SSD and recording. Good or Bad?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Pasha
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Re: SSD and recording. Good or Bad?

Post by Pasha » Thu May 16, 2013 4:50 am

H20nly wrote:hey Pasha one last thought... you sound as though you're thinking this iMac thing through pretty heavy;

the model i have is the mid 2011 i5. looking at the specs of the 2013 (which is an education only model)... i see that it has only a 5400 rpm drive and is missing a lot of the previously included features like the 2012 and the 2011 models that have 7200 rpm drives. you can still find those available through resellers. mine was brand new out of the box in September. the mid 2011 models have firewire, thunderbolt and an optical drive (CD/DVD), plus a SATA connector that will power an SSD expansion :idea: (the 2012/13 models don't seem to support this)

http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/i ... -imac.html

the new iMacs seem to be doing the "Apple says you don't need that any more" thing... but like i mentioned... the slightly older ones are still on the market, in the box, with unused parts... just an older (and arguably better) design. it's something to think about... you can't get one from the Apple store, but you can still get one... and you can always get Apple care up to 90 days after the purchase.
Good point...I have tried to find one since January but my usual retailers do not have any.
Moreover no refurbished.. this means that people are not buying the new ones..and for a good reason. :evil:
In the end I can have a very solid machine if I say goodbye to iMac and switch to Mac Mini. I can have a stock i7 Quad at 2.3Ghz and fill the mini with one of the beefy options (FD or SSD) and add some external fast solution (smaller SSD or USB 3 drive at 7200 RPM) for the rest. This without breaking the bank. I like the all in one concept but Apple is pushing me away..I can revert to a 27" stock iMac 2.9 i5 and 1TB 7200 RPM Drive, maybe with a kind of partial financing. That is still a possibility, albeit costly. :idea:
Thanks again for all the good suggestions! Now I have so many inputs that will sure help my decision. :D

Best
Pasha
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Re: SSD and recording. Good or Bad?

Post by Pasha » Thu May 16, 2013 4:51 am

ian_halsall wrote:I have used SSD and IMO the don't make enough difference to warrant the extra expense and weird behaviour you sometimes get with boot sector corruption.

I removed mine and went back.
That's very interesting 8O . Did you try internal and external SSD Drive?
Thank you!

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Re: SSD and recording. Good or Bad?

Post by Pasha » Thu May 16, 2013 4:54 am

Theo Void wrote:
TheCoil wrote:I have my sample library on my traditional drive and Ableton on my SSD, when I save a project, I "collect all and save" so that the samples I'm actually using will be on my speedier drive but I don't have to have my whole library taking up precious space.
I was looking into this too but the way I work that would fill up FAST!!

I agree that the HDD is definitely the bottle neck in the system these days and I can't wait til I can use an SSD w/o having to sell my ass on the streets and/or starve my children!!!!

It'll be a great day........indeed!
+1! :D
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3osc
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Re: SSD and recording. Good or Bad?

Post by 3osc » Thu May 16, 2013 2:23 pm

This won't help you if you're going for an iMac, but if you decide to get something user serviceable, I would go for a solid state hybrid drive (SSHD). I've been using this in my MBP to great success: http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Solid-Hyb ... words=sshd

It boots and loads programs much faster than a traditional hard drive, holds 1TB and costs just over USD$100. I've got 2TB of storage in my MBP now and while a SSD would be faster, I love not needing an external drive for my recordings or sample libraries. Price/GB/Performance ratio is great.

If you are going to get an external SSD, make sure you use an external device that is UASP capable. Otherwise, you will see rather pitiful transfer speeds for USB3. I use this enclosure and it's super-keen:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00APP ... UTF8&psc=1

All that said, I don't think you'll be recording enough audio to max out any platter-drive. You'd have to have quite a few channels at 96/24 to notice, as long as you're not recording to the same drive you're loading samples off of.

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Re: SSD and recording. Good or Bad?

Post by Pasha » Thu May 16, 2013 5:47 pm

3osc wrote:This won't help you if you're going for an iMac, but if you decide to get something user serviceable, I would go for a solid state hybrid drive (SSHD). I've been using this in my MBP to great success: http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Solid-Hyb ... words=sshd

It boots and loads programs much faster than a traditional hard drive, holds 1TB and costs just over USD$100. I've got 2TB of storage in my MBP now and while a SSD would be faster, I love not needing an external drive for my recordings or sample libraries. Price/GB/Performance ratio is great.

If you are going to get an external SSD, make sure you use an external device that is UASP capable. Otherwise, you will see rather pitiful transfer speeds for USB3. I use this enclosure and it's super-keen:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00APP ... UTF8&psc=1

All that said, I don't think you'll be recording enough audio to max out any platter-drive. You'd have to have quite a few channels at 96/24 to notice, as long as you're not recording to the same drive you're loading samples off of.
Wow that hybrid looks promising. Cheaper than Apple Fusion Drive.. I wonder why Apple used a standard 5400 RPM, instead of the one you pointed out! That is completely new to me. It can only find its way into my 2012 MBP 13" though... but it's a very good choice I was not aware of. :D
I am curious to know more about your statement:
All that said, I don't think you'll be recording enough audio to max out any platter-drive. You'd have to have quite a few channels at 96/24 to notice, as long as you're not recording to the same drive you're loading samples off of
As said I would record one track at a time because my Projects mimic the real world. Typically a 5 people setup:
Drums,Bass,Keys,Guitar and Lead Guitar so I have very low track count not more than 15 and rarely play all at the same time. Do you mean that in my case a 5400 or 7200 or whatever drive makes no difference?

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Pasha
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H20nly
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Re: SSD and recording. Good or Bad?

Post by H20nly » Thu May 16, 2013 5:49 pm

Pasha wrote:Wow that hybrid looks promising.
+1

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Re: SSD and recording. Good or Bad?

Post by 3osc » Thu May 16, 2013 9:57 pm

SSHD is kinda new, and so far only made by Seagate. WD is releasing their own soon, but Apple seems to love Hitachi.
Pasha wrote: As said I would record one track at a time because my Projects mimic the real world. Typically a 5 people setup:
Drums,Bass,Keys,Guitar and Lead Guitar so I have very low track count not more than 15 and rarely play all at the same time. Do you mean that in my case a 5400 or 7200 or whatever drive makes no difference?

Best
Pasha
I'm going to cover my ass and say that you should have a 7200 drive. BUT I think you would be fine with a 5400 drive. Let's say you're recording to 24/96. That's 24*96 (2,304) kilobits per second of data per channel per track. Since it's in bits, we divide that number by 8 to get 288 kiloBYTES of data per second, or roughly .3 megabytes. For fun, let's assume that you go balls to the walls with your drums and you have 8 channels for that setup alone. That's 12 channels * .3MB/s = 3.6MB/s of data for your hard drive to write.

Now check out this chart: http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2012 ... ,2991.html

Most 2.5" hard drives perform close to 100MB/s in sequential writing tasks. There's an eclectic mix of 5400 and 7200, SATA I and SATA II drives. I haven't done any extensive testing with this SSHD, but just casually glancing at it during large transfers, I have seen ~80MB/s. I've gone all out with the numbers. If you record at 44.1 and your drums go to just one stereo track, then you will require even less.

So, yeah. I think you'd be fine with a 5400 drive as even the slowest you can buy these days has a throughput many factors of magnitude higher than any recording setup you could practically have. What really matters is that you are loading from one drive and writing to another, as trying to do both with one drive is both stupid and rude. Very rude.

edit: Though I do notice that this is your plan anyways. Mainly just emphasizing the separate hard drive thing for other readers.

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Re: SSD and recording. Good or Bad?

Post by H20nly » Thu May 16, 2013 10:20 pm

3osc wrote:Apple seems to love Hitachi.
:lol: makers of some of the worst hard drives ever. Hitachi Death Star


that'll show Samsung!

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Re: SSD and recording. Good or Bad?

Post by Machinesworking » Thu May 16, 2013 11:10 pm

H20nly wrote:
3osc wrote:Apple seems to love Hitachi.
:lol: makers of some of the worst hard drives ever. Hitachi Death Star


that'll show Samsung!
My personal least favorite has been Seagate.
All hard drive companies have bad runs and good runs.
I had great luck with IBM, but others not so good.

believe me though, whatever Apple is using is a good run. They do serious QA on their shit.

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Re: SSD and recording. Good or Bad?

Post by H20nly » Fri May 17, 2013 12:00 am

yeah, given the sheer number of Hitachi DeskStar (their real name) that had failed and i was replacing during my time doing computer repairs for a company from 05 to 08 i would say it was slightly larger than a "run" but i totally get your sentiment and agree with you in general.

i've had pretty good luck with them performance wise, but i used to be able to identify a Seagate when i walked in a room...
me: hmmmm... either your hard drive is failing or that's a Seagate... or both 8O
they had this clicky grind to them that was unmistakable for quite some time.

what i was really chuckling about in that last post was the irony that Apple used to use Samsung drives given their recent design debacle.

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Re: SSD and recording. Good or Bad?

Post by Pasha » Fri May 17, 2013 5:00 am

3osc wrote:SSHD is kinda new, and so far only made by Seagate. WD is releasing their own soon, but Apple seems to love Hitachi.
Pasha wrote: As said I would record one track at a time because my Projects mimic the real world. Typically a 5 people setup:
Drums,Bass,Keys,Guitar and Lead Guitar so I have very low track count not more than 15 and rarely play all at the same time. Do you mean that in my case a 5400 or 7200 or whatever drive makes no difference?

Best
Pasha
I'm going to cover my ass and say that you should have a 7200 drive. BUT I think you would be fine with a 5400 drive. Let's say you're recording to 24/96. That's 24*96 (2,304) kilobits per second of data per channel per track. Since it's in bits, we divide that number by 8 to get 288 kiloBYTES of data per second, or roughly .3 megabytes. For fun, let's assume that you go balls to the walls with your drums and you have 8 channels for that setup alone. That's 12 channels * .3MB/s = 3.6MB/s of data for your hard drive to write.

Now check out this chart: http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2012 ... ,2991.html

Most 2.5" hard drives perform close to 100MB/s in sequential writing tasks. There's an eclectic mix of 5400 and 7200, SATA I and SATA II drives. I haven't done any extensive testing with this SSHD, but just casually glancing at it during large transfers, I have seen ~80MB/s. I've gone all out with the numbers. If you record at 44.1 and your drums go to just one stereo track, then you will require even less.

So, yeah. I think you'd be fine with a 5400 drive as even the slowest you can buy these days has a throughput many factors of magnitude higher than any recording setup you could practically have. What really matters is that you are loading from one drive and writing to another, as trying to do both with one drive is both stupid and rude. Very rude.

edit: Though I do notice that this is your plan anyways. Mainly just emphasizing the separate hard drive thing for other readers.
No worries. Thank you for such detailed explanation. I have always recorded at 44/24 so if I take your words I should be in the comfort zone, even if some of those audio tracks (guitar mainly) might be stereo tracks.
Today I am rude :twisted: because I record/play from the same 7200 RPM drive in my old iMac and Live library is there... :D The Session Drums, EIC, Orchestral Instruments are the biggest samples I use.
I use MIDI loops and Session Drums a lot in lieu of a real drummer hence in the track count I have not included all the sub channels in a Session Drum Kit but drums hits are very small anyway. What bugs me today is that since Live 9 my machine feels slower. The buffering of audio takes more time, the initial indexing slows me down a bit but that's another story. The separate drive path is the only one that could guarantee good performances across the board that's why my intention is to use an external (SSD?) drive for Library/Recording and Projects and that was the reason to start this thread that turned in a very interesting info share. The 5400 RPM Internal in new 21.5 iMac could sustain the day by day computing but Music stuff can be routed to another path. Make it SSD or an external hybrid in a USB 3.0 case, or with the price of a 256GB SSD I can have two hybrids! :idea:
Last edited by Pasha on Fri May 17, 2013 5:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SSD and recording. Good or Bad?

Post by Pasha » Fri May 17, 2013 5:09 am

H20nly wrote:yeah, given the sheer number of Hitachi DeskStar (their real name) that had failed and i was replacing during my time doing computer repairs for a company from 05 to 08 i would say it was slightly larger than a "run" but i totally get your sentiment and agree with you in general.

i've had pretty good luck with them performance wise, but i used to be able to identify a Seagate when i walked in a room...
me: hmmmm... either your hard drive is failing or that's a Seagate... or both 8O
they had this clicky grind to them that was unmistakable for quite some time.

what i was really chuckling about in that last post was the irony that Apple used to use Samsung drives given their recent design debacle.
... And Fusion Drive has a 128 GB Samsung 830 underneath. Those babies make court litigation and at the same time they have a customer/supplier relationship!
Back on topic my experience with hard drives has been neutral. The Seagate in my ex 2006 Macbook which I sold to a friend last year is still working after 7 years, the WD in my 5 years iMac (crossing fingers) is still working and the various Lacie/G Tech drives (60% with Hitachi on board, 40% with Seagate) still work after 5 years. I fear apocalypse one day or the other.. old stuff fails...and I backup often.
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Re: SSD and recording. Good or Bad?

Post by 3osc » Fri May 17, 2013 5:49 am

Pasha wrote: No worries. Thank you for such detailed explanation. I have always recorded at 44/24 so if I take your words I should be in the comfort zone, even if some of those audio tracks (guitar mainly) might be stereo tracks.
Today I am rude :twisted: because I record/play from the same 7200 RPM drive in my old iMac and Live library is there... :D The Session Drums, EIC, Orchestral Instruments are the biggest samples I use.
I use MIDI loops and Session Drums a lot in lieu of a real drummer hence in the track count I have not included all the sub channels in a Session Drum Kit but drums hits are very small anyway. What bugs me today is that since Live 9 my machine feels slower. The buffering of audio takes more time, the initial indexing slows me down a bit but that's another story. The separate drive path is the only one that could guarantee good performances across the board that's why my intention is to use an external (SSD?) drive for Library/Recording and Projects and that was the reason to start this thread that turned in a very interesting info share. The 5400 RPM Internal in new 21.5 iMac could sustain the day by day computing but Music stuff can be routed to another path. Make it SSD or an external hybrid in a USB 3.0 case, or with the price of a 256GB SSD I can have two hybrids! :idea:
How rude! :mrgreen:

Read speeds will definitely improve, a lot, with an SSD. But they'll also improve just by using a separate hard drive for samples. I don't know if hybrid drives improve sample loading much since I just use it as my OS drive, but my sample hard drive loads up plenty fast for me (it's the 5400 1TB that came in my MBP). I really can't wait for SSDs to come way down in price and go way up in capacity, at this point I can't personally justify the cost over a hybrid drive.

It looks already like you're going to have a pretty slick set up. I miss my 27" iMac - that screen was outstanding - but if I had to choose again I'd go with the smaller screen. A 15" laptop is a bit too small, though. My neck is kinked like a motherfuck every time I sit at my desk.

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Re: SSD and recording. Good or Bad?

Post by Pasha » Fri May 17, 2013 7:58 am

3osc wrote:
Pasha wrote: No worries. Thank you for such detailed explanation. I have always recorded at 44/24 so if I take your words I should be in the comfort zone, even if some of those audio tracks (guitar mainly) might be stereo tracks.
Today I am rude :twisted: because I record/play from the same 7200 RPM drive in my old iMac and Live library is there... :D The Session Drums, EIC, Orchestral Instruments are the biggest samples I use.
I use MIDI loops and Session Drums a lot in lieu of a real drummer hence in the track count I have not included all the sub channels in a Session Drum Kit but drums hits are very small anyway. What bugs me today is that since Live 9 my machine feels slower. The buffering of audio takes more time, the initial indexing slows me down a bit but that's another story. The separate drive path is the only one that could guarantee good performances across the board that's why my intention is to use an external (SSD?) drive for Library/Recording and Projects and that was the reason to start this thread that turned in a very interesting info share. The 5400 RPM Internal in new 21.5 iMac could sustain the day by day computing but Music stuff can be routed to another path. Make it SSD or an external hybrid in a USB 3.0 case, or with the price of a 256GB SSD I can have two hybrids! :idea:
How rude! :mrgreen:

Read speeds will definitely improve, a lot, with an SSD. But they'll also improve just by using a separate hard drive for samples. I don't know if hybrid drives improve sample loading much since I just use it as my OS drive, but my sample hard drive loads up plenty fast for me (it's the 5400 1TB that came in my MBP). I really can't wait for SSDs to come way down in price and go way up in capacity, at this point I can't personally justify the cost over a hybrid drive.

It looks already like you're going to have a pretty slick set up. I miss my 27" iMac - that screen was outstanding - but if I had to choose again I'd go with the smaller screen. A 15" laptop is a bit too small, though. My neck is kinked like a motherfuck every time I sit at my desk.
:-)

My today's setup is made by 2008 iMac 2.66 Dual Core, 4GB RAM and 7200 RPM 320GB. The little base MPB 13" 2012 comes handy when I move into the house as iMac is taken hostage by other family members.... :-)
The shortcomings of today's setup are primarily RAM (cannot be upgraded) CPU (sometimes coughs) space (320 GB Drive is 66% full) and a general slowness.. especially with L9! I am experimenting with an external Lacie 5400 RPM FW800 drive for L9 suite 50GB library (it performs more or less like my internal one) and I get some delays when L9 starts and when I load Grand Piano. That's the reason behind a search of a new one. The 1TB 5400 RPM you have looks good. I assume you hooked it with USB 3 right? Part of me is headed towards the 27" Base iMac which gives me a 7200 RPM drive and a quad 2.9 Ghz CPU (in that case all the money + financing goes for the iMac and no external drive..) as opposed to getting the iMac 21.5 with the base 5400 RPM drive, Quad 2.7 GHz CPU and have money to add some external drive (USB 3 housing) or I can order a BTO Mac Mini with Fusion Drive or 256GB SSD and add a Monitor and an external drive for less but it's a steal what Apple charges for that FD or SSD!
You know, I could stay the way I am for another half year or so and pimp my iMac with a new hybrid drive or getting an external FW800/USB 3.0 to future proof me. However, I was telling myself that if I spend big money I want the fastest thing but hey... it's a lot of money so I have to constraint the project. So I am about what's the best spent money for my budget.. We'll see. I got so many inputs from you and all the others that I can almost make my mind. There's always the base i7 2,3 GHZ Quad Mac Mini + Monitor that I can afford and add an external USB 3 SSD or Hybrid at this point, i7 Quad CPU, albeit a mobile one should have a lot of juice according to Geekbench when compared to my current one. ... And you're right the 27" scares me a little because it's too big. The 21.5" is the sweet spot for me. Thanks for all your time and inputs! :D

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Pasha
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Re: SSD and recording. Good or Bad?

Post by ian_halsall » Fri May 17, 2013 10:10 am

rude bastard

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