Oddly, cache is something that I’ve never payed much attention to when buying hard drives when building my DAW’s. I’ve searched all over the net and as I understand it, cache is a hard drives built in memory which it delivers information (but only information that you’ve already opened) to you faster than off of the hard drive itself.
But what does this really mean for music machines? I mean, even the higher cache rated drives with 64 MB isn’t all that much memory. So we have the typical (3) hard drives in a DAW system (#1) OS/Programs (#2) Audio (#3) Sample content. Is any one of these drives more important regarding cache? I’d THINK the Samples Content drive would be the least important, since they are mostly loaded into actual system memory. Next, Audio drive being the 2nd less, but more important, as audio is a lot more MB’s than the HDD’s cache can deliver, the MOST important I’d THINK would be for the OS?Programs HDD, as it takes care of the 'NOW" factor…just how much would be used on this drive at any given time, dunno…???
I see a lot of HDD’s with cache’s of 8 MB’s, 16 MB’s, 32 MB’s & 64 MB’s. It ‘seems’ that the larger the HDD’s (say 1 TB), the average cache is typically larger for the most part, and the smaller HDD’s (say 300 GB) have smaller cache’s. A brand new HDD can be bought much cheaper with very low cache compared to the higher cache HDD’s. I’m assuming there’s a lot of people who just buy the HDD’s with a high cache only ‘just because’ it sounds like it would be better, but really…does it make THAT much difference in a real world music DAW machine? When it comes to loading a project for all it’s worth, I don’t feel the ‘loading times’ are important for me, though the importance of actually ‘running’ things smoothly is more so.
NOTE; I’m primarily talking about standard hard drives, not SSD hard drives here.