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synkrotron

M.2 NVMe SSD storage - does it matter about having multiple partitions?

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Hiya Pees :)

Yet another one for the PC experts here...

Back in the "good ol'days" you were always advised to have one storage device for the OS and another storage device for data.

That was for traditional disk drives.

I am now looking at solid state drives, particularly M.2 format PCIe NVMe device.

Read/wright speeds are in the order of 3000MB per second.

So, is it still important to have separate devices for OS and data in this instance?

Obviously the OS and data R/W operations will be on the same bus, but does this matter at this sort of data transfer rate?

Might be something else I am missing...

cheers

andy

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My MOBO supports them natively and I have 1 x 500Gig drive. 

It holds my OS, programs and Plugins. 

All my other data is on other drives. Some on SSD’s for frequently used samples and HDD for lesser used samples and data archives. 

I have a total of 13.25 TB of storage. 

Ive never liked the idea of partitioning drives. 

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Thanks @MUDGEL :)

I'm thinking along the same lines, but thought I'd ask.

I am currently considering a slightly larger, 1TB OS drive and was wondering about creating two partitions on it.

This is what I am challenging, I suppose. I mean, do we even really need to partition storage devices with all this new tech.

 

cheers

andy

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To clarify about M.2:

M.2 drives come in two varieties

  • SATA - speed is same as 2.5" SATA SSD
  • NVMe (M.2 Ultra) - speed is ~3400MB/Sec for the best drives

 

Conventional HDs sustain ~190MB/Sec

SATA SSD sustains ~540MB/Sec

M.2 Ultra SSD sustains ~3400MB/Sec

 

IMO, NVMe (M.2 Ultra) is overkill for a boot drive.

A machine is going to boot fast... and apps open quickly using a standard SATA SSD.

Use M.2 Ultra drives "strategically"... if/when necessary.

If you have a particular sample library or libraries where you need massive polyphony, M.2 Ultra SSD is a great solution.

If you have a particular library that loads slow, put that library on a M.2 Ultra SSD... and it'll load much faster.

ie:  I find HALion 6 to be a bit sluggish when loading samples... so I put the library on a M.2 Ultra SSD (now loads much faster).

 

You could run a single/large M.2 Ultra SSD... and partition it for OS/Audio/Samples... but that's not ideal.

From a performance standpoint, you're still best having separate physical drives for OS/Audio/Samples.

If you're making heavy use of Samples, I'd want those on multiple SSDs (scaled based on your disk-streaming polyphony needs).

We have some clients (mostly doing huge orchestral mock-ups for scoring video games) who want to be able to achieve 4000 stereo voices of disk-streaming polyphony.

That takes multiple SSDs (including M.2 Ultra)...

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A massive OS drive makes disk imaging problematic, both in time and space. That is one situation where I would consider using a partition. My OS drive is only 256GB, and I use junctions to keep it under 150. Images of a mostly full 1TB drive would take an hour or so, and need another massive drive to store the images to.

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9 minutes ago, mettelus said:

A massive OS drive makes disk imaging problematic, both in time and space. That is one situation where I would consider using a partition. My OS drive is only 256GB, and I use junctions to keep it under 150. Images of a mostly full 1TB drive would take an hour or so, and need another massive drive to store the images to.

Thanks, yeah, good point I think.

I still have the option to go for a smaller (500GB) NVMe drive for OS and, seeing as I really won't be using my old CLEVO laptop much I am going to rip my 1TB Samsung Pro 850 out of that.

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Unlike SATA connectors, M.2 slots are far more limited in most machines. This is one situation where a partition argument would make sense. You want the most bang capacity-wise from those limited M.2 connections (fast and big), but at the same time keep the OS size "reasonable."

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Hi @Jim Roseberry :)

My lad has helped me along a bit wit the "new tech," so I'll be going along with the NVMe PCIe cards rather than the ones that use the SATA bus.

I know what you mean about "overkill," and for what I create, music wise, my system will be well over the top.

My thinking is, this will very probably be my last PC, ever. If it lasts me ten years then, at 68, I probably won't be bothered so much about gaming (assuming I even reach that age), and I will probably be more than happy to freeze my music setup at a point that is still workable on my proposed spec.

Hence some of my seemingly over the top decisions.

If I did upgrade anything in the future it would be for what ever game takes my fancy at the time and will probably only involved swapping out the GPU.

 

Funny really... I loved my laptop and it is still doing "almost" what I want it to do and I generally manage loading issues by freezing VST or printing effects as the need arises. I had always said that I would "never" go back to a desktop... Never say never haha!

I still have another laptop that I like to take away with me, a Surface Pro i5, which handles straight forward VST stuff quite well and that is another reason why I don't mind going back down the Desktop route. And if I need something with a bit more oomph, like recording my youngest lads V-Drums at his house then I can always resurrect the old CLEVO by sticking the Pro 850 SSD back in and getting a newer one for my desktop.

 

Interesting times... I'm keeping my fingers crossed that a more powerful PC will help with some of my ongoing problems with crackles and pops...

 

cheers

andy 

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17 minutes ago, mettelus said:

Unlike SATA connectors, M.2 slots are far more limited in most machines. This is one situation where a partition argument would make sense. You want the most bang capacity-wise from those limited M.2 connections (fast and big), but at the same time keep the OS size "reasonable."

I still have some homework to do regarding the M." drive. I am struggling to find out if my chosen motherboard, ASUS ROG STRIX Z390-E will actually use a Samsung 970 EVO M/2 NVMe card to its fullest. It has two M.2 ports that support "PCIe 3.0 x4 mode" but I have no idea what that means...

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14 minutes ago, synkrotron said:

I still have some homework to do regarding the M." drive. I am struggling to find out if my chosen motherboard, ASUS ROG STRIX Z390-E will actually use a Samsung 970 EVO M/2 NVMe card to its fullest. It has two M.2 ports that support "PCIe 3.0 x4 mode" but I have no idea what that means...

That board is similar to mine. You have two M.2 slots on the motherboard and the M.2_1 socket (page 1-2 just below the CPU) can be set to X4 mode in UEFI (BIOS) at the expense of losing SATA 5/6 connections (M.2_1 Configuration on page 50) .  You want the faster NVMe in that slot if using x4, but will lose SATA 5/6 in doing so (essentially two drive slots).

Edited by mettelus
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Thanks @mettelus :)

I think I should be okay then.

That motherboard comes with six SATA 6Gb/s so losing one, or even two of those shouldn't be a problem.

I will put the question directly to the company who will be building this for me before I order. No point in getting a 3000MB per second SSD if it can't work at that speed. One of the advantages, I think, of going down the pre-built route...

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I never use partition anymore. I only did this fall to prep for a new HDD. That way I could check how it worked to move Toontrack/Native Instruments samples to a new drive before having the drive and setting it up.

Windows also has this thing where you can merge drives together to one unit. Can be handy when you need just to expand for more samples.

Also, I would say. Newer toss away old SSDs. They can be handy for Page File and so on. They are not mechanical and can be put away on the back on the computer if you have no more space for drives. 30GB SSD for a sample pack is great for speed.

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1 minute ago, ØSkald said:

Also, I would say. Newer toss away old SSDs. They can be handy for Page File and so on. They are not mechanical and can be put away on the back on the computer if you have no more space for drives. 30GB SSD for a sample pack is great for speed.

Absolutely. I have a couple now in the fire safe waiting to be used. I see them going into my desktop setup for sure :)

 

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1 hour ago, mettelus said:

A massive OS drive makes disk imaging problematic, both in time and space. That is one situation where I would consider using a partition. My OS drive is only 256GB, and I use junctions to keep it under 150. Images of a mostly full 1TB drive would take an hour or so, and need another massive drive to store the images to.

You want to keep the OS drive clean/lean.

If you're using a 1TB SSD for boot drive... and only using 200GB of that 1TB of space, backup won't be slow/tedious.

Unused drive space won't increase the size of backups.

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57 minutes ago, synkrotron said:

I still have some homework to do regarding the M." drive. I am struggling to find out if my chosen motherboard, ASUS ROG STRIX Z390-E will actually use a Samsung 970 EVO M/2 NVMe card to its fullest. It has two M.2 ports that support "PCIe 3.0 x4 mode" but I have no idea what that means...

M.2 Ultra SSDs use 4 PCIe (x4) to achieve full performance.

If the motherboard has two M.2 slots, running the second using 4 PCIe lanes almost always results in the motherboard's last two SATA ports being disabled.

You can work around this...

Put the second M.2 Ultra SSD on a PCIe host card... and place that card in a PCIe slot that has 4 or more PCIe lanes.   😉

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6 minutes ago, Jim Roseberry said:

You want to keep the OS drive clean/lean.

If you're using a 1TB SSD for boot drive... and only using 200GB of that 1TB of space, backup won't be slow/tedious.

Unused drive space won't increase the size of backups.

I think that is the crux of the OP... a 1TB drive should be used, especially if fast, otherwise is extreme overkill (and waste of money) to leave it mostly empty. In that situation a 200GB "C" drive partitioned to an 800GB "Sample Drive" would make a lot of sense. Imaging the C partition would be small and quick, and the rest of the drive could be used for "fast read" material.

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The manual sounds like the M.2 slots are going through the chipset as they're under the chipset heading. That chipset uses DMI 3.0 which maxes out at 3.93GB/s. That's everything though; all the SATA ports, the USB ports (even 3.1 gen 2), ethernet, wifi, onboard sound, bluetooth  and, i think, the M.2 slots. If you want maximum speed of the drive to always be available irrespective of other things you're asking of the system you want to run it dedicated with an expansion card. If you don't run it dedicated then it shares the bandwidth with all the other stuff.

I haven't partitioned in years. Never had a reason.

Edited by ien
Forgot to answer the thread
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3 minutes ago, mettelus said:

I think that is the crux of the OP... a 1TB drive should be used, especially if fast, otherwise is extreme overkill (and waste of money) to leave it mostly empty. In that situation a 200GB "C" drive partitioned to an 800GB "Sample Drive" would make a lot of sense. Imaging the C partition would be small and quick, and the rest of the drive could be used for "fast read" material.

I completely agree with using a smaller boot drive.  😉

Just mentioning the size of the drive itself (unused space) won't affect backup size/time

 

Rather than using a single large drive partitioned Boot/Samples, the best coarse of action is to use two separate drives.

With two separate drives, you've literally doubled the performance (vs. a single partitioned drive).

  • Each of two HDs would sustain 190MB/Sec
  • Each of two SATA SSDs would sustain 540MB/Sec
  • Each of two M.2 Ultra SSDs would sustain 3400MB/Sec
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I don't partition drives either... haven't for years

I have a dozen separate drives in my main DAW.

  • Two conventional HDs
  • Eight SATA SSDs
  • Two M.2 Ultra SSDs
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29 minutes ago, ien said:

The manual sounds like the M.2 slots are going through the chipset as they're under the chipset heading. That chipset uses DMI 3.0 which maxes out at 3.93GB/s. That's everything though; all the SATA ports, the USB ports (even 3.1 gen 2), ethernet, wifi, onboard sound, bluetooth  and, i think, the M.2 slots. If you want maximum speed of the drive to always be available irrespective of other things you're asking of the system you want to run it dedicated with an expansion card. If you don't run it dedicated then it shares the bandwidth with all the other stuff.

Interesting stuff @ien

I'll be referring back to this sort of information before finally taking the plunge.

cheers

andy

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