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General questions about choosing a RAID card, beginner

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Mike Nicolau
General questions about choosing a RAID card, beginner
on Mar 18, 2013 at 10:52:41 am

Hello,

I'm planning whether to get a RAID card for my system but I need some advice.

1) Would a RAID config really speed up my system (Premiere, After Effects) or would I just be confortable with more drives and spreading the cache folders on them ?

2) Do I really need 200MB/s + read/write speeds since most of the codecs out there are not even close to these speeds, so are the drives keeping me away from achieving performance or the processing power ?

3) Which are the specs that affect speed the most, the card's processor, the RAM of the card ?

All the big card manufacturers have loads of models with similar specs and I don't know what spec controls what...some of the sites are just crap (on Areca's website I personally can't even understand which is their newest and greatest card and they have loads of models which as i've said are pretty similar).

4) Does the number of drives affect the performance ? For example could I attain better performance with 6 drives instead of 4 in a raid 0 config on the same card ?

5) Do I really need enterprise class drives ? From what I can make of it, it is more of a policy issue, some manufactureres won't give you tech support unless you have enterprise drives installed.

Thanks.


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Rainer Wirth
Re: General questions about choosing a RAID card, beginner
on Mar 18, 2013 at 11:22:24 am

Hi Mike,

1) Would a RAID config really speed up my system (Premiere, After Effects) or would I just be confortable with more drives and spreading the cache folders on them ?

Yes, a Raid increases your editing system dramatically. If you work with HD codecs above 100MB/s it is essential for real time editing. We talk about Fibre channel, SAS or at the lowest level eSata or Thunderbolt. This counts for Premiere.
Compositing programs such as After Effects require processing power, lots of Ram and a good graphic card.

2) Do I really need 200MB/s + read/write speeds since most of the codecs out there are not even close to these speeds, so are the drives keeping me away from achieving performance or the processing power ?

Yes, you do. Lots of the technical speeds are not achieved in practice, so you should look for a raid that says 400 MB/s at least. Theoretical speeds and practical achieved speeds are a different world.

3) Which are the specs that affect speed the most, the card's processor, the RAM of the card ?

Your system should have around 16GB Ram minimum, a good processor, a two lane 2x4GB card (Atto for example) and a decent raid at least Raid5 plus spare. I would go for a SAS raid 8bay system for the beginning, depends on your storage needs.

All the big card manufacturers have loads of models with similar specs and I don't know what spec controls what...some of the sites are just crap (on Areca's website I personally can't even understand which is their newest and greatest card and they have loads of models which as i've said are pretty similar).

I recommend ATTO cards.

4) Does the number of drives affect the performance ? For example could I attain better performance with 6 drives instead of 4 in a raid 0 config on the same card ?

Don't work with Raid 0 level. It is harakiri, because it has no redundancy! Normally 8-16 drives work faster than just 4 drives. For the Raid I recommend Dulce, Sonnet, Axus, small tree, active storage.

5) Do I really need enterprise class drives ? From what I can make of it, it is more of a policy issue, some manufactureres won't give you tech support unless you have enterprise drives installed.

Yes you do. The drives you use are a crucial point within your drive array. Always keep one as a spare. The drives must meet the technical specs of the drive system you use and must be identical by size and serial number. We just work with enterprise class drives and we only use Hitachi Ultrastars.

Remember: A Raid just works and works and works for years. You need to forget about it that it's there.

cheers

Rainer

factstory
Rainer Wirth
phone_0049-177-2156086
Mac pro 8core
Adobe,FCP,Avid
several raid systems


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Mike Nicolau
Re: General questions about choosing a RAID card, beginner
on Mar 18, 2013 at 2:24:19 pm

Thanks for the fast advice.

3) Which are the specs that affect speed the most, the card's processor, the RAM of the card ?

I was actually only referring to the RAID card's specs not the computer in which it is installed. RAID 0 was referred to just as an example, I just wanted to know if the number of drives affects the array's speed.

I want to start out with an internal RAID array. The solutions that you recommended are for external enclosures am I correct ?
So one of these cards would do :
http://www.attotech.com/products/category.php?id=1&catid=10
and not this kind, which is just an adapter to bring more ports into the system ?
http://www.attotech.com/products/category.php?id=1&catid=3

thanks,
Mike


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Mike Nicolau
Re: General questions about choosing a RAID card, beginner
on Mar 18, 2013 at 2:34:04 pm

oh...and I understand that advertised speeds don't hold up in day to day use but very few codecs in use today achieve data rates of more than 100MB/s. So what am I missing for a smooth editing experience, processing power ?


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: General questions about choosing a RAID card, beginner
on Mar 18, 2013 at 9:03:58 pm

in addition to what Rainer and Mike said:

The choice of the RAID controller heavily depends on what your hard disk configuration is or will be, performance goals, future expansion plans. It's possible you do not need a dedicated RAID controller if, for example, you only need RAID0 on up to six drives, or may be OK with the performance and limitations of on-board RAID5 controllers that exist on some systems.

If you only plan to stripe four internal drives in RAID0, you do not need a RAID controller - use the OS striping functionality.

If you need to add SATA ports to your system, there is no need to buy a $400 SAS HBA either. Here is Addonics ADMSGPX2 that adds four ports for $55 (plus a $29 cable):

http://www.addonics.com/products/adms6gpx2.php

Alex Gerulaitis
Systems Engineer
DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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Rainer Wirth
Re: General questions about choosing a RAID card, beginner
on Mar 18, 2013 at 10:42:37 pm

Yes,

my conclusions are for an external raid system. Alex has given you good advice for an internal solution on a low budget Raid 0 level.

cheers

Rainer

factstory
Rainer Wirth
phone_0049-177-2156086
Mac pro 8core
Adobe,FCP,Avid
several raid systems


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Fred Jodry
Re: General questions about choosing a RAID card, beginner
on Mar 27, 2013 at 5:10:56 pm

One factor that would steer me away from buying new ATTO cards is the same problem that I have with Matrox. The moment that you buy it it becomes an orphan. This assumes that one even figures out a way to buy one. Much though my e- mail is just alive with ATTO ads, they have never answered a reply.


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David Eaks
Re: General questions about choosing a RAID card, beginner
on Mar 27, 2013 at 6:14:57 pm

Fred, what's your problem with Matrox? It becomes and orphan? Seems like you mean they don't offer support, if so you are way off base.


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Fred Jodry
Re: General questions about choosing a RAID card, beginner
on Apr 2, 2013 at 5:29:32 pm

David, Matrox does offer support but getting a new model consists of looking for a Dealer who has it, while getting a Matrox software driver consists of "go to http://www.gateway (...computers) .com". It is a friendly but thin try every time.


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