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Old January 28th, 2008, 01:20 PM   #1
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External Drive for HDV/iMac config advice.

Hi all.
I need to choose and pick up (hopefully tomorrow) a new external hard drive for my iMac (the current drive (250gb) is filling up pretty fast).
I've been using the internal drive on the mac for some time (possibly not advisable but it's all I could go along with at the time).
I'd like to keep some of what's on there already and perhaps transfer to the new drive - the rest as I won't require anymore (still have the original footage on tape) so can do away with.

Wanting to have a stable drive and preferably FW800 (although is this speed really necessary for HDV - from the JVC HD100 btw?) I was hoping to stump up for a G Raid - I have put aside approx 200 for this so with Gtech I can only currently go as far as 500gb.
As the G Safe's are a little bit pricier would it be recommended (having never used external drives, aside from a USB drive for images/music etc...which is remarkably slow!!) to use a striped Graid which I presume gives you 250gb space plus 250gb back up?

From a uk point of view a poster on here mentioned this company:

http://www.planetdv.net/Content/Storage/G-Tech.asp

who hopefully can guide me when it comes to 'relocating' scratch files (which I'm not looking forward to) - I'd prefer a hands on company to talk to rather than a cold (but slightly more cost effective) co.

Any experience/comments would be most grateful.

Cheers.
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Old January 28th, 2008, 03:14 PM   #2
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Dave
The G drives are good. I have been favoring the Lacie's lately. I just bought 2 1tb and a 500gb. Both are quad output so they have esata, F800X2, F400 and usb. They seem reliable so far.

For use with any mac I would opt for the 1tb or 2 500gig. You will fill them up soon and be looking again.
v
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Old January 28th, 2008, 06:29 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Vince Halushka View Post
Dave
The G drives are good. I have been favoring the Lacie's lately. I just bought 2 1tb and a 500gb. Both are quad output so they have esata, F800X2, F400 and usb. They seem reliable so far.

For use with any mac I would opt for the 1tb or 2 500gig. You will fill them up soon and be looking again.
v
For around the same price (here in the uk at least) I can get 1Tb Lacie d2 Quadra drive over the 500gb Gtech - therefore definitely an option, although slightly concerned over various reports of the Lacie drives falling over (which may be in part due to there being a large amount of them in the market).
Would love to rack up a hefty amount of storage but too many recent outgoings have crushed the funds I'm afraid.
Cheers.
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Old January 28th, 2008, 10:45 PM   #4
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Like anything else, you get what you pay for. I can't say that you need FW800 for HDV as I've not used that workflow but there is an improvement in performance that you can feel. FW400 is still good for hard disks.

I've used a fare number of Firewire drives over the years. In every case of a failure (3 of them), it was not the drive that failed but the bridge board inside the enclosure that failed and trashed the drive in every case. I've never had a Lacie but two colleages had one each and they both failed with total unrecoverable loss of data.

Generally speaking, heat is the enemy of electronics and the external drives generate a lot of heat in close vicinity to the enclosure's circuit board. As a result, I pay attention to the heat dissipation engineered into the external enclosure. Some use plastic while others use aluminum (transfers heat better). Some use passive cooling while others use fans.

For 3.5 inch units, I only purchase enclosures with fans or use passive cooling with aluminum skin. For 2.5 inch bus powered drives, I only purchase aluminum skins. Wherever possible, I use Seagate drives.

Some alternative well engineered units to consider are RadTech, Caldigit, Glyph, and NewerTech. Avoid the no-name stuff from China.
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Old January 28th, 2008, 11:38 PM   #5
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I'm actually in the same boat you are. I'm looking to get a Macbook Pro pretty soon, and I wanna get a good external drive for Final Cut and my Canon XH-A1.

I've been really looking at the G-Tech one, preferably the 1 TB version. I've heard the best things about that one thus far, and it advertises more towards people using it for editing.

And I would personally be extremely happy with a FW800 connection with HDV. It's better to have overkill then have it be too slow. I don't know how a FW400 connection is though. I have an older 300GB Seagate that's connected to my iMac via USB 2.0, and it is pretty slow. And in the instruction manual it claims that USB 2.0 is faster than FW400, but I'm not sure if I believe that or not.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 04:14 AM   #6
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Thanks Ernest & Jerrod.
If cost were not at the moment an issue I'd jump for the GTech's (always seem to be highly recommended especially for video work).
However as I need one fairly promptly which has to adhere to a certain price my choice is a little more limiting. With that in mind I'm more than likely going to head towards the 500gb GTech GRaid2 drive (seemingly good cooling system) instead of spending the same amount on a 1Tb Lacie (for example). I try to limit as best possible, the array of obstacles in this game and a more assured drive would help do that.

There are a few bewildering (to me at least) choices within the GTech range however:
Sata; Safe; Mini et al

I'm presuming the GRaid striped (500gb giving 2 x 250gb for backup purposes) should suit me however?
Cheers.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 07:14 AM   #7
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The G-Tech only has hardware support for RAID 0 (performance). It's for speed not reliability (you mentioned backup). You lose one disk and it's all gone.

For the same price as the G-tech, the Caldigit also has hardware RAID 1 (reliability by redundancy). This unit is gives you the flexibility to convert it to Raid 1 in the future.

It's 500GB (2x250) model is in stock at B&H for $349:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...rnal_Hard.html
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Old January 29th, 2008, 07:46 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Ernest House View Post
The G-Tech only has hardware support for RAID 0 (performance). It's for speed not reliability (you mentioned backup). You lose one disk and it's all gone.

For the same price as the G-tech, the Caldigit also has hardware RAID 1 (reliability by redundancy). This unit is gives you the flexibility to convert it to Raid 1 in the future.

It's 500GB (2x250) model is in stock at B&H for $349:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...rnal_Hard.html
Thanks Ernest, I'd presumed the Gtech Graid2 had two drives (it must've been the striped quote which confused me "Two of the fastest hard drives available are striped together with G-RAID2's on-board RAID controller") which obviously (now) does not relate to backing up on a separate drive).
Gtech do a GSafe model for this but the 250gb Raid1 model is far more expensive than the Raid0.

As a rule do most folk make sure they have a backup machine running at all time (either built into the drive, Raid1, or a separate dedicated backup drive) or is it worth risking the cash on one drive (and backing up the data along the way on a cheaper seagate/lacie usb drive...the 500gb ones which you can pick up for very little these days).

Might be very basic questions but having never dealt with exterior back up drives (using internal up to this point) I'm slightly in the dark over presented options.
Thanks.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 08:02 AM   #9
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Both units have two drives. When configured in RAID 0, the drives are striped so you get the full storage capacity (in your case 500gb). When configured in RAID 1, the two drives are configured for redundancy so when you store data on one, the second one is also written. You only get (in your case) 250GB of storage. My point was that for the same money, the Caldigit gives you the option of RAID 1 (in hardware). Take a look at their site. It's informative to say the least.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 08:06 AM   #10
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Ernest, these Caldigits appear to be a little harder to get hold of in the uk (hence perhaps less competitive pricing) but I've found at least one uk supplier:

http://www.rentaraid.co.uk/products/...FQWVMAodUzo6uw

However from what I'm reading they seem like really good drives...you've thrown something into the hat there Ernest! Looks like the CalDigit - FirewireVR starts at 500gb (*and am I correct in saying this would give me 500gb space plus 500gb mirrored?) rather than 250gb...but definitely an option.

Thanks again.

*[wrote this before reading your last response - totally understood now]
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Old January 29th, 2008, 11:13 AM   #11
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Just read this review (from LAFCPUG) of the Caldigit - the Caldigit does sound like a great product':

http://www.lafcpug.org/reviews/review_caldigit.html

Not quite sure of support in the uk (if you needed to send a disk in for example). Also, the price for the Caldigit here is the same as the Dollars figures unfortunately (220 ish for the 500gb GTech and 330 for the 500gb Caldigit).

I'm reading that mirrored RAID1 setup drives are not the best option for video editing (the most I'll need if for for the foreseeable future at least is HDV)

[from the LAFCPUG review above]
Quote:
Raid 0 is called PERFORMANCE, and basically makes both drives in the unit appear as one large one (adding together the capacity of each). So with two 250GB drives, you get 500GB at RAID 0. Raid 1 is a PROTECTED Raid....meaning that the footage is mirrored on both drives. You Raid two 250GB drives and you get 250GB of storage, and performace drops. This is ideal for backup up footage, but not for video editing.
With that in mind, I'm wondering how I would best go about having an external back up drive - gtech (or if I could afford Caldigit) then manually backup to cheap but large hd (which I gather is a rule of thumb?)?.

Cheers....and apologies if I'm going over old ground - just trying to get my head round vid editing/backup options (and pretty quickly as I my internal drive is beginning to rumble..!).
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Old January 29th, 2008, 11:33 AM   #12
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If you don't have more Firewire ports on your system unit you can add a hub to get more or you can daisy chain drives (string them together) using the second FW port on the back of your drive. Also your backup drive can use FW400 since it isn't performance critical.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 11:52 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Ernest House View Post
If you don't have more Firewire ports on your system unit you can add a hub to get more or you can daisy chain drives (string them together) using the second FW port on the back of your drive. Also your backup drive can use FW400 since it isn't performance critical.
I was thinking of that Ernest - getting a FW800 drive (the ones mentioned) and a cheaper USB (or FW800) for backup. These are much cheaper than the performance drives. Have been doing a bit of research on here and other sites and it's not as black and white as I thought it might be. Even RAID setups are not universally praised:

http://www.pugetsystems.com/articles.php?id=29

All a bit of a minefield!! I just want a hefty amount of HD space really quickly with the option of backing up. It's a shame the Caldigit are not as well supported over in the uk because they sound fantastic (daisy chaining without lack of speed; hardware mirror set ups etc).
Thanks for the advice Ernest...I'll let you know how I get on with a decision.

Cheers.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 01:11 PM   #14
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David,

One thing to keep in mind is the difference between "redundancy" and "back-up." RAID-1 will give you redundancy (if one disk goes down you have a mirrored copy ready to go) but not back-up (if you accidentally delete a file or a power spike fries your system a RAID-1 won't help). What is right for you depends on your situation.
Of course the ideal situation is to have run a mirrored RAID *and* have a back-up copy of all your footage on FW drives on a shelf.


-A
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Old January 29th, 2008, 02:02 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Andrew Kimery View Post
David,

One thing to keep in mind is the difference between "redundancy" and "back-up." RAID-1 will give you redundancy (if one disk goes down you have a mirrored copy ready to go) but not back-up (if you accidentally delete a file or a power spike fries your system a RAID-1 won't help). What is right for you depends on your situation.
Of course the ideal situation is to have run a mirrored RAID *and* have a back-up copy of all your footage on FW drives on a shelf.


-A
Cheers Andrew - it's all fallen into place now!
If money were not an issue then I'd have the RAID1 scenario and a backup system in place. As it stands however I just need some hard drive space...and fast. 500gb will see me through for a while at least (and the Gtech, Graid2, looks like the most suitable option - the Caldigit drives are another £100 on top even though I'd prefer that route).
I'll then look at cheap backup options - would I get away with backing up to USB 2 drives (they're far cheaper - £70 for 500gb) - I won't be utilising the media files on there for anything other than storage.

I'm actually surprised my iMac has run FCP so well (with HDV footage) even though the program and scratch disk and other files reside on the same internal HD, but that was a lower priority at the time.

Many thanks.
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