Hi everyone. I’m currently using N-track as my main recording software and I have a technical question regarding the set up of my daw around N -Track. I’m using windows XP Pro on a 700mhz pentium 3 with 256 megs of ram. I have a 7200 rpm IDE hard drive and a 10,000 rpm SCSI. My audio interface is a MOTU 2408. What would you suggest is the most efficient way to record? Should I use the SCSI DRIVE for audio and install the OS, plugins and N Track on the 7200 rpm drive or should I do just the opposite? Should the OS and the audio software always be on separate drives? Any tips are greatly appreciated!
I would put your OS on the 7200RPM IDE and your sessions on the SCSI.
Since the OS is going on the 7200 rpm drive and the audio sessions are being read off of the SCSI, would you suggest putting NTRACK and all other audio plugins and software on the SCSI too?
I sort of have the same setup. I have my os and all of my soft including plugs, on my primary drive which is C. I have 2 120g drives with which I store all of my audio files. It keeps the system running pretty clean. All of mine are only 7200’s but you shouldn’t have any problems running it that way.
Here’s another way to look at it.
Actually, it doesn’t matter much on which drive you record your sessions because both drives are coasting along when recording audio unless you are recording a huge number of channels simultaneously with a high bit rate.
I would put my OS and all my programs, including n-track, on my SCSI drive because the computer will boot faster and the programs will load faster. You actually will see a difference in how the programs load and run but you won’t see any difference in your recording performance.
One caveat; if you are recording 16 channels at 96/24 ignore what I said.
If your SCSI controller is an add-on PCI card, I would definitely use the IDE drive for the audio data.
A PCI controller can compete for bus bandwidth with other PCI devices … like the soundcard causing clicks and pops and other annoying issues with recording and playback of multiple tracks.
Something to think about.
Maybe. It is a 10K drive, so it should be a tad faster than the IDE, but you bring up a good point in that the PCI bus can present a bottle neck when the sound card is PCI as well. Only so much pipe to go around and the hard drive and soundcard may end up fighting over the bus. If, and this is a big if, you have a PCI-X bus versus a regular PCI bus, put the audio out on the SCSI. PCI-X has much higher bandwidth and can intelligently order transactions on the bus rather than processing them serially like a regular PCI bus does. This eliminates a lot of the PCI bus latency troubles some folks face in DAWs. However, you almost never see a PCI-X bus in a desktop PC. This is something you generally only see on a server class machine. But, as with anything, I wouldn't be surprised to see PCI-X showing up on more desktops as the technology gets cheaper.
Thank you everybody for all of your wonderful suggestions, I really appreciate it! The SCSI is PCI and I have recently noticed some unfriendly pops in some of the testing that I have done. It’s funny, when I was running my DAW on Windows 98se, I didn’t have any problems with this. It wasn’t until I upgraded the system to XP Pro and then installed the MOTU’s new XP drivers that I found the system to be less reliable. I’m thinking of going back to windows 98. Has anyone ever experienced this problem before? Can anyone suggest how I can reinstall Windows 98 over XP. I tried doing this with the intention of a clean install but I’m not quite sure what command prompt to use when I reboot the computer. As always, your kind tips are much appreciated!!!
What motherboard are you running this system on? Usually the manuf will have some kind of diagram on how the chipset responsibilities are divided. I used to have a Asus MPX motherboard with a 3Ware ATA RAID PCI card and I experienced terrible pops and clicks as well. Turns out there was no way around this. So now I have an SATA drive hung right off the motherboard controller on a PERLK motherboard! I would recommend placing your OS on your SCSI and your audio on the IDE. Leave your paging file on your OS drive, but make sure it’s low and high settings are the same and probably 2X your total RAM. Can you afford more RAM as well? If not, turn off all non-essential services.