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Old October 22nd, 2009, 11:16 PM   #1
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Raid Questions

I've been researching putting together my own raid 5 or 6 but can't make up my mind on what exactly I want because honestly, I don't know much about the subject. I've spent the last couple days trying to get myself up to speed on the different options and I've just about settled on getting an 8 bay SAS enclosure and a SAS controller card.

Now, I don't edit uncompressed or anything, I tend to go ProRes for most everything but I like the idea of having the option for uncompressed speed if it's ever needed and it doesn't seem that the price break between e-SATA and SAS is all that great.

There are several enclosures I'm considering, all seem roughly the same to my untrained eye but it's the controller cards that I can't quite get my head around. I'm looking at the HighPoint RocketRaid 4322 but that's mainly cause it's the one that gets pub on all the video related blogs and forums. Is there a capable cheaper alternative I should know about?
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Old October 23rd, 2009, 12:14 AM   #2
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Honestly, its between Highpoint or Atto Tech.
Both companies specialize in these cards and have drivers for mac.
Some LSI cards are supported natively by OS X, such as Fiber Channel, but it can be a gamble if you don't know the chipset.

The best way to proceed is to know your target MBs for the RAID.
I only needed 150+ MBs for an internal raid and my RocketRAID 2300 works for my target. It is connected internally to 3x 1TB WD Black drives and RAID0.

But you can go much faster depending on your needs.

Keep in mind that many in the computer hardware field don't view RocketRaid as a true hardware RAID. Based on it's chipset it relies on software to function - even the rebuild settings. This fact dissuades true hardware purists from using these lower end RocketRaid.

Atto Tech is the real deal but they are expensive. Their technology is based on internal hardware, which houses a processor and RAM onboard, soldered onto the card. LSI is the same but, again, you'll be risking compatibility on the Mac side of things. Although, even Apple will have to support LSI sooner or later, as they are their major manufacturer for their Fiber cards.

This link has been passed around town more than once and you've probably come across it in your quest, but I'll post it anyways.

Life Zero: Super Fast 4TB RAID for Under $1,500 (was $2k)

Those reads would be perfect for uncompressed.
For my business I use facilis but might be out of your price range.

Hope this helps,
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Old October 23rd, 2009, 10:03 AM   #3
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I've been doing a bit more research. It seems that the Caldigit card is about the same price as the 4322 but the marketing fluff on their site claims that it's a true hardware card. Anyone seen a comparison between the two?
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Old October 23rd, 2009, 03:46 PM   #4
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It's my understanding (could be wrong) that CalDigit just brands their cards from another manufacturer- Isn't it just a Highpoint card?
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Old October 24th, 2009, 01:03 AM   #5
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Hi there. I want to clear a few things up and also add what I have just done.

First, the Highpoint 4322 is REAL hardware Raid because it uses Intel's IOP348 XOR processor. On the flipside, most Atto cards are not hardware based.

Second, the Highpoint 4322 is a very nice card at a fair price.

Now, you haven't stated the amount of storage space you need. One aspect to consider: do you need your past projects immediately accessible or can you live with the past 3 months or so. If the latter, then you don't need a huge amount of 'nearline' storage. Also, it depends on how much data/video you record in a given amount of time.

For me, I just got an external 4-bay Sata case for $220 and an Areca 1680ix 4 external SAS + 8 internal SAS AND it has the same Intel IOP348 processor as the Highpoint. I literally just set this up today and I can already tell you that I wish I had bought the Adaptec 5445 or LSI 9260. Why? I have had a 3ware 9650SE-8 for 2yrs+ and it has been flawless. Their management software is also top-notch and well executed. This is where Areca and Highpoint 'cut' their costs. I had read about Adaptec's software being great and Areca's not so great but I didn't think it would be this bad. I didn't even get a CD and manual to install the 1680ix so I had to go to Areca's very poorly designed site to find what I needed. I also had to google some of it so I could figure out exactly which parts to download.

Its hard to explain exactly why I prefer better software besides it has been a piece of mind knowing that 3ware's engineers & developers thought that having a well executed mgmt software is worth the time and money. Furthermore, dealing with problems is much easier with an intuitive interface rather than something that looks like its from Windows 95 or even DOS.

I hope its ok for me to post this: I got everything from pc-pitstop and they were perfect. They have the new 6Gb SAS LSI cards as well as the Adaptec 5805. The LSI is very similar to 3ware(they used the same PowerPC XOR cpus and LSI bought 3ware within the last year or so) and its PCI-Express 2.0 so its totally future proof in that you won't be limited in speed by the card unless you use 8 Intel Extreme SSDs in Raid 0.

I should also point out that with 8 drives, Raid 6 is a must. I am using Raid 10 for the new 4 drive array because I want/need the redundancy of 2 drives being able to fail. I also chose Raid 10 over 5 or 6 due to much faster access times and read speeds. With good Raid cards and Raid 10, they are able to read from all 4 drives at the same time, which is something the cheaper cards cannot do.

I could go on so, instead, check out tomshardware.com and read their 'storage' articles which test many of these cards.

EDIT: for the lowest cost, the Highpoint 4320 is always on sale at newegg for $300-400 and you can get 8087 to 8088 cable converters($50 at pc-pitstop) which allow you to get a card with internal connections and use it with an external box. There might even be 8087 to 8088 cables there instead. For Raid 5 and 6, the faster XOR cpus, such as Intel's IOP348, Adaptec's Dual-core Raid chip or LSI's new 800mhz PowerPC chip, all provide much better performance due to parity calculations than the cheaper cards. But if you want to future-proof your setup, then the LSI 9260 or 9280 is the best way to go.
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Old October 29th, 2009, 08:50 PM   #6
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Way off topic but you can buy a 3TB (4-drive) G-Tech RAID with SATA card for less than $1200. Comes striped RAID 5, ready to go. You can also stripe 2 or more of them together for even more speed.

Videoguys.com - G-Technology

(I'm posting the Video Guys link because their price is WAY cheaper than the list price on the G-Tech site......hope that doesn't break any site rules)
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Old October 29th, 2009, 10:58 PM   #7
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Lots of great info in this thread, thanks for the help guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kalle View Post
EDIT: for the lowest cost, the Highpoint 4320 is always on sale at newegg for $300-400 and you can get 8087 to 8088 cable converters($50 at pc-pitstop) which allow you to get a card with internal connections and use it with an external box. There might even be 8087 to 8088 cables there instead. For Raid 5 and 6, the faster XOR cpus, such as Intel's IOP348, Adaptec's Dual-core Raid chip or LSI's new 800mhz PowerPC chip, all provide much better performance due to parity calculations than the cheaper cards. But if you want to future-proof your setup, then the LSI 9260 or 9280 is the best way to go.
I was seriously considering the 4320 until I realized that Highpoint themselves don't certify it to work on Macs. Sure it may work in someone's Mac Pro, but if the company themselves don't see fit to have it show up on their own Mac site as a card that will work with a Mac then why bother?

It's a pitty too cause for the price it seems like a great card. Oh well.

Quote:
Way off topic but you can buy a 3TB (4-drive) G-Tech RAID with SATA card for less than $1200. Comes striped RAID 5, ready to go. You can also stripe 2 or more of them together for even more speed.
I don't see that being way off topic since my whole purpose of starting this thread was to understand low cost safer raid options. I don't know much about that G-Tech setup but it doesn't seem like a terrible price for a turnkey solution.

I was pricing out a DIY 8 drive 12TB system built around the 4322 for about $2000, the only problem was that I was having trouble finding officially supported 1.5TB drives. Maybe in a few more months the officially supported drive list will grow to include some of the cheaper 1.5TB drives.

For now I decided to simply add a 2TB drive to my spare optical drive bay using the untapped SATA port on the motherboard I never knew existed till I started doing all this research and use that to mirror my internal 3 drive 2TB Raid0. I ran the second spare SATA line out the back of my Mac using a simple and VERY cheap sata to esata cable and bracket that is feeding backup project files to a couple spare drives I had laying around. In case of Raid failure I should be able to keep on trucking with the single 2TB until new drives can come in and the raid is remade and if my system drive goes down taking my project files with it, I've got the 2 external backups. This will keep me sleeping well at night until I make up my mind on what exactly I want in the next year.

An 8 drive raid6 sounds lovely, but not quite yet.

Thanks for the input guys.
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Old October 29th, 2009, 11:31 PM   #8
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Ethan, I would put money on the 4320 not being 'certified' for Macs because Highpoint knows that there aren't any Macs that can store 8 drives internally plus Mac Pro owners usually get a card with external connections. Furthermore, the 4322 is identical to the 4320 except for the location of SAS connectors, and the 2644 (I think thats the model # popular on barefeats) is very popular and widely used in Mac Pros.

For low cost, you can't go wrong with the 4320. However, I highly recommend the LSI.

Also, an update to this crap Areca card I got, the 1680ix, my computer has become sluggish for simple tasks like opening folders. The 4 drives seem to spin down and up randomly as I can hear 4 clicks a few times a day.
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Old October 29th, 2009, 11:49 PM   #9
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Ethan, I would put money on the 4320 not being 'certified' for Macs because Highpoint knows that there aren't any Macs that can store 8 drives internally plus Mac Pro owners usually get a card with external connections. Furthermore, the 4322 is identical to the 4320 except for the location of SAS connectors, and the 2644 (I think thats the model # popular on barefeats) is very popular and widely used in Mac Pros.
You can cram 8 drives into a Mac Pro if you use the 4 existing bays and fill the optical drive bay with 4 more drives. Of course you lose your internal DVD drive in the process and no longer have an internal boot drive if you raid all 8 internals, but, well, it can be done.

If you're feeling really crazy you can also add 4 2.5" drives to the mix by getting a caddy that hangs them from a modified tray#3. I guess you could use one of these as a boot drive, raid two of the 3 others and mirror your boot drive on the 4th. I'm not sure why you'd do this, but it's possible.

8 x 2TB drives plus 4 x 1TB 2.5" all internal. 20TB's internal. Sure, why not?

**EDIT**
but now that I think about it, how do you power the 4 2.5" drives? In the optical bay you can get 2 molex to double sata power cables but is there another place to pull power for the 2.5" drives? I mean it doesn't really matter since I'm not going to do that, just wondering.

Quote:
For low cost, you can't go wrong with the 4320. However, I highly recommend the LSI.
Noted, thanks. I'll keep them both in mind when I finally get around to pulling the trigger on something larger/faster.

Quote:
Also, an update to this crap Areca card I got, the 1680ix, my computer has become sluggish for simple tasks like opening folders. The 4 drives seem to spin down and up randomly as I can hear 4 clicks a few times a day.
Don't pull any punches do ya? 4 clicks huh? Doesn't sound good at all.
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