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  • SATA Quad Hard Drive

    I'm in the process of analyzing different options to work with my Quad so I could easily work with a full load of VSL instruments. At the moment I only have one 250 GB drive. I saw this: "SATA Quad Hard Drive" . Can anybody give me his opinion on it?


    http://www.cooldrives.com/quad-drive-sata-removable-enclosure-external-sata-case1.html

  • Hi Guy,

    I'm currently in the process of switching from External raid on firewire 800 to SATA. and first indications are showing massive speed increases. The system is yet to be fully installed so I can't give you any benchmarks yet.

    One word of warning for those looking for G5 internal solutions for raid drives. I bought a device to mount an extra 3 drives inside my G5 and though the unit works in principal, the drives won't power up all together without tripping the G5 supply.

    You can only get all drives online by powering them up - by plugging in the power connectors one by one - hard when they are inside the case! There is a feature on the drives called staggered spin-up but I've yet to make this work - the drives are WD 4000KD's.

    I see from your post you refer to "Quad" by this i guess you mean G5 Quad. If that's the case you'll need to ensure you get a SATA 2 PCI Express host card for the SATA drives, also there is this very attractive looking enclosure on http://www.transintl.com/store/minig.cfm that will match your G5 rather nicely - the other enclosure does look rather "PC land!"

    Julian

  • Julian,

    I followed your posted link regarding the SATA cabinets and they looked great. I called the company and they seem to be on the up and up.
    They are within a handful of dollars price difference from the Wiebetech eSATA cabinets/PCI combination. And they do look amazing similar to the G5 enclosure.
    I already own some Wiebetech cabinets but this might well convince me to go a different direction as soon as I make the final commitment to purchase. That will probably be timed with the arrival of my first VI's and checking out what will be needed for MIR - which I will hopefully see at the NAMM show in Anaheim in January.

    Thanks for the lead.

    Best wishes,
    Jack

  • Yeah, I like this Papa, Mama, and little one look!



    Julian,

    Thanks for the info and for specifications through PM! [:D]

  • What's the difference between Sata and Firewire? Why would I want to get one over the other?

    I'm mainly concerned with the mini G:

    http://www.transintl.com/store/minig.cfm

  • Guy,

    There are some major differences. Generally speaking, SATA is around 3-4 times faster than FW400 and 1.5-2 times faster than FW800. Additionally eSATA external cabinets allow easy integration with a G5 (or other computer) and if you choose to RAID the drives you can greatly increase throughput beyond those basic figures I quoted.

    FW drives will however allow you to put your drives at a further distance from your cpu, as external SATA drive cabinets almost always use a 1 meter cable - beyond that there are possible bandwith limitations. In most cases you will need a SATA PCI-X card in a PCI slot to host this external cabinet.

    There are several manufacturers of eSATA external cabinets, including Wiebetech, Firm Tek and Transintl.

    Best regards,
    Jack

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    @Jack Weaver said:

    Guy,

    There are some major differences. Generally speaking, SATA is around 3-4 times faster than FW400 and 1.5-2 times faster than FW800. Additionally eSATA external cabinets allow easy integration with a G5 (or other computer) and if you choose to RAID the drives you can greatly increase throughput beyond those basic figures I quoted.

    FW drives will however allow you to put your drives at a further distance from your cpu, as external SATA drive cabinets almost always use a 1 meter cable - beyond that there are possible bandwith limitations. In most cases you will need a SATA PCI-X card in a PCI slot to host this external cabinet.

    There are several manufacturers of eSATA external cabinets, including Wiebetech, Firm Tek and Transintl.

    Best regards,
    Jack


    Thanks very much Jack.

    So can we say they both basically serve the same function? Could it be like comparing 2 different models of cars? From what I understand Sata is more advantageous for G5, right?

  • Guy,

    Sure, they do the same basic things - record, store and playback files. SATA has greater throughput and should give you greater recall speed of instrument samples. They would be a boon to anyone used to using FW drives for VSL.

    The only thing faster would be a 2 Gigbit Fibre Channel PCI adapter card with Fibre Channel drives. However, the main reason not go that path is that the card and especially the drives are so espensive. Mainly it's the drives that are the problem because they are like slightly more expensive SCSI drives and have a serious size limitation. You would need several of them to hold VI alone.

    So in my estimation external SATA is the way to go. My plan is to give the cabinets that hold four 500 GB drives and do a RAID 1 striping. With this method I can have VI and the rest of VSL and other samples on one pair and all these would be automatically mirrored (backed up) on the other pair. I recently had a LaCie Big Disk (500GB) go bad on me wih all my VSL and some of my other samples and it was an absolute nightmare for two weeks. I never want that to happen to me or anyone else again.

    My specific references to the G5 were because I use one and from your previous postings I am under the impression that you have one also. What I said about G5's also goes for other computers - except for the new dual core, dual processor G5's since there are currently no manufacturers that I'm aware of that make PCIe cards for eSATA solutions.

    Now, if you plan to go this path please be prepare to sacrifice a PCI slot for the adapter card. I have a Pro Tools HD Accel2 that uses up the two other available PCI slots so going this direction means that there will be no going back for me. So I intend to implement this solution after NAMM and I see what all is going on with VSL (MIR), Digidesign, Logic and audio interface manufacturers. But as of now I'm emotionally committed to this as the best way to go.

    Best regards,
    Jack

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    @Jack Weaver said:

    Guy,



    My specific references to the G5 were because I use one and from your previous postings I am under the impression that you have one also. What I said about G5's also goes for other computers - except for the new dual core, dual processor G5's since there are currently no manufacturers that I'm aware of that make PCIe cards for eSATA solutions.


    Best regards,
    Jack



    Try this http://www.highpoint-tech.com/USA/rr2320.htm

    Julian

  • one more time ... be warned ... raid controllers behave different. even the Xraid has to be configured to give you best throughput for streaming (this has to be done after every start using terminal i've been told).
    usually they try to cache the whole file (or as much as they can) which gives you a good result eg. for video streaming.
    our needs are different: we need little portions from many files simultaneously (this is also true for EXS btw).
    whereas i noticed good results with onboard sATA raidcontrollers, the external enclosures performed not so convincing.

    raid 01 (striping & mirroring) as jack mentiones is the most reliable configuration, raid 5 (possibly with a hot spare) is also very reliable.

    try to get real-world™ results if you can and don't rely too much on performance numbers on a datasheet (without specifying which method was used to measure performance) ...
    christian

    and remember: only a CRAY can run an endless loop in just three seconds.
  • Guy & Julian,

    Please note that hardware RAID contollers (as in the the above link) are a different beast than software striping. They can be a nightmare.

    What cm refers to is that in video, high speed throuhput for streaming long, continuous files is the need of the hour. What is more necessary for audio is accessing little (discontiguous) files spread all over a disk, or disks. One thing that would be nice for SATA drives would be higher rotational speeds, i.e., 10,000 or 15,000 rpm. Typcially SATA drives are 7200 rpm.

    Thanks cm.

    Best regards,
    Jack

  • Thanks all!

    To not make this too vague for you, here's my gear and other:

    -G5 Quad, 6.5 GB RAM
    -1st internal drive 250GB
    -2nd internal drive 500GB (being installed)

    -Logic Pro

    -VSL Pro Ed and Perf Set
    -VI Library

    -Redmatica

    What the minimum requirement I need to work comfortably? No Lacie, thanks! [[;)]]

    Oh, it's for film music, of course...

  • Guy,

    Well, you already have a second internal 500GB SATA drive. That can hold VSL. If you wish to keep everything at SATA speed simply get an external SATA drive (or drives) solution from one of the various reliable manufacturers and use it to hold VI as it becomes available. Make sure that it is an expandable system.

    Away you go! It sounds like a great system.


    Best regards,
    Jack

  • Jack, thanks!

    So my 2nd drive 500 MB will hold all my VSL.

    I presume I should get a SataRaid 2 or 4 drives in which one will hold VI. So far is that right? And since VI is about 500GB then the drive will have to be 500GB?
    Or something like that? [*-)]

  • Did some research and decided to purchase two LaCie external SATA hard drives. Each drive is 250GB (but larger configurations can be obtained), and each come with a PCI card to plug into an available PCI slot in the computer (I happen to use Mac G5). Two hard drives can run off of one PCI card, and each drive can be powered by the internal drive power wires within the computer. *Much* faster than my older Firewire 800 drive, and stiping as Raid-0 (easy with Apple's included software) makes it that much faster. No room in the computer for more *internal* SATA drives, so this seemed a good choice. I've used many LaCie drives in the past and have not had trouble with them (I have no connection to LaCie). Here is a review of the LaCie (the review is a little older- prices have come down since the review was published): http://www.creativemac.com/articles/viewarticle.jsp?id=32842

  • Just a footnote on the Lacie: I know you're not suppose to put in the middle of your studio, but why do they make them so they're so easy to tip over? And when that happens that could seriously damage it! I've witnessed this several times.
    I had the experience of having a Lacie overheat and thus had to wait 10 days before getting it back from the repair shop. I was lucky I wasn't in production then! I guess it depends on the continuos time you spend on it for it to overheat. So in my case it's heatville! Not for me... What about an external Sata raid system, can you have problems with that?

  • Guy and mdfmuse,

    Please don't misunderstand me, I really didn't mean to be down on most LaCie drives. The LaCie Big Drive I had was a special case where they offered two 250GB drives in one cabinet that used a RAID 0 configuration. That was their shakey product. I have two of them on the shelf as a testament to my poor purchasing decision. Generally most people I know have had good luck with their individual drives.

    You might want to check the VSL Forum archives as I believe that the compressed format in which VI will be delivered actually is closer to about 350GB. Perhaps cm can chime with an authoritative figure on this. You might be able to get by for a while with one drive. However getting two would be a better way to go.



    Regarding the tipping over issue, I placed the LaCie drives flat on a table with rubber spacers below and between them to allow for adequate airflow. They run a bit hot.

  • sorry, no authoritative answer right now ... but the average compression rate should be 65%, so ending up with 350 GB (real size, not palliated harddrive size figure) sounds realistic.
    christian

    btw: i never understood why the LaCie BigDrive doesn't come with a fan - they get really hot actually when simply copying files on them ....

    and remember: only a CRAY can run an endless loop in just three seconds.
  • Can anybody explain to me what's a Raid 0? (Stripping and mirroring) I see there's Raid 1,2,3,... When I look it up it's often so technical that instead of learning the term, I end up with 3 things I don't understand! [*-)] [*-)] [*-)]

    Thanks, (consider it as charity work [:D])

  • Guy.

    RAIDing drives is the way to make more than one drive appear as a single drive. These drive groupings can also be made into smaller partitions called volumes.

    It is done with software in just a few clicks. There is software already resident on your G5 that will allow you to do this. There is also another product for Mac called softRAID that is a bit more elegant. Also, chances are that whatever hardware solution that you purchase will have their own RAID software and should come with detailed instructions on how to do this.

    RAID level 0 is when you stripe two or more drives and use them as one larger, and ususally faster drive. The only problem with this configuration is that if (or probably when) there is a failure of one of the drives you most likely lose all the information on the drive set.

    RAID level 01 occurs when you stripe two or more drives to act as one and simultaneously mirror (duplicate) their activity with an exact hardware copy of the first set of drives. In other words, if you use two hard drives for your first drive set (which need to be entirely identical hardware) you need two more entirely identical hard drives for your mirror set and they will become clones of whatever is on your first set of drives. In the event of catastrophic failure of your first drive set you will probably have to relink your VSL and VI instruments to the data on the mirrored drive set.

    For your purposes, I would not spend anytime trying to wrap your brain around the other RAID types. For safey you might want to find a local Mac technician when your drives arrive to help you install the SATA PCI card and create the RAID striping.

    However, since cm has pretty much confirmed that VI will sit comfortably on one 500GB drive - you don't necessarily need a RAID configuration. This will simplify your life and be easier on the pocket book.You still might want to get two drives simply to make a backup clone of your VI samples.

    Always remember to have your drives no more that 85% filled with data - individual or RAIDed.

    Best regards,
    Jack