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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


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Old September 25th, 2008, 12:17 PM   #1
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PHU-60K external disk, interface and other questions

The PHU-60K is a very nice addition to the EX1/3. It has only one drawback and that is the limited capacity, 60 GB is not very much.

I wonder if it would be possible to remove the standard 1.8" disk and replace it with a 120 GB single platter (8 mm height) 1.8" Toshiba SATA disk with 5400 RPM.

My questions are relatively simple:

1. Is the physical height of the replacement disk (8mm) OK? Or could even a 2 platter disk with 160 or 250 GB fit?
2. Is the disk controller a SATA type?
3. Is 5400 RPM supported?
4. Is this feasible with the limitation of breaking the warranty?

What do you think?
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Old September 25th, 2008, 12:47 PM   #2
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Why bother doing all that now that 8gb/16gb cards can be bought for next to nothing ?

Paul.
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Old September 25th, 2008, 12:59 PM   #3
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My concern with the PHU-60K is the fact that no hard drive is as dependable as solid state memory. I shot a Firestore for a couple of years with my HVX200. Other than the bulk of the device, I was in constant fear of HD failure. It did not fail. I sold it when I bought the EX3 and my unfortunate customer broke it almost immediately.

At $1K for a 60gb solution that won't under/overcrank, that adds bulk and weight I would say take a pass. Buy a Kensington adapter for under $40 and a bunch of $20 Transcend 8gb cards. Reserve your SxS cards for S&Q motion. Save money and bulk.

Just my .02
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Old September 25th, 2008, 01:36 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Paul Kellett View Post
Why bother doing all that now that 8gb/16gb cards can be bought for next to nothing ?

Paul.
Paul,

Maybe your definition of "next to nothing" is different than mine, but a 160 GB disk is around 200, the PHU-60K is around 900, so totaling around 1100. Ten 16 GB cards amount to around 8500 for the same capacity. That price difference gives me a second EX3 for free. All excluding 19% sales tax BTW.
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Old September 25th, 2008, 01:45 PM   #5
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Paul,

Maybe your definition of "next to nothing" is different than mine, but a 160 GB disk is around 200, the PHU-60K is around 900, so totaling around 1100. Ten 16 GB cards amount to around 8500 for the same capacity. That price difference gives me a second EX3 for free. All excluding 19% sales tax BTW.
Have you been reading the thread about which cards work with the EX1 and EX3 ? Obviously not. 8gb cards can be bought for around 15, whatever that is in dollars.

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Old September 25th, 2008, 03:52 PM   #6
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I have a feeling many still have not figured out that with the new 1.1 EX1 firmware , or current EX3, you can use the Kensington Expresscard adapter 7-in-1 and certain SDHC cards (see thread) for a really inexpensive solution instead of SxS cards.

In fact, when the 32G Ultra II 15MB/s SDHC cards are released (very soon),
for under $400 USD you can have two Kensington expresscard readers each fitted with 32GB SDHC cards.

So for $400, you will have a by far cleaner solution for 64GB storage over the PHU-60K drive.
Yes, you will not be able to close the EX1 memory door, but the PHU-60K also MUST have the door open too, not to mention you will have a drive tethered off your camera.

Having said that, there will be some who will stay with using only SxS for several reason.
1. Tried, true, and tested
2. Already spent an arm & leg.
3. Faster read support when saving to your PC.
4. S&Q mode support


It's been over a week of testing an have NEVER had one error or media restore (that the PHU-60K is known to have)

Also using the Sandisk Extreme III 30MB/s or SanDisk Ultra II 15/MB/s, these yield 40% headroom over HQ data rate. Based on Alister's report, the Transcend has less than the Sandisk cards I mentioned, but still maintains reasonable headroom.

Last edited by Steven Thomas; September 25th, 2008 at 04:23 PM.
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Old September 26th, 2008, 10:40 AM   #7
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Steven-

So how reliable do you think this solution is? More reliable than PHU? But perhaps not as reliable as SxS? I know you are still testing, but would the SDHC solution be acceptable for paid-absolutely-can't-lose-my-footage gigs?

--Nathan
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Old September 26th, 2008, 11:08 AM   #8
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I'd say (knocking very very hard on wood) that after one week of trying I'd trust a top quality SD-card more than Sonys harddrive.
I have tried to get my Sandisk SD-card to fail in all manners I could think of without being able to. It can do a whole card of overcrank in 48 fps which suggests a headroom of almost 100%. The only problem I see with the SD-cards is not being able to close the door of my EX1.

But - I must add - testing has only been going on for a little more than a week. I'd wait a few more weeks to be certain that no strange problems arise.
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Old September 26th, 2008, 11:40 AM   #9
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Well, PLEASE do not go on just my word.

I've been testing the EX1 with:

Kensington 7-in-1 Expresscard reader
16GB SanDisk Extreme III 35MB/s version SDHC (just released)
4GB SanDisk Ultra II 15MB/s SDHC

I've been trying all HQ modes with NO errors at all.

Remember S&Q overcrank mode is not "suggested" with the Kensington/SDHC card combo.
Why do I say suggested, well with the above mentioned SDHC memory cards listed, I've been able to overcrank in S&Q mode to 40FPS at 720 24P wihout an error.

Having said that I DO NOT suggest using S&Q overcranking. At 45FPS ( 720 24P ) it errors.
This is NOT enough headroom for safe overcranking. If you need to overcrank for slo-mo, use your SxS card.

As I mentioned before, the great thing about knowing this combo can overcrank at 40FPS, it shows us the amount of headroom we have over 35mbps (40mbps max) which is the HQ modes.

The data rate maintains HQ mode (35mbps) during playback of any HQ file regardless if it is overcranked (slo-mo when played back at 24FPS). Therefore, the data rate written during S&Q overcrank must be increased proportional to maintain 35mbps during playback.

The HQ data rate maintains 35mbps, but can hit a max of 40mbps. So, if we were to overcrack twice the framerate of 24FPS, we would set the EX1 to 48FPS. To do this we would have to be able to write at twice the HQ data rate 35mbps (40mpbs max) or 70mbps (80mbps max.)

We can only reach an overcrank of 40FPS (720 24P), which equates to 1.6 times the initial 24FPS framerate. SO, since the data rate written in S&Q mode is proportional to the base rate, in this example HQ mode (35mbps) which tops out at 40mbps, 40mbps x 1.6 = 64mbps (max)

You can see why this combo works well knowing that HQ mode tops out at 40mbps and the combo Kensington/SDHC (listed above) is capable of 64mbps max. This seems like a safe amount of headroom for HQ modes and of course even safer for SQ.

Last edited by Steven Thomas; September 26th, 2008 at 04:41 PM.
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Old September 26th, 2008, 11:47 AM   #10
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Ola, are you using Sandisk Ultra II, or the new Extreme III?

The Extreme III failed at overcrank of 45, but oddly, I believe the Ultra II ran at 45.

Either way, our numbers are hanging on the edge at this overcrank data rate.

But you're right. I'd say we are safe running HQ modes with this decent headroom.

Based on what I'm reading regarding the Sony drive, it apparently (for some odd reason) may have less headroom, or some other issue.

Again, like yourself I have not been able to get the Kensington/Sandisk SDHC (i've listed) to fail. It works great and spans across both Kensington cards I have inserted in my EX1 with no problems.

I'm looking forward to hearing about or trying the new SanDisk 32GB Ultra II 15MB/s SDHC cards. It's hard to believe I will be able to two 32GB cards (64GB)loaded in the EX1 for under $400!
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Old September 26th, 2008, 04:00 PM   #11
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Ola, are you using Sandisk Ultra II, or the new Extreme III?
I use an 8 GB Extreme III and like I mentioned above it managed to overcrank all the way up to 48 fps in 720p 25 mode. Even considering that you ran @24 fps that is a little bit better and gives even more headroom.

It would be very interesting to hear what the Sony harddrive can handle! Please, anyone with a PHU-60K, would you test it out. What fps can it achieve?!
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Old September 26th, 2008, 04:16 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ola Christoffersson View Post
I use an 8 GB Extreme III and like I mentioned above it managed to overcrank all the way up to 48 fps in 720p 25 mode. Even considering that you ran @24 fps that is a little bit better and gives even more headroom.

It would be very interesting to hear what the Sony harddrive can handle! Please, anyone with a PHU-60K, would you test it out. What fps can it achieve?!
The Sony hard drive cannot over/undercrank. This is documented in the product literature.
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Old September 26th, 2008, 04:26 PM   #13
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The Sony hard drive cannot over/undercrank. This is documented in the product literature.
Yes, but I seriously doubt it disables overcrank when the EX1 or EX3 is set to overcrank.
The thought is it can overcrank to a certain FPS before it errors.
Is this not the case?

Who has one that can actually try this?

Set the camera to 720 24P, turn ON S&Q, slowly increment from 24FPS, 25FPS, 26FPS, ect... until you determine when it fails.
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Old September 27th, 2008, 09:39 AM   #14
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This is great to read about. I really don't expect to do much with over/undercrank, so I am simply concerned with the reliability of the SDHC cards in the EX1/3 in HQ mode. If this is really solid, then I'm going for it, but I'm going to follow these threads very closely. We all need something that WON'T fail. Exciting stuff - being able to do 64 GB for under $400 is amazing!

Please keep testing/posting this stuff. It is VERY helpful.
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Old September 27th, 2008, 10:20 AM   #15
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concerning the PHU-60k...

Is there a part number on the Connect Cable that comes with this kit?
Anyone know if 'replacements' are available from Sony?
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