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Old June 13th, 2008, 12:49 AM   #1
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Buying new powerhouse--help?:)

Tired of my 2 1/2 half year old Dual 2.3ghz G5 tower constantly freezing up and crashing under the demands up my Hi Def project. The project its self is massive and takes up almost 6TB of space in glacially slow external hard drives. What's more, sometimes my pal and I add up to 15 layers of FCP goodies on a given frame.

So should I get a new 3.0 8 core or will it really make that much difference if I get a 3.2 8 core? And more important, if I just use the existing external hard drives as my back up, what would be the fastest (within financial reason), safest (within financial reason) way to store and have on tap all 6 TB of footage?

PS The movie has tons of flashforwards and flashbacks so I need to be able to have access to all 6TB of footage whenever I want them.

Thanks to anyone who has any advice:)
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Old June 13th, 2008, 03:50 AM   #2
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Considering all the extra costs for only 0.4ghz , I would go for a 2.8 8-core model, and invest the extra money in drives and RAM memory (don't buy RAM from Apple).

(I don't know as much about drives, but I only now that they - and RAM memory - can be a bottleneck much more so then that 0.4 ghz).
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Old June 13th, 2008, 06:50 AM   #3
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IMHO, buying a new faster mac will not take care of your underlying issue.
Your "glacially slow external hard drives".
Sure renders will be quicker, but your performance will still be limited by your slowest drive.
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Old June 13th, 2008, 09:49 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Betsy Moore View Post
So should I get a new 3.0 8 core or will it really make that much difference if I get a 3.2 8 core?
The absolute fastest is not necessarily the way to go. Check out my thread for more info about "processor power:cost effectiveness" ratio.


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Originally Posted by Betsy Moore View Post
And more important, if I just use the existing external hard drives as my back up, what would be the fastest (within financial reason), safest (within financial reason) way to store and have on tap all 6 TB of footage?
What you need is an eSATA RAID setup like something from CalDigit. Also, if you have 15 layers going on at once, you should probably be precomposing and then nesting that in the main sequence and rendering.
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Old June 13th, 2008, 10:15 AM   #5
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Also, if you have 15 layers going on at once, you should probably be precomposing and then nesting that in the main sequence and rendering.
That is exactly what I was going to say.
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Old June 13th, 2008, 08:27 PM   #6
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Are you working at full res or at an offline resolution? Also is it HDV or true HD like HDcam? If HDV is being used then faster hard drives are not the answer.If using true HD I would consider using the lower quality pro res which should be fine or any computer. If you want to get a Mac pro I would recommend trying to buy the last generation (pre January 2008) used since they are still super powerful. Basically if you have the money to throw around for buying a new mac pro and a new raid array you could just use it to pay for an online session instead of new hardware.
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Old June 14th, 2008, 02:04 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the brilliant feedback, guys:)

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Brill View Post
Are you working at full res or at an offline resolution? Also is it HDV or true HD like HDcam? If HDV is being used then faster hard drives are not the answer.If using true HD I would consider using the lower quality pro res which should be fine or any computer. If you want to get a Mac pro I would recommend trying to buy the last generation (pre January 2008) used since they are still super powerful. Basically if you have the money to throw around for buying a new mac pro and a new raid array you could just use it to pay for an online session instead of new hardware.
Hey James, I'm working from HDV, various sources but primarilly 1080 50i, working at full res. Unfortunately, at 6TB of information, hundreds of hours of footage, this will take months and months of grueling soul-deadening editing--so that one online session would be awfully long:)

Someone was saying maybe I should get two 5 TB external raid boxes connected via eSata cards, run the 5TB arrays at RAID 5, for 3TBs per box for a total of 6TB but I'm not sure if he 100% knows what he's talking about (neither is he so I'm not talking trash!).
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Old June 14th, 2008, 02:38 PM   #8
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This is what I upgraded to. I was also using a dual 2.8 GHz G5.

Mac Pro -- Two 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon (8-core)
One 16x SuperDrive
320GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
2GB (2 x 1GB)
Apple Keyboard (English) + Mac OS X
Apple Mighty Mouse
ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB (Two dual-link DVI)

RAM (from Other World Computing):
8GB (4 x 2GB) PC6400 DDR2 ECC 800MHz 240 Pin FB-DIMMs
Netlist Memory fully meets Apple's stringent thermal considerations for Mac Pro FB-DIMMs.
Added to the existing 2 GB of RAM, there's now 10 GB of RAM.

DeckLink HD Extreme

Two SeriTek/2SE2-E External PCI Express (PCIe) 2-Port Adapter with eSATA connectors. Also, the dual Seritek hot-swap enclosures. Can be configured as level-0 for editing, or level-1 RAID for archive.
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Old June 14th, 2008, 10:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Sensui View Post
This is what I upgraded to. I was also using a dual 2.8 GHz G5.

Mac Pro -- Two 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon (8-core)
One 16x SuperDrive
320GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
2GB (2 x 1GB)
Apple Keyboard (English) + Mac OS X
Apple Mighty Mouse
ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB (Two dual-link DVI)

RAM (from Other World Computing):
8GB (4 x 2GB) PC6400 DDR2 ECC 800MHz 240 Pin FB-DIMMs
Netlist Memory fully meets Apple's stringent thermal considerations for Mac Pro FB-DIMMs.
Added to the existing 2 GB of RAM, there's now 10 GB of RAM.

DeckLink HD Extreme

Two SeriTek/2SE2-E External PCI Express (PCIe) 2-Port Adapter with eSATA connectors. Also, the dual Seritek hot-swap enclosures. Can be configured as level-0 for editing, or level-1 RAID for archive.
Thanks Deano:)

Is configuring at 0 dangerous? If it's archived at a RAID 1 on a different hard drive or raid array, should I keep both editing and archive disks hooked to the computer at the same time and if so would the archive disk update all the changes I've made every few minutes or something?
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Old June 16th, 2008, 06:37 PM   #10
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raid 0 will give you 1 terabyte if you have 1 terabyte worth of harddrive space. Raid 1 will give you half ( 2 500 GB drives form 1 500 GB array because one harddrive is a copy). Raid 5 can be different depending on what company is doing the raid I believe. Some of the space is used as a copy but not as much as raid 1. Although getting a array that has a good raid 5 is trickier to find but is a nice mix between the two different types giving you speed and redundancy instead of one or the other.
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Old June 16th, 2008, 07:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Betsy Moore View Post
Thanks Deano:)

Is configuring at 0 dangerous? If it's archived at a RAID 1 on a different hard drive or raid array, should I keep both editing and archive disks hooked to the computer at the same time and if so would the archive disk update all the changes I've made every few minutes or something?
RAID 0 is only dangerous if you don't have a backup. With my setup it's very stable and I haven't had problems in years.

I always make backups of my projects. Media is what's on the RAID 0 drives, and I can always re-acquire the media from my archive RAID 1 drives. RAID 0 is intended for speed -- to move lots of data quickly.

I have four bays available for my removable SATA drives. I generally have one pair set up as RAID 0 and the other pair set up as RAID 1. So it allows me to easily copy from one to the other.
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Old June 17th, 2008, 12:33 PM   #12
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I'm agreeing with Dean and would recommend you have a raid 0 set up for all your media and then have your project files and auto saves on one of internal the harddrives of the mac. If your raid was ever to fail you could just recapture your media using your project files that were not attached to the raid. Although I would not back up all of my footage onto another hard drive if I have access to the tapes still, I would only back up things like my project files and graphics and things of that nature that should be on the raid 0 but do not live on a tape that I can access.
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Old June 17th, 2008, 05:40 PM   #13
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Whoa, good info, guys.

So from what you're saying Dean, it seems like if I got 2 3tb external hard drives arrays for rendering at raid 0 and plugged them into two esata slots and and then got two more 3tb external hard drives configured at raid 1 plugged into the other two esata slots and used the raid 1 for back up I'd be both safe and fast?
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Old June 18th, 2008, 01:29 AM   #14
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What I would do is get an external array that has 6 slots with no drives and buy six 1 TB harddrives. Stripe that all together as Raid 0. Then if you really feel the need for backing up all of your 6 terabytes of hdv footage then I would get a couple 2TB firewire drives and back them up and place them in a closet. Of course again having a good system set up for logging will basically eliminate the need for spending the money on an extra 12 terabytes of storage (remember raid 1 takes TWO 500 gig drives to make one 500 gig array) since the tapes are your back up. Also I'm not exactly sure but I believe doing all of that daisy chaining will be tough with esata because of the way it works with giving each drive a lane and what not.

On a side note, with the massive amount of storage you are looking at I would perhaps step past esata and bump up to a higher performing array like SCSI or the new Cal Digit array. These will be over kill for HDV, but any Raid 0 will be since HDV is processor intensive but it's megabytes per second is around 10 which any internal drive can manage. Fortunately though these arrays will be able to play with true HD a lot better than esata.
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Old June 18th, 2008, 02:31 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Betsy Moore View Post
Whoa, good info, guys.

So from what you're saying Dean, it seems like if I got 2 3tb external hard drives arrays for rendering at raid 0 and plugged them into two esata slots and and then got two more 3tb external hard drives configured at raid 1 plugged into the other two esata slots and used the raid 1 for back up I'd be both safe and fast?
Hi Betsy...

Yep, that will do the trick. I use Firmtek's system which has proven to be fast and stable. It's also flexible. If I really needed it, I could use all four channels as a RAID 0.

Also, I just started using SoftRaid. It's particularly valuable in operating a Level 1 RAID where it's critical to know which drive has gone bad. Apple's software RAID isn't as easily managed. Haven't converted all the RAIDs over yet but eventually I will.
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