Originally Posted by liqueo
I've read some conflicting reviews on this and wanted to know other's experience with digital audio/music production with RAID, SATA and SAS.
I've been wanting an external RAID setup for a while for the CG work I do but I've been reading on some other forums that for digital audio it can run slower, particularly with sample-based virtual instruments. I'm specc'ing out a setup with an external 8 bay chassis loaded with 1.5TB drives in hardware RAID 5 using a high-end controller card with dual mini-SAS cable hookup.
Since VI seems to preload the samples into RAM, aren't they still streaming from the RAM chips and not the drive or are parts still using the drive once loaded?
Are there any benefits of a RAID in music production? I would think that a speed increase would be apparent and beneficial. Perhaps if the project files and recorded audio were on a RAID partition but the sample libraries were on normal, internal SATA drives or SAS?
This would be for running things in DP btw, not protools.
Hey, I think I could be of some help here. I am a certified IT professional and I am going to attempt to explain the pros and cons of each setup for DAW applications.
Simple question: Do I need
Simple answer: No!
Now that we got that out of the way allow me to elaborate. First, I hope we all have the basic understanding of what RAID is in the first place and that there is no "simple answer" to every single setup. RAID or Redundant Array of Independent Disks is a setup allowing for either performance increases with RAID 0 (in the case of using two identical HDDs paired in RAID 0 for performance and more storage capacity) and RAID 1 which basically are two harddrive mirrored
so if one goes down, your data does not get lost and all you have to do is swap the bad HDD out for a new working one.
Now to get into the deeper stuff.
*Advanced question: Do I need RAID for my DAW? And which one should I choose?
*Advanced answer: Yes! RAID is highly recommended for advanced DAW professionals. The one that stands out for this specific application is clearly RAID 1 or two harddrives mirrored for data redundancy. I do believe that is pretty self-explanitory.
Now why would I not choose RAID 0 for a DAW application? Because there are almost no benefits to it and the cons against it are too great. You MUST understand that a RAID 0 setup strippes data to two drives, so both harddrives are recognized as ONE volume, or partition. So if One goes down, your entire array goes down and your data is virtually unrecoverable on the good harddrive. I do encourage you to try to understand that this is comeing from a computer enthousiast that spends thousands of dollars for that 5% increase so im not a minimalist by any standard, but for most people the RAID 0 setup is not the best thing and it really doesn't offer much of an increase. Get a fast harddrive to boot and youl be fine.
Now to get onto answering your question. First off, the WORST thing you can do for performance is go to an external harddrive. What you must understand is that for an external harddrive to communicate to the southbridge chipset on your motherboard, it has to go through a severely limited interface (USB or Firewire). Im not going to go into the detail of the interface, but lets just say the letency factor would be exponentially increased externally. Which directly means that your harddrive will be much slower and will respond slower which again defeats the whole purpace of RAID 0 setups anyways. The way you could overcome that is by using the Fibrechannel interface which would get rid of the latency problems, but it is very costly.
RAID 5 for performance isnt that great. If you are looking for data striping AND mirroring, the best solution would be RAID 0+1 (sometimes refered to as RAID 10). Because of the way RAID 5 distributes data to the array, the system takes a toll as far as performance, and the CPU usage also goes much higher because of the unique distribution of RAID 5.
You are mostly right about samples being loaded into ram, but when you are browsing the massive libraries, then its all harddrive. So in the samples respect, RAID 0 would not be beneficial, if your looking for performance there, get an SSD.
Obviously if you are doing production work, its highly recommended that you use the SATA interface because of many many benefits. But SAS drives, although fast, do not offer the kind of performance you would expect. That and the fact that operating noise is not a concern for SAS manufacturers and the fact that you are using this in a studio should also be a concern. SAS or Serial attached SCSI are meant for RAID arrays for servers and large data centers and do not provide a very good performace:price ratio. Are they fast, HELL YEAH, but theyre loud, expensive and you need a good PCI-e controller just to use them which will drain your bank of a couple grand. In other words, unless you are an enthousiast like me and are getting the really expensive setup because you can, then go for it, otherwise dont bother.
So the final word is?
I always recommend RAID 1, internally. RAID 0 is for high performnace which is great, but the best thing for professionals that need piece of mind and great performance would definately be RAID 10. Thats 4 harddrives (2 stripped, 2 mirrored). That way you get the best of both worlds, redundancy and performance without increase in latency so your data comes super fast and the responce is great. Hope this helps.
Ohh, before I forget. The best RAID setups are usually internal (in your computer case).