• CA Bits & Bytes Volume 1: SuperSpeed USB 3.0 SSD, 4TB USB 3.0 HDD, and C.A.P.S. v2.0 Sales



    Welcome to Volume 1 of CA Bits & Bytes. Frequently I have information I'd like to pass along to readers but it's not enough info to fill a complete in-depth article. CA Bits & Bytes will comprise exactly what its name implies. Small pieces of info or building blocks that create something larger. In Volume 1 I'll discuss a couple hard drives that serve vastly different purposes although both may be perfect for one's needs. Also, the C.A.P.S. v2.0 server is now available online and fully assembled.




     





    Oyen Digital Portable USB 3 SSD Hard Drives


    A few weeks ago Oyen Digital sent me a prerelease version of its new USB 3.0 / FireWire 800 SSD portable drive. The drive can be powered via the USB bus (USB 3.0 y-cable with 2nd connector for additional power, if needed, included) or an external power supply. I've been using the drive at home and while traveling (to RMAF 2011). The current model has 120GB of SSD space. This isn't enough space for most music collections but Oyen will soon (10/28/2011) offer capacities up to 480GB. Reasons why I really like this drive include its silence and low power draw that doesn't tear too much into laptop battery life on an airplane, SSD data access speeds, and the speed at which I can load music on to the drive. I have a USB 3 PCIe card installed on my Windows desktop computer that enables the drive to hit speeds much faster than USB 2.0 drives.

    More times than I care to remember I procrastinated loading music on to a portable drive. This procrastination usually leads me to attempt massive data copies literally minutes before leaving for the airport. Anyone who has moved tens or hundreds of GB knows that it can take from minutes to hours. The speed combo of SSD and USB 3.0 is wonderful in this situation as it can reduce the time needed to move files around by 50% according to my limited testing.

    So far so good with the Oyen USB 3.0 SSD. I have a few seminars scheduled before the end of the year at various dealers around the country. I'll bring this drive with me and report back if my opinion changes.

    My Tests
    5.02GB 101 Files 14 Folders

    Local SATA II HDD to Oyen SSD via USB 3.0 = 2:07.1
    Oyen SSD to Local SATA II HDD via USB 3.0 = 1:18.3

    Local SATA II HDD to Oyen SSD via USB 2.0 = 4:31.0
    Oyen SSD to Local SATA II HDD via USB 2.0 = 2:38.1

    Local SATA II HDD to Oyen SSD via FireWire 800 = 3:36.2
    Oyen SSD to Local SATA II HDD via FireWire 800 = 2:06.3





    Oyen Digital USB 3.0 SSD Product Pagelink
    Prices: $179.95 (60GB), $259.95 (120GB), $409.95 (240GB), $819.95 (480GB)


     

     

    Seagate FreeAgent® GoFlex™ Desk 4TB External Drive

    As soon as I saw the Seagate 4 Terabyte external drive I got excited. Four terabytes is a very sizable chunk of disk and can hold a FLAC version of my entire music collection. I couldn't wait for a demo unit from Seagate as I was a bit antsy so I picked up the drive for $199 from Micro Center. The drive enclosure is very cool in that it can be changed from USB 3.0 to a FireWire 800 / USB 2.0 interface using the $50 Firewire adapter that replaces the USB 3.0 port on the enclosure. The 4Tb drive works with both my Windows 7 64-bit MacPro, both C.A.P.S. v1.0 (32-bit) and v2.0 (64-bit), and all my Macs. I believe Windows XP machines will have trouble supporting a 4TB partition and will require two 2TB partitions max.

    I am very happy with the performance of the drive thus far. Based on my limited testing it's a smidgen faster than the SSD Oyen drive at both reads and writes. The drive is noisier that I'd like and wouldn't put it in a listening room without some type of sound deadening enclosure. I don't have the guts to open the enclosure and remove the drive in an attempt to use my own external housing. Maybe in a few weeks :~)


    My Tests
    5.02GB 101 Files 14 Folders

    Local SATA II HDD to Seagate via USB 3.0 = 2:06.0
    Seagate to Local SATA II HDD via USB 3.0 = 1:15.1




    Note: Google Chrome browser may have issues viewing the above video.


    Micro Center ($199)link | Seagatelink


     

     

    C.A.P.S. v2.0 Server Now Available Online & Assembled

    Shortly after publishing the C.A.P.S. v2.0link article Andrew from VortexBox link and Small Green Computer link contacted me about selling completely assembled and tested C.A.P.S. servers. I've been familiar with Andrew's VortexBox work for awhile and met him at RMAF 2010. Thus, I was happy to endorse him and Small Green Computer as the exclusive C.A.P.S. v2.0 online retailer. The servers are built 100% to the specifications put forth in the C.A.P.S. v2.0 article.

    Everyone interested in a C.A.P.S. v2.0 who'd rather not build and test it themselves is encouraged to consider purchasing the unit from Andrew at Small Green Computer. Also, look for the RMAF 2011 presentation on the C.A.P.S. v2.0 server as soon as the videos from this year's event are available at the RMAF Sitelink.

    Please note neither myself nor Computer Audiophile earn a single penny from C.A.P.S. sales.



    Small Green Computer link Price: $1,439


     

     
    Comments 19 Comments
    1. Bikutoru's Avatar
      Bikutoru -
      Performance - blah this, performance - blah that.<br />
      The slowest drive, with the lowest performance most likely will serve the music for any of us, if all we wanted to do just to listen to music from a computer.<br />
      The only reason you'd want performance from a drive if you are going to something else at the same time and a lot of it, let's say it is your main, drive where your OS is, but if that is just a secondary external drive to hold you collection, then the size to fit your collection is probably all that matter, IMHO. I have been using computer to serve my music for more than 10 years now.
    1. ronfint's Avatar
      ronfint -
      Chris,<br />
      <br />
      Have you tried attaching the big Seagate drive to something like the Airport Extreme? Would you foresee any problems in doing so? <br />
      <br />
      Thanks,<br />
      Ron
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Gordon - Oh how I wish there were more Thunderbolt drives available :~)<br />
      <br />
      Hi Bikutoru - I agree with you for the most part that even slow drives are capable of serving music for layback. However, as I said in the article it's great to have the extra speed when copying large amounts of data to and from a drive while playback is not taking place. For example, backing up a drive or copying new music to take on an airplane.<br />
      <br />
      Hi Ron - I haven't connected the 4TB drive to my AirportExtremes yet as I much prefer other methods of Network Attached Storage. I am now curious to see if the AE supports the single 4TB partition. Something else to try in all my spare time :~) Thanks for the question and idea.<br />
      <br />
    1. TimDH's Avatar
      TimDH -
      Hi Chris,<br />
      Thanks for this feature! Is there a typo in the second line of the data on speeds for the Seagate drive? It looks like the second line should be transfer FROM Seagate to HDD at USB 3.0<br />
      <br />
      Also, I was wondering what USB 3.0 PCIe card you're using.<br />
      <br />
      T
    1. dallasjustice's Avatar
      dallasjustice -
      My only criticism is that you are not making any money from your CAPS 2.0. This offends my capitalist sensibilities. :-) I hope you make money from it at least indirectly somehow.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Tim - Thanks for catching the typo!<br />
      <br />
      Hi DallasJustice - I have the same capitalistic sensibilities, but I just don't feel right about making money off the C.A.P.S. projects. I hope by offering the C.A.P.S. articles they bring more traffic to CA and increase interest in computer audio as a whole. Both of those will hopefully bring in some money long term. Hopefully. <br />
      <br />
    1. Sri's Avatar
      Sri -
      For all you kit builders, you should know a few things.<br />
      <br />
      First, all ssds are not alike. Because of the internal algorithms, they can differ greatly. Some are faster empty than they are when full, others the opposite. Some slow down over time, others speed up. There lifetimes can greatly differ. This has to do with the fact that they keep on rearranging data so there's even usage across each nand chip. Most people consider OCZ drives as the fastest and most reliable. The choice of the SSD is much more important than the choice of the interface chip with Oyen talks about on their website. I'd be interested in knowing what SSD they use.<br />
      <br />
      Second, and I know this might be a problem for Apple fanboys, but if you want speed, esata is the way to go.<br />
    1. Paul R's Avatar
      Paul R -
      MMm- eSATA, by spec, is a bit slower than Thunderbolt. <br />
      <br />
      Come to think of it, SATA drives are slow compared to SAS drives. I think both eSATA and Thunderbolt, as well as USB3 may all exceed the capabilities of the little drives we are talking about...<br />
      <br />
      -Paul<br />
    1. Sri's Avatar
      Sri -
      Thunderbolt's speed can be infinite, its maximum speed for a sata drive is sata speed, which is the speed of eSATA. As for SAS, it depends. The speed of a good SATA SSD will exceed a rotating SAS for any random access application. <br />
    1. AudioDoctor's Avatar
      AudioDoctor -
      my iMac has an eSata port...<br />
      <br />
      ;-)
    1. Brian A's Avatar
      Brian A -
      This "Bits & Bytes" thing is great! I suggest a review Beer Can Cozys for insulation quality, frequency absorbtion, etc.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      I love the sense of humor Brian!<br />
      <br />
    1. bball3748's Avatar
      bball3748 -
      If one were to store music on an external hard drive and not locally. What speeds would you recommend for playback? I'm not worried about the speed to transfer the music onto the drive. 5400/usb2.0 or 7200/2.0 or 7200/esata/3.0?
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      To be honest any of the speeds will work for playback.<br />
      <br />
      If you use a USB DAC I don't recommend a USB external drive.<br />
      <br />
    1. new_media's Avatar
      new_media -
      That Seagate logo threw me for a second. When I saw the picture on the front page I thought Cardas had started marketing hard drives.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Ha! Good one.
    1. illuminetics's Avatar
      illuminetics -
      Chris,<br />
      <br />
      Curious as to why USB storage is not ideal to pair with a USB DAC. I built the CAPS v2.0 and purchased an Audio Research DAC 8 for my systems front end. For now, I'm using a cheap "simple save" HP USB 1Tb HDD.<br />
      <br />
      Thanks for your hard work on the CAPS and for "putting it out there" for free. Very cool.<br />
      <br />
      Randy
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Randy - In the C.A.P.S. v2.0 system I think it's OK to use a USB hard drive on the system board's USB ports and a USB DAC on the SOtM dedicated USB ports. <br />
      <br />
      On systems without a dedicated USB card using both DAC and drive on USB can cause playback issues due to the nature of the USB bus. The two devices may use different external USB ports but internally they most likely share the same ISB bus. Think of it as four cars traveling down a to lane road. USB drive in and out plus USB DAC in and out. The road gets crowded and it's tough to guarantee a free traffic lane for time critical data like music. You may experience dropouts as one audible effect.<br />
      <br />
    1. FredM's Avatar
      FredM -
      <i>"Please note neither myself nor Computer Audiophile earn a single penny from C.A.P.S. sales."<i><br />
      <br />
      With appreciation for sharing your C.A.P.S. findings without a commercial intent, I would like to suggest to add a well deserved CA donation option in the online sales process when purchaging a C.A.P.S. at Small Green Computer.<br />
      <br />
      Kind regards, Fred