Switching to external USB 3 drive SSD vs Traditional hard drive..thoughts?

My network dedicated music drive has been giving me fits of late after 5 years. I just backed up and want to attach an external drive for my dedicated room core imac (2013).

I have 1.5 TB of music files.

Will a portable USB 3 SSD or traditional hard drive be plenty fast enough for roon to play, search the files? I can save quite a bit of space and not worry about another outlet and just let the computer power the USB drive

Contrary to popular believe music files are not that demanding. Also USB 3 is faster than an Ethernet connection (in case of a NAS):

USB 3.0 Vs. Ethernet Speed: Which is Faster? (Explained) | WhatsaByte

An external USB 3 mechanical hard drive is more than fast enough to play HD video files from, let alone music files which are a fraction of video files. Also don’t forget that the network drive you are/where using is (I assume) a mechanical hard drive connected via the Ethernet (which, as said, is a slower connection than USB 3).

I have my local library on external USB 3 mechanical drives and never had any problems with Roon, Audirvana, Foobar etc. playing, indexing, syncing etc. I also play DSD256 files from the drives (which are the most demanding in bandwidth) and no problems at all.

An external USB 3 SSD would even be faster, but a bit of an overkill because the gain in speed is irrelevant for music playback.

In short:
Either a traditional or SSD USB drive will be more than fast enough for playing music with Roon. A 2TB mechanical drive is of course much cheaper than a 2 TB SSD, but if money is no object both are viable options.


Agree. I use traditional portable USB 3.0 4TB drives attached to my machine running Roon Core. Plenty fast and zero issues. SSD becomes critical for things like Roon Core internal database, etc., but as noted, for storing and feeding music files, there is no particular benefit for SSD over traditional drives.


I just added an SSD hard drive and connected it vis usb3 to my core imac. WHAT A DIFFERENCE. That older NAS drive must have been slowing my entire network down because our other computers are so much zipper now on the web as is out network attached Apple TV. Roon is so much faster searching as well.

Good that you have improved things. Do note that almost any drive (SSD or traditional) connected via USB to the machine running a Roon core, or otherwise providing files to that machine will be snappier/faster than files on a typical NAS.

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I agree with everyone else here, audio files will not tax your hard drive, no need for a NAS (for Roon anyways). I have been running multple Samsung Portable T5 SDD’s connect via USB to my Mac for over 12 months with no performance issues.