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I am replacing a hard disk and started to look for a proper new drive.

I have seen these "special purpose" hard disks which were designed for Network Attached System, using in datacenters, even "Built for always-on surveillance storage applications" etc.

There's heavy load on the hard disk when a song is mixed. My goals here are speed, reliability and durability (f*ck, I don't want to reinstall all my bloody VSTs every 1-2 years!).

Is there a special-purpose hard disk type which is the closest for the need for anyone mixing songs, or should I go for the "plain" hard drives?

(Note, I am aware of this question: More reliable hard drives? - put this one asks if any of these special purpose disks are good for mixing)

  • As a comment, I hope there won't be "special hard disks for music" which are ordinary, cheap hard disks, only with a guitar sticker on them with doubled prices, bought from instrument stores :D. – atoth Oct 16 '14 at 10:03
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All drives fail eventually, so a complete restorable backup is more important than how long any particular drive may last.

All figures are bell-curves, one drive lasts 10 years, its twin fails on the first day; most last for around the mean time to failure figure the manufacturer may quote.

That said, Backblaze use only consumer-level drives, as they have found the fail rates are not much different for enterprise drives, vs. cost. This was their most recent failure rate report... https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-drive-reliability-update-september-2014/

an SSD would be fastest; RAID array most reliable, as you can rebuild the array if one drive fails [Type 5]. From the Backblaze results it would appear that Enterprise drives are not necessarily more reliable than consumer.

A belt & braces approach may be to use a RAID 5 for longer-term storage & an SSD for 'just this project'. Copy over to SSD, work, save, copy back after the project is finished.
I actually keep my most-used sample sets on SSD, which really seems to help. The Master copies are on 2 other HDs & backed up off-site.

That wouldn't preclude the use of regular backup strategy in addition, of course.

  • Though it does not answer the question directly the link cited is very interesting, thanks for that! – atoth Oct 16 '14 at 12:07
  • Sorry, I suppose it doesn't. In that case - an SSD would be fastest; RAID array most reliable, as you can rebuild the array if one drive fails [Type 5]. From the Backblaze results it would appear that Enterprise drives are not necessarily more reliable than consumer. – Tetsujin Oct 16 '14 at 12:10
  • I'll work something more into my answer... – Tetsujin Oct 16 '14 at 12:13
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Sound should not be demanding on your hard drive at all. Even with numerous tracks, each individual feed in full 24 bit PCM should be only around 8 to 16MB per minute. It would take around 600 tracks to hit the data rate of a cheap modern hard drive. Seek time can be an issue, but that's better handled by investing in memory so that tracks can be cached and easily randomly accessed.

If you need random access to a large library of sounds, an SSD might be worth it, but I would recommend making it a secondary drive that can be replaced more frequently as SSDs often have a far more limited set of rewrites before failure than a HDD, but they don't have the seek time issue.

  • So you basically say that seek time optimization is way more important than buying "specific" hard disk. Great tip! – atoth Oct 29 '14 at 12:48
  • This is not the practical case when you do a lot of seeking and jumping around a big project. It is very easy to eat out buffers quickly and find yourself waiting for the drive most of the time. And one day if you ever need to mix with video everything goes worse. SSD with a frequent backup system is the most comfortable and carefree solution I experienced. – Guney Ozsan Dec 30 '14 at 21:01
  • @GuneyOzsan - sure if you are dealing with video it matters, but the OP wasn't talking about working with video as near as I can tell. I already commented that if you need to access a large library an SSD might be helpful, but in the vast majority of standard cases that don't involve video, you are better served by more RAM than by SSDs. – AJ Henderson Dec 30 '14 at 21:06

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