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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 8th April, 2005, 04:25 PM
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RAID stripe size for multitrack audio recording?

Greetings High Priests of Techdom,

I just bought two 80Gb SATA drives which I will configure to RAID 1 (two drives as one) and I'll be doing some home studio recording on them with cubase SX.

What's the best stripe size in terms of performance for audio recording?

BTW my board is an ASUS P4P800 (i865) and I'll be connecting the drives to the onboard intel controller, any special advice before I set up my RAID array?

Thanx in advanx
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Old 8th April, 2005, 05:44 PM
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I haven't messed about too much with the SATA and IDE RAID, but in theory it should be similar to SCSI RAID. That being said, the best stripe size to use really depends a lot on how CuBase buffers the audio internally. The optimal stripe size would be the same size as their internal buffers. I would e-mail them and ask what they recommend. I would be greatly surprised if they can't give you an intelligent answer. And the answer might even be something along the lines of "It doesn't really matter because of how we buffer the audio internally".
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Old 8th April, 2005, 11:50 PM
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To be honest you don't need a striped array for hd recording, most sata drives will cope with 40mb/s+ sequential write speeds, and thats easily around 200 tracks at cd quality levels and even 24bit/192k would still allow for 64 tracks easily enough.

Your best bet for performance in a hd recording setup is a dedicated crontroller card that will take all the load off the cpu, preventing stutters/pops/clicks especially when applying real time effects.
Short of that, installing the drives normally and having windows and cubase on 1 disk and audio files on the other would be the best way to take advantage of 2 drives for performance
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Last edited by GrahamGarside; 8th April, 2005 at 11:59 PM.
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Old 9th April, 2005, 09:43 AM
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Once you start to get into the editing side of multi-track work, the access time starts to make more of an impact than the raw transfer speeds. The same is true of simultanious playback and recording, but not to such a large extent.
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Old 9th April, 2005, 01:30 PM
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I've successfully mixed 32 track, cd quality on a mere 5400rpm ide drive in the past, in most cases the latency of the audio card will be higher than the access time of the drive.

The thing you have to be careful with when recording to sata and ide is other things interupting it, which is why a dedicated controller card is preferable, or at least recording to a differant drive than the software is running from
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Old 9th April, 2005, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrahamGarside
To be honest you don't need a striped array for hd recording, most sata drives will cope with 40mb/s+ sequential write speeds, and thats easily around 200 tracks at cd quality levels and even 24bit/192k would still allow for 64 tracks easily enough.

Your best bet for performance in a hd recording setup is a dedicated crontroller card that will take all the load off the cpu, preventing stutters/pops/clicks especially when applying real time effects.
Short of that, installing the drives normally and having windows and cubase on 1 disk and audio files on the other would be the best way to take advantage of 2 drives for performance
Grahams right, save your money on the RAID and invest in a good audio card. If memory servers me correctly, a LOW end (decent though) audio card will run ya about $250.
Rob
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Old 9th April, 2005, 05:08 PM
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Yeah you'd get a 2-4 input card from someone like M-Audio for that (either a Delta 44 or audiophile 192)
M-Audio also do a budget 10in card (8 analogue 2 SPDIF) for not much more (Delta 1010LT I think)
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Old 11th April, 2005, 03:29 AM
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I just reread your post and it looks like you've already invested the money into the drives. In that case, I would recommend running one drive and using the other drive to mirror that one. (don't wanna loose any data!!)

One of the MAJOR problems that you are going to have with a "cheap" sound card is latency. It's going to be HORRIBLE!!!
Trust me,
Rob
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Old 11th April, 2005, 03:55 PM
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Yes, I already have the two drives and I also have an Audigy2 platinum with ASIO drivers so it's not that bad for some home cooking

so I'd really like to set those two 80Gb SATAs as one 160Gb drive.

I also have an 80Gb barracuda 7200 IDE drive, what if I put the OS and apps on it and record to the RAID array? What stripe size would you recommend then?
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Old 11th April, 2005, 09:31 PM
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So you won't be doing any multi track recording? in which case raid is really pointless, in fact you increase the odds of errors or failure, if you have 3 drives I would recomend 1 for windows and the swap file, one for cubase, and one for audio recording, or two drives mirrored for safety.
As for stripe size, I wouldn't worry about optimising it for audio recording, is it going to be used for anything else? if so optimise it for that, as you won't come close to pushing the drive recording 2 tracks at most
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Old 12th April, 2005, 04:25 AM
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Quote:
Yes, I already have the two drives and I also have an Audigy2 platinum with ASIO drivers so it's not that bad for some home cooking
Still going to be some lag even with the ASIO driver.
Anyways, shoot me off a copy of what you do. Maybe I can add too is like I've done in the past with other bands.
Rob
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Old 12th April, 2005, 04:31 PM
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B..b.. but I thought that the Creative Audigy- 27.1 was all you would ever need in a PC based recording studio? Ya mean that one of those $700 sound cards is better?
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Old 12th April, 2005, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cloasters
B..b.. but I thought that the Creative Audigy- 27.1 was all you would ever need in a PC based recording studio? Ya mean that one of those $700 sound cards is better?
I think even $700 is peanuts in the world of professional studio kit!

The Audigy does do a hell of alot for a small outlay, just for jamming at home and so on.
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Old 13th April, 2005, 09:59 AM
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Guys, I'm a compulsive tweaker and a Hardware junkie.

I have two identical, brand spanking new SATA drives and a mobo with a sata controller. I have no will power.

I NEED to make a RAID 0 array, I yearn to watch those puppies running as one big fast 160Gb drivola, just tell me the recomended stripe size...

plzzzzzzzzz
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Last edited by Kobaia; 13th April, 2005 at 10:05 AM.
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Old 13th April, 2005, 12:29 PM
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The stripe size will depend on the internal buffer size used by your recording application. Ideally you want the stripe size to match, or at least have a direct relation to the buffer size.

If you're doing multitrack, you're much more likely to see issues with seek times than with absolute throughput, as multitrack requires a fair amount of seeking on the disk. Stripe size won't help with seek times.
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Old 13th April, 2005, 02:58 PM
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I think you should be optimising the stripe size for other operatioons, honestly it will make no differance to audio recording performance what ever size you set.
What else will you be using the disk for?

If you are inistant on raid, then have windows and cubase installed on the striped drive and record audio to the other disk you have.
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Old 13th April, 2005, 04:18 PM
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Besides recording, I'll be using the disks for games, games, games, photoshop, Flash MX, DVD shrink, occasional Studio9 home movie and all the other internet and office stuff.

I read some people in other forums talking about 32 ~ 64k..
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Old 13th April, 2005, 04:22 PM
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I would just set it to 64K for general use.

The size can be important on a server running a single application for 100+ PC's. In that case the software company would advise on the best size for their application data.
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Old 13th April, 2005, 05:34 PM
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I doubt you will actually notice the differance really, for home stuff that isn't critical, you just won't notice a few percent performance gain.
Out of the things you will be using it for only really the load times will be an issue, unless you have less than 1GB of memory, in which case photoshops will likely make some use of the drive
You really would see the best performance from seperate drives in most cases though, while load times wouldn't be improved, disk access in the programs would be improved by having programs, swap and active files on seperate drives.

Especially stuff like photoshop and dvd shrink, for instance in dvd shrink you could have the dvd-9 files on 1 drive, write them to another, and have the swap file on another.
In photoshop you could have photoshop on one drive, the swap on another and the scratch disk on the third.
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Old 13th April, 2005, 06:12 PM
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I'd still say mirror is the way to go. If one drive goes out and you didn't back up........ bye bye music!!!
Rob
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