External SSD Logical Drives & Partitions

Configure and optimize you computer for Audio.
KVRist
30 posts since 1 Mar, 2018

Post Fri Sep 24, 2021 5:31 pm

Greetings. I am in the market for an external SSD case with four slots and NOT in a RAID configuration. The case's capacity is 32TB, but I plan to start off with an 8TB SSD and a second 2TB one. The case and the SSDs support very high read/write rates, and I am connecting via Thunderbolt 2. I intend to use the 2TB SSD for my DAW's projects-in-progress and the 8TB SSD for my sound libraries. I confirmed that my OS (Mac OSX Mojave) will designate a different drive letter for each SSD.

With respect to the 8TB SSD holding my sound libraries, I am thinking about partitioning the SSD into a few logical drives and naming each one in accordance with how I plan to identify my sound libraries. All the sound libraries will occupy the same physical SSD, but the OS will report logical drives that are named to reflect the sound libraries independently.

Other than consuming a small amount of disk space to manage the drive partitions, is there any downside to this approach? When I run a session, I need access to a number of sound libraries concurrently. Basically, I want to partition the 8TB drive as a means of identifying my sound libraries readily by drive letter in my file system.

Thank you for your feedback.

KVRAF
8242 posts since 6 Oct, 2004

Post Fri Sep 24, 2021 6:19 pm

I'm gonna guess that the complexity of file-management across all those
partitions will cost you more man hours and sanity than just using named folders,
and backups will also be more tedious. All the SampleTank, Kontakt and Reaktor libs
I install go to one folder by default, users\Public\Documents...
the contents largely etched in my thick skull. If they were spread over multiple partitions, I might have gone crazy sooner than I did. Try and limit filling the SSD's to 70% of capacity, for good luck and consistant speed.
Cheers

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KVRAF
3741 posts since 25 Jan, 2014 from The End of The World as We Knowit

Post Fri Sep 24, 2021 7:35 pm

glokraw wrote:
Fri Sep 24, 2021 6:19 pm
will cost you more man hours and sanity
Everything glokraw said. In the past I took the partition route but one partition fills before another so it creates an unnecessary level of complexity.

Spend more time than you'd think creating a folder structure you will remember, to find related content quickly. I did that and saved a lot of time that I can spend drinking Belgian beer.

Don't get a case, get a dock so you can swap out SSDs when they fill, or when you create new storage categories. I am partial to the Blackmagic MultiDock; Christian Henson uses a portable dock but I forget what it is.
buying happiness

KVRist

Topic Starter

30 posts since 1 Mar, 2018

Post Sat Sep 25, 2021 7:41 am

Thank you for the replies, glokraw and Micahel L. You make a compelling case against partitioning,

Blackmagic MultiDock - interesting. I was unaware of this product. If I were to take this route:

- Blackmagic's web site only shows the USB-C version of the product. It looks like a Thunderbolt 2 port version with 2 TB ports existed before this one. In my setup I would daisy-chain the TB-port MultiDock version to my existing TB-connected RAID drive. With the USB-C version, can still do this but would need to purchase a USB-C to TB adapter. Does this device need to be directly attached to my computer, or could I still daisy-chain it off my RAID drive without any performance hits?

- Which SSD drives would you recommend for use with this device? For the most part I want to use it to access fast reads of my sound libraries. However, I also would like to dedicate one of the SSD drives for DAW project work, which requires fast reads & writes. Since I would not use this in a RAID configuration, I assume that I would be able to mix & match SSD drive capacities. The web site and user manual do not address this; neither do they state the maximum capacity per slot. Not sure if this is relevant in a multi-dock device, where it is relevant in a case.

I definitely consider this to be a viable option, but I would like its performance to be comparable to the setup I otherwise am considering, which follows:

- OWC Express 4M2 (see: https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/express-4m2); 4 NVMe M.2 SSD slots; TB3 w/cable; 32TB max capacity; upwards of 2800 MB/s transfer speed

- OWC Aura P12 pro NVMe M.2 2280 8TB & 2TB SSDs (see: https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/S4DAQ12ST80 & https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/S3DN3P2T20)); read speeds upwards of 3400 MB/s; write speeds upwards of 3000 MB/s;

As always, I appreciate your feedback.

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KVRAF
3741 posts since 25 Jan, 2014 from The End of The World as We Knowit

Post Sat Sep 25, 2021 11:11 am

Talk to blackmagic and owc. It takes a lot of time to get all the details of a new system figured out, but when its all done you won't need to think about it cuz it just works.
buying happiness

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KVRAF
7264 posts since 18 Aug, 2007 from NYC

Post Sat Sep 25, 2021 11:23 am

I shared this the other day… this is what I’m using.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0711 ... UTF8&psc=1

It’s not thunderbolt, but maybe there’s an adapter?

KVRist

Topic Starter

30 posts since 1 Mar, 2018

Post Wed Oct 06, 2021 1:35 pm

Spoke both with OWC a while ago and contacted Blackmagic more recently. I obtained a wealth of very specific answers to my questions from OWC and a half-hearted reply from Blackmagic. Followed up with Blackmagic again; still no response. This clearly cements in my mind which vendor is better suited to my needs. I was entertaining the idea of Blackmagic's rack-mounted approach, but I will not gamble my hard-earned cash on a product that may or may not meet my needs.

KVRist

Topic Starter

30 posts since 1 Mar, 2018

Post Sat Oct 09, 2021 6:00 am

Update. In all fairness, Blackmagic responded in a very reasonable amount of time when I asked for clarification to the first response. Kudos to Blackmagic for that.

A Blackmagic representative stated the maximum transfer rate for the MultiDock is 1,500 MB/s, which is nearly have the rate of the OWC 4M2 in combination with the OWC Aura P12 pro NVMe M.2 external SSDs. Also, I await an answer on which external SSDs were tested for compatibility with the MultiDock. Once I receive the answer to that question, then I can decide what to purchase based upon a cost versus performance trade space analysis. Unless the cost is wildly less with a MultiDock and external SSDs, I suspect I will take the OWC route. I do like the MultiDock convenience of a rack-mounted unit with hot-swappable external SSDs, but that capability is an "I want" versus an "I need" feature.

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KVRAF
4226 posts since 7 Jun, 2012 from Warsaw

Post Sat Oct 09, 2021 6:18 am

glokraw wrote:
Fri Sep 24, 2021 6:19 pm
I'm gonna guess that the complexity of file-management across all those
partitions will cost you more man hours and sanity than just using named folders,
and backups will also be more tedious.
Quite the opposite from my experience. Especially when you can use named partitions just as folders ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I keep one partition on SSD for the system (Windows and installers) and one for libraries of all kinds. It's with the intention to finally reinstall all of this in case of system breakdown.
All the projects sit on HDD RAID 10, which already got some disks replaced without any losses. You might want to keep it up to date with SATA SSDs.
Also, what happened few times the past, I might want to reinstall just the system alone, keeping the library partition untouched. However, Windows 10 never failed for me yet.

I also tend to move all the files (especially presets, sample libraries and VST3 plugins) away from Windows partition just in case.

For backups and general data storage, I have external HDD, which speed is not critical.

In a perfect world I'd choose one M.2 SSD for system, one for libraries and one for projects, with some automated backups (not sure yet). If one disk fails, I can easily recover. Hopefully my next system will be like that.
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