Any partitioning strategies for audio?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Tone_Terrific, Mar 18, 2006.

  1. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    I am replacing my aging g3 with a g4 (hey, at least it's from this century) and have a lot more drive space to organize but I need a good suggestion as to how to allocate paritition size for 240g spread amongst 3 drives. This is not a dedicated DAW.

    Thanks.
     
  2. amper

    amper Member

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    I would take your first drive and partition it with two partitions, make one system for general usage, one for DAW usage. Then take your other two drives and make a striped RAID (RAID Level 0) out of them, and use that as your recording deck.
     
  3. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Why?
     
  4. ZenFly06

    ZenFly06 Member

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    I use this kind of set up:
    Drive 1: Programs
    Drive 2: Daw files
    Drive 3 is raid mirrored at this time. But I'm going to re format with a RAID 0 soon.

    It works for me. It seems by having all programs seperated from work files (DAW) the performance is more stable. It is usally considered a "best practice" to do so, but I'm sure it is possible to simply partition a single drive to achieve similar results.
    Besides, HDs are really cheap these days, so why not?
     
  5. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    >> It seems by having all programs seperated from work files (DAW) the performance is more stable.

    Assuming you mean keeping audio files ("DAW" would be a misnomer) on a separate drive from the program and system files, that is correct.

    >> It is usally considered a "best practice" to do so, but I'm sure it is possible to simply partition a single drive to achieve similar results.

    Part of the idea of a streaming audio to and from a separate drive is that it be on a separate bus, which partitioning one drive would not achieve.

    >> I would take your first drive and partition it with two partitions, make one system for general usage, one for DAW usage.

    On older machines, some people had OSX on one partition and OS9 (not "Classic") on another, because having both installed on the same partition sometimes caused problems. But I know of no advantage to having two partitions with the same OS. If you're on OS9 you can create two different extension sets, one for audio and one for general tasks, and if you're on OSX you don't need to.
     
  6. amper

    amper Member

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    Disclaimer: I am a technology consultant specializing in Macintosh systems. So, theoretically, I know what I'm doing, or my clients wouldn't pay me to do it.

    Setting up two separate system partitions allows you to keep one system tailored specifically to the needs of your recording system, without mucking it up with a whole bunch of other software that may or may not be loading background processes or system kernel extensions that may or may not interfere with your recording system.

    If you set up a separate, general usage partition, you can load what ever the heck you want on it without fear of causing problems with your DAW system.

    I actually have three system partitions set up on my G5. The G5 is not my day to day desktop system (for that, I have an eMac and an iBook). The first two partitions are both set up for DAW usage exclusively. That way, I always have a fallback system in case something goes wrong with an upgrade to OS X or Logic, or whatever. The third partition is set up as a general usage system, for those times when I need the horsepower of the Dual G5's.

    Setting up a RAID 0 to use only as a recording deck will enable you to gain a vast amount of disk I/O performance over a single drive, which you may find important as you will be CPU limited by the G4 if you're doing any heavy processing in your recording software. Digital audio recording requires a fairly substantial I/O budget, and hard drives are cheap, so it makes sense to go as fast as you can, if you have the space for it. The later G4's can hold up to four drives internally. You may even find it beneficial to run your system partitions on a RAID 0 for even more speed.

    You may even want to consider SATA drives for your G4, with an appropriate PCI controller (I'd recommend Sonnet), or even high-end SCSI drives (but at that point, it's probably cheaper to go with a G5 system rather than a G4).

    CAVEAT: RAID 0 effectively doubles your chance of data loss (on two drives...on more drives, it's even worse). It is extremely important that if you decide to go this route, you make sure you have a stable and effective backup system in case you lose a drive.

    In my G5, I'm not running a RAID, because the internal SATA bus seems to handle my needs OK for now. I've got two 160GB Seagate Barracuda drives (7200 RPM). One has the three system partitions, the other is the recording deck, with two separate partitions to help me keep them clean. Since the G5's only hold two drives internally, if I find the need to move to RAID 0 in the future, I'll need to got with external drives or buy one of the very expensive conversion kits that let you use more internal drives. Id like to able to afford an XServe RAID, but I just can't justify it for my own needs.

    I also have two LaCie 250GB Firewire 800 drives that I use for backup and my CD archive and iTunes library.
     
  7. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Not to argue with you in your field, nor the logic that it is probably the absolutely safest thing to do and in no way does it do harm. Like wearing a condom 24/7 – what could happen?

    FWIW, I do not personally know a pro user of any of the "big three" DAWs for Mac who has OS X installed on two partitions, nor anyone who has had a problem as a result of not having done so, nor do any of the DAW manufacturers specifically recommend doing so, to my knowledge. Again, not that I'm disagreeing with you in your field of expertise, but this is the first time in about 4 years of using Pro Tools in OS X that I've heard of anyone doing that who didn't have OS 9 on the same drive.

    The only exception I know of is that PT 7 and Logic 7 on the same machine need to be on separate partitions, or did at one time. Maybe that's been fixed. Regardless, I have a feeling that's not what the questioner is planning to do.
     
  8. amper

    amper Member

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    There's always more than one way to skin a cat, as they say...

    But...the question isn't so much one of "causing" problems, so much as it is one of, "What do I do *when* I have a problem?" Because, as we all know, when it comes to computers (yes, even Macintoshes), eventually, they *all* break. It's not a question of "if", it's a question of "when".

    Actually, having two separate system partitions is something I recommend to everyone, not just for professional (audio or otherwise) usage. If nothing else, it allows you to boot from a second partition and diagnose the first one.

    There have also been many issues in the past with system updates or the like inadvertently causing problems with other installed software or hardware drivers, as wsa the case with the Presonus Firewire interface that preceded the FirePod (can't remember the name offhand), which ceased to function after a certain system software update was installed. There wasn't a fix for quite some time, as I recall, and no easy way to go back. If you have a second backup system or test system, you can always reboot on another partition and get back to work.

    Even though I can fix just about anything that could ever break with a Mac (or a PC for that matter), it's cheap insurance against a big headache down the road.

    And, BTW, if you wore a condom 24/7, the skin of your winky would fall off...;)
     
  9. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Hasn't yet.

    ;)
     
  10. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    Thanks, I will put osx on 1 partition and os9 on another since I must run 9 for my s/w (and as a backup system) and hardware BUT BUT BUT this is a dual 1ghz mdd and I find I must have a special version of 9.2.2 to boot to os9 and that is only available with the original restore disks and I do not have those. Problem 1.

    Problem 2- this thing is really noisy. I am aware (now) that this is a long-standing defect and was addressed by Apple at one point, but am not aware of any simple current solution.

    My partitioning strategy question was just to minimize lost drive space, keep data flow up, and ease file/project organization. I don't know how to configure for RAID's and that may be beyond my need.
     
  11. straticus

    straticus Member

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    Is there a partition program that you would recommend?
     
  12. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Apple's Disk Utility works great. Digi recommends using only that. I don't know what other software companies recommend, but I don't use anything else and my drives work wherever I take them. Whenever I buy a new drive the first thing I do is format it with Disk Utility, whether I'm partitioning it or not. I never use formatting software from the disk manufacturer.

    EDIT: what I said above applies to firewire or USB drives. SCSI drives are more finicky in how they communicate with the SCSI controller, and sometimes they need to be formatted with the controller manufacturer's software. At least that's how it was the last time I bought a SCSI drive and controller in 2002. And I made sure to buy only the controller recommended by Glyph, who put together the system.
     
  13. elambo

    elambo Member

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    I think it's been suggested here already, but not blatantly stated: partitioning one hard drive into two or more sections does NOT give you two or more hard drives. There's only one read/write head (and one bus) on that drive and by partitioning the drive into sections your asking that single head to run back and forth amongst all partitions - potentially reading/writing at the same time - and slowing down the performance of the drive. This isn't a problem with system or application files, but with audio it's asking a lot.

    The best way to get the performance of multiple drives is to use multiple drives.
     
  14. elambo

    elambo Member

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    Agreed. Haven't needed anything else.
     
  15. straticus

    straticus Member

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    I have one drive for my apps and one for wave / Samp. project files.

    I have one computer that serves as DAW and everything else, web surfing, Photoshop stuff, etc. My reason for partitioning would be to have one "clean" boot that only loads DAW apps. and one for everything else. I don't want apps. running in the background that I don't need while working in the DAW.

    Does this make any sense?
     

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