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Old 01-12-2011, 11:40 AM
BigEvil BigEvil is offline
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Default SATA or Firewire 800 for higher track count?

I can't seem to find any solid documentation on this any more. I have a new Mac Pro that easily enables me to put in a dedicated SATA audio drive(probably a WD Black 7200RPM) however years ago I was having disk usage errors and track count limitations using SATA and was getting much better performance with FW800 drives. I'd taken the issue to the DUC and was informed by Digi Tech back then (this is likely 4 years ago) that SATA had lower track count limitations than FW 800 however I can't find any solid documentation on either side any longer. I just simply want to know if I'm better recording to my high performance digi approved FW800 drives or installing a dedicated SATA drive for recording.

In case this information helps its a Mac Pro 8 Core Westmere with 16GB RAM, dedicated separate internal system & sample drives. A typical session will be around 85 tracks with 2-4 plugins each however some sessions get up to around 125 tracks. Always 48k/24bit

Thanks so much for your help
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Old 01-12-2011, 12:58 PM
Jon_Atkinson Jon_Atkinson is offline
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Default Re: SATA or Firewire 800 for higher track count?

My understanding is that FW800 has a maximum sustained data transfer rate of 70MB per sec...
Most SATA II drives spec around 270MB per sec, but the protocol itself can sustain 3GB per sec...
SATA III is double that.

In the real world the difference is not so marked, but in my experience SATA internal drives wipe the floor with FW800.
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Old 01-12-2011, 02:02 PM
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albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: SATA or Firewire 800 for higher track count?

Agreed, SATA should beat the tar out of FW800.
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Old 01-12-2011, 02:17 PM
nst7 nst7 is offline
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Default Re: SATA or Firewire 800 for higher track count?

Even if for some reason you had issues, you could always put a second audio drive in there, and split the tracks between the 2 drives. But as the others said, it shouldn't be an issue.
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Old 01-13-2011, 06:04 PM
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O.G. Killa O.G. Killa is offline
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Default Re: SATA or Firewire 800 for higher track count?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEvil View Post
I can't seem to find any solid documentation on this any more. I have a new Mac Pro that easily enables me to put in a dedicated SATA audio drive(probably a WD Black 7200RPM) however years ago I was having disk usage errors and track count limitations using SATA and was getting much better performance with FW800 drives. I'd taken the issue to the DUC and was informed by Digi Tech back then (this is likely 4 years ago) that SATA had lower track count limitations than FW 800 however I can't find any solid documentation on either side any longer. I just simply want to know if I'm better recording to my high performance digi approved FW800 drives or installing a dedicated SATA drive for recording.

In case this information helps its a Mac Pro 8 Core Westmere with 16GB RAM, dedicated separate internal system & sample drives. A typical session will be around 85 tracks with 2-4 plugins each however some sessions get up to around 125 tracks. Always 48k/24bit

Thanks so much for your help
At 48KHz/24bit, you need 141KB/s per track. So look at drive specs and add up how much bandwidth you'll need. You also need to factor in the drive's seek time and cache. The larger the cache the faster it will be for music applications. Something with 64MB of cache should be able to hand a session with 125 tracks in it, regardless of whether it is FW800 or SATAII.

Which by the way, most FW800 external hard drives actually have SATAII hard drives in them and the internal FW chipset inside the case converts from SATA to FW.
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Old 01-17-2011, 12:44 AM
Guy McDude Guy McDude is offline
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Default Re: SATA or Firewire 800 for higher track count?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon_Atkinson View Post

In the real world the difference is not so marked, but in my experience SATA internal drives wipe the floor with FW800.

agreed.
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Old 01-17-2011, 12:55 AM
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Kenmillerjr Kenmillerjr is offline
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Default Re: SATA or Firewire 800 for higher track count?

SATA hands down. Just installed two of them in my system this weekend, doing away with the need to track to a FW drive. Worked great with capturing 48 channels of audio yesterday!
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Old 01-17-2011, 02:39 AM
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Default Re: SATA or Firewire 800 for higher track count?

SATA is the current king of the hill for reasonably priced hard drives. Internal or external, does not matter, but SATA is as fast as the drive itself can perform.

Opt for higher rpm drives if you can, it is the surest way for driving latency down. That is the #1 most important factor for getting more tracks. Cache will not help there if the drive itself cannot keep up. Cache is "only" good for reading stuff, not helpful for recording where a single hiccup stops the process.

There are 10krpm drives for sure, but if you need the very seriously best recording performance you have to get 15krpm drives. Sadly, I think these are still SCSI-only (?) but if someone can point out a 15krpm SATA drive, I'd be interested :)
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