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Old February 1st, 2007, 06:19 PM   #1
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Seagate eSATA Drive

I'm looking at getting a 500gig eSATA drive that comes with the PCI card. I have an Athlon 64 3200 processor with 2 gig ram and a 256 MB Nvidia 8X AGP card.

Does anyone curently have experience with eSATA when it comes to installation, performance issues, and potential/future raid configurations? Any gotchas??

Any comments are greatly appreciated.

Thanks, David
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 12:40 AM   #2
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Save your money and upgrade your processor / MB. The just get an internal 500 gb Western Digital for $150. I just upgraded yesterday from an AMD Athalon 64 3700+ to a Pentium Duo Core E6600..... It's literally 20 times faster at least. I can run multiple HDV M2t files with vegas in "best" mode and there is no lag. The 3700 had pleanty. eSATA is not really a standard or even a super popular format such as Firewire and USB is. Is there a reason why you would want to go the eSATA route other than the speed? Unless you'll be carting that from one computer to the other and have very large files to transfer, you could probably get 2 internal drives for the price of that 1 external + card.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 09:35 AM   #3
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Kit,

I appreciate your feedback. Actually my reasons are to save a little money and squeeze out more performance on the system I have. And while I agree that upgrading the processor is a logical place to start, I'm not a fan of upgrading an AMD based system board with an Intel processor. IMO too many things that could go wrong.

Also, by the time I buy the processor, at $320.00, plus the internal drive at $150.00 I'm at more than the cost of the Seagate eSATA drive (PCI card included in package) which is $375.00 at Comp USA. I also found an internal 3/Gb/sec 750 Gig drive for $385.00.

But to answer your question, I'm actually upgrading my desktop from Avid Xpress Pro to Avid Media Composer software. So I'm looking at buiding the basis for a raid 0 setup that can get 200 MB/s to handle DNXHD 175 media.

I can edit m2t on my current system but I'm bidding on an HD project for a NASA contrator here and they have pretty high standards when it comes to mastering. So I'm getting away from long GOP in this case.

Also, yes I'm also looking at moving that eSATA drive from my desktop to my notebook with an Express 34 card so I can edit in Xpress Pro in DNXHD at my client's offices.

So I have made up my mind on the eSATA drive, anyone have experience on setting up the raid??
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 01:04 PM   #4
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>> I'm not a fan of upgrading an AMD based system board with an Intel processor. IMO too many things that could go wrong.

Ahhh...yes, I agree that might not work so well!!!

But back on topic.... SATA and eSATA drives are great. Any raid problems you have will relate to getting you RAID software drivers installed, not the hard drives themselves.

I would be concerned that the PCI bus might be a bottleneck for your plans ... you should check the bandwidth it can handle.

Rather than a PCI card, it would be worth considering a motherboard with sata raid capability. For example, the Asus P5B-E has 4+2 internal sata raid sockets, plus an e-sata socket.

And, really, if you upgrade motherboard get a Core2duo while you are at it. The 6300 is only about $180 and it will fly compared with what you have.
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 04:32 PM   #5
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Thats the whole point I was trying to make. Of course you can't use an Intel processor on an AMD board. If you read my post again, it said processor / MB (MB = Motherboard), so I don't know where you came up with an Intel processor on your AMD Motherboard. Spending $385 at Comp USA is a waste of money. A 500GB internal drive from Western Digital (3.0 Gb / Sec, SATA) is only $150 from newegg.com.

As I mentioned before, and the point that I think Grahm was trying to make, is that with limited hardware, your probably not going to see much improvement. I upgraded just the other day, and with a slow system bus speed, slow ram bus speed, chip, etc. etc. - you're going to find that it's not going to run any faster, just by upgrading your hard drive. 3.0 Gb's/sec refers to Gigabits, not Gigabytes, so your actuall speed is really only around 300MB. Even at 1.5 Gb/sec (such as standard SATA), chances are your system is not even going to render even close to that fast. I can understand the need for more storage, and I say go for it, but IMHO, editing HDV is a very resource hungry proposition, and other than storage, you're not going to see much improvement overall. Another thing to consider is if your currrent motherboard will even support RAID, as well as the speeds of what you want to accomplish. RAID is accomplished with multiple hard drives, not just with one.

Grahm is also right on the money about upgrading the Motherboard and chip too to a Core 2 Duo processor. any of the Core 2's are going to be so much faster than what you have, and you don't have to buy the latest and greatest one to have majorly upgraded performance. I went from an AMD 3700+ to a E6600 and it is literally 20 times faster...well worth the upgrade.

To transfer over files from your laptop, I would just go with a Gigabit network. You can even edit over it, as it will run faster than your current drives can even write. A Gigabit network is 2.5X faster than Firewire 400, and will be cheaper than getting that external SATA.
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 07:25 PM   #6
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[QUOTE=Kit Hannah] . I just upgraded yesterday from an AMD Athalon 64 3700+ to a Pentium Duo Core E6600.....
QUOTE]

Sorry Kit, I just misunderstood you. No hard feelings, just looking for some simple advice, not looking for an arguement. But I sincerely thank you for your advice.

Thanks Graham for the info. I've never replaced a processor or system board before so for obvious reasons (My business is on that computer) I'm walking carefully because of fear of the unknown.

I hear both of you loud and clear. I'm not going to get a signifigant increase in performance because of Athlon 64 processor and PCI bus limitations.
And I do know that a MULTIPLE DRIVE STRIPED ARRAY is
great for performance as Raid 0. But I happened to read that an eSATA drive can be up to 5 times faster than FW 400. Now I know that if you squeeze that through a slow bus it effects the overall performance. Now it is cool that the system boards that Graham mentioned have SATA and/or eSATA connections. And PCIe would be cool as well. (Can you say new PCIe graphics card.) Overall, this will be a slow work in progress for me.

But as a starting point, I'll try the eSATA on the PCI bus and the Express 34 slot card on my notebook to see if I can get better performance than my current FW 400 drive. (Again as a starting point.) That is what I'm using (FW 400) currently to edit DNXHD 110. (Avid HDV codec.) I have had great success with that setup. However, because I may be moving to mastering to HDCAM (by exporting an uncompressed YUV or Blackmagic codec to someone with HD SDI card. that's a whole new pain) and making High Bandwidth WMVHD files.

It may not work and then I'll have to buy 3 more drives, stripe a set of 4 as raid 0 and upgrade the mother board and processor. ) OUCH!! I may need to up my bid.

For the NASA gig, I'm not going to edit m2t HDV.
My potential client is fearful that long GOP editing can recompress every time you make an edit so to quell those fears I'm only shooting in HDV, not editing in HDV. DNXHD 175 and 220 are very clean 4:2:2 HD codecs that can import and edit in Media Composer, but only edit in Avid Xpress Pro. But, they are high bandwidth codecs none the less.

The notebook edit deal is for actual editing away from my office at the clients office on the same Avid MXF media that I was editing on my desktop. It works really well right now in DV/HDV DNXHD 110 on Avid Xpress Pro. I just move my central project file on a USB 2 flash from my desktop to my notebook and bring the FW drive with all of the media. My notebook is also Athlon 64 with 2 gig of memory.

The big question for me now is how well will the xpress 34 card work. Anyone tried that??

Anyway, thanks Graham and Kit for your advice. I learned a lot from you guys.

Have a good weekend and cheers.
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Last edited by David Parks; February 2nd, 2007 at 08:02 PM.
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 07:58 PM   #7
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Regarding your desire to be portable with a laptop - have a look at some of the RAID enclosures here - Firewire 800 and eSATA in particular: http://www.cooldrives.com/35usbfircas.html
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 09:16 PM   #8
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It's all good

Hey David,
I was never trying to start an arguement, and it's no big deal about the misread. I'm just trying to help you understand that your computer system is only as good as it's slowest main component. It may be the ram, it may be the MB, processor, HDD, or video card. In this case, it may be all of them. If you want a true performance upgrade, you have to do it the right way. eSATA may be right for you, who knows, but I just didn't want you to go in thinking you will get this huge boost in performance. It may be a bit faster, but for the price versus building a faster computer, I would hold out for the extra couple hundred dollars.

BTW, almost all boards come now with SATA, and SATA RAID ports. It's pretty standard. Anyone hardcore into video should know how to build their own computer / replace parts. Besides, they all come with instructions.
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Old February 12th, 2007, 07:05 PM   #9
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Darnit. I found this thread too late. There is an important factor with hard drives that will mean there will probably be no noticeable difference when upgrading. The interface has almost nothing to do with hard drive performance. Yes, SCSI can give better performance on a multi-drive system, but the real limiting factors are in the mechanism itself. Hard drives are mostly running at the same 7200rpm speed that they have been using for years. This means that the access time is just as slow as it was ten years ago. Yes, hard drive access hasn't improved significantly in ten years. There is nothing a new interface can do to help while drives are physically limited to 7200rpm mechanically.

The only way hard drives have increased in speed is due to the higher density as drives get larger. More bits per inch means that more data passes by the heads per revolution. This allows a very fast transfer speed, but it does nothing to help access time as the head still needs to wait for the platters to spin around to the new data. If multiple video files are being accessed, the slow rotational speed of your drive will put you at it's mercy.

"But I happened to read that an eSATA drive can be up to 5 times faster than FW 400." The drive isn't any faster. Not one bit. The only thing faster is the interface and that is not the bottleneck. If you put the fuel pump from a Boeing 747 into a Yugo, that Yugo isn't going any faster.

I really don't understand why manufacturers have been increasing the interface speed of hard drives so much when the fastest drive short of a 15Krpm SCSI drive can only read about 80Meg/second. 150Meg/second transfer speed is twice what any SATA drive can sustain.

For almost $400, you could get two fast drives with a RAID card and get better than 100Meg/second transfer speed assuming the PCI bus on your computer is up to the task.
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Old February 12th, 2007, 08:55 PM   #10
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I'm running an A64 3800+ X2 MB/CPU and wondered how something like a Pent D 945 (3.4GHz X2, 2MB) would compare to the E6600 (2.4GHz X2, 4MB) would compare with what I have, all else being equal?

Hmm, on second thought I just read through some info at anandtech and it seems to answer my question.

http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=2795&p=1
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Old February 12th, 2007, 09:09 PM   #11
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There is a site up that lets users submit benchmarks for their video systems with various motherboard/cpu combos. It was linked to in the Premiere forum a week or so ago ...I can't find it just now sorry. Anyone?

I replaced a X2 4200 with a E6300 and found the new system quite a bit faster and more responsive with Premiere. And that was without any overclocking, which it is very capable of.
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