You are here

Are separate system//project/sample drives still necessary with SSDs?

For anything relating to music-making on Windows computers, with lots of FAQs. Moderated by Martin Walker.

Are separate system//project/sample drives still necessary with SSDs?

Postby Mash » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:04 pm

Hello everyone, I hope you're all well - long time no post!

I'm in the process of slowly planning my next PC build so this may be the first of a few posts! My current music computer setup is based around a RME MADI rig, with master and slave machines - I'm considering/wondering if with speedy SSDs and the like I can move to a single PC, or if not the question is still relevant to how I organise multiple computers.

When my current machines were specced with spinning HDDs it seemed to make sense to have a system drive, a project drive, and a couple of drives for VSTs/samples. Slave computers are also fitted with separate system and multiple VST/sample drives.

If I were to run everything from one well specced fast CPU/64GB RAM machine (opinions on whether this is a good idea more than welcome) would performance be that much better with everything spread across a lot of smaller SSDs than a few 1TB SSDs? Samsung Evos seem to be the ones to go for at the min? The simplicity, cost per GB, and lower power consumption is attracting me to using less larger SSDs if performance weren't to take too much of a hit.

Computers are used for Film & TV composing and have very heavy use.

Any thoughts greatly appreciated!

Mash
User avatar
Mash
Regular
Posts: 199
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2004 11:00 pm

Re: Are separate system//project/sample drives still necessary with SSDs?

Postby johnny h » Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:37 am

Mash wrote:Hello everyone, I hope you're all well - long time no post!

I'm in the process of slowly planning my next PC build so this may be the first of a few posts! My current music computer setup is based around a RME MADI rig, with master and slave machines - I'm considering/wondering if with speedy SSDs and the like I can move to a single PC, or if not the question is still relevant to how I organise multiple computers.

When my current machines were specced with spinning HDDs it seemed to make sense to have a system drive, a project drive, and a couple of drives for VSTs/samples. Slave computers are also fitted with separate system and multiple VST/sample drives.

If I were to run everything from one well specced fast CPU/64GB RAM machine (opinions on whether this is a good idea more than welcome) would performance be that much better with everything spread across a lot of smaller SSDs than a few 1TB SSDs? Samsung Evos seem to be the ones to go for at the min? The simplicity, cost per GB, and lower power consumption is attracting me to using less larger SSDs if performance weren't to take too much of a hit.

Computers are used for Film & TV composing and have very heavy use.

Any thoughts greatly appreciated!

Mash
SSDs are very fast - spreading out the data will not make much noticeable difference in speed.
johnny h
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3092
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2006 11:00 pm

Re: Are separate system//project/sample drives still necessary with SSDs?

Postby robinv » Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:52 am

It's more of a logistical question than a performance one. Johnny is right that SSD drives are so fast that you wouldnt really notice any performance increase in using separate drives. However, in terms of organisation, backup and general house keeping then using different drives for the system and samples/projects has a lot of merit. So you can merrily record more projects without it ever affecting the ability of the system to run, or you can merrily install software without it encroaching on the space you need for samples. Either way it's all very merry.

Cheers
Robin
User avatar
robinv
Frequent Poster
Posts: 559
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2004 11:00 pm

Molten Music Technology - Computers for doing music on

Making Music on the Microsoft Surface


Re: Are separate system//project/sample drives still necessary with SSDs?

Postby Gerhard Westphalen » Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:31 pm

It does make a big difference if you're doing film music projects. You're samples are streamed and if you put everything on few SSDs you'll start losing notes since the SSD can't pump out the data fast enough. You should get multiple SSDs and keep lighter libraries on HDDs (well if you can afford to put it all on SSDs then go ahead).
Also keep in mind that in Kontakt you can adjust how much it streams from disk so you could get more onto an SSD with Kontakt while with PLAY you can't.
I have 2 120GB SSDs and I wouldn't get ones that are bigger since notes will start dropping when they are being use heavily.
Example: Running a full Hollywood Strings string section with just main mics will need an SSD of its own. If you put in another mic position on that SSD you'll start losing notes.
Also, keep in mind that loading times are a lot faster.

I do also recommend that you keep a system drive and a project drive just to give your sample streaming more headroom.

Overall I'd say that SSDs do perform much better and with modern libraries (Eastwest) you need them but just don't think that you can run all of you're libraries from 1 SSD.
Gerhard Westphalen
Regular
Posts: 226
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:00 am
Location: Calgary, Canada

 


Re: Are separate system//project/sample drives still necessary with SSDs?

Postby johnny h » Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:13 pm

Gerhard Westphalen wrote:It does make a big difference if you're doing film music projects. You're samples are streamed and if you put everything on few SSDs you'll start losing notes since the SSD can't pump out the data fast enough. You should get multiple SSDs and keep lighter libraries on HDDs (well if you can afford to put it all on SSDs then go ahead).
Also keep in mind that in Kontakt you can adjust how much it streams from disk so you could get more onto an SSD with Kontakt while with PLAY you can't.
I have 2 120GB SSDs and I wouldn't get ones that are bigger since notes will start dropping when they are being use heavily.
Example: Running a full Hollywood Strings string section with just main mics will need an SSD of its own. If you put in another mic position on that SSD you'll start losing notes.
Also, keep in mind that loading times are a lot faster.

I do also recommend that you keep a system drive and a project drive just to give your sample streaming more headroom.

Overall I'd say that SSDs do perform much better and with modern libraries (Eastwest) you need them but just don't think that you can run all of you're libraries from 1 SSD.
Nah, a few years ago people were running such libraries on conventional hard drives. Hollywood strings, for example, used to ship on a standard 7200rpm hard drive. Modern SSDs are stupendously fast in comparison (over 500MB/s, tiny random access times..)

Your operating system requires virtually no hard disk access while your DAW is operating so it makes little or no difference if its on the same drive.

In my opinion it makes more sense to backup your whole drive with everything intact. Hard drives are big and cheap enough now to do this.
johnny h
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3092
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2006 11:00 pm

Re: Are separate system//project/sample drives still necessary with SSDs?

Postby Folderol » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:24 pm

robinv wrote:It's more of a logistical question than a performance one. Johnny is right that SSD drives are so fast that you wouldnt really notice any performance increase in using separate drives. However, in terms of organisation, backup and general house keeping then using different drives for the system and samples/projects has a lot of merit. So you can merrily record more projects without it ever affecting the ability of the system to run, or you can merrily install software without it encroaching on the space you need for samples. Either way it's all very merry.

Cheers
Robin
I'm inclined to agree with this. Also, being a bit pessimistic, separating stuff out helps the inevitable disaster recovery.

HDDs mostly fail 'mechanically' regardless of whether they are being written to or read from, and often give you some warning. When they do fail you can often get something back.

SSDs mostly fail on writes, give you no warning at all, and mostly you get nothing back.
Disclaimer: This is a moving target!

Finance permitting I'd suggest stuff set in stone, like sample libraries, on one SSD, stuff that's temporary or easily replaced and being read/written a lot on another SSD, stuff being written to regularly but less often, such as complete or near complete works to an HDD.

I do a variation of this. I have the two SSDs as above, but then at the end of each session, backup the whole of SSD2 to a removable HDD.

I'm sure others will have alternative ideas
User avatar
Folderol
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4559
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:00 am
Location: Rochester, UK

Save paradise, Pull up a parking lot!


Re: Are separate system//project/sample drives still necessary with SSDs?

Postby BJG145 » Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:16 pm

So wait...5¼ floppies are out...?
User avatar
BJG145
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2985
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:00 pm
Location: Norwich UK

 


Re: Are separate system//project/sample drives still necessary with SSDs?

Postby Tombot » Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:33 pm

I run my my sample libraries from 2 samsung 512gb SSD's in RAID 0, so loading is superfast.
I also have a backup regime that copies changes on the drive onto a mechanical once a day.

This is bloody great, if a drive in the array ever fails, im likely to have lost nothing and its flipping speedy on Kontakt libs (though half as much as my friend Simon who has 4 250gb drives and a mechanical backup)

RAID 0 on ssd's is fantastic, as long as you have a backup.
Tombot
Regular
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:00 am

Re: Are separate system//project/sample drives still necessary with SSDs?

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:36 pm

I'm still very particular about what I keep in the way of instruments and sample libraries, and have managed to partition my 120GB SSD into 50GB for Windows and 63GB for all my vst plugins. Samples remain on a separate hard drive.


Martin
User avatar
Martin Walker
Moderator
Posts: 9583
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:44 am
Location: Cornwall, UK

Re: Are separate system//project/sample drives still necessary with SSDs?

Postby Gerhard Westphalen » Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:30 am

johnny h wrote:
Nah, a few years ago people were running such libraries on conventional hard drives. Hollywood strings, for example, used to ship on a standard 7200rpm hard drive. Modern SSDs are stupendously fast in comparison (over 500MB/s, tiny random access times..)

Your operating system requires virtually no hard disk access while your DAW is operating so it makes little or no difference if its on the same drive.

In my opinion it makes more sense to backup your whole drive with everything intact. Hard drives are big and cheap enough now to do this.

When I use HS I've gotten over 300MB/s with just one mic position. Add in other libraries like Hollywood Brass and you've already gone way above 500MB/s. I was already getting note dropped when I tried HS (single mic position) with the hard drive that it came on. You could just get 1 or 2 480GB PCIe SSDs which have over 1000MB/s.
I think that if you need to get that sort of performance out of 7200rpm you'd need to spread the samples on so many drives that it would end up cheaper getting SSDs.
Gerhard Westphalen
Regular
Posts: 226
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:00 am
Location: Calgary, Canada

 


Re: Are separate system//project/sample drives still necessary with SSDs?

Postby Mash » Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:39 pm

Thanks for your replies everyone, very helpful - hellishly busy with new project so will have some time to think this over before biting the bullet!

Mash
User avatar
Mash
Regular
Posts: 199
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2004 11:00 pm

Re: Are separate system//project/sample drives still necessary with SSDs?

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:55 pm

Hi Mash,

No bullet-biting needed - just install some acoustic foam and chew on that


Martin
User avatar
Martin Walker
Moderator
Posts: 9583
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:44 am
Location: Cornwall, UK


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests