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New SSD, What to install on which drive?

Discussion in 'Computing' started by jeff2012, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. jeff2012

    jeff2012 Active Member

    Quick question about my my home recording computer. I have had a few posts on here asking for advice about hardware for a studio, but this is just for my home setup. Where I personally record.

    My Setup is:


    DELL DIMENSION E520
    Intel Core Duo E6300 2 cpu @186ghz
    Dell 0wg864 (main board)
    Intel P965/G965
    Nvidia GeForce 7300 LE
    5gb ddr ram
    200GB SATA HDD
    EMU 1616M Interface
    Yahama DTXpress III (into midi superior drummer)
    Cubase 5
    Windows 7 64bit

    So my question is mainly about hdd, I am looking to add one or if necessary two more drives to speed up the system and reduce latency. I am thinking of getting a 64gb ssd to run the OS on. Should my daw and vsts then go on my standard sata drive or should they go on the ssd with the OS software?

    I guess I am asking whether I need a drive for each thing, OS, DAW, VST, Audio writing, or how best to divide them between a SSD and a Sata drive. Would a third drive be beneficial?

    The actual reason I am upgrading:

    In the past I have generally only ever recorded one track at a time. So latency has not become an issue as I can tweak the buffer size as I go. But recently I have been doing sessions with a drummer. The drummer going into the Daw through the an electronic kit into the Emu midi, as well as my normal guitar track going via the audio interface. Latency is becoming an issue there. To get the drums to sound when hit, the buffer has to go so low that I cannot use another track without severe pops. Now I am pretty sure my ram and processor can handle it, so I am looking into upgrading the hdd as mentioned above.

    Hope that made sense?

    Any Ideas?
     
  2. mberry593

    mberry593 Active Member

    I will answer your question but first I want to bring up another point.

    You state that you have 5 GB of memory but your motherboard only supports 4 GB.

    Documentation

    The lost 1 GB is probably nothing to worry about if you only do one thing at a time as 32 bit programs can't address beyond approx. 4 anyway. What does worry me is that this is a dual-channel memory situation and I am guessing that you don't have matched memory. If the timings differ, your performance can really suffer. This may be free to optimize. Run a Sandra report and look at memory timings. You may be able to juggle around what you have so that the channels have matching timings. The lite version of Sandra is free.

    SiSoftware Zone

    Now, on to your question.

    The following comments apply to Pro Tools ONLY!!!

    You definitely want at least 2 and preferably 3 drives. One for the OS & program, another for sessions, and optimally a third for samples. It is essential that the session drive be at least 7200 rpm and it is advisable for the others to be 7200 rpm also.

    Avid has not qualified SSD drives. You are on your own here without any official support.

    That said, several people have reported excellent results by replacing their OS and application drive with an SSD. I have not heard of any problems.

    However, the jury is still out on SSDs for sessions. Some drives have problems with multiple re-writes. Things are getting better but I don't know how to identify older units that may have problems vs newer designs that are probably OK.

    Low latency (play back engine buffer size) is very demanding of the processor and yours is not that capable. You need to think about what you can do with your workflow to simplify the sessions while you are tracking --- add other stuff later in the process. During mixdown, you can get away with running a larger (easier on the processor) session.

    Once again, these comments apply to Pro Tools ONLY!
     
  3. jeff2012

    jeff2012 Active Member

    Hi

    Yes I do understand what you are saying about the memory, I ran into that problem when researching it too. Though I ran the Crucial memory system scanner, and it showed the ram in my system, which was 2gb(4 x512gb) and said it was expandable to 8GB. I bought a matched pair of 2gb and left the matched pair of 512gb in the system. 5gb is showing in windows, so I can only assume my pc is a slightly later model?

    I am not running Pro Tools, but I appreciate what you say. Like I say my sessions are pretty simple, I dont run many plugins, and at one time its generally only a guitar track and now the midi drum kit via superior drummer. It is the later that has created the problem. Maybe its time for me to upgrade the whole system to a new pc?

    I think I may go for a ssd drive for the os and daw, then a sata drive or two for the sessions and samples.

    Thanks for the reply.
     
  4. mberry593

    mberry593 Active Member

    I would like to propose an experiment to see if a SSD will help you. Create a RAM drive, load a session into it and try it for latency. This is, of course much faster than any mechanical hard drive but it does put an extra load on the CPU. If the latency issue improves with the RAM drive, then you can assume that your hard disk was slowing you down. If the issue gets worse, then it looks like CPU load is the problem. This test is NOT definitive and might be misleading but it is free to do and just may put you on the right road.

    Free RAM drive software is easy to find. Here is just one example.

    RAMDisk - Software - Server Memory Products & Services - Dataram

    IHTH
     
  5. jeff2012

    jeff2012 Active Member

    Thats a great idea thanks. I am going to try that.

    Just to clarify I am going to make a ram drive, then create a new session in Cubase on the ram drive.

    I shall do that today and update the thread with my results.

    Thanks
     
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Mikey and I know each other. My jury is still out on the SSD drives, overall. I'm currently running my first one, a 128 GB Vertex or something like that? LOL While I have found my computer to be slightly more responsive, it still has a tendency to not quite work like a mechanical hard drive. And I'm rather concerned about the necessary system RAM cache being utilized on an SSD? While these SSD drives may indicate 128 GB it's actually something like three times that size! This is because these fabulous new gizmos will certainly be having regular breakdowns, of sectors, regularly, dependably, daily. And so there has to be enough onboard gobbledygook so that two thirds of them can fail before it puts you out of business the following day. But that's why we have IT professionals right?

    So I am not so sure these things are going to work out well, and the current state of the art technologies for the kind of massive writing, reading, rewriting, rereading functions that are required of professional audio and video production? It'll be fine for the average everyday user. It'll be fine for the office. Fine for school. Fine for evaluating and processing scientific data. So trying to tell these things to do what we want them to do might be a little bit like trying to make monkeys talk?

    I guess they can talk? I'm talking aren't I?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  7. jeff2012

    jeff2012 Active Member

    Yeah I see your points, maybe they will become standard just for the OS system and software drive. Then for the audio writing drives and storing of VSTs normal Sata drives will still be the first choice, at least for the time being anyway.
     
  8. jeff2012

    jeff2012 Active Member

    I must say I am excited about upgrading my gear, both my personal and professional stuff.
     

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