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Old November 25th, 2009, 10:32 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Istanbul
Posts: 9
Portable station with XENA 2K

Just trying to put together a portable (with wheels at least) PC based computer system to capture via XENA 2K to uncompressed 10bit 444 on-set.

I am just trying to figure aout how minimum I can go on specs to minimize the size, consumption, noise and price.

My current setup is with an i7 920 2.66GHz plus 12gigs of RAM. But I am not sure this horse with a raid 5 setup can handle the huge stream of data. I will also playback the recorded footage back and forth and also do some basic editing. Looking for a decent graphics card, too.

What is your suggestion, and if I go with this system what will be my limitations?


Orkan Bayram is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 30th, 2009, 02:19 PM   #2
AJA Video Systems
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Grass Valley, CA
Posts: 36

That system will likely work ok with your XENA card. So I wouldnt go out and buy a whole new system before trying out that one. Here are some tips:

1) Be sure to check out our recommended systems. These are systems that we have in house and we know will work. If you are going to build something different, try to build it as similarly as possible to one of those.

2) When you build your own system rather than buying one of the preconfigured recommended systems, there can be many places for limitations. Especially with a cheap consumer motherboard. Just know that the biggest issue is generally going to be bus bandwidth between the motherboard and the XENA card, and/or between the motherboard and the storage controller. As you put these devices in, use our system test application to measure the bandwith. That will generally be a good indicator of real performance you'll see with the actual video applications.

3) Build your own RAID at your own risk. Internal RAID requires good internal power, and better ventilation. Using an external raid generally makes these issues a non-factor.

Thad Huston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 23rd, 2010, 09:36 AM   #3
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Location: Neenah, WI
Posts: 547
One other bit of RAID input:

Internal RAID configurations are almost always RAID-0 or striped (the acronym "RAID" doesn't actually apply to this configuration really), and of course...this is a very vulnerable setup. Many internal RAIDs can be configured as something better than RAID-0, but you're often limited on how many physical drives you can connect, power, and properly cool.

Even 'enterprise' quality harddrives can die without warning. Obviously Orkan mentions using a RAID 5 system, but if you decide to use the system for acquisition, you need to know whether or not you can still capture once you've had a drive member fail and you're auto-restoring. With an internal drive system, even with RAID 5, you may not have the ability to have a hotspare connected, so you may have to stop production while changing drives and restoring.

I have an external array with 15 drives, two 6+1 RAID 5 volumes and a hot spare on my edit system. Even with this system, I would be uncertain whether I could capture uncompressed HD 10bit while involved in a member failure/auto restore to the hotspare. The data is preserved, and I can continue to edit, but I couldn't guarantee you would still have the sort of throughput to maintain glitch free capture at that sort of bandwidth...

Holding up location production is a costly prospect and since it would likely take only one such unfortunate event to blacklist you for any future work, I'd carefully investigate what it will take to give you a truly portable, yet -truly 100% up-time- capture system. I suspect that such a system would be far more expensive, and far heavier than you may have anticipated.

Also...as an AJA user, (and a user of many other types of systems over the years) I would really echo what Thad is saying about paying close attention to the approved configurations. No computer software or hardware vendor has the manpower or time to test every possible combination of components and software available, and that list keeps growing after a product is released. There is no need to experience problems that AJA has already solved...
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