NAS vs and USB 3 File Access - SSD vs HDD

I have done a few searches here to find opinions of what I am asking below; I have found bits and pieces of answers but not all, at least not in one place.

My question relates to speed of track access with tracks stored on NAS vs USB HDD vs USB SSD. I know internal SSD storage for music is best, but I am using a SonicTransporter i7 and to have a larger SSD installed requires shipping it back to Small Green Computer. With shipping the way it is now (just had a real problem with FedEx) I am not willing to ship it due to potential of it getting lost or damaged. So, here goes and I do apologize if my question has already been answered somewhere here.

I have about 3 1/2 TB of music files. I started using Roon about 5 years ago (lifer) by putting all music on a Synology DS1812 NAS, stored away from the Core. Reliable, but many times I would have delays in accessing or changing tracks - the little bar at the bottom would go left and right for some time - and for spin up after the HDDs have been in sleep. Everything Roon related is Ethernet (wired). Commercial grade network switches are installed (Cisco) but I do have many devices hooked to the network with a mix of Ethernet and WiFi.

So, several months ago I put everything on a 8TB WD external WD desktop HDD connected to the ST via USB 3. Nice access but I accidently knocked the HDD onto the floor while it was spinning and you know what that did. So, after that happened more than once (yeah, I am indeed clumsy!! Finally wised up and put it on the floor :-). I thought of external SSD, again via USB 3.

I have read that SSD speed is wasted on Roon music storage when using USB 3 but the durability and longevity of SSD got my attention. I would need a 8TB SSD to provide room for expansion of library. Yeah, pricey but perhaps it would outlast 2-3 spinning HDDs, at least for me.

So, here is the question: For anyone who has changed from USB 3.0 HDD to USB 3.0 SSD, have you noticed any quicker track access (both first load and changing track to track), or is it about the same? Some here have reported improved sound by going to SSD but I am not sure that would be the case for external USB.

Thanks for reading all this and I do appreciate your replies.

The hdd has some spin up time when first accessed after It has been sleeping. Ssd doesn’t. Other than that no.

This doesn’t answer your question but may save you some money. Roon doesn’t care about directory structure so multiple drives work the same way as one large one. You may find a couple smaller SSDs are cheaper than one large one if you decide on SSD.


Thanks for the replies. I decided to use an external 8TB SSD (Samsung 870) in an enclosure with a fan, although the fan may not really be needed. Longevity and durability were what led me to that decision. Hopefully I will have it set up on a couple of days.

Just a reminder. You come from a NAS which means (if not configured differently) some redundancy re fatal drive failures. A single USB attached SSD has none, drive dead means data is gone. Which is fine as long you still have some backup elsewhere.

Yes, make sure you have a copy (or two) on another hard drive, on a NAS, on a different computer. You don’t want all your files existing in one and only 1 drive.

And for what it’s worth, SSD hasn’t been any more, or less, reliable than HDD for me. I always replace my drives every couple of years anyway, so moneywise, HDD makes more sense for this application.

Yeah, I always keep at least two copies of my music on external HDDs stored in different locations plus a copy on a NAS which is folder synced to another NAS. But thanks for the reminder to others who may read this…

I have an old QNAP TS-251+ with a couple of WD red mechanical drives in it and never had issues with inter-track delay in Roon - this being true whether I ran the core on the NAS or more recently running it on a dedicated i7 NUC.

Just for reference for you: Starting a track off my NAS when NAS has not recently been access is 0.5-1 second. If NAS drive are already spinning than its pretty much instant. Access to tracks on the internal SATA SSD on my are also instant always.

Maybe something wrong with it the NAS config/filesystem if the delays pattern is different to above? What is access like via the file system? Is it slow to respond? I generally find with slow track changing in Roon this can also be down to the filesystem on which Roon stores its database and/or the Roon database being very large.

Hi there,
Exactly for this reason I exchanged two HDDs in my NAS for 2x4TB SSD (Raid1). Access too long after standby of the HDD, sometimes too long access times during operation. Much smoother and faster with the SSD. Before the NAS I had a ROON Core with SSD, the limitations came with the HDD. I can’t tell any difference in the sound.

I started out with the Core in my home office, but that put three gigibit network switches in line to the router (eero Pro 6). There were two network switches between the Core and the NAS (Synology 1812+) and two switches between the NAS and the eero. Start to play and track change sometimes took 2-3 seconds with the blue bar at bottom or Roon going left - right. Several weeks ago I moved the Core closer to the eero - only one network switch between the Core and the router. Better but still some delays.

I use Sonore UltraRendus connected to Oppo HA-1s in three locations in the house for headphone listening. They are wired Ethernet with 1-2-3 switches between them and the Core, depending on which room they are in.

When I tried moving the music to a USB 3 HDD, delays were much shorter, even none sometimes. Yesterday I copied music to a Samsung 8TB QVO SSD mounted in a 3.5" HDD enclosure which has a fan. Now no delays for starting music or track to track change. So, this is my config for now and I hope it continues to function very well for a long time.

I am also thinking to buy SSD SATA.
Samsung 870 EVO 4tb or WD Red SA500 4tb?
WD declare their Red to be optimal for NAS.
Which one will suite better?Thoughts?

I always prefer Samsung.

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The Samsung EVO is supposed to be more reliable than the QVO but is not available in 8TB. From what I remember when looking at Samsung SSDs the EVO stores 3 bits per cell whereas the QVO stores 4 per cell, thereby providing more storage capacity. That is what I remember but may not be the whole story. I needed 8TB so I went with the QVO. Extremely happy with its performance, even with the slower speed of USB 3.0 instead of having it mounted internally.
I have Samsung 870 2TB SSDs in 4 home PCs and they all have been very reliable.

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At begining I decided to go for Samsung 870 EVO and then I read somewhere that WD RED SA500 and SEAGATE IRONWOLF 125 are made specially to work with NAS. Finally, TBs of music will be stored on these SSD SATA.
Are all them the same or latter ones would have some advantages once the stored music come in question?

Uses a different type of memory. One that is not meant for hard use, ie a lot of writing. If you use a QVO drive, it should be for storage, limiting the writes.

Thanks for the info. Since I am using the QVO for Roon music storage, it should be fine.