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External FireWire Drive - 400 or 800 matter?
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jayrmon
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Joined: 06/01/2012 22:20:57
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Hello,

I'm a newbie and slowly getting more comfortable with my FireStudio Mobile and S1. I have searched the forums but no luck finding an answer yet.

I have everything installed and things seem to be working. My next purchase is an external Firewire drive for my Macbook Pro (OSx 10.8.5). I have 2 Thunderbolt ports and I am currently using the Apple Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter to connect to my FS Mobile.
Since the FS mobile has FW 400 ports, should I just go with a FW 400 drive or 800, or Thunderbolt...I suppose? I'm assuming 800 or Thunderbolt will just convert down?

I was looking at buying a Mercury Elite FW drive from Macsales.

I have some SATA drives lying around and could can buy a FW400/USB 2.0 enclosure for $45. Not bad to get me started.

I was also looking at a 1 TB FW800/USB3.0 drive for $150.

The $45 enclosure seems like a no-brainer to me...to get started.

Thanks for any input!
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mwright137
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1. How many tracks will you be recording simultaneously? That will determine the pipeline you need. If only 8, FW400 should be fine. And just to clarify, the fact that the FireStudio uses FW400 in no way should affect your hard drive speed. I would not recommend daisy chaing the recording drive with your FireStudio. Just get another adapter and use the other port for the drive.

2. Why not go with a Thunderbolt drive and not have to upgrade any time soon? It's overkill for your situation, but I'm guessing you might expand someday.

3. Hard drive RPM is a big factor as well. 5400 RPM will handle 16 tracks (in my experience) but anything more and you will need at least 7200 RPM.

The external drives I use are USB 2.0 and they handle 16 tracks just fine. So far...
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jayrmon
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Joined: 06/01/2012 22:20:57
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mwright137 wrote:1. How many tracks will you be recording simultaneously? That will determine the pipeline you need. If only 8, FW400 should be fine. And just to clarify, the fact that the FireStudio uses FW400 in no way should affect your hard drive speed. I would not recommend daisy chaing the recording drive with your FireStudio. Just get another adapter and use the other port for the drive.

2. Why not go with a Thunderbolt drive and not have to upgrade any time soon? It's overkill for your situation, but I'm guessing you might expand someday.

3. Hard drive RPM is a big factor as well. 5400 RPM will handle 16 tracks (in my experience) but anything more and you will need at least 7200 RPM.

The external drives I use are USB 2.0 and they handle 16 tracks just fine. So far...


Thanks for the info.

I'm mainly recording 1 to 2 tracks at a time. Just home recording my tunes. Good idea on not daisy chaining as I've read about issues with that. I guess I was focused the FW400 speed b/c of daisy chaining. My thinking was that even if I get a Thunderbolt or FW800 drive, if I daisy chain with the FS Mobile, it will still only perform at FW400 speed (right?). With my simultaneous track count, doesn't seem like it will matter.

Sounds like 7200 RPM isn't a necessity. Do you know if the HD size matters? Meaning a lot of portable HD's are 2.5 inch versus the full size of 3.5 inch. For example the Lacie Rugged Thunderbolt drives, say 1 TB is 2.5 inch - and they are 5400 RPM.

I think going with FW400 sounds appealing b/c I can get a nice enclosure for a steal and just pop one of my 7200 RPM SATA drives in it. I guess just adding the TB to FW adapter is the only other thing.

Cheers!
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Monolithent
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It won't matter. It will step it to the lowest speed device on the cable. And since the Firestudios are FW400 it will be 400 even if it is an FW800 connector.
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There used to be serious issues with mixing 400/800. Even though an 800 device would theoretically play nice at 400, in practice, particularly where audio/video were concerned, it was problematic. For the most part, I think those issues have been dealt with, but I would still proceed with some caution on that.

OWC/macsales is a great company. I have bought all of my drives from them for years. They don't sell junk, and the really have great customer service. I cant recommend them enough.
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officerbanks
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Joined: 05/10/2011 21:27:08
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Hello!
I have been doing a lot of experimenting,mainly because I use hardware synths and modules and want to continue using Sounddiver software editor librarian. Sounddiver can only run on OS 10.6.8 and no OS later than that will run Sounddiver.
The data communication speed is twice as fast on Firewire 800 as it is on Firewire 400. Everything is faster and better on my 2009 Imac with the setup I have now. I have everything on a WD Black 2 TB Performance drive that that I boot from an external Firewire 800 Dock into OS 10.6.8 .his is a fast 7200 RPM HD with 64 MB Casche.
The read and write times of the drive greatly affect ALL the speed involved and the Latenvy can be as low as 64, but I usually use 128.

That being said - I also tried a 480 GB Samsung SSD (Solid State Drive) and this was also used in my Firewire 800 Dock (the dock takes any 2.5 inch or 3.5 inch Drive or SSD that is sata). Most HDs are sata these days. THERE VERY EASY TO JUST PLUG RIGHT IN TO THE DOCK.
The SSDs are amazingly fast and the latency on the Firestudio Project could be as low as 32, which really surprised me.
SSDs are fast and will last a long time and produce very little heat. The best price I have seen lately was $240.00 for the Samsung 480 EVO 480 GB. A 1 TB SSD is $529. I am just waiting for SSD prices to drop and SSD devices to get larger.

TECHNICAL INFO:
THE REASON HARD DRIVES SLOW EVERYTHING DOWN SO MUCH IS REALLY BECAUSE OF THEIR READ AND WRITE OPERATIONS. There are no READ or WRITE operation like a HD when using as SSD because this is all down in memory. When using an SSDthe data is written and read so fast that you really must experience this incredible speed to know how much difference it really does make for everything you do on a computer. If you install the SSD inside your computer the speed will be even more amazingly FAST. So, putting the SSD inside the computer is the best, period.

MORE TECH STUFF ABOUT HARD DRIVES:
All Hard Drives have platers (disks) inside and these platers rotate at the specified speed. When the read/write arm seeks the location, and the plater is spinning, the speed at which the data is written/read depending on how close to the outside edge it is at. The data is read or written much slower on the inside edge because less surface of the plater passes the head.
There can be a large difference depending on whether the read/write operation takes pace near the center of the plater or near the outside of the plater. For this reason the drive seems faster if you have enough free HD space that the read/write operation takes place nearer the outside edge of the plater. The trick is to get a drive large enough so that the access is nearer the outside edge.

It is best to get a large HD , but even better to get an SSD.

Frank
 
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