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Topic: Cakewalk/Giga drives

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  1. #1

    Cakewalk/Giga drives

    I am buying a PIII 800 with 256 MB RAM. It will have two 30GB 7200 EIDE drives. I will be using it to run Gigastudio and Cakewalk Pro Audio simultaneously. At the most, I would be running 5-10 audio tracks in Cake. I realize that I will be limited in the effects I can run and the polyphony I will get, but this is as much as I can afford to put together.

    What would be the best way to organize the drives? (1)Windows, Cakewalk and Giga programs on one drive with Giga samples and Cake wave data on the other drive? (2) Windows and Cake program with Cake wavedata on one drive with Giga samples on the other drive? (3) Some other setup?

    Also, would it help to partition either of the drives, or with the setup I am describing, would it do just as well to leave each drive unpartitioned?

    My initial thought was that if the Cake wavedata and the Giga samples were on the same drive, that it might slow things down when Cake is reading wave data and recording wavedata and Giga is reading samples all at the same time off the same drive.

    I can\'t afford two computers (and don\'t have the room for two computers, or a third hard drive). I have watched with interest the reports on the external firewire drives, but it is too early to jump into that pond.

    Any opinions would be appreciated.


  2. #2

    Re: Cakewalk/Giga drives

    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Doug Bircher:
    [B]I am buying a PIII 800 with 256 MB RAM. It will have two 30GB 7200 EIDE drives. I will be using it to run Gigastudio and Cakewalk Pro Audio simultaneously. At the most, I would be running 5-10 audio tracks in Cake. I realize that I will be limited in the effects I can run and the polyphony I will get, but this is as much as I can afford to put together.

    I reccomend having a system drive (windows + other software) doesn\'t need to be super fast or big for that matter. Then add another drive for you gigs and another to store your wave data for playback in cakewalk. The only problem you may encounter is that you\'ll likely have 3 udma 66 drives and only 2 connections on your motherboard. If you have a choice, there is a great sollution in the Gigabyte BX2000+ (Obviously Intel\'s BX Chipset which is solid) but the neat thing about this board is that it has 2 udma 66 channels on the board aswell as 2 udma 33 connectors .. this means you could have all three drives on the fast connection. This board has the Promise chipset onboard. I\'ve used this board in many clients machines before and never had a problem.

    Also, don\'t partition your drives.. I recommend getting like 20-30 gig drives and only have 1 massive partition.

    Take Care,

    Mike Warning
    Early Warning New Media


  3. #3

    Re: Cakewalk/Giga drives

    Here\'s what I would recommend. I\'ve recently gone through a full system tweak so I can offer some things I think will help. First make sure that your two drives are connected to different IDE cables - when each is on a different channel I believe both disks can be accessed at the same time, which gives you potentially double the data transfer rate of having them both on the same channel(a single IDE channel waits for each access request to complete before it sends another request - SCSI does not have this problem). Your cd drive(s) can go to either of the IDE cables, sharing the channel with a hard drive. This goes against conventional wisdom, which says cd drives should be on one channel and hard drives on the other. Most people would recommend that setup so that the very slow cd accesses won\'t delay fast access to a hard drive. But most likely you want higher performance than most people. The setup I suggested above gives much faster data tranfer rates under the right circumstances, because two drives can be used at once. When you\'re running an audio app, you will just have to make sure you never have anything accessing a cd drive.
    Since your biggest data transfers will be from gigasampler instruments being played and cakewalk audio files being played, it makes sense to have the cake audio files on one disk and the giga instruments on the other. Your disk with windows on it will be slightly slower(not much) since you will almost certainly be installing windows(or if it\'s preinstalled as well) to the first partition. The partitions on each disk are fastest in order of being assigned- for example on a two disk setup like you have, if you make 3 partitions per disk and partition both in the same way, the fastest partitions will be in this order - C and D equally fast, then E and G equally, then F and H equally. Windows has a strange ordering to partitions - it assigns them C to disk1, then D to disk2, then E, F, G, H, etc. go two disk1 using however many letters needed for the rest of the partitions on that disk, then J, K, L, M, etc. would go to disk2. Any further letters down the line would usually be used by cd drives. The reason for the partition speed differences is that the closer a partition of a disk is to the outer edge of the disk, the faster the data there is spinning past the disk heads.
    Here\'s what I suggest. Make a small partition for Windows - 512 Megs will be far more than enough unless you are planning to upgrade to win2000 and want ease of upgrade. For win2000, you\'ll want to check the min disk space requirements of that OS, but I\'d guess 2 gigs will give you the safety margin for the future. You want the OS partition to be as small as possible since it\'s taking up the fast outer disk tracks. The next partition on your system disk should be for either cake audio files or gig instruments. Make this whatever size you feel you need. Then the next system disk partition should be for other applications that don\'t need the best performance of your disk. The last (and therefore slowest) system disk partition should be for system temp files and the swap file. The reason for creating this partition is so that these huge files won\'t be on the first (windows) partition, taking up a lot of space on the first partition. This way you can make the first partition small, which is good since the first partition is taking up the fastest area of the disk. You will specify your system temp files to go to the temp/swap partition by putting the following lines at the top of your c:\\autoexec.bat file (while replacing g: with whatever letter corresponds to your temp/swap partition) -

    @set temp=g:\\temp
    @set tmp=g:\\temp

    Make sure you create a folder \'temp\' on g: or whatever the appropriate partion letter is.
    You will specify your swap file(the virtual memory) to go to this partition by opening start: settings: control panel: system: performance: virtual memory. Check \"let me specify my own virtual memory\" and select the appropriate partition letter. Ignore any warnings windows gives you about this. For 256 Megs of RAM and such large drives as you have I\'d suggest specifying a 512 Meg swap file for both the min and max values(more than you need but limited disk space is not an issue for you). Before you do any of this, when you are making partitions, make this temp files/swap file partition to 1 gig size. These four partitions will give you very good performance in the places that need it on your system disk.
    Now on the second disk, you probably need only two partitions. The first and fast one should of course be for either the gig instruments or cake audio, your choice again - this partition will be ever so slightly faster then the corresponding audio partition on your system disk. Make the partition whatever size you feel you need. The second partition should be for storing various files (audio/video/whatever) and more applications if you want.
    Make sure your cake/gig audio partitions have nothing but gig instruments and cake audio files. If there are any other files on it, you have no control over where they will get placed, particularly after you do disk defragmenting, which as an aside you should do often on these audio partitions for maximum performance. Any other files, if they are on your partition, may end up positioned on the disk in front of your critical audio data, which means they have taken up the fastest outer tracks of the partition. For this same reason, you may want to even make two partitions for gig instruments and two for cake audio files. This time the files that might be taking up the fastest part of the partition can potentially be some audio files you aren\'t using on a session. If you do this, the first audio partitions would be relatively small (maybe 2 gigs) and contain instruments or audio data that needs absolutely the best performance you can give it. Some of the new gigasampler pianos might benefit from this, or when you\'re playing multiple instruments they could all be put in this partition for max polyphony. Basically, if any situation comes up where you\'re running out of polyphony or need more audio tracks, this will help provided that your hard disk is the bottleneck.
    It is irrelevent what partition you put your gigasampler and cakewalk applications, so long as you don\'t put them on either of your two audio partitions. The applications themselves don\'t need fast disk speed; only the audio data needs it. Probably it\'s most appropriate to put them on a partition with the rest of your applications.
    Hope this wasn\'t too much. It\'s just the beginning when you consider some of the things you could do, but this will give you good results without huge effort.

    -Jeff

    [This message has been edited by hurchalla (edited 05-16-2000).]

    [This message has been edited by hurchalla (edited 05-16-2000).]

    [This message has been edited by hurchalla (edited 05-16-2000).]

  4. #4

    Re: Cakewalk/Giga drives

    Thanks for the time and effort guys. The information you have given will be invaluable when I put my new system together.

    Doug

  5. #5

    Re: Cakewalk/Giga drives

    No problem. One other thing occured to me now though it isn\'t about disk drives. If you plan to use only one soundcard, you need to get one that supports multiclient use, otherwise you won\'t be able to use cakewalk and gigasampler at the same time through the card. Some multiclient cards I\'m aware of are Echo cards, Aardvark cards, Frontier dakota, Soundscape mixtreme. I think Nemesys keeps a list on their site if that helps. Good luck-
    Jeff

  6. #6

    Re: Cakewalk/Giga drives

    I bought the Aardvark Direct Pro 24/96 the day it came out. Really like the card, but as you have probably read, still waiting for Gigasampler drivers. Once they come out, and I get the new computer system, with Gigastudio, I will be on the computer from the minute I get home from work until I pass out from lack of sleep... It\'s a good thing my wife doesn\'t read these posts.

    Uh, hello honey. How long have you been looking over my shoulder?

    Gotta go.

  7. #7

    Re: Cakewalk/Giga drives

    For all those above who give advice--

    All the previous wisdom regarding GigaSampler has advised us to use FAT-16 because it is faster than FAT-32, but all the advice I see above appears to assume FAT-32 partitions in all the setups recommended. Are we now to forget all that previous advice about using FAT-16 partitions with GigaStudio?

  8. #8

    Re: Cakewalk/Giga drives

    Fat16 is generally faster than Fat32, regardless of what application or data is on your drive. This is because by default it uses larger cluster sizes for a given partition size. When there are larger clusters it takes fewer clusters to fill the partition- therefore the FAT lookup table can be smaller and more efficient = faster. Plus I think a large cluster may have less overhead for transferring data than multiple small clusters of an equivalent size. On the minus side, large clusters use up unecessary disk space for all the small files on your system, but that\'s the only disadvantage I\'m aware of. So in general FAT16 should give better performance. However the maximum size for a fat16 partition is 2 gigs, so whether or not you want to use it depends on whether you can live with that limit.
    For fat32, there is also an undocumented switch for the format command - If you created the partition as fat32 with fdisk, you can use format /z:32, which in theory should give you the same 32k clusters as fat16 would create for a 2 gig partition, but without the partition size limit. No guarantees though. When I did just that but specified /z:64, format had no problems, but a day later I discovered format had ignored the switch and formatted it as it would normally. This could just be that 64 (which is unusually large) is higher than /z accepts, and therefore using a more standard size like /z:32 would work. I haven\'t tried it since.
    I think maybe I could do MIS instead of the audio startup Hope this helps-
    Jeff

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