Disk system errors

I know this is a complex question, but in sessions with about 15 or more tracks I get lots of

"The disk system on your computer
was not able to keep up with Ardour.

Specifically, it failed to read data from disk
quickly enough to keep up with playback."

error messages. I’m using a powerbook 1GHZ G4 with 1.25 GB RAM. I have the session on an external USB drive (and I’ve tried using the startup disk for the sessions as well - still get lots of errors) with the HFS+ journaled file system. I sort of always assumed this was all I could get from my system.

Is this true? or is something going wrong?

Well, you could also be running low on cpu, but that’s unlikely.

Most internal laptop drives are pretty slow (4800 RPM), and USB drives are inefficient. If you can upgrade to a 7200 RPM drive either internally or via firewire, you should be able to do much better.

Some report great results with the 10,000 RPM raptor drives. They have a very good track to track access time.

Everything is workload dependent, though. Once you fix the drive bottleneck you’ll end up running out of processor or memory eventually.

Here’s a pointer to some actual ardour configurations.

thanks for the link !


I just wanted to clarify that this reported disk I/O issue is experienced with record/play of 24-bit 44.1 files.

I don’t currently have an exact threshold point identified where the simultaneous rec/play track count causes this error, but using a different app with the same # of simultaneous tracks at 24-bit / 44.1 and similar latency settings is fine.

Ardour / Jack indicate about 25-30% CPU with this setup.

I have moved the 400G drive to a different IDE cable (different from the system drive), as well as changing the jumper settings from cable-select to slave with no apparent change in behaviour. In all of those tests, my other DAW app that I am using for comparison performed fine regarding disk I/O



I’ll read through the link too to compare some systems.

I have a G4 800Mhz 1.5G ram with an internal audio only 400G 7200 RPM Seagate Barracuda running OSX 10.4.9 and the Ardour2 DMG alongside JackOSX.

With 24 record/playback tracks and I/O set up @ various latencies I get the same disk system error message mentioned here. Same thing with 8 rec/play tracks.

If I run Traktion on the same system I can record and play 24 simultaneous tracks to/from this audio drive.

In other words, I used the same HW and tested between two different DAW apps.

Any ideas where to look to tweak things out a little with Ardour?