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Considering this SSD

Buying or building computers for Hauptwerk, recommendations, troubleshooting computer hardware issues.

Considering this SSD

Postby johnstump_organist » Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:46 pm

I'm using a MacPro tower (8 core xeon 5500 3rd Generation from 2009) with 96G of memory. I would like faster sample set load times, I'm considering this:

Crucial MX200 500GB SATA 6Gb/s 2.5" Internal SSD with the adapter tray

(the webiste says it is compatible with my machine) with tray and drive it will be right at 200 USD, seems like a good price compared to a couple of years ago.
Will I see real improvement? I read some earlier posts (2012/13) that seem to suggest a 25-30% improvement in time. I'm not sure I would consider that worth the cost. I was hoping for at least half the time.
Any one know what I can realistically expect with my machine. My biggest sets are Caen 2.5 (already ordered the new extension but I'm in the States right now and won't be able to put it in until I return home) and Rotterdam main organ and I don't load the surround samples with either one.
I'm doing this now because I'm in the states and can order it here and take it home myself and avoid the 17% NAFTA import tax to Mexico.

Thanks,
John
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Re: Considering this SSD

Postby engrssc » Fri Sep 18, 2015 11:58 pm

johnstump_organist wrote:the 17% NAFTA import tax to Mexico.


Wow, that's a big chunk of change.. :o

I hate to disappoint you, but from my own experience, I haven't seen a 50% improvement. Maybe like 30% or so? It might have to do with the particular computer's abilities. .And then what is the speed of the HDD you would be comparing the SSD to?

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Considering this SSD

Postby johnstump_organist » Sat Sep 19, 2015 12:25 am

Me lo dices!! Tell me about it. That is why everyone living there essentially engages in some sort of electronics "smuggling". We are allowed to bring in up to 1500 USD of merchandise on each trip, so when we are here, we always have a list of "stuff" to pickup. If 30 % is going to be the top improvement, I may skip it. This reminds me, one of the items on my list should have been a fan to keep the EchoAudiofire 12 cool in a closed cabinet. Must look up that thread and order one before I return.
Thanks,
John
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Re: Considering this SSD

Postby phjo » Sat Sep 19, 2015 10:26 am

To the OP, the computer I use to run hauptwerk is a 2008 mac pro, with 32GB of ram.

I think that my computer has the same SATA interface than yours : that is SATA II limited to 3Gb/s (whereas the SATA III specification allows 6Gb/s transfer rates)

With a decent ssd, the limiting factor is the interface, as you can expect, at most, sustained transfer rates of a bit more than 300MB/s.

This is exactly what I get loading a cached sampleset, and I suppose it is at least twice as fast as what I had previously with a mechanical drive, but not exactly as fast as the ssd could do (I bought a sandisk extreme with 960Go, capable of transfer rates over 500MB/s, as is the crucial you intend to buy I think)

So if your objective is to reduce by half the loading time of samplesets, my advice would be to buy the ssd, then to use it to store only the cached samplesets (500Go is not that big, and with 96GB ram, I suppose you do own some large samplesets...)

YMMV of course

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Re: Considering this SSD

Postby telemanr » Sat Sep 19, 2015 1:38 pm

I too was disappointed with SSD speed. I have SATA 2 and I need SATA 3. I'm going to see if my computer can support that but haven't done so yet.
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Re: Considering this SSD

Postby murph » Sat Sep 19, 2015 2:32 pm

FWIW, my Z800 has a sata II interface too. What I did was to use one of the hdd's as the base windows drive, with the sampleset data located here too. Then, I used the other 3 drives in a striped array for the HW internal workings/cache data. This greatly (x3) speeds things up.
Theoretically, I could do it over 5 drives, or over 8 external SAS's, but price/performance hits in dramatically around this level.....
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Re: Considering this SSD

Postby mdyde » Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:20 am

johnstump_organist wrote:Will I see real improvement? I read some earlier posts (2012/13) that seem to suggest a 25-30% improvement in time. I'm not sure I would consider that worth the cost. I was hoping for at least half the time.


Hello John,

I just loaded a couple of organs in the current version of Hauptwerk (v4.2.1) with all default rank options on a 2011 MacBook Pro with 512 GB Apple SSD, booted into Windows 8.1 (for some reason OS X is running very slowly for me today -- perhaps it's updating something, or perhaps my SSD partition is too full) to give you a very, very rough idea of typical performance from a (2011) SSD. These are the relevant excerpts from the log:

2015-09-21-13-04-38: INF:4165 Welcome to Hauptwerk.
Hauptwerk version: 4.2.1.003.
...
CPU speed: 2494 MHz.
CPU/computer type: GenuineIntel: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2860QM CPU @ 2.50GHz, Intel64 Family 6 Model 42 Stepping 7.
...
2015-09-21-13-05-39: INF:2157 The organ StAnnesMoseley.Organ_Hauptwerk_xml has been loaded. Metrics:
...
Total time: overall: 8.847 sec.
Total time: sample data: 7.615 sec.
...
Sample loader: approx. avg. overall data read rate: 174.72 MB/s.
Sample loader: approx. avg. data read rate during disk reader activity: 196.02 MB/s.
...
2015-09-21-13-04-56: INF:2157 The organ Bovenkerk-Hinsz-Volume-I.Organ_Hauptwerk_hbx has been loaded. Metrics:
...
Organ ID: 000131.
Organ ver.: 1.02.
...
Total time: overall: 13.871 sec.
Total time: sample data: 12.796 sec.
...
Sample loader: approx. avg. overall data read rate: 178.43 MB/s.
Sample loader: approx. avg. data read rate during disk reader activity: 179.99 MB/s.


As you can see there from the 'read rate' figures, my SSD manages about 180-200 MB/s, and my CPU is the bottleneck, limiting actual Hauptwerk loading performance to about 170-180 MB/s.

Assuming that your candidate SSD would perform at least as well (being newer, although not Apple-branded) you could compare those figures to the values that you currently get after rebooting your Mac (to make sure that OS X hasn't cached any of the drive data in RAM from a previous load) and then loading a few sample sets and using 'Help | View activity log' to see the read-rate figures.

(I usually get very slightly faster loading under OS X than Windows on this Mac, but not today for some reason!)
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: Considering this SSD

Postby johnstump_organist » Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:14 am

Thank you Martin. I will check the times I'm currently getting when I get home and then see if I think it will be worth it. My main concern was for the home concerts and being able to switch sample sets faster so as not to keep the people waiting too long. Of course I can always continue with my "blah,blah, blah about the organ we are about to hear" time filling antics.
John
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Re: Considering this SSD

Postby Synnöve » Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:17 am

Does your motherboard have an M.2 slot? If so, you might consider getting an M.2 type SSD as it will use the much faster PCI-Express as opposed to the older and slower SATA standard.
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Re: Considering this SSD

Postby bmenozzi » Tue Sep 22, 2015 4:15 pm

Suggest you look at the OWC Mercury Accelsior_E2 available through www.macsales.com. It plugs into a PCIe slot and provides up to 820 MB/sec transfer rate. It is more expensive than a normal SATA 3 SSD, butt it does get around the SATA 2 restriction of that older Mac Pro platform.
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Re: Considering this SSD

Postby johnstump_organist » Tue Sep 22, 2015 5:33 pm

I has seen the PCIe SSD's and after looking into it, I do have free slots on the mother board according to the spec sheets. The question then is "What's the smallest one that will do the job if I plan to use it just for the organ cache?"
John
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Re: Considering this SSD

Postby mdyde » Wed Sep 23, 2015 4:51 am

Hello John,

johnstump_organist wrote:The question then is "What's the smallest one that will do the job if I plan to use it just for the organ cache?"


You could look at the current size of the following folder to see the total amount of space your caches are currently using:

/Hauptwerk/HauptwerkInternalWorkingFiles

I'd advise allowing some additional room for expansion (e.g. installing future sample sets, or changing rank options). My recommendation would be only to consider drives that are at least 512 GB in size, in order to allow for some future-proofing.
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: Considering this SSD

Postby johnstump_organist » Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:38 am

Thank you Martin.
If I had known you were personally going to take time to answer I wouldn't have asked, hate to take you away from time you might be spending improving HW (i.e. included convolution reverb, hint, hint) just kidding, I know we'll get it when it is ready.
It has been said many times, but thank you for HW, I know it was a cottage industry type thing for you, but it is so great and you have put so much of yourself and time into it, I don't think you can be thanked enough for what you have given the organ community. And of course the same thing goes for Brett now.
John
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Re: Considering this SSD

Postby mdyde » Wed Sep 23, 2015 2:34 pm

Thanks, John.

You're very welcome.
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: Considering this SSD

Postby engrssc » Wed Sep 23, 2015 4:46 pm

mdyde wrote:My recommendation would be only to consider drives that are at least 512 GB in size, in order to allow for some future-proofing.
"

An "aside" is that 1 or 2 TB are getting to be quite common and not really all that costly. My concern is putting so much in one basket. In light of that, would it be better to have several smaller drives vs a larger drive? And yes, backups are a necessity. But those large backups take quite a bit of time as do large sample set loads and downloads.

Rgds,
Ed
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