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Topic: Storing Samples on an external hard drive?

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  1. #1

    Storing Samples on an external hard drive?

    Hey guys,

    There are now a slew of really fast USB external hard drives out with a ton of memory. Would storing samples for gigastudio and using them from one of these be acceptable? I mean, it would be really easy when a new system is purchased to simply hook up the hard drive and go. What do you guys think?

    Rich

  2. #2

    Re: Storing Samples on an external hard drive?

    I just purchased a 250GB External USB2 hard drive for that purpose, I plan on using it for the KH Concert Orchestra and the Project SAM Solo Sessions and True Strike as my internal drives are just about full.

    So far I've had no problem with the streaming but I just got it yesterday.

    I will let you know if I run into any problems.
    Alan Lastufka | www.BelaDMedia.com
    Producer/Artistic Design | Content Producer

    20 Things

  3. #3

    Re: Storing Samples on an external hard drive?

    Thanks for the info man, yeah.. Im running low on space myself, hence the reason Im considering it (just installed stylus rmx and X-treme fx which is eating up quite a bit). With so many large libs I want to purchase for various projects, it seems like this would be a good option. Any good (and cost efffective) brands you guys could recommend? Im looking for something around 100 Gig or more.

    Rich

  4. #4

    Re: Storing Samples on an external hard drive?

    I got a name brand (Maxtor) drive in a steel chasis, 250GB with 8MB Cache, 7200rpm and one year warrenty for $181, it was $206 after shipping and handling charges from www.newegg.com - that's quite a steal IMO.
    Alan Lastufka | www.BelaDMedia.com
    Producer/Artistic Design | Content Producer

    20 Things

  5. #5

    Re: Storing Samples on an external hard drive?

    Alan, that does sound like a great deal. And I've heard good things about Newegg. I keep my samples on external drives too and have had no problems running things so far. My enclosures are usb2/ieee combos.

    Having samples externally also makes it easy to easily migrate things to other computers if you need to. e.g. - unplug the drive from one computer and plug into the other.

    Alan mentioned the 8 meg cache, which I think is an important thing to note. I would recommend making sure the hd you plan to use has an 8 meg cache or more (if that's what it comes with). I think that helps keep things running smoothly.

  6. #6

    Re: Storing Samples on an external hard drive?

    Fantastic! Im glad to hear that this works well.. I was getting nervous about my lack of hard drive space. The drives Ive been looking at online have either an 8MB or 16MB cache, and really arent all that pricey for 160 gigs... Ill be getting one fairly soon.

    Rich

  7. #7

    Re: Storing Samples on an external hard drive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Blaske
    Again, though, if what you're using works, you're all set. How high are your normal polyphony counts?
    I have a custom lib that maxes out Kontakt's polyphony before it maxes out the USB2 drive - although most of the samples are shorter (under 2MB each) mono files, so it could possibly be streaming the bulk of them from RAM.

    A stress test might be fun if I have the time tonight with a sustained string patch, I will see if I have the time. Under normal working conditions I haven't noticed any differences in the last 48 hours.
    Alan Lastufka | www.BelaDMedia.com
    Producer/Artistic Design | Content Producer

    20 Things

  8. #8

    Re: Storing Samples on an external hard drive?

    I'd recommend connecting your external drives via Firewire (IEEE-1394), rather than USB2, if you have the option.

    While USB2 sounds a little better on paper (480MB/sec vs. 400MB/sec), in practice 1394 is 2-3x faster (in my tests of a Seagate 160G external drive with both interfaces). Also, 1394 has very low CPU impact -- pretty close to 0 -- because the 1394 interface chips in your PC can just stream the data right into memory. I measured about 10-12MB/sec max throughput with USB2 vs 27-30 MB/sec with 1394.

    By contrast, USB2 can eat up to 18% or so of your CPU, just for keeping the data streaming to/from the drive. USB2 is a host-centric protocol, and the host (Windows) has to do a lot of the "heavy lifting".

    I could go into "deep geek" reasons for the difference -- in my day (geek) gig, I've had to look fairly hard at both protocols. From a technical perspective, 1394 is just a much sweeter protocol, and the performance difference is not accidental.

    That said, if USB2 is working for you -- great! I use it myself, for backing up various PCs in my house, for hooking up printers, etc. No reason to run out and buy a 1394 interface if USB2 is fine. However, if you start running up against track count limits (or your CPU is pegging), think seriously about 1394.

    - Jim

  9. #9

    Re: Storing Samples on an external hard drive?

    I am with Jim. I have a external firewire for my desktop computer samples and runs perfect. Better than a USB 2, just like Jim said.
    Eduardo Tarilonte |Sample Library Developer
    SampleLibraries |MyWeb

  10. #10

    Re: Storing Samples on an external hard drive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Blaske
    My brother, who's involved in the design and manufacture or hard drives for Seagate, tells me that you simply can't go on cache size. In other words, a drive with a 16 meg cache isn't necessarily better than one with an 8 meg cache. Lee Blaske
    Okay, poorly stated on my part... I didn't want to just say '8 meg cache' having seen that there are now bigger ones out there.

    But yeah... that would be like Intel putting a 1 meg L2 cache on the Prescott cpus to try and offset the fact that it looked like they were operating a bit slower than the Northwoods.

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