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Topic: Dedicated Giga Box & 1 Hard Drive

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  1. #1

    Dedicated Giga Box & 1 Hard Drive

    I know that Tascam recommends having a separate drive for your GIGs, is this necessary if you are running a dedicated box that ONLY does OS & Giga? I would much rather buy a 250 drive as opposed to a 40 and a 200. Less money, less heat and less noise. Thanks for your input!

  2. #2

    Re: Dedicated Giga Box & 1 Hard Drive

    A separate hard drive (at least 7200 RPM) to hold your samples is critical. Even with loads of RAM, these large samplers really work a hard drive. You want the sample access to not have to compete with the program.

    With GigStudio 3, Tascam recommends that you devote a separate third physical hard drive to the "impulses" for the absolute best performance (I have mine on my "C: drive" along with the OS and GS3, and it seems to work fine).

    You will want to get the BIGGEST hard drives you can afford. The trend in sample libraries is BIGGER. It isn't that difficult to fill up a 500GB drive with samples, especially if you buy one of the big orchestral libraries. For example, the "soon to be released" Kirk Hunter Concert Strings will have over 100GB of samples (this is Strings only -- who knows what the total library will require).

    I would also make sure that you have a few Firewire ports and some USB 2.0 ports. This will allow you to add an external Firewire/USB2.0 hard drive to hold your samples. I have external 500GB and an external 250GB to hold samples.

    I would also recommend the 'primary' drive be bigger than 40GB.

  3. #3

    Re: Dedicated Giga Box & 1 Hard Drive

    Thanx Martin.

    Are you getting good performance form your USB 2 drive? That seems to be a great expansion option. Are there limitations using USB 2? I would think the access time would be slightly longer. IF there aren't any issues like that it would seem that maybe using an external USB drive in conjunction with the local IDE drive would actually be better than usiing a third or fourth IDE drive.

  4. #4

    Re: Dedicated Giga Box & 1 Hard Drive

    It's an interesting question. If you turn off networking, strip out every process that you can, have lots of RAM and set the page size to zero, it might just work. You would want to give the system lots of time to really, really finish booting before you load GS, and yet more time before you load any samples.

    In the end though you'd always be wondering if some underbelly of the OS won't decide to hit your drive at a critical point in GS sample access. And then you'd wonder if it might crash. And you could never be sure that wouldn't happen.

    This might be an option for a super-dedicated GS studio machine with digital I/O and external capturing. If it crashes in the studio you just curse and reboot. If it crashes on stage, well...

    I'd go with the second drive for a live machine. I've seen test results that show top performance with firewire drives (it has very low CPU overhead). IDE was second best and USB 2.0 was third. USB 2.0 wasn't bad though. BTW, the tests I saw were for general computing, not for Giga tasks, so who knows which is really best. Both Firewire and USB 2.0 drives are known to work well as sample drives.

    -JF

  5. #5

    Re: Dedicated Giga Box & 1 Hard Drive

    I am actually using a external "Combo" drives, which support either a USB 2.0 or FW connection (I am using FW ports). I assume that these drives provide slightly slower access than an internal IDE drive.

    I notice that people are building "premium" systems using Serial ATA drives.

    If you look back in some of the GigaStudio forum posts, there are discussions about 3rd and 4th drives (I am not really that knowledgeable about computer bus architecture and speed).

    Another "cheating" suggestion would be to call some of the "specialized" audio computer companies and inquire about specs for a possible purchase (to see what they are doing):

    http://carillonusa.com/
    http://www.visiondaw.com/productcart/pc/customIndex.asp
    http://www.pcaudiolabs.com/

  6. #6

    Re: Dedicated Giga Box & 1 Hard Drive

    A separate hard drive (at least 7200 RPM) to hold your samples is critical. Even with loads of RAM, these large samplers really work a hard drive. You want the sample access to not have to compete with the program.
    I think "critical" is an exaggeration. I've personally seen Giga run very well on several systems with only one hard drive. In fact my current live system has only one drive, and I run Quantum Leap Brass, Scarbee Rhodes etc on it, with no glitches whatsoever. I wouldn't use it live if it weren't 100% reliable.

    I'm sure having a separate drive will give better polyphony, but it's just another of those factors that add to the capability of the PC - like having a 3ghz CPU will give better polyphony than a 2ghz CPU. It doesn't mean you can't run the program effectively on a 2ghz. It just depends how much performance you need and are willing to pay for.

  7. #7

    Re: Dedicated Giga Box & 1 Hard Drive

    So to extrapolate further If one were ever considering using GS on a laptop they should definitely use a USB or firewire drive for samples.

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