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Old October 23rd, 2004, 09:57 AM   #1
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Advice needed on partitioning

I need your advice as to whether or not I should partition 2 Lacie d2 120GB HDs which I have been using to store my media files only. Please keep in mind that I have never partitioned a HD before.

I do a lot of weddings these days and for each one I capture about 3 hours of video which translates into (approx.) 40GB of storage space. Usually I store two such videos on each Lacie HD and work back and forth on both of them. So, I am wondering, would it better if I split each Lacie in half so that one partition is dedicated to one wedding video?

-Would this method decrease the chances of stuttering/dropped frames/fragmentation?
-How much space is lost when a 120GB is split into 2 partitions?
-If I decide to go back to having just one 120GB volume, will I get the lost space back?
-Can I use the Disk Utility app (running Mac OS 10.2) to partition and then "de-partition" the Lacies?
-Is there any issues I should be aware of or are such procedures very straight forward?

Thank you for your time.
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Old October 24th, 2004, 01:59 AM   #2
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If you are worried about your drives becoming fragmented, after you are done with a project just reintialize them. There really isn't any advantage to partioning the drives other than keeping logical separation of files.

You can use the Disk Utility to partition. The amount of space you would lose is pretty minimal for such a large drive.

If you are having problems with performance, there are other things you can look into...
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Old October 24th, 2004, 11:30 AM   #3
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Mark, thank you for replying.

My concern is stuttering during playback. It's happened a few times in the past and I think, with my limited knowledge, that because I usually store two different projects on the Lacie and because I work back and forth on both of them the same time period, the HD might have difficulty accessing the data fast enough due to how much apart they have been written on it.

Let me explain to you how I usually work so that you can understand my way of thinking. Usually I store 2 projects on the Lacie HD. Each project is about 40GB in capacity. Then I would work for 3 consecutive days on each project --Mon, Tue, Wed on project A and Thu, Fri and Sat on project B and so on. Now, it is my understanding that every time I go back to work on project A, there will be a "gap" of 40GB (because of project B) between the raw footage and the data written as I continue to edit the raw footage. Therefore occasional stuttering occurs maybe because the HD is having kinda a hard time accessing data that are written far apart from each other. Is there any logic to my agreement?

So I'm thinking that by partitioning the HD into 2 separate volumes, one for each project, every time I work on a project, data will be written continuously without a 40GB gap.

What do you think?

BTW, I erase the drives every time I am done with a project. How do I exactly reinitialize an external HD?
Also, If I decide to go back to having 120GB volume, will I get the lost space back, and how do I go about getting rid of the different volumes? Reinitialization?
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Old October 24th, 2004, 11:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
-Would this method decrease the chances of stuttering/dropped frames/fragmentation?
No. it will probably have no effect on dropped frames or playback issues. Fragmentation of HD is not a problem with OS X.


Quote:
-How much space is lost when a 120GB is split into 2 partitions?
Next to nothing, may a few hundred kb. Not even 1MB.


Quote:
-If I decide to go back to having just one 120GB volume, will I get the lost space back?
Yes, but the space is not worth worrying about.


Quote:
-Can I use the Disk Utility app (running Mac OS 10.2) to partition and then "de-partition" the Lacies?
Disk Utility will partition the drives and during reformatting of the drives the partition can be changed. Formatting the drive will cause a loss of all data on the drive. There are programs that will unpartition a drive and preserve the data (iPartition.)


Quote:
-Is there any issues I should be aware of or are such procedures very straight forward?
The procedures are straight forward but partitioning is unnecessary and will not solve the issues you're facing.
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Old October 25th, 2004, 01:25 PM   #5
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Well, fragmentation is an issue (from what I've read on tech sites) for external or non-bootable drives usually because they do not have journaling enabled by default. They are simply used as scratch space more or less. Erasing your drive should do the trick and free up contiguous blocks.

If you are daisy-chaining drives or working on a powerbook, some stuttering during playback from time to time I would think is normal. What machine are you working on? I think the best thing to do is do one project on one HD and the other project on the other HD. Make sure your scratch and render files are not separated across multiple HDs and you should be better off.
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Old October 25th, 2004, 03:25 PM   #6
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Thank you guys both for your responses.

Mark, I work on a eMac (700MHz, 384MB, 40GB) and don't daisy-chaine my drives. The odd thing is that there was no more stuttering after a few days when I went back to continue working on that same project. So, stuttering could have been cause by something else.

One thing that I would still lke to know about is what the difference is between erasing a drive and reinitializing it, and how one can reinitialize a HD.
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Old October 26th, 2004, 02:33 PM   #7
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Some people might think of moving all of the files to the trash and emptying the garbage as erasing the disk. A full erase, like what the Disk Utility does, is really a reintialization... which removes all information about the volume structure and file hierarchy. The 1s and 0s are still on the drive unless you choose the option "Zero all data".

Click on the drive in Disk Utility, not the Volume name, and you will be able to choose the Volume format, the name, Options to Zero all data, and Install Mac OS 9 Disk Driver.

With 700MHz and 384MB of RAM, the stuttering could be caused by any number of things. Make sure you have closed all other programs and you might even try rebooting your computer and open only FCP (though I doubt this would help).
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Old October 26th, 2004, 04:11 PM   #8
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Are you really running OS X 10.2? There were many issues with versions older than 10.2.8 and you should upgrade. Journaling was not introduced until 10.3. What version of FCP? A 700mhz eMac is going to be borderline from my experience, although I used to use a 667mhz powerbook with FCP 3.

What drive are you capturing to? FCP will change the scratch drive without warning if it isn't available when the program starts. It's possible that some files are ending up on your internal drive and that might explain the performance problems. Look in your home directory on the internal drive and see if some of your render files are there. Inside the Documents folder you will find a FCP folder with a Capture Scratch folder inside. For example, on my computer it's located here:

Users/ostroff/Documents/"Final Cut Pro Documents"/"Capture Scratch"

I agree with Jeff that partioning isn't needed and is usually a bad idea. You will not waste much drive space from partitioning itself, but space will be wasted by inefficient usage. Typically you end up with chunks of empty space on each partition that would be more useful if they were available as combined space in a single partition.

One other thought; be sure the Log and Capture window is closed at all times when you aren't actually capturing. Leaving it open seems to slow everything down for some reason.
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Old October 26th, 2004, 05:24 PM   #9
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You may want to read this thread.
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Old October 26th, 2004, 10:18 PM   #10
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Jeff, thank you for the link. Very informative. I just read a nice piece on defragmentation which actually confirms what is mentioned in the link you provided. Here is the URL in case someone is interested:
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/tutorial55.html

Boyd, yes, I've been running 10.2 since I bought this computer, almost two years now, and have not had any major problems. As I mentioned, I use it almost exclusively for video editing and (although not a computer expert, I like to think that) it's been well-taken care of. I use FCP3 and capture on a external Lacie HD. Thank you for tips.

Mark, I actually use Disk Utility to wipe clean my drives after I'm done with a project. From what I have read/heard, erasing a HD using Disk Utility is a good way to avoid fragmentation as opposed to just moving the media files to the Trash. BTW, I haven't seen a "Zero all Data" option in 10.2's Disk Utility. Maybe that comes with later versions?
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Old October 27th, 2004, 02:03 PM   #11
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Yeah, I don't have a computer running 10.2 anymore, so I don't know how you would Zero All Data... but you don't need to do that anyway. It is something you would want to do if you were selling your drive so that no one could recover the volume and get your stuff... Sounds like it should be fine in terms of fragmentation then... The buffer size on the drive is only 2MB though... so that is probably your problem in terms of performance.
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Old October 27th, 2004, 02:47 PM   #12
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I agree with Mark, the small buffer could certainly be an issue.
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