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Thread: Recording to flash drives vs. external drives

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    Recording to flash drives vs. external drives

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    When I record, I'm using an external hard drive to record my song tracks. Sometimes, when I do playback, it seems to me that my hard drive slows down playback and I get drop outs. I don't know if it was discussed here or not, but would it be good to record on flash drives? Since it is closer to the source drive and well, the capacity of the drive seems relevantly bigger?
    I'm using my laptop which it has Windows vista, 1.86 gig duo processor, and 2 gig of memory. I'm recording with a presonus firepod x2.
    thanks.

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    Recording to external media is generally a bad idea. USB is quite a slow interface. USB2 tops out at around 40MB/s across all devices attached to it, and a single USB HDD will transfer little faster than around 20-30MB. This isn't a bad speed, but it is compared to an intenal SATA HDD like Samsung's new Spinpoint F1 drives, which offer trasnfer speeds nearing 100MB/s. Worse still, USB places load on the CPU, which may well be the cause of your slowdowns and dropouts.

    Switching from ext HDD to ext flash will make some difference, although I'm not sure whether it'll be a positive one. Certainly, flash has much lower access latencies (you can expect under a milisecond for random access, compared to about 14ms with HDDs), but it also has much lower IO performance. You're looking at a max of around 8MB/s write and 20MB/s read for even the fastest flash media, which is a tenth that of an internal SATA drive. Worse still, flash drives tend not to have any buffer on them, so there's very little burst-rate, except for what Windows' own write cache provides. But even then, that's only if you have it enabled, which is a bad idea to do if you're liable to remove the media or knock it out of place.

    You're going to be best off using a Samsung F1 SATA II harddrive, I reckon. They're 3.5" and don't fit into laptops, but no matter - you can buy adaptors. Here's a review of one: http://laptoplogic.com/reviews/detai...rt=full&page=2

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    If you really want to be using an external HDD for recording I'd make sure that it was an eSATA interface.

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    It would also be smarter to save it all to the computer's hard disk first, and then transfer it to the external or flash or whatever

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    Quote Originally Posted by UnityRecordings View Post
    It would also be smarter to save it all to the computer's hard disk first, and then transfer it to the external or flash or whatever
    Why? As long as you have backups, which you should either way I'm not sure why an external wouldn't be as good as the internal?

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    Firewire 3200 or eSATA or ultra-320 SCSI or even Firewire 800/400 will work just fine for what you're trying to do... They have a transfer rate of equal or greater speeds then an internal HD... There's faster solutions but these are easy to find and buy...

    I recommend eSATA because of price and speed... But firewire 400-800 if you're planning on having your HD on the other side of the room (sound reasons)... USB2 if you don't have firewire 800 connections.

    SSHD (Solid-state hard-drive or flash drive) would be the best choice but are very cost prohibitive.

    It's most likely dropping out not because of your connection type, it's probably because of the HD transfer capabilities. Make sure your HD is as fast as you can afford. 10000 would be the best but 7500 will work just fine... Something as slow as firewire 400 can still transfer all the info you need (all 16 channels) if your HD is fast enough...

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