internal versus external drives


I am planning to expand the storage for my system and wonder if there is any advantage to an external versus an internal drive? For my purposes an internal drive would be better simply because of the layout of the system (it would be annoying/awkward to insert an external drive into the rear of my tower each time I began a session).

Many thanks for your thoughts,



  • Krisp
    edited August 2022


    I am far from being able to provide the necessary technical explanations, but this question is interesting and complex.

    I suppose that on a PC you can easily reach large internal storage, with high SSD speeds.

    On a Mac, the price of storage is prohibitive, so we are probably moving towards an external solution.

    The advantage of storage on the internal SSD is undoubtedly a faster handling when loading large sessions (it still takes me about 5 good minutes to load a session comprising a hundred tracks on my Mac mini from 2018. About the same on my 2020 Macbool M1.

    Where finally everything is decided once the session is loaded, it is mainly in my opinion on the power of the processor for the work in real time, and especially on the amount of RAM. On my Macmini with 32 gigs of ram, the orchestra sessions can make fluidity difficult with occasional crackles. Fortunately this does not happen with my Macbook M1 (16 go/512 HD) which manages unified ram very well, and potentially the swaps are faster.

    Note, on the M1 (and M2) processors much more recent than the Intel, the USB controller is slower than in the past. So the transfer rate of external SSDs is a little slower (without becoming too penalizing).

    Finally, on the most recent macs equipped with an entry-level M2 processor with 8gb of ram (Pro or air), a major swap problem is documented and widely commented on (due to a single controller at the SSD level, which makes the computer much slower than the M1)

    In addition, the heating of the MBs slows down the processor, I think, which can be a problem with a large session...

    In short, I think that the best would ideally be to have a very large internal SSD where to store the libraries, and especially a lot of RAM (64 GB)?

    Otherwise, moreover, I wonder if a thunderbold disk (much faster than the SSD in USB 3) would not be an interesting solution to store the banks?

    Once loaded into the DAW, it's really a matter of RAM speed, and perhaps internal SSD speed and its eventual SWAP...

    But I don't have many other technical elements to add and I could very well be wrong...