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Topic: Samples on what harddrive?

  1. #1

    Samples on what harddrive?

    I need some advise on harddrives and where to put my samples if you have any. I'm not sure I'm doing it the best way.

    Computer: Dual 2GHz Mac G5. 2.5 RAM

    Two internal drives:
    1) The 150 Gig, 7200 speed drive that came with the computer. I have that divided into 3 partitions: a) the main one of 80 Gigs where they system and software is loaded, b) 35 Gig, c) 35 Gig

    2) Internal second drive of 70 Gig, 10,000 speed. I have that partitioned into four 17 Gig partitions. This is where I record the audio and and midi sessions.

    Where is the best place for speed and stability to load all my samples? Is it bad to have samples on the "a" partition of my #1 drive? Is it okay to load them on the "b" or "c" partitions of my #1 drive? Is it best or not to load them all on my #2 drive - which won't leave me much room to record my audio.

    Presently I've got most of my samples loaded on the "c" partition of my #1 drive, and some, though fewer, loaded on the "a" partition of my #1 drive. (Mostly because when installing them I couldn't figure out how to put them anywhere else.)

    I should mention that one of the reasons I'm asking is that my #1 drive, partition "a" is very full (only 3-4 Gig left), and so I'd like to move the samples somewhere else. (which is another question in itself of how!).

    Thanks for any advise, Thisman.

  2. #2

    Re: Samples on what harddrive?

    As a good general rule, one wants all of the sample libraries off of the system drive and onto their own sample drive. An optimal setup would be a system drive, an application drive, a mass-storage and audio drive, and a sample drive (4 drives). A simpler setup would be a system and application drive, a mass-storage and audio drive, and a sample drive (3 drives). Any fewer than 3 drives and one will encounter problems as the drives fill up as I did when I had an AID-0 of 2 40GB drives for a system and application drive, and a 400GB sample audio and mass-storage drive. I recommend buying a 3rd drive of at least 250GB in size for mass storage and audio. Your sample drive should not fill up past 30% or you may encounter performance problems. To stick to the 30% rule you may at some point in time want an additional sample drive. That said, I think you should move your most-used sample libraries to your 70GB drive on partitions 1 and 2. As to how that can be done, each library may have a different preferred way but they should come with manuals, links to support forums, or E-mail addresses and so on that you can use to find out.

  3. #3

    Re: Samples on what harddrive?

    Hey thanks Chris! One more question: Is it good to put all your samples on one partition of a drive? I'm not exactly sure how it all works, but I'm thinking if I'm triggering lots of different sample on the same drive and/or partition, then that one drive/partition is seeing a lot of action and searching for samples when I'm playing sequences. Would it be more stable/fast to separate my samples some on separate drives or partitions so that the one area is not seeing so much action but divided over more areas? Or do I not understand how this works?


  4. #4

    Re: Samples on what harddrive?

    Hi Thisman,
    Yes. More spread out is better. In a perfect sample storage world the sample libraries would be spread over multiple drives; having a few sample libraries streaming from more than one dedicated drive increases performance and reliability, whereas having them stream from more than one partition on one drive will not give you a performance or stability boost over having those few libraries on 1 partition on that same drive. The simplest way to do this is to install drum library X on sample drive 1 and brass library Y on sample drive 2 so that when you use both libraries in a song, the drives help eachother. Without a good dedicated RAID card configured for a large stripe size of from 96KB to 256KB I would not setup an [A]rray of [i]nexpensive [D]rives in mode 0 (1 big drive made out of more than one drive which splits the load between all of the drives in the array) for sample storage and streaming (although I don't know my way around finding an optimal cluster size on a Macintosh).

  5. #5

    Re: Samples on what harddrive?

    with the size and speed of drives no adays....do you really need all those separate drives? Why not a say a 2 SATA 500gb drives raided together. Having your samples on there and system apps. then a secondary fw drive for say audio. What would be the negative to something like this, for samples and libraries? (ie: 2 SATA 500gb raided)(system and samples)

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    San Francisco

    Re: Samples on what harddrive?

    Thisman - something that i don't think has been adequately understood regards partitions, which you keep mentioning. Forget partitions. They gain you absolutely nothing here and may lose you something. This is all about drive performance. You can't magically make one drive into two drives by partitioning it; and if the head has to travel farther due to your partitioning scheme, that will _lose_ you performance, and partitioning will never gain you performance with digital audio.

    Keep things simple: don't partition your drives. One drive = one partition. The 3 drive setup discussed above is great: one for system and apps, one for recording, one (or more) for samples (and if you do put your samples across multiple drives, which is great, DON'T do it as a RAID array. RAID cannot give you performance gains with sample streaming, and can in fact lose you performance, like partitioning. This has been very thoroughly discussed on this forum, just do a search).

    Good luck!

  7. #7

    Re: Samples on what harddrive?

    i did a search and can't find a thread talking about sata raid's and how they werent beneficial. i find this very hard to believe. but i know i could be wrong as it relates to the way the sampler streams the samples. as it relates to genereal speed and price sata raids are the way to go. I did read a few members here how had sata raid 0's for their samples.

  8. #8

    Re: Samples on what harddrive?

    Stephen thank you for your help. You said: "If you are staying with internal drives, try to be sure you put your player(s) and sample drives as Masters - there is increased access time for Slave drives."

    This is something I've not heard of and so don't know how to do this. Is this a switch on the drive or in the computer - seems like I've seen something like that when I installed the last one? So I can make more than one drive (or three) the "master" drive without problems?

    Thanks everyone for your very helpful advise. One reason I have stayed away from 3 drives vs the 2 I have is the added noise that I'm guessing will happen. (I don't have my computer isolated from the monitoring/mixing environment, though it is away from the recording environment.) But from all that I've read here, looks like I should go for 3.


  9. #9
    Senior Member Richard Berg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Chapel Hill, NC

    Re: Samples on what harddrive?

    "Master is faster than slave" hasn't been true for a decade. (I believe it was fixed in ATA-3)

    Like others have said, partitions don't make sense. I use them on test boxes where the OS is wiped every few days. I can't imagine why they would be useful in the audio world. Using them for audio (or any other disk-heavy application that crosses partition boundaries) will dramatically lower performance.

    Put samples on your fastest drive. RAID 0 can help if STR is the bottleneck, but I think you'll find seek time is the dominant factor in complex orchestrations. RAID 0 increases seek time; RAID 1 or 10 would be a better choice. Better still would be spreading the libraries across multiple individual drives (physical spindles, not partitions; and separate controllers / SCSI channels too if possible).

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