As I understand it, USB 2 has a speed of 480 mps, so the speed of the external HD beyond usb2 may not have any effect. I have seen the new SATA2 western digital drive, with a seek time of 6 ms, which is better than GS requires to run, however the USB 2 speed probably stuffs this up to. I'm not sure how the seek time effects the output speed. Please correct me if I am on the wrong track.
Are you saying that the seek time is not as important as it was? The fastest Laptop drive I have seen is the "Hitachi" at 60 gig, with a seek time of 12ms.
Do you think GS3 will run on that?, as I have the optional space for two drives on the Laptop of choice.
Firewire is a little slower than USB2 but more reliable. But nothing is faster than an internal drive (yet).
FW - 50 MB per second
USB2 - 60 MB per second
ATA 133 - (Theoretical) 133 MB per second
SATA - 150 MB per second
Seek times less than 8 or 9 ms (which most drives have) is negligable
Dumb question: what's the difference between a byte and a bit? I've been shopping hard drives for a while now and they all have external data transfer rates measured in megabits and these are in megabytes. The hard drive I've picked out has an external data transfer rate of 300 megabits. Is this OK?
I'm not sure how the seek time effects the output speed.
Seek time, per se, doesn't affect output speed or bandwidth. And in a DAW situation, where the machine "knows" what's coming, the software itself can direct the drives to load information in a way that makes seek time a fairly insignificant aspect.
However, seek time is THE critical component of streaming samplers, once you've satisfied the most basic issues of throughput. Consider that a streaming sampler is asking the disk to react in realtime to an infinitely variable possibility of different file seeks, sometimes asking it to keep up with hundreds of different files which must be kept ahead of the playback buffer.
So, if a drive can shave a millisecond or two off of the average seek time, then this directly translates into a better ability to keep more data lined up in the buffers.
Hope that helps illustrate the balance. Throughput and seek time are both important specs for a streaming sampler drive.
Does it follow from your comment that a laptop running an external drive via Firewire 400 for samples with a seek time of 6ms will produce an acceptable enough result with GS3?. I have been toying with the idea some sort of adapter or card to produce Firewire 800 for the speed, but if the above will work without strain i would be a happy chap.
Sound card is "RME Fireface 800"