: Faster system and new library space!


Thank you. Would a 500gb SSD be large enough to fully install Native Instruments Komplete 10 Ultimate?

I did just that in this post on the Soundsonline forums!

No read limits, and as I show in the calcs above, your drive (or you) will probably fail due to some other cause before you ever exhaust writes, as long as you always have at least 10-15GB spare. This will only affect your OS and project drives, as sample drives get very few writes.

Thank you. This certainly clears up any doubts I had. I guess (Money depending) all drives will eventually be replaced with SSDs. Their speed is just such a luxury. I am currently trying to learn how to Clone my OS SSD incase I need to roll back (everything is Cleanly installed and Audio Software tweaked and Set up to how I like) and I just have no more time to waste with installing Windows and so much Music software. I look forward to getting another SSD but for the Sample Libraries.

For Sample Lib really does not matter. You can use HDD (it is bigger and cheapper HDD)

Almost like there is no difference between SSD and HDD for SAMPLE LIBRARY.
the SSD is good for OS or for RANDOM data access.

If you load one by one, like in most case, you don’t need a SSD.
If you load simultaneously two ore more VST the SSD is GOOD.

Best Regards,

Not true. SSDs can double the throughput of samples compared to HDDs.

There is a reason why EastWest recommends SSDs for their 300GB Hollywood Strings.

However, that is at the top end, and most may get away with lesser performance drives if not using too many heavy libraries.

the SSD is good for OS or for RANDOM data access.

Hollywood Strings maybe have a lot of SMALL FILES…but with RAM does not matter…of course if YOU HAVE MONEY buy SSD is a good choice

Make a test and you will see.

…do not believe everything until that you do not test.

of course …if you have less than 8 or 16 GB ram the SSD is a good choice
I have 3 SSD but no for VST. one for Windows OS one for MacOS and one for transport because SSD is very shocking resistance. I have LSI Raid 5 card with 3 HDD and I have PERFORMANCE and FAULT TOLERANCE at ~~ the same money.
For me are too expensive SSD for use just to load big file.
The performance difference is not worth too much money difference


Any useful sample library will generally be too large to be kept in one file, and would be too awkward to patch in updates. However, irrespective of in how many files the library is kept, it is how it is accessed that is of primary importance for selecting storage for it. See my description below.

Well, accessing sample libraries is very close to random access, and in some ways is worse.

If streaming from disk, the sample engine will initially load up the first block or so of EVERY note sample in the patch. Say for a piano patch with 88 notes, at 8 level samples per note, and 4 versions of each for round robin, that comes to 88 x 8 x 32 = 2,816 blocks.

When playing, to maintain as close to real-time performance as possible, the sample engine needs to get the next block of each playing note BEFORE getting ANY of the ones after. Repeat ad noiseum!

Typically, the samples will be stored under a separate folder for each mic position, so if playing multiple mic positions simultaneously, on a HDD, the heads will be travelling to separate sections of the disk for each cycle of block fetching. That is a lot of disk-thrashing, especially if using small sectors, which is why I recommend formatting multimedia drives with 64kB sectors, which also results in a lot less OS overhead.

How would SSD use depend upon how much RAM one has?

It has to do with how much you want to access in unit time, which for samples, due to the sequence in which they are accessed, is rarely going to be near the maximum transfer rates in drive specs, which are also at maximum latency.

The amount of RAM is going to have to be greater than that required for:
a) OS and its active and latent services.
b) Active programs, like the DAW, sampler engines and FX.
c) Initial blocks of ALL samples in the loaded patches.
d) Current blocks of all PLAYING notes.
e) Audio buffers for currently recording or playing tracks.
f) Other data and buffers required for the above.

With that RAID card, I would suggest going RAID1, because it probably gives true simultaneous head reads, which will give you a good step towards SSD speeds.

Why SSDs can give so much improvement, is that in the typical 2ms that a HDD head is jumping track to track, an SSD can actually read about three seconds of samples.

Make a test and you will see RAID 5 is much better than Raid1 for read and write. Raid 1 is a little better JUST for reading…a little.

SSD course is better than HDD but the difference of money in my opinion not worth NOW.
For ~~ some money, in my opinion, a good choice is Raid 5 or Raid 10 (hardware raid NOT software raid) with SSD caching (a small SSD attached at Raid card) and you have almost same performance or even better because Raid card have 1 GB RAM or 512 MB Ram.

Please make a test not THEORY and you will see. Maybe for the rest of money will buy more VST not SSD :smiley:

With Raid 5 or 10 you don’t have problem if broken HDD. The risk to lose data is very small.

P.S. Make a test :wink:

Best Regards,

From tests I did when I first bought my sample SSDs, these are the load times for a full Master 88 patch for the Bosendorfer from EWQL’s Pianos:
a) Initial load from 7200rpm SATA II Seagate Barracuda = 20+ secs
b) Initial load from SATA II Corsair SSD = 12 sec
c) Immediate reload of samples from either of above = close to SSD time = cache read.
From this, since a single SSD is so close to reading from cache, any RAID arrangement would provide no performance benefit at all.

As I already have SSDs to fulfil my needs, I do not wish spend money on a hardware RAID controller. However, as you have one, and if you have EWQL Pianos on the array, perhaps you could report the initial load and reload times for the same patch on it?

Just a question: If a RAID5 drive fails, is there a performance drop during the interval before you replace the drive and rebuild the array?

I would expect true parallel head-reads RAID1 to lose performance, which would affect a session if that performance level was relied upon.

From test AcousticsampleS Kawai-EX with Raid5 difference is more ~~7s. Worth seconds difference more hundred US dollars ??? I did not say the SSD is worse, of course is much better than HDD but you need moreeee money :slight_smile:

Ofcourse …the performance is slow if rebuilding but In raid 5 performance it is for read and WRITE. I don’t have READ ONLY hdd :smiley:

Currently a 1TB SSD is 8-10 times more expensive than a 1TB HDD (1 TB HDD ~50$…1TB SSD ~500$). If you have money go to buy it is not my problem. For me money difference I put in VSTs. By the way in this weekend Steinberg have discounts at VST :wink:

Best Regards,

Well, its an interesting discussion. I have pretty much decided I am going to buy a Samsung Pro Evo SSD for Sample Libraries.

Steinberg VST discount?! Oh, The Grand 3 is at a really good price. So is 8Dio’s 1928 Grand! Hmmm…