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Internal or external SSD in 2020?
Last post Sat, Sep 26 2020 by RCMusic23, 3 replies.
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Posted on Sun, Sep 20 2020 12:18
by RCMusic23
Joined on Wed, Apr 30 2014, Posts 34

Hi, is there a benefit for housing a dedicated sample library NVMe SSD drive in an external Thunderbolt 3 chassis vs having the sample library housed in an internal SSD drive which is also the OS drive, such as in a modern MacBook Pro?

I know about the old days where housing the libraries on a mechanical spinning HDD were best done externally from the OS/application drive. Is there still a benefit in separating things?

People who I speak to seem to just say they carry on housing the libraries on a separate drive, even though they know about the experience being great from an internal SSD. Seems like a bit of a habit rather than rational reason. Please explain the mechanics behind the reasoning unless it's just the same principle of having read/write taken care off by one system and the read of sample libraries being on a separate drive. Is there really that much impact these days with super fast NVMe's?

P.S. I know MBP isn't the best machine to use as a master nor host as it's not as powerful as desktops, but I'm lucky enough to have a 64GB Ram 16" MBP with 1TB storage and honestly, the performance is great, even using VSL instruments as plugins (everything in the box) rather than using my server PC and VE Pro7 as a server.

Thanks.

i9-9900K
64GB RAM

VE Pro 7 / MIR Pro / Sibelius Ultimate / Cubase Pro 10.
Posted on Thu, Sep 24 2020 01:44
by asopala
Joined on Tue, Apr 17 2018, Posts 1

When external, the bottleneck becomes the method of data transfer.  Thunderbolt 3 is 40gbps, which is faster than most NVME drives (the Samsung 970 Pro has a max read speed of about 28gbps).  USB3.0 is 5gbps, which has the potential to bottleneck SATA SSDs (not by much though, SATA is 6gbps).  If you have the space to go internal, I'd do that.  It makes more sense to go external if you switch computers a lot with your samples or your current computer can't be upgraded any further--or if you want the portability.

As far as NVME with sample libraries, my understanding is the only thing it will impact is sample loading times; no extra performance as far as reading samples.

Posted on Sat, Sep 26 2020 10:00
by RCMusic23
Joined on Wed, Apr 30 2014, Posts 34

Hi, thanks for the reply.

Yes, that makes sense as I also noticed that Logic Pro X samples are downloaded straight to the hard drive of Macs and I guess if Apple thought it would be better to put it on an external drive, they would have mentioned it. So other libraries should also be fine internally. I have 1TB internal but for now am using a 1TB Samsung EVO, housed in a Thunderbolt 3 chassis and connected via Thunderbolt 3 too. Read: 2380 MB/s Write: 980 MB/s. The write speed is much slower for some reason. Anyway it's enough. When I need more space, I'll just put a larger SSD in the chassis.


I've read that only partial amounts of a given sample gets loaded into RAM and the remaining portion is streamed from the storage. Is that accurate? If that's the case, does that apply to SSDs too?

Originally Posted by: asopala Go to Quoted Post

When external, the bottleneck becomes the method of data transfer.  Thunderbolt 3 is 40gbps, which is faster than most NVME drives (the Samsung 970 Pro has a max read speed of about 28gbps).  USB3.0 is 5gbps, which has the potential to bottleneck SATA SSDs (not by much though, SATA is 6gbps).  If you have the space to go internal, I'd do that.  It makes more sense to go external if you switch computers a lot with your samples or your current computer can't be upgraded any further--or if you want the portability.

As far as NVME with sample libraries, my understanding is the only thing it will impact is sample loading times; no extra performance as far as reading samples.

i9-9900K
64GB RAM

VE Pro 7 / MIR Pro / Sibelius Ultimate / Cubase Pro 10.
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