SATA SSD vs. PCIe SSD, worth the difference?

Discussion in 'KONTAKT' started by Musicisgood, May 17, 2019.

  1. Musicisgood

    Musicisgood New Member

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    SATA III can give read/write speeds of up to 600MB/s; whereas PCIe, for example the Samsung 970 EVO, has read/write speeds of 3,500/2,500. I'm wondering whether this difference is actually much noticeable in real world use of Kontakt (which I use in Reaper).

    I have an Apple iMac Core i7 4.2GHz 27-Inch (5K, Mid-2017)
    It has a 1TB fusion drive. That drive uses HHD on SATA III, of about 1TB, and then something like 32GB of SSD on the PCIe - super fast. That's used for the OS I think, and maybe some commonly used apps.

    I'm thinking to make the PCIe drive big enough to put all my apps on (only about 40GB at the moment) as well - if so then maybe 250GB. I'm wondering if Reaper, using Kontakt plugins would work noticeably better/faster if I have Reaper and Kontakt on that PCIe drive vs the SATA III SSD. Anyone know?

    Also would it make a noticeable difference to have my whole instrument library on the PCIe drive? It would need to be rather big if so! Or, is there no difference in real usage (let's say 20 or so instruments) between that and the usual SATA III SSD (like the 860 EVO (read/write 485/454) or Crucial MX500 (read/write 474/417) for example)?

    If it makes enough difference, I'll consider doing this:

    Upgrade SATA III to:
    Crucial MX500 2TB (3D NAND, SATA, 2.5 Inch, Internal SSD)

    Upgrade the PCIe to:
    Samsung 970 EVO 250GB M.2-2280 SSD
    (probably, or maybe 500GB version?)

    Otherwise I may as well just upgrade the SATA III to SSD and leave the 32GB of original PCIe type, and put the OS on that. Though I'm planning to upgrade the 8GB of RAM up to 40BG (adding 32GB), and I read one place that the 32GB PCIe might give problems, maybe freezing apps, meaning that with more RAM that drive should also be bigger, which would if true make it worth upgrading that size at least a bit (250GB is pretty cheap anyway) - so if anyone knows about that and can clarify, that would be great!

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Moderator Moderator

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  3. GoaSkin

    GoaSkin NI Product Owner

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    The maximum speed of a SATA disk is 600 Megabytes per second what is the maximum transmission rate of the SATA III interfaces. On the other hand, the I/O of a PCIe 3.0 device using 4 lanes (common on NVMe devices) is 4 Gigabytes per second.

    Practically, the read/ write speed is not only restricted by the used interface but also on the disk itself but if you want something faster than 600 Megabytes a second, this cannot be realized using a SATA device.
     
  4. Musicisgood

    Musicisgood New Member

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    10
    Yeah but my question is whether this makes a noticeable difference in real usage. Any views on that?

    So you reckon it's worth it? If it's only about loading a file taking a few more seconds, I'm not too fussed. I'm more worried about being able to make music without anything freezing or glitching or functioning too slow while I'm composing, listening back etc. And also maybe to future-proof it a bit.

    Also, for your thing, my instrument library would have to be on that PCIe drive? Or, enough just to have Reaper and the OS and Kontakt on that drive, and the library on the SATA SSD?

    Also this difference will be more than the drives I mentioned, since EVO 860 is faster I think than 850, and 960 Pro is faster than regular 960 - I heard that the 960 Pro has issues with iMac so it seems only the regular 960 is recommended for iMac. This is not a criticism at all - very grateful for sharing! But just pointing that out.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 17, 2019
  5. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Moderator Moderator

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    14,578
    It's really pretty much just about that. The linked document also states it. Kontakt doesn't utilize large Queue Depth values, which is where SSDs excel at - you only get those very high read speeds with QD32. Kontakt uses QD1 or QD2 at best. There's no huge benefit in using an NVMe for disk streaming vs regular SATA SSD, unless those few seconds shorter loading times are really worth it to you. But the price difference...
     
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  6. GoaSkin

    GoaSkin NI Product Owner

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    I replaced my old SATA SSD with a PCIe-based NVME disk and my DAW projects open much faster now. And also when browsing the Kontakt instruments, it is also possible now to load data-intensive ones without needing to wait half a minute. But the SSD I used before was an old one and not as fast as a SATA 3 disk may be.
     
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  7. Musicisgood

    Musicisgood New Member

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    10
    Now got a 1TB PCIe SSD and 2TB SATA SSD. Still a bit confused as to what to put where, and what to *not* do in the process. Anyone familiar with Mac have some ideas?

    I can install the OS to the PCIe drive, but then how to decide which folder to put where? Since it's already in it's own hierarchy with 'user', 'desktop', 'documents' and all that. I'm confused as to merely dragging and dropping folders as this would change locations etc. Any tips?

    Also, anything to say about having the library Kontakt will be using, split across two folders? Pros and cons to that? Thinking about that as I could potentially have my whole system on the PCIe drive except for by library of books, movies, and music; and some of my library for using in Kontakt and all that. That would leave the PCIe drive with a bit of space to manoeuvre - I heard they don't like to be full.
     
  8. GoaSkin

    GoaSkin NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    99
    In this case, I would use the PCIe SSD for samples and the SATA disk as main drive.

    There are so many configurable things in macOS that cannot be done using the system settings. But it is possible to map another disk into a subfolder of your main disk.

    You need to edit the file /etc/fstab on the disk where your operating system is installed with a text editor and make an entry for your "samples" disk. After the next reboot, it appears in the folder you defined there instead of /Volumes/yourVolumeName

    You should consult some documentation about this config file but an entry may look like this:

    Code:
    LABEL=samples /Users/Shared hfsplus rw,auto
    
    This may work if the name of your volume is 'samples' and the disk is formatted as hfsplus. /Users/Shared is the place where the NI installers place their sample data.