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SSD: Will it help give my laptop some life support?

Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 2:12 am
by towers of silence
Backstory: I've got a couple less than new machines (a 2009 2.16ghz Core2Duo MacBook Pro and a 2.66ghz Core2Duo iMac) I'm finding that my recent love of Max For Live devices has pushed my sets into unstable territory. Audio tracks starts dropping out and crackling and the GUI starts becoming very sluggish. Since I've upgraded to Live 9 it seems like my sets have consumed even more of my CPU power. This makes me unhappy, however I only have the budget to upgrade one of my machines. For obvious reasons it's going to be my main production machine, since I can freeze/render tracks on my laptop in order to reduce my CPU usage for live performances, but I'd love to be able to give my laptop a little boost.

In the meantime, adding an SSD drive seems to be the most feasible upgrade option for my MacBook, but I'm thinking that realistically, it may not actually give me much of a performance boost given what causes most of the drain on my system- CPU hungry effects and synths.
Is this accurate? From what I've read it looks like my boot times, render times, searches, etc., will happen significantly faster, but unless I'm misunderstanding the benefits of an SSD drive it doesn't seem like it will have too much effect on reducing CPU load.

So- am I underestimating what an SSD will do for me? My sets aren't heavily sample based and I'm not running huge amounts of tracks, just lots of hungry synths and granular effects. I know there will be a slight increase in performance but I don't know if it would be worth the $$ at this point. I could honestly care less about shaving off boot or search times, it's not a huge deal for me, I need to reduce the CPU load slightly. I'd rather not throw down a couple hundred $$ if it won't help me out too much- I'd rather just save up the cash and get a new laptop early next year. That being said, my laptop is dragging so if it would help then I'm all for it.

Thoughts, opinions? Am I misunderstanding the overall benefits of an SSD drive? I honestly haven't done copious amounts of research so I'm happy to admit I may be way off base!

Re: SSD: Will it help give my laptop some life support?

Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 2:54 am
by dsu
You are correct in understanding that an SSD doesn't reduce CPU load significantly.

First thing I would do is look to see if the little Disk activity light is flashing when you are experiencing the glitches. If the Disk light is flashing away then an SSD might help. If not your bottle neck is likely in RAM or CPU and a SSD is not likely to help much.

Re: SSD: Will it help give my laptop some life support?

Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:05 am
by towers of silence
Thanks for the reply- I don't really notice the disk activity light flashing very often. I've got most of my projects and samples on fast external drives so that doesn't seem to be much of a problem for me. Plus I use a lot of hardware, partly just because I like hardware, and partly to relieve some of the CPU strain. That being said, when I'm in-the-box I tend to use really hungry devices- like multiple instances of Corpus and Collison, plus lots of reverbs, etc. And then FFT Max devices, so it's definitely my CPU itself that's feeling the strain.

Re: SSD: Will it help give my laptop some life support?

Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 5:36 am
by beatz01
So you answered your own question - it's your CPU, save up for a new laptop.Done. :)

Re: SSD: Will it help give my laptop some life support?

Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:31 am
by H20nly
Bottle neck could also be where the external drive interfaces with the computer... like the USB ports, hub, or cable

I also didn't see any mention of how much RAM you have. too little could cause issues.

Re: SSD: Will it help give my laptop some life support?

Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:13 pm
by kitekrazy
beatz01 wrote:So you answered your own question - it's your CPU, save up for a new laptop.Done. :)
Kinda sad though. People have switched to Reaper because it doesn't eat up a lot of resources like 90% of the DAWs these days.

Re: SSD: Will it help give my laptop some life support?

Posted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:43 pm
by fishmonkey
Live will always be more demanding than other linear DAWs. all that on-the-fly shit you can do comes at a cost.

Re: SSD: Will it help give my laptop some life support?

Posted: Tue May 12, 2015 9:27 am
by hcxcy
I dunno man, my Macbook Pro 13" couldn't handle the most basic tasks after about 3 years of production and live performances, however since I bought a samsung pro 840 ssd, the thing is on steroids and CPU overload has been reduced quite significantly in my experience.

Re: SSD: Will it help give my laptop some life support?

Posted: Tue May 12, 2015 9:10 pm
by Buleriachk
My suggestio:

Clone your drive to a SSD first (e.g. using Macrium Reflect). If it doesn't help, you'll want to swap out the drive in your new computer anyway (unless the new one has an SSD. Even so, you can always use it for an exteernal drive or fast backup)

Re: SSD: Will it help give my laptop some life support?

Posted: Thu May 14, 2015 11:46 pm
by Stromkraft
towers of silence wrote:Backstory: I've got a couple less than new machines (a 2009 2.16ghz Core2Duo MacBook Pro and a 2.66ghz Core2Duo iMac)
I have recently upgraded from a 2.2Ghz Core2Duo (2007) to a 2.66Ghz and that was like night and day, resulting in many CPU issues going away and a 50% track increase. I also got a 1tb SSD, which speeds up graphics updates also on slower machines as the GUI isn't waiting for the disk to serve content. Even on my older machine the speed difference in the GUI was palpable.

So CPU > more tracks, effects and devices, SSD > possibly faster graphics updates if your GUI was starved before.

Re: SSD: Will it help give my laptop some life support?

Posted: Thu May 14, 2015 11:55 pm
by Buleriachk
Was the second cpu a quad core? I would expect that would have a greater effect than the difference in speed...
Stromkraft wrote:
towers of silence wrote:Backstory: I've got a couple less than new machines (a 2009 2.16ghz Core2Duo MacBook Pro and a 2.66ghz Core2Duo iMac)
I have recently upgraded from a 2.2Ghz Core2Duo (2007) to a 2.66Ghz and that was like night and day, resulting in many CPU issues going away and a 5+% track increase. I also got a 1tb SSD, which speeds up graphics updates also on slower machines as the GUI isn't waiting for the disk to serve content. Even on my older machine the speed difference in the GUI was palpable.

So CPU > more tracks, effects and devices, SSD > possibly faster graphics updates if your GUI was starved before.

Re: SSD: Will it help give my laptop some life support?

Posted: Fri May 15, 2015 12:08 am
by Stromkraft
Buleriachk wrote:
Stromkraft wrote:
I have recently upgraded from a 2.2Ghz Core2Duo (2007) to a 2.66Ghz and that was like night and day, resulting in many CPU issues going away and a 50% track increase.
Assuming you were asking me, no. It's was just a new CPU generation shift that happened around that time. My next machine will be a quadcore (or better if desktop).

Re: SSD: Will it help give my laptop some life support?

Posted: Fri May 15, 2015 2:00 pm
by theophilus
the C2D is pretty old - you might get a lot of value out of upgrading, even if it's only to a newer used machine; i'd go for at least a 2nd gen Core machine if you can. this page is pretty helpful for showing the differences:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7003/the- ... k-tested/6

all the i7-XXXX or i5-XXXX, the first X is the generation (so i7-965 is a first gen, i7-2700k is a 2nd gen, etc). you can see there are differences between e.g. 3rd and 4th gen, but they're not nearly as large as even the difference between C2D and a 2nd gen Core.

SSD will help some, but the C2D is just pretty old now.

(disclaimer: i work for intel, but i don't speak for them, and i don't even work in mobile... i get my info on this from the web like everyone else :)

Re: SSD: Will it help give my laptop some life support?

Posted: Fri May 15, 2015 2:36 pm
by Stromkraft
theophilus wrote: the C2D is just pretty old now.
Tell me something I don't know. :mrgreen:

Thing is what I can do with Live 9, Komplete and Push even on a 2.66Ghz C2D is ridiculously good nevertheless. Freezing/Flattening and Recording audio are my best friends of course.