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Old January 15th, 2004, 04:12 PM   #16
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If you're interested another WE show "mix it up" was shot on the sony DSR-570 which is DVcam.
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Old January 24th, 2004, 04:20 PM   #17
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Exhibition 10th to12 Feb 2004 Video forum, London,.

http://www.videoforum.co.uk/indexVisitor.php

free entry too!

Never been before, but sounds fantastic!
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Old February 2nd, 2004, 02:43 PM   #18
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XBOX 2 Goes HDTV

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercu...ss/7849191.htm
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Old February 3rd, 2004, 09:37 AM   #19
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NetCell SyncRAID - Economical, Fast RAID

I've recently learned about a new company with a new product that may interest some here. The company is NetCell and the product is the SyncRAID Storage Controller.

The problem with RAID for video is that the solutions offering the best data protection have performance problems (RAID 5) and the fast performers offer no data protection (RAID 0). Solving this problem usually comes at some expense. Reasonable solutions designed for video are available from companies like Medea with list prices in the neighborhood of $5,000 for a 1TB array.

NetCell does not sell complete solutions, only the controller. I'm sure it would prefer to sell just its chip technology to other RAID system manufacturers, but because it is a new company it is seeding the market by offering two controller cards based on its chip. One allows the connection of 3 drives and the other 5. The SyncRAID 5000, the 5-drive version, sells for $219 and is available directly from NetCell. The SyncRAID 3000 is $159; the company told me it should be available for sale in a matter of weeks.

Here's the key: the SyncRAID chip runs the most economical drives available, ordinary everyday IDE ATA hard drives. Yesterday I priced Western Digital 250GB drives at $207. That means a 1TB array could be built for less than $1,400 including cables, shipping, and tax. That's an incredible price -- fast, protected RAID for $1.40/GB.

Check out the press release or the technology papers at the company's Web site. There are some reviews of the product, all mentioned at the site. Only the Tom's Hardware Guide review goes into much depth; I commend it to you. It does conclude that the product is good for applications like video.

I have no vested interest in the company and am not endorsing or reviewing the product here. I do intend to try it on a modest scale, converting my 120GB D: drive into a 240GB array for $360. Contrast that with spending $210 for a 250GB drive -- I'd get the space, but less performance and no data protection.

I did ask one technical question of the company yesterday. I wondered if the SyncRAID 5000 controller required 5 drives or whether it would run with fewer. The answer is that it will run with 3 or 5 drives. However, there is no automatic way to reconfigure the array if one starts with 3 drives and adds 2 later. The data must be removed, the drives added, the array reconfigured, and the data restored.

This seems like a very interesting technological development for those of us in video.
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Old February 4th, 2004, 07:02 AM   #20
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Thats cool, I'm a huge fan of my xbox, and the game halo in my opinion is by far one of the best games i have ever played. I read about the playstation 3 and it said it has dvd recording and Tivo. Thats going to be pretty crazy also.
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Old February 4th, 2004, 08:53 AM   #21
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I know this is about a game system, but I posted the link because it shows that mass HDTV adoption is right around the corner. Couple this with HDV camcorders coming out, cheaper HDTV sets coming out, and one can clearly see that HDTV is right around the corner.
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Old February 4th, 2004, 09:07 AM   #22
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Yeah and more HD channels need to be added. I'm guessing 2 years from now 90% of all TV will be in HD.
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Old February 5th, 2004, 09:50 PM   #23
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Thanks for the update and extra info Will. This was spoken about not long ago and i thought it'd be ages/if at all that we'd see it happen. I may prepare for this one's arrival :)
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Old February 6th, 2004, 08:26 AM   #24
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Update

The SyncRAID 3000 controller card, for 3 ATA drives, is now available at NetCell's site.

In the original post I said that the chip ran IDE ATA drives. That is correct, but the chip also runs the newer serial ATA (SATA) drives. NetCell's two SyncRAID controllers, however, only support IDE (parallel ATA) drives.
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Old February 6th, 2004, 01:14 PM   #25
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I looked into this couple of weeks ago when I was building a new DV Editing system. It is a very economical RAID solution. However, it lacks greatly in performance. Tom's Hardware did some tests and it's average access time is around 17-18ms. That's almost 2x of most drive access times.

A NetCell sales rep told me that the SATA controllers would be available sometime in March.

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Old February 6th, 2004, 02:14 PM   #26
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I'm wondering why no-one mentioned the Promise RAID
controllers. They have been out for like 5 years and also have
cards (cheaper then SyncRAID's) that work with ATA and SATA
drives. Adaptec also has a relative cheap RAID card for ATA
drives on the market.
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Old February 6th, 2004, 02:15 PM   #27
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The issue for video is not access time but maximum sustainable transfer rate.

Vince, I did not see the access time result in the THG article. Can you point me to it? Perhaps I read too fast.
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Old February 6th, 2004, 02:20 PM   #28
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Rob, I looked at the Adaptec cards. They implement the XOR function in software. I believe the Promise cards are also soft-RAID solutions.

The NetCell card requires no special driver and implements the XOR onboard.
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Old February 6th, 2004, 02:53 PM   #29
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Why do you say SOFT raid? And how do you mean? The promise
controllers have a chip on the cards that does RAID. So it should
be "hardware" RAID. Or I'm very much mistaken. Can you post
a link to where you raid about it being a soft-RAID solution?
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Old February 6th, 2004, 04:11 PM   #30
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This link is to a PDF file at the NetCell site. Look on page 5 for Figure 2. The diagram in the middle shows "Software RAID" while the two flanking diagrams are variations of hardware RAID. (The link is to a technology paper that explains the NetCell approach and is worth reading if you're interested.)

http://www.netcell.com/technology%20...ottlenecks.pdf

There are three main issues with RAID. One is making a group (array) of hard drives look like a single drive. The second is the method of storing the data (usually referred to by RAID level, as RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 3, etc.). These two items are relatively simple and are the ones most often implemented in hardware.

The third is the implementation of redundancy through the creation of parity bits (that's what the mention of XOR is all about). This is computationally intensive. Today's PCs are pretty fast, so one solution is to have the software driver incorporate parity generation. This eats some CPU cycles and, because it must be done before the data can be passed to the hardware RAID controller, introduces a delay. Worse, the parity data must also be written to the disks, so the total amount of data passed by the O/S driver to the hardware RAID controller goes up. For a 4-disk array with a 5th disk for parity, 25% more data must be passed.

The diagram on the far right of Figure 2 is the NetCell approach. The design makes the SyncRAID system look like an ordinary IDE disk. That means only the actual data has to be passed through to the controller (no extra overhead for the parity data) and no special software driver is needed. The XOR calculation for parity is done in the controller on the fly.

I know providing a NetCell diagram may seem self-serving. However, I'm an IT guy of 30 years experience. Based upon that experience, I'm saying that Figure 2 is an appropriate rendition of how RAID works and is certainly accurate with respect to software RAID. I would say that the leftmost diagram in Figure 2 is a bit self-serving because there are legacy solutions that look more like the NetCell approach. They are just much more expensive, like the Medea RAID products I mentioned.

This is very analogous to "WinModems." Older "hardware" modems contained the circuitry required to operate the modem plus a microprocessor that could process commands. As computers got faster, the microprocessor was eliminated and the equivalent functionality was moved inside the PC to the modem driver. This sharply reduced the price of a modem, a fact more visible than the performance overhead incurred by the host PC. In other words, the RAID chips on most motherboards are WinModem-like in that processing is split between the RAID controller and the host PC. In the NetCell approach, everything happens on the NetCell chip.

Again, I have no connection to NetCell in any way except that I expect to become a customer.

Will
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