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razor7music

Anyone Using NVMe SSD in Their DAW?

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Hey All--

NVMe is all the rage in gaming PC's and it got me thinking to ask this forum is anyone has made the jump in their DAW? Any noticeable improvements in any aspects of your workflow speed, load time, etc?

Curious at this point...

Edited by razor7music
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My primary boot is an Optane 905 SSD (1TB).

My data drive is a 2 TB Samsung EVO (2TB).

Everything I launch is nearly instantaneous. I would never go back to rotation drives except for backup storage and non-essential stuff.

Right this minute I have 12 background neural networks training on 12 CPU cores and lots of CUDA cores.  So my CPU utilization is fairly high. When I launch Cakewalk, it starts up and scans 534 VSTs in 3 seconds.

I load Camtasia and make this video in a few seconds and render it in a few more.

 

 

 

 

 

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Awesome! I work for a company that makes the NVMe's and that's where I got the idea.

BTW - How many cores/threads is Cakewalk showing there for your CPU? I can't quite count them (24?). I thought my 12 was a lot!

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3 minutes ago, panup said:

I have only m.2 and SSD drives on my new DAW. There's no way ever going back to HDDs!

Disks are even faster than what CbB and plugins can utilize.

I have SATA SSD's and I'll never go back to HDD. I was just wondering about the comparison of SATA SSD's to NVMe's in a DAW context.

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4 minutes ago, Jim Hurley said:

I have 8 cores/16 threads i9-9900k

here are some benchmarks for the drives:

380065174_as-ssd-benchSamsungSSD9702018-12-1611-40-38AM.png.d0356af5c28946c68973feee56e93ca1.png1370713286_as-ssd-benchNVMeINTELSSDPE2018-12-1611-28-42AM.png.ddbc59dbc4396ed320b6d00a8e786766.png

Phew! So, your CW projects load quickly. What other DAW related tasks do you see benefiting from the m.2's?

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1 minute ago, razor7music said:

Phew! So, your CW projects load quickly. What other DAW related tasks do you see benefiting from the m.2's?

Of course, samples load very fast, too.

All my samples are the the EVO drive.

The SATA drives are for videos, archive projects, and backups.

There is no comparison with any other storage media I ever used.

 

 

 

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2 GBps SSD transfers are typically 10 times faster than rotational SATA drives.

BUT - there is also no latency. A SATA  drive may take 200 ms to get to a block, the SSD uses maybe 200 microseconds.

The big difference between the Optane SSD and the NAND SSD is that Optane has no garbage collection, no write banks, no TRIM, and no write deterioration. That gives them a perkier write response. 

So everything about them is an order of magnitude difference which is totally perceptible.

Even 1/5 second (200ms) delay in something may be noticeable, but things happening in the milliseconds/microseconds seems instantaneous.

 

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SATA SSDs are limited to the SATA bus bandwidth.

NVME uses 4x PCI lanes, about 4 times faster than the SATA bus, I think.

Thunderbolt may be faster, but I have no experience with that.

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Note that the Queue depth on the Optanes are always 1. The Samsung is 4. That means no command is waiting on the Optane, but the Samsung has a queue of 4 it is working on. That is because the Samsung has to first move the data to a DDR RAM, compress it, then find a NAND bank to write the data.

The Optane can write anywhere at the bit level with no preprocessing.

The Samsung will need periodic garbage collection, but no one will probably notice when that happens inside its controller, but it could happen while writing data.

 

 

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Quick speed reference:

  • Conventional HD sustains ~200MB/Sec
  • SATA SSD sustains ~550MB/Sec
  • M.2 Ultra (NVMe) sustains ~3500MB/Sec

 

Where you're going to see the most bang-for-the-buck is with disk-streaming Sample Libraries.

They're going to load faster... and you'll be able to pull 17+ times the disk-streaming polyphony vs. conventional HD (6+ times the polyphony of SATA SSD).

 

For most users:

  • We recommend using a SATA SSD for your boot drive (still plenty fast).
  • Use M.2 Ultra SSD (more expensive) "strategically" for that library/libraries that loads slow or where you need massive polyphony.

On many motherboards that have two M.2 slots;  if you run the second M.2 slot using 4 PCIe lanes (maximum performance), the last two SATA ports will be disabled.

You can work around this issue by putting the second M.2 Ultra SSD on a PCIe host card.  Note that it has to be installed in a PCIe slot with at least 4 PCIe lanes.

 

If you've got a complex build (multiple M.2 Ultra SSDs, multiple PCIe cards like UAD-2, dedicated video card, etc)...  available PCIe lanes can become an issue.

Typically, if you're going socket 2066, it's because it's a more complex build.  😉 

If you go socket 2066, go all the way and get an i9 CPU with 44 PCIe lanes.

 

 

Edited by Jim Roseberry
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Keep in mind, too, when you use graphics cards that say they require 16x PCI slots, that that is based on older PCI settings.

Each PCI rev is 2x the last, so today's PCI 3.0 8x slots will handle those 16x cards just fine.

And next year PCI 4 will handle them in 4x slots.

You will need to make sure you are placing the NVMe drives appropriately and that the Motherboard allows the right combination of lane allocations.

The new Z390 motherboards have lanes that come from the CPU and lanes that come from the PCH, so you also have that flexibility.

With 16 lanes from the processor, you can put an 8x graphics card and two 4x NVME or PCI SSDs on those lanes, bypassing the PCH and DMI bus.

I would guess that might be a tad faster than using the PCH busses, but it also allows the PCH to run its on-board stuff a bit cooler.

Most people don't cool the PCH.

 

 

 

 

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My desktop has two M.2 2280 NVME 2 TB drives, four 2 TB SATA SSD's, and a single 2 TB SATA HDD.   I have samples loaded on the M.2 drives, and loading any Kontakt instrument or Play instrument, is pretty much instantaneous, compared to loading from an SSD.  The difference is absolutely amazing.

I also bought a laptop that has 2 ports that support M.2 2280 - and a SATA SSD.  It originally had a single 128 GB M.2 SATA drive, which I removed, and replaced with a 2 TB M.2 NVME drive, added an additional 2 TB NVME drive, in the second port, and replaced the original 1 TB SATA SSD with a 2 TB SATA SSD.  Now, it boots in about 4-5 seconds, and by the way, it also came with a Thunderbolt 3 port, so I picked up a UAD Arrow Thunderbolt 3 audio interface, and this is now what I use when performing live, or doing mobile recording of bass, guitar, or a single vocalist.  This thing is a beast!  (Alienware 17 R5, modified).

I HIGHLY recommend the M.2 2280 NVME protocol and drives - unbelievable performance, period.

Bob Bone

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Yet another thread which remind me that my  (home) "primary desktop" is a Celeron, with 4GB RAM and 512GB HDD... Not everything I have can be loaded (sure, just one track... other should be rendered), but I am still almost happy (I have invested ~€400 to make it silent). 😀

For "Amienware 17" (and other "big" notebooks), be aware that you will be not allowed to take it on board of (most?) lowcoster European airlines for free. My 15'' XPS is the biggest which fit into the "free box" while in (properly sized) bag.

For DELL XPS: these morons do not include MB->SATA cable in case the notebook is originally without the second (2.5'') drive.

NVMEs are fine for the case something should be continuously streamed, and that something need the speed. Can save some seconds on computer/program start as well, but that is important for super time constraints only. For most cases SATA SSD is sufficient. It is still ridiculously expensive to build large arrays with SSDs, so HDDs will survive for a while (I mean for 50+ TB systems, not sure DAWs will ever need that).

In practice, I have not experienced any noticeable change after replacing "cheap" NVMe to the latest Samsung on my notebook. But f.e. busy SQL server can be busted that way (optimizing end applications can bring much more, but that cost way more money).  

 

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To be sure, a computer equipped with SATA III SSD's is QUITE capable of handling streaming samples - I was extremely fortunate to (for this one occasion) to be able to pour some money into building a desktop and a laptop loaded to the gills, with not only multiple Samsung SSD's, but also multiple NMVE drives.  I will likely never again have the resources to build computers at that level, and I am extremely grateful to have this one opportunity to go full-out on getting maximum performance.

I am pouring heart and soul into utilizing the two computers I now have with the extra performance of the NVME and SSD drives, because this might well be the last hurrah for me, as I am 59 years old, and fully disabled - with 10 herniated discs,  and am degenerating.  I just want this next 3-5 years (if I can play for that long) to be as productive as possible for me.  I am putting everything I have into getting as much done as possible.  I have my primary recording setup located next to my bed, as it is often quite painful to walk across the room.  SO - back to work - so much to try to get to...

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4 hours ago, Robert Bone said:

To be sure, a computer equipped with SATA III SSD's is QUITE capable of handling streaming samples - I was extremely fortunate to (for this one occasion) to be able to pour some money into building a desktop and a laptop loaded to the gills, with not only multiple Samsung SSD's, but also multiple NMVE drives.  I will likely never again have the resources to build computers at that level, and I am extremely grateful to have this one opportunity to go full-out on getting maximum performance.

I am pouring heart and soul into utilizing the two computers I now have with the extra performance of the NVME and SSD drives, because this might well be the last hurrah for me, as I am 59 years old, and fully disabled - with 10 herniated discs,  and am degenerating.  I just want this next 3-5 years (if I can play for that long) to be as productive as possible for me.  I am putting everything I have into getting as much done as possible.  I have my primary recording setup located next to my bed, as it is often quite painful to walk across the room.  SO - back to work - so much to try to get to...

You go get 'em Robert! Q: "What's the best song you've ever written?" A: "I don't know. I haven't written it yet!"

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Got to be honest, I looked at the numbers while spec'ing up my new workstation and decided that, regardless of what might be sensible, that I wanted my NVMe drive as the OS drive. I don't really use samples much anyway but if I did I suppose I could look into a second NVMe drive or changing some things around in my current setup. Nothing is cast in stone, I don't think...

 

 

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