How To Use SSD, 7200rpm HDD, and 5400rpm HDDs for Scoring Workstations

Forums Film Scoring Production Quality and Technology How To Use SSD, 7200rpm HDD, and 5400rpm HDDs for Scoring Workstations

This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Charles Gaskell 1 year, 3 months ago.

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  • #3715

    Evan Evans
    • Topics: 38
    • Replies: 126


    The following represents a balanced combination between space, speed, and cost efficiency, for a film composer utilizing his setup for realistic large-scale synthestration and mockups. It is not necessarily the ideal setup if you have unlimited costs. In that case, you can just use SSD drives for your entire rig. Now, that said, without further ado:

    Setup your OS internal to your Computer on the fastest and typically first bus, on a SSD. Don’t waste expensive disk space on this drive for large infrequently accessed files, such as your Photos, Videos, and Documents. Instead move those to a 5400rpm HDD. By putting your OS on an internal SSD, you effectively turn scratch files and virtual RAM into a hybrid RAM extension to your PC’s installed RAM. SSD drives are more than 100x faster than your fastest HDDs, and speed up the access in both read and write to scratch RAM (disk based RAM overflow). Your CPU will work less hard coordinating RAM overflow because of this big speed boost in it’s ability to “cache” RAM. So an internal SSD for OS will boost both your CPU efficiency as well as your effective RAM, and will act as virtual RAM. SSDs are about 100 times slower than physical RAM. But that is a massive 10,000% boost in speed from HDDs, which are 10,000 times slower physical RAM.

    The absolute best #1 SSD Drives are:
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    7200rpm HDD
    This is where you want to store all your samples for disk streaming. Because you have installed an SSD internally, you do not need External SSDs to store and stream samples, since the pre-buffers for those streams will be loaded into Virtual RAM (SSD) and the Physical RAM of your PC, and a 7200rpm drive is sufficient for streaming around 100 stereo audio streams. Anything over 100 stereo audio streams could not be sent through a single PC disk bus, since SATA etc (3Gbps-6Gbps) maxes out around that point which 7200rpm drives sufficiently can handle. When you couple a 7200rpm HDD with an additional 7200rpm HDD on a different PC bus, you effectively are parallel processing. Load balance your samples such that 50% of the instruments in your typical cues are being played (streamed) from Drive A and the other 50% are being played (streamed) from a Drive B. If you have more available busses, you can add on further drives to both better load balance your instruments and parallel processing, and get an increase in # of possible audio streams at one time in aggregate across all busses.

    It is not necessary to use RAID whatsoever. A multiple independent bus system with load balanced samples across multiple HDDs will outperform any RAID striping or mirroring combination system or box.

    5400rpm HDD
    This is where you want to store your Documents, Photos, Videos, and if possible (through folder remapping, symbolic linking, etc), even your Applications (though this move should only be done by experts). 5400rpm drives can be hooked up using USB 3.0 or slower technologies. These drives are vastly cheaper. As of the time of this writing, you can obtain an 8TB 5400rpm HDD for well under $200 USD. It is for this reason, that you also want to use 5400rpm drives for Backing up your data that is on your other drives.

    🎹 Evan Evans, Film Composer & Mentor,
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  • #15617

    Charles Gaskell
    • Topics: 4
    • Replies: 10

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    It is for this reason, that you also want to use 5400rpm drives for Backing up your data that is on your other drives.

    How much slower is it to back up to a 5400rpm drive compared to a 7200rpm drive?

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