Is a Hard Drive essential for Music Production? details inside

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Porkplan, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. Porkplan macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2014
    Is a Hard Drive essential for Music Production? And what hard drive is better for me? 2nd internal or an external? I use a 21.5 inch, mid 2011 Mac desktop.

    I've been reading from several sources that a hard drive is a necessity for music production.

    Basically, I have 60 GB free out of 500 GB of memory on my Mac. Logic Pro X still usable although I get the "system overload message" rarely but it still responds quite slow sometimes (especially when I click on plugins). The CPU usage on the "lcd" of Logic gets to about half up to 3/4ths of the meter when I play all the tracks in my session. Here's my mixer to give you an idea of what's going on.
    Yesterday I had only around 18 GB of free memory I got the "system overload" message more frequently.

    Should I get a hard drive? A second hard drive for my mac or an external one? If yes what specs do I need to know before purchasing?

  2. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007
    We have a naming issue here.

    Hard drive is a spinning device for permanent storage of your music. You have 60Gb free of your 500Gb drive, which means you are running a bit tight but it's not terminal yet. That's how much you have stored on there.

    When you're running Logic Pro you are not using the hard drive much (if at all). You are running the program in memory (RAM), of which you have 2 or 4 or perhaps more Gb. You can tell how much by clicking on the apple logo and selecting "about this mac". How much memory do you have?

    Your CPU is the main processor, and if that's overloading because of what you're doing on Logic there's nothing much you can do about that, except perhaps to ask it to do less by mixing down some tracks and working with fewer at a time.

    More details required of your machine before we can make suggestions as to how you can increase its performance in the way you want. Adding an external hard drive is almost certain to do nothing at all.
  3. BrianBaughn macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2011
    Baltimore, Maryland
    The load in audio apps also depends on the buffer settings. In general, low buffer is for tracking (to reduce latency) and high buffer is for mixing (to allow for more CPU power for plugins.
  4. CelestialToys macrumors 6502

    Aug 4, 2013
    up above the streets and houses
    It looks like you're already using sends to balance the CPU loads across threads but if you're not doing that for this reason purposefully it may be worth reading this support article.(pay particular attention to the last sentence regarding keeping an audio channel with no input/output in your arrange window)

    On the subject of hard drives I find it beneficial to have at least 20% free on my system drive at all times.

    If you're using lots of sample based instruments (I notice you have Trillian) then it is worthwhile moving their sample libraries (and indeed Logics sample library) to an external drive. The following article gives the reasons why and shows you how to move Logics library.

    I have the same machine as you and use a standard 7200Rpm USB external for all my sample libraries and rarely run into any issues even with quite huge projects.
  5. fastlanephil macrumors 65816


    Nov 17, 2007
    I would recommend connecting with the FW800 port instead of a USB 2 connection as it's a little more robust but it's also more money.

    If you start getting pops and clicks when you render to audio and your memory is maxed out then you should consider recording to a separate 7200 rpm hard drive. Recording to a separate hard drive is always recommended but if it ain't broke don't fix it.
  6. Porkplan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2014

    Regarding the memory. It says that my mac Mac contains 4 memory slots, each of which accepts a 1333 MHz DDR3 memory mod, 2 memory slots in use, 2 available and 4 GB is installed.


    Do I need an external or internal hard drive? I would prefer another internal one because i would like to use it for bootcamp as well. Which would you recommend?

    I understand that I need at least 7200 rpm, firewire or USB 3 if I will go for external. But what if I choose internal? What specs should I be looking for?

    Ah oh, should I upgrade my RAM as well?

    Again, thank you for your answers :)
  7. Porkplan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2014
    Oh and by the way. If I purchase an external hard drive. Should I still free up 20% of space on my Macintosh HD? Even if transfer the samples to the external?
    Im also planning to use my Macintosh HD for bootcamp and it will most likely be filled as well since I am planning to install games.
  8. CelestialToys macrumors 6502

    Aug 4, 2013
    up above the streets and houses
    I would recommend aiming to have 20% of the system drive free ALL the time.

    Another internal drive would be ideal, but it's not an easy addition to your machine, if you're going to go this route then adding an SSD as your system drive and using the current drive as a second drive is your only real option due to lack of space inside the imac.

    Firewire or Thunderbolt connected drives are the second best option, but expensive. Your machine doesn't have USB3 ports so a USB3 drive will only function as USB2 speed, which is adequate for storing samples on.

    As for RAM it seems I misunderstood your first post and thought you already had upgraded the RAM. I would make this your first priority as along with your overfilled system drive it's probably the main cause of your slowdowns. I would recommend that you get at least two 4Gb modules to fill the empty slots, two 8Gb modules would be better if you can afford them.
  9. Porkplan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2014
  10. CelestialToys macrumors 6502

    Aug 4, 2013
    up above the streets and houses

Share This Page