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  • Firewire drive question

    I'm getting ready to purchase an external Firewire 800 / USB 2.0 drive to host Horizon Solo Strings as well as other sample libraries like BFD, Kontakt 2's VSL selection, etc.

    For about the same price I can get either 2 250 GB drives or 1 500 GB drive. My question is which will give me better performance for sample-streaming -- the two drives dividing the 'seeking' duties between them but perhaps fighting over the same Firewire 800 bandwidth, or one drive doing all the seeking but having the bandwidth to itself. Which wins, and would the difference be significant?

    Would this answer change if you now take into consideration that my audio interface, the RME Fireface 800, is going to be sharing the Firewire 800 bus with the drive(s)? Or if, to avoid that, I were to run the drive(s) off their USB 2.0 connection?

    Thanks for your advice...

  • radiospace, personally i had no chance so far to test a 500 GB FW800 drive, but basically throughput (+ seektime) would be better with 2 x 250 GB and i would not share a FW-bus between an audio interface and harddrives (might work, but there have been reported several problems in the past). to avoid such a collision i've decided to check out an external 500 GB sATA2 drive on a sATA2 controller
    christian

    and remember: only a CRAY can run an endless loop in just three seconds.
  • There's another advantage to two 250 GB drives - there's less stress on the hardware, so presumably the two drives might last longer (a matter of quality, too, of course).

    I was using a 300 GB USB2 drive for testing purposes - cheap, but also slow. Put the disk into a firewire case yesterday and about quartered the loading times. I'm sure there's better ones, but USB nowadays tends to get pretty clogged with mouses, dongles, modems, and whatnot, which might lead to performance problems even if you've got hi-speed USB.

    Regards,
    David
    VSL manuals

  • Also beaware that some 500GB models often use two disks underneath, e.g. the LACIE 500GB is made up of 2x250GB internally - although it only presents a single drive.

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    last edited

    @cm said:

    radiospace, personally i had no chance so far to test a 500 GB FW800 drive, but basically throughput (+ seektime) would be better with 2 x 250 GB and i would not share a FW-bus between an audio interface and harddrives (might work, but there have been reported several problems in the past). to avoid such a collision i've decided to check out an external 500 GB sATA2 drive on a sATA2 controller
    christian


    Hi Christian,

    Would be interested to see how you get on. Currently I run VSL off a Firewire 800 Bus (Lacie FW 800 500GB drives (these contain two 250GB Drives on Raid 0) Audio is stored on a second internal SATA drive in my G5 2.5 Dual) This set up works quite well especially if you freeze tracks as the load gets distributed across drives and busses. However I wouldn't mind a faster solution - particularly with loading samples - though I guess VI will help in this respect - . I have looked at getting more SATA drives though they would have to be external as Weibtechs extra internal drive solution won't fit my G5 due to the PCI video cards I use. Also I'd have to remove my FW800 PCI card to fit a SATA card so I'll be interested, Christian, in how you view the performance you get - will you be raiding SATA drives or just the one?

    Thanks

    Julian

  • Hello Julian,

    There was a reasonably long string of postings from various VSL users concerning problems with the LaCie Big Drives (500GB, dual 250's RAIDed together). I was among those posting. I had a terrible time with it as it began its long, torturous death process. It resulting in over a week's downtime transferring VSL files (including all the various VSL freebies) and reinstalling BFD, Sprectrasonics, etc., etc.

    I agree that replacing it would be a good idea.

    Like you I had it on a dual-processor G5 on the FW800 bus. Also like you my investigation came up with the Wiebetech eSATA solution.
    I have two PCI slots taken up with a Pro Tools HD Accel2 and fortuneatly there is one remaining slot available for the necessary card for this external drive system. I have other Wiebetech drives hanging off my system and I'm quite satisfied with their quality.

    I'm planning on waiting until after the NAMM show here in the US where I 'll hopefully get a good idea of what will be needed for Mir before I add the eSATA card and drive chassis - I need to carefully weigh what goes in that last slot.

    At the same time I also plan to add another FW audio interface for the G5 as Digidesign's version of coreaudo is abyssmal and using the 192 interface would have been wonderful except for that. Regarding weighing down the FW bus of the G5, I believe that using it mainly as an output device won't put a lot of stress on it. If you are doing a lot of multitrack audio input and silmuntaneous output there could be more potential for problems.

    I look forward to hearing what you end up with.

    Best wishes,
    Jack