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Solid State Hard Drives

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Solid State Hard Drives

Postby Bogmusic » Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:12 pm

Hi Guys
Ahem... I need more power.
I am on the verge of upgrading my DIY rackmount PC with a quad core bundle (Mboard RAM & CPU)
It has been suggested that I consider a solid state hard drive for my OS and apllications (by a friendly video editing hobbyist).
Does anybody have experience of using solid state hard drives for music PCs?
I like the idea of a no noise hard drive but have no knowledge of the performance or reliability of solid state devices (or even what they look like)
All advice welcome
Regards
Simon
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Re: Solid State Hard Drives

Postby humandrums » Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:43 pm

hi Bogmusic!!
i got a 64gig ssd from crucial about 6 months or so ago, i just got win 7 and cubase and vst's on there i record to a sata drive, i found the boot up speed of my pc to have increased but not really sure much about overall use but then i suppose speed of a pc is something you get used to very quickly... i do anyway lol!! they look like a small thin box really like this Image
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Re: Solid State Hard Drives

Postby Bogmusic » Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:24 am

Thanks humandrums
That sounds encouraging, and Wow! it looks great, I'll have to get a perspex lid on my PC case!
I use Reason & Record and have just upgraded to Reason 6 (I took 'advantage' of Propellerhead's pay what you want deal where I paid them what I thought it was worth. This turned out to be a bit more than I really wanted to pay )

I was expecting to record to sata to begin with, but if solid state drives can also be used for recording without performance issues we may all recording to them (eventually - once prices fall out of orbit).

I know what you mean about speed, it's not something you think about until things stop working.

Cheers
Simon
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Re: Solid State Hard Drives

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Oct 30, 2011 2:13 pm

Bogmusic wrote:It has been suggested that I consider a solid state hard drive for my OS and apllications (by a friendly video editing hobbyist).
Does anybody have experience of using solid state hard drives for music PCs?

Hi Simon!

Installing Windows and your applications on a SSD will significantly speed up their loading time, but is unlikely to give any performance improvements once they have loaded, since in my tests software sequencers have minimal drive access once up and running.

If you could afford to store your audio files or sample libraries on SSD you will see performance improvements - BUT ONLY if you were previously maxing out your hard drives, which for a typical 7200rpm model might mean 100+ simultaneous 24-bit/96kHz audio tracks or 200+ softsampler polyphony.

Otherwise you are unlikely to notice any real time audio improvements at all


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Re: Solid State Hard Drives

Postby il Padrino » Sun Oct 30, 2011 2:22 pm

I can vouch for them in regards to running an OS on them - excellent. So much quicker boot, application times etc. I also use them to store large sample libraries on as it shortens the load time to memory. For example, I run the Alicia Keys piano library, it used to load to its default setting from a Sata II drive in 12 to 15 seconds. It now loads in 3 seconds. Also, the bandwidth when streaming such libraries from disc rather than loading to memory would be vastly improved.

Now, if only they were cheaper, I'd do away with my SATA II drive altogether, but alas.....

As regards recording audio to them, I've not heard anything of recent to suggest this wouldn't be advisable. I did read advising against it in the early days of the drives, but I'm not sure if that still applies now. Perhaps Martin can chip in here.... Or anyone else?


PS From MY experience, the Marvell controllers used by Crucial's drives are better for DAW purposes as opposed to the Sandforce controllers (as used by OCZ). I tested these personally by cloning both the OS and sample discs onto Sandforce models. I ensured that the drives had correct alignment, and that TRIM was enabled. What I found was that the Sandforce drives performed well and not far from their advertised speeds when only partially full. However, when the drives became over 60% full, the performance degraded. Loading the same Alicia Keys piano took 6 seconds, double the time compared to the Crucial drive. Also, a few seconds were added to the OS boot and application loading times.

I believe this may have to do with the fact that the advertised speeds of the OCZ (Sandforce controllers) are based on compressible data. Sample libraries, I believe, are incompressible - hence the above scenario?

Either way, you won't regret buying one. I'd recommend either Crucial m4 series, or the C300 as shown above in the picture. They're the older model, but still very fast under Sata III (or II even!)

(EDIT - looks like Martin replied whilst I was typing )
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Re: Solid State Hard Drives

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Oct 30, 2011 2:47 pm

Hi il Padrino!

It’s certainly true that having quicker loading times of new instruments can boost creativity when the last thing you want is to wait 15 seconds or more each time you try out a new sound


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Re: Solid State Hard Drives

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sun Oct 30, 2011 3:50 pm

Bogmusic wrote:Hi Guys
Ahem... I need more power.
I am on the verge of upgrading my DIY rackmount PC with a quad core bundle (Mboard RAM & CPU)
It has been suggested that I consider a solid state hard drive for my OS and apllications (by a friendly video editing hobbyist).
Does anybody have experience of using solid state hard drives for music PCs?
I like the idea of a no noise hard drive but have no knowledge of the performance or reliability of solid state devices (or even what they look like)
All advice welcome
Regards
Simon

A silent drive is nice, but - until SSD drives get much bigger and much cheaper you'll still need at least one mechanical drive on your system. Anyway hard drives aren't very noisy, and can be shrouded. Choosing a fanless grahics card and big, slow system fans will make more difference.

If you use large sample sets, putting them on a SSD will make loading time less of a pita. If you put os and programs on one they will load faster but probably not perform any differently to before. Always remember Windows 7 DOES load a lot faster than previous versions anyway, and a new computer WILL be faster than the one it replaces. And, if the old computer was up to the job, a new, twice-as-powerful one won't feel THAT different.
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Re: Solid State Hard Drives

Postby Ojustaboo » Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:11 am

I use a SSD drive as my main windows drive, its fast but did take a LOT of setting up to work how I wanted.

Due to the lack of space on it, i set up my system so that my windows temp directories, browser temp directories, another program files directory etc were all on a different mechanical drive (my d drive)

Once this was all done correctly I did an image backup of both drives.

Before the image backup I also made sure that My Documents, downloads, pictures, videos etc were on another drive (my e drive)

This means if ever windows screws up (or before installing a major piece of software) I can spend around 20 mins restoring my SSD and other main drive via Truimage to the freshly installed, activated state with all directories pointing to the correct places with my docs, vids and music completely untouched.

And when I get my new cubase, again I'll overwrite my c and d drives with the backed up images, I'll install Cubase, get everything working, then I'll install any windows updates, updates to other software and graphics card drivers that have come out since my last backup then before I do anything else, will make another truimage backup of my c and d drives so that if I need to reformat 3 months down the road, 20 mins later and everythings back up installed, activated etc and all I need to do is the windows updates ect that have come out since my last backup.

Probably didn't answer your question at all, but thought I'd mention it as long term this has saved me literly hours of time by setting up the PC and backing it up in this way.

Best

Joe
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Re: Solid State Hard Drives

Postby Bogmusic » Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:49 pm

This all sounds good

Thank you very much for your assistance gentlemen

I have now established that SSD drives will be of enough benefit to me to justify buying one now (for the OS) and add a couple later. One will just be an empty scratch drive for temp files & caches etc, and the other 128G for my projects. This size will be ample for my working methods as I work on one project at a time and transfer everything onto big removables at the end of each session.

I now have an amazon wish list as follows:

Gigabyte SKT-1155 Z68XP-UD3 Motherboard
Intel Sandybridge i5-2500K Unlocked Core i5 Quad-Core Processor (3.30GHz, 6MB Cache, Socket 1155)
Corsair CMZ8GX3M2A1600C?9 8GB 1600MHz CL9 DDR3 Vengeance Memory Two Module Kit
Crucial CT064M4Solid State Drive2 64GB M4 Solid State Drive
Akasa AK-MX010V2 Dual 2.5 inch SSD and HDD Mounting Kit
Wired--Up 1 SATA Power Adapter Cable and 1 SATA Data Cable
Zalman - Socket 1156 & 775 Clip Support - ZM-CS5B

This is to replace my existing Asus P48P (with P4 3.4ghz chip)
I got the Zalman clip to allow me to reuse my zalman CNPS7000C "super flower" which proved to be quiet enough in my previous setup. Can any of you kind gentlemen (blatant flattery) confirm that this would provide enough "coolth" (made that one up myself) for an i5 processor?
I am also assuming I can reuse my "Quiet PC" power supply on this motherboard. Please shoot me down in flames if I am wrong - I can take it!

Thanks again
You've made this process a lot easier
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Re: Solid State Hard Drives

Postby Pete Kaine » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:32 am

Bogmusic wrote:
I am also assuming I can reuse my "Quiet PC" power supply on this motherboard. Please shoot me down in flames if I am wrong - I can take it!

Donno... what model and how old is it?

I don't recall QPC producing PSU's at any point so already I'm a little worried!

If it came with the P4 it probably doesn't have the right power connectors for the modern 12v inputs on the board... anyhow if it's over 3 years change it regardless, PSU's don't age well and I suspect it'll be underpowered for the new setup. If however it's a recent swap in you might be fine depending on it's load handling ability.
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Re: Solid State Hard Drives

Postby Bogmusic » Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:11 pm

Pete Kaine wrote:
it probably doesn't have the right power connectors for the modern 12v inputs on the board... anyhow if it's over 3 years change it regardless

It is certainly over three years old and (it is not THAT quiet anyhow) so I will take your advice and look for a quiet replacement.

Thanks Pete
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Re: Solid State Hard Drives

Postby Bogmusic » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:06 pm

Pete Kaine wrote:
I don't recall QPC producing PSU's at any point so already I'm a little worried!

Aaaach, my memory aint what it used to be!

I've just taken it out of the case (only way to see the label) and it is actually a Nexus NX-3000 which I now remember buying from a company with "quiet" and "PC" in their title. It's only 300W and the noise levels were closer to modest than quiet as a result.

I have added a Seasonic X-660 to my list.

Thanks again Pete for picking me up on that point, otherwise it would have probably remained overlooked.

I've checked out the CPU fan which is a Zalman CNPS7700-AICU and it should be fine with the i5 by all accounts.

Now for the hard bit - paying for it

Regards
Simon
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Re: Solid State Hard Drives

Postby Pete Kaine » Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:24 am

Bogmusic wrote:
I've just taken it out of the case (only way to see the label) and it is actually a Nexus NX-3000 which I now remember buying from a company with "quiet" and "PC" in their title. It's only 300W and the noise levels were closer to modest than quiet as a result.

Ahh the Nexus range... had one of those and wasn't a bad little supply and indeed nice and quiet (Nexus fans are still reasonable choices), although I stand by my change after the warranty runs out comment! My reaction to the QPC thing was more along the lines that I've dealt closely with them for last 2 or 3 years, and whilst I know they hadn't done any own branded units in that time frame, althrough it wouldn't have suprised me to hear that they had done in the murkey past. My concern was that maybe they had but if so it'd have been a very long time ago indeed!

Bogmusic wrote:
I have added a Seasonic X-660 to my list.

Don't think anyone can argue with that choice.

Bogmusic wrote:
I've checked out the CPU fan which is a Zalman CNPS7700-AICU and it should be fine with the i5 by all accounts.

Blimey, not seen one of those in a while either!

Are you sure the's the right mounting brackets available? Have Zalman released a mounting bracket for the 1155 socket? Out of the box the compatability list (pulled from "Overstock" so it could be wrong):

Intel Pentium 4 (Socket 775):
Intel Pentium 4 (Socket 478):
AMD Sempron/AMD64 (Socket 754/939/940):

Worth a check to see if it'll mount on the new motherboard before you order everything.
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Re: Solid State Hard Drives

Postby munichlondon » Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:27 pm

In regards to the Zalmann CPU-cooler it might be worth considering keeping the stock-cooler from Intel. It is actually reasonably quiet and if you don't overclock it will provide you with more than enough 'coolth'.

However if you do want to overclock you might want to look for a proper upgrade of that not-so-bad Intel cooler. The choice you have ist vast and overwhelming, but you can use the following guidelines:

1. The quality of a CPU-cooler depends on the cooler itself and the fan(s) used.
2. Bad coolers are loud and don't cool properly.
3. Good coolers are either loud but provide loads of 'coolth' or vice versa
4. Excellent coolers do both.
5. You need to choose between a 'top-flow' cooler or a tower-cooler.
6. Top-flow coolers not only cool down the CPU but also the sorrounding chips like the voltage transformers. Also they are usually less tall compared to tower coolers but the majority falls into the 'Good Cooler' category. An exception are the up-market Noctua top-flow coolers.
7. Tower coolers are usually bigger and heavier, but they are the pro's choice for quietly cooling an overclocked system. The excellent ones are from companies like Prolimatech or (again) Noctua among others.

I would suggest you visit a website like www.quietpc.com and check out the pretty comprehensive list of cpu coolers they provide. Search for reviews on the net and the cheapest price and you're done .
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Re: Solid State Hard Drives

Postby Bogmusic » Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:09 pm

Pete Kaine wrote:

Are you sure the's the right mounting brackets available? Have Zalman released a mounting bracket for the 1155 socket? Out of the box the compatability list (pulled from "Overstock" so it could be wrong):

Worth a check to see if it'll mount on the new motherboard before you order everything.

Yes, I got two of these fans late in the day so they came with mounting clips for 1155/1156 boards (ZM-CS5B for installation of CNPS9700/9500/8700/7700/7500/7000 series coolers / ZM-WB4/WB5 waterblocks onto Socket 1156/775)

This was a couple of years ago when I was squeezing the last bit of life out of the old beast by installing a second hand Prescott 3.4ghz which ran too hot for the original fan. I tried other CPU fans in my rack mounted PC but this one seemed to kick more hot air out of the back than any of the others I tried. Also a bigger fan requires lower fan speeds to achieve a good airflow and it makes less noise doing so.

The fan I intend to use has not been out of the packaging yet and its specifications do not appear to differ from Zalman's replacement models which appear to be very similar fans with extra gimmicks such as blue LEDs.

I will be sure to let you all know if things go horribly wrong
I have ordered the items listed above along with a Sapphire 5450 1GB graphics card for £30, having realised that a was heading down an upgrade path which would leave me with nowhere to plug my monitor
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Re: Solid State Hard Drives

Postby Bogmusic » Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:28 pm

Cheers for the advice munichlondon

My "Coolth" quest will begin with the Zalman for a very specific reason. I have now spent all of my money. Its beans on toast until next month!

I will be keeping tabs on this issue and will probably revisit cooling fans in a few months. My idea is to use the redundant built-in fan mounting positions in my rack mounted PC case, (two at the front and two at the back) to fit variable speed fans which can be turned fully up to purge the system, and switched off during recording.

I will start a new thread to cover the rest of the quest (called COOLTH )

Regards
Simon
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