External hard drive for samples

Hello guys!

I wonder if any of you have faced this situation (I think YES) - all inner space on a laptop hard drive for sure comes to an end and our sample libraries are not getting any smaller. :slight_smile: The space on my hard drive is decreasing like sales on weekends. I’m running MacBook Pro 2012 with 750 gb 5400 drive.

I’m looking for options how to deal with that - I’ve looked up usb 3 drives, thunderbolts, firewire drives and so on…But reviews on this topic are very uncertain.

If any of you know something about subject - would love to hear your thoughts and feedback! Thanks!

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I’m a PC user primarily but have plenty of Mac experience.

USB 3 drives will work great as will Thunderbolts. In fact I know quite a few composers who are using Thunderbolts.

Brands you should look at are Lacie, Buffalo, and even Western Digital. (I am yet to have a Western Digital drive fail on me in over 10 years of use)

I would very strongly advise instead of getting one ‘amazing’ hard drive, get two hard drives and split the load between them. For music making it’s better to have 2 x 500 GB drives, than 1 TB drive.

Additionally, if you have the funds, consider upgrading your Macbook system drive with a large SSD. This will be one of the best possible upgrades you can make, especially coming from a 5400 rpm drive.

Does that mean I should use both usb 3.0 ports at the same time to connect them? How would this affect overall cpu usage?

Don’t forget that goal is not to ‘archive’ samples but to work with them and realtime stream them on every project, I’m a bit afraid that two external hard drives (even one) will decrease system workflow speed.

No, it wont decrease the spped of your workflow. The external harddrivers are almost identical as the 5400rpm I think. But putting an OS and your DAW on SSD will make your workflow so much faster.

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OlexandrIgnatov said

Does that mean I should use both usb 3.0 ports at the same time to connect them? How would this affect overall cpu usage?

Don’t forget that goal is not to ‘archive’ samples but to work with them and realtime stream them on every project, I’m a bit afraid that two external hard drives (even one) will decrease system workflow speed.

No, on the contrary, having two external hard drives is preferable in my experience. There is a limit to how much can be streamed from one disk. There is less of a limit to how much can be streamed to two disks. As I said originally, there are multiple composers I know, using multple Thunderbolt and USB 3 drives to great effect. Originally, before Thunderbolt and USB 3, composers (including myself) were using eSATA to achieve the same thing. External drives are good.

Your CPU is not having a problem grabbing the data from those disks, trust me. What is killing your CPU right now is running your system, and your DAW and your samples all on the same drive, especially one that runs at 5400 RPM!!! You need to spread the workload.

CPU problems, especially for sample-based composers are because of:

  1. Overuse of reverb, particularly NI’s factory reverb which is a resource hog.

  2. Intense scripting. Many of the libraries that are out these days have incredibly complex (in many cases, needlessly complex) scripting that puts an intense amount of pressure on the CPU. Just load up some of the sound design patches from 8Dio / Soundiron, it’s crazy.

Finally, one thing I forgot to mention, and it’s super important.

You are much better off getting a hard drive enclosure and then putting internal drives inside the enclosure, rather than just ‘standard’ external drives. But it’s your call, as this will be more expensive.

Finally, one more brand to consider that I forgot is GLYPH, but they are expensive.

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I’m in a similar situation myself. I think, even if you have loads of space it is best to keep libraries on a different drive anyway so it’s not running on the OS disk which could slow sample load

A 7200 speed external drive will do the job on any of those connections you mentioned. Unless you want to go big bucks and a buy a super quick SSD

I use one of these little guys for my portable rig as it’s bus powered but still runs at 7200RPM.

Maybe not ultimately as quick as a powered desktop drive but it’s not far off and the portability more than makes up for it.

Olexandr
I’m using two 2TB external Western Digitals (USB3), one for backups and different stuff and another to store large libraries, like Spitfire or VSL etc. and I often load some instruments directly from the drive(s) into DAW.
Everything works stable so far.

Hallo,

i had the same System Environment: a MacBook Pro with 750gb harddrive.
And was getting slower and slower. So I bought me a SSD, screwdrivers and a 3.0 USB Case for a harddrive.
Then I changed the drives in my macbook, load the System on it. Now all Sample libs Running from the new external drive and the System, Software and synths from the SSD.
All in all I spend ca. 180€ (Amazon Germany).

Here is a good link (it’s in german but the links in the tutorial are a Good help)

Conclusion :wink:
Was a good Investment. Next thing I will do is change the external drive with cd/dvd Drive so i have all in one.

Thank you for suggestions, guys!

Probably I would come up with 500GB or 1TB drive or two of them.

Should I use some additional usb bus then as I have just two usb 3’s in a macbook pro? Or I will end up writing music on laptop keys :slight_smile:

Or if you have money, you can buy an external RAID controller (thunderbolt interface), a bunch of SSD disks and put them all in RAID 0 - can’t get faster than that :slight_smile:


Or even put them in RAID 5, so if one disk fails, you just replace it and it recovers (no need to reinstall gigabytes of samples).


But it would cost several hundred euros/dollars.


If I had money, I would do that :slight_smile:




The cost effective compromise would be to use mechanical 7200rpm disks instead and put them in raid. But a USB3 might not be enough for the amount of data, and would be a bottleneck, so in this case a thunderbolt would probably be required

SparrowArt said

Or if you have money, you can buy an external RAID controller (thunderbolt interface), a bunch of SSD disks and put them all in RAID 0 - can’t get faster than that :slight_smile:


Or even put them in RAID 5, so if one disk fails, you just replace it and it recovers (no need to reinstall gigabytes of samples).


But it would cost several hundred euros/dollars.


If I had money, I would do that :slight_smile:




The cost effective compromise would be to use mechanical 7200rpm disks instead and put them in raid. But a USB3 might not be enough for the amount of data, and would be a bottleneck, so in this case a thunderbolt would probably be required

So you say usb3 won’t be enough - and the other guys say it will be fine. Where’s the truth? :slight_smile:

Recently purchased East/West’s CCC2 Pro collection which comes on a screaming USB3 drive from Buffalo-- the performance on the external USB3 drive is so far much superior to the internal 7200 drive I’ve got in my machine. Highly recommended:

http://www.buffalotech.com/products/desktop-hard-drives/drivestation/drivestation-ddr

curtisschweitzer said

Recently purchased East/West’s CCC2 Pro collection which comes on a screaming USB3 drive from Buffalo-- the performance on the external USB3 drive is so far much superior to the internal 7200 drive I’ve got in my machine. Highly recommended:

http://www.buffalotech.com/products/desktop-hard-drives/drivestation/drivestation-ddr

Thanks. That looks like a really great drive! Should look up if I can buy it somewhere here.

OlexandrIgnatov said

So you say usb3 won’t be enough - and the other guys say it will be fine. Where’s the truth? :slight_smile:

If you just buy one or two 7200 rmp drives, USB3 will be enough, just as others have sad. It wouldn’t be enough for a moster ssd raid. :slight_smile:

SparrowArt said
OlexandrIgnatov said

So you say usb3 won’t be enough - and the other guys say it will be fine. Where’s the truth? :slight_smile:

If you just buy one or two 7200 rmp drives, USB3 will be enough, just as others have sad. It wouldn’t be enough for a moster ssd raid. :slight_smile:

Got it, thanks! :slight_smile:

OlexandrIgnatov said

So you say usb3 won’t be enough - and the other guys say it will be fine. Where’s the truth? :slight_smile:

USB 3 is fine if you are doing one drive for one port.

But if you are going through a hub, at some point the hub is going to have to share the data coming in from 2 ports, down to one port.

Based on your situation I would buy one USB 3 drive for one of your USB ports.

Then if you want to expand, get a hub for your other USB port and use that hub for 1 additional hard drive, and 1 keyboard. Your keyboard is not going to tax your USB port :smiley:

I run large libraries from external drives via USB. No problems here so far. For instance I have Complete Composers Collection running of an 1TB external drive via USB. Remember that RAM is equally important. Kontakt is great at distributing the load.

Hello guys.

Just want to inform you in case that might me useful for someone:

Finally I’ve came up with WD MyPassport Ultra 2TB drive. USB3, great speed, really portable and no external power need. For me, as a MacBookPro user it was critical to have possibility go anywhere just with laptop and a drive.

So far it looks good and works good too! :slight_smile:

http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=1000

Hi Guys

I Have a question regarding this…and I thought instead of creating a new topic I would just weigh in on this one

My dilemma is that i have been saving up for the new mac pro (trash can) but the one big problem is the internal storage!!

My libraries are already up to over 2TB! so some sort of External solution is needed!

Im a bit of a newbie when it comes to the raid stuff, and am just trying to understand the different types!

Ideally I would like a couple of big SSD thunderbolt drives…but these are ridiculously expensive!

what do you think the best option is here??

Im also intrigued when it comes to sharing the ports of your computer to avoid the data “bottleneck”…does getting a raided external HD system sort the problem…even if its all your data/samples join into one TB2 port

Ill be using Vienna Pro as a host to pro tools

cheers :slight_smile: