Computer Setup Advice Needed


Hi everyone.
Hoping to get some thoughts around setting up my machine for recording and programming in Logic Pro X.

I have a iMac 27" from late 2015 and I have an external thunderbolt hard drive where I am planning to install all the libraries, samples etc.

Here's my question:
Is there any performance advantage to installing everything - including the OS - on that external drive?
I have heard some folks say that making an independent, external, bootable system that is dedicated to music only is the way to go and as I am setting this up from scratch, I wanted to consider this before going through the whole install process.

To my mind, I'm not sure that there will be much of a performance advantage but, not being a computer expert by any stretch of the imagination, I thought I would get your thoughts before proceeding.
Any thoughts/advice on this?

Thanks in advance.


What probably matters more is whether you are using a hard drive (as you state) or an SSD. From what I've read, although the raw throughput of Thunderbolt is higher than SATA3, you'll get better real world performance with a SSD directly connected to SATA3, than connected via Thunderbolt. If you use a hard drive, it probably doesn't matter -- the drive itself may be the bottleneck.

I hadn't heard the "only way to go" argument before. Maybe there's a point where TB is always faster than the internal connections to SSDs, but even if we have arrived at that point, surely you are still better off spreading OS Apps and samples across at least two drives.


Hi bayswater - thanks for the response. Unfortunately, my external drive is not SSD. However, I have decided to risk running a RAID 0 drive with two 4TB HGST NAS drives. I'm pretty meticulous about backing up so hopefully that will mitigate the fear of losing stuff :)
I thought I would try and see if that would help overcome some of the SATA 3 limitations.

As to my original question -I'm curious as to why do you feel that we are better off spreading OS Apps and samples across at least 2 drives.

The internal HDD in my iMac is the 2TB fusion drive. They aren't that much faster than any other HDD because the SSD portion of the drive is only 24GB, I believe.

I'd appreciate knowing what you think. Thanks.


The reason for spreading things across more than one drive is the usual one. If you are running an application, streaming samples, recording new audio tracks, playing back existing audio tracks, and the system is accessing resources and performing swaps, it's better not to have all that happening on one drive to avoid contention, and the timing errors that result from that.

You haven't said how complicated your projects will be. Your system is considerably more powerful than my aging setup, and I'm ok for 30-60 tracks with a dozen VIs using a FW 800 connection for audio and a bit of USB for some samples, along with the internal drive. So I expect you'll be fine unless you get into the big orchestral templates with a few hundred tracks and small buffers. Even at that point you are more likely to a hit a CPU ceiling than a drive limit.

And I assume you got a lot of RAM -- that's important too.


Thanks for this - that makes all sorts of sense and helps me a lot.
My music is not orchestral but I use a lot of cinematic type sounds so its all about pretty big virtual instruments and textures, reverbs and delays.
I hear you about RAM and I'm in the process of upgrading to 32GB but maybe I should go crazy and max out the iMac :)
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my questions - I really appreciate it.