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SSD advice needed

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

Re: SSD advice needed

Postby Ant Gamble » Wed May 11, 2011 7:41 pm

A few pointers regarding drives...

On traditional drives, data read/write rates are dependant upon the physical spinning of the drive and movement of the head. Image 1GB of data being a 100mm length of string - it might take 4 turns of the disk to read/write to the inner side. However, the outside edge may only need 1/2 a turn. Later versions of windows worked faster because they install onto the 'outside' of the disk - hence separate disks are better for audio when you can partition them and have your files in this location too.

Traditionally 'space' was left on a drive for the windows swap file - the O.S. uses disk space as RAM, when the disk is full it essentially has to re-organise the swap file to find space.

The swap file is a reason windows slows down - RAM is very fast (<2 nano seconds) compared to disk access (>9 milliseconds). The swap file is constantly re-sized (unless you tell it not to) which itself slows everything down.

So..image you only have 1 disk for the OS and audio, you're trying to stream audio data off the inside of your drive and windows is also trying to write/read to another area to use as the 'swap' file.

However, SSDs have no moving parts, read/write times are based on how quickly the memory controller can locate the data - this is the reason SSDs can read/write 10x speed of traditional hard drives. It also gives better audio performance because the 'head' doesn't move to read data - stutters are reduced because files are not physically located in different areas. It also explains the boost in performance you see in windows... swap file is operating at this increased speed.

Given the fact that good SSDs can stream approx. 240Mb a second there's no point in loading that into ram - it's coming off the disk faster than you can use/hear it anyway!

My old RAID 7200 rpm Seagate Barracuda system would read 40-60% disk use with occasional spikes. Now I have my OS on a 64Gb SSD and all audio (recorded data/sample libraries) on a separate 128Gb SSD. It rarely goes above 4%.
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Re: SSD advice needed

Postby John Roberts » Wed May 11, 2011 7:49 pm

Hi

As you rightly point out, the 'write once, read many' nature of what you're proposing means that you don't need to worry about performance degradation with a SSD.

In any case, SSD's always have a certain percentage (typically ~7-15%) of their total NAND capacity reserved by their firmware as 'spare area' for wear-levelling and other housekeeping.

In other words, fill 'er up!
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Re: SSD advice needed

Postby OneWorld » Wed May 11, 2011 9:35 pm

is the data transfer not dependent on the bus? I want to start using SSD for the OS, but thought, well if for example a SATA drive uses trhe SATA bus and I then take out the SATA drive and use one of those convertors that allow fitting an SSD, is the speed of the data transfer limited by the speed of the SATA bus anyway?
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Re: SSD advice needed

Postby necromunger » Wed May 11, 2011 10:41 pm

is the data transfer not dependent on the bus? I want to start using SSD for the OS, but thought, well if for example a SATA drive uses trhe SATA bus and I then take out the SATA drive and use one of those convertors that allow fitting an SSD, is the speed of the data transfer limited by the speed of the SATA bus anyway?


yes 3gbps is 300mb 6gbps is 600mb if you want to go faster than that you have to use the pcie bus and use sans/pcie ssds ect.
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