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  • DAWs, Solid State Drives, and the future

    My six-year old iMac is showing its age and there may be a new computer in my future.

     

    For work, my company supplied me with a Macbook Air, and I LOVE the damn thing.  The solid state drive is silent and fast.  And of course it is super lightweight and ultra-portable.  But it would disappear if I changed jobs.

     

    I have one of the newer iPads, and the retina screen is simply gorgeous.  And it, too, has a solid state drive.

     

    I see that Apple is pushing the SSDs into the Macbook Pro line as well.

     

    If I were to get a new computer today, I'd likely get a 13" Macbook Air or Pro, a nice 27" monitor, and an external HD (mostly for my movies and iTunes library).  A 768 GB solid state drive is probably out of my price range right now.  (The Macbook Pro seems more practical than the Air due to a) more ports, b) built-in optical drive, and 3) retina display.)

     

    Is anyone using their DAW and doing audio recording using a SSD?  If so, I assume it works fine (or even great)?

     

    Now is probably not the best time to buy a new machine, with SSDs and retina displays likely to become cheaper.  In a few years, I envision a 13" Air with a retina display and 1 TB SSD for $1199.

     

    Thoughts welcome.

    -------------------------------
    Michael
    Jupiter-50, MOX6, TI Polar, Moog LP, Korg Micro X, JV-1080
    27" iMac, DP 7.24, Omnisphere, Alchemy, many more...
    http://www.youtube.com/keybdwizrd

  • #2
    Tried asus zenbook with ssd. Loading huge sample library is lightning fast. My desktop is now a xeon e3 1245v2 with non-ssd western digital re4(enterprise class) and its just $600. I guess thats the only advantage, fast loading. For recording, mixing , vsts and stuffs, no difference. Im still wary of ssd reliability, and at times, it can perform slower. So personally, id always go for server cpu and 'enterprise' hdd. The vsts I use, no notebook can keep up
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    • #3

      I put a SSD in my 2007 Macbook Pro, but I haven't actually done much music since doing so. I've been too busy. However, it seems to be fine. The old 5400rpm hard drive was never a bottleneck for me; working on my own music, I only ever recorded 2 channels at a time, and on playback I have more virtual instruments than recorded audio.

       

      The software certainly starts up more quickly, although my elderly computer has a SATA I bus, so I don't get the full speed the SSD is capable of.

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      • Bernard
        Bernard commented
        Editing a comment

         

        In 2013...


    • #4

      I recently purchased a non-retina display MacBook Pro. It's a quad core i7 and came with a 5400 RPM drive. I put 16GB of RAM into it, and eventually I'll probably pull the optical drive out and put in a SSD, then put the optical into an external / USB case. With a SSD as your system drive, and a ton of RAM installed, the whole computer "feels" a lot faster, and the processor is no longer bottlenecked by the slow disk speed. Programs open a lot faster too, which is also nice.


      I think that solid state drives make a lot of sense for system drives, but there are still some concens I have in terms of doing tons of write / erase cycles with them, which is crucial for a recording drive. However, with a lot of modern software going forward, and the ability of 64 bit systems to handle more RAM, I think we'll see more and more programs using a disk cache type system where the recording session is handled entirely within RAM. I've been doing this with Pro Tools 10, and it really makes disk related issues a thing of the past. 


      My recommendation would be to put your money into the fastest CPU (quad core i7 preferred) and as much RAM as you can get first, and make the SSD system drive a lower priority. I still am not comfortable recommending a SSD as your primary recording drive, but I'd definitely like to put one into my MBP as the system / program drive.


       

      **********

      "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

      - George Carlin

      "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

      - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

      "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

      - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

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      • #5

        keybdwizrd wrote:

         

         

        Thoughts welcome.


        Macs suck.  PC's are betterer.

         

        <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell...</font></div>

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        • craigwer
          craigwer commented
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          BonsoWonderDog wrote:

          keybdwizrd wrote:

           

           

          Thoughts welcome.


          Macs suck.  PC's are betterer.

           


          finally some good advice !


      • #6

        Now is probably not the best time to buy a new machine, with SSDs and retina displays likely to become cheaper.


        This never changes, computer gear constantly increases pwerformance for the same price or drops price for the same performance. If you realy need a new machine, buy one now. If you just want one, then wait.

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        • Phil O'Keefe
          Phil O'Keefe commented
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          Meatball Fulton wrote:


          Now is probably not the best time to buy a new machine, with SSDs and retina displays likely to become cheaper.

           


          This never changes, computer gear constantly increases pwerformance for the same price or drops price for the same performance. If you realy need a new machine, buy one now. If you just want one, then wait.




           


           


          Excellent advice IMO. I suspect retina displays, SSDs, and large screen monitors will all get cheaper as time goes on, but that's going to be a gradual thing. Computer technology is always in a state of flux, and if you wait for the next big thing, you'll be waiting forever. Yes, if something really innovative and useful to you has been announced, but isn't shipping quite yet, you may want to wait if you can... but otherwise, you may as well jump in. Better to upgrade and have use of a new machine than to be waiting indefinitely.


           


           


      • #7

        I updated my dual old core duo 2.93 macbook pro with a 500gb SSD harddrive that I got for about $500 last year.  It added a lot of speed, starts up in 20 seconds, programs load way faster, and it was an all together good upgrade.  I'm over rotating hard discs.

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