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Old May 10th, 2006, 01:40 PM   #1
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Using internal Hard Disk w/ FCP

I have a fully loaded intel Imac w/500GB 7200rpm hard disk.

Is it bad to use the internal hard disk for video editing?

I thought this was an old way of thinking, back in the days of 30GB internal hard disks.

With the speed and capacity of computers today, is this a big deal anymore?

I see people editing movies on laptops using internal hard disks, what are the drawbacks, assuming you have a decent computer.

Thanks,
Scott
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Old May 10th, 2006, 03:21 PM   #2
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You should not use your system disk for editing. In the case of the iMac, your only option is an external firewire drive, which is not recommended by Apple for video.

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Old May 10th, 2006, 03:56 PM   #3
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If you have adequate RAM, don't have dozens of apps open while editing, and your disk isn't near full, you won't have any problems. Current 7200rpm S-ATA drives maintain read and write speeds above 40MBps over much of their capacity, so DV/HDV editing (~3.5MBps) is peanuts. If you can do it on a laptop, your iMac can surely handle it... But the key is to avoid use of virtual memory, which can drastically reduce the disk performance available to you as a user. You want to max-out your RAM in current iMacs or MacBook Pros. Less than 2 GB istn't advisable...

HTH,

Ron
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Old May 16th, 2006, 02:08 PM   #4
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Ron,

I'm currently using an additional internal S-ATA 7200 drive for editing HDV. I've maxed out most of my other options for speed (Quad, 4.5gigs ram) Would I see a significant increase in render speed, etc., if I moved to a RAID/fibrechannel system? If not, what would I see a speed increase in?

Thanks,
Max
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Old May 16th, 2006, 02:34 PM   #5
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Raid

I think it would help a lot. I use a Huge Systems 1.6 gig raid SATA with a 2.5 G5 and 4gb of ram and makes a big difference.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 06:11 PM   #6
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Thanks. Do you know of any benchmarks anyone has done so I could see how much a RAID would speed up my rendering?

Thanks!
Max
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Old May 17th, 2006, 03:28 AM   #7
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While I have not done any comparative testing, I wouldn't expect any rendering speed gains at all by going to a faster disk system (assuming you're working w/ HDV). Rendering is CPU/GPU intensive, and the speed at which the rendered files are written to disk is probably no more than 5x real time, and reading may take place at about the same pace. At the HDV (assuming 1080i) data rate of 25 Mbps or approx. 3.2 MBps, we'd have a total I/O-traffic of about 32 MBps (5x in, 5x out) - nothing an S-ATA drive can't handle.

If you're editing DVCProHD or even uncompressed HD (i.e. anything with a data rate above 50 Mbps), the situation starts to look quite different (uncompressed HD is 1.485 Gbps or approx. 190 MBps). Only the fastest storage options will do for uncompressed HD.

If you still want to go the RAID-route, but don't want to break the bank, I would currently suggest staying away from FC- or SCSI-solutions, and recommend external eSATA-enclosures w/ the OS-level software RAID-solution instead. Sonnet makes a nice 5-bay enclosure and a matching PCIe eSATA-card.

http://www.sonnettech.com/product/fusion500p.html

Be aware, however, that you only have RAID-0 or RAID-1 options w/ the OS software RAID implementation. If you need/want anything like RAID-5, -3, -10, -30 or -50, you're entering SCSI/FC territory, and the price goes up drastically.

If you do decide to go FC, I'd like to point out that the Apple PCIe FC-card has its own fan, and is quite noisy as a result. Although more expensive, an ATTO Celerity card is fanless and offers much higher performance to boot.

Edit: Regarding noise - if you do decide to go for the big iron, I'd recommend FC over SCSI because the RAID-units themselves are usually extremely noisy (we're talking airport runway levels - up to four turbo-fans in one unit). Moving such a system into a different room quickly becomes a problem with SCSI due to restrictions in maximum cable length. With FC, you can use Copper-to-Fiber transceivers (Allied Telesyn makes good ones at a very fair price), and then you can place your RAID-unit as far as 150' away, using high-quality optical fiber cabling.

HTH,

Ron
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Old May 17th, 2006, 01:10 PM   #8
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Ron,

That is a great help, and I suspected as much since HDV doesn't tax the I/O too much. I will probably stick with S-ATA as long as I'm only doing HDV. Basically, I'm just trying to speed up the HDV edit/graphics/compress process as much as I can. If I a)got the faster RAID you recommend, b) started ingesting my footage as HD via a Kona card or something), and c) started editing and doing graphics in HD vs. HDV would I see a speed increase then? I would still have to output everything to DV or at least MPEG-2 (although i like to use the black bar areas in my ads for web addresses and such).

I'm also trying to figure out the cluster thing since I have a couple of older 2ghz g5's that I can connect for compressor, although I understand it doesn't help FCP renders out at all.

Thanks again.
Max
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Old May 17th, 2006, 01:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Kaiser
If I a)got the faster RAID you recommend, b) started ingesting my footage as HD via a Kona card or something), and c) started editing and doing graphics in HD vs. HDV would I see a speed increase then?
I can't say because I'm not working uncompressed. Others will be able to tell, I'm sure. Despite the massively improved storage I/O, I suspect it's even slower than working with HDV on S-ATA since you're dealing with much larger amounts of data and your CPU and memory bandwidth has not changed by upgrading your storage. But I could be wrong, because the decoding and re-encoding of HDV is very processor intensive, and those steps are unnecessary when working uncompressed.

Quote:
I would still have to output everything to DV or at least MPEG-2 (although i like to use the black bar areas in my ads for web addresses and such).
If you truly need to output to DV, I'm not sure an uncompressed editing workflow would make much sense. But it all depends on your customer, the delivery mode and your target audience. My guess is, if they've been happy so far, why make such a big investment for only a marginal improvement in quality?

Quote:
I'm also trying to figure out the cluster thing since I have a couple of older 2ghz g5's that I can connect for compressor, although I understand it doesn't help FCP renders out at all.
I've used Qmaster successfully with Compressor batch jobs, and it really helps, even if you just have one additional G5. I also made the experience that Qmaster does not work for FCP-rendering, which is a shame, IMO.

HTH,

Ron
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Old May 17th, 2006, 01:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack D. Hubbard
I think it would help a lot. I use a Huge Systems 1.6 gig raid SATA with a 2.5 G5 and 4gb of ram and makes a big difference.
Jack: Are you working in native HDV or with AIC? Do you have comparative data (standard S-ATA vs. S-ATA RAID)? I'd be curious to see actual numbers, because I have retired my internal drives once I got my FC-RAID operational. That was before I started working in HD, so I have no means to compare...

Also: what HUGE RAID are you using? I was recently browsing their site, but don't remember seing any SATA-RAID solutions...

Curiously,

Ron
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Old May 17th, 2006, 06:22 PM   #11
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Huge

Hi Ron:

It is the Huge Systems U320 1.6TB with removable drives. It is SCSI; that's what I meant to say; sorry about that. I started as a producer and photographer, and learn the computer stuff the hard way. I don't have actual numbers, but the thing processes very fast.

Fan noise is quite low. I have been working in HDV, and am trying to figure out what advantage there is to AIC outside of the explanations I have been reading on other threads.

I also have it set up for RAID 3, so about 600gb are used for backup purposes. Little slower, and less space, but my mental health is much better knowing that I have the backup. And with this system, if one drive goes, you just replace it with a spare.

Also the support from the Huge guys is really good. I have been very pleased so far.

Regards,


Jack
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