buying external harddrive for pro-tools, bottlenecking issues...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by thedude58, Oct 1, 2007.

  1. thedude58 macrumors newbie

    Oct 1, 2007
    I have a ibook G4 and what I dont get is, why does protools reccommend buying an external harddrive to get full performance, because firewire speeds are 40mb a sec, so doesn't internal harddrives have faster speeds than 40mb a sec, becuase its internal? I guess what I'm trying to say is, I want a new external harddrive with 500gb regardless of audio. I can buy reg ones for $130 or I can go all out and get oxford 911 chipsets and bla bla bla to improve performance with protools as well as being a storage drive. What are your suggestions for money vs performance? As well as if you have experience with performance boosts with an external hardrive vs. internal.

    Also, I want my ibook running to the best of its abilities, what % of harddrive space do I need to have left before I see performance issues, and is there a program out there that eliminates having to worry about what ur disc space is becuase it some how optomizes it? basically I'm looking for a program that will optimize as if it was freshly formatted. Thank you.
  2. Mr. B macrumors regular

    Dec 25, 2005
    Well I can't answer everything you asked, but for a good external hardrive I would recommend the mybook pro.

    I use the 250 gig one (but it also comes in 500 gig), and it has firewire 400, usb 2.0, and firewire 800.

    I have an ibook g4 1.2 ghz and 1.25 gigs of ram.

    I feel it's not a bad idea to get the pro version since when you upgrade the firewire 800 will be immensely helpful, and the drive should still be more than usable.

    In any case, this drive helps my computer go *much* faster. It has a much faster hardrive speed, 7200 rpm to the ibooks 4200 rpm. Also 400 mb/s with the firewire 400 is nothing to scoff at.

    I use photoshop at 11x17 300 dpi with 30+ layers with no slowdowns whatsoever. (while using the mybook pro as an external scratch disk).

    I also have both adobe lightrooms and itunes libraries located on the mybook in order to work with raw files and save my internal hardrive from having to deal with all of my music.

    A good external hardrive will make a new machine out of your ibook.

    I use Onyx to optimize my system, and I keep around 30 gigs of space free on my internal hardrive.

    Thanks to Onyx, the +1 gig of ram, and the mybook pro, my computer runs as fast as most good laptops being sold *today*. So... yeah.
  3. disconap macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2005
    Portland, OR
    Back in the day, certain Protools setups required 10,000rpm ultra-scsi drives. Things are simpler now, really.

    It's all about file management; you can just as easily use an internal drive (EDIT--in a tower; in a laptop, you have one drive, and writing to the system drive slows things down WAY too much, as the software and OS are running off the same drive the music is being written and compressed to; see below for speed issues with an ibook G4), but for how fast protools moves stuff around, they suggest having a separate bus (i.e., external drive). Not so much for fear of bottlenecking as fear of actual information corruption, as very similar information is being sent back and forth at a very rapid rate.

    Specific to an ibook G4, if you have the stock hdd, it likely is a 4200rpm or 5400rpm drive. These speeds are very slow for protools to write to if you are recording analog. Most externals are minimum 7200rpm, and that combined with Firewire (or even USB 2.0) is faster than the IDE + 4200rpm set-up found in most G4 ibooks. I'd recommend it as well.
  4. jarinehart macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2006
    I've found personally that when Pro Tools recommends the Oxford 911 chipset and speeds they mean it. I have several FW enclosures that I use with my digi002 studio and one of them doesn't fit all the Digi specs and sure as heck, it gave me an error during a mixing session. Thank goodness it wasn't a tracking session. That's not saying all non-digi spec'ed HD's won't work, it's just confirming that those specs are there for a reason. I really haven't had too terribly a hard time finding reasonable enclosures that will work, you just have to read the specs a little closer.

    I also have gambled and recorded straight to the system drive (with the OS and software running) on TiBook laptop and haven't had any big problems, but i was only doing a couple tracks at a time.

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