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Old February 11th, 2010, 04:14 PM   #1
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About setting up FCP with 2 internal drives on a Macbook Pro

I recently added a second 500gb HD to my Macbook Pro in place of where the CD/DVD drive was with an adapter.

2 questions:

1. When installing FCP, how should I set up the scratch disk and all the file directories that come with FCS for best performance? Should I make the second drive a scratch disk, add all the broll directories, render and project folders on the second drive as well? I plan to make the MBP pretty much my dedicated editing machine.

2. I didn't realize this at first but the second HD is a SATA drive but the adapter plugs into the CD/DVD PATA connector? Is this going to cause issues with performance. Would it be better for me to just get an external Firewire drive?

Thanks
Bryan
Macbook Pro (Model 1211)
2.33mhz/3 gig ram/x1600 video-256vram
(2-500gb HDs)
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Old February 12th, 2010, 07:16 AM   #2
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If you added the second drive using the MCE OptiBay Hard Drive then I assume that their interface includes electronics to convert from the CD/DVD PATA to SATA but I have no idea what the performance impact might be. Obviously SATA has a theoretically higher bandwidth than PATA but the speed of reading & writing data on the disk itself is the practical limitation. You could compare the disk performance between the original & secondary disk with Xbench: Comprehensive Macintosh Benchmarking
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Old February 12th, 2010, 09:16 AM   #3
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Bryan,

Interesting that you posted this question now; I'm in the process of doing a review of the MCE Optibay kit.

Your instincts are correct; the second drive should contain all the cache/render/temp files and even the project file. However if you really intend on making a laptop your primary edit station then you should also use an external HDD as your primary media source (i.e. original video, music, SFX, stills etc).

You didn't mention if you had the 15" or 17" inch model but if the latter then I'd suggest using the ExpressCard slot and getting a 2 to 4-bay eSATA enclosure along with the Sonnet Pro eSATA card and make that your external media array; that will really turn your MBP into a powerhouse with the second internal drive!

To answer your question about a performance hit on the PATA to SATA conversion; yes, there will be a slight slowing of I/O speeds to that particular drive but as long as you're using a 7200rpm HDD especially the Seagate that ships with 16MB cache (7200.4 model) that will help make up for the loss of speed.

If you want to suss out the actual drive speed available on your machine you can either use XBench as Nigel suggested or, for a more accurate simulation of how the machine will perform with FCP you can download the latest KONA drivers from AJA and parse out the "System Test" app which can run on any machine and doesn't require having the card installed. It's a free download. XBench will give results that are too optimistic for video purposes, the AJA app is much more real-world reporting.
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Old February 12th, 2010, 02:30 PM   #4
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I actually have the 15inch model. I do have an Expresscard slot. (My MBP is the non-unibody version.)

I'm not sure which drivers/apps off Kona's website you want me to use. I found a calculator that helps somewhat. It appears that the drivers need to have the Kona video card.

At first this business I am starting will be fairly barebones. Web video only and I will be editing mostly on the road, that is why I am making my laptop the main machine.

I've looked at the Western Digital Passport Studio HD with firewire 800 to use but I am finding a disturbing amount of reviews that say the firewire controller dies pretty quick. I'm considering other firewire drives, even large ones with external power but I am trying to be compact.

Thanks by the way...I use to edit professionally, on Beta-tape and I have been editing FC for a little while but there definitely is a learning curve. This forum I find is a great resource.

Last edited by Bryan Cady; February 12th, 2010 at 03:46 PM.
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Old February 13th, 2010, 09:13 AM   #5
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File enclosed

I've enclosed the AJA utility for you in this zipped file; install this to your Utilities folder and use it to suss out your own I/O speeds.

Never, never, never use any WD standalone FW or raid enclosure for editing purposes; those controllers on the backplane will cause you trouble, guaranteed. Take a look at the offerings from OWC (Performance Upgrades; FireWire USB SATA Storage; Memory, more at OWC) that's your best bet. Call them and tell them what you're after and they'll hook you up; one of their Mercury Aluminum series would be the best way to go if you're only going to use FW externals.
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Old February 14th, 2010, 01:36 PM   #6
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Thanks

Thanks a bunch Robert and Nigel,

I ran the AJA utility and here are my benchmarks.

Master: Write: 71.0 MB/s Read 73.1 MB/s
Secondary(scratch): Write 63.8 MB/s Read: 76.1MB/s
External Lacie Firewire: Write: 57.5 MB/s Read: 68.7 MB/s

It appears that I am getting about the same speed with PATA interface as the SATA. I think the slower Write speed on the Secondary Scratch disk might have to do with the secondary drive being a 5400rpm instead of a 7200rpm. Make sense?

I will talk with OWC about other firewire external drives. I would love to get one that could be powered through the firewire and be much smaller but I think I will have to settle for something with an external power supply.

Thanks again
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Old February 14th, 2010, 08:12 PM   #7
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Do not attempt a bus-powered drive for video editing, any external needs to have it's own dedicated power supply both for reliability but also to reduce the strain on the MBP power system.

Your system speeds are exactly what can be expected; the secondary internal I/O speeds would not be significantly faster with a 7200rpm drive but it would definitely help seek times - but not to a margin that you could sense in human terms. The main reason the speeds are slightly slower is the PATA-to-SATA conversion; in the unibody MBP all the devices including the Superdrive are SATA so the IO would be identical assuming the same-model drive.

The LaCie drive also showcases one of their weaknesses similar to WD enclosures: The I/O speed. A high-quality backplane controller *should* be putting out slightly higher marks - closer to those of your main internal drive or even a tad better. That's where the OWC enclosures come into play.

And if you really wanted to boost your performance as I say, move up to an Expresscard eSATA interface - specifically with the Sonnet Pro eSATA card - and your I/O speeds will more than double. Combined with that second internal drive and you'll be cookin'.

Lastly: if you really want to maximize what your MBP is now capable of - without breaking the bank on SSD tech - get the Seagate 7200.4 500GB drive; with the 16MB of cache that really makes a difference for the Main internal drive:

Seagate Momentus 7200.4 review | Go-Go-Godzilla.com

Regardless what else you do to your system you're 100% on the right track and you'll also have a nice setup that can easily be migrated to a newer unibody when you're ready.
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Old February 14th, 2010, 09:44 PM   #8
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Been using Optibay for about a year...

Here are my speeds. Using 2x 7200 250GB drives in a non-unibody- RAID 0 of course.
Battery life suffers but a huge bump in system performance.
Backup every day via time machine.
-C
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Old February 14th, 2010, 09:50 PM   #9
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Robert,
My main drive is a Seagate Momentus 7200.4 ST9500420AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache drive I got from Newegg. I have been very happy with it. The secondary drive is the 5400 version and seems good. I use to have it as my backup for the master. That was why I went with the 5400. I wish I hadn't now

I read your review and I do agree. I'm surprised the Apple doesn't give an option to just put in a second drive and get an external CD drive.

My lifestyle these days doesn't make much sense in having a laptop so I need to get the most out of my MBP.

I'm afraid the external enclosure never worked with my superdrive. With one or two USB ports connnected. I found this Samsung DVD on Amazon that got good reviews that I thought I would get instead. Amazon.com: Samsung USB 2.0 8x DVD Writer External Optical Drive for Mac and PC SE-S084C/RSBN (Gloss Black): Electronics

I have had a problem with my secondary controller. Twice now it has disconnected from the machine. I'm going to have to go in and see if the connection is bad. I kind of doubt it though
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Old February 15th, 2010, 11:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Cady View Post
I'm afraid the external enclosure never worked with my superdrive....I have had a problem with my secondary controller. Twice now it has disconnected from the machine. I'm going to have to go in and see if the connection is bad. I kind of doubt it though
Make *sure* you report both these items to MCE; report back what they tell you and I'll be digging into this myself when I fully review their kit later this week.
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Old February 15th, 2010, 01:50 PM   #11
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Robert,

I actually got this kit from Powerbookmedic.com and not MCE. I don't know if they are from the same manufacturer. Powerbookmedic.com is closed today so I will bug them tomorrow. I still need to open up my machine and check the connections but I really doubt that is the issues.

If I get this fix, would it be worthwhile setting up a Raid 0? Or only worth it if I bring a firewire drive on the road as a scratch disk?
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Old February 15th, 2010, 02:14 PM   #12
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Never setup a RAID using the internals on a MBP; it's too risky and the performance benefit isn't great enough to warrant the risk. Plus, you then lose the benefit of having a separate drive for the OS/apps and one specifically for cache/temp misc files.

I'd say this is not the same kit since the pricing is drastically different; the kit you purchased is only $60 while the MCE kit is $99.

There are also a host of complaints posted right on the Powerbookmedic.com site about poor installation and the drive spinning-down when not being used; I suspect that's whats happening with your drive - if it's not being read from or written to it will spin down in "idle" mode.

Make sure in System Preferences/Energy Saver that you un-check "..put drives to sleep...", (see screenshot) this should prevent them from spinning down. A quick call with MCE verifies that there's nothing in their kit that would override this setting in Preferences; if your disk is still spinning down/disconnecting after setting up that preference then I'd say there's something goofy with the controller supplied by Powerbookmedic.com.

I've not seen this kit before and I'm glad you brought it up; so far it doesn't look to be quite the same-quality product that MCE produces.
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Old February 18th, 2010, 12:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
Never setup a RAID using the internals on a MBP; it's too risky and the performance benefit isn't great enough to warrant the risk. Plus, you then lose the benefit of having a separate drive for the OS/apps and one specifically for cache/temp misc files.
RAID0 is great.
90MB/s = snappy performance without the cost and fragmentation concerns of SSD.
If you use time machine the risk is warranted.

Only negative is, I'd break 100 MB/s if it were a uni-body. Oh well.
-C
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Old February 18th, 2010, 04:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Drews View Post
RAID0 is great.
90MB/s = snappy performance without the cost and fragmentation concerns of SSD.
If you use time machine the risk is warranted.

Only negative is, I'd break 100 MB/s if it were a uni-body. Oh well.
-C
You're missing the point about why *not* to setup a RAID on a laptop; the major benefit of having two completely separate drives is that you then have 2 completely unique data paths; one for the OS/apps and one for the temp/cache/render files to be written to. If you RAID those two drives together that small speed increase is totally negated by the fact you're making the drives - and the CPU - work double time to use the same pipeline for *everything* that requires an I/O disk operation.

Keep in mind that when you render or create a temp file of any kind the OS, application and the actual render file itself all have to be given I/O HDD access *at the same time*, so with all that data hitting the front-side bus all at once and being limited to a single pipeline you're really causing a traffic-jam of data, not speeding things up. Creating 2 separate data pipelines significantly streamlines this processing operation and even allows the dual-cores to come into play as OSX will assign resources from each core to each HDD accordingly. (not to be confused with a virtual cluster, mind you)

So in fact for editing purposes it's not beneficial to setup a RAID in this configuration and you're actually slowing down the entire system workload.
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Old February 18th, 2010, 08:55 PM   #15
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Hmmmmm...

Robert,

Actually, since my capture scratch is via a 4tb G-Raid Gen4 (eSATA), the data pathway is separate to my Capture Scratch (using the ExpressCard Slot pathway)- so this line of thinking doesn't apply in my situation and almost every editor I know.

In fact, who captures and edits without a G-RAID, Lacie or similar on MPB? Unless its ProRes (Proxy) and offline, it doesn't make sense.

But...
If you put your non uni-body mac with 2 drives (osx & data) vs my RAID0, you seriously think you'd have better system performance?

I get burst rates of up to 90 MB/s while transferring over gigabit Ethernet (60 MB/s sustained).

Now...
If you want to debate Hardware RAID vs Software RAID, that is an entirely different discussion. But even Software RAID is better than Non-RAID (to your point).

RAID0 distributes data across multiple disks in a way that improves overall system performance <period>

-C
I'll leave you with a quote from Echeng and his blog.
Quote:
Some folks on the second Digg page are saying that it’s stupid to use RAID 0 in a computer, because there are “no real world benefits” and because it’s too dangerous.

I disagree. My machine is clearly running much faster, and it doesn’t seem to be running that much hotter. The fans still only spin up with high CPU usage. Battery life has always sucked on the Macbook Pro, and the estimates of losing 10-15% seems to be accurate so far. When I copy images onto the machine while in the field, they are simultaneously copied to an external volume for backup. Finally, I back up frequently onto bootable, external media, even when I’m on the road, so losing my internal volume wouldn’t be catastrophic. At home, my system backs up automatically to NAS every night. The only problem is that I would have to work off of an external drive, if the RAID failed. I’d have the same problem even if I wasn’t using RAID.

I used to use a Thinkpad T-series notebook, which was a great machine because it allowed the use of two hard disks at a time in a supported, modular way. I loved that thing.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I’d love to hear about the negative Digg commenters’ personal experiences with running RAID 0 in a notebook. I’ll bet none of them have ever done it, and are speaking without any facts to back up their claims.
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