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10% Hard Drive space Rule
Old 18th October 2013
  #1
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10% Hard Drive space Rule

I know you are supposed to have 10% or more hard drive space available on your main operating system drive but do you have to have 10% or more on the other external drives. I have streaming samples on external drives and I have them filled up to the brim. Does this effect the performance of the computer or slow it down?

Thanks
Old 18th October 2013
  #2
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Curious as well
Old 18th October 2013
  #3
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Is this on Windows or OS X? Any system drive need variable space for maintenance: installers, updaters, logs, and swap files, among others, all vary in size, hence the 10%. But you also have to make sure your system isn't using spare space on your data drives without your knowledge.

Windows can use drive space outside of the C: drive for its own purposes without telling you: check your System Restore, Virtual Memory and Indexing settings. I've also seen some Windows installers use other drives for installer temps. There is a way to "lock" the drive in Windows to prevent any writing at all to it (a registry entry), though I haven't used it yet. I'm not sure if the same is true on OS X.

So as long as there isn't any writing to your data drives, there's no penalty for using all the drive space. It just might be hard to do based on your OS settings. But there is one other consideration: HDDs and SSDs both are designed to mark out bad sectors and remap them to good sectors on the disk. This process increases as the drive ages. With SSDs there already is supposed to be a small percentage of extra hidden sectors allocated for this, but with HDDs I don't believe there is. So with HDDs it might be a good idea to leave a margin for that kind of recovery. Maybe that's what the 10% is really for.

BTW, I feel a lot more comfortable doing this with SSDs. I have two 500 gig SSDs with a couple of gigs left on them but all I do with them 99.9% of the time is read from them. Typically instrumental sound libraries involve a lot of random reading, which is hard on an HDD; reliability will depend on the drive quality (back up!!). SSDs were made for this, especially with no moving parts and extra hidden recovery sectors out of the box.
Old 18th October 2013
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by undertone View Post
BTW, I feel a lot more comfortable doing this with SSDs. I have two 500 gig SSDs with a couple of gigs left on them but all I do with them 99.9% of the time is read from them. Typically instrumental sound libraries involve a lot of random reading, which is hard on an HDD; reliability will depend on the drive quality (back up!!). SSDs were made for this, especially with no moving parts and extra hidden recovery sectors out of the box.
This is a very well laid out reply. Thanks! It's a great reminder.

I specified the paging file (virtual memory) location, and I don't update windows (the PC is always offline). Would there be any other windows' maintenance or use/access of media drives ? Drive Indexing should be off?

Also SSDdrives rotate data sectors (remap blocks?) since there is a limited write (and read disturbance??) quantity. The SSD theory is pretty new to me, but wouldn't this also warrant leaving wear allocation (even if it hides a reserve) ?
Old 18th October 2013
  #5
Sky
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SSD is ideal for read-only applications like sample libraries. Over-provisioning (i.e. 8%) is built-in, and drive degradation when reading is pretty non-existent. I use hard drives for recording, and my rule of thumb is to run them up to about 50% full. There are some excellent articles on how hard drive performance degrades as the drive fills up; the reason is faster average access on the inner rings of the drive which fill up first.

Sky

Last edited by Sky; 18th October 2013 at 09:59 PM.. Reason: Said outer rings by mistake, corrected to inner rings.
Old 18th October 2013
  #6
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1) Standard Sata should never be filled past 65% from that point on it slows drastically. regardless of writing to it or not.

the farther out on the platter the data is the slower it is to access.
plus the farther the head has to move from inner to outer will slow it down

2) SSD can be filled completely (nearly) over time sectors get used(unrecoverable without a full format)

samples should never be on ext drives but if they must be
TB and USB 3 are semi ok. as would be 10GB raid arrays or raids attached to internal raid cards (both way over kill for audio)
USB, eSata, firewire are all too slow.
SSDs are ideal for samples but an ext SSD connected via say FW is still dog slow

Scott
ADK
Old 18th October 2013
  #7
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How is eSATA too slow?

Isn't eSATA simply a protocol for externalizing an internal SATA port? Different connector and more robust cable. Other than that, my understanding is that it is nothing more or less than a complete electrical pass-through. And my experience using SATA drives both internally and externally (via eSATA) has provided no evidence to the contrary. Internal SATA or eSATA - the drives perform exactly the same.

Maybe some combo cases (eSATA/USB - eSATA/USB/USB3/Firewire - etc) mess this up. But so far, I haven't run into it. And certainly not with simple eSATA only cases.

David
Old 18th October 2013
  #8
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SSD connected externally via TB should be more than fast enough. Actually TB is even faster than SATA at this point, SSD drives are reaching the point where they are faster than SATA can handle.
Old 18th October 2013
  #9
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Why do you say this
"samples should never be on ext drives but if they must be
TB and USB 3 are semi ok. as would be 10GB raid arrays or raids attached to internal raid cards (both way over kill for audio)
USB, eSata, firewire are all too slow.
SSDs are ideal for samples but an ext SSD connected via say FW is still dog slow"

I thought you were supposed to have a ll your streaming samples on a external drive and have Logic on the system drive. Also I am using a Mac pro os x
Old 18th October 2013
  #10
Gear Addict
 

It's smart to put samples on a different drive than the operating system is on.
The reason for this is that you don't slow down the OS and application when you use samples.
This is also why you should not store your audio projects on the OS drive.
But there is no benefit when using an external drive, except for portability.
Old 18th October 2013
  #11
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Good articles on how the more drive space you have, the better (written by a Mac tweaker, but it applies to PCs as well):

MPG - Mac Performance 102: Storage - Why You Need More Space Than You You Need

MPG - Mac Performance 102: Storage - Larger Hard Drives Are Faster Than Smaller Ones
Old 20th October 2013
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Connelly View Post
SSD drives are reaching the point where they are faster than SATA can handle.
I haven't seen a SSD Sata with a sustained data rate over mid 500's MB/s yet. (Peak 600) . (Haven't been looking that hard though.)

SATA III will handle 6Gb/s = 750 MB/s so we still have a little ways to go ...

Actually you may be correct there. The peek threshold is right there. SATA III doesn't quite translate to the full bandwidth: SATA 6 Gbit/s equates to 0.6 GB/s (because of used 8b/10b encoding)

Looks like Haswell-Broadwell will support SATA revision 3.2 - 16 Gbit/s (SATA express) . SATA 3.2 is a little confusion since it's not SATA protocol but rather PCIe gen3.0.
Old 21st October 2013
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by passionmax View Post
Why do you say this
"samples should never be on ext drives but if they must be
TB and USB 3 are semi ok. as would be 10GB raid arrays or raids attached to internal raid cards (both way over kill for audio)
USB, eSata, firewire are all too slow.
SSDs are ideal for samples but an ext SSD connected via say FW is still dog slow"

I thought you were supposed to have a ll your streaming samples on a external drive and have Logic on the system drive. Also I am using a Mac pro os x
everything should be internal other than back ups
Old 21st October 2013
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcschild View Post
everything should be internal other than back ups
Rubbish. TB and SSD more than adequate.
Old 21st October 2013
  #15
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by passionmax View Post
I know you are supposed to have 10% or more hard drive space available on your main operating system drive but do you have to have 10% or more on the other external drives. I have streaming samples on external drives and I have them filled up to the brim. Does this effect the performance of the computer or slow it down?

Thanks
Yeah, you must have some headroom, else it will clip. You dont want that.
Old 21st October 2013
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

some confirmation needed please - I am running Samplitude but not using samples- is it best to keep everything related to the project (vip-audio-midi) on my second drive? Another way of asking this is in the Samplitude folder setup options make my second drive the default? (running Windows XP sp3) thanks!
Old 21st October 2013
  #17
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10%? Oh my.. that seems way too low.

Are you talking about a mechanical (spinning) drive? You can do some serious damage to your drive keeping it that full. The needle would be working extremely hard to keep up with the requests. That's when things start to slow down, and HD's start to break beyond repair. I try to stay no more than 60% full if possible... if I get to 70% full, I start sweating. This is with all mechanical drives, external or internal.

SSDs also slow down when they get full. I don't know the science behind it but... I try to follow the same rules and keep it around 60% full if possible. I don't know if they breakdown from being too full or not.
Old 21st October 2013
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcrigger View Post
How is eSATA too slow?

Isn't eSATA simply a protocol for externalizing an internal SATA port? Different connector and more robust cable. Other than that, my understanding is that it is nothing more or less than a complete electrical pass-through. And my experience using SATA drives both internally and externally (via eSATA) has provided no evidence to the contrary. Internal SATA or eSATA - the drives perform exactly the same.

Maybe some combo cases (eSATA/USB - eSATA/USB/USB3/Firewire - etc) mess this up. But so far, I haven't run into it. And certainly not with simple eSATA only cases.

David
On an inferior system back in 2008-ish (a 1.4ghz single core, 1GB RAM laptop), I had a situation where using eSata through a laptop eSata ExpressCard performed MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH worse than that same drive via USB2.0.

Just sayin'

Since then... I'd never trust eSata for audio performance. I was using it to try to record to disk. There was constant audio crackles & glitches.
Old 21st October 2013
  #19
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0% usage is the best thing to do. You risk wearing mechanical drives out if you actually use them.
Old 21st October 2013
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elmsrecording View Post
Rubbish. TB and SSD more than adequate.
obviously it should be. controller chipset, which ext drive caddy, etc etc all play into if an Ext drive will work well or not
TB has a much greater chance of working with far better thruput

Esata is generally a shared resource with USB and can be very bad or fairly ok
same with USB 3.
FW too slow.
USB2 too slow.

also depends on what you call samples?
Komplete or LASS?
try running LASS on an ext with a heavy project.
Old 21st October 2013
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by undertone View Post
Is this on Windows or OS X? Any system drive need variable space for maintenance: installers, updaters, logs, and swap files, among others, all vary in size, hence the 10%. But you also have to make sure your system isn't using spare space on your data drives without your knowledge.

Windows can use drive space outside of the C: drive for its own purposes without telling you: check your System Restore, Virtual Memory and Indexing settings. I've also seen some Windows installers use other drives for installer temps. There is a way to "lock" the drive in Windows to prevent any writing at all to it (a registry entry), though I haven't used it yet. I'm not sure if the same is true on OS X.

So as long as there isn't any writing to your data drives, there's no penalty for using all the drive space. It just might be hard to do based on your OS settings. But there is one other consideration: HDDs and SSDs both are designed to mark out bad sectors and remap them to good sectors on the disk. This process increases as the drive ages. With SSDs there already is supposed to be a small percentage of extra hidden sectors allocated for this, but with HDDs I don't believe there is. So with HDDs it might be a good idea to leave a margin for that kind of recovery. Maybe that's what the 10% is really for.

BTW, I feel a lot more comfortable doing this with SSDs. I have two 500 gig SSDs with a couple of gigs left on them but all I do with them 99.9% of the time is read from them. Typically instrumental sound libraries involve a lot of random reading, which is hard on an HDD; reliability will depend on the drive quality (back up!!). SSDs were made for this, especially with no moving parts and extra hidden recovery sectors out of the box.
Thanks for explaining this! I wish Micro$oft would've explained this during or after the HD formatting!
Old 22nd October 2013
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPhoenix View Post
On an inferior system back in 2008-ish (a 1.4ghz single core, 1GB RAM laptop), I had a situation where using eSata through a laptop eSata ExpressCard performed MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH worse than that same drive via USB2.0.

Just sayin'

Since then... I'd never trust eSata for audio performance. I was using it to try to record to disk. There was constant audio crackles & glitches.
Odd, that is exactly the era that I first discovered how great eSATA was.

Because I was traveling and having to work so much on the road, I replaced my aging mac tower with a 2008 mac book pro as my "main" machine. And while I was functioning OK using Firewire drives for my audio needs - when it came to even simple video editing and capture - no way. I needed SATA performance - and an dual eSATA express card provided that no problem.

And for the next few years, that rig's two external SATA drives (first 1TB each, later 2TB each) performed every bit as well (if not better) than the laptop's 7200rpm internal drive.

So well, that I'm still using the same type of set-up with my current Mac Mini Server rig - two internal drives - plus a Sonnet Thunderbolt to ExpressCard dual eSATA ExpressCard connected to two multi drive port-multiplier cases (one that can hold 4 drives, the other 5). Allowing me to have up to 11 drives up at one time, if I need.

I usually don't need 11 - but with a external project drive, a sample drive and usually a four drive raid array for Time Machine - it leaves a space available for outside project drives, video project stuff, etc.

Sorry that your eSATA experience didn't work out so well, because for me its been just flawless and virtually headache free.

David
Old 22nd October 2013
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcrigger View Post
Odd, that is exactly the era that I first discovered how great eSATA was.

Because I was traveling and having to work so much on the road, I replaced my aging mac tower with a 2008 mac book pro as my "main" machine. And while I was functioning OK using Firewire drives for my audio needs - when it came to even simple video editing and capture - no way. I needed SATA performance - and an dual eSATA express card provided that no problem.

And for the next few years, that rig's two external SATA drives (first 1TB each, later 2TB each) performed every bit as well (if not better) than the laptop's 7200rpm internal drive.

So well, that I'm still using the same type of set-up with my current Mac Mini Server rig - two internal drives - plus a Sonnet Thunderbolt to ExpressCard dual eSATA ExpressCard connected to two multi drive port-multiplier cases (one that can hold 4 drives, the other 5). Allowing me to have up to 11 drives up at one time, if I need.

I usually don't need 11 - but with a external project drive, a sample drive and usually a four drive raid array for Time Machine - it leaves a space available for outside project drives, video project stuff, etc.

Sorry that your eSATA experience didn't work out so well, because for me its been just flawless and virtually headache free.

David
Very odd indeed.

Well... good to know that it worked for someone! haha. I could just never recommend it from my own experience. I have no clue what's required for it to work as well as your setup does. Maybe it was a poor audio driver from my interface. Maybe the expresscard wasn't compatible. Who knows! All I know was that a simple switch back to USB2.0 fixed my problems at that particular time... so there was some type of protocol issue somewhere. The drive was plugged in to the wall.. so I don't think it was starving for power.

Maybe it has to do with what Scott mentioned above about the USB resources being pulled from the CPU.
Old 22nd October 2013
  #24
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Quote:
Maybe it has to do with what Scott mentioned above about the USB resources being pulled from the CPU
pretty much.
one persons experience can differ drastically from another.
the majority of ext drives regardless of format are generally crap. yes there are some decent ones but far more lousy ones.
that's why we use a certain ext case and add our own drives

also the controller on the system (be it laptop or desktop) can matter greatly and how the resources are allocated.. use the wrong USB port (laptop or desktop but more so laptop) for say your audio interface or Midi controller and its a shared resource with the Esta and poof bad performance.
move it to another port boom good performance (sometimes)

far too many variables with Ext drives. even TB has been temperamental and it has plenty of bandwidth.

why anyone would use one when you can do internal is beyond me other than for back up or file transfer
Scott
ADK
Old 23rd October 2013
  #25
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Reid View Post
Good articles on how the more drive space you have, the better (written by a Mac tweaker, but it applies to PCs as well):

MPG - Mac Performance 102: Storage - Why You Need More Space Than You You Need

MPG - Mac Performance 102: Storage - Larger Hard Drives Are Faster Than Smaller Ones
Good info here indeed. I just used this today to set up a new RAID.

After I set up three partitions on a 4TB array, I ran a benchmark test on each partition and got significantly different results, almost 50MB/s from inner to outer partitions.

After copying data over I reran the benchmarks again, and got an ever so slightly slower result, but not nearly as much as getting closer to the spindle.

As far as the 10% rule, I'm thinking that specific number is for an older, lower capacity drive, and you can allow yourself some play when using a larger disk.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPhoenix View Post
Very odd indeed.

Well... good to know that it worked for someone! haha. I could just never recommend it from my own experience. I have no clue what's required for it to work as well as your setup does. Maybe it was a poor audio driver from my interface. Maybe the expresscard wasn't compatible. Who knows! All I know was that a simple switch back to USB2.0 fixed my problems at that particular time... so there was some type of protocol issue somewhere. The drive was plugged in to the wall.. so I don't think it was starving for power.

Maybe it has to do with what Scott mentioned above about the USB resources being pulled from the CPU.
Though I've never heard of an ExpressCard slot being connected in any way with USB resources.

Rather than an audio driver - my guess would be an incompatibility with the particular ExpressCard or its driver. And yes, if the glacier like speeds of USB 2 was a safe haven compared to your eSATA ExpressCard then there was very much a problem.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcschild View Post

why anyone would use one when you can do internal is beyond me other than for back up or file transfer
Scott
ADK
Well obviously for laptop rigs there most often is no choice.

And like you wrote - if one sorts out the potential case issue - or better yet, simply use an eSATA ONLY case - meaning a power supply and a passive straight through jack. Then on a desktop - there is no difference. It's just bringing internal connectors to the outside. And for a laptop - again no choice. But though it isn't as plug and play as Firewire 800 or USB3 - eSATA through an ExpressCard or over Thunderbolt is a measurable improvement in performance.

But probably more importantly, again with any non-tower configuration, it solves the problem of over loading the Firewire buss with both the audio interface(s) and the hard drive traffic without having to resort to enlisting USB for either of those functions (neither of which USB is particularly suited for).
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