Old 01-06-2019, 06:45 AM   #1
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Default Do I need an SSD ?

Will an SSD lower RT CPU or other things that cause pops and crackles ?

I'm usually at 100 tracks or more so just wondering what an SSD will do. I know they can be about 8 times faster than an HD but I'm not sure if the HD is a bottleneck for Reaper or if other things are more the problem. I have 12GB ram so that's plenty atm.
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:59 AM   #2
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What specific CPU model are you using?
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Old 01-06-2019, 07:04 AM   #3
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Will an SSD lower RT CPU or other things that cause pops and crackles ?

I'm usually at 100 tracks or more so just wondering what an SSD will do. I know they can be about 8 times faster than an HD but I'm not sure if the HD is a bottleneck for Reaper or if other things are more the problem. I have 12GB ram so that's plenty atm.
You need to go into task manager and see what's going on when you play a project.
Eg. I had serious problems when starting using Sibelius and tracked it down to the OS HDD being the botleneck.
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Old 01-06-2019, 07:07 AM   #4
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What specific CPU model are you using?
i980x
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Old 01-06-2019, 07:08 AM   #5
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You need to go into task manager and see what's going on when you play a project.
Eg. I had serious problems when starting using Sibelius and tracked it down to the OS HDD being the botleneck.
where do you monitor HD performance in task manager ?
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Old 01-06-2019, 07:10 AM   #6
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where do you monitor HD performance in task manager ?
Performance
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Old 01-06-2019, 07:20 AM   #7
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Performance
i see disk tab under the resource monitor of performance. What kinds of things are you looking for when playing a project to tell if there is a problem ?

There is a Queue Length graph to the right.
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Old 01-06-2019, 10:16 AM   #8
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The SSD is the biggest computer hardware performance increase in the last 10 years. (While CPU speed has plateaued in pro level machines.)

There's every chance that your HDD could be a bottleneck for many things. The performance increase should be the biggest bang for the buck you could make to your system. If you have at least 4GB ram in your system, unless you are doing something uniquely ram intensive a SSD would be a much bigger system wide performance increase.

I'd say you don't need to invest in a system that uses M.2 SSDs vs SATA but you'd be foolish to ignore the performance increase of a SATA SSD with the prices where they're at now. You'll probably see the actual capabilities of your machine for the first time.
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Old 01-06-2019, 10:36 AM   #9
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I already have a computer that works well. I'm thinking the best use of SDD is on the Reaper project drive. How can I tell if I currently have a bottleneck with my 100 track projects ?
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Old 01-06-2019, 10:49 AM   #10
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I already have a computer that works well. I'm thinking the best use of SDD is on the Reaper project drive. How can I tell if I currently have a bottleneck with my 100 track projects ?
My experience is the opposite. (Using SSD's since 2009 here.)
You absolutely want your OS drive to be the SSD. The free space on this drive will be your high performance audio work space. You'd have much more bang for the buck with OS/apps on the SSD and then still running audio from a HDD actually. You might not see any performance improvement just using a SSD as a recording drive but with the OS still on a HDD.

Everyone wants to talk about ram. (Probably because it's the only computer term many people ever learn?) Installing a SSD for OS/apps is a much bigger performance increase. And not just wasting it as a data drive but actually using it for OS/apps.

That computer that already works well will finally be able to show you what it's really got!
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Old 01-06-2019, 10:54 AM   #11
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Thanks for the great info. It sounds like you have the OS on your SSD and you use that same drive for your Reaper Project. Is that right ?

Would it be even better to have 2 SSDs, one for OS and one for the project ?
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Old 01-06-2019, 10:59 AM   #12
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Do you have VST FX or soft synths in there? 100 could be a lot for that CPU to handle, depending on the contents. Do you freeze tracks to save on CPU?

Always worth checking that your computer is optimized.
PC:
https://support.native-instruments.c...dio-Processing
Mac:
https://support.native-instruments.c...dio-Processing

SSDs are now cheap enough to be something of a no brainer regardless. Even entry level SSDs come with 3yr warranties now. The C drive should definitely be SSD.
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:10 AM   #13
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Do you have VST FX or soft synths in there? 100 could be a lot for that CPU to handle, depending on the contents. Do you freeze tracks to save on CPU?

Always worth checking that your computer is optimized.
PC:
https://support.native-instruments.c...dio-Processing
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https://support.native-instruments.c...dio-Processing

SSDs are now cheap enough to be something of a no brainer regardless. Even entry level SSDs come with 3yr warranties now. The C drive should definitely be SSD.
I have lots of vsts and a number of vstis. I freeze when required but I try to do as much as Reaper and my computer can do before freezing.

If the C drive should be SSD is it true that during recording/playback in Reaper the C drive is streaming more data than the Reaper project ? Is there a way to measure this ? I like measuring things.
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:18 AM   #14
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Once I change out my DEV drive, I'll be 100% SSD - everything is faster on SSD and I've had less failures with them than HDD at this point:

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Old 01-06-2019, 11:22 AM   #15
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My experience is the opposite. (Using SSD's since 2009 here.)
You absolutely want your OS drive to be the SSD. The free space on this drive will be your high performance audio work space. You'd have much more bang for the buck with OS/apps on the SSD and then still running audio from a HDD actually. You might not see any performance improvement just using a SSD as a recording drive but with the OS still on a HDD.

Everyone wants to talk about ram. (Probably because it's the only computer term many people ever learn?) Installing a SSD for OS/apps is a much bigger performance increase. And not just wasting it as a data drive but actually using it for OS/apps.

That computer that already works well will finally be able to show you what it's really got!
I concur about where to have your SSD, but RAM can be the limiting factor if you are running a lot of sample libraries.
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:23 AM   #16
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Will an SSD lower RT CPU or other things that cause pops and crackles ?
SSD won't have any bearing on RT CPU at all. RT CPU is affected by number of plugins in your project and how "heavy" on CPU they are. Especially plugins on master track, because they cannot be anticipatively processed. It's basically a measure of how quickly the CPU delivers the buffers to audio interface. If that main audio thread gets overburdened by plugins (and it will happen, especially considering the age of your CPU - 9 years now!), you get crackles, then it's time to freeze the hell out of your project.
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:24 AM   #17
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I bet they don't get hot like HDD's either
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:30 AM   #18
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m.2 SSDs can definitely get hot, then they thermal trottle (slow down read/write speeds) much like CPUs. Which is why some better motherboards actually have heatsinks placed across m.2 port(s). A strategically placed intake fan on the front of the case can help, too.
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:33 AM   #19
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I have lots of vsts and a number of vstis. I freeze when required but I try to do as much as Reaper and my computer can do before freezing.

If the C drive should be SSD is it true that during recording/playback in Reaper the C drive is streaming more data than the Reaper project ? Is there a way to measure this ? I like measuring things.
I expect your CPU is being taxed, hence my first question, rather than considering the drive. Consider if you really need 100 tracks or if you need FX on as many tracks. So many variables and it gets to be important with older CPUs like we have.

I don't want to teach you how to suck eggs. If you have software synths in a dense mix you will almost certainly get away with not using the top quality sound modes for all of them, perhaps any of them. You could look at the number of voices, quality mode, FX you could switch off. Some software synths are CPU friendly most of the time with vicious intense CPU spikes that push your system too far.
I would look to remove as much background processes as possible and optimize the PC for performance as per NI guide.

Even so I put SSDs in all systems now, even old hardware.
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:44 AM   #20
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Thanks for the great info. It sounds like you have the OS on your SSD and you use that same drive for your Reaper Project. Is that right ?

Would it be even better to have 2 SSDs, one for OS and one for the project ?
That's right.

I have two SSDs in my Mac Pro right now. OS installed to each. Redundancy and/or "experimental" OS installs on the 2nd. So I can either record to the current OS booted SSD or the other SSD. I don't see any performance increase recording to the 'other' SSD. It's only for convenience when I do that.

The upgrade from HDD to SSD is huge. So much so that the old strategies of using multiple drives flies right out the window vs just a single SSD.

Now, if you were running big sample libraries there might be a performance reason to go to a 2nd SSD. Otherwise you're not going to notice beyond the initial leap of running your OS/apps from the SSD.
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:49 AM   #21
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I concur about where to have your SSD, but RAM can be the limiting factor if you are running a lot of sample libraries.
No argument. I was just making a comment around how for some people ram is the only spec they seem interested in.

As for hard drive speeds affecting something like RT CPU use...
This might not be a direct link. But if the scenario is that you have a slow HDD and now you are using CPU cycles to accommodate handling its I/O, a SSD could eliminate that required overhead and free up that CPU time for something else.
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:55 AM   #22
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Is cell stress (at least that's what they used to call it) no longer an issue with SSD's, or was that never really an issue to begin with?

Rule of thumb used to be not to use SSD's for data since the constant write/rewrite would shorten the drive life.

If that's no longer an issue, or never really was, then when my data hard drive dies, I'll replace it with an SSD.

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Old 01-06-2019, 12:03 PM   #23
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Is cell stress (at least that's what they used to call it) no longer an issue with SSD's, or was that never really an issue to begin with?

Rule of thumb used to be not to use SSD's for data since the constant write/rewrite would shorten the drive life.

If that's no longer an issue, or never really was, then when my data hard drive dies, I'll replace it with an SSD.

Mahalo
It was never an issue next to the failure rate and general reliability of HDD's. Yes, it's all true. SSD's use flash memory and are consumables with limited life! But it's a moot point compared to HDD life and performance.

There may be some isolated scenarios in data center use where the way the HDD system is configured is optimized for the HDD performance (meaning the SSD speeds would be wasted in such a config) and between drive size and performance, the HDD is more bang for the buck. These are the stories that get twisted into "Oh, you don't want a SSD." Or simply having an awareness that the SSD product is a consumable while NOT having an awareness that the HDD is just as much a consumable.
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Old 01-06-2019, 12:09 PM   #24
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And sure SSDs are faster but how to MEASURE where my bottlenecks is? For example, I can play tons of tracks at 128 buffer but if I arm 5 tracks at the same time while playing, then RT CPU goes high and I get popping and crackling.

So how to tell if an SSD will fix that ? I'm guessing it's CPU at that point.
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Old 01-06-2019, 12:12 PM   #25
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Armed tracks cannot be anticipatively processed so they all use the main audio rendering thread (which is your RT CPU). SSD won't fix that, it's CPU.
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Old 01-06-2019, 12:16 PM   #26
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Activity Monitor is your friend.
No need to guess at anything.

Back in 2009 when I was putting the system together for live sound, using a SSD made the difference between being able to record multitrack simultaneously while running live sound or not. With HDDs, the CPU needs to manage buffering.

If you're doing live performance duties at low latency settings like that plus playing back already recorded audio, a SSD will be a huge night and day performance increase. Really truly.
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Old 01-06-2019, 12:36 PM   #27
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Armed tracks cannot be anticipatively processed so they all use the main audio rendering thread (which is your RT CPU). SSD won't fix that, it's CPU.
Thanks Ed. That's what I was thinking.
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Old 01-06-2019, 03:19 PM   #28
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My system is pure playback. I've switched to SSD for the OS drive, the audio project drive and a drive just for video and other projects. I like things neat.

My sessions involve lots of little bits across 50-150 tracks. Usually 3000-7000 items. Plus video. Yes, it's all smoother and a lot faster now. Session load times are dramatically shorter as well.

I wouldn't call the increase in responsiveness for playback spectacular, it's subjective too, but there's a difference. Since Reaper has no session caching like Protools HD does, where everything can basically live in RAM, the SSD is the next best thing for meximum performance.

My OS drive is the best of the bunch, an 850 Pro, which has the longest warranty time/TBW value. It sees the most wear and tear anyway. The others are high TBW drives, but not the highest tier. 850 EVO and 860 EVO.

In all I recommend the hell out of them.
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Old 01-06-2019, 03:26 PM   #29
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Since my biggest problem is RT CPU though I don't see any reason to layout the cash. Everything else is working fine.
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Old 01-06-2019, 03:39 PM   #30
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To improve RT, get all your mastering vst's off the Reaper Master, and create your own (e.g. Track 1!!), route everything there making sure nothing is going to the Reaper master channel, stick the master vst's on that new "master" and route it to the reaper master.

Those mastering vst's will now be able to use anticipative fx processing etc and not clog up your audio thread.

Worth a go …

dB
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Old 01-06-2019, 04:14 PM   #31
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To improve RT, get all your mastering vst's off the Reaper Master, and create your own (e.g. Track 1!!), route everything there making sure nothing is going to the Reaper master channel, stick the master vst's on that new "master" and route it to the reaper master.

Those mastering vst's will now be able to use anticipative fx processing etc and not clog up your audio thread.

Worth a go …

dB
I don't have any vsts on the master track. :-)
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Old 01-06-2019, 04:20 PM   #32
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Do you have any notoriously CPU hungry VSTs in the mix?
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Old 01-06-2019, 04:41 PM   #33
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Do you have any notoriously CPU hungry VSTs in the mix?
Yeah, I run lots of vsts and vstis that eat up cpu.
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Old 01-06-2019, 05:44 PM   #34
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You know about the Meltdown and Spectre updates that reduced CPU performance?
Inspectre will show the updates that Intel and Microsoft enabled to protect your computer against advanced hackers that actually slow your PC down. Older CPUs like yours and mine were hit hardest by these updates.

Inspectre allows you to disable these updates, but remember to enable them when you've finished or need to go online.
https://www.grc.com/inspectre.htm

Quote:
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Yeah, I run lots of vsts and vstis that eat up cpu.
They vary hugely.
If you don't want to discuss which VSTs that's fine, but with 100 tracks I wouldn't be surprised if turning off some FX in VSTis or streamlining the amount of voices/polyphony, sound quality modes and so on within the most CPU hungry could help significantly. That's assuming you haven't done all that already, which I guess you probably have.
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Old 01-06-2019, 05:51 PM   #35
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You know about the Meltdown and Spectre updates that reduced CPU performance?
Inspectre will show the updates that Intel and Microsoft enabled to protect your computer against advanced hackers that actually slow your PC down. Older CPUs like yours and mine were hit hardest by these updates.

Inspectre allows you to disable these updates, but remember to enable them when you've finished or need to go online.
https://www.grc.com/inspectre.htm
I was going to mention this. My system got a bit less "smooth" after those patches were done for Windows 7, a bit more prone to having some dropouts under higher CPU load in Reaper. Apparently MS doesn't care about doing the patches as well for Windows 7 as it does for Windows 10 (as the notes in InSpectre told me). So it did affect my system. After switching to Linux that wasn't an issue anymore (the fixes for those vulnerabilities are good in the latest kernels).
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Old 01-06-2019, 05:56 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Softsynth View Post
You know about the Meltdown and Spectre updates that reduced CPU performance?
Inspectre will show the updates that Intel and Microsoft enabled to protect your computer against advanced hackers that actually slow your PC down. Older CPUs like yours and mine were hit hardest by these updates.

Inspectre allows you to disable these updates, but remember to enable them when you've finished or need to go online.
https://www.grc.com/inspectre.htm



They vary hugely.
If you don't want to discuss which VSTs that's fine, but with 100 tracks I wouldn't be surprised if turning off some FX in VSTis or streamlining the amount of voices/polyphony, sound quality modes and so on within the most CPU hungry could help significantly. That's assuming you haven't done all that already, which I guess you probably have.
Never heard of it. I'm not going to be turning it off if I have to remember to turn it back on. Ain't nobody got time for that.
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:01 PM   #37
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... After switching to Linux that wasn't an issue anymore (the fixes for those vulnerabilities are good in the latest kernels).

I hope Linux becomes a serious alternative for mainstream DAW use.

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Never heard of it. I'm not going to be turning it off if I have to remember to turn it back on. Ain't nobody got time for that.
Then streamline your projects a little more, or get a newer motherboard, ram and CPU.
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:06 PM   #38
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No one needs an STD. They are horrible horrible things to have and to pass on, how can we be talking about... -- wait, what was that? ... Oh an SDD, Oh! Sorry, Nevermind.
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:08 PM   #39
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No one needs an STD. They are horrible horrible things to have and to pass on, how can we be talking about... -- wait, what was that? ... Oh an SDD, Oh! Sorry, Nevermind.

No no, we are not discussing Star Trek Discovery here.
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:32 PM   #40
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I hope Linux becomes a serious alternative for mainstream DAW use.
It sure works great for me. If NI etc. make Linux VST versions of their plugins, it's easy to imagine lots of people moving to Linux.

And yeah Star Trek Discovery sucks. To quote Rich Evans: "Your show is called Discovery...stop blowing things up!!!"
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