External HDD's for Kontakt, Superior Drummer etc.

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by JohnIce, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoils = tr00

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    So I have 1TB or so of sample libraries that I keep on an external drive, and some Kontakt libraries take quite a bit of time to load. The Grandeur piano takes 50 seconds for example, including loading it into RAM. I'd really like to shorten the loading times. My current external drive is I believe a 5400rpm USB 3 drive. I'm getting a reading speed at around 100 Mb/s, which seems to be about as fast as they come. Looking at LaCie's spec sheets most of them seem to peak at 130 Mb/s regardless of configuration (i.e. 5400 vs 7200 rpm, thunderbolt vs. USB 3 etc.). But knowing that USB 3 and Thunderbolt are capable of much higher speeds than that, I'm wondering where my bottle neck is.

    So my questions are:
    - Would a 7200rpm or SSD external drive actually be faster for loading samples, or just a waste of money for my application?
    - If so, is Thunderbolt any faster than USB 3 given that USB 3 is still capable of a whopping 5Gb/s?
    - Lastly, does the quality of my RAM and internal SSD drive have an impact on this at all?

    For computer specs, I have a 2015 MacBook Pro with an SSD drive, 16Gb RAM and 2.5 Ghz i7. Thunderbolt and USB 3 ports.
     
  2. steinmetzify

    steinmetzify CHUG & SLUDGE

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    Don't know where your bottleneck is, but for comparison I have a 2017 Dell Inspiron, 16GB RAM, 2.5 Ghz i7, 512GB SSD drive, and a 2 TB 7.2k external Sata drive. I know everybody says to keep the SSD for OS only, but I don't...all my Kontakt samples are on there.

    None of the stuff I have including huge orchestral libraries, pretty decently sized Heavyocity stuff etc takes any longer than 10 seconds to load...that's actually at the upper limit; most of them load completely in about 2-3 seconds.

    I would venture to say it's the connection between your PC and the EHD, nothing else.

    EDIT: I just loaded up my biggest multi as far as orchestral stuff goes.....it's 11 patches with 5 instruments in each patch, and it took 8 seconds from hitting the button until I could hit play. I was able to load 3 different presets onto the same track/same Kontakt instance inside of 4 seconds.
     
  3. shnizzle

    shnizzle johnny

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    i wouldn´t keep the libraries on an external harddrive. usb will always be a bottleneck. i´d rather get an extra harddrive to put in your computer. then again i don´t know how a MacBook takes modifications like that.
     
  4. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoils = tr00

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    Yeah I have a few staple libraries on my SSD, like Damage for example which I use all the time, and they're blazing fast. But it's the orchestral stuff and pianos that would fill up my 512 SSD quite quickly and even if I got it to fit I don't think it'd be that great for the performance of the computer in general. Maybe that's less of an issue with SSD's, I just remember from mechanical drives that keeping as little stuff as possible on your boot drive is good practice.

    Not sure where an additional drive would go, or if it could be solved with cooling etc. I know people used to swap their CD drives for HDD's on older models, but that was back when we had CD drives. Anyway, I think if USB 3 can do 5Gbps and Thunderbolt can do 10Gbps, and the biggest possible patches I use in Kontakt are no bigger than 4Gb, it doesn't seem to me like the connection type is the bottleneck at all given the measly read/write times I see on spec sheets for commercial ext drives. Hence my question, I'm trying to learn the theory of external drives to see if spending more money on, say a Thunderbolt 7200rpm drive vs. my 5400rpm USB 3 drive, will in fact make a difference to my specific application.
     
  5. KingAenarion

    KingAenarion Resident Studio Nerd

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    Yes. Drive reads faster.

    Capable/Theoretical vs real world speed is the problem here.

    Quality of RAM not so much, speed of it MIGHT effect it, but I doubt it. As long as the internal SSD is stable and is a SATA 3 drive you shouldn't have any problem reading from it, but it shouldn't affect anything as your samples will load from your drives into your RAM.

    For computer specs, I have a 2015 MacBook Pro with an SSD drive, 16Gb RAM and 2.5 Ghz i7. Thunderbolt and USB 3 ports.[/QUOTE]
     
  6. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoils = tr00

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    @KingAenarion thanks, that's helpful! :) So if I'm understanding correctly, a 7200rpm or SSD would indeed load the samples quicker, but using Thunderbolt for it would probably be of little benefit over USB 3? I've been reading that you'll probably have to do RAID stuff to cap out the USB 3 bandwidth, so in that case I'm happy to save a few coins.

    Also realized I might have been mixing up Gigabit and Gigabyte in my previous posts, I'm pretty sure most spec sheets for the drives I've compare have read Gb/s and not Gbit/s which is confusing, but whatever.
     
  7. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoils = tr00

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    Ah, turns out this was kind of a non-issue after all. Spent last night batch re-saving all my libraries and they load extremely quick now, the ones on my external drive load pretty much as quickly as the ones on my internal SSD. Looking into some purging options to get it even quicker now. Glad I don't need to buy more stuff :)
     
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  8. steinmetzify

    steinmetzify CHUG & SLUDGE

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    Dude that's great. I forgot about the purging stuff...I do a global whenever I start a new project; sorry forgot to mention it, I was drinking the other night when you started this topic. :lol:
     

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