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The second hard drive question, again.
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Sean Holland
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#1
3rd April 2006
Old 3rd April 2006
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The second hard drive question, again.

In a discussion on alt. music.home-studio I recommended to a guy who is putting together a DAW system that he have a second hard drive for his audio files. I have always accepted as a given that it's best to have the recording app and the audio files on separate drives.
Another guy questioned this. He basically said that with today's fast CPUs and cheap RAM, there is no need to run apps on a separate drive from the audio files.
He made persuasive arguments that I, as a non-expert, couldn't answer.
Is he right? Or is there still some important reasons to have the two drives?
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3rd April 2006
Old 3rd April 2006
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He is wrong, and when his hard drive becomes fragmented and chokes up, HE will then know "why"...

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3rd April 2006
Old 3rd April 2006
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joereth is offline
hmmmmm

Obviously the guy you were talking to is mildly ******** ( maybe Down Syndrome, possibly just an idiot ) there are plenty of plugins ( Synthogy's Ivory for one ) that use disk streaming for large audio samples. Now tell me how you think ram and fast cpu's are going to help the data stream on a harddrive.

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3rd April 2006
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It's certainly been a widely accepted notion for some time.

It's worth noting that it's not that hard to cook up circumstances where that might actually be detrimental, say, a slow secondary drive that's been installed on the slave channel of an IDE with a CD-ROM as a master, or somesuch.


For some time I was juggling that accepted notion with the advice to run BFD on a separate drive from your audio files, since I had my notebook's internal 7200 drive (with the OS, app, AND audio data files at the time) and then my external USB2 drive.

After all the negative stuff I heard out in front of USB2 (and as a relatively happy Firewire user, I'll admit I might have been a little biased ), I was thinking of the drive as just an archival/backup drive. But it's actually respectable enough. I ended up moving my audio data to it -- more because of space considerations than anything else -- but it has to be said that I just don't do high track counts, 30 or so is probably the most I ever do, though I stopped actually counting a few years back, as a rule.

What kills me is not track count but virtual instruments and nasty CPU sucking plugs like convo reverb...

I told myself I'd stop at just one and freeze all my tracks and... but then it's so damn convenient to have them all running live, even if the CPU meter keeps flying up into the pink...
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3rd April 2006
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sean.....
just to confirm its best to have two hard drives.
one for windows and A SEPERATE ONE TO RECORD TO.
tell your pal to read up on google...disc drive contention sometime.peace.
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#6
3rd April 2006
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maybe this guy doesn't use computer based samplers, or has never had high enough track count to worry about a second drive... it could be that he is recording really simple material... I remember making really simple recordings that wouldn't have required a second hard drive... but they usually ended up on my answering machine...

you are correct... maybe he confused himself and thought that you were suggesting that he have an application hard drive separate from your system drive....
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3rd April 2006
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Hi. I'm the guy some of you are being so rude about. (And the ones who weren't being rude addessed a rather different issue - whether sample data for a softsynth should share a drive with the recorded audio. But that's the Internet for you - no-one actually reads the question :-)

The question was, in a DAW should you record audio files to a different physical drive than the system drive. Here was my reply:

We really must test this sometime. Maybe Macs are different. But on
a well set-up PC I struggle to imagine just WHAT the system might
require in the way of system files once an application is up and
running. And, as an alternative argument, why a DAW that can happily
play back 30 audio tracks while recording 8 more (remember those 30
tracks could have been recorded separately and aren't neatly aligned
on the hard drive's surface) couldn't cope with a little OS activity
if it WAS required for some reason.

We hear talk of the swap file. Sometimes of a type of swap file usage
that died out years ago when computers gained ample RAM. Anyway,
I've been proving for a couple of weeks now that a Windows DAW will
run perfectly well with no swap file at all.

When people install a second drive it is doubtless bigger and faster
than the original. So it performs better. Sure, if you install a
second drive put your audio files on it. But if you put your system
files on it too, they'd be a bit faster as well.
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3rd April 2006
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3rd April 2006
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I don't see the need to get all in depth. It's simple, for recording, have 2 HDs. Use 1 for tracking to and the other for your OS and software. If you do not do this, your chances of harddrive failure are greatly increased. There is really no need to test this out because it is pretty much an established fact in the world of computer recording.
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3rd April 2006
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3rd April 2006
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It's very easy to reformat a fragmented drive when there's nothing on it but audio. And audio really fragments a drive. Back up, format. It's more problematic with system and apps on the the same drive. Partitioning is fine though. But it's uch better to have a second drive. Keep 'em separate.

I'm sorry so many people were rude.
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3rd April 2006
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I don't think anyone denies the convenience of a seperate PARTITION for audio files. But shall I release another cat among the pigeons by mentioning the opinion that defragging can actually DECREASE the effeciency when several tracks have been recorded (and will need to be played back) together?

As for: "I don't see the need to get all in depth. It's simple, for recording, have 2 HDs. Use 1 for tracking to and the other for your OS and software. If you do not do this, your chances of harddrive failure are greatly increased. There is really no need to test this out because it is pretty much an established fact in the world of computer recording", it's hard to argue with "It's like this because this is how it is" :-) And quite how hard drive failure comes into it I don't know.
Sean Holland
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3rd April 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Methlab
I don't see the need to get all in depth. It's simple, for recording, have 2 HDs. Use 1 for tracking to and the other for your OS and software. If you do not do this, your chances of harddrive failure are greatly increased. There is really no need to test this out because it is pretty much an established fact in the world of computer recording.
Well, the issue came up when a guy who is putting together a DAW system asked for advice. If he could save some money by NOT getting the second drive, he'd have that money to buy something else, so it's a relevant question for him. Since I have already long since invested in a nice second drive, I'd like to think that I made a wise decision. But the capacity of computers has been changing so rapidly that what was the standard wisdom a couple of years ago might not apply anymore.
I remain firmly on the fence, but I'm interested in the discussion. I've already learned some important things just by watching more knowledgable people thrashing the issue out.
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3rd April 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Holland
But the capacity of computers has been changing so rapidly that what was the standard wisdom a couple of years ago might not apply anymore.
Today's computer power does indeed swamp the need for a lot of the old tweaks and tricks. But I keep coming up against this idea that, once a program is loaded, running and performing a function the computer needs to keep going back to load further bits of program code and os components. Is this a folk-memory from the early days of computing when programs had to swap code modules in and out of severely limited amounts of RAM?
Sean Holland
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3rd April 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence Payne
Is this a folk-memory from the early days of computing when programs had to swap code modules in and out of severely limited amounts of RAM?
Quite possibly.
The first time I had anything to do with computers was a programming course for linguistics. We had to sit at a big clacky machine that punched holes in cards. We then presented the cards to the guy behind the counter. We'd come back a few days later to find out if our program had worked.
I don't think there were any digital home studios in those days.
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