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Storage drives and where to install your DAWs, VSTs, libraries - Chris Spyratos - 10-15-2017

I use a laptop with a small SSD and a secondary HDD. The SSD is the system disk and I try to keep its use at minimum in order to give an advantage to my Win10 OS.

I have Reaper installed in the HDD, with all the plugins and the libraries. However I am thinking to migrate the DAW and the VSTs to the system disk in order to improve performance and alongside that, to invest on an external SSD for the libraries.

What are your thoughts on these? Do you have any personal experiences where performance was improved by having your data on the right place?


RE: Storage drives and where to install your DAWs, VSTs, libraries - Mattias Westlund - 10-15-2017

I don't think moving your DAW and [non-sample based] VST's to the SSD will yield any significant performance gain. I mean yeah, the DAW and plugins will of course load faster but once everything is up and running you won't be noticing any difference. Everyhting is loaded into RAM anyway, whether from SDD or HDD, and once it's in RAM the performance will be the same.

Having sample libraries on an SSD however might be a good idea, as loading samples from a HDD into RAM takes a lot of time if it's a big lib/project. Disk streaming libraries probably benefits from this as well, as SSD read times are much faster.

I can't say for sure though as I'm a dinosaur and have yet to get myself an SSD, I have just two regular WD Black mechanical drives Wink Some day...


RE: Storage drives and where to install your DAWs, VSTs, libraries - Samulis - 10-15-2017

If you want something easy, I found my computer had a mSATA slot on it (it looks a bit like the new M.2 slots, if I"m not mistaken, but the drives themselves are much shorter), so I bought and slapped a 1 TB drive in there. Most laptops seem to have them, so take a look- if you do, the drives are pretty reasonable and an internal is always more convenient than an external. (it could be this is what your system drive already is- or there might even be two of them!)

As Mattias points out, drive speed will only affect sample loading and the stability of those instruments that use DFD streaming.


RE: Storage drives and where to install your DAWs, VSTs, libraries - Otto Halmén - 10-15-2017

What kind of performance issue are you having?


RE: Storage drives and where to install your DAWs, VSTs, libraries - Chris Spyratos - 10-16-2017

(10-15-2017, 11:49 PM)Otto Halmén Wrote: What kind of performance issue are you having?

I don't face any issues but if there is a "best practice" I would like to employ it. The only benefit seems to be the loading time of samples and projects.


RE: Storage drives and where to install your DAWs, VSTs, libraries - Otto Halmén - 10-16-2017

Well, if you've got money to burn on hardware, then yes, all of the above. An SSD will reduce load times and increase the amount of DFD sampling instruments you can run simultaneously. Smile

If you do run into a disk access bottleneck, though, you might want to check out the memory options in your sampler. For example, many samplers allow you to set how much of each sample always stays pre-loaded in RAM. If you've got the RAM to accommodate, you can increase the size of the pre-loaded chunks. This relaxes the real time requirements of disk access and might allow you to fit in more instruments.

Finally, you might be able to optimize the sample libraries themselves. Some samplers allow lossless compression (e.g. .ncw for Kontakt, FLAC for ARIA/Sforzando and UVI), which decreases disk access at the cost of slight additional CPU load. High bit depth samples can often be normalized and dithered down to 16-bit with zero audible degradation (unless you'll be doing something that benefits from a lower noise floor, like adding LOTS of overdrive). I'm in the midst of doing this to Miroslav Philharmonik, and it looks like the original 7 GB library will take up less than a third of it once I'm done. Naturally, these types of tweaks tend to be a hassle, and if you can fix your issues with a not-too-expensive hardware upgrade, that's most likely a better idea. Smile