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Old September 13th, 2003, 04:34 PM   #1
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Building new PC--Hard Drive help requested!

Hi folks,

Just got my GL2 and I'm shooting with it. Incredible piece of equipment. I am a hardcore gamer and will be configuring a custom built PC from Alienware Systems. It will be a screaming fast game machine, and my NLE editing platform.

I plan to use Vegas as my software and will be burning to DVD.

I have a couple of hard drive options, and I was hoping you NLE experts out there could inform me of the best option to choose for best DV post production performance.

BTW, I will be getting a 3.2 H/T Pentium with 2GB of Corsair XMS DDR SDRAM PC-3200 memory to go with the disk selection.

My three hard drive choices are :

320GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 Serial ATA RAID 0 Array
500GB Western Digital Caviar SE 7200 Serial ATA RAID 0 Array
or dual 160GB Seagate Barracuda 7200 Serial ATA, w/8MB Cache

I work in the IT industry and am familiar with RAID 0 and it's striping abilities, and it is very efficient at moving a lot of data in and out of the server very quickly. would it be preferred over a standard serial ATA with Cache on board though?

Any thoughts on the above would be greatly appreciated.

thanks

Jeff Jordan
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Old September 13th, 2003, 09:46 PM   #2
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The Western Digitals are much faster than the Barracudas as a SINGLE drive. This is from storagereview.com. It has faster sustained transfers (VERY important for video) and has better application performance than the barracudas. However, things can change drastically for RAID performance. More complicated firmware (which the WD has) may mess things up in a RAID array. Try asking on the storagereview.com forum for info on the best RAID setup and be specific with what you want to do and what your budget/prioties are. The best hard drive setup is this:
Western Digital Raptor (10k rpm SATA) for your OS and applications
If you want supreme performance then you would use a 15k SCSI drive as your system drive. Very expensive though and marginally better performance (debatable even versus the Raptor).
2 ATA/SATA drives in RAID 0 configuration
not sure which RAID controller is best. It's might be the 3ware escalade (PCI card) or potentially an Intel on-board RAID controller (on the motherboard).

You probably don't want to put your system and applications on a RAID 0 array. I'm guessing you know this already?

For DV editing you don't really need a RAID unless your computer is insane enough to do more than 4 streams of uncompressed video in which case your hard drive does not have enough bandwidth. However your motherboard has built-in RAID so it doesn't cost anything to set up one. RAID might render faster, but I haven't seen any benchmarks on that.

Why not buy and install your own hard drives? If you get them from newegg.com it should be much cheaper than from Alienware and hard drives aren't that hard to install.

Your pockets are deep... 3.2mhz pentium and 2GB RAM... that isn't exactly the best value.

If you want the best performance you can build your own computer and overclock it to something like 3.5 or 3.6mhz with a much faster front side bus than stock computers (250 versus 200mhz). This would require research and time configuring your computer though. You would however save a lot of money and get yourself a computer that you can't even buy (and would cost a lot if you could).

If you are just doing DV editing than a 250GB Western Digital drive would be good enough for most people (in addition to a system drive, for a total of 2 drives). That will hold about 16 hours of footage.
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Old September 14th, 2003, 06:34 AM   #3
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thanks so much for your detailed reply. Good points regarding RAID. I have never used RAID controllers on a desktop, standalone PC before and your opinions on that are greatly appreciated.


Yes, I was planning on getting a WD 250 gb 7200 SATA for my OS and "typical" apps. I forgot to mention that to you.

I am one of those people who view PC's as a tool to get me from point A to B. Not interested in building my own-I have many other hobbies to fill up my time!!

Thanks again, and I will check out the drive forum you mentioned for specific drive comparison info.

Fantastic info. and help on this site. I hope one day to be able to offer some advice as well to help pay you folks back!
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Old September 18th, 2003, 11:40 AM   #4
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http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=NTIy

depends on your needs. i have a raptor and i still wouldn't sacrifice some performance for more HD space. vids NEEDS space. i'd rather have gotten the 200gb Maxtor Drive. you should always get as much space as possible with reasonable performance. anyway check the article out. the raptor isn't as fast as some people make it out to be... except when used in an array for RAID.
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Old September 18th, 2003, 11:48 PM   #5
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May be slightly of topic but just want to add for a discussion.

I'm talking about lower budget and also lower noise levels.

WD have one of the highest noise levels so I'm considering Maxtor Max Line Plus II 250Gb for video drive. It's performance is slightly lower than the WD but still respectable. Also important is Maxtor is claiming higher reliability for this line.

For aplications/OS drive WD for sure is the best but again noise and budget is issue. I would rather have 80 Gb drive with 8Mb. Glenn, do you think Maxtor Diamond Max Plus 9 is OK?
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Old September 19th, 2003, 08:14 AM   #6
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"I am one of those people who view PC's as a tool to get me from point A to B." LOL, something that gets you from point A to B is a Ford Escort....your rig is a Porsche.

I'd definitly go RAID 0. I built my own machine, not to far from yours: 3.0 w/ht not 3.2, same ram but just one gig. Hardrives are 3 SATA Maxtor Diamondmax Plus 9 120gig hds, one for OS/programs, and the other two in a Raid 0 for dedicated video storage. Saved over $1500 compared to the Area-51 and did all my shopping on Newegg.com and GoogleGear.com (now called ZipZoomFly.com).

Big gamer as well- patiently awaiting Half-life 2 though it runs terribly on the Nvidia FX cards, the Radeon is kicking but in HL2 benchmarks...ugh.
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Old September 19th, 2003, 11:36 AM   #7
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Get the Diamond SATA drives it performs better then the rest of the drives that support sata. I have 2 of them in a raid 0 config for video storage. My operating system is regular 120 gig maxtor with 8 mb cache.
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Old September 19th, 2003, 04:11 PM   #8
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OK, I have a neophyte question after reading your very informative responses.

I ordered the Area 51 PC with (2) 250 GB WD Caviar SATA 7200's w/8MB cache.

I decided NOT to get RAID from Alienware as they were using the BIOS RAID on the Intel M-board, which someone here suggested could hamper CPU performance.

My question is: Can I take the two SATA drives I am getting, buy a PCI RAID controller and hook them to it for RAID 0 striping?

If so, what controller do you folks recommend for this? An Adaptec I presume?

thanks again.
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Old September 19th, 2003, 04:29 PM   #9
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jeff,
you sure have money!!! you're not just paying for aw's computer you're paying for their company's overhead, which is very high. you could save upto $500! or even more! well there's always next time. use this:

http://www.pricewatch.com

you will see SOME improvements from BIOS to dedicated but not leaps and bounds. there isn't a cheap and affordable SATA RAID controller with a nice onboard CPU on it to offload tasks from CPU yet. they're all software based and hardware accelerated at best.

yes you can take 2 HD's you're using and buy a PCI RAID controller and make them RAID 0... or 5 even. this card is a bit pricey (around $170, try pricegrabber or ebay, i've seen it for $90 on ebay, i would've bought it if i needed it) but it's worth every penny:

http://www.promise.com/product/produ...112&familyId=2

if you're paying any amount of money even $50 onwards why not get something that can do RAID 5? if i were buying a new system today i would DEFINITELY get that. it's like a swiss army knife. gives you flexibiliy. you can even run it as JBOD -- Just a Bunch Of Drives... which means 4 individual and separate drives. DON'T get the highpoint. bad bad stories surround it.

adaptec's are WAAAAAAY too epensive. yesh they have a processor based controller... but most of it are used for server-ended stuff:

http://www.adaptec.com/worldwide/pro...erial+ATA+RAID
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Old September 19th, 2003, 07:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
May be slightly of topic but just want to add for a discussion.

I'm talking about lower budget and also lower noise levels.

WD have one of the highest noise levels so I'm considering Maxtor Max Line Plus II 250Gb for video drive. It's performance is slightly lower than the WD but still respectable. Also important is Maxtor is claiming higher reliability for this line.

For aplications/OS drive WD for sure is the best but again noise and budget is issue. I would rather have 80 Gb drive with 8Mb. Glenn, do you think Maxtor Diamond Max Plus 9 is OK?
Ok storagereview.com has information on which drives are the quietest and "fastest" (fast is harder to measure than quiet). They have subjective and actual measurements of noise levels there. For video performance, the Maxtors have high sustained transfer rates so they should be fine. For video work sustained transfer performance (read and write) are very important. You'd have to check how quiet those drives are.

For other quiet drives, the IBM deskstar should be a good choice as well as the seagate barracudas.

storagereview.com also has a reliability survey. You can check that out.

Quote:
you will see SOME improvements from BIOS to dedicated but not leaps and bounds. there isn't a cheap and affordable SATA RAID controller with a nice onboard CPU on it to offload tasks from CPU yet. they're all software based and hardware accelerated at best.

yes you can take 2 HD's you're using and buy a PCI RAID controller and make them RAID 0... or 5 even. this card is a bit pricey (around $170, try pricegrabber or ebay, i've seen it for $90 on ebay, i would've bought it if i needed it) but it's worth every penny:

http://www.promise.com/product/prod...&familyId=2

if you're paying any amount of money even $50 onwards why not get something that can do RAID 5? if i were buying a new system today i would DEFINITELY get that. it's like a swiss army knife. gives you flexibiliy. you can even run it as JBOD -- Just a Bunch Of Drives... which means 4 individual and separate drives. DON'T get the highpoint. bad bad stories surround it.

adaptec's are WAAAAAAY too epensive. yesh they have a processor based controller... but most of it are used for server-ended stuff:

http://www.adaptec.com/worldwide/pr...Serial+ATA+RAID
Storagereview.com has a few RAID reviews a few years back (2001 I believe). The 3ware escalade outperformed the promise controller in those tests. I forget the benchmarks for sustained transfer rates, but this is the most important stat for video work. There's an erroneous FAQ on storagereview.com that says RAID 0 is only 10% faster than non-RAID setups- ignore it. As to whether or not you need a RAID setup, I have not seen any benchmarks on video editing performance with RAID. My speculation is that if RAID really sped up DV editing then you'd think a lot of pros would be using it.

RAID 5 is better in most respects to RAID 0 except in write performance (and price). The lowered write speed could eliminate any speed increase over RAID 0. Protection against hard drive failure is nice, but your drive still needs to be rebuilt in case this happens. If you can recapture your footage in the case of a hard drive failure, then RAID 5 probably won't save that much time. Some real world tests would be needed to determine whether or not RAID 5 saves time (during hard drive operations and when a drive fails). I suspect that the time saved with RAID 5 is too marginal to justify the cost of it (costs time, the price of 1 hard drive, and the price of a controller that can do RAID 5 decently).

RAID does improve Battle Field 1942 performance and your boot up times though! :P
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Old September 20th, 2003, 08:09 AM   #11
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haven't you heard of failures of IBM 'ide' HDs? IBM makes great scsi HD for server/workstation but they are horrible (in recen years) in making desktop HDs. that's why they sold the division off. i think to hitachi. so DO NOT buy it.

promise's new s150 sx4 JUST CAME OUT so i doubt they'd've had a comparison of the new 4 port controller a few years back =D. things change with time. and plus 3ware's CHEAPEST card is:
http://www.3ware.com/products/serial_ata.asp
3ware's model#8506-4LP is priced at $354.

even if it was 10+% faster than any card i wouldn't pony that kind of money up for it. i'll stick with promise's card. but if you have the money... SURE! =D. the funny thing is... unless architect of these controllers (any brand any price) can handle a firmware/BIOS update to 300-600MB transfers in the future they will most assuredly be outdated when faster HD technology dawn upon us... but that is far too much into speculation.

RAID5 is good for database or NON linear files. vids are linear files so RAID5 wouldn't help much plus you lose disk space only get ~75% of the total HDs combined. i highly recommend RAID0. besides HDs are made much better today than they did yesteryears.... so unless they are using cheap parts in the HD one would be hard pressed to find HD failures (though there's always that conspiracy of HD maker wanting to fail the HD to make people buy more from them)

Quote:
<<<-- Originally posted by Glenn Chan : Ok
For other quiet drives, the IBM deskstar should be a good choice as well as the seagate barracudas.

Storagereview.com has a few RAID reviews a few years back (2001 I believe). The 3ware escalade outperformed the promise controller in those tests.

RAID 5...-->>>
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Old September 20th, 2003, 01:40 PM   #12
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I heard about the IBM "deathstars" failing a lot but it seems that IBM has cleaned up its act. Check out the reliability survey over at storagereview.com. By the way, Promax (VAR for video editing systems) recommends IBM deskstars.
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Old September 20th, 2003, 07:43 PM   #13
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i still wouldn't use their HD. besides... they're expensive on TOP of rumours of failture.

Quote:
<<<-- Originally posted by Glenn Chan : I heard about the IBM "deathstars" failing a lot but it seems that IBM has cleaned up its act. Check out the reliability survey over at storagereview.com. By the way, Promax (VAR for video editing systems) recommends IBM deskstars. -->>>
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