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Old June 14th, 2006, 08:50 AM   #31
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But then there are IT workflow solutions for DV and HDV, so that's not really a point in P2's favor. What this ultimately comes down to is using what works for you and your customers today, and keep an eye out for what may be coming in the future. Improvements in the cost and capacity of flash memory should benefit everyone including P2 users, and eventually lead to a wider selection of video cameras using less expensive flash memory.
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Old June 14th, 2006, 04:58 PM   #32
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The SanDisk Extreme III CompactFlash cards are certified for 20 MB/sec sustained read/write speed, which just happens to be what the Panasonic engineers said they need for the HVX200 when they talked to us at WEVA last August.
20 MB/sec to record 1080i dvcproHD?

i suspect that your cf card is no match for a p2 card, so it's really not a basis for comparison:

"Basically, four SD Memory cards are packaged together to create a single P2 card. This gives the P2 card four times the capacity and four times the transfer speed of a single SD Memory card."
https://eww.pavc.panasonic.co.jp/pro...ard/index.html

"The P2 card is essentially a RAID of SD memory cards with an LSI controller tightly packaged in a die-cast PCMCIA enclosure, so data transfer rate increases as memory capacity increases." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P2_(storage_media)
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Old June 15th, 2006, 01:36 PM   #33
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20 MB/sec to record 1080i dvcproHD?
If that's a query, then yes, it should easily manage it. 20MB/s = 160Mb/s, so 1.6x the data rate of DVCProHD. Which seems a reasonable safety margin, given these are certified sustained speeds. And don't forget we're looking ahead a little, with the next generation of pro cameras, let alone consumer, expected to have data rates around 50-75Mbs with more advanced codecs - JPEG2000 or AVC.
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i suspect that your cf card is no match for a p2 card, so it's really not a basis for comparison:

"Basically, four SD Memory cards are packaged together to create a single P2 card. This gives the P2 card four times the capacity and four times the transfer speed of a single SD Memory card."
The above sentence is (I believe) from a fact sheet put out by Panasonic in the early days of P2. It's still factually true, but is from an era when SD cards were typically 512MB - 1GB at most - and much slower speed, nowhere near enough for DVCProHD, and possibly not even DVCPro50. But times move on, capacities and speeds improve, and the whole reasoning behind P2 falls away. If Panasonic were developing a solid state recording camera NOW, I doubt they would be working on a P2 approach. Just consider the conclusions that the Grass Valley design team came to, starting from a green field approach!

THEORETICALLY an 8GB P2 card should still have an advantage in that theoretically it will download at much faster than real time, and much faster than a CF card. Practically, for average users, the limiting factor is more likely to be the computer and peripherals and the performance of each is likely to be not as different as the figures suggest - that is certainly my experience.

So I disagree that CF and P2 aren't a valid comparison. For the 8GB version (say), we're talking about same capacity, both fast enough to record DVCProHD, both downloading at similar speeds (potential of P2 limited), so.... what is the real difference to the average user? Apart from one being several times the price of the other!! :-)
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Old June 16th, 2006, 12:06 PM   #34
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The above sentence is (I believe) from a fact sheet put out by Panasonic in the early days of P2. It's still factually true, but is from an era when SD cards were typically 512MB - 1GB at most - and much slower speed, nowhere near enough for DVCProHD, and possibly not even DVCPro50.
the link you are referencing is indeed copyrighted 2003, but it also states:

"The H-Series P2 cards also support DVCPRO HD recording with the new AG-HVX200 HD P2 handheld camera-recorder." ...so how could it be from the early days of p2?

the 4gb p2 card in that link is rated at a theoretical 640 Mbps data transfer speed, vs. the 160 Mbps that you listed? i do realize that we are also talking about possible burst vs. sustained data rates here, which may minimize that difference... but either i'm missing something here, or the p2 is going to be a heck of a lot quicker at downloading the video to an editing system.

i have not looked into the design of a cf card, does it have a raid controller in it? even if you ignore those engineering differences, and just base it on the access speeds alone, it appears to me that you cannot compare a cf card to a p2 card.
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Old June 16th, 2006, 05:16 PM   #35
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the link you are referencing is indeed copyrighted 2003, but it also states:

"The H-Series P2 cards also support DVCPRO HD recording with the new AG-HVX200 HD P2 handheld camera-recorder." ...so how could it be from the early days of p2?
I think it's fundamentally a document from early P2 days, with updates. It's all factually true AFAIK, just doesn't point out that the hi-tech approach is not really needed now, thanks to technology advances! (If anyone from Panasonic cares to chip in here and prove me wrong, please do!)
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the 4gb p2 card in that link is rated at a theoretical 640 Mbps data transfer speed, vs. the 160 Mbps that you listed? i do realize that we are also talking about possible burst vs. sustained data rates here, which may minimize that difference... but either i'm missing something here, or the p2 is going to be a heck of a lot quicker at downloading the video to an editing system.
Yes, I think you are missing something. I actually believe the figures quoted are all sustained figures, but as I stated before "Practically, for average users, the limiting factor is more likely to be the computer and peripherals........." - so although the P2 card may be capable of 640Mbs, the average user is very unlikely to ever be able to exploit it. A bit like comparing an MPV to a top end sports car costing many times more, but fitted with a speed limiter so it can't break the speed limit!!!

When P2 was being developed, the rationale was to design a card that could even work at around 160Mbs, which no single SD or CF card could do AT THAT TIME. Hence the raid controller. In the last four/five years, technology has improved to the point where a CF card doesn't need a raid controller to be as effective as a P2 card when first developed - so why waste a lot of money on it?
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Old June 16th, 2006, 06:03 PM   #36
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i agree with you about the copyright year not being updated along with the document, but since it's all factually true, how is the age of the document relevant? as near as i can tell, it doesn't say anything about early p2 performance... although you can see from the numbers that the speed increases drastically with the bigger cards, i wonder if there is a limit to that?

i believe that the first p2 camera hit the market in 2004, so it's a very young format.

your point that we shouldn't care about p2 performance because most computers can't currently match it does not take into account how fast computers will be in the future... why be limited to the far slower cf card platform?

and what if a future vendor does use slower, more conventional sd cards inside the p2? it'll only make 'em cheaper... one thing that i'd be looking for with the raid controller is the ability to mask off dead cells in the memory structure, which you'll never be able to do with tape... i believe that there are mil-spec flash drives that are capable of doing that?
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Old June 16th, 2006, 07:44 PM   #37
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Hence the raid controller. In the last four/five years, technology has improved to the point where a CF card doesn't need a raid controller to be as effective as a P2 card when first developed - so why waste a lot of money on it?
I know I said I was done with this thread, but...

The memory controller in the P2 cards (or at least in the current models) is a quad-channel interleaving controller. This means it has a RAID-like striping or interleaving approach. But it's not something that should necessarily be eliminated just because the newer forms of FLASH memory can operate at speeds capable of DVCPROHD recording. This extra circuitry is added to a P2 at hardly any cost... We're talking less than $1 per P2 card manufacture cost for this "RAID" memory controller. On top of that, P2 cards like the current 8GB ones as well as the upcoming 16GB ones are using faster SD chips (ones that are capable of 20+ MB/s write speeds. There's more to P2 than simply being able to sustain the minimums (which is all that current FLASH memory will really do, maybe up to 75% increase over minimum rate).

I don't know about you guys, but I think the multi-channel memory controller is here to stay. While there are people who complain that they have to buy two matched sticks of RAM for their computer to get full performance, most people welcome this technology in their desktops. Why not embrace it in the case of FLASH memory devices? Right now, to get the maximum capacities available, multiple memory chips must be used. And since this is the case, why not interleave them in a RAID style implementation? We gain the extra capacity along with nearly 4X the bandwidth. Hmmm... Because, unlike some people in this discussion, I guess I would like to log my video several times faster than real-time.

What I really want to know is what's the bloody holdup on the 16GB cards? Although Panny did say that it would be sometime later this year, whatever that means. But we should see a price drop on the 4 and 8 GB cards when the 16s arrive.
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Old June 16th, 2006, 07:49 PM   #38
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and what if a future vendor does use slower, more conventional sd cards inside the p2? it'll only make 'em cheaper... one thing that i'd be looking for with the raid controller is the ability to mask off dead cells in the memory structure, which you'll never be able to do with tape... i believe that there are mil-spec flash drives that are capable of doing that?
Yeah, this would make much cheaper P2 cards, but then again, I'm not sure I'd buy them for anything other than casual use or non-critical work. They would be the "prosumer" and home movie version of P2.

And yes, a controller can be implemented to mask off erroneous memory locations, just as better HDDs and controllers can for hard drives/arrays. But just like with drive systems, the bad cells of a FLASH device would have to be identified first and they often tend to go bad during a critical write. This introduces more areas of consideration. Now we need some form of buffer and a faster controller/processor that can deal with such issues on the fly. Probably cheaper to stick with the better memory...

OTOH, as I've said before, it would be nice if someone would make a cheaper P2 type -- like a consumer grade and market them as such. I'd buy a bunch to use on those non-critical jobs where pulling another take is no big deal or for just most casual shooting purposes.
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Old June 17th, 2006, 08:11 AM   #39
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.........since it's all factually true, how is the age of the document relevant? ...........i believe that the first p2 camera hit the market in 2004, so it's a very young format.?
It's relevant because what may be true and definitive when written, may be irrelevant as time passes. You may find a report from a few decades ago stating that for safety and reliability reasons it is absolutely essential for aircraft on transoceanic flights to have at least four engines, and detailing exactly why this should be so. Now transatlantic flights by twin engined planes are routine - does this mean the original document was wrong? No, times change, and jet engine reliability improvements mean that the recommendations of yesterday may not be valid today.

P2 made a lot of sense when conceived. It was ahead of it's time, technically if not practically, but now the time for solid state seems near, P2s complexity seems unnecessary and there are cheaper ways to achieve the same end result. Although the first camera may have hit the market in 2004, the concept and design goes back much further.
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your point that we shouldn't care about p2 performance because most computers can't currently match it does not take into account how fast computers will be in the future... why be limited to the far slower cf card platform?
Quite simply cost, and whilst computers may indeed get much faster, do you think that solid state memory won't!? If a P2 card and a CF card of the same capacity were the same price, I'd be inclined to go for the P2 option. But the price differential is so huge that the benefits of P2 seem far outweighed by the cost factor. Even the P2 store can't begin to take advantage of the performance of the card, so why pay such a huge premium for this (potential) performance?
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Old June 17th, 2006, 12:44 PM   #40
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But the price differential is so huge that the benefits of P2 seem far outweighed by the cost factor.
don't you think that p2 cards will get cheaper once other vendors get in the game!? p2 is a young format, and it's a professional format designed for video... cf cards were never designed to record professional hd video, it's a still photo format.

i also don't agree with your assumption that the raid controller on p2 cards is there strictly as a crutch for slow sd cards... i think that it is a good idea for a pro format like p2, and it's just as viable now as it was when p2 first came out... who wouldn't want 4x ingest speeds??

as for memory cells dying during critical write times, i'll take those odds over the potential for tape dropout any day... i'd also think that losing one memory cell is going to be a lot less noticeable than a tape dropout.
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Old June 17th, 2006, 02:57 PM   #41
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don't you think that p2 cards will get cheaper once other vendors get in the game!?
I think they will get cheaper, but I can't see others starting to sell them - are they not proprietry to Panasonic? And as they do get cheaper/bigger, then the same economics will apply to CF/SD. The market will also be affected by the plans to phase out their architecture from laptops.
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p2 is a young format, and it's a professional format designed for video... cf cards were never designed to record professional hd video, it's a still photo format.
They may not have been designed for video in the first place, but it's wrong now to just label it a still camera format. The Grass Valley Infinity proves that, and the recent press release from them that it is being trialled by the BBC as a contender for their future production platform must mean we should take it very seriously. What I like conceptually about Infinity is that material may be recorded in parallel to CF for immediate use in an NLE and/or to Rev Pro as an archive or for a cameraman to give away to producer, reporter etc
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... who wouldn't want 4x ingest speeds??
Well, I'd love 4x ingest speeds and have never said otherwise. But that's a loaded question. If you asked instead "would you want 4x ingest speeds if it meant paying many times more for the media?" I suspect many people would forego the 4x. And as previously stated, most people are unable to download off P2 at much more than real time (for 100Mbs DVCProHD) anyway at the moment.
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Old June 17th, 2006, 03:26 PM   #42
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And as previously stated, most people are unable to download off P2 at much more than real time (for 100Mbs DVCProHD) anyway at the moment.
...And this confuses the @%&# out of me. What kind of slow-ass systems are people using that they can only ingets video at a paltry 12.5MB/sec or so?
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Old June 17th, 2006, 04:13 PM   #43
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What kind of slow-ass systems are people using that they can only ingets video at a paltry 12.5MB/sec or so?
The worst I've heard of is the Panasonic P2 store. According to Panasonic themselves ( https://eww.pavc.panasonic.co.jp/pro...ore/index.html ) a ".....P2 store can copy 4GB of data in only about four minutes...." or "a paltry 12.5MB/sec" as you put it. In practice I've heard real world tales of users being pushed to even get that. My own trials with a fairly powerful laptop and external hard drive managed better than that, but only about 20% or so, and I believe these figures are fairly typical. (Anybody got any other experiences?)

No doubt a far more sophisticated (and expensive) system could be engineered to do better, but all my comments have referred to an "average user", whatever that may be.
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Old June 17th, 2006, 04:31 PM   #44
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20 MB/sec to record 1080i dvcproHD?
No, 20 MB/sec to be sure they have enough overhead to record DVCProHD reliably at full bandwidth, which would be 12.5 MB/sec (plus more for the audio?). Don't ask me why, but 20 MB/sec is the bandwidth a Panasonic engineer stated he needed at WEVA last August, and that's the bandwidth which high-end flash cards now offer.

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i suspect that your cf card is no match for a p2 card, so it's really not a basis for comparison
What you're overlooking here is that P2 was developed before standard flash memory reached the current level of performance, so it made sense back then. Now that flash memory has improved there's no need for the P2 design to get the desired bandwidth, so it's become an anachronism. It's ironic that P2 is finally making headlines just as it's becoming effectively obsolete, and it's too bad Panasonic engineers didn't plan ahead for this. But as others have commented, if you can make P2 work for you today and turn a profit doing so, who cares what will happen in the future? Just don't buy any more P2 memory than you really need, because it's headed for museum status sooner or later.
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Old June 18th, 2006, 12:28 AM   #45
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I think they will get cheaper, but I can't see others starting to sell them - are they not proprietry to Panasonic? And as they do get cheaper/bigger, then the same economics will apply to CF/SD.
not quite... using one cf card will always require paying for 20 mbps write speed, but with p2 you can use the slowest sd cards on the market, which will save some $$ over that single cf card.

so it's pretty funny to be calling the p2 design an "anachronism", when the potential is there to save you money over cf.

in addition, the last numbers that i saw credited sd cards with just over 40% of the production memory market share, so i guess that sd is bigger than cf? i don't know if that's reflected in current market pricing, and i'd sure feel better about all this if we knew of any 3rd party mfg's of p2 cards.

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Just don't buy any more P2 memory than you really need, because it's headed for museum status sooner or later.
i'll be sure and put that tidbit right next to your prediction that we won't be seeing any h.264 cameras for at least the next 2-3 years.
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