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What should live where on my system?


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I have a 17" core2duo imac & an 80g fw/usb Glyph external. I want to speed up my sytem so I plan to max out to 3g RAM & also want to get a larger (500g?) external hard drive.

 

My internal drive is about half full & so far the Glyph is about 25% full. Presently Logic Studio & all its content plus my tunes live on the internal & I backup to the Glyph. I'm not sure the best way to reorganize/redistribute data, applications & functions when I get the external. I want to record to an external drive, although at this time I'm doing more editing & mixing than tracking.

 

Anyone have suggestions on what to put where & how? I'm a little hesitant about moving data as I don't want to screw up the file paths or make it hard for Logic to find files.

 

BTW, my interface is an FW1082 w/2 fw ports but Tascam says not to daisy-chain other devices. Others have said it's OK if it's daisy-chained to a drive just used for storage/backup rather than active use. I'm running out of ports on my imac.

 

Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks.

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I would leave everything that is on the internal drive, on there. Just start creating projects on the external and you'll be fine.

 

The FireWire interface should be fine being daisy-chained as long as there is little or no other FireWire traffic on the same bus.

 

A lot of people are a little too paranoid, in my opinion, about how they have to get their system absolutely positively 150% optimized!!! It's only going to make a difference as you begin to push the limits of your machine.

 

Five years ago, I used an 867MHz PowerBook G4 and two daisy-chained MOTU FireWire interfaces to make a 16-channel, 24-bit 44.1KHz multitrack recording, using only the internal drive and Digital Performer 4 (which is a real resource hog compared to Logic). It did fine with no glitches.

 

Unless you're trying to have hundreds of EXS voices streaming off disk, and dozens and dozens of 24/96 5.1 audio tracks, my advice is to relax; your setup will be more than enough however you configure it.

 

...in my opinion, and Your Mileage May Vary, of course.

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I would leave everything that is on the internal drive, on there. Just start creating projects on the external and you'll be fine.

 

The FireWire interface should be fine being daisy-chained as long as there is little or no other FireWire traffic on the same bus.

 

When you say start creating projects on the external, do you mean new projects from scratch? Because what I'm mostly doing lately is editing & spiffing up projects started in LE7.2.3, which also live on the internal. So I make a copy of them to work in L8. If I save them to an external, won't it cause problems referencing files on the system drive?

 

Re daisy-chaining, if I plug a fw external into the 1082 & am working on projects on that drive, does that constitute "traffic" that would interfere?

 

Thanks, Matt. I fully appreciate your remarks about overkill. Logic certainly works with the original 1g RAM but it can be sluggish sometimes. I hit a few key commands in a row & I might end up with a beach ball.

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Your best performance, disk wise, happens when your applications are on one drive and your samples are on a different drive. The OS and app frequently access the disk they're on. Samples also require frequent, sustained disk access. On a given disk these simultaneous demands compete for limited bandwidth and interfere with one another. Frequent access for disparate purposes also gives rise to fragmentation, and the more fragmented a disk, the more pronounced are disk-access problems. Separate drives greatly reduce all of these problems and their effects.

 

If you're using a FW audio interface, you can expect any other activity on that bus to affect it adversely. Devices vary in their susceptibility to this, but it commonly happens. Just having a FW800 drive powered up makes my FW400 interface twitchy. I've encountered problems big enough and often enough so that I never have anything else active on that bus when I'm running an audio app; it's just simpler to avoid problems than to work around them. I'd also bet your interface's manual advises against having other devices active on the same bus. There's a good reason.

 

AFAIK, all factory Macs and PCs are single-bus designs. They may have multiple ports of the same type, but they're all running on the same bus. This is true of FW or USB. Each bus is controlled by a single chip, too, which means that the presence of a FW400 device will retard a FW800 device's performance. And on the subject of bus speed, there's a big difference between a bus' theoretical speed and the speed you will attain in real-world activity. In theory FW400 ought to have sufficient capacity to handle all but the greatest demands. In reality it falls far short of its theoretical capacity. Daisy-chaining active FW devices is convenient for most purposes, but it's a very bad idea if you're processing high-bandwidth data on that bus. Any bus has a finite data-carrying capacity. Audio and video processing require very high sustained throughput, and that just won't be possible with multiple devices accessing a given bus. Bottlenecks are almost certain to occur.

 

A solution to common-bus problems is to introduce another bus. A FW PCI card will enable you to employ two FW devices simultaneously without any of the above difficulties. Since these problems arise mostly in high-bandwidth situations, and the typical user doesn't often encounter them, it's unlikely that manufacturers are going to release machines with multiple separate busses anytime soon. Until that happens, adding a separate bus is the only way to avoid these problems altogether.

 

A little long, but necessary given the topic's complexity.

 

Hope it helps.

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Thanks, Homina, that clarifies some things. As for a FW PCI card, I have an Intel imac; don't know how that would be installed or how much they cost.

 

At present I have apps, samples & project files all on the system drive, backing up to the Glyph via fw. (It also has USB.)

 

Some people say it's better to record & save to an external. Some say to put plugins on an external. Which would be more important in your opinion, in terms of system efficiency? Should both plugins & project files be on the same external drive & just leave the Logic app on the system drive?

 

How about these options:

 

A) L8 app on system drive, plugins & samples on a USB drive, & record/save projects to another fw external drive. (means 2 externals).

 

B) L8 app & plugins/samples on system drive, & record/save projects to fw or USB external.

 

C) L8 app & record/save projects to internal, & put plugins/samples on an external fw or USB drive.

 

With any of these options, the interface will still be on fw.

Then I would need another drive for backup? This is getting expensive!

 

I do recall David once saying to just let Logic install everything where it wants to & not make it so complicated. I run Logic's plugins but my projects aren't that huge so I wouldn't think I'm overtaxing the system.

 

Opinions?

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My usual practice is to have the Logic app and all samples on my system drive, and keep all projects on an external drive.

 

The system drive isn't that busy for system purposes once Logic has started up, provided you have enough RAM. Therefore (given enough memory), there is little or no performance penalty to having samples and plugins on there.

 

My suggestion is Option B - move your project folders to the external drive, but don't bother moving samples or plugins.

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I concur with Matt Mayfield's statement regarding RAM. Nothing else you can do for the same money will have as much positive impact on your machine's performance as maxing its RAM. Memory is cheap.

 

If you've got an open PCI slot, you can install a card. Other World Computing offers USB, FW, and SATA for every Mac model, as do other vendors. In my experience USB and FW400 just aren't fast enough to keep up with high-bandwidth processing. FW800 might suffice, but not with another device active on the same bus. An external SATA will be faster than FW800, but can't be daisy-chained; each drive requires its own cable. If you go that route, get a card with multiple ports. Whatever kind of card you get, bear in mind that a bus is a bus is a bus. Any bus has finite carrying-capacity, regardless of how many ports it has or drives are connected to it. As one device uses that bandwidth, it reduces what's available for others.

 

As for how to configure your system, it's your call. If it works for you without adding drives, great. If it doesn't, you know how to proceed. Keeping the OS and apps separate from the samples is optimal. How you accomplish it - external vs. internal as boot or data disks - doesn't really matter. That's the "personal" part of personal computing. Do it any way that's practical and serves your purposes. If you add a drive, get one that's 7200 rpm or better. I also recommend that you check out BareFeats' web site before you choose a drive. They put devices to thorough real-world tests and report their performance. You can make a more informed choice after spending some time there.

 

My FW800 drives are archives, for which purpose they are well-suited. The bulk of my drives are internal SATA2. The boot disk holds all apps and the OS. All libraries except Logic's are located on the same disk, and that's all that disk contains. Since those samples were loaded sequentially onto a clean drive, they're continuous files stored at the outermost surfaces of the disk's platters. Therefore, they're optimally available when needed. A third drive is my scratch disk, where all recordings and processed files are stored. I process video as well as audio, and this arrangement works well for both. A fourth drive is a clone of the boot disk. A Mac Pro's expandability and power were the reasons I chose it.

 

Logic presents a problem in that it doesn't offer the option of storing its libraries elsewhere than the start-up disk during installation. Only Apple knows why. People on these boards have moved Logic's library manually to a separate drive and placed aliases to the files in the samples' original locations. This has worked OK for some, but not for others. I don't pretend to know why in either case. I left Logic's library files where it expects them to be. The program is already flaky enough without my doing something else to cause headaches. Other audio apps and plug-ins not only permit library placement elsewhere, but recommend it for the same reasons I stated earlier.

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