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  #1  
Old 11-30-2013, 08:34 PM
marcnyc marcnyc is offline
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Default Internal PCIe-based Flash Storage for Pro Tools audio

Hello, I am about to buy a new MacBook Pro retina display and I am debating whether to get the pricey 1Tb PCIe-based Flash Storage or the 500Gb it comes with.
Right now I am always carrying/using a bus powered GlyphTech PortaGig FireWire 800 drive with me for sessions and I am wondering whether these new SSD drives inside the new Macs are fast enough that they can be used instead of an external FW drive (especially because I don't know how fast that will be once there is the Thunderbolt-to-FireWire conversion happening on top of everything else).
The question is:
- can I use the internal Flash memory of the new MacBook Pro to record/edit sessions since they are supposed to be so much faster than FW, or is it still better to use an external FW drive?
- is it worth it to get the 1Tb drive for $500 more instead of the 500Gb drive that comes with the Mac considering that now I do have a 500Gb drive which is almost full and that I read the new MBP can not be upgraded to bigger drives?
Thanks
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Old 11-30-2013, 08:59 PM
Craig F Craig F is offline
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Default Re: Internal PCIe-based Flash Storage for Pro Tools audio

I still would prefer not to record to the System Drive SSD or not
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  #3  
Old 11-30-2013, 09:14 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
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Default Re: Internal PCIe-based Flash Storage for Pro Tools audio

I'll give you an unsatisfctory non-answer. And I don't have a HD + MBP Retina to test with.

Avid still recommends using dedicated audio/session drive. I don't know if they have tested PCIe Flash as a combo boot/system/audio drive.

If you are getting away today with a single Firewire 800 external HDD then I suspect you might work OK to a the Boot/System PCIe drive if you are very careful. And if you are using timeline cache that could help significantly.

My personal approach with these Retina MBPs would be to get the largest SSD available, I'm always in need of space on the system disk (for plugins, etc.). I would try it and see if sessions record reliably to that disk then great, if not then I'd go back to an external HDD or SSD. And $1/GB for the extra disk capacity, is a pretty good price for a PCIe Flash from Apple, well it could be a lot worse. I'd work with the Apple provided SSD until the unit was a little older and out of warranty then I'd likely look at upgrading to larger again SSDs from folks like OWC. The Retina SSD are replaceable/upgradable but it's a hassle.

SSD disk performance is fairly complex, even though PCIe buses are fast, the actual NAND flash erase/writes are realtively slow, and SSD performance for write and mixed write/read performance depends critically on how well the garbage collection is implemented in the processor inside the SSD. So even with the apparent blinding speed of PCIe flash I would not just assume that Pro Tools will work OK with audio to the system drive. You have to test it (and under sustained load). (and FWIW I'm routinely running small sessions ~dozen tracks with a few tracks of SD drum VIs on it on an older MBP off a single Samsung 840 Evo system drive, of course I'm not surprised if it sometimes hiccups).

And with these MBP the Thunderbolt (and even USB 3) connections to an external SSD offer so much more performance than a Firewire 800 external HDD that I'd be looking at one of these for session files if I did not want to or could not record to the internal SSD. Here is an interesting starting point for Thunderbolt/SSD external drives... http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?id=10599
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Old 11-30-2013, 11:56 PM
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JFreak JFreak is offline
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Default Re: Internal PCIe-based Flash Storage for Pro Tools audio

Personally, I'd say there's nothing wrong with recording to the new rMBP system drive. It is very fast!

Back in 2002 I had this very powerful PowerBook G4 667MHz with 512MB memory and retrofitted 60GB 7200RPM internal hard drive. I used that laptop to record 16 track gigs on location. Never I carried an external drive with me and never I had a hiccup with the setup. Naturally I had it partitioned so the "work" area of the drive could easily be emptied before the gig, and so I always did.

Then this summer I tested the previous rMBP model, which does NOT have that faster SSD connection. The laptop had 16GB memory and I used HDN Thunderbolt, so Disk Cache was on. I was able to record 64 tracks of 96kHz audio without a single hiccup for as long as there was DC available. Once that ran out, the recording stopped. This was just testing at that moment, but the main point here is that you would really benefit from DC when you record. If your whole session can fit into memory, it doesn't matter if you recorded on USB stick or over the network. HD only guys, so that's one really really big reason to consider HDN.
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  #5  
Old 12-01-2013, 10:38 AM
marcnyc marcnyc is offline
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Default Re: Internal PCIe-based Flash Storage for Pro Tools audio

Thanks for your answers guys...
Sorry, but what is timeline cache which Darryl mentions and what is DC which JFreak mentions. Is it something I have to enable in the system prefs?
Thanks
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  #6  
Old 12-01-2013, 11:09 AM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
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Default Internal PCIe-based Flash Storage for Pro Tools audio

Timeline cache is the proper name ( :-O ) for the disk cache in Pro Tools HD 10 and HD 11 (HD feature only). That is what was meant as well by DC (Disk Cache). The Pro Tools reference guide has all the details.
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Old 12-01-2013, 02:57 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Internal PCIe-based Flash Storage for Pro Tools audio

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Ramm View Post
Timeline cache is the proper name ( :-O ) for the disk cache in Pro Tools HD 10 and HD 11 (HD feature only). That is what was meant as well by DC (Disk Cache). The Pro Tools reference guide has all the details.
What it does is load the audio files of your session into RAM(assuming you have a lot as most do these days).
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:11 AM
marcnyc marcnyc is offline
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Default Re: Internal PCIe-based Flash Storage for Pro Tools audio

I see. Is this available on PT 10 native (non HDX)? And how much ram is needed for that? I think my new MBP will have 16Gb
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:58 AM
nst7 nst7 is offline
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Default Re: Internal PCIe-based Flash Storage for Pro Tools audio

It's only on HD software, or with the Complete Toolkit if you're on 10 or earlier.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:14 PM
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JFreak JFreak is offline
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Default Re: Internal PCIe-based Flash Storage for Pro Tools audio

Quote:
Originally Posted by marcnyc View Post
I see. Is this available on PT 10 native (non HDX)? And how much ram is needed for that? I think my new MBP will have 16Gb
HD feature, but doesn't require HDX card. If you have 16 gigs you can safely use 10 gigs for cache.
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