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Upgrading my DAW - double checking

Member for

16 years 9 months
Yes yes yes, I searched. I just need some validation from the resident brainiacs before I buy anything. :)

I will be upgrading from 512MB ram to 2 gigs. No issues there.

However, I've read and read and read that if you are going to use samples, you should really have 3 hard drives. Well, that's not an option for me right now. Am I going to run into insurmountable problems if I am recording audio and using MOTU's Symphonic Instrument on just 2 hard drives? My current case only has a 1/2 drive bay open, so I'll have to use an external firewire drive. Or maybe I should ditch my floppy drive? Don't know if I've ever even used it. Can I do that?

I asked some questions in there, right?




Member for

16 years 9 months

CombatWombat Thu, 11/02/2006 - 09:07
Alright, need to throw one more variable in here.

My buddy gave me a 30 GB, 7200 RPM internal drive last night that he doesn't need. However, it only has a 2 MB cache. I am assuming that this probably won't cut it for streaming samples from, but maybe it will? What are your thoughts?

Member for

16 years

RemyRAD Thu, 11/02/2006 - 22:10
CombatWombat, the technical hearsay I have gotten was indicated to me that for music and video applications, FireWire writes data continuously whereas I was told that USB 2.0, albeit with a faster overall speed rating, does this stop and go data caching thing and so puts a greater demand on your memory to act like a continual sieve. I used/own both and have had no problems with either.

Regarding the 30GB 7200 rpm internal drive that only has 2MB of disk caching, I've used those plenty in the past and have not had any problems but then I also don't do samples. After all, we were all using drives with only 2MB cache in days gone by with perfect success.

Wombat Wanker
Ms. Remy Ann David

Member for

16 years

RemyRAD Mon, 10/30/2006 - 17:44
Tyler, if the system requirements indicate 3 disk drives are necessary, then 3 disk drives are necessary. If there is no room inside the box...... For heaven's sakes, THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX! You probably have numerous USB ports and it would be no problem to purchase a third external USB hard drive, FireWire drive optional. Eh' voila'! Plus it all depends on how you will be using your samples and what and how you will be recording. Some people play TASCAM's GIGASAMPLER in real-time from the keyboard. That pretty much requires its own disk drive. You can certainly try first but if you are unsuccessful in your attempts, you know what to do now. Just know that if you can utilize a USB 2.0 external drive, they are slightly less costly than their FireWire counterparts. There is a difference between the two different kinds of ports on how the data is written in and streamed out but so far I've had no problems interchanging both.

Make sure that when you upgrade your memory, that you are using all matched memory chips and not a hodgepodge of different brands. If you are using memory du jour, you may or may not have other peculiar problems?

My memory du jour is chicken soup
Ms. Remy Ann David Cluck

Member for

16 years 9 months

CombatWombat Mon, 10/30/2006 - 20:15
Remy, thanks for the response. Witty and informative as usual.

The software does not state a 3rd drive as a system requirement, I've just read over and over again here in the forums that you should have your OS and applications on one drive, audio on another, and samples on another.

Of course, my system could handle 3 drives, I'm just trying to be an economical college student. :)

The only recording I do (for now) anyway is on my own, overdubbing track by track. I see myself using the orchestra software primarily as a plug-in inside cubase to build string arrangements, most likely piece by piece. That doesn't seem like very intensive use, so is a 3rd hard drive really necessary? Assuming that (at least for now) I go with just 2 hard drives, which drive should the samples go on? The second drive for audio, no?

Also, I opened up my case and discovered that I actually do have space for a 3.5" drive, so i can go the internal route. My current hard drive is U-ATA, so another U-ATA drive should work no problem, right? Any reason to get something other than U-ATA?

Member for

21 years

Member Mon, 10/30/2006 - 20:32
Drives are SUPER cheap nowadays.

Generally speaking, the 3 drives theory works as follows:

Drive 1: System

Drive 2: Audio (recording/playback)

Drive 3: streaming samples

If your particular sampler calls for a specific drive system it may or may not work with something different. You can try and see if it does.

Member for

18 years 5 months

UncleBob58 Tue, 10/31/2006 - 09:05
Pro Tools LE and HD systems REQUIRE you to have the software and sessions on separate drives. Most other DAW systems do not although they usually "highly recommend" it. Otherwise multiple drive schemes are usually a matter of convenience. I have dedicated the internal drives on my G5 for all of the software that I use. Using multiple firewire ports I have one port dedicated to one drive for my sound effects library, one for my music library. Another is dedicated to my personal projects drives. The other firewire ports are used to swap out work/project drives as needed. Personally I require two drives from each of my clients, the size depending upon the project, one as the work drive and the second as a back-up.

Member for

16 years 9 months

CombatWombat Tue, 10/31/2006 - 09:20
Thanks for your replies. I understand what ya'll are saying, but could someone please answer this question for me:

If I am tracking one track at a time, and I have two hard drives, which drive should my samples be stored on? The system drive or the audio drive?

I am guessing the audio drive, but I'd like to be sure.

Member for

16 years 7 months

cfaalm Wed, 11/01/2006 - 05:23
CombatWombat wrote: Also, can I use any type of ATA hard drive for my second internal drive? Does it matter? My system drive is a UATA, does that mean I need to stick with another UATA or could I get an SATA?

Thanks for being patient with the computer illiterate. :)

OK, CW. Here's some background info. Enjoy.

If your motherboard has SATA ports then yes, you can get a SATA-HDD. I assume you know what a SATA port looks like. SATA is not much faster than UATA in terms of sustained read/write performance. There's no problem having a mix. Some had difficulties with a SATA drive as their systemdrive. I have 3 SATA drives exclusively, no problems.

The 3 main reasons to go with SATA if possible are: better airflow because of thinner cables, slightly lower price than PATA, slackening of support i.e. most newer motherboards have 1 PATA channel in favour of more SATA ports and some even include e-SATA.

If your motherboard supports native USB (see BIOS) then you can ditch your FDD, but you'll have to have your "rescue floppy" on an USB stick.
My DAW, like most modern off the shelf PCs, has a cardreader instead of FDD. If the floppy is already in, I'd just leave it there.

Member for

16 years 9 months

CombatWombat Wed, 11/01/2006 - 13:31
Cfaalm, thanks so much for your response. I think I am starting to finally wrap my head around this stuff. It's all so confusing to me. I don't actually have any idea what the difference between a PATA and an SATA port are. Guess I'll have to look that up so that i know what to get.

Right now, what I'm thinking is to get a smaller internal drive (120-250GB) with as big a buffer as possible for my samples to stream off of and a larger external drive to record audio to.

Any other words of wisdom?