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For the tech savvy bench markers, help to identify weak link in my DAW chain

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Rasmus Faber, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. Rasmus Faber

    Rasmus Faber Active Member


    Hope to get some advice. I'm experiencing a bit of weakness in my system, but I'm having a hard time figuring out where the weak link is.

    My setup:
    MBP, late 2010 (last one before thunderbolt), 8GB RAM
    Lacie FW800 Drive for projects AND samples (7200RPM)
    RME FF800 daisy chained through the Lacie Drive
    running Logic in 32-bit mode for convenience (not so fond of the 64-bit wrapper)
    Running sample based synths and plugins rather equally.

    I seem to run the system to its limits quite easily. I think (though I'm not sure), that it runs more stable when I use my Apogee ONE.
    Could this mean its the FW port that gets too busy, when having to share the space between both the Lacie and the FF800?
    Does it seem reasonable that its the FW PORT? Or more likely the disk itself?

    Or would you guess its something else? I know some of you are really good with benchmark tests and figuring these things out, so I would very much appreciate some input on this, also what I could best do to solve it.


  2. Spase

    Spase Active Member

    we'll need more information to make a judgement. What's your Mother board, cpu, ram, and all hard drives. You should have 1 hard drive for OS and programs, one for audio recording and one for samples.
  3. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    My only suggestion would be to add a FW800 hub.

    I doubt that your firewire is to busy, it's the nature of daisy-chaining that the first device in the chain has to pass all of the data, all devices are not created equal, some take more time, a hub will make the data available to all devices at the same time.
  4. Rasmus Faber

    Rasmus Faber Active Member

    2,8GHz Intel Core i7, internal drive (for system only) is 500GB 7200rpm

    How does one add a FW800 hub to a MBP without the express port? I remember looking for that product a while back, but not finding anything.

    I made the decision to have just one drive for both projects and samples, 1. because I didn't think adding a second drive would increase performance if I was gonna daisy chain anyway, and 2. because of portability convenience. But maybe I was wrong in those assumptions..
    I'm wondering if a USB drive would be fast enough to ease some load off the Lacie drive, for either projects or samples. Bus-powered USBs seems to come no faster than 5400RPMs, but maybe the rpm speed isn't a bottle neck (I heard that mentioned in some places)

    Another option would be to get the FF-UFX, and run it on the USB port (assuming the daisy chaining is the issue). If running both projects and samples off the same disk is the problem I'm not sure what would solve it..

    Thanks again, I'm grateful for further advice!
  5. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Using the same drive for audio files and samples can cause the drive read head to constantly skip between different physical locations of the drive, so it ends up spending more time seeking than actually reading, and you don't achieve the full potential speed. The firewire bus isn't the bottleneck in this case.
  6. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    The OP states he is using a La Cie drive for the audio so that eliminates the OS/Audio drive issue. Actually IMHO the La Cie drives are not up to snuff especially if transferring via 1394B. The Apogee One doesn't exhibit the same issues because the channel count is insignificant. The more or less standard external hard drives are made by Glyph.

    This shouldn't be the problem for that MBP but in older motherboards the ICH memory controller was traditionally the fault point for daisy chaining 1394 devices in 1394B protocol.
  7. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    You would connect the hub via the existing firewire port, all data is present at the ports at the same time, and available to each device.
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Daisy chaining a second drive won't be a problem at moderate track counts at all. If you had money for a UFX that would indeed eliminate the chaining issue. USB drives do indeed come with 7200rpm hdd. Mostly in pro level enclosures. Glyph drives again are the standard but I frequently have made my own using enclosures with Oxford 924 or 934 chipsets and Seagate bare drives.

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