Posted in : Forum : Audio Hardware Chat
Discuss all things hardware such as studio gear, intruments, sound cards, grooveboxs. Recomended setups, problems, advice
Currently, I am producing my music on a 2015 model Macbook Pro. Obviously, being a laptop, I have less hard drive space available so to keep my internal hard drive free, I keep my project files and samples on an external USB 3 disc drive.
My problem is this: I only have two available USB slots, one of which must be occupied by my Scarlett audio interface. With my external drive, I have no room for, say, a mouse (because small increments are actually kind of hard on a touchpad) or any other USB peripheral, so I considered using an SD card of about 64 - 128 GB to host my files instead, however some online research informed me that while good SD cards, at least in my price range, can reach upwards of 90 MB/s, USB 3 can theoretically reach 5 Gb/s.
Does anyone, or has anyone, used SD cards to store project files for their DAW? If I switched to SD, would my DAW constantly tell me that it can't read data fast enough? Is this a pointless question?
Thanks in advance
I can only tell you about my experience with both formats.
I use SD cards for independent film production and storing music. The thing is, now I only buy reputable brands (Sandisk mostly, and the prices have dropped and keep dropping) and I keep film footage separate from my music SD cards.
I also use USB for the ease of use to store music. In my opinion, if you're frequently using the SD card or even re-writing over it, then SD isn't the way to go. USB cards are a workhorse. SD cards can be fickle. I've purchased cheap SD cards that stopped working or didn't work at all for whatever reason. Like you, I still have USB thumb drives from years ago, and they still work. But imho SD cards aren't meant to be workhorses, not yet anyway.
@Anno861, as I kept reading your opening I found that you may have answered yourself. And it sounded more like you are regretting some kind of mistake or purchase you made. I am a former certified technology expert. SD Cards are not even a close alternative when multitasking or transferring data, not even the fastest SD card is recommended. On some other technology devices the SD Card's port are typically found in places that isn't meant for constant hands on interruptions and hands on activity. To access them in some phones, they are sometimes located behind a battery or behind a door on a digital 4k camera.
Well, I did a DAW and SD-card experiment of my own a while back that centered around multitasking performance and music production with my state of the art, extreme performance SDXC UHS-I/90MB SD Card from Sandisk. It was extremely slow and quite brutal.
Aslo, I am not sure why you are using USB 3.0 anyways when your eSATA port may offer better and faster performance. But never under any circumstances should you ever consider a SD Card in your production studio, I think you know that already. So to solve the lack of available USB ports you have, go and buy yourself a usb hub, problem solved:
Something to consider in the future, If you are buying a new Mac Pro Notebook in 2017, make sure it has a Thunderbolt ver.3 port. Forget 5 GB/s with USB3, we are talking about a potential transfer rate of 40 GB/s with a Thunderbolt 3 port and a connected drive! Good Luck!
I use this https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00WWBCQEI/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I have absolutely no problems with speed. My laptop has 12Gb Ram and an I7 8 core processor, the only draw back is that license files from Waves cannot be read off of it because it does not view the card as a usb drive or external hard drive, which is what Waves requites.
Sure, storage is not a problem. That is not the issue here. Running a studio project exclusively from a SD-card that involves midi which means your bandwidth would be dramatically reduced. I have an ASUS I-7 OctoCore with 16GB of Ram. That actually has no bearing because the SD-card is still limited to only 95/MBs. So the question really refers to benchmark speeds where you have SD-Card that has a maximum potential transfer rate of only 95/MBs vs USB3 at 5/GBs. If you transferred a 1 GB file on USB3 and 1 GB file on your SD-card, your SD-card would be 35 times slower on a benchmark file transfer.
Another alternative, if your laptop has a disc drive, is a hard drive caddy in place of the disc drive giving you a second internal hard drive. I've done that with number of windows based laptops. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ultrabay-Slim-SATA-HDD-Hard-Drive-Disk-Caddy-Adapter-Bay-for-IBM-Lenovo-T60-T61-/200794506472?hash=item2ec04904e8:g:YZAAAMXQVERS9uyr Not sure if there's any available for apple products.
What about an external hard drive? http://www.bestbuy.com/site/wd-my-passport-ultra-1tb-external-usb-3-0-2-0-portable-hard-drive-classic-black/7869174.p?skuId=7869174&ref=212&loc=1&ksid=3bc0630d-3d5f-4c64-8cca-53140b843723&ksprof_id=8&ksaffcode=pg199125&ksdevice=c&lsft=ref:212,loc:2
With a lot of space, good transfer rates, and is recognized as a separate hard drive when plugged in. Just a thought.
Thank you all for your input, this is very helpful.
@JosephFunk Yeah, looking back at it I kinda did answer my question... In my defence, it was about 23:30 pm when I wrote this :)
I did briefly check out Thunderbolt drives a while back because my laptop actually has 2 (apparently 20Gb/s - Thunderbolt 2?), but dismissed the idea at the time because most forums I visited claimed that it wasn't worth it as none of the external drives, even SSDs, could use all that speed, and many that I looked at were unfortunately out of my price range. I should have probably remembered that SSDs are very quick anyway, even if they can't take advantage of Thunderbolt. I'm no expert though, and this may have changed recently.
@phatcatz4 Thank you for the suggestion. Unfortunately, easy customisation of the internal components isn't something you can do on Apple machines. This is one of the things I dislike in Apple computers, but oh well.
@BradoSanz Thank you also for the suggestion, but I do already have a USB 3 1TB hard drive. However, at $50, that is actually one of the cheapest terabyte drives I've seen.
I think I should probably clarify that I store my projects and samples separately because in the past, I used to go between laptop and desktop pretty often. You could say its more of a habit than anything.
I think, based on all this, that I may be better off getting a USB hub; 4 port powered USB 3 hubs will only set me back around £12. Thank you all once again.
i use plugable's 10-port usb hub with my 2015 MacBook Pro to connect my hard drives, audio interface, and other computer peripherals... and wanted to say it was a good purchase.
only problem is you're gonna sacrifice portability. powered usb hubs and stuff require external power, which isn't always gonna be readily available if you're one to be traveling. if you can accept this fact, you'll enjoy the usb hub setup and all its joys.
you could get something like the wd passport... but it only goes 5400rpm (one day, logic's audio playback will suffer when using plugins that rely on sample libraries that are on that hard drive, especially something intensive like kontakt and vsl. made the mistake first hand, and it was frustrating as hell)... and has 32mb of cache at most (which also is a bitch... you ideally want 64mb)
i ended up buying two hard drive docking stations (one for projects and the other for samples. this one is my favorite right now: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013WODZH0) and then purchase two hard drives of your choice with it. this may sacrifice portability too, but it gives you a lot more upgrade options for your hard drives...
hope this helps! =)
@Anno861 I have another alternative suggestion for you. For the past 11 years I have always used external hard drives. However after repeated instances of hard drives being damaged in travel, losing them, and them simply failing, I have recently switched to Google Drive and paid for extra space. I may be biased on this choice of cloud platform, but there are other options out there.
Pros: I have unlimited storage and I know those files will never disappear . I will always have access to them if I have an internet connection. (i carry a wifi hotspot via verizon on me at all times when traveling places i question whether or not their will be wifi.)
Cons: Takes a bit longer to load (obviously) so what I do is mostly store long term/outdated projects on there. Also if you don't have an internet connection it can be tough.
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