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Is it a good idea to use an external hdd for logic?


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Hi, im new to the forum so please go easy.


I have recently bought a new imac with a 320gb hdd. This computer i use for everything and the hard drive is starting to get full, but the sole purpose of buying a mac it is so that i can run logic 8 which should be coming in the post soon.


My question is, would it be wise to install logic onto an external hdd? Will this affect logics performance if i get a usb external hdd and make it run slower? i would use that hard drive just for logic, my recordings and samples etc just to make things easier.


Is this a good idea?


Thanks in advance


:D :)

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Before you do anything else, max your machine's RAM. Nothing else will give you as much performance boost for the same amount of money, and not just for audio, but for everything.


In order to install Logic on an external drive, that drive will have to be your boot drive when you run the installer. There's no particular advantage in running from an internal or external drive if they're on the same kind of bus. Different busses, however, have different data-carrying capacities. Your internal drive is a SATA2, which is almost four times faster than your FW800 bus, and about 10 times faster than your USB 2 bus. Since the installer places the Logic app and its samples on the same drive, you'll get your best performance if you install to your fastest drive, the internal SATA2. Since your internal drive is getting full, either replace it with a bigger one, or move stuff off of it to an external drive. As far as audio processing goes, a 320GB drive on a general purpose machine is small. A full install of Logic Studio will consume a big chunk of that. And if you ever start processing video, the required disk capacities will startle you. These days you can get a 7200RPM 750GB internal SATA2 drive for about 200 USD. You can get a 7200RPM 1TB internal SATA2 drive for about 300 USD. Either of those drives will come with a 32MB buffer, which enables them to move data at over 100MB/sec. Most smaller drives, like your 320, have smaller buffers. If you installed a much larger drive, the overall performance difference would be obvious.


A FW800 external drive is a vastly better choice than a USB 2 drive for digital audio. USB is OK for archives and backups, but during sustained transfers it places high demands on your CPU compared to other bus protocols, which makes its performance much less consistent as your CPU's load changes. If you use any plug-ins, you'll get better performance if you install their components and apps to the boot drive and their corresponding samples to a separate drive - assuming that both drives are fast enough to give you acceptable performance in the first place.

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