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Johnbee58

Thoughts On SSD Hard Drive?

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Hi;

I just got a new PC dedicated to music production.  The installation and configuration of it from the old one is completed.  I didn't run into as many glitches as I thought I would (fortunately).

My question is about the fact that (as per my request when I ordered it from Dell) it has a Solid State hard drive as opposed to the old fashioned platter drives.  I've heard that, while they are a boon to users for their speed in loading (which I can attest to already) they don't enjoy the longevity of the old platter drives.  Until I did some research on the subject (after I ordered the PC) I found some critics of the SSD drive for this reason.  It has to do with how many read/write cycles it has to perform over its lifetime.

Any thoughts on this?  Could become an interesting group discussion.

😀 John B

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I have a solid state M.2 2280 NVMe drive for OS and other programs including DAW s and plug-ins.  Cakewalk projects are on a conventional drive.   I've been using solid state drives for about 5 years and no failures to date.  I've seen the info about the number of read/writes and the deterioration.  I must not have high use or I would have experienced failure.

Usually, new Dells come with an M.2 2280 SATA or NVMe solid state drive and on systems with a second drive that is a conventional hard drive.   That would mirror what my self built desktop has.

 

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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, Jack Stoner said:

I have a solid state M.2 2280 NVMe drive for OS and other programs including DAW s and plug-ins.  Cakewalk projects are on a conventional drive.   I've been using solid state drives for about 5 years and no failures to date.  I've seen the info about the number of read/writes and the deterioration.  I must not have high use or I would have experienced failure.

Usually, new Dells come with an M.2 2280 SATA or NVMe solid state drive and on systems with a second drive that is a conventional hard drive.   That would mirror what my self built desktop has.

 

Mine's one of those NVMe drives.  I haven't "popped the hood" yet because I don't want to risk voiding the warranty, but they say these are about the size of a stick of gum.  Amazing!

😀

Edited by Johnbee58

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I work the Dell forums (screen name fireberd) and opening the case won't void the warranty. 

My NVME is a 1TB model.

Keep an eye on the Dell Support Assist as it has been known to cause recording audio dropouts.  If you have any problems, disable it.   Actually, we have seen various issues with Support Assist over the years.  DO NOT do a BIOS update with SA.  If you need the BIOS update, download and install manually.   We have seen "bricked" systems due to SA BIOS updates.

  

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Jack Stoner said:

I work the Dell forums (screen name fireberd) and opening the case won't void the warranty. 

 

  

That's good to know.  My place gets kinda dusty so I like to open my PCs up and blow them out occasionally.

Thanks for the tip I appreciate it.

🙂JB

Edited by Johnbee58

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I have a SSD system drive in a computer bought in early 2013, its still going strong. One of the hard discs failed during that time. 

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If you are into hoarding samples, every sample player format, going all in on SSDs would be pricey.

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I had multiple spinning hard drives fail.  I have yet to have an SSD fail and some I have are over 10 years old.   We've deployed probably 500 Samsung drives in the past 6 years where I work and have to have one fail.

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I think it's an old debate now, SSD's are fine, I would never consider a mechanical hard disk for anything anymore. I was in the shops the other day looking for a cheap computer to set up as a media center, starting them up, the ones with mechanical drives reminded me of the reason I moved away from them 5 years ago. Just too slow.

As long as you have a good backup and perhaps a mechanical might be alright for that, but I use a SSD even for that.

On 8/5/2021 at 1:05 AM, Johnbee58 said:

Mine's one of those NVMe drives.  I haven't "popped the hood" yet because I don't want to risk voiding the warranty, but they say these are about the size of a stick of gum.  Amazing!

😀

Are you using a single drive? how does it go?

 

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1 hour ago, Tezza said:

Are you using a single drive? how does it go?

Using the m.2 drive for the OS is a waste of resources, IMHO IMO.
Keep the OS "lean & mean", 256gb is way more than enough in a properly configured system.
All executables, dll's (you know, the programs); that kind of thing on the C drive.
Samples that stream, or you use regularly, on the m.2 (you know, Superior Drummer, {all Toon products})
Trilian, Omnisphere (you get the picture).
Samples with a small footprint, or you use only occasionally, put on a regular SSD.
Projects need their own drive! I'm still using "spinning platters", but I'm a dinosaur!

3 drives minimum are necessary for a properly configured DAW!
There, I've said it! I get that its not always possible/practical/affordable.
Lets not debate it, you know I'm right. And believe me when I say: I know
great things CAN be done with an SM57 and a 4 track tape recorder, but its 2021...

t

At roughly $100 a TB, I'll soon be SSD in all my systems exclusively.
But when I was offered a Charter Membership in Procrastinators Unanimous
I just couldn't get around to joining...
 

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, Tezza said:

I think it's an old debate now, SSD's are fine, I would never consider a mechanical hard disk for anything anymore. I was in the shops the other day looking for a cheap computer to set up as a media center, starting them up, the ones with mechanical drives reminded me of the reason I moved away from them 5 years ago. Just too slow.

As long as you have a good backup and perhaps a mechanical might be alright for that, but I use a SSD even for that.

Are you using a single drive? how does it go?

 

OK.  I'll tell ya.  I have a project full of about 15 VSTis.  I moved it over from the old (platter) system to the new SSD system just to compare.  On the old platter system this project with its 15 VSTis took about 5 minutes to fully load. 

On the new SSD system it took less than 30 seconds.  To me, speed in loading is a big factor too.  I'd rather spend 5 minutes creating music than waste those 5 minutes waiting for a project to load.

🙂JB

Edited by Johnbee58

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11 hours ago, Johnbee58 said:

OK.  I'll tell ya.  I have a project full of about 15 VSTis.  I moved it over from the old (platter) system to the new SSD system just to compare.  On the old platter system this project with its 15 VSTis took about 5 minutes to fully load. 

On the new SSD system it took less than 30 seconds.  To me, speed in loading is a big factor too.  I'd rather spend 5 minutes creating music than waste those 5 minutes waiting for a project to load.

🙂JB

Thanks, what I was asking is if you are using a single drive for everything. So you have only one drive and no others? I was only asking as I was wondering how well a music system functions with one ssd.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Tezza said:

Thanks, what I was asking is if you are using a single drive for everything. So you have only one drive and no others? I was only asking as I was wondering how well a music system functions with one ssd.

So far pretty good, but mind you, I haven't done much work on it yet.  I only have it a little more than a week and I've spent most of that time reloading (and re authorizing) the programs.  Check back with me in a few months.😉

What I can tell you is everything I had on my old system is on the new and I tested everything and they all seem to be working.  If all goes well, after the initial warranty (1 year) I might put an additional drive on it for expansion purposes.

🙂JB

Edited by Johnbee58
  • Haha 1

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On 8/7/2021 at 10:26 PM, DeeringAmps said:

Using the m.2 drive for the OS is a waste of resources, IMHO IMO.
Keep the OS "lean & mean", 256gb is way more than enough in a properly configured system.
All executables, dll's (you know, the programs); that kind of thing on the C drive.
Samples that stream, or you use regularly, on the m.2 (you know, Superior Drummer, {all Toon products})
Trilian, Omnisphere (you get the picture).
Samples with a small footprint, or you use only occasionally, put on a regular SSD.
Projects need their own drive! I'm still using "spinning platters", but I'm a dinosaur!

3 drives minimum are necessary for a properly configured DAW!
There, I've said it! I get that its not always possible/practical/affordable.
Lets not debate it, you know I'm right. And believe me when I say: I know
great things CAN be done with an SM57 and a 4 track tape recorder, but its 2021...

t

At roughly $100 a TB, I'll soon be SSD in all my systems exclusively.
But when I was offered a Charter Membership in Procrastinators Unanimous
I just couldn't get around to joining...
 

Thanks, actually, my question was directed at John, I'm trying to find out how much success people are having with one drive. I agree with you and have been following the 3 drive mantra for 20 years but things have changed with faster computers and drives so I am trying to get opinions from people that actually use 1 or 2 drives and what they are able to do with that.

If your an engineer with 100 projects all with 100 tracks each then that might not work but for lighter "home muso" type work, 1 or 2 drives might be ok, I don't know. I want to get rid of the big tower and get a smaller computer but these come with 1 or 2 drive capability.

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13 minutes ago, Johnbee58 said:

So far pretty good, but mind you, I haven't done much work on it yet.  I only have it a little more than a week and I've spent most of that time reloading (and re authorizing) the programs.  Check back with me in a few months.😉

What I can tell you is everything I had on my old system is on the new and I tested everything and they all seem to be working.  If all goes well, after the initial warranty (1 year) I might put an additional drive on it for expansion purposes.

🙂JB

That's good to know, so your intending to use just the one drive to produce, would be good to know how that works out.

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6 minutes ago, Tezza said:

my question was directed at John

Yes, I got that.
Perhaps @Jim Roseberrywill chime in and let us know if the m.2 can be partitioned and maintain its "lightening fast" performance.
Most of us are "hobbyists" (me included), so I can understand the need/desire to keep it simple/affordable.
For me, the OS has got to be kept to as "light" footprint as possible, if for no other reason, to keep imaging the C drive a manageable task...
(time and space)

It would appear that its working well for @Johnbee58

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For me, it's more about having a small computer that I can put in a shopping bag and take into the library to use their very fast internet. I am in a regional area  and internet speed is slow and data expensive, making downloading large libraries slow or broken completely and yet being charged heavily for that exercise.

The library internet is blazingly fast and seemingly unlimited in data. I can smuggle the computer in with a small monitor and then go for it!

 

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2 hours ago, Tezza said:

That's good to know, so your intending to use just the one drive to produce, would be good to know how that works out.

It's been working out for me for more than 6 years now on the old PC.  I use mostly VSTi for my instrumentation.  I don't record anything live except my voice.

I don't use big programs like Superior Drummer.  I use EZ Drummer & EZ Keys.  It's just a hobby for me.  If I wanted to really go pro I would buy something like a Creation Station ($4000.00 on up) just for the PC.  Then I'd go for Pro Tools,  Superior Drummer and all the other higher class stuff.  For me it's just for fun and taking it as far as I can with what I can afford.

🙂JB

 

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On 8/8/2021 at 9:41 AM, DeeringAmps said:

Yes, I got that.
Perhaps @Jim Roseberrywill chime in and let us know if the m.2 can be partitioned and maintain its "lightening fast" performance.
Most of us are "hobbyists" (me included), so I can understand the need/desire to keep it simple/affordable.
For me, the OS has got to be kept to as "light" footprint as possible, if for no other reason, to keep imaging the C drive a manageable task...
(time and space)

With a SSD, it's the finite number of writes that is somewhat a concern.

For many scenarios, you won't be writing enough to the SSD to bump into the issue.

In a scenario where you're using a single M.2 for the OS, projects, audio files, and sample libraries... you're much more likely bump into the finite number of writes.

 

The (obvious) advantage of a custom machine is that you can make it exactly what's needed; no major compromises.

I agree with your advice above.

I'd want separate drives dedicated to OS, Projects/Audio, and Samples.

If making heavy use of samples, multiple SSDs dedicated to that purpose.

If using something like Keyscape (where the C7 piano loads S--L--O--W), I'd want that on a fast M.2 Ultra SSD.

M.2 for OS drive is (IMO) a waste.  Win10 loads/runs plenty fast on a SATA SSD.

 

If you're writing a lot to a SSD (especially if it's doing triple-duty as the M.2 example above), make absolute sure you have a backup.

 

The M1 Mac Mini uses a M.2 SSD as its one and only internal drive.

Early on, there were issues with the M1 Mini constantly writing massive amounts of data to the VM Swapfile.

This was particularly concerning... as the internal SSD could have reached the maximum number of writes in well under 2 years.

Apple addressed the issue in an OSX update, but the M1 still relies heavily on writing to the VM Swapfile.

 

SSDs are tools to be used. 

Most folks will replace a SSD long before hitting the finite number of writes. 

If you're in a more extreme use scenario, be aware of the limitation and periodically check the health of the drive.

Have proper backup; use SSD/s as needed

 

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Posted (edited)

I appreciate your input, Jim.  I should have done more research on this before I went ahead with this SSD thing.  I  wanted it for the speed in loading plugin heavy projects. I guess I was thinking along the line of the fact that SDDs have no moving parts as opposed to a platter drive moving at 5400-7200 RPMs, but it seems as if every technology has it limitations at one place or another. I really don't want to complicate things with the multiple drives thing.  I managed to do 63 projects with my old system and it still has some life in it.  I just hope I can get at least that many with this new one.  Because of my age, this will probably be the last PC dedicated for the purpose of making music.  I  do a project backup after every  session.

😀John B

Edited by Johnbee58

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