technical questions for experienced audio/PC Users

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pianoman
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 4:44 am

technical questions for experienced audio/PC Users

Post by pianoman »

Hello, First I apologize if I am posting it to wrong section, but I

wasn't able to decide where to post it.
I have following questions
I need a fast if not very fast, HDD for streaming audio samples from

it. Would you prefer RAID0 or high speed raptor?
I have RAID0 now but the speed is quite slov - 100 MByte per second

(2x750 GB Seagate 7200 RPM SATA Drives).
As a RAID Controller I use sillicon Image controller connected to the

PCI Express slot.
Questions
1. How fast should be such a Raid using previously mentioned disks?
2. Is it better to use external raid controller or built in Intel

Matrix (desktop board is Intel DP45SG)
Thanx for any advices,
Pianoman

DougDbug
Posts: 2065
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2005 3:33 pm
Location: Silicon Valley

Re: technical questions for experienced audio/PC Users

Post by DougDbug »

I don't know the answer, but you can check the specs on the hard drives and/or RAID controllers.

And, I'm not sure why you need such high data rates. CDs have a bitrate of about 1400kbps (1.4Mbps), and DVDs (audio or video) are limited to about 10Mbs.

If you're multitasking, you might get good results by dedicating one drive for audio. That way, your read/write head can just read an audio file without jumping around and "seeking".

Kilmatead
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Dublin

Re: technical questions for experienced audio/PC Users

Post by Kilmatead »

DougDbug wrote:...your read/write head can just read an audio file without jumping around and "seeking".
Which is actually more what his query is about... RAID controllers, Raptors, and Server Class disks are not so much about throughput as about reduced seek times. The relative bandwidth of any given drive is more determined by the motherboard used, and the specs given for controllers are never conservative - in other words, they portray the R/W/S times under optimum conditions - not real-world conditions.

Actually any such HD query is rendered moot these days as mechanical disks are no longer considered serious hardware devices by "enthusiasts"... if you can afford it, and want "the best", SSD's are the only things worth consideration (performance wise). However, even there caveat's apply: not all SSD's are created equal, and write speed in particular is the telling point of quality. Throughput speed, again for all intents and purposes (though for different reasons), is rendered irrelevant as a drive (of any class) is only as fast as the MB hardware can handle.

The other consideration, especially in relation to audio, is the ambient noise of the drive... Raptors are in a class of their own here: they rattle and clatter to wake the dead. 10K RPM comes at a cost.

SSD's, obviously, are 100% silent.

DewDude420
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Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 11:15 pm
Location: Washington DC Metro Area
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Re: technical questions for experienced audio/PC Users

Post by DewDude420 »

I need a fast if not very fast, HDD for streaming audio samples from

it. Would you prefer RAID0 or high speed raptor?
I have RAID0 now but the speed is quite slov - 100 MByte per second

What kind of audio editing are you doing (or what with audio exactly) are you doing that would demand THAT kind of disk speed? I could understand it if you're say mixing 32-tracks of 96khz/24-bit content...sure, at 2304kbps per single channel stream that'd require a lot (73727 kbps), but that's no where near the 100mbyte a second limitation your hdd is throwing at you.

One thing about audio programs is, if you've got the ram, it'll work in ram. I know when I had 4 gigs of ram, I could load a single track up, and do all sorts of stuff to it before Goldwave even touched the HDD.

It's not a thing of throw all kinds of HDD speed at it and see what happens...audio processing depends on a lot of ram and CPU to be effective. I do all my editing on a laptop, sure a faster HDD would make things go a bit quicker, but it's by no means slowing me down.

If you really want to optimize your seeking and such...then have a drive dedicated JUST for audio work and defrag it frequently.

But...let me know what your actual work involves and maybe I can give you an idea of how much disk bandwidth you'd need.

mh
Posts: 133
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 6:20 pm

Re: technical questions for experienced audio/PC Users

Post by mh »

For streaming audio your network is going to be the bottleneck, not your hard drive. Typical 100 mbps fast ethernet will max out at about 10 mbytes per second, allowing for protocol overhead/etc, so any hard disk setup faster than that is going to be money wasted (for reference, a typical 7200 RPM consumer class HD is rated at about 70 mbytes per second, enough to saturate even gig ethernet). The internet will be slower.

If you're still determined, don't go down the RAID 0 route. It may give you speed but it has no resilience whatsoever - if one disk fails you lose everything. Can't stress this enough.

Optimal speed can be had from something like 15k RPM SAS disks in a RAID 10 array, but that's probably total overkill (not to mention quite expensive). We're talking server class hardware here.

A decent RAID5 (faster for read, slower for write) will be enough, and while a dedicated controller card is preferable in many cases, an onboard one should also be fine. Also check your various data busses/etc, as there could be bottlenecks there too which are preventing you from reaching optimal speed.

But like I said, this is all throwing money at optimizing disk reads when your bottleneck is elsewhere.

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