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Hard disc utilization

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Cucco, Dec 28, 2007.

  1. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Hey guys -

    Anyone have any ideas on this?

    I have a new laptop (Dell, 1.4 MHz Core Duo, 2GB RAM) and I'm utilizing an external USB 2.0 hard disc and the RME Fireface 800.

    When recording, I get hard disc utilizations of 100% quite often.

    I turned off write-caching on the drive and it actually made it worse. With W/C on, it would run at 5-15% for a while and then ever 10 seconds or so kick up to 100% and back down. Now, it seems like every 2 seconds or so it's up at 100% and at about 50% at all other times.

    Granted, I'm running 12 tracks input at 192kHz, but it does this even at lower resolutions (just not quite as much.)

    Would a different/better HD enclosure help? I have somewhat of a generic one right now that I'm replacing with a Glyph in the next few days.

    It doesn't seem to be giving me any errors or losing data - at least that I can tell.

    Dirty Jokes?

    Thanks -

  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Hi Jeremy,

    I'm sorry to say my experience of streaming to external USB devices on Dell hardware has been less than satisfactory. I've not tried any of their latest series of notebooks, but their models from a year or two back did not give reliable performance for me, so I stopped using them. I know of people who sucessfully use a Dell/FireWire combination, though.

    As for the disc utilization meter, it could just be that once the data streaming is under way to USB, the application doesn't have any way of finding out the actual real-time usage of the disc and has to make guesses from how busy the USB controllers seem to be.

    If it's not too late, I would earnestly suggest that you do comparisons between external USB and FireWire drives. Just the thought of running 12 tracks at 192KHz to USB gives me the shudders.

  3. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I can switch to a firewire hard disc, but the Fireface might choke if I put too much strain on the Firewire bus.

    I haven't had any issues yet - I ran the machine at full tilt last night for 2 hours at 192/24 for 12 tracks with no dropouts or lost buffers.

    Of course, I have the machine stripped down and am using my own Firewire card (ti chipset). I've disabled the built-in firewire, wifi, network, modem, memory card input, and pretty much everything else and it runs smooth as a baby's bottom.

    The new Vostro machine isn't bad! They only put on what you ask for. My machine was delivered to me with nothing but Win XP, Internet Explorer and that's about it.

    Anyway - do you think running the disc on firewire would be a dramatic improvement?

    Thanks -
  4. cfaalm

    cfaalm Active Member

    Would e-SATA be an option for your external disk?
  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Sadly no.

    That would require the use of my ExpressBus input which holds the Siig (TI) firewire card.
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    No, it shouldn't sound any different, that is, as long as you don't get any dropouts. Using FireWire instead of USB can reduce the likelihood of a dropout, so I guess it's a matter of statistics.
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Well...I know it won't *sound* better regardless of the interface I use.

    However, I did get a different hard disc enclosure and it seems to work much better using the existing USB. I ran test at 88.2/24 getting HD utilizations of at max 5%. At 192/24, I was still getting the occassional peak at 100% but there were no dropouts for an entire 2 hour session.

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