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Topic: FYI on External Drives/Audio apps

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  1. #1
    Moderator/Developer Brian2112's Avatar
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    FYI on External Drives/Audio apps

    Just FYI…

    I did some research on external hard drives. Much has been made of USB 2.0 and Fire wire 400 drives. I read the specs thinking I was miss-reading things but I was not. I am getting a 50+ MB sustained transfer rate from a LaCie 400 gb external SATA drive (according to my bench with various configs)- Truly remarkable considering the large capacity. Now, the seek time is about 11ms (usually not so good - as a good baseline for audio apps is about 7 or no more than <9 ms). However, this is where having the 8MB cache can come into play and to some extent negates the relatively high seek rate. It sure is streaming samples without a hitch!

    On the smaller (and usually faster) drives, USB 2.0 and fire wire 400 come in at about 30-40 MBps. The fire wire 800 drives are faster at about 60+ MBps (but only the latest MB support fire wire 800 so keep this in mind) – and again these are the 80-120GB drives.

    External SATA drives require an extra step in that you have to install a SATA PCI card (making them a tad less mobile). But having such large capacity for back-up and also the ability to actually use the drive makes it well worth it in my opinion.

    …2112
    "So what if some parts of life are a crap shoot? Get out there and shoot the crap." -- Neil Peart
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  2. #2
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    Re: FYI on External Drives/Audio apps

    I have to look at this now. I was down at a studio yesterday where they have Lacie externals - firewire 800's. I asked how they were performing and any problems etc. None at all and really good. Streaming perfectly apparently.
    We did some big band stuff and streamed from the Lacies into Logic 7.1.1 - no sweat and no noticable anything.

  3. #3

    Re: FYI on External Drives/Audio apps

    The Lacies FW800 are indeed extremely reliable. But I find them quite noisy. But if you can put them somewhere where you can't hear them, they're a great choice.

  4. #4

    Re: FYI on External Drives/Audio apps

    That's good info, I've long wondered about the viability of external drives for streaming samples. Thanks for taking the time to post this!

  5. #5

    Re: FYI on External Drives/Audio apps

    Firewire drives do work fine, but the transfer rate isn't the important spec. I'm also skeptical whether the hard drive buffer is relevant for streaming samples. Maybe a techno-weenie can answer that.

    But I agree that SATA is probably the right horse to bet on at the moment. I recently bought - and need to get around to installing - a Sonnet 4+4 SATA card (four internal and external ports) to use on my G5.

  6. #6

    Re: FYI on External Drives/Audio apps

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Batzdorf
    I recently bought - and need to get around to installing - a Sonnet 4+4 SATA card (four internal and external ports) to use on my G5.
    Nick, where the heck are going to install two additional internal drives on a G5? And do you really have the available PCI slot (I think you've got some Digi cards?), or does this card go somewhere else?

    - Mike Greene

  7. #7

    Re: FYI on External Drives/Audio apps

    Can you hot-swap?

    Ernie

  8. #8

    Re: FYI on External Drives/Audio apps

    Mike, I bought a bracket that lets you mount three more drives inside the G5, but the Sonnet card has four external SATA ports in additional to the internal ones.

    http://www.g5drivebracket.com

    And since I didn't upgrade to Pro Tools HD (my MIX hardware is still on my G4), I have two open PCI slots. Of course, I also have a Magma expansion chassis, so even if I didn't have the open slots, that wouldn't be a problem...

  9. #9

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