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Hard drive for Logic: 5400 or 7200

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by jeffy.dee-lux, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    This topic seems to come up pretty often, but usually in the context of another thread.
    I'm just getting started with Logic, recording at most 2 tracks at a time through a firewire interface. Will probably end up working on projects with at most a dozen tracks or so, some of them MIDI but mostly recorded audio.

    I've been looking for an external drive on which to record my projects. I'm looking at 500GB drives, both of them have FW800 (wouldn't need to daisy chain with my FW interface), one is a desktop drive at 7200rpm, the other is a bus powered drive at 5400rpm. Bus powered is attractive to me, reducing clutter on a crowded work space (one less plug!) and the portability is also attractive.

    Is it a bad call to go with a 5400rpm drive though? I'm guessing the speed of FW800 is bottle necked when it hits the drive itself.

    The drives in question are a Western Digital Passport (portable, 5400rpm, FW800) and a Seagate Freeagent Desktop (7200rpm, fw800). Both 500gb, both about the same price.

    Thanks for your input!
  2. macrumors G4

    RPM does not mean a lot. It says as much about drive performance as the RPM gauge on your car does about the car's speed. Yes it related to performance but not the whole story.

    For audio what you care more about is the "sustained" I/O rate that the drive can handle. The bottle neck is determined by the number of bits packed in one concentric track multiplied by the time it takes to make one revolution. (more technically as aerial bit density times tangential velocity.) Higher bit density does as much for speed as RPM. In fact over the decades RPM has gone up very little (It was 3,600 RPM in the 1970's) but density as moved up by orders of magnitude.

    That said, If you care about performance you don't want any of the little notebook sized disks. Get a full sized drive and almost all of those are 7200 rpm. These are cheap. the 1TB size is only $100. Don't bother with 500GB it is not worth the $20 lower price.

    But if you work out what you really need, it's not much if you are only recording a few tracks.

    One more thing, buy several of the drives, you will need a few of them for backups.
  3. macrumors 6502a

    I do care about performance, but only to the point of being able to run Logic properly, so if a 2.5" drive will suffice, then I"ll happily take that along with the advantage of being bus powered.

    I haven't been able to find a sustained I/O rate for either drive - i'm surprised this doesn't seem to be a spec advertised by either manufacturer. All they list is the speed attained by the USB or FW connection. Is FW800 overkill for a 5400rpm drive? FW400 can handle about 50MBps, can a 5400rpm drive typically I/O data any faster than this?

    Also, how would I figure out how fast a transfer rate I need? My profire 610 maxes out at 24bit, 192kHz, in that case, would that be 24*192,000 bits per second for each track? Or about 0.6MBps for each track if i use the highest sampling rate. Which would imply that audio recording doesn't come anywhere near the limits of the drive I/O rates. Is this correct?
  4. macrumors 6502a

    alright well i'm just gonna assume those calculations i did are about right and that a 5400rpm will be more than enough for what i'm doing. Going with the WD passport drive.
  5. macrumors newbie

    Whats your machine?

    Why not use the internal, since your demands are very little and then just get an external for pure back up / storage?

    With regards the rpm of drives, as said above its not the most critical thing, but you should go for the 7200 if you can affod to. The 5400 should be fine for low track numbers and editing etc....

    Personally I wouldnt touch a 5400, but then again I do quite a lot of heavy tracking
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Thanks for your input. I actually went with the WD passport 500GB 5400rpm drive, mainly cause of the portability. Haven't built up any big music projects on it yet, but I have tried copying some large files over and I get about 40MB/s, I figure that should be plenty for what I'm doing.

    I do have a 7200rpm 320GB internal drive, so if ever I do any intense projects I can transfer over to the internal, but I'd like to keep my internal drive free for general use (already half full). Just gotta make sure I keep my music drive backed up!

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