Which Hard Drive Should Be SSD?

Configure and optimize you computer for Audio.
twitewhite
KVRist
79 posts since 8 Mar, 2018

Post Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:36 pm

Most of the laptops I'm looking at are set up with two hard drive - 1 is the OS drive, where Windows and programs are stored, and the other is for my files, which would be all my music stuff (VSTs, samples, projects) along with things like pictures, movies, work stuff.

I know SSD drives are supposed to be faster and necessary for music production, and I think my mechanical hard drive that I have now is one of my worst bottlenecks. But do I need both of those drives to be SSD, or can I get away with SSD for the OS drive and traditional hard drive for my files?

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BertKoor
KVRAF
11188 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Re: Which Hard Drive Should Be SSD?

Post Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:12 pm

twitewhite wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:36 pm
I know SSD drives are supposed to be faster
Not "supposed to", they just are. It's not a myth.
Avoid old-fashioned spinning harddrives if you can. It will cost just a little but more with huge benefits.

You don't nescessarily need two SSD drives. Just one 500GB SSD will do just as well.
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Gamma-UT
KVRAF
4845 posts since 8 Jun, 2009 from UK

Re: Which Hard Drive Should Be SSD?

Post Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:01 am

twitewhite wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:36 pm
can I get away with SSD for the OS drive and traditional hard drive for my files?
Yes. This is the one to replace if you only have one SSD. The OS does a lot of small, random writes, which favours SSDs. For recording, hard drives aren't handicapped as badly.

For samples, you will see an improvement with an SSD but unless you're using massive streaming libraries in Kontakt, you don't see that big a difference once a project is running, though you will see it in startup/load times.

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Forgotten
KVRAF
2115 posts since 15 Apr, 2019 from Nowhere

Re: Which Hard Drive Should Be SSD?

Post Thu Jul 18, 2019 6:25 am

Why not just look at one without a traditional hard drive and just an SSD, then buy an external SSD if you need additional storage/backup? As long as you have USB3/Thunderbolt, the external transfer rate is going to be fast enough for anything you'll probably need it for.

I would never go back to a traditional hard drive now.

twitewhite
KVRist
79 posts since 8 Mar, 2018

Re: Which Hard Drive Should Be SSD?

Post Thu Jul 18, 2019 9:24 am

I was looking to get a laptop with 2+ TB of storage just to not have to deal with the hassle of swapping all my files around, but it's quite expensive, so I was wondering if I could get away with cheaper storage. I'm leaning towards just getting everything SSD and dealing with the cost.

Thanks!

acYm
KVRian
1004 posts since 11 Sep, 2015

Re: Which Hard Drive Should Be SSD?

Post Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:44 pm

imo, standard hdd only applies to 3TB+ external storage nowadays
for the OS drive you want a nvme ssd, for data a standard ssd.

codec_spurt
KVRAF
3595 posts since 21 Sep, 2005

Re: Which Hard Drive Should Be SSD?

Post Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:05 pm

twitewhite wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:36 pm
Most of the laptops I'm looking at are set up with two hard drive - 1 is the OS drive, where Windows and programs are stored, and the other is for my files, which would be all my music stuff (VSTs, samples, projects) along with things like pictures, movies, work stuff.

I know SSD drives are supposed to be faster and necessary for music production, and I think my mechanical hard drive that I have now is one of my worst bottlenecks. But do I need both of those drives to be SSD, or can I get away with SSD for the OS drive and traditional hard drive for my files?

Your question is a bit disjointed, so I'll just focus on this bit:

But do I need both of those drives to be SSD, or can I get away with SSD for the OS drive and traditional hard drive for my files?

SSD drive for OS. It starts up quicker. It's not written to so much so will last longer than a drive that is getting a lot of writes. It doesn't need to be massive (256GB will do most OS installs even with your VST directory in there).

We are talking about laptops here, so keep this in mind.

For a data drive "for your files", for which I assume you mean your music/samples, then a mechanical old school drive is possibly better. They are larger capacity. They do fail but give warnings usually, and so if you back up regularly you should be good. If they do fail, then there is still a good chance that data can be recovered. You might have backed up yesterday but done a song today so need to recover. They are also much cheaper. A 1GB 2.5" HD will cost you the same as a 256GB SSD, or thereabouts.

If you have an old laptop, you can get a caddy where you would put the mechanical disk in to (where the CD/DVD was). And you would put the new SSD in to where the old HD would go. Something to do with busses. I don't know.

Keep in mind that the bus on an older laptop won't give you full on performance. So a cheaper SSD might just be more cost effective. Others that build systems can give the details here. I'm just going from memory.

I just got a new 1TB hard disk to go in my CD/DVD tray. I'll be putting in a 256GB SSD in the HD place. A 1TB SSD might be quicker, but I wouldn't trust it as a Music/Audio drive. Not cost effective either.

When building a box that isn't a laptop, then you would ideally have a 3rd drive for putting samples on. Komplete is a coupla hundred gigs, plus my FXpansion BFD - multigig, plus everything else - looking at at least 500GB SSD.

But this is just for stuff that is being 'pulled off of'. You aren't really writing to those drives much. So it makes sense. 500GB sample library. 500GB SSD. Job done.

But even then I would have a mechanical old school HD for all my Music/Audio. Stuff like patches for synths, stuff you don't want to lose.

Even with a failure you can recover (a lot of the time). An SSD with a failure you can't recover (most of the time).

An old school drive is less likely to go tits up and is more reliable, on balance.

In an ideal world you would get in to RAID, but it adds cost, complexity and time to your world. It's the way to go though. If you have time and money and don't mind dealing with complexity. Not for a laptop, obviously, of course.

Whatever you decide on have a backup regime.

To give a very general answer to your very general question I would say, for a laptop: Put an SSD in as your System/OS drive. Put a mechanical drive in as your Data/Music drive.

Each of them have particular strengths in their areas (not just cost) that should keep you trucking...

Oh, did I mention, whatever you decide on, make sure you have a strict backup regime that works for you. Not duplicate, Triplicate. Whatever system you decide on, it won't really matter then. Should disaster strike, you have your work safe and sound.

And always give precedence to backing up your Music/Audio stuff compared to your OS/System stuff. OS stuff can be reconstituted (albeit very painfully). Music/Audio/Data lost can never be recovered, when actually lost.

I say this because, depending on your backup regime, you will probably be like most people and back up your OS via imaging/cloning - takes a long time. Where as Music/Audio/Data is just a matter of copying stuff across to another hard disk. Imaging locks your computer up (but not necessarily if you use VSS - volume shadow services). Copying, you just drag and drop and don't need to start any special programs. Though then again you probably should use a proper Data copying program like Karen's Replicator.

It really does depend. Just give precedence to your Music.

I'm rambling now.

Get a SSD for your OS.
Get a 'traditional' HD for your Music/Data.

(oh, and back up!)
"you're all GUI whores." - banned KVR member 'snooky'.

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Touch The Universe
KVRAF
3765 posts since 2 Oct, 2008

Re: Which Hard Drive Should Be SSD?

Post Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:13 pm

Get a small SDD to save money, if its an issue, and a 2 TB HDD. Feel free to go crazy with 2 TB SSD and a 2 TB hard drive (why not), if this is an option :D
Last edited by Touch The Universe on Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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VitaminD
Pick Me Pick me!
8751 posts since 12 Mar, 2002 from a state of confusion

Re: Which Hard Drive Should Be SSD?

Post Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:59 pm

Btw how much RAM do you have? If you're using a lot of samples but have a little amount of RAM, that could also be an issue ('bottleneck').
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Ishanor
KVRer
9 posts since 5 Jul, 2019

Re: Which Hard Drive Should Be SSD?

Post Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:45 am

I agree a SSD for lower latency applications works great, depending on how much you want to store you will need to pick an adequate size, I would try to go for 1 TB or larger, 1TB look like its a lot of space but unless you are very specific about what you put in it will eventually run out of space, sometimes sooner rather than later (or at least thats the way it goes for me :D).

dummyding
KVRer
3 posts since 15 Jul, 2019

Re: Which Hard Drive Should Be SSD?

Post Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:47 am

A 500 GB SSD is good enough unless you are a plugin collector. Backing up in a cloud storage is a must, you never know when a hard disk fails. Try to archive unused stuff and keep it in external HDD, that allows you to focus on current projects.

If you really want high storage get 256GB SSD + 1or2 TB HDD. If your choice is laptop, There are few good options available from ASUS.
Less luggage, more comfort :) .

cleverr1
KVRist
316 posts since 29 Nov, 2005

Re: Which Hard Drive Should Be SSD?

Post Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:20 am

A laptop running large sample libraries can use up a load of space. The biggest mechanical 7mm hdd is 2TB afaik, meaning anything bigger in that form factor has to be ssd = expensive. So For my next laptop I plan to put in the biggest M2 / SSD for the O/S and some extra storage I can afford, in addition to a cheap 2TB hdd. Onc 4TB SSDs come down in price that may change

Blaster
KVRist
348 posts since 22 Apr, 2004 from Ireland

Re: Which Hard Drive Should Be SSD?

Post Wed Jul 24, 2019 6:11 am

cleverr1 wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:20 am
The biggest mechanical 7mm hdd is 2TB afaik
Interesting. I never knew they didn't go bigger than that. I did a quick check:

Seagate Barracuda Compute 2,5", 5TB. Ok, it's only 5400rpm.. priced at 167 euro in Netherlands.

For 2TB HDD @ 7200rpm, currently in the Netherlands, prices are the same or SSD is already cheaper.

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Michael L
KVRAF
2799 posts since 25 Jan, 2014 from The End of The World as We Knowit

Re: Which Hard Drive Should Be SSD?

Post Wed Jul 24, 2019 6:49 am

FYI, a 4 x 2TB RAID 5 has a 6TB capacity and 3x read speed gain:
http://www.raid-calculator.com/default.aspx
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twitewhite
KVRist
79 posts since 8 Mar, 2018

Re: Which Hard Drive Should Be SSD?

Post Wed Jul 24, 2019 6:23 pm

Thanks for all the replies.

I'm looking at getting a lot of hard drive space because I'm tired of dealing with external hard drives/cloud, not knowing where files are. I only have 100-ish GB of sample libraries, but then my songs saved in WAV, plus this will be my only computer, so I have movies, pictures, work stuff on it. Also, I want to get more serious with video editing, so I'm looking at 2+ GB for my new machine. I think I will go crazy and get at least that in SSD (smaller primary drive and a second drive for music/video).

And then I can use my old external drives for a more organized backup, something I definitely need to do better in the future before an accident happens.

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