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tys
08-04-2008, 02:37 PM
Dear soundsonliners. In two days, I'll finally order my Xp64-DAW :).

My biggest issue is, that 640-750gb hard drives are almost as cheap as 250-500 gb drives (at least in Denmark).

The paradox:

1) Are the any reasons NOT to buy the 500gb and upwards, with higher cache-buffers and plates???

2) Ar the any reasons to buy 500gb or drives with more, if I won't use more than 150 gb of samples per drive?

I imagine the following setup (7th hard drive, when I once invest in the Pianos):

1.System disc 250gb

2.Projects 500gb

3.Wood 41gb
Goliath 40gb

4.Brass 57gb
Choir 38gb
Kontakt 20gb

5.Perc 27gb
MOR 20gb
SD 6gb

6.String75gb
RA 14gb

7.Gypsy 11gb
Pianos 256gb

Take for instance hard drive 6. Only 100 gb of samples. Will 500 gb be a total overkill, or can I still use the "rest" of the drive for storing projects, avoiding using samples from the same drive?

I've thought of going for:

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB
250 GB SEAGATE BARRACUDA 7200.10 -8 MB-SATA II
or Samsung SpinPoint T166 HD501LJ

Hope someone can give an advice.

persentio
08-04-2008, 04:13 PM
If the price of the large hdds are almost the same as the smaller capacity ones, then I guess there's no harm except that you are not utilizing the storage space. The extra cache sizes might do good though.

This is how I would split the libraries up. It might not be the best way however but just giving my 2 cents:

1. 250GB OS Disk (But do you really need 250GB for this HDD?)

2. 500GB Project + Audio Files

3. 74GB Raptor: Strings, Percussion

4. 74GB Raptor: Woodwinds, Brass

5. HDD: Goliath, Kontakt, SD

6. 150GB Raptor: MOR, Gyp, Choirs

7. 300GB Velociraptor: Pianos, RA

tys
08-05-2008, 01:53 AM
Thanx persentio. But your system is in the ideal world - I don't have the budget for velociraptor's :(.

Unfortunately.

The old raptors 150 gb are as cheap as the 74 gb. Would it be a better idea to rely on 3 150 gb raptor drives, rather than 6 mediocre 7.200 500 gb drives?

Mathias

persentio
08-05-2008, 03:02 AM
Whoops! Sorry about that..

Actually the reason why I recommended the Raptors is because I see you are squeezing plenty of libraries together. If you would run 2 or more of the libraries from one 7200 rpm drive at the same time you would probably run into some problems. However this also depends very much on how many instances or how much polyphony your projects are using.

In all sense, if you keep your projects small or do not utilize the HDDs too much, 7200 rpm will be fine. It's just that if you want more power and less to worry about when running huge projects, then 10000rpm is the way to go.

tys
08-05-2008, 05:30 AM
np...thanks for taking the time

I just went to the dealer, and I think I am going to go for:

4 x Seagate11 32 mb (500 gb)

for the samples

2 x Samsung HD753 LJ (750 gb) for system disc and projects.

I do know that 750 gb is a lot for windows xp.

The alternative right now is to go for 150gb raptor as system drive, but I would like to be able to make a raid later, by buying two equal drives. Also, the charts at tomshardware.com, claims that this drive is almost as fast at startup as the 150gb raptor.

Mathias

persentio
08-05-2008, 05:47 AM
It's good; except... there's been discussion about having RAID setups around here before and the gist of it is that RAID causes more problems than it does help. You might want to run a search before going for a RAID setup.

pinkster
08-05-2008, 11:49 AM
Hi guys

Ain't it so that there're also other important issues to think about: When talking about PC's, for instance, you have to be aware about the southbridge (called somthing else in Mac's?) and memory controller etc. among others dependent of the processor and motherboard type.
So having a Quad processor instead of Dual you might gain a lot of advance if you yet haven't. These things also effect over the HDD's.
Putting the money in one place does not guarantee to bake a nice cake yet.

Greetings :)

tys
08-05-2008, 12:50 PM
It's good; except... there's been discussion about having RAID setups around here before and the gist of it is that RAID causes more problems than it does help. You might want to run a search before going for a RAID setup.

I won't go raid now, but perhaps in time. Btw, I've thought of replacing one Samsung, with the 150gb raptor as the system drive. Hope it's not too noisy.

tys
08-05-2008, 01:00 PM
Hi guys

Ain't it so that there're also other important issues to think about: When talking about PC's, for instance, you have to be aware about the southbridge (called somthing else in Mac's?) and memory controller etc. among others dependent of the processor and motherboard type.
So having a Quad processor instead of Dual you might gain a lot of advance if you yet haven't. These things also effect over the HDD's.
Putting the money in one place does not guarantee to bake a nice cake yet.

Greetings :)

Dear Pinkster. I have considered this, and are probably going for this solution (w/ 4 barracudas, 1 samsung 750 gb, and 1 raptor 150gb) - sorry for the Danish:

http://www.mmmusic.dk/Specs.jpg

persentio
08-05-2008, 04:12 PM
I would highly recommend a Zalman ZM-750-HP (http://www.zalman.com/ENG/product/Product_Read.asp?idx=197) PSU in place of the Corsair's.

pinkster
08-06-2008, 09:40 AM
Dear Pinkster. I have considered this, and are probably going for this solution (w/ 4 barracudas, 1 samsung 750 gb, and 1 raptor 150gb) - sorry for the Danish:

Your new compu looks great for me, Tys. The same Barrracudas I was about to suggest for you too. The one I have (500GB, 7200.11) is quite silent and spins with 10 Cels lower temperatures than a WD KS-series HDD.
You're putting in a great amount of money for that. I'm really hoping you will be satisfied with your choices.
About them "oversized" HDD's was thinking about two options: whether you choose smaller sizes and faster ones or bigger and more reasonable for it's price, ( trying to match on the same price-level). You can always use the spare capacity for example for audio recordings. I'm not that aware of the prices over 10000 rpm drives but something around 200 € should be the price for 150 GB's? So quite a bit more than for 1TB HDD's 7200 rpm's.
If you are, Tys, making any audio, there wouldn't be any harm for bigger drives.

Another issue: Somebody on this forum might know (Vatroslav or Lex or?) if that southbridge is going to play more role over six HDD's and the stream going though it. My quess would be: it does, if you're going to have a remarkable amount of instances open and going. It's really worth knowing that you might find unawaited bottlenecks inside your new system.
This might as well be one reason to choose many computers and Teleport FX as some of us have done.
Yes, these things and pppponderings never end. You just have to decide and go for it someday, right? Good luck, Tys.

PS. No trouble with danish, I can read it quite well but hearing and still understanding is all another thing.

Persentio: A really nice PSU you've found, looks cool. I would gladly take that myself too.

Cheers, buddies

pinkster
08-06-2008, 11:24 AM
Just to be more precise:
Since Southbridge is a controller hub and also responsible for SATA/IDE drives's control among other things, there's not actuallly any audio stream kind trafic going through but it's task is to give the attachment for the drives and to control over it.
And besides, as to what Persentio was talking about, southbridge has to control also for instance Raid, Usb etc. and that might cause a decrease for Raid trafic when it's really loaded with other tasks.
Regards

Vatroslav
08-06-2008, 06:01 PM
Another issue: Somebody on this forum might know (Vatroslav or Lex or?) if that southbridge is going to play more role over six HDD's and the stream going though it. My quess would be: it does, if you're going to have a remarkable amount of instances open and going. It's really worth knowing that you might find unawaited bottlenecks inside your new system.


Hey, guys, I just happen to log in here after a while and accidently bumped into the mention of my nick, so to give some quick help, I can honestly say I've never had any issues when it comes to south, either bandwidth or general hardware failure ones.

Like you, pinkster, said, bridge is here to control and chipset manufacturers naturally always make them "durable" enough, so to speak, and if the MOBO supports up to 6 SATA ports, then it wil definitely support 6 simultaneous SATA streams as well.

In other words, if it is a SATA II standard, it ill mean the MOBO will surely support a total transfer rate of 18 Gbit/s minimum.

Most today's MOBOs are made beyond what even most of us here can really use, in terms of bandwidth that is, so I don't think you have much to worry about when it comes to the south. The north part of the server is the one that you should spend your time planning as streaming audio systems are much more processing and RAM hungry then they are bandwith, with the obvious exception of the spindle bandwidth, if we want to call that "bandwidth" at all, of course.

Again, I really never had any problems with unstable souths, but I usually spent some time investigating by reading reports, news and reviews, comparison charts and benching.

As hardware development is progressing and even picking up speed with every new passing year and the specifications getting more and more powerful, as the time will pass the numerous configuration and bandwidth concerns of a typical audio system for ITB operations will slowly start to fade away because the software hunger will increase asymmetrically with the progress of the hardware power and in a couple years time already, especially considering the 64bit players already out allowing native x64 systems, we will hardly need to worry about anything that we still have to worry about now. The only major concern will be the green one.

As to the drive structure, my own personal rule of thumb is more drives, more sizes, 10 000 rounds optional/secondary.

So much from me right now, hope this helps a bit. :)

pinkster
08-07-2008, 09:35 AM
Hi mates,

So nice to have you back on the forum mr. Vatroslav. Always reading with great enthusiasm your "columns" as they often bring out things near to my concern or interest, with no doubt for many others too; that' the case this time as well.
Your comments have put my concerns aside for good, really glad about that: Thank you a lot. This world of technology is so huge, you don't always know were to turn to.

I'm sure you Tys, as a starter for the thread, have studied your new set of tech before this too; but some in-depth search can save us a lot of money; as we all know. It's all too often each one of us have to upgrade our compus just-yesterday-acquired. So frustrating that rumba sometimes; to stay on the wire by one foot permanently!

All the best for everybody ;)

:D ...and this for the green world...

Jarrek2002
08-07-2008, 08:26 PM
So far my build, regarding 8 hard drives, is as follows:

(Mac Pro - 12Gig ram)

Internal SATA II
Drive 1 7200 RPM, 32MB cache, 500GB: OSX, PLAY program, misc junk
Drive 2,3 & 4 7200 RPM, 32MB cache, 500GB each in RAID 0: Audio and video files

External SATA II via PLCe controller
Drive 5,6,7 & 8 Velociraptor 10000 RPM, 16MB cache, 300GB Non-RAID: To divide all PLAY samples amongst

Any thoughts?

thrinithan
08-07-2008, 08:45 PM
My setup is divided over 4 Seagate Barracuda 7.200rpm 320GB 16MB Cache

1. System + programs
2+3 (Raid 0). Sample libraries
4. Audio and projects

The next time I make a clean install of everything I will split the Raid 0 and divide the sample libraries. Perhaps I buy myself another disc so that it looks like this:

1. System + programs
2. EWQLSO
3. EWQLSO
4. Other sample libraries
5. Audio + projects

Jarrek2002
08-08-2008, 04:13 AM
Actually, it just occured to me....

Are you able to spread your instruments across multiple drives with all PLAY software, or just SO? Can you spread MOR across 4 hard drives?

pinkster
08-08-2008, 11:03 AM
Actually, it just occured to me....

Are you able to spread your instruments across multiple drives with all PLAY software, or just SO? Can you spread MOR across 4 hard drives?

One application - one library. It's impossible for an app to recognize more than one library at the same time.

Sorry Tys, if I ignored your principal question. My rule is to have a sequencer apart from OS, have those libraries apart from each other, which are usually in use simultaniously and plus that I think of my use of their instances and the size of them simultaniously spinning.
It maybe doesn't look simple, but if I usually like to use a lot of let's say strings with most other applications and while at tha same time I need many instances, I should know that causes a lot of stream, so maybe a RA library could be a good company for strings drive and so on.... You can also mix those application situations still too, before they all get PLAY'ed, which change in this light is a pitty.
I have no idea yet how much resources that PLAY part is going to need when there's going to be a bunch of them, I only have three. (SO on it's way, hallelujah...sorry in advance, haha..:)) Cause they wouldn't stay anywhere else than on system-drive, you'd better give it some extra space, some 50% would do fine.
Like what Vatroslav told, northbridge is the pointed bottleneck, controlling memory and videocards. FSB (front side bus) playes a big role too controlled through your CPU. So seeking a higher FSB-rate (if intending to buy one) is a simple rule to search for a better processor but don't mix Dual /Quad - cores in this case. I agree with Persentio with Q6600 and 9450, and would choose already Q9450 or Q9300, even if I had to spare a little longer, a lot has changed since the release of 6600.
Any audio/video stream is one of those big tasks for a compu, whether you record it yourself or take them from sample libraries..... just to remind, so if you are recording things by yourself and do for those some processing in addition, it's even heavier, you'll soon find out.

Adding to the green world theme we simple require more and more resources to produce our dear hobby, more drives, more electricity, more... let's hope we stand it as a human race...

Howdy, mates :)

tys
08-10-2008, 07:35 AM
Sorry Tys, if I ignored your principal question.

no problem :).

Thanks for all the info guys - nice to see how you guys divide.

I see you are using Barracudas too pinkster. However, I'm still wondering if I should go for the WD 6400AAKS istead - great reviews, and cheap 640 gb drive.

Well, there is only 16 mb of buffer, but how much difference is 32 mb really? People call it the fastest drive but the raptors. Check this review:

http://www.tech-report.net/articles.x/14380/1

anyone tried it?

pinkster
08-10-2008, 09:51 AM
On some areas SE16 really seems to beat it's competitors with a nice margin.
Have to be aware next time when purchasing more discs. Those tests should say a lot and there seem to be not many that come to the same level in that test.
My previous observation was only based on WD KS-series disc's temperature and to that it sometimes makes extra search noises. I hope and believe too, that WD has improved by this feature in about two years.
Thanx Tys, this is werry useful for me too! :)

tys
08-10-2008, 01:58 PM
On some areas SE16 really seems to beat it's competitors with a nice margin.
Have to be aware next time when purchasing more discs. Those tests should say a lot and there seem to be not many that come to the same level in that test.
My previous observation was only based on WD KS-series disc's temperature and to that it sometimes makes extra search noises. I hope and believe too, that WD has improved by this feature in about two years.
Thanx Tys, this is werry useful for me too! :)

Good to hear :).

Yeah, we're all here to help each other. The only con with WD is that it only has 3 years of guarantee - dunno why

BUT...
It's incredibly cheap:cool:

tys
08-15-2008, 03:11 PM
Just got the 6 hard drives- no the question remains, how are you doing your partitions?

On all sample drives, are you just splitting the drive up in 1 sample partition and 1 storage partition, or how?

my drives are 640 gb.


mathias

Jarrek2002
08-15-2008, 09:34 PM
You're not saving onto your sample drives, right? You should be saving your projects to your audio drive.

I'm assuming you mean partitioning you sample drives based on products. Anyone know if it helps to partition this way?

Patanjali Sokaris
08-27-2008, 03:41 AM
If you are still considering torturing yourselves with HDDs rather than considering the Fusion-io ioDrive (these are very cost-effective, faster, quieter and totally random-access compared to multiple fast HDDs), here are some thoughts:

- from when I was looking into it, single Raptors will give you similar performance to RAID 0 7200rpm drives. I have four 150GB (139GB) Raptors.

- if going for large 7200rpm drives, consider optimising them for audio by:

* making them with 64KB sectors for less OS overhead and minimised effects from fragmentation

* partitioning the drives into two, with the first partition devoted to audio/samples and the second to archive, backup, documents etc, that will not be used simultaneously with the audio. Such 'partial stroking' limits the average and maximum track seeks times. That is, if a partition is half the size of a HDD, the partition average and maximun seek times will be half that of the HDD. Doesn't help if the whole HDD is needed for samples anyway.

* using a small 10-15GB partition just for the current projects and backup to the second partition on the same HDD at the end of each session. This will give you very small maximum seek times = lower latencies.

persentio
08-27-2008, 03:52 AM
If you are still considering torturing yourselves with HDDs rather than considering the Fusion-io ioDrive (these are very cost-effective, faster, quieter and totally random-access compared to multiple fast HDDs), here are some thoughts:

- from when I was looking into it, single Raptors will give you similar performance to RAID 0 7200rpm drives. I have four 150GB (139GB) Raptors.

- if going for large 7200rpm drives, consider optimising them for audio by:

* making them with 64KB sectors for less OS overhead and minimised effects from fragmentation

* partitioning the drives into two, with the first partition devoted to audio/samples and the second to archive, backup, documents etc, that will not be used simultaneously with the audio. Such 'partial stroking' limits the average and maximum track seeks times. That is, if a partition is half the size of a HDD, the partition average and maximun seek times will be half that of the HDD. Doesn't help if the whole HDD is needed for samples anyway.

* using a small 10-15GB partition just for the current projects and backup to the second partition on the same HDD at the end of each session. This will give you very small maximum seek times = lower latencies.
Hi Patanjali,

This is a very interesting read indeed. I always had the impression that the more you partition your HDDs the more you 'complicate' things resulting in even slower seek times. From what you are saying, I have a few questions:

Would separating the OS HDDs entirely from any project audio and sample file HDDs increase overall performance? Or be on par with partitioning the HDD to have 1 section dedicated for OS and the other for your project audio files perhaps?

If lets say I partition a certain HDD into half; say a 80GB to 40 - 40. I then put 1 different sound library into each partition. The seek / streaming times will be better than if I don't partition the drive at all and dump the 2 libraries in it?

Lastly how do you configure your HDD to have 64KB sectors as suggested?

Thanks if you can take the time to answer these!

Patanjali Sokaris
08-27-2008, 05:37 AM
Thank you.

Firstly, NEVER put data that you will be using SIMULTANEOUSLY in partitions on the SAME HDD. This guaranteess longer seek times because the head will have to thrash up and down the drive to get to the disparate data regions. I know some laptop manufacturers do this, and it makes slow HDDs slower. On my audio HDD, I have three partitions:
1. W: Working = current version of current projects.
2. M: Music = backup copies and previous sessions of current projects, all versions of old projects, documents, CD cover files related to the projects.
3. I: Information = files for everything IT I use the computer for.
I only use the W: partition when actually working on projects. I only use the W: and M: partitions simultaneously when doing backups of the current projects, but this is not time-critical anyway. The I: partition is only ever used by itself because it is totally unrelated to the other partitions, but it does not require the optimal first partition.
The OS and applications partition should be on a separate HDD as they could be used at ant time asynchronously with whatever the audio might be doing.

The basic rules of thumb for HDDs are:

1. Put time-critical data on the smallest first partition on a HDD. The heads will be closest to this at startup. The smallest size --> less seek time --> lower latencies.

2. Use the first partition on several HDDs if you need to have more time-critical space AND need to have the total HDD capacity anyway (because of the data for the other things you do with the computer, or even the non-current versions of your projects, as I do).
3. Give each type of data its own heads (that is a separate HDD). Optimally, each library or separable part of one, would have its own HDD (even if its not using the whole HDD).

Of course, lots of HDDs has a significant downside: heat and noise. So it is a tradeoff.

SECTOR SIZES:
You can only set the sector sizes when you format a partition. Because audio files are usually several times larger than 64KB, this does not waste too much space. Use the default (4KB) for non-media file partitions as their small sizes would waste significant space.

FLASH DRIVES:
All this stuff has to be delved into because of the ONE limitation with HDDs that stops them being truly random access without bias: the heads take time to travel distance. All this discussion is about trying to minimise the effects of this one problem, because audio is all mitigating the worst case scenario.
Flash drives do not have this limitation at all. They do have some issues, like a limit to the total number of write operations per addressable location, though internal smarts are substantially mitigating this to allow lifetimes greater than their owners.
I have just heard that the Fusion-io ioDrive, which is a 640GB, 800MB/s read, 600MB/s write and 50us access card that slots into an x4 PCIe slot is now US$2400, instead of the rumoured %19K. This makes it a VERY viable alternative to HDDs, even if only for holding sample libraries, though I think that the throughput and access times would allow for it. No noise and little heat (compared to my four Raptors!).
Using SSDs, it does not matter whether the data is one one partition or several. In fact, it may make sense to only have two partitions, one for media files, formatted at 64KB (because it still minimises OS overheads) and a normal partition for the rest. Defragmentation is totally unnecessary.

I think we are on the verge of a revolution in DAW storage and it will soon, if not already, be a no-brainer as to which technology will rule. HDDs will lose this one.

Patanjali Sokaris
08-27-2008, 05:41 AM
Thank you.

Firstly, NEVER put data that you will be using SIMULTANEOUSLY in separate partitions on the SAME HDD. This guaranteess longer seek times because the head will have to thrash up and down the drive to get to the disparate data regions. I know some laptop manufacturers do this, and it makes slow HDDs slower.

On my audio HDD, I have three partitions:
1. W: Working = current version of current projects.
2. M: Music = backup copies and previous sessions of current projects, all versions of old projects, documents, CD cover files related to the projects.
3. I: Information = files for everything IT I use the computer for.

I only use the W: partition when actually working on projects. I only use the W: and M: partitions simultaneously when doing backups of the current projects, but this is not time-critical anyway. The I: partition is only ever used by itself because it is totally unrelated to the other partitions, but it does not require the optimal first partition.

The OS and applications partition should be on a separate HDD as they could be used at ant time asynchronously with whatever the audio might be doing.


The basic rules of thumb for HDDs are:

1. Put time-critical data on the smallest first partition on a HDD. The heads will be closest to this at startup. The smallest size --> less seek time --> lower latencies.

2. Use the first partition on several HDDs if you need to have more time-critical space AND need to have the total HDD capacity anyway (because of the data for the other things you do with the computer, or even the non-current versions of your projects, as I do).
3. Give each type of data its own heads (that is a separate HDD). Optimally, each library or separable part of one, would have its own HDD (even if its not using the whole HDD).

Of course, lots of HDDs has a significant downside: heat and noise. So it is a tradeoff.


SECTOR SIZES:
You can only set the sector sizes when you format a partition. Because audio files are usually several times larger than 64KB, this does not waste too much space. Use the default (4KB) for non-media file partitions as their small sizes would waste significant space.


FLASH DRIVES:
All this stuff has to be delved into because of the ONE limitation with HDDs that stops them being truly random access without bias: the heads take time to travel distance. All this discussion is about trying to minimise the effects of this one problem, because audio is all about mitigating the worst case scenario.

Flash drives do not have this limitation at all. They do have some issues, like a limit to the total number of write operations per addressable location over its life, though internal smarts are substantially mitigating this to allow lifetimes greater than their owners.

I have just heard that the Fusion-io ioDrive, which is a 640GB, 800MB/s read, 600MB/s write and 50us access card that slots into an x4 PCIe slot is now US$2400, instead of the initially rumoured %19K. This makes it a VERY viable alternative to HDDs for DAWs, even if only for holding sample libraries, though I think that the throughput and access times would allow total HDD replacement. No noise and little heat (compared to my four Raptors!).

Using SSDs, it does not matter whether the data is one one partition or several. In fact, it may make sense to only have two partitions, one for media files, formatted at 64KB (because it still minimises OS overheads) and a normal partition for the rest. Defragmentation is totally unnecessary.

I think we are on the verge of a revolution in DAW storage and it will soon, if not already, be a no-brainer as to which technology will rule. HDDs will lose this one.

persentio
08-27-2008, 06:22 AM
Wow THANKS for the juicy post! Definitely helps alot and will keep in mind when configuring my HDDs. Although for now HDDs still win in the aspect of price. :p

However this should really become a sticky in the Hardware section!

MUSE
08-27-2008, 10:35 AM
Should try 250gb Seagate ES.2 which is 32mb cache HDD. Have one for my second PC and use it for OS, installed Vista Ultimate 64 in less than 30 minutes, boot up time no more than 30 seconds. Drive is incredibly fast some say its faster than the old raptors, for comparison Seagate has 116mb/s read Velociraptor 120mb/s be the judge. I still opted to get one Velociraptor for samples and so far I see no major difference between those two even though I'm sure its faster probably by 10-15% than any 7200 HDD, could be wrong though.

Patanjali Sokaris
08-28-2008, 09:27 AM
I have just spotted the OCZ Core Series SATA II 2.5" SSD 128GB for US$480. This has significantly superior performance to the equivalent Raptors for about twice the price.

Because SSDs are much better on the read side of things (access and transter times) than their write parameters, using them for samples (installed once, only read thereafter) is an ideal match.

The revolution has started!

[By the way, the ioDrives I wrote about above are really $30/GB = $2400 for 80GB = expensive, but very desirable! A web site used the wrong price.]

persentio
08-28-2008, 03:33 PM
The Fusion iO Drives are definitely the next generation of storage but currently only available to people willing to fork out the money for them.

And thanks to OCZ for one of the most affordable yet performance-oriented SSDs on the market yet! I definitely can't wait to see other companies compete with their own SSDs and lower the overall price of them.