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Configuring 3 Hard Drives & DVD for DAW

Discussion in 'Recording' started by psmk31452, Oct 26, 2004.

  1. psmk31452

    psmk31452 Guest


    I've been recording for several years and am now attempting to build my first DAW. I've got a question regarding how to configure the hard drives.

    The motherboard is the ASUS P4c800 E Deluxe

    I'll be installing Gigstudio 3 along with Cubase SX3 and various other samples, so I'll need to be able to do DFD.

    Here is my planned purchase list and my method of setting up the 3 hard drives:

    1) Western Digital 40 Gig, 8mb cache for the OS and the programs.
    2) Western Digital 200 Gig 8mb cache SATA for giga samples and other DFD sample.
    3) Western Digital 80 Gig 8mb cache SATA for Audio (I'll probably partition into 20 gig (active Audio files) and 60 gig for (archived Audio files)
    4) Plextor DVD RW (? PX712A I believe is the model #)

    My question is: which drive(s) to install on separate channels and which are master(s) and slave(s). I realize that the SATA will go to the SATA channels, but........I'm not sure about OS drive and DVD etc. Any advice or info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  2. dabmeister music

    dabmeister music Active Member

    My setup has the OS drive on IDE 1 and the optical drives on IDE 2. The motherboard is almost 2 years old, so it was a little before the SATA era. IMO, I'd do the 80 gig as the master audio drive & the 200 as the secondary. I also have a 33.6 gig internal SCSI HD as my 3rd audio drive which works flawlessly. The main idea is not to choke or overload any of your channels so you can have a smooth running DAW.
  3. psmk31452

    psmk31452 Guest

    Thanks dabmeister for responding to my question.

    From what I've read (and your suggestion), it appears to be best to keep the OS and the DVD on separate IDE channels. I'm guessing that I can set-up the (sample) 200 gig on a SATA 1 and then the 80 gig (audio) on SATA 2. I guess my ignorance is it regards to SATA. But, ince the P4c800 E deluxe has the 2 SATA channels, it probably is best to not get into a "master", "slave" thing with the hard drives and just leave them all as, "Master's" on their own individual channels.

    1) ATA channel 1 - 40 gig for OS - set as master
    2) ATA channel 2 - DVD burner (? set as master)
    3) SATA channel 1 - 200 gig for DFD samples - set as master
    4) SATA channel 2 - 80 gig (partitioned as 20 gig & 60 gig) 20 for active audio and 60 for archived audio - set as master.

    Would you agree dabmeister? Anyone else with a different suggestion?

  4. dabmeister music

    dabmeister music Active Member

    Yes it seems like you have the idea to making this thing work for you. I don't see any issues with your setup. Just make sure you have plenty of memory too, at least 1 to 1.5 gigs.
  5. psmk31452

    psmk31452 Guest

    Thanks again dabmeister,

    Yes, I'm planning on 2 gig of Corsair XMS 3200.

    By the way...for all of the vst's, that load everything into ram, would you just install those onto the, "C" (OS) drive (into the Steinberg/Cubase/VST folder) and just keep the 200 gig SATA drive for the DFD samples only?

    Thanks again, for letting me know that I'm on the right track for my hardware setup!

  6. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    This is exactly how you should set the drives up as long as you are running XP or 2K. You can't set them up this way if you run 95 through ME. That's because under those OS's if you enable an SATA channel you have to disable an IDE (or ATA) channel. XP and 2K allow up to 6 devices but 95 - ME allow up to 4 only.

    Personally I would use the 200 GB for audio and the 80 GB for samples but that's just my opinion.

    Hope this helps! :D
  7. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member


    Don't forget you CAN use the Promise RAID controller AS AN IDE CONTROLLER!!!

    If you will regurarly need to transfer files from one drive to another, you will have greatly decreased transfer times going from the Intel ICH5R to the Promise controller (like 1.5-2 times faster!).

    All you need to do is enable the Promise in BIOS, and set it to operate in "IDE MODE". Then, once you boot, XP should prompt you for the drivers, and use the PROMISE ATA drivers (DO NOT use the RAID/Fasttrack drivers, they are for RAID only!!!).

    You will be able to use the Promise's SATA ports, or the Promise's IDE, or any combination as extra HD ports. Boot time is increased by about 5 seconds with the Promise "Enabled", and another 5 seconds if you have SATA drives on it - no biggie.

    You will then have your Primary and Secondary IDE ports (4 devices total), your 2 ICH5R SATA ports, and you added 2 more SATA ports and another IDE bus on the promise for ultra-fast transfers!

    The Promise is also fine for recording "direct to disk". FYI - The Intel ICH5R will only operate upto UDMA5, and most current HD's can operate upto UDMA6. The Promise will allow full UDMA6 speeds!

    Just be warned, that the Promise DOES use the PCI bus' bandwidth, so if you have lots of I/O activity from your soundcard, you may want to keep the "Direct to HD" drive on the Intel ICH5R (the ICH5R does NOT tie up the PCI bus)... Just use the Promise drives for fast archiving and storage in this case.

  8. psmk31452

    psmk31452 Guest

    Thank you BIG_D,

    Your response did help and yes, I will be running XP as the OS.

    My reasoning for the 200 gig sample drive, is because I have over 100 gig of samples (giga format) and with Giga 3 now out I suspect that I'll be adding more. All of my recording is strictly as a singer/songwriter for demo's, so my audio files never really get that large. Thanks again for your input. I really do appreciate your taking the time.

  9. psmk31452

    psmk31452 Guest


    Thanks for bringing that up about the Promise RAID controller. That's a hell of a good idea. I need to look into this. I've ordered some of the components for the DAW and I have a few more to go. I think before I order the rest from Newegg...I'll do some homework and research into the Promise controller. If I have any questions regarding it, I'll get back.

    I thank all of you for your help and guidance. Just don't want to get it wrong from the start. I'll have enough trouble with building the DAW, software installs, driver updates....Ya da, Ya da, Ya da.
  10. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Newegg is the bomb! That is where I built my PC, too! I also use the Asus P4C800E-Dlx, and I love it :) :) :)...

    Later :cool:
  11. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    I built my DAW mostly at Newegg as well. They are a kick-ass store.
  12. psmk31452

    psmk31452 Guest

    Hey David,

    I did alot of research components, prices, etc. for all of the pieces that I would need for the new DAW and their prices are great! It appears that their service is just as great! I got my fingers crossed and I'll be wearing a garlic necklace (to keep any evil spirits away) on my first DAW build. We'll see!

    First I want to look into what Randy had suggested about the Promise controller. Looks interesting.

  13. redrabbit

    redrabbit Active Member

    I have a similar settup...P4C800e-deluxe, 2 sata, 1 pata(primary master), dvd (secondary master).
    The OS is on the PATA, "audio" on 1st SATA, "samples" on 2nd SATA.

    I also have 2gigs (4x512) XMS twinx 3200LL, but this memory configuration is not recomended by Asus (not on their list). It seems to be working fine though (4 months now), and I have seen others' with this mem setup.
  14. psmk31452

    psmk31452 Guest

    Thanks for getting back to me redrabbit,

    Yea the setups are quite similar. I just ordered some corsair ram today (DDRAM 1GB TWINX1024-3200C2) (2x512). I ordered 2 of them, which will give me 2 gig. Quite similar to your setup.

    I'm glad that you told me about your audio going to the 1rst SATA and the samples to the 2nd SATA. I was thinking the opposite, but really no rhyme or reason or my part. I guess...I was just thinking, OS for sequencer, then the samples go into the sequencer, which then becomes audio. So I had the audio as last, but I think that yours makes more sense.

    Does your system work alright with the samples on 2nd SATA and the audio on the 1rst SATA?

    Well again I thank you for your info on the audio/sample setup. I'll go your way, as yours is already setup and I'm assuming it's working fine.

  15. redrabbit

    redrabbit Active Member

    I'm really not sure if there is a difference having the "samples" on sata 1 or sata 2, as I have not tried it (switching them). I don't know if the computer acsesses one before another. Interesting though, try google-ing it.

    And yes it is working well here, I'm down to 3ms latency with an RME sound card. I could possibly go lower to 1.5ms, but I'm not here to push things to their limits, I want stability and don't want ANY hiccups....and besides, who can hear a 1.5ms difference anyway?

  16. kinetic

    kinetic Guest

    I wouldn't bother with the Promise controller - I would only use one if my motherboard couldn't support all the drives I wanted to install in the system. Certainly the drives these days are fast enough right out of the box (or bag :)). One thing though - check out the new Seagate SATA drives - I believe they are the fastest on the market at present, but we're not talking mega performance gains. I have installed the Western Digital's in various systems I have built and they work just fine. I think your original configuration is fine, as each drive has it's own channel (ie no slaves). The Plextor DVD is definitely the go. As for RAM, the more the better at building stage, and safer to stick with named performance brands like Corsair, Kingmax, Kingston, Geil etc etc, but I would buy a pair of 1 gig sticks rather than your planned 2 pair of 500Meg sticks. Just my two cents worth.
  17. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    The thing with the Promise, is it WILL speed up drive-to-drive transferrs GREATLY. Transferring from one chipset to another will be faster than "looping back" through the ICH5R. Try it for yourself, it really is a LOT faster for archiving and such. My system has 4 HD's (and 1 removeable), and I use 2 160Gig PATA drives on the Promise's IDE to archive EVERYTHING on my PC in case of a HD failure. This process is tons faster this way (from ICH5R to Promise, and from Promise to ICH5R are both affected positively).

    Otherwise, I'd leave the direct recording drives on the Intel ICH5R.

    The 10,000RPM WD Raptors are supposedly the "fastest" at the moment (I have the 36G Raptor as OS drive)... IMO any descent 7200RPM SATA drive will be fine for most Pro-Audio applications.


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