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Topic: How Many Hard Drives?

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  1. #1
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    How Many Hard Drives?

    Hi, I could use some help with the answers to five or six questions regarding hard drives in a DAW. Any advice is appreciated.

    Ideally, how many hard drives would a well setup DAW require (running Cubase and a bunch of plug-ins)?

    On which drive would you put your paging file?

    How would programs and your data be divided among the other drives?

    With SATA2 hard drives, would a RAID setup improve performance?

    Should the system drive be a certain size? I believe I've heard it shouldn't be too large - not a 250GB or 320GB but smaller.

    If you don't use a RAID setup for redundancy, is there any freeware that could create a disk image so that everything could be restored to a previous working state with data recovery. If not freeware, what would you recommend?

    Thanks,

    Dan Rubio

  2. #2
    Senior Member Steve_Karl's Avatar
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    Re: How Many Hard Drives?

    Ideally 3 or more.

    1 ) OS and Software. Partitioned drive. 10GB for OS is always enough for me. The other partition is for general storage and non audio files.

    2 ) Audio - Partitioned for ease of defragging. I use about 25GB or so per partition and generally keep different projects going on different partitions.

    3 ) Sample Libraries, temporary backup, temp files, Image files, and swap file.
    I use 3 partitions here.
    1 huge one for samples.
    1 slightly large one for quick temporary backups.
    one that is about 30GB for image files of the OS partition, temp files and swap / paging file.

    4 ) Video and DVD projects. 1 huge partition.

    A network with other machines on it for storage is a nice thing to have also.

    I've been using Drive Image 2002 to image my OS drive for quite a while now.
    I've also got Norton Ghost and it works well also but I preffer the less invasive Drive Image software as Ghost insists on running in the background.

    I write .bat files ( xcopy /s /d /y then path\*.* to \\machinename\drive\ etc.) to do all of my backups to other machines on the network or to an other partition inside of the machine I'm working on.

  3. #3
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    Re: How Many Hard Drives?

    I agree with Steve. You will want at least three.

    There is no reason for the system drive to be any larger than 80 gig. It is not necessary for the system drive to be SATA II.

    If you end up needing multiple drives for sample files, I think some people do run the sample drives in a Raid configuration (not certain though). Another option would be to split sounds over two drives, for example, strings/percussion on one, woodwinds/brass on another. Depending on you budget and number of sample files, you may wish to start with just one drive for samples, and then add another only if it turns out that it is needed. There is no benefit to adding hardware items to the DAW that you end up not needing.

    If you decide to run Gigastudio on the DAW, and doing so is NOT recommended (though some have had success) - Gigastudio does not play well with others, and works best on a dedicated machine - do not use Seagate drives in your DAW. Because of how Gigastudio (not GVI) is designed, there is an incompatability issue with Gigastudio and Seagate drives.

    Last, there are many threads on the forum about systems that work, as well as some that people have put together that ended up not working. If you are comfortable buidling your own system, there is no reason not to, but if you are not comfortable building your own, there are a few companies that specialize in building DAWs. In my own case, I have no business building my own, and am in the process of having one build by ADK Pro Audio.

    HTH,

    Jim

  4. #4

    Re: How Many Hard Drives?

    I use GS3 with Sonar/ACID/Vegas on a single machine, and three of the four drives are Seagates. It's totally solid for me. There may be some Seagate models that are incompatible, but not all Seagate drives will give GS3 problems.

    But, yes, GVI is a safer bet, if you're worried about incompatibilitles.

  5. #5
    Moderator/Developer Brian2112's Avatar
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    Re: How Many Hard Drives?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanielR
    With SATA2 hard drives, would a RAID setup improve performance?
    Actually, with most motherboards today, I believe you can take full advantage of one or the other - but not both. If you set your MoBo to support SATA II (not required to use the drives - just to get the 3gbps support), then you cannot configure them as a RAID array. If you choose to set up an array, you should still get at least 150mbps from your SATA II drives. Also, not all drives that are advertised as 3g give you that thru-put - many still hover around 150mbps anyway.
    I am afraid of Raid arrays and will not use them (unless I was setting up a network server). For me, the slight performance increase is not worth some of the risk involved.

    I could very well be totally wrong on some of this - anyone please feel free to correct me.

    ...2112
    "So what if some parts of life are a crap shoot? Get out there and shoot the crap." -- Neil Peart
    Hint:1.6180339887498948482 Φ

  6. #6

    Re: How Many Hard Drives?

    HI Dan,

    personally i think 4 is best.

    1) Small OS drive
    2) Audio only
    3) Samples
    4) Ext firewire/usb backup that you disconnect from the computer unless backing up. (network backup like steve does is great also and what i do)
    but i also back up the fileserver with a 500G Lacie ext.

    raid0 is only needed if doing tons of disk streaming samples (most of Giga)
    memory loading samples its wasted on.

    raid 1 (mirroring) is pointless

    as far as back up. buy Acronis, i have not found anything as good. and the first thing you want to do is make an image of you os drive to a dvd.

    Scott
    ADK

  7. #7
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    Re: How Many Hard Drives?

    Thanks to all of you for your valuable input. There even seems to be a consensus here. Wow! That sure makes things easier.

    Thanks again,
    Dan Rubio

  8. #8

    Re: How Many Hard Drives?

    Oh I love it when someone has asked the question I want answered!!! This additional question is regarding the OS drive. Is there any benefit to having an OS only drive and a drive for the sequencer/Audio editing type applications (in my case Sonar6, Sound Forge, a stack of soft synths, and plug-ins). The alternate being a drive with the OS and the Applications on it.

    Also just summerising, what I read above is I will get a SATA II drive (about 100Gb) to put the OS and applications (depending on answer above), another 200~300Gb SATAII drive for the Audio from the sequencer/audio editing, another 200~300Gb SATAII drive for the Samples/etc, and a USB/Firewire external disk to use as a back-up device. That about right???

    Thanks in advance and have a great holiday.

    Mick

  9. #9

    Re: How Many Hard Drives?

    HI,
    just put the OS and all programs on the C drive. no need to waste a drive.

    SCott
    ADK

  10. #10
    Senior Member Steve_Karl's Avatar
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    Re: How Many Hard Drives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jcschild
    HI,
    just put the OS and all programs on the C drive. no need to waste a drive.

    SCott
    ADK
    Agreed. Keep all apps. on the OS drive / partition.
    That way it's easy to image the setup once it's good and also before any changes and after changes are verified as good and useful.

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