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Author Topic: Solid State drives what are the advantages?  (Read 1201 times)

camcojunky

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Solid State drives what are the advantages?
« on: April 25, 2010, 06:33:25 PM »

Hello,

I am about to order a new MacBook Pro now that the new i7 chip set has (finally) been released. Its main function will be as a DAW/live performance rig.

My question is - how much difference would upgrading to a Solid State Drive (SSD) make, as opposed to the upgrade to a standard 7200rpm drive (The stock drives are 5200rpm, and I understand that this can cause problems in use-intensive situations) There is a BIG difference is price, and I would like to get feedback from anyone  that has experience with this.

Thanks,

Camcojunky
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Zendrumdude

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Re: Solid State drives what are the advantages?
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2010, 06:51:55 PM »

For storing samples, you're going to want them on a separate external drive anyway.  I'd get the standard drive and then a smokin' external.

My $.02.

Jer
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camcojunky

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Re: Solid State drives what are the advantages?
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2010, 11:00:46 PM »

Jer,

Thanks for the reply.

Forgive the dumb question(s) (I am very new to the software/VST/computer music world) but when I strike a pad on the Zen (or other MiDI input) isn't the signal first processed in either 1) the host software in the computer or 2) the analog sound module, depending on where the MIDI signal is routed? In the case of 1), isn't it the onboard drive that delivers the selected sound from the library bank (e.g BFD, Battery etc) stored on that drive? I understand that an external drive would/should be used for storage, but are you saying that the computer accesses/delivers the sounds from an EXTERNAL drive during performance, rather than the on-board drive? That seems backwards to me; if that is the case, why have a built-in drive at all? Or is it that the onboard drive is dedicated primarily to other non-music functions of the CPU, causing the sound processing applications to be pushed to the back of the bus?

I'm just trying to get a better understanding of the how/why/whens, before I invest the $$$.

Michael
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Pocket Master

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Re: Solid State drives what are the advantages?
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2010, 03:58:31 AM »

I am using Superior 2.0 and the way I understand it, I load a kit (which is saved on the internal hard drive) and it is loaded into the RAM (random access memory) inside the computer which makes the kit ready to go and there is no more loading.  RAM is also shared with other computer functions anytime another program is loaded.  When I boot the computer, Toontrack Solo loads up, then Superior 2.0 along with all of the video graphics, it is all taking up RAM.

The hard drive speed dictates how long it will take for your drum kit to load up.  The large the kit, the longer the load time.  The slower the drive, the longer the load time.  I bumped up my RAM to 4 Gigabytes, it was 2 Gig but I added the additional 2 Gig so I could ensure I had enough space in RAM.  I also use Garageband with the Mac so that on top of Toontrack Solo and SD 2.0, will suck up RAM really fast.

I think having all of your sounds on one drive and the program that runs your samples on a second drive is just an easier way to stay organized but not necessary.

Rob
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camcojunky

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Re: Solid State drives what are the advantages?
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2010, 10:02:40 AM »

Rob,

Thanks for that clarification. This largely confirms the impressions I have gotten from all the reading I have done on this subject. It seems then that for maximum performance that I should max out the RAM (8GB) and go with both an internal SSD for the operating software (Logic, Abelton  and probably Celemony) and an external SSD for the sound libraries.
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Zendrumdude

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Re: Solid State drives what are the advantages?
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2010, 04:27:13 PM »


I think having all of your sounds on one drive and the program that runs your samples on a second drive is just an easier way to stay organized but not necessary.


No, this is not the case...

The purpose of having the samples on an external drive is to separate the sample data stream from the operations of the computer.  I do not know how Superior works, but in BFD, a certain PORTION of each sample is loaded into RAM, and the rest of the sample (which, in the case of cymbals for example, can be very long) is played from the hard drive.  In BFD, you can actually set how much of each sample is placed into RAM.  Here's an excerpt from the BFD2 manual:

RAM Buffer
This value, in sample frames, is the   size of the portion of each sound held in   RAM to enable low latency operation within BFD2 (to   circumvent   the inherent latency involved   with hard disk seek times). The portion   held in RAM plays    while BFD2’s streaming engine cues up the rest of the data from   the hard disk. A larger value gives the hard drive longer to deliver the   data,   but is   more   demanding   on RAM. If the setting is too low for your    system, you are likely to suffer from dropouts and other audio artifacts.

Stream Buffer
The Stream   buffer is the size, in sample frames,   of the buffers of data being streamed into RAM   from the hard disk for each voice.


So the bottom line is, you want your samples on their OWN drive, and on as fast a bus as possible.  I am running mine on FireWire 800 and have never EVER lost a sample, but have used FW400 successfully as well.  eSATA is extremely fast too, but I was having trouble with my eSATA drive going to sleep on me (don't buy a WD for this reason!) and switched to a Glyph, which rocks ($$$!!! :().  You really should have a chat with John Emrich on this forum; he's the undisputed guru for this topic and was the one who advised me in my setup as well.  Best of luck!

Jer
« Last Edit: April 26, 2010, 04:31:25 PM by zendrumdude »
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Pocket Master

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Re: Solid State drives what are the advantages?
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2010, 05:26:50 PM »

sounds complicated.  As I stated, I can only comment about SD 2.0.  I am able to load my entire kit into RAM and can set my buffer size if my kit starts getting huge.  Right now my kit ranges about 600-700 MB, my buffer is set to 2GB so I have plenty of room to spare if I want to open multiple kits.  With that said, I have no need to have multiple drives.  This does not seem to be the case for BFD 2.  Hope I didn't steer anyone in the wrong direction by comparing the two programs.

Rob
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Zendrumdude

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Re: Solid State drives what are the advantages?
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2010, 07:22:23 PM »

Sticks' comment opens up a new line of thought here:

Camco, what drum VST do you plan on running?  Perhaps that will cause you to think in one direction or another... tell on!

Jer
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camcojunky

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Re: Solid State drives what are the advantages?
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2010, 11:48:46 AM »

Jer, Rob,

Thanks for you clarifications. This is all a steep learning curve, but is also very exciting. I have dreamed of having this kind of technology at my fingertips since my electronic music days in college; back then (pre-personal computer or even pre-digital keyboard) it was some Buchla modules, patch cords and a tape splicing block!!

Jer, in answer to your question...initially once I have the computer with Logic installed, the first dedicated VST (for percussion sounds) I plan to get is BFD; but from the demos I've heard, some the specialty packages from Sonicouture etc will be close behind (gamelan, hang drum, waterphone) I am also very interested in doing sampling and sound design.

This diversity in libraries is one reason why I expect I may need a broader range of platforms, beyond Logic alone. All of the software I have looked at so far, (Abelton, Celemony, Reason etc.) all seem to process sound a little differently. This is why I am seeking to to learn the best (i.e. fastest, most robust and stable) laptop configuration.

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Pyrate

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Re: Solid State drives what are the advantages?
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2010, 03:55:28 PM »

Avast Thar Mateys,

    The big advantage of SSDs is that there be no moving parts.  That makes them a little more rugged when being moved from place to place.  Aye be a big fan of fewer moving parts and the prices will eventually come down and capacity will eventually go up.  Because there be no moving parts, seek time is also reduced significantly, meaning less latency.  Hope this helps.

Fair Winds and Following Seas,
Pyrate
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camcojunky

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Re: Solid State drives what are the advantages?
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2010, 05:18:20 PM »

Pyrate,


What you are sayng here confirms the impression I have gotten over the past couple of weeks reading up on SSD's .. that their inherently faster response time helps reduce latency.

Michael
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