solid state recording

Hey all;

Check this out Flash memory.

How sweet is it gonna be when we are recording direct to RAM with no HD seek or access time?

Currently, hard drive sustained write speeds are considerably higher than flash. Regardless, flash sustained write speeds are fast enough for all but high-end studio-level multi-channel audio. If I can believe a quick Google survey, typical speeds are 9MB/sec, fast enough to record nearly 32 tracks at 24b/96kb/sec.

But seek and access times aren’t really an issue because that’s what buffering is for. Note that buffers for disk writing don’t affect latency. And hard drive sustained transfer rates are plenty fast for multichannel audio. So, while using flash is a cool idea, it won’t improve DAW performance. If you have performance problems it’s not due to disk drive sustained transfer rates or seek time (unless you have a badly fragmented hard drive). If you have performance issues or dropouts, the cause lies elsewhere. People talk about SATA drives and RAID technology for DAWs, but it’s not the faster hard drives that matter – it’s more robust software.

The IBM T20 laptop I had 4 years ago, with a 700 mHz CPU and 4500 RPM hard drive, benchmarked at 10MB/sec sustained write speeds – about the same as current flash offerings. If your DAW’s hard drive can’t leave that in the dust, then you got scalped!

Note that my rough figures above are misleading because raw sustained rates are generally measured by writing one file, and for multichannel audio we’re writing one file per track. To find out how many tracks your computer can support, try DskBench. Unless it’s been updated, that program assumes mono 16b/44.1kHz tracks, but gives a good indication of sustained transfer speeds depending on the number of files written at once for various buffer sizes.