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Old August 6th, 2011, 10:32 AM   #1
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Need recommendations for a fast scratch drive

Until I lost my project today (it just disappeared, video files and all) I was running 3 drives in RAID 0 and getting getting really great timeline performance when editing HD multicam shoots, up to four cams at a time.

However, the controller is bad, or one of the drives is bad, I really don't know, or want to know what happened, I'm ditching it all. I've had intermittent issues before and suspect the controller, but I'm not sure and don't have time to find out. The issue is too intermittent to determine with certainty quickly.

A new controller for conventional SATA II drives like mine, a good one is VERY expensive, and I'm wondering if there is a single drive that might equal the performance. I don't think the newer SSD drives are that fast, are they?

I know that SSDs are are great for OS, but are they fast enough for using as a high performance scratch drive? I know nothing about these drives, so I'm starting from scratch.

Any help from someone with experience using fast drives as scratch drives would be appreciated. A single Velociraptor is NOT fast enough, been there done that, WD Blacks are about as as good, and I've been running three of them in RAID 0 (older models not the newer disabled ones) and that's the kind of speed I would like.
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Old August 6th, 2011, 11:37 AM   #2
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Re: Need recommendations for a fast scratch drive

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Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
I really don't know
I bet Spinrite would know. And would fix it.

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Old August 6th, 2011, 01:10 PM   #3
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Re: Need recommendations for a fast scratch drive

Hi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
Until I lost my project today (it just disappeared, video files and all) I was running 3 drives in RAID 0 and getting getting really great timeline performance when editing HD multicam shoots, up to four cams at a time.

However, the controller is bad, or one of the drives is bad, I really don't know, or want to know what happened, I'm ditching it all. I've had intermittent issues before and suspect the controller, but I'm not sure and don't have time to find out. The issue is too intermittent to determine with certainty quickly.

A new controller for conventional SATA II drives like mine, a good one is VERY expensive, and I'm wondering if there is a single drive that might equal the performance. I don't think the newer SSD drives are that fast, are they?

I know that SSDs are are great for OS, but are they fast enough for using as a high performance scratch drive? I know nothing about these drives, so I'm starting from scratch.

Any help from someone with experience using fast drives as scratch drives would be appreciated. A single Velociraptor is NOT fast enough, been there done that, WD Blacks are about as as good, and I've been running three of them in RAID 0 (older models not the newer disabled ones) and that's the kind of speed I would like.
SSDs are not that well suited to that sort of use as they have extra overheads in re-using space. You might get around this if you use one oversized to your needs and your system has opportunity to "trim" the SSD, basically enough idle time to prepare already used parts to be re-written to in the fastest time.

The other issue is wear, as each memory location can only be written to so many times before it stops working reliably, although quite possibly in practice it will out live your use of it in all but the most demanding applications.

Regards

Phil
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Old August 6th, 2011, 01:27 PM   #4
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Re: Need recommendations for a fast scratch drive

Adam, Spinrite is data recovery software, I have a very good software program already, thank you. I do not need to recover the files, I had them backed up twice. Spinrite also does not appear to be a diagnostic program, which is what you allude to, thanks anyway.

Thanks Phil, you have vefified what I have just read. Apparently not much has changed with the essential nature of SSDs since there early days, other than reilability and speed, which are apparently have improved greatly.

I'm going to reformat the drives, take out a drive from the array, for kicks, and see what happens.
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Old August 6th, 2011, 03:03 PM   #5
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Re: Need recommendations for a fast scratch drive

I have used Western Digital 10k rpm Raptors as scratch space before and they were dead reliable for about 4 years... eventually the needles started making a bunch of noise, but never failed. I sent them in and got it replaced no questions asked. So through intensive use, and 4 years in having perfect customer service I would recommend them.

SSDs are kind of new, and I dont know if I would use them for an enterprise solution yet (I dont know the scale you are operating on).
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Old August 6th, 2011, 06:42 PM   #6
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Re: Need recommendations for a fast scratch drive

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Adam, Spinrite is data recovery software
No, it isnít. It is disk maintenance software. It checks disks for errors, including errors no other software can detect. And it fixes those errors. It can even reformat the entire disk without deleting the data on the disk.

It is independent on the operating system (you reboot the computer to Spinrite, then reboot it back to your OS when done).
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Old August 6th, 2011, 10:11 PM   #7
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Re: Need recommendations for a fast scratch drive

I've got 7 tracks of 90min 1080p Cineform files on 1 Seagate 7200rpm 1TB drive right now doing a multiple cam edit. It's keeping up with all cuts and a few cross fades so far, even a few strobing effects between cams.
I did format it before starting so it's all on the quickest part of the disc.
I can't say I can see a difference between this drive and my 2x raid 0 Raptors.
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Old August 7th, 2011, 12:50 AM   #8
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Re: Need recommendations for a fast scratch drive

Thanks for clarifying Adam. The Spinrite website was most difficult to siphon through. but you're right, it's not what I thought it was.

I went ahead and diaganosed the problem, weird drive. I was ready to throw the controller out with all the drives. I had three drives get weird on me in the last 12 months (2 Velociraptors and a Samsung) and now this one (WD Black). I've never lost drives like this before, but they were all pretty old. They all came out when they were newly released. I'm particularly bummed to have lost a WD Black, those are my favorite drives. I do know how to salvage them, on my own using Windows, but I'm always leery after

Anyway, I'll stick with my current RAID thing. I suspect my controller is responsible for corrupting the drives somehow. All the weirdness happens to RAID drives running off the Adaptec controller for some reason.
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Old August 7th, 2011, 12:55 AM   #9
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Re: Need recommendations for a fast scratch drive

Gerald I agree, little to no difference with 2x RAID, I only see the improvement with three drives. Four is amazing, three is pretty good. I've lost two of my four and the difference is disappointing, I need to find two more good drives to put in the array.
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Old August 9th, 2011, 09:44 AM   #10
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Re: Need recommendations for a fast scratch drive

We have Cheetah 15k in the RAID units, they deliver, and also cost a little bit more...
Enterprise Hard Drives | Cheetah | Constellation | Seagate
But very nice for a scratch disk...

/m
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Old August 9th, 2011, 09:59 AM   #11
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Re: Need recommendations for a fast scratch drive

Magnus, probably the best recommendation for a fast drive. I used Cheetah SCSI 10K as far back as 1998, and they were crazy fast, and very reliable. I have been fussing with these SATA drive for years now and am absolutely sick of them, everything from the cheesy connectors to the low reliability.

Currently I have everything back in order for now, but will I will return to the Cheetahs. Do you recommend a particular brand of controller?
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Old August 10th, 2011, 05:52 PM   #12
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Re: Need recommendations for a fast scratch drive

We bought turn-key systems, and they had ARECA raid cards, not sure about the exact model, possibly 1680 -
/m
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Old August 11th, 2011, 10:23 PM   #13
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Re: Need recommendations for a fast scratch drive

I agree with others - skip the SSD for this application. I love mine for boot, but the boot speed results mainly because of the near-zero latency when seeking the myriad files that Windows accesses while booting.

But their write speed is nothing spectacular, and they still are unreliable. Intel replaced mine, no questions asked, when a nearby lightning strike hit it. It was the electro-magnetic field that did it in, not a surge on the power line (no other component was affected in my computer, and I do use a 100% full-time UPS).
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Old August 30th, 2011, 10:51 PM   #14
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Re: Need recommendations for a fast scratch drive

I am awaiting three new 15K.7 Cheetahs SAS drives and controller that will arrive tomorrow. Magnus, thanks for your mentioning the SAS drives.

I've learned a lot about raid controllers and SATA drives since I started the thread. I abandoned 10K SCSI drives when I got into video production, due to the cost. Everything was going SATA anyway, but I've never been knocked out by even the fastest SATA drives running in raid 0.

I have bit the bullet. The cost of three drives and the controller was high, but it's a great feeling to be going back to enterprise class drives. Now for dealing with the heat. The Cheetahs run very hot.

Manus, does your case have HD cooling fans?
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Old August 31st, 2011, 11:54 AM   #15
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Re: Need recommendations for a fast scratch drive

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Magnus, does your case have HD cooling fans?
The server case has something like eight or ten fans, I think it is this one...
Supermicro | Products | Chassis | 2U | SC213LTQ-R720LPB

It's like having a 747 waiting for takeoff in the server-room
/m
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