Using bfd across systems

I generally use a windows desktop as my main environment which is located offsite. However, I’m using a Mac laptop when I’m home. I’m curious to know what other users here do when using disparate systems. Do you install BFD and all of the expansion packs on both environments in-full? Or do you take a different approach where the data is shared across a cloud-like service and create mappings. I don’t know how realistic that is.

I own virtually every single expansion pack. Love BFD and hope it doesn’t go away. Having some IT experience has come in handy recently with the changes mucking up mappings and such. But this is a question I’ve had for a while with cloud-type services being mature nowadays.

Without addressing licensing questions, which I just haven’t looked at in years (IIRC you could have two systems? dunno) …

When using a portable drive, the question is less BFD than the filesystem. Macs don’t read NTFS and PCs don’t read Mac OS filesystems without some kind of additional software. And I forget the state of other filesystems, and maybe FAT will work on both. Paragon will translate for you, although I don’t have any real info about speed. But that’s your main hurdle.

If there is a speed issue (I kind of doubt it), then it can probably be dealt with by tweaking buffers. Although, this is also a subject I haven’t really looked at in years.

Honestly, though, I can’t see a cloud solution working without preloading samples. You just don’t have that kind of speed.

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Back in 2015 I use to run a windows 7 machine in the studio and my late2013 MacBook pro 500Gb SSD 8GB RAM, for live backing tracks (on Ableton Live) with all BFD2 and BFD3 data on both machines and it was all running great but for live backing tracks on the MacBook pro I had to run BFD2 (used this and not BFD3 for live work) in 16bit mode because of all the other drum sounds being used from Geist and also the multiple audio tracks. Now I use an iMacPro 2017 in the studio with BFD data on an external SSD (samsung portable T5 2TB) formatted to ExFAT and it works on the iMac and works well to a point. The T5 SSD is a bit slow when I use other bass, keys and strings NI sounds from the same drive at the same time so when I need full capability from BFD, and not in 16bit mode, I have to raise the Stream Buffer to 16384 in the Engine Settings to allow more disc usage(i think it was at 8192). I will be upgrading the T5 SSD to an m2 drive of some sort for sounds, maybe the 2.0TB OWC Envoy Pro EX Rugged High-Performance Bus-Powered SSD w/Thunderbolt 3. I think the T5 SSD is enough for full functioning BFD3 but not with other sound libraries (bass, strings etc) being used. Yes things are different now with BFD3 but it is still working with the data on my external T5 SSD. An Evo 860 might do as well. I haven’t tested it yet but it seems likely to work that way from my experience. I do have most of the expansion packs too - currently 260GB for those. BFD3 core library 58GB, Geist Library 7GB, BFD1 9GB, all on the T5 SSD with my 388GB NI and 43Gb Steinberg Sound Libraries so it does work but to a point as explained earlier, even NI Kontakt needs tweaking for heavy loads. So a seperate drive for BFD would be realistic for full operation.

Here are some speed test results I did recently.
Samsung T5 2TB SSD blackmagic speed test, 5GB Stress - Write 494.6MB/s, Read 516.5MB/s
Samsung Evo860 1TB USB3.0 in Simplecom SE218 case, blackmagic speed test, 5GB Stress- Write 436.4MB/s, Read 431.3MB/s
Samsung Evo860 1TB USB3.0 in Simplecom SE215 case - 5GB Stress - Write 245.0MB/s, Read 257.6MB/s.
As you can see the case made a big difference in the Evo860 tests.
MacPro 500GB SSD (late2013model) stress5GB - Write 771.0MB/s, Read 884.8MB/s.
2013 MacbookPro SSD in Simplecom SE115 case 5GB stress - Write 123.9MB/s, Read 212.4MB/s.

Hope this helps and gives some perspective. :+1:

Definitely a separate and dedicated hard-drive if you can. USB2 should be good enough, but if you can do a USB3/TB3 drive to benefit from the higher speeds, that’d be the best way for something portable.

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Yes definitely, now thinking about it. I remember I had BFD2 and 3 data on a WD MybookPro 8TB (raid0) drive TB2 for a while before the T5 SSD and this was flawless with delivery of all BFD data. No NI data from the drive too so just BFD and it was all good even thought it is not as fast as the T5 SSD.
DiskSpeedTest WD MyBook Pro 8TB Raid0 stres5GB July2018 - 228.3MB/s Write, 241.4MB/s Read.

If you need to cross platforms with an external drive NTFS For Mac works for me on my iMac.

Good stuff, thanks. The portable Samsung-type drives that weigh nothing with USB C connections are the way to go for the laptop. It’s just another item that needs to be plugged in and carried around – a minor inconvenience though. I just wanted to be sure I wasn’t missing a different potential solution.

Yes I totally understand. Iv’e read somewhere people use high quality flash drives but I have no experience doing that. You can always put the velcro strips on the laptop and stick on the SSD for some security using external SSD’s.
Other solutions? I would like to know as well.
Could you upsize the internal Drive on the laptop if that’s necessary?

I’ve had a couple of external drives over the years, but my favorite solution is this, with a pair of SSD’s in it. I’m not doing RAID.

I keep all my samples for all my instruments on it, and it’s been plenty fast for medium sized orchestrations. I also back up to a 7200RPM drive, which has also been fast enough.

kafka, that’s a nice drive bay. What SDDs do you have in there and do you know the read/write speeds? Thanks.

It’s a pair of Samsungs, not the most expensive, not the oldest. One is a 4TB and the other a 2TB. BFD occupies half the 2TB.

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