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Which Drive should VST's go on?

Discussion in 'Computing' started by musoman, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. musoman

    musoman Active Member


    I have recently built a new home recording system. Its running great but before I install all my vsts and stuff I wanted to check which hdd to put which on.

    So far I have gone for OS and Daw on my SSD, I have another high speed SATA3 hdd for my audio writing, but where should I put my vsts and samples for supreme drummer? On the SSD or the the other SATA 3 drive or the third SATA 2 drive?

    Obviously the first two are faster but the 3rd drive would enable each part (daw,audio,samples) to have their own drive.

    Please advise.

    My SPEC:

    INTEL(R) CORE(TM) i5-3570 CPU @ 3.40GHz
    8GB RAM
    E-MU 1616M

  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I'd put my virtual instruments on the 150gig HDD, (if there's enough space) and keep the 1TB for recording projects only. (don't forget to do backups)
  3. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry this info isn't for specific to your needs. But do the research and see if you can split it up somehow. I recommend separate drives for everything, but it makes no difference if you are saturating the Southbridge.

    You'll need to look up a block diagram of your particular motherboard. One many otherboards, all SATA connectors are handled by the Southbridge section. It is possible to fully saturate this Southbridge with a bunch of SATA drives all talking at once. Once that limit is reached, there is no more capacity available.

    But on some motherboards, some SATAs are wired to the Southbridge, and some are wired to the Northbridge. Your motherboard block diagram will tell you what's what in this situation.

    Unlike a car engine, there is nothing bad about operating a computer (or a section of a computer) at full capacity for extended periods of time*. The only problem is that this "capacity" is a hard limit that cannot be exceeded. There is no workaround for that. Once you hit the limit, there ain't no more!

    But if you can split it up over different sections, you could have a smoother running system. This is especially true during the heat of the moment: You got drums, synths, audio guitars running through Amplitube, synth bass, synth piano, and 8 tracks of backing vocals all going at once while tracking lead vocals or something. You know, when the sputtering will occur.

    Read up and experiment. As long as you don't jam a square plug into a round hole you won't actually damage anything. Might make it worse, but then you just put it back.

    *the fine print: make sure it won't overheat, and you'll be fine running at 100%.


  4. musoman

    musoman Active Member


    I think it all goes through southbridge but Im not sure.

    I just wondered whether I should put vst's on ssd with cubase and os for performance, on my 2nd audio writing drive, or my third drive.

  5. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    3rd drive.
  6. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Your VST instruments should go on a third drive. Sata 2 or 3 is irrelevant. The current architecture cannot utilize the full bandwidth of Sata 2 so 3 is just future safe. Now, what you should be considering is the spindle and spindle speed of your audio recording drive. I never use more than 500gb for audio recording because the drives are more stable and faster. The further the write head gets away from the center of the platter the slower the drive gets. 1TB and higher are great for archival purposes but are NOT ideal for active recording projects.
  7. godchuanz

    godchuanz Active Member

    Hi TheJackAttack,

    Sorry, I don't understand your statement. Can you explain a bit more on why a 500GB or a drive less than 1TB is better?

    As far as I know,most modern drives are 1TB and above, and have been verified to be faster than most drives below 500GB, both in terms of seek time and transfer rates. Even for drives in the same series, the larger drives are usually faster in specs. So theoretically, the larger drives should perform better?
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Modern drives come in 500gb sizes as well. Whatever the capacity marked on the drive, it is still in the same form factor. In order to get more capacity more platters are added and to make them fit they are thinner and the spindle gets smaller. This is fine and dandy up until the point they begin to wobble and fail. The fact that there are 3tb drives out there does not make them ideal for recording audio. Their purpose is storage.

    Some of the newest SSD drives are now stable enough to use as recording drives. An article audiokid sent me makes a good logical arguement about keeping all internal drives SSD and not mechanical HDD (whether laptop or desktop) to minimize power fluctuations in the system. The problem with SSD's is still cost. On my remote laptops the main drive is an SSD and I replace the optical bay with an SSD enclosure as well for a temp folder/back up recording drive. My main audio drives are still HDD and for stability they are between 500-750 GB Glyph enclosures or custom built enclosures.

  9. godchuanz

    godchuanz Active Member

    Hi TheJackAttack,

    If I read you correctly, choosing 500-750GB drives is a matter of reliability and not speed? Is there any literature or statistics regarding failure rates of 500GB vs 1TB vs 2TB drives that you may have read and can point me to? I was just thinking that limiting oneself to 500GB drives does not seem to be very cost-efficient. I think it makes a lot of financial sense to pay $20 extra to get a 1TB. So if there's no significant speed/reliability difference, we should get the largest capacity possible, or the best bang-for-buck (GB-per-dollar).

    SSDs are definitely speedy, but currently the cost is still quite prohibitive :D

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