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Recommended hard drive configuration?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear  
Author Recommended hard drive configuration?
Armstrb
I have a 2013 Mac Pro with a 1Tb SSD and two 3 Tb FireWire drives for storage and back up. It has Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 inputs

With this configuration have been using the internal drive for Logic Pro which I effectively use as a large tape drive (have a 16 channel interface) for recording my modular.

Has been working well but have maxed out internal storage so have moved my logic files to the FireWire drives. This is not really working as the drives are slow and get errors even when doing basic things like play back.

So ... question ... what hard drive configuration are people using? Am thinking I need to get a RAID enclosure to get performance and safety.

Thanks in advance.
drainyoo
I'm interested in this as well. I assume SSD drives should be fast enough for this.
sduck
I'd recommend a drobo mini, but they stopped making them. I have one, and through the thunderbolt it's amazingly fast - as fast as the internal ssd. Maybe one of their current offerings are worth looking at?
PISS.EXE
One of these bad boys and RAID 1, it doesn't get much safer than that.

https://www.amazon.com/Synology-DS216J-NAS-DiskStation-DS216j/dp/B01BN PT1EG/ref=sr_1_2?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1504812319&sr=1-2&keywords=synology

Don't get any brand but Synology or you'll regret it. Believe me! I have a QNAP and want to throw the fucking thing off a roof. It gets the job done but barely. BARELY.

You can access these through your router, so any of your WiFi only devices can talk to it as well, and fast enough for real time writing to it, such as if you want to record directly to your NAS. thumbs up
Armstrb
Interesting. Will look at the Drobo's

You recommend a NAS (I.e. Ethernet) over thunderbolt or USB 3?
PISS.EXE
Armstrb wrote:
Interesting. Will look at the Drobo's

You recommend a NAS (I.e. Ethernet) over thunderbolt or USB 3?


You can actually use a NAS with USB ports to hook it up to your computer locally via USB. However, if you have a gigabit router and compliant cables (CAT6 or CAT7), you can actually achieve superior bandwidth over ethernet. Not really a noticeable difference in transfer speed for music stuff but if you're copying a lot of backing up hundreds of GB or into the TB range then you really notice the better speeds...

I would just make sure you had a decent wifi router i guess if you wanted to do a NAS over wifi. You would just want to ensure there are no dropouts. Any recent computer can handle recording in real time and send it over wifi without missing a beat. The bigger concern with a wifi setup is if your OS / wifi drivers if not on OS X are insisting on sending tons of interrupts.

so yeah use ethernet or usb

Thunderbolt is fancy but it really doesn't matter because let's be honest. firewire 400 still is enough bandwidth for an interface... nothing wrong with using firewire gear on a firewire to thunderbolt adapter. Thunderbolt isn't gonna change your life after using USB, then again if you have a new macbook without ethernet then i guess go usb.
kipervarg
My understanding of basic mixing needs: Recording and playing music from any DAW means a lot of sequential IO (traditional drives do this OK) and very little random IO (SSD drives do this very well). Depending on how many channels you use, you might need a lot of bandwidth.

My advice - don't bother with NAS or attached media if you can afford a larger SSD. Modern SSDs are good in multiple ways:
1. They are great for random IO and can keep all your apps moving at max speed.
2. They are good for sequential IO (as good or better than a spinning drive)
3. They have excellent bandwidth as well and this helps when mixing many channels.
4. Since there are no moving parts, they tend to fail less often than spinning drives (and fusion drives too).

The cons are they are still expensive.

If you can't afford them, perhaps load in multiple drives in your laptop. If you can't do that, consider the NAS solutions mentioned earlier. I have a Synology NAS and it's pretty good for serving movies around the house.

On the topic of RAID, if you have an SSD, don't bother. If you are sticking with multiple spinning drives:
RAID0 - fastest level of RAID with no protection. If either drive fails, then all your data is toast. Useful for processing video or shit you don't care about.
RAID1 - excellent speed and reliability. all reads and writes to disk hit both drives. Either can fail (although not at the same time) and your data is safe.
RAID3+4 are rarely used. Don't bother looking here.
RAID5 - great capacity if you need shittons of space, but there is a performance penalty since parity bits are spread across the RAID set.
RAID10 +01 - variants of RAID1 + O where there are multiple sets of RAID1 daisychained together. Rarely used in the home and mostly on big ass database systems.

Keep it simple. Suck it up and buy a larger SSD. If you have too much data, go with multiple SSD drives. If you still can't do that, go for an external Thunderbolt or USBc (same thing) drive.

Good lucckkkkk!
livefreela
i have a 2013 mac pro too - IME logic really does seem to prefer the project directory to be on the local drive. i use a black magic thunder dock tb bay running 3 drives for samples and one for a bit of extra media storage. even though those drives are ssd, the daw seems smoother when the logic session is on the internal drive. another thing that improved performance for me was evening out the distribution of the thunderbolt bus. the trash can's bus architecture goes like this, looking at the ports on the back:

ab
ab
cc

(port c is common with the hdmi input)

so i keep my thunder dock on "a", my apollo on "b" and my monitors on "c".
drainyoo
Good info but I’m not clear on one thing. Are you folks suggesting that we replace the internal drive in the laptop with a large SSD, or that an external SSD will do the trick? I’m finding fairly affordable external 512gb SDDs, am I looking at the wrong thing?
kipervarg
I think a 512GB SSD external would be fine, but make it a Thunderbolt bus connection. That has plenty of bandwidth to do whatever.
drainyoo
kipervarg wrote:
I think a 512GB SSD external would be fine, but make it a Thunderbolt bus connection. That has plenty of bandwidth to do whatever.


Great, thanks. Any brands/models to stay away from, or that work better than others?
kipervarg
Amazon reviews seem to be a pretty good indicator for my own bias - Samsung EVO drives are decent. Stay away from no name manufacturers.
hairbow
RAID configurations are entirely pointless in the age of SSD. Just buy a drive from a good manufacturer like Samsung
tehyar
hairbow wrote:
RAID configurations are entirely pointless in the age of SSD. Just buy a drive from a good manufacturer like Samsung


Raid isn't only for speed.
PISS.EXE
tehyar wrote:
hairbow wrote:
RAID configurations are entirely pointless in the age of SSD. Just buy a drive from a good manufacturer like Samsung


Raid isn't only for speed.


yup, and raiding SSD's is a terrible idea so if you want instant redundancy, hard drives are still the best choice.

When I skimmed thru the OP I thought he was looking for a secure form of external storage with redundancy. Then i realized now it didn't really mention anything about that.

That said, if he wants to keep it all in the computer, i also think he should merge his 3 1tb drives to a set of new 4-5tb drives and get a SSD to boot from. It would cost you $376 on Amazon to get exactly what I use on my PC: two 4TB SATA drives in hardware RAID 1 and a 525gb Crucial MX300 SSD. The nice thing about RAID 1 is if one drive dies, you don't lose anything, you just clone the working one to it and keep going. or just have 8tb of non redundant storage

I don't remember if you can do hardware RAID on a Mac Pro but i would imagine it's possible? It must be... software RAID sucks, don't do it.
Mark11Audio
hairbow wrote:
RAID configurations are entirely pointless in the age of SSD. Just buy a drive from a good manufacturer like Samsung


um, not quite... these guys are pros and making a living at it, and they ARE striping SSD drives for the speed as well as the storage... using massive sample libraries as well... skip ahead to 20:13 in the video to see the drive bays...



you can buy the HD Bays here: Blackmagic Design Multi Dock 2

A 4 port SSD drive bay... and Andy is using his with a MacPro trashcan model 6 core... so yes, depending on what RAID mode you want to use, it works.[/video]
akairipper
"yup, and raiding SSD's is a terrible idea so if you want instant redundancy, hard drives are still the best choice."

Why is it a terrible idea? They are silent and use half the power in a NAS .its Just expensive.
If I I could afford to replace my 4 WD drives in my room heater/noise box with ssd drives i would.


Having said that. To the op.Get a Samsung evo ssd in an external box and work out some kind of back up. If you have money and fast internet get some cloud storage and set up a nightly backup.
calaveras
sduck wrote:
I'd recommend a drobo mini, but they stopped making them. I have one, and through the thunderbolt it's amazingly fast - as fast as the internal ssd. Maybe one of their current offerings are worth looking at?

This is actually not very good advice. Drobo has had some business restructuring lately and I'm not convinced that they will be around in the long term. Also, their products are geared towards ease of use, not performance.
A black magic disk speed test shows the drobo mini, even with fast 7.2k drives, is nowhere near as fast as the internal SSD on a mac pro or macbook pro.
I own a Drobo Mini. I keep my photos and all my stupid excel, PDF and word doc there.
For stuff that needs fast I have an OWC Thunderbay IV. It's very similar to the Drobomini, it's thunderbolt attached storage with 4 drive bays. But it's crazy fast.
I can edit 4k on the Thunderbay IV, the Drobomini can barely hack HD.

As far as audio projects, I can work on stuff from either of these disk arrays.
However I find it is a better plan to only keep stuff I am working on locally. On the Macs SSD. Then as I finish projects, I move them, and their mixdowns to my raid arrays.

It is nice of course with DAWs to have like 50 projects in various states of completion. But that is a prescription to never finish anything.

As far as using a NAS as your work volume, that is a crackheaded idea.
Ethernet is basically gigabit. 1gbps.
PCIe based storage 15-250gbps.
Sata based storage 6gbps.
Then you have latency. The ethernet stack is heavy on protocol overhead. It's very much into handshake, acknowledgement of the handshake and do a dosido around your partners user datagram.
Really tho, TCP/IP latency is in tens of microseconds. PCIe and SATA latency is in nanoseconds.Even SATA at the other end of a thunderbolt bridge is lower latency than ethernet.
rean1mator
raid will not help with speed vs a single drive. especially for writes

just move your old project off the 1tb ssd drive and continue using that. that will be your fastest option.

or upgrade that drive to a larger ssd and do regular backups of your project files.
PISS.EXE
Oh my god this thread isn't dead yet? The reason you shouldn't RAID SSD's is wear leveling. SSD's have their own wear leveling built in and...... they're flash memory, not spinning magnetic platters, so naturally trying to use wear leveling techniques from mechanical hard drives is NOT gonna fly on SSD's.

You can go google and find out who hard drive style RAID does tons of needless extra writing to your SSD's resulting in a pre emptive death. Believe it or not you don't want to be constantly rewriting the same shit to a SSD over and over whereas it has almost no ill effect on a spinning platter hard drive, or trying to take over the SSD controller's job, because believe me the SSD is going to be better at managing itself.

I won't make any claims as to what you should use and why but if you are seriously interested in a SSD RAID you owe it to yourself to look up how to do it properly and how to not have hard drive wear leveling driving your SSD's to an early grave. It CAN be done if you're dead set on it for some reason but you either need to know you're killing your SSDs early if you just set it up like plain old hard drives. If your only RAID controller is from 5+ years ago then it probably doesn't even know how to differentiate a SSD from a HD. If this is the case i would maybe recommend a software RAID that supports TRIM and even then only if what I just said isn't moon speak to you.

If not just use ssd's like normal and back up regularly and you will be happy. Don't do the default RAID on your 7 year old Mac Pro with ssd or i will laugh.
calaveras
rean1mator wrote:
raid will not help with speed vs a single drive. especially for writes

just move your old project off the 1tb ssd drive and continue using that. that will be your fastest option.

or upgrade that drive to a larger ssd and do regular backups of your project files.

Actually Raid 0 increases write and read speed, while also doubling your exposure to data corruption, since your data is striped across 2 or more devices with no data parity mechanism.
Raid 1 increases read speed while writes are same as single drive performance. However you get drive redundancy against failure.
Raid 5, 6, 50 and 60 all have mild to significant advantage over single drive performance. But the main point is that you have fault tolerance against drive failure.
The main point of having a raid 5, 6, 50 or 60 set up though, is so you can have multiple terabytes of your hard work stored in one place and not be succeptible to a single drive failure destroying your hard work. You should of course also have backups of your data. Ideally stored offsite.

Using raid 0 with SSDs is something pretty much only video editors need to do. Video production places much higher demands on data throughput than any audio project.

On my old mac I used a datadoubler from OWC to install a 1TB 7.2k rpm disk drive. I kept all my audio projects on this and never had a problem with speed or capacity over the 4 years I used that laptop.
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