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Old April 2nd, 2009, 02:56 PM   #1
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RAID choice help

We are upgrading storage on a couple of Final Cut Pro systems for HD work. We are looking for a RAID 5 eSATA ARRAY that is under $1200 and is atleast 4 TB. I am not finding anything in that price range except the Lacie 4big Quadra that includes the RAID 5 controller. I know alot of people have bad experience with Lacie but their 4 TB box with RAID 5 is around $1000. We may have to get something like a MacGuru Burly but that would just be RAID 0. Has anyone used these?? We are also considering 2 double enclosures that would each be RAID 0 but would mirror each other. This way if a drive goes down we can still work while our tech guy gets the other 1 up and running. Any and all opinions and/or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks you!!
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 03:26 PM   #2
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Maybe consider a pair of G-RAID3 units (these are Raid 0 of course - I only have one, the 2 TB version and I am very pleased with it). This has an eSATA connection and comes with the cable (but I've reverted to the more stable FW800 connector, in my experience, for reliable use with a MBP running FCS2). I mirror back up on other individual non-raided 1TB FW800 external drives daily for peace of mind - but any working edits live on the GRAID3.

Not sure what US price is like off-hand but I imagine a pair of these would come pretty close to your target.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 03:27 PM   #3
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the most important part of a raid is the controller card. When you run an internal one you know what your getting, but when you use an external box... HD doesn't really need a raid since the bottle neck is at the processor unless you are working with uncompressed video.

Mirror provides redundancy not speed. Raid 0 provides cheap speed with no redundancy but if you're working quickly and using it for expendable temporary data such as renders and exports that will be written to dvd who cares if it fails? Log your captures and you can still recover by a recapture. Obviously raid 5 is the safest but most costly and requires a good controller card. Bottom line raids are tricky to set up and the cards can be very fussy.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 07:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by David McCann View Post
We are upgrading storage on a couple of Final Cut Pro systems for HD work.
What's your footage format? If HDV, you really don't need a RAID. If it's something else, compare the max data rate of the footage with your minimum data rate reading from an eSATA drive then do a little arithmetic. It might work. If you're close, you might consider a 10k RPM drive. It might be a way to do it cheaper and simpler than a RAID.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 01:07 PM   #5
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This subject has come up so often, and so has this link: Life Zero: Super Fast 4TB RAID for Under $1,500 (was $2k)
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Old April 9th, 2009, 11:11 AM   #6
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SATA Raid Options

Originally Posted by Mike Barber View Post
This subject has come up so often, and so has this link: Life Zero: Super Fast 4TB RAID for Under $1,500 (was $2k)
The Lifezero article that Mike pointed out is a good starting point if you are evaluating building a SATA Raid setup from off the shelf components.

Other people have built similar setups to the one mentioned in the article with slightly newer components - an example is at Blog Archive Fast 7TB Raid 5 (8TB Raid 0) for under $1900

If you decide to build your own RAID setup - you can improve the performance and reliability of the results by making some different design choices.

Both articles are good but they both make the unusual choice of spending more on the case to house the drives than they do on the controller card.

A modest case, even if you used a generic ATX or E-ATX computer case would give you room for more drives at a fraction of the $500+ listed in those articles.

You can produce better results by shifting the emphasis from the case to the controller card. You could then pick a better controller card that delivers better performance and higher reliability.

If your storage focus is primarily on capacity you can consider that the 2Terabyte drives are now available for about $300 (Western Digital WD20EADS 2TB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb).

If your interest in the RAID array is really for performance, you can consider using smaller faster SAS based hard drives and controllers.

Newer SAS drives that support the SAS 2.0 6Gbs interfaces are now becoming available.
Faster SATA drives with a 6Gbs interface (also referred to as SATA-3) are being demonstrated now by folks like Seagate and AMD and are likely to be available later this year. Seagate demos 6Gbps hard-drive transfer speed | Crave - CNET

As others have eloquently pointed out, the performance bottle neck on many of the video editing tasks is substantially more on the CPU than the hard drives.
As you evaluate the SATA Raid options, keep in mind that some of those dollars may be better spent on CPU and GPU upgrades.
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