Best hard drive interfaces for music production?

crenz

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 3, 2003
615
16
Shanghai, China
I'm really fed up with my current laptop (performance wise), so I am considering to get a new computer for music production. I used to exclusively work on laptops, but I don't actually need a fully portable computer anymore, so I might consider getting an iMac or Mac Mini as well (but not a Mac Pro - too expensive).

One of the main performance bottlenecks seems to be the hard drive. I'd like to go for an SSD for the OS, but would need a second drive for about 300 GB of samples (Logic, NI, all kinds of libraries). I'm wondering which kind of harddrive interface would people recommend for that, when low access times are key? Or, to ask more concretely, if I have the choice between the following combinations, which would be OK performance wise:

  • SSD + additional internal drive (S-ATA)
  • SSD + additional external thunderbolt drive (or even two)
  • SSD + additional external USB3 drive

I'm assuming that Firewire is basically dead (for hard drives), and USB 2 is really no alternative (too slow).

This input will help me to make a choice between the laptop offerings, a Mac Mini or an iMac, so thanks for the help!
 

DustinT

macrumors 68000
Feb 26, 2011
1,556
0
There's really no substitute for an SSD in your system. Combining that with fast external storage through Thunderbolt or at least gig ethernet will give you tremendous results.
 

crenz

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 3, 2003
615
16
Shanghai, China
I know, my question is basically: Are S-ATA, Thunderbolt and USB3 all comparable and I can choose either of them, or are there major differences in terms of seek time?
 

dj-anon

macrumors member
Mar 23, 2011
93
2
In order:

Thunderbolt
Firewire 800
Firewire 400
USB2

USB3 is not an option, yet, unless you buy a Mac Pro or go with a macbook. You should be able to find Firewire compatible external hard drives rather easily.

But, unless you need portability, don't complicate yourself and go with an internal drive whenever possible.