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Old January 18th, 2007, 01:01 PM   #1
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do i need a RAID config for my mac pro?

Hi there,

I recently purchased an extra 400 gig drive for my mac pro, Giving me a total of 650 gig internaly and 250 gig external. I also upgraded the RAM to 4 gigs. But now im wondering if the drives are the weakest (read: slowest) link in the chain.
I usually edit Standard DV footage. Most projects are multicam, up to 5 cams.
Will i notice and significant speed changes if i add another 400 gig 7200 rpm drive and set it up in a raid0 config along with the other drive?
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Old January 18th, 2007, 01:53 PM   #2
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Yes there will be a significant increase in performance. Having said that, since your editing DV you might not notice much of a difference.

Striping two drives should give you approximately 135MB/s which if my math is anywhere close should equal about 8 real-time streams of DV.
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Old January 18th, 2007, 02:17 PM   #3
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Does doing an internal RAID0 steal much processor power?

Thanks.
Jeff
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Old January 18th, 2007, 03:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Krepner
Does doing an internal RAID0 steal much processor power?

Thanks.
Jeff
I'm new to the Mac, all the raids that I have [except the 1TB internal on my Mac Pro] are external. Generally speaking its not a great idea to set up a RAID internally because of potential contention issues on the motherboard but it doesn't effect the processor.

I asked around a bit regading building a RAID internally on the new Mac Pro's and most of the Mac integrators I spoke with didn't seem that concerned about it so I went ahead and RAIDed two out of the three extra internal drives.

Since I'm new to the Mac I don't have much experience to compare, but its working great. It was easy to configure and as Apple puts it "it just works."

I'm Sorry, the short answer is NO it doesn't steal any proccessor power.
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Old January 18th, 2007, 04:11 PM   #5
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I'm with you Chuck, I'm new to the Mac as well. In the past I did a couple of internal RAID arrays, but they were always connected using a hardware RAID controller and not stripped via Windows.

RAID 0 increase the chance of data loss (as opposed to 2 or 3 separate drives--one crashing doesn't wipe out the whole shabang), so I'm thinking it might be good practice to copy the contents of the array over to an external FW drive every other day or so.

On that note, is there a good backup program for Mac?

Thanks.
Jeff
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Old January 18th, 2007, 04:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Krepner
On that note, is there a good backup program for Mac?
There's a great application called Super Duper for cloning and backing up your drive. It comes in a free and a paid version which adds more features. I got wind of it from Mike Curtis at HDforIndies.

It worked great for me when I needed to install a larger system drive in my iMac.

-gb-
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Old January 18th, 2007, 07:32 PM   #7
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Do raid drives they all need to be from the same manufacturer and have the same capacity. You cannot raid a 160GB drive with a 300GB drive, for example. Nor can you raid an internal drive with an external firewire drive.
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Old January 18th, 2007, 09:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane Ross
Do raid drives they all need to be from the same manufacturer and have the same capacity. You cannot raid a 160GB drive with a 300GB drive, for example. Nor can you raid an internal drive with an external firewire drive.
Well since we're just talking about this -- you can RAID different size drives from different manufacturers, not a good idea but you can do it. The volumes have to be the same size so if you RAID a 250GB drive with a 300GB drive, 50GB's of the 300GB drive will not be usable.

There is no such thing as a firewire RAID [technically speaking]. That's becuase there is no such thing as a firewire drive. Firewire enclosures use a bridge chip to convert IDE or ASA drives for example to send data over a IEEE cable. That's why although FW800 specs out faster than FW400 many of the FW400 enclosures are faster because they have faster and better drivers. There are some very fast FW800 bridge chips on the market but they use this weird TCIP protocol so although the they may be faster they place quite a load on the CPU.

SATA and Fiber channel are native peripheral attach protocols [encapsulated SCSI over fiber] are very robust and fast.
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Old January 19th, 2007, 03:40 AM   #9
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Since we are talking about RAID 0 on a MacPro, I thought this would be a great time to ask a question. I have two WD RE 320's setup in RAID 0 on a MacPro, and I'm beginning to wonder if there is that much of an advantage for SD video, or whether a person would be better off instead, to run two identical drives, using one as scratch and the other as backup? I guess the reason I ask is that I've not really noticed that much speed increase in rendering with my RAID 0 setup. If I run a bench test, the RAID comes in around 145mbs, but so far that speed hasn't helped my rendering speed. My primary concern is that with my RAID setup I'm sacrificing a hard drive slot plus running the (slight) risk of data loss (although I only use the RAID for scratch and captured footage). I'm beginning to think that a single drive would be just as fast (rendering) as my RAID 0 setup.

So in a nutshell, my question is if you had two identical drives, would you set them up as RAID 0 or keep them separate (using one as mirrored backup) for editing SD footage?

Comments are appreciated!
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Old January 19th, 2007, 10:19 AM   #10
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Al, I don't think drive speed has much to do with render times. In the case of rendering the bottle neck is usally processor speed, bus speed, and RAM. So unless you are rendering to a really slow device, the drive won't make any difference. I think.

I'd go for the two drives being separate personally.
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Old January 19th, 2007, 11:38 AM   #11
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Al, Jeff is mostly correct.

Depending on whether the task, in this case editing, requires human intervention or is automated the computer uses data differently.

While you are scrubbing back and forth making editorial decisions the computer is blasting contiguous streams of pixels to the screen, the more SD streams you want or the bigger the streams are [HD for example] the faster the I/O needs to be. This is low processor high bandwidth.

Once the editorial process is complete and its time to encode then the computer drinks from the pool of data only what it needs. This is generally high processor low bandwidth consumption.

Keep in mind that how you edit can effect this, if for example you have 1000 edits in a half hour SD program that are cuts and dissolves and you don't apply any video filters until the last step, chances are you don't need a RAID.

But if you are applying video filters, using multicam editing or effects that require multiple streams of video while you're creating your edit decision list
then you would benefit from a RAID becuase you are combining both types of data requirements.

And obviously if you're editing at any resolution above SD you should have a RAID, even for HDV. Although HDV is only 25Mb/s every edit that isn't direclty on an I-frame requires the computer to recalculate from the I-frame to the current frame. Kind of like having a video filter on every edit.

Hope this helps.
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Old January 19th, 2007, 05:12 PM   #12
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Jeff and Chuck, thanks for your informative replies!

I'm not positive I totally understand... Are you saying that I won't really benefit from RAID unless I'm doing editing that requires access to multiple video assets, filter and effects, or working with HD? Most of my current work tends to be heavy effects laden (think music videos) shot on SD miniDV. On a current project I'm working on, I have many short video sources that are being composited together using various keys and mattes. I might have up to 8 separate clips coming together, along with a few Photoshop files on up to 10 layers in Final Cut Pro (Yeah, I should probably be using Shake or After Effects!). Anyway, I have this particular project file with 7 layers, 6 separate video files and it runs about 2 minutes. It takes my MacPro 2.66 with 2GB of ram, 7 minutes to render the timeline. Yeah, I know that I could probably shave some time off that by adding more ram...

Based on what I got out of your posts, in my situation, I'm probably better off to go with one single drive for media/scratch and back that up to another drive instead of RAIDing my two 320's? If true, I'm thinking of returning the 320's and buying another 500GB and using it in single configuration just for my media. Then it's time to save up for more Ram!

Bottom line: should I keep my current 320's in RAID or dump them in favor of a single 500-750GB drive? I could always add another matching drive if I need RAID in the future. However, I'm thinking when the time comes, a dedicated external RAID would be better.

Your posts are appreciated!!!

Al
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Old January 19th, 2007, 05:33 PM   #13
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Hi Al,

I have a 2.66 Mac Pro with 5GB RAM and the XT1900 and like I mentioned RAIDed two 500GB internal drives.

If you're applying a lot of video effcts as you go then you are rendering, some of that rendering is done in real-time in the GPU [your graphics card so you shouldn't get a red render bar], some of it can be done in real-time using your CPU and some of it is near real-time [in both cases you will get the red render bar]. Here's a tip - if you have a red render bar on a clip that you've applied a video filter too hit 'Option P' and it will play back as fast as your computer can render it. Most of the filters I have applied on the Mac Pro that require rendering play back at about 20fp/s without the audio.

Anyway, if this is how you're editing I would recomend using a RAID. If you did cuts only or dissolves then I'd just use one large disk.
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Old January 19th, 2007, 11:30 PM   #14
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Hi Chuck!

I have pretty much the same setup as you except the extra ram. That's my next purchase!

I appreciate your tips. I get frustrated having to wait for renders when I've got such a powerful computer! I suppose I should be happy... on my G4 laptop, I used to have wait for an hour (or longer) to render 45 seconds of footage. Those were fun times.

Since I do primarly motion graphics and compositing, I'm going to follow your advice and stick with the RAID0. I might send back these Western Digital RE 320's though... they vibrate too much and I've had to stuff a bunch of high density foam to get them so they don't drive me crazy. Occasionally they buzz to remind me that they aren't perfect. I'm looking at the Maxline pro's (Maxtor) or Hitachi's. I've read they are quiet, fast, and don't vibrate too much. The Seagate 7100.10 drive look nice but I'm reading around the web that there are still problems with slow write and read speed on Intel Macs. Not sure if I can trust that info as the the posters may have older versions of the drive without the latest firmware update.

What brand drives are you using? Any problems with humming and buzzing?
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Old January 20th, 2007, 12:50 PM   #15
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Unfortunately I have some information your probably not going to want to hear.

I have the Western Digital WD500KS SE16 Caviar Disks [$159]. They have 16MB of secondary cache [apposed to 8MB normally] and are generally fast and reliable. They are a bit noisy on start-up but quite down nicely after five to ten minutes.

Seagate's would be my second choice and I stay away from Maxtor, I have had several Maxtor drive fail.

Regarding the RAM, there are several places to purchase RAM on-line, I found the best price from a reputable dealer and four 1GB modules cost $640. I had erad a couple of horror stories about buying RAM on-line so I told the Mac reseller where I purchased my Mac and he matched the price.
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