External hard drive recommendations?

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bipedal
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External hard drive recommendations?

Post by bipedal » Fri Feb 09, 2007 8:59 am

Long-time TOMB lurker, first-time poster. Am newbie recordist, small-scale recording & mixing projects at home, rarely working with more than 8 tracks simultaneously so far. Using Tracktion 2 on a Toshiba laptop, WinXP.

I know that a secondary hard drive is strongly recommended for audio file storage as it keeps the main hard drive free to support system functions...

For an external drive, am seeking recommendations on:

1) Connection type - USB 2.0 vs. FireWire? (From what I?ve read, USB 2.0 is theoretically faster, but for most practical applications FireWire transfers data more rapidly. Is it a significant difference?)
2) Is 7200 rpm sufficient?
3) Good, reliable hard drive brands? (Or brands to avoid?)

- thanks in advance

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Post by qball » Fri Feb 09, 2007 9:28 am

1) USB theoretically has slightly more bandwidth, but it takes a lot more resources to run. You'll want those resources for your audio apps. Firewire is the way to go.

2) 7200rpm and up is recommended

3) Which brand to use is debateable, but I like Seagate. They have proven reliable to me and are pretty quiet.
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Post by UXB » Fri Feb 09, 2007 9:40 am

7200 rpm should be just fine. Seagate Barracudas were great drives for this - I'm not sure about now, as it's been a while since I got one!

USB VS. FW...hmm find out what is best for your computer config and what is suggested by Mackie support. http://www.kvraudio.com/ is a good site to go to share compatibility info.

You can get an external drive in enclosure from Other World Computing for a good price which comes with all the connectivity you will need.

Best,
H

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Post by ceilingcat84 » Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:16 pm

anyone know if you can order a Seagate Barracuda pre-installed in a case? I've looked at the Seagate website and it's still unclear whether this is possible. I'm just concerned i'll screw something up if I order the drive and install it in a case myself...

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Post by UXB » Fri Feb 09, 2007 7:05 pm

I think the drives from OWC come with Barracudas. You can probably confirm that with them.

Installing a drive is cake as well. Just make sure you don't rub your feet on the carpet too much!

-H

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Post by inflatable » Fri Feb 09, 2007 9:34 pm

I'd go with eSATA. Yeah, you likely will have to install a card in your system, but the data rates are much higher than USB or Firewire. The only problem is if you need to transfer your sessions to another computer that doesn't have eSATA. In that case you need one of these:

http://www.newertech.com/products/usb2_adapt.php

Here's the specs on eSATA compared to USB2 and FW400:

Interface speed:
USB: 480 Mbits /sec
FW: 400 Mbits /sec
eSATA: 1500 Mbits /sec

64k read:
USB: 31.6 Mbytes /sec
FW 34.8 Mbytes /sec
eSATA 56.4 Mbytes /sec

64k write:
USB: 26.5 Mbytes /sec
FW 26.7 Mbytes /sec
eSATA 54.2 Mbytes /sec

Burst xfer rate:
USB: 33.5 Mbytes /sec
FW 36.2 Mbytes /sec
eSATA 111.3 Mbytes /sec

Data taken from the eSATA at sata-io.org
www.sata-io.org/docs/External%20SATA%20WP%2011-09.pdf

This is the future people. FW and USB are peripheral connection technology adapted to hard drives. eSATA is built for hard drives. Leave the USB and FW to Video cameras and flash drives.

Here's the wikipedia blurb:
Aimed at the consumer (laptop/desktop) market, eSATA enters an external storage market already served by the USB and Firewire interfaces. As virtually all external hard-drives incorporate PATA or SATA drives with an additional bridge-interface (USB/Firewire), current USB/Firewire drives suffer from two sources of inefficiency. The first source is protocol translation between the drive's native-interface (PATA or SATA) and the enclosure's external-interface (Firewire or USB2.) In the case of USB2, protocol overhead limits the maximum usable bandwidth to a fraction of the physical-signaling rate. In contemporary (500GB+) devices, the USB2's ideal-case transfer-rate already bottlenecks the drive-media. Firewire is more efficient (courtesy of a defined isochronous transfer mode), but the vast majority of Mac/PC Firewire ports use the older 1394/A (400Mbps) signalling-rate. This limited effective data transfer rate becomes very visible when using an external RAID array and also with fast single disks which may yield well over 70 MB/s during real use. [citation needed] Finally, some low-level drive features, such as S.M.A.R.T., are not usable through USB2/Firewire bridging. eSATA does not suffer from the above issues.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_ATA#External_SATA

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Post by UXB » Sat Feb 10, 2007 12:02 am

The OWC drives support firewire, usb2, and eSata, I think.

While eSata is the best throughput, you probably won't need it at this point, and will need to get a pcm card to support it. I think the case I suggested supports it, so your options are open.

other world computing...

Best,
H

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Post by inflatable » Sat Feb 10, 2007 1:44 am

UXB wrote:The OWC drives support firewire, usb2, and eSata, I think.
The OWC external enclosures do not have eSATA ports to hook up to your computer. They do not have internal "to drive" SATA connections either. They use older and cheaper PATA drives. Not a big deal right now, but PATA is dying fast.

The Universal Adapter http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer%20 ... /U2NVSPATA I mentioned before is made by the same company as the OWC enclosures.
UXB wrote:While eSata is the best throughput, you probably won't need it at this point, and will need to get a pcm card to support it.
The Seagate eSATA drive comes with a eSATA card. Most PCs need to add a card to do firewire. What DAW can't use more tracks? My internal IBM ATA Hard Drive's real-world transfer rate is 42 MB/sec using 64k blocks. (I tested this with Bart's Stuff Test 5 http://www.nu2.nu/download.php?sFile=bst514.zip) That's a full 10 MB/s greater than USB or FireWire is even capable of. 1/3 more tracks sounds good to me. And backups are 1/3 faster.
I stand by my original advice. eSATA is where I'm headed for all my future storage needs.

Or you could just get a Seagate USB2/FireWire drive and tell me to shut up about the future.

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Post by percussion boy » Sat Feb 10, 2007 5:10 pm

I'm definitely not one of the IT peeps on this board, but I've had good luck with a simple Western Digital 7200 rpm USB drive -- the kind Dell will sell you already in a case.

Your audio needs sound pretty modest to me -- are you having problems doing 8 tracks to the internal drive?

Also, how fast is the internal drive -- 5400? 7200? 10k? I have a vague memory, which could be wrong, that a 7200 rpm secondary drive may be less helpful if the primary drive is 5400.
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Post by inflatable » Sat Feb 10, 2007 5:31 pm

percussion boy wrote:I'm definitely not one of the IT peeps on this board, but I've had good luck with a simple Western Digital 7200 rpm USB drive -- the kind Dell will sell you already in a case.

Your audio needs sound pretty modest to me -- are you having problems doing 8 tracks to the internal drive?

Also, how fast is the internal drive -- 5400? 7200? 10k? I have a vague memory, which could be wrong, that a 7200 rpm secondary drive may be less helpful if the primary drive is 5400.
It shouldn't matter what the system drive spins at if your data drive is fast enough.

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No real probs with internal drive, I guess

Post by bipedal » Mon Feb 12, 2007 6:31 am

percussion boy wrote:I'm definitely not one of the IT peeps on this board, but I've had good luck with a simple Western Digital 7200 rpm USB drive -- the kind Dell will sell you already in a case.

Your audio needs sound pretty modest to me -- are you having problems doing 8 tracks to the internal drive?

Also, how fast is the internal drive -- 5400? 7200? 10k? I have a vague memory, which could be wrong, that a 7200 rpm secondary drive may be less helpful if the primary drive is 5400.
The internal drive is 5400. Honestly, I can't say I've experienced any problems using the internal drive... One hiccup once or twice, but that may have been a CPU issue rather than storage. I just notice that when I'm working on a project the 'hard drive in use' light is constantly flickering -- I thought maybe adding an external drive for the audio file storage might give the main drive a little breather (and extend its life...).

Thanks all for eSATA recommendations too - will check it out to see if it's a possibility (budget wise).

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