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120gb HD for audio.. which one ??

Discussion in 'Recording' started by pgstudio, Jan 30, 2004.

  1. pgstudio

    pgstudio Guest

    hi guys.....

    In my DAW today i´m using a Maxtor 40GB 7200 rpm for my system partition and another partition for my audio drive...

    i know it´s not a good option.. but i couldn´t afford any other HD for a while..

    now, i can afford one new HD.. and i´ll use this 40gb hd for OS and programs partition and for a secondary partition where i can have some some impulses, my portfolio, some PDFs... and the new HD for my audio work.

    I´m planning to buy a 120gb HD.

    I do basically accoustics recording. my projects are around 30-40 tracks (around 30 continuous tracks ).
    I was planning to buy another Maxtor HD of 120GB. but i´ve heard that it´s extremly hot and it can damage the HD ( i already worked with one and its extremly hot, but can it damage the HD ?, since most HDs work with high temperatures )
    My girl have a maxtor 120gb hd that was damaged ( something damaged the 1st tracks of the HD ) ... i´m a bit worried about maxtor now...

    is the seagate barracuda or samsung a good option ??
    And the Western Digital WD1200JB 8MB Cache ?? Good option ??

    thx for all help

  2. mjones4th

    mjones4th Active Member

    Aug 15, 2003
    http://www.storagereview.com has a lot of info.

    I personally have never had problems with WD or Maxtor drives used in audio situations. I was able to run 10-15 tracks of discontinuous audio w/effects, while streaming samples to about 5 EXS's with no problems, and juice to spare, all on one 120GB WD (w/only 2MB cache, to boot). I'm currently (and for the past year) running two of those, one for audio and the other for EXS samples. I set my friend's DAW up with a Maxtor 120GB ATA/100 drive about 6 months ago and he has had no problems.

    I have no experience with other brands, except for a 40GB seagate I used to build my sister's computer (so that doesn't count)

    I'm on a mac G4, so if you're PC based, YMMV.

  3. Are you using an internal or external? I currently have an external 120gig Fire Wire Drive with the barracuda and it has never skipped a beat with 16 at a time and some midi. I don't have enough tracks to push that kind of bandwidth through it yet !!
  4. pgstudio

    pgstudio Guest

    Internal IDE ATA drive... :D

    Thx for the site Mark... i visited there and seems that the Western Digital Special Edition 8mb Buffer has the best Transfer Rate, but not the best seek time...

    ín my case is it better to look for Transfer Rate or seek time ????

    Thx.. :D

  5. mjones4th

    mjones4th Active Member

    Aug 15, 2003
    Both and neither. Depends on your working style.

    A higher transfer rate will give more sustained playback, and a faster seek time will mean it can find all the audio files a little sooner. A higher transfer rate is better for 30 continuous audio tracks, like you mentioned. A faster seek time will perform better when you're talking about 10 tracks of discontinuous audio regions, like I normally have.

    But what I have found is that specs like transfer rate and seek time don't really make a difference. More important is the fact that you have it on its own IDE channel. As long as that's the case, you'll not notice much of a difference between any two drives with identical RPM, storage capacity and cache size.

    Having said that, we'd all buy the 500HP engine over the 485HP engine any day, right?

  6. Technetium

    Technetium Guest

    well i do Mac support for a living (specializing in audio setups), & handle all the Mac calls for a friend who has a PC support company. I have to say while the Western Digi's w/ the 8MB buffer have been fairly reliable, their standard 2mb buffer line is down right unreliable. i have never consistently RMA'd so many drives from one company. I used to recommend IBM the most, their Deskstar GXP180 Series w/ the 8 MB buffer were sheer workhorses, although only AT/100 & not 133. they have now sold their drive division to Hitachi, becoming Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST). they seem to have picked where IBM left off, making workhorse drives...time will truly tell.
    good thing about these drives is that (IIRC) all their 8MB buffer drives come w/ a 3 year warranty. where as most other MFGs only offer 1 year.

    Maxtor's ATA/133 Drives w/ the 8MB buffer seem OK as well, although a little flakey when partitioning & booting off one partition. they're also a little flakey when used w/ 3rd party ATA controller cards, such as Sonnet's "Tempo" line on the Mac. just be careful which one u buy from them, as i said earlier, only SOME of their 8MB models come w/ more than a 1 year warranty.

    if u could afford a new motherboard, SATA drive have really started to come down in price & their performance is spectacular. Seagate makes a 10.000 RPM SATA drive (based on their 10,000 RPM SCSI drives) that carries a 5 YEAR warranty, & actually (according to their specs) can write as fast as its Ram can buffer incoming info...3 or 4 ms access time i believe.
    although as u would expect, ALWAYS check for compatibility w/ your existing CPU & RAM etc... before upgrading a MotherBoard.

    most of what i said here comes from experience on the Mac, although when it comes to root level stuff live drives & such, Macs & PCs dont differ as much as they used to. Thats why i still stand BY HGST drives even though they are only ATA100...G4's Never exceeded that & G5s are SATA.

    as mark said having it own IDE bus definitely makes a difference. If u have an ATA/133 or even down to an ATA/66 hard drive as a master or slave to an optical drive on the same bus, it will slow down the performance of the hard drive as optical (atapi) drives are rarely made faster than ATA/33 (if ever). the IDE bus will always cycle down to the speed of the slowest device attached to it. if its possible, put your boot drive on the same (secondary) bus w/ your optical drive (cd-rom, cd-r/rw, dvd etc...) & place your "audio" drive on the primary by itself. that should give u best the performance.


    btw...i regularly play back in excess of 25 tracks of audio on my G4933 using 2 IBM 8MB buffer ATA/100 drives...& have headroom to spare.
  7. Technetium

    Technetium Guest

    this one has a 3 year warranty...
    & its hard to beat the price...
    Hitachi 120GB @ newegg
    i might just snag an extra one for myself. :)
  8. mjones4th

    mjones4th Active Member

    Aug 15, 2003
    Thanks for the wisdom Dave.

    I must say though, I have two WD 120GB drives with 2MB cache in my G4 Quicksilver (OS 9.2.2 - work, 10.2.8 - play), and haven't had one problem. I also had a SIIG ATA controller (which caused static in my delta card - so it had to go) and I never had problems when the drives were connected to that. I guess its really YMMV when it comes to technology.

  9. Technetium

    Technetium Guest

    no problem on the info, my pleasure to share. i've gotten an entire university's worth from the tech-talk forum. so its nice to be able to give something back to RO.

    well, it seems that this is the problem w/ hard drive technology today...its VERY "YMMV"
    as the market forces the MFGs to make drives w/ larger capacities & smaller prices, corners are going to have to be cut somewhere. unfortunatley it seems, that is what we're stuck with. unless u have a lot of money for a nice Ultra SCSI setup which is expensive for a quality card & drive, u are relegated to drives of varying reliabilities. although those new seagate 10,000RPM SATA drives have me intrigued...it looks like they just took their 10,000RPM ultra SCSI drive & put a SATA interface on it. if thats the case, then it worth the $$$ those SCSI drives were serious workhorses.

    as for ATA controller cards (on the mac, anyway)..its seems what machine u use them in is also a factor. i had a sonnet tempo ata/133 which woked fine in my 933 @ the time. but when i picked up my UAD-1 cards, ii realized it was gobbling up the PCI bandwidth so i threw it in my blue & white G3 where is has been pretty flakey ever since. :/

  10. MisterBlue

    MisterBlue Guest

    The trouble with advice on hard disks is that most of us judge from personal experience (only). You and your buddies get lucky or you don't. I, for one, will never buy an IBM hard disk ever again. In my book they are extremely noisy and - worse - also terribly unreliable.
    I had two 20GB IBM disks that I bought at the same time fail within one week of each other.

    DMic's comment might in this context be a little bit more useful as he appears to have seen a few more disks than most of us.

    From what I personally know and have seen Seagates are these days by far the quietest disks (a major factor for me), followed by Western Digital. 8MB and 7200 rpm are a given. I can't judge SATA but it might be stable enough by now to give it a serious consideration.

    Squeezing the last drop of performance out of the disks is in my opinion pointless. For one, performance of hard disks is reasonably close between manufactureres and secondly, most people will be happy with recording 24 tracks or playing back 64 tracks at a time at which point CPU performance is likely to become much more of an issue again, not the disks.

    Just my opinion,

  11. maintiger

    maintiger Distinguished Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    Home Page:
    I've had good luck with maxtor 120 GB drives- I have 5 of them, both 120 and 160 GB and I did lose the data in one of them but I pulled it out and took it to a tech friend who said all the data was ok, just the directory was crewed- to make a long story short, after going around with this problem for a while I plugged the drive back in and the data was back! I back up everything, reinitialized the drive and partitioned and have been using without another misshap for over a year-

    The main beef I have with the maxtor drives is that they don't send you the rebate money when you send the rebate forms in- I had rebates on 3 of the drives and never got them- also no answer to e-mAILS- I am not buying from them again if its a rebate situation- other than that they been reliable and I do work the heck out of them- :D
  12. Technetium

    Technetium Guest

    well like i said before, its VERY YMMV w/ IDE Drives as this point. i dont think any are extremely reliable anymore, @ least not to the point that a nice 10k RPM Ultra SCSI drive is.
    but if you are worried about noise, u wouldnt be using those SCSI drives anyway. I do have to say that @ one point last year, i was RMA-ing a WD drive a week. though not the 8MB buffer ones. those have been pretty good, but u can understand why i just have a bias against them. as for IBM drives being noisy, as i said 95% of my work is mac based & with the exception of the MDD G4s (aka speedholes), it pretty much boils down to about the same about of noise.

    i have a couple maxtor 80GBs as well. actually i usually choose maxtor when not using IBM/HGST, but only because of the price benefit, since they're usually a little cheaper & not because of any special technical issue.

    i think the main reason why if u ask 10 people & get 10 different answers is because of the dominance of the PC market...so many different MoBo (& therefore drive controllers) MFGs as well as differnet case designs w/ varying cooling schemes, & differernt CPUs (that run @ different temperatures). heat can play a BIG factor in a drives life (or lack thereof). luckily thats one thing i dont encounter on the Mac platform...all the Cases, CPUs, & Fan systems are essentially the same so for the most part i know what i'm getting myself into when i start.

    anyway, peace all.
    good luck w/ your projects &
  13. mkruger

    mkruger Guest

    Go with Seagate. 10,000 or 15,000 RPM. Average seek time of 9ms or less. SCSI Ultra320 or Fibre Channel interface if you can afford it.

    Don't worry about how much heat the drive produces. There are many inexpensive products on the market to cool drives.

    Don't bother with Maxtor. There drives are of very poor quality. Your second choice should be Western Digital.

    Use good silicone cables with the SCSI interface. Don't use those new round heat shrinked cables, too much cross-talk causing errors, slows your transfer rate bandwidth.
  14. We use the Seagate Barracuda SoftSonic ST3120026A. It's the most quiet Ultra ATA 100 drive out there and has an 8MB buffer for enhanced drive performace that particulaly useful for audio work.


    Hope this helps.

  15. mkruger

    mkruger Guest

    If i'm not mistaken I think Glyph is using the same drives in there "NetDrives" Product line.
  16. GhettoDuk

    GhettoDuk Guest

    I have sold dozens of Western Digital Special Edition drives, and serviced dozens of pcs with them, and these are really reliable drives.

    The troubling thing I see listening to people talk about drives is the sizes they talk about. When you look at 120GB drives, you have to remember with the extra storage comes extra fragile-ness. This is exasperated by the high-load conditions these drives are subjected to (and higher heat from slower low-noise fans). I'd reccomend going with the smallest drive that you can use to hold the sessions you are currently working on, and using an external or removable drive to offload sessions. I would try to get away with a 60 or even 40GB drive. Having this smaller work drive will also force your hand when it comes to backups. And, when the drive dies (and trust me they do die) you will only loose a small amount of work.

    A really good drive in a situation like this is the SATA WD Raptor 36GB. It's hella fast (10,000 RPM) and really reliable (same mechanicals as WD's SCSI drives).

    Having said that, a large drive for samples and impulses and etc should be fine as these drives are not worked as hard and will last longer. But the increase in size does mean a decrease in realibility, and they are harder to backup. So don't buy a drive bigger than what you are willing to backup.

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