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Robert Bone

WOW - what a pleasant hardware surprise!

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Just too happy not to share - I happen to have an Alienware 17 R5 laptop, that I use both for live performance (I play keys and use VST hosting software to load up a bunch of soft synth sounds), and I also use it for mobile recording of things like drums or the bass player, or a vocalist, etc...

Anyways, I had already modified its original configuration, to put in 2 M.2 2280 NVME 2TB drives, as well as an additional 2TB Sata SSD.  Well, I just found out tonight, in a review of the specs, that it actually supports THREE NVME drives, with the 4th slot used for Bluetooth and WiFi.

SO, I thought having a laptop with not only room for 3 hard drives, but 2 of those as NVME drives, was crazy kewl, but now I can actually add an additional NVME drive, which is absolutely amazing, as I have more sample libraries I can load up on it now.

WAHOOO!!!!

I apologize for the all caps on the wahoo, I was just absolutely floored to find out I can have a total of 4 hard drives on a laptop, with 3 of those being the super speedy NVME type.  This is going to put a quick dent in my budget....

Bob Bone

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Congrats!

I used the Dell Precision laptops for ages for video editing, they also can have 4 hard drives, 2 inbuilt ssd, 1 M.2 SATA and then you can swap out the DVD drive for another SSD. Not the superfast ones as in your Alienware. I don't know if they still even make the precision's today.

Being able to have multiple internal drives in a laptop cures one of the drawbacks of using them in the first place. Even just having 2 would be sufficient these days for a music editing laptop but 3 would be the standard and with 4? well now your just being spoiled!

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New computer day for Robert!

I don't even know what an NVME drive is (I'm going to be jazzed when I can finally pull the 7200 drive in my i5 Dell Inspiron notebook and swap it for an SSD), but here's to having THREE of them. 😊

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1 minute ago, Starship Krupa said:

New computer day for Robert!

I don't even know what an NVME drive is (I'm going to be jazzed when I can finally pull the 7200 drive in my i5 Dell Inspiron notebook and swap it for an SSD), but here's to having THREE of them. 😊

Thanks, guys - an M.2 2280 NVME drive is kind of like a super-charged SSD drive that doesn't use the SATA III transfer protocol, but rather the NVME protocol, which transmits data up to 7 times faster than SATA III (SATA III drives, whether HDD or SSD, transfer at a max of about 500 MB/second.  NVME drives transfer - depending on make/model of the drive, at up to 3,500 MB/second).   NVME stands for Non-Volatile Memory Express, which is an open-standard that lets an NVME drive transfer at the speed of the drive, rather than limited to the cap of SATA III at 500 MB/Sec.

I also neglected to mention that the Alienware 17 R5 laptop comes with a Thunderbolt 3 port on it, which is INSANE - supporting up to 40 Gbits/sec.  I deliberately sought out such a laptop when I was looking for one, that had both NVME support and a Thunderbolt 3 port.  I bought a UAD Arrow audio interface for use with the laptop, which I mostly use for either live performance to play soft synths, and also for simple mobile recording sessions, like plugging the bass player in or grabbing a remote vocal - it has but 2 combo inputs and a Hi-Z, but that is all this is needed for, so it works out perfect for MY situation.  There are more Thunderbolt 3 audio interfaces now available, with 8-combo ins, and 8-port expansions, etc., but if I need that many inputs I would be using my desktop setup, where I already have 16 combo inputs.

Anyways - for anyone looking at laptops coming up, I HIGHLY recommend the Alienware series - as I said I happen to have the 17 R5, but I believe some of the others might also support the NVME drives, though I would be careful to look at specs and double-check, as sometimes specs listed in computer store sites can be wrong.  Prices on NVME drives are also coming down nicely, and as I indicated, there are also now additional Thunderbolt 3 audio interfaces available.  My one regret with the desktop I built, is that I didn't realize I could never add Thunderbolt 3 support to an AMD-based motherboard, but it is still a monster, with 128 GB RAM , it also has two 2TB NVME drives and six 2TB SSD drives.

Any kind of computer with one or more NVME drive will be pretty speedy - accessing things like sample libraries on that drive, and if you can also get into at least having the motherboard support for Tunderbolt 3, that would set you up for sometime down the road moving up to a Thunderbolt 3 audio interface.

All of this Tim Allen Tool Time talk has me so stoked, I am likely to be up all night now, working on some recording tasks I need to get knocked out.  WHEEE!

Bob Bone

 

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Note that NVME is only as good as the drive behind it. And cheap drives are cheap for a reason...

Examples from my own notebooks:

* original drive installed in my Dell XPS was not bad, it could really deliver over SATA speeds. But even that drive was not comparable with EVO Pro 970 I put into it later.

* Lenovo Ideapad also say "NVME". But practical benchmarks have shown under SATA speeds, all the way down to 90MB/Second.

When looking at published performance results, keep in mind that SSD drives know when some space is not allocated. "Reading" empty drive indicate up to full NVME speed, the drive is not really accessing the storage in this case, it generates zeros.

 

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Agree. Cheap NVMe are like cheap SATA SSDs. They overheat, or have tiny cache and don't perform well.

I'd also go for a Pro SKU if I were getting 2TB NVMe drives. If I'm investing that much, I want the higher endurance and better warranty. 

 

Lastly, m.2 drives can be SATA or NVMe, so you have to make sure you aren't buying drives with 2 notches on them (that's SATA). For normal day to day operation, you aren't going to see huge differences between data and nvme as most tasks don't require that kind of bandwidth. 

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I've found from my own experience, if you spend a little extra on your computer (DAW) even if you go over budget a little, it totally increases the ROI because of being able to do upgrades later on. I get many years out of my PC purchases following this formula--oh yeah, and a rocket ship DAW in the process!

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I have agree on the worth of buying top-notch drives.  All of my SSD drives are 2 TB Samsung 860 Pro, and the 2 M.2 drives are Samsung 960 Pro, and they rock.

Bob Bone

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