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SSD for music samples

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  • SSD
  • Music
  • Hard Drives
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
April 19, 2012 6:32:52 AM

I am somewhat new to SSDs but i've read up a lot on the way they function, why they are better, and parameters used when comparing SSDs. I have SATA III. I want to know

a) is an archived library of music samples sequential or random data? i'm pretty sure it's random
b) given the answer to (a) if i buy an SSD (i was thinking a 128gb marvell drive, can't afford any bigger), what should i store on it to gain the maximum speed increase from my current single 7200 rpm HDD setup?
c) if i store vst plugins with vast libraries (such as stylus rmx or kontakt) on the SSD, and if the library data is stored on my HDD (which i plan to load into the caddy or connect externally), would the HDD act as a bottleneck and prevent the plugin from loading as fast as it would if all the data was on the SSD?
d) given my usage of the computer only for gaming (Starcraft II) and music production (Cubase 5 and some plugins, mainly stylus rmx , u-he ACE, u-he zebra and kontakt 5), what should i store on the SSD to ensure life and speed, because i know that excessive writing wears out the SSD, but samples access would be almost always only reading...
e) lastly, WHICH SSD SHOULD I BUY? i don't want compatibility issues obviously, and would prefer if it worked straight out of the box. It would also be great if it came with a CD cloning software, as i don't have an original copy of windows.

my setup is:

(no overclocking, all stock settings)

dell xps l502x
i5-2410m
4 gb DDR3 ram
7200 rpm HDD
nvidia gt 525m
Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 Audio Interface
a whole bunch of midi controllers
windows premium x64
cubase 5 and starcraft II are the primary uses.

after hours of music working a few games of starcraft does wonders


this conventional hard drive is really getting to me when i load massive projects...

More about : ssd music samples

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a c 395 G Storage
April 19, 2012 1:16:43 PM

Lessee.

Any SSD is better than no SSD. My personal opinion is to get whichever one is handy and large.

Because an SSD large enough to replace all your HDDs is prohibitively expensive, the common practice is to have both an SSD and one or more HDDs. The most usual configuration is to store the OS and installed programs on the SSD. This makes programs (and game levels) load quickly and gives the OS a snappier feel.

However, for some applications there are other disk-limited uses that are more important to the user. The most common example is picture or video editing. When that is the case, the recommended solution is to put the application's scratch directory on the SSD. Really. The scratch directory has more effect on the app's response than the reading of input and writing of output.

I'm not sure how to answer your question C. It depends on what your particular situation is bottlenecked by. You put whatever you currently spend the most time waiting to load on the SSD. Gamers wait for levels to load. If you are waiting for samples to be loaded, put the samples on the SSD.

To question D, forget about it. Yes, you can wear out an SSD. In reality, the drive will probably outlast the lifetime of your machine, which you will replace with the latest X9700 hyper-drive shmegegge in a few years. You will get a new SSD that's four times the size and half the price at that time.

For E, I repeat that, as far as I am concerned, you get the biggest one you can afford that is on sale this week. There are a few notable bad drives out there; the rest will all be amazing.

However: Cloning the OS from the original HDD to the SSD is not recommended. A straight clone will not boot. If you must do this, you should back up your OS drive (not partition) to an external drive with a bootable utility. EASEUS To-Do Backup is free. Then you attach ONLY the SSD to the computer, change the controller mode to AHCI, and choose the "Restore to dissimilar hardware" option, which will twiddle drivers and settings.

Your OS must be Win7 to take full advantage of an SSD. You specified "windows premium x64," but not which type of Windows. Which type do you have?

In my personal opinion, it is worth the expense and effort to buy a copy of Windows (you can use an upgrade version since you already have a valid license) and do a complete re-install, which will require that you re-install all programs.

Reply and let me know what I did not make clear. Good luck.
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April 20, 2012 2:34:06 PM

very clear, thanks a lot wyomingknott

to answer your question, yes i have windows 7, praise the lord.

just a couple things

a) what's a scratch directory? i have a feeling this is a very basic question. :p 
b) why wouldn't you advise me to clone the os? even with the kind of software that ships with a crucial m4 is it not advisable?
c) it seems to me a better question to ask then would be which hard drives to steer clear of
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April 20, 2012 2:50:14 PM

Best answer selected by addyn25.
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a c 395 G Storage
April 20, 2012 2:52:34 PM

a) Anywhere where temporary files are kept. Adobe writes it better than I do: http://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/optimize-performanc...

b) A fresh install is always (in theory) preferable. First, you are guaranteed to be set up correctly (as long as the SSD is the only drive on the system when you do the install and the controller is set to AHCI mode and other things that don't belong in this thread). Second, any OS installation gets crudded up over time with things left over from uninstalled or upgraded apps, or just a poorly-organized registry. I have a personal preference for clean installs that is so strong that I've rebuilt OSes on perfectly running machines. But in your case this is an expensive option, as you would have to buy a distribution rather than move the OEM license.

c) I don't understand what that question is a reference to
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April 20, 2012 3:27:55 PM

sorry i meant which SSD's should i steer clear of? and while on the topic, i forgot my first question went unanswered...music samples ARE considered random data and not sequential, right? and in your opinion, what are the top three SSDs to buy, considering reliability, ease of use (out of the box functionality) as well as performance? i'm sure being knowledgable about storage, you'd find it difficult to put them in order.
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April 20, 2012 3:34:42 PM

also, would it make sense to keep the OS on the HDD and move all my other programs and software to the SSD? because my OS isn't particularly slow, i'm fine with the way it runs on the HDD. not obsessed with boot times and the like since i'm really only concerned about how my computer runs after it's up and running, and with my hdd it doesn't take more than 30 seconds MAX to get to the login screen
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a c 395 G Storage
April 20, 2012 6:28:25 PM

That was a pile of questions!

Which SSDs to steer clear of: I have no idea. I have experience with exactly one of them, and my impression is that I haven't seen a lot of "this series is a piece of crap" posts lately. Ask others, or look at Tom's' regular Best SSD for the Money articles.

Random or sequential depends on how the data is organized on the drive, not the contents of the data. It means that if the first 4k block (or whatever size) was written to drive location 1,223,445, then the second is at 1,223,446 and the third at... you get the point. It depends so much on the filesystem's mood that I consider all access random, unless I'm working in a binary file that I control.

The third question has the same answer as the first; I have no preference among SSDs and no experience to base one on.

To the second post, you have an excellent technical point. As I frequently write, put whatever has to move really fast on the SSD, and whatever is fine the way it is on an HDD. The Adobe article makes this point, saying that having the SW on the SSD will only benefit you when you are starting Adobe.

It will be an unusual setup if you have the OS on an HDD and your data and temp space on the SSD, but it may work better for you. I don't see any reason not to do it that way.
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April 21, 2012 7:30:49 AM

you've been unbelievably helpful, it's hard to find people at the store in my country who know anything except the price of what they're selling. one last question, and i've read several articles but wanted your opinion on it, is sandforce really as problematic as people make it out to be?
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a c 395 G Storage
April 22, 2012 12:24:40 PM

I know nothing about the relative merits of SSDs. Couldn't even tell you which controller is in mine. I'm agnostic.

Oh. Please extend this thread, or send me a personal message, to let me know how well having your samples on the SSD works. I'd like to know if I was right!
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