Posted 18 November 2023

SSD for a music workstation(DAW)

It's been a while since I built a system so not completely up to speed with components. I'm wanting to replace my HDDs with SSDs. My motherboard only supports SATA. I'll probably need 2x1T and a 2T - What are my best options without breaking the bank? Do I need a NAND drive? Not really sure what it does tbh.
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  1. maui's avatar
    For SATA based SSD you are probably not going to see a ton of difference with the types of flash - but would play a factor into the endurance (lifespan) of the drive.

    I'd also mention that depending on your motherboard - you could consider adding an NVMe based SSD with much better throughput by using an adapter like this:
    NVMe to PCIe Adapter
    Depending on your workflow / bottlenecks, you could do well to use that faster speed drive as your boot disk, or if your software supports some sort of scratch / work disk that instead.
  2. Pájaro's avatar
    What board do you have? If you're lucky, it may more accurately be that it doesn't have m2 slots rather than it not being able to support them, so a PCIe to m2 4x riser (approx £7 on eBay) may be all you need to use NVME drives in your system.

    Regarding your options, there's no internal storage devices I'm aware of as being prone to causing problems for audio work, so it's really just a matter of what's best. Personally, I haven't tried loading VIs off a SATA, but I have tested QLC and TLC (google the terms for more info, but the short of it is that TLC and QLC refer to different types of flash storage, with QLC being cheaper per TB but far slower) NVME drives, and found TLC to be significantly faster. Like, off the top of my head, my Integral TLC PCIe 4.0 drive loads my test project in a little over a minute, Sabrent TLC PCIe 3.0 drive 1m 20s, and the Crucial P3+ 4TB a glacial 2m 30s. If you're absolutely stuck with SATA, pretty much any TLC SSD should do you about as well as any other, but if you can, it does seem worth going for an NVME drive, because bandwidth and drive performance do appear to make a tangible difference, at least with my test setup.
  3. C0mm0d0re_K1d's avatar
    Without knowing you mb make/ model. It's difficult to say if your mb bios/efi will support booting from a pci to nvme m.2 adaptor. If it's old and only has 4 sata-2 or sata-3 ports, It may not.

    Whilst a pcie solution will be faster. It's pointless if you can't boot from it. It's only useful for additional faster storage.

    Probably best to stick with a decent brand sata-3 SSD with dram cache for your main boot drive (like Samsung, WD, Crucual, SanDisk, team, sk hynix, Sabrent) Then either add more sata-3 SSD's or get a pcie to m.2 adaptor.

    If you want to read up on drives, have a look at this Tom's hardware guide article.

    Best SSDs 2023: From Budget SATA to Blazing-Fast NVMe -…tml
  4. GB99's avatar
    Thanks for the replies. The motherboard is LGA 775. It is long in the tooth now but still runs the programs and plugins ok for now. It's a bit slow to load sometimes. I do need to upgrade at some point.
    The board has a PCIe x4(and a x1) slot free which could be used for a system drive maybe-it's the 1.0 standard so probably not? The sata connectors are 3gb/s, so decent enough for audio I think. (edited)
    C0mm0d0re_K1d's avatar
    LGA775 is the CPU socket, and Xeon is the cpu. I Still need to know the mb make and model number to be able to check if it will support booting from a pci/pcie slot?

    In all honesty, I doubt it. As the system must be about 10-12 or more years old.

    As I said before. Just buy a decent sata 3 SSD as your main boot/ system drive. Then either add more sata-3 SSD's or a pci adaptor.
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