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Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?

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Kannan Raghavan
Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 1, 2013 at 2:31:32 pm

Hi guys. Am looking for a mobile Thunderbolt RAID 0 solution for OB van use. I travel with my rMBP for editing sports highlights. I've been carrying my Pegasus R4 for a few months now. It's just too big to be carried around:( I need a more portable solution. Speed is more important to me than redundancy, hence RAID 0.
I've narrowed down to these two drives. They cost almost the same, but the Graid uses 3.5" drives, more capacity. But the 4 bay J4 using 2.5" dives is supposedly faster. Does anyone have any experience with either of these products? Thanks in advance guys:)

Kannan Raghavan
The Big Toad Films Pte. Ltd.


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Eric Hansen
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 1, 2013 at 3:31:30 pm

I have a bunch of 6TB and 8TB G-RAID TB drives and they're great. averaging 300MB/s.

I personally don't use 2.5" drives in the field. I've heard anecdotally that they're less resilient to bumps and bruises. It would be great to hear other's opinions on this. Personally, I would go with the G-RAID because of this.

Also, the more free space you have, speeds stay high. If you fill the J4, it will slow down considerably. You may not need 8TB, but extra space helps because your data stays on the fast part of the platters.

e

Eric Hansen
Production Workflow Designer / Consultant / Colorist / DIT
http://www.erichansen.tv


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Kannan Raghavan
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 2, 2013 at 12:48:26 pm

Cheers Eric. I think I'll go with the GRaid for now. For more capacity with 3.5" drives and they've been around for a while, so kind of battle tested too:)

Kannan Raghavan
The Big Toad Films Pte. Ltd.


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 1, 2013 at 9:02:09 pm

No first-hand experience - J4 boxes are fairly new. Yet if it's performance-to-size ratio you're looking for, can't beat J4. 400MB/s with spinning drives, faster with SSDs. (Seen Hitachi 1TB 7.2K SFF drives for under $100 - that would make a really small yet quite fast 4TB box for under $800.)

At the same time, J4 is overpriced - $400 for a 4-bay software RAID is a bit much, no matter the quality.

Unlike Eric, I've had good experience with SFF (2.5") drives both enterprise and desktop, with AFR smaller than with 3.5" drives.

Personally, I think LFF (3.5") form factor is going the way of floppies and CRTs - we already see that on servers; hope to see many more SFF-optimized storage boxes in the next year - and hopefully at a much better price point.

Alex Gerulaitis
Systems Engineer
DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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Rainer Wirth
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 2, 2013 at 11:07:18 am

I would go for the promise. We've made good experiences with 2,5 drives, but we don't carry them around very often!
Eric has made a point: Array slows down, when it comes to its capacity end. (Last 20%) So more left space on the raid means better performance (30% headroom).

cheers

Rainer

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


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Kannan Raghavan
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 2, 2013 at 12:59:07 pm

Cheers Rainer. Leaning towards the Graid atm. Another couple of nights of researching to be done:)

Kannan Raghavan
The Big Toad Films Pte. Ltd.


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Kannan Raghavan
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 2, 2013 at 12:52:29 pm

Cheers Alex. I was a bit skeptical as not many have used the J4 and the fact that they're expensive. I think I'll go with the Graid 8TB. Unless I go for SSDs on the J4, which makes it as expensive as the R4 for less than half the capacity:(

Kannan Raghavan
The Big Toad Films Pte. Ltd.


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Eric Hansen
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 2, 2013 at 1:30:03 pm

Alex, you've used 2.5" drives extensively in the field and experienced a lower failure rate than 3.5"? I'm confused by some of your acronyms.

when i say "in the field", i mean how Kannan is using them, while traveling, shooting, editing on the road. Not an external drive sitting on a desk or an internal drive in a data center. For that use, i imagine they're no different than 3.5"

thanks

e

Eric Hansen
Production Workflow Designer / Consultant / Colorist / DIT
http://www.erichansen.tv


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 2, 2013 at 6:21:50 pm

Hi Eric,

Tracked about two hundred 2.5" drives over the past 8 years or so - in laptops for editing in the field. Not one failure but the sample is too small to make any determinations. A number of clients also use 2.5" drives for editing in external FW and eSATA enclosures, usually with their laptops, i.e. in the field.

All other things being equal, I have more faith in SFF ("Small Form Factor" - usually 2.5" but can also include 1.8") than LFF ("Legacy Form Factor" - 3.5") because:
- smaller drives are less affected by vibration, shock, heat-related tracking issues. This is simply a result of smaller size and slower linear speeds;
- higher density where you can pack 3-4 SFF drives in a place of one LFF means you could make RAID0, 5 or even 6 where it's impossible with larger drives: more performance and reliability options.

SFF drives are more expensive of course so LFF ones are still the value leaders. A 4TB J4 would cost around $800; G-RAID - less than half that.


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Kannan Raghavan
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 5, 2013 at 9:17:15 am

Cheers Alex. I've used the Caldigit VR mini for a long time without any problems at all. I was using FW800 and RAID0. I could use only DVC Pro HD. I'm looking for speed now as I ingest and edit at the same time. The R4 is fantastic for this as I get brilliant speed with RAID 5 redundancy. Am willing to forgo the safety of RAID 5 for speed in a small form factor. If only I could get the J4 with SSDs for the price of a Graid:(

Kannan Raghavan
The Big Toad Films Pte. Ltd.


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Rome Will
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 8, 2013 at 1:35:51 pm

Great comments guys!...I have some experience with the J4 I wanted to share...and also maybe get some help with.

Set up my J4 last night with 4x500gb Samsung 840 (regular not the Pro) SSDs...tested it with blackmagic speed test and got around 550 write and 640 read...but the SSD's were in RAID 0 (all four were stripped to together on the J4)...

My problem is that the device is advertised for speeds of +750 write/read when using SSD in RAID 0 format...so am I doing something wrong?! I've heard something about removing the cache, enabling TRIM (etc...) but that wouldn't cause such a hit to performance would it?

I'm thinking I need the Pro edition for Samsung 840 given the difference in technology (one uses TLC, the regular, while the pro uses MLC...)...

Or am I missing something here? Really need those +750 speeds (want to edit footage and don't want to use proxies when doing 2.5k- haven't edited in a while and that workflow is new to me...).

Again, thanks and hopefully this ends up helping somone as this device starts to get around in the mkt.


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Rome Will
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 8, 2013 at 1:41:44 pm

Thanks for this post guys! I've posted this below in a similar thread...maybe it can help shed some light on the J4...I have some experience with it and I wanted to share...and I kind of need some help...any thoughts is much appreciated!!

Set up my J4 last night with 4x500gb Samsung 840 (regular not the Pro) SSDs...tested it with blackmagic speed test and got around 550 write and 640 read...but the SSD's were in RAID 0 (all four were stripped to together on the J4)...

My problem is that the device is advertised for speeds of +750 write/read when using SSD in RAID 0 format...so am I doing something wrong?! I've heard something about removing the cache, enabling TRIM (etc...) but that wouldn't cause such a hit to performance would it?

I'm thinking I need the Pro edition for Samsung 840 given the difference in technology (one uses TLC, the regular, while the pro uses MLC...)...

Or am I missing something here? Really need those +750 speeds (want to edit footage and don't want to use proxies when doing 2.5k- haven't edited in a while and that workflow is new to me...).

Again, thanks and hopefully this ends up helping somone as this device starts to get around in the mkt.


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 8, 2013 at 7:44:23 pm

[Rome Will] "Or am I missing something here? Really need those +750 speeds (want to edit footage and don't want to use proxies when doing 2.5k- haven't edited in a while and that workflow is new to me...)."

What's the host system? Have you tried clocking a single 840 (not RAIDed) - have you been getting 500MB/s read speeds on those?

There are several potential bottlenecks with J4:
- individual drive speeds (500+MB/s reads, 300MB+/s writes with 512GB Sammie 840), accounting also for performance degradation associated with age, fill rate, etc.
- TB speed limit of 10Gbs (1.25GB/s) and its (very small) processing / driver overhead
- OS / host system and software RAID overhead

My hunch that it's the host system that can't keep up. Let me know what you get from individual SSD benchmarks and when you stripe, say, two or three (rather than all four).


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Rome Will
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 8, 2013 at 8:39:52 pm

Hey Alex really appreciate you responding!! Thank you!

So, I believe when you're asking me about my Host system you want to know about the computer that's feeding the J4 (right?)...I'm running a MBP 2011 (Late) with 16GB of ram. It's an i7 quad-core processor (I think it's Ivybridge not the new SandyBridge)...I installed a 500GB SSD for my internal drive- another Samsung, but that one was a 830 model.

I went ahead and ordered a set of 4x 500GB 840 Pro SSD's and another Pegasus J4 to compare to the one I'm having trouble with now (a J4 with 4x 500GB Samsung 840 non-pro SSD's)...I'll return whichever set lets me down the most (based on the added costs of the 840 Pro's, or if the speed is the same and it's just something wrong with my system)...

As for the the individual speed drive test- I think I already tried that...I'll give it another go tonight but from what I remember, a single SSD gave me around 300/400 write/read speeds through thunderbolt into the J4...but I was frustrated last night so when I get home tonight I'll give it another try and let you know.

Thanks again! Oh, and I talked to Promise customer support and all they said was the 840's weren't supported, and to try another benchmark test...and that the speeds of the J4 (which are advertised at +750 write/read) are just their test results and aren't real world results sometimes...O_o...oh, ok...lol!


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 8, 2013 at 8:48:17 pm

Thanks for doing the tests and sharing your findings - much appreciated!

Another potential bottleneck is the SATA controller inside J4...

300/400MB/s write/read speeds sounds a little low for an 512GB 840, especially if it's new: supposed to be 330/520. When you benchmark, do at least three runs, preferably after a restart.

What are the speeds of your internal 830?


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Rome Will
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 8, 2013 at 9:21:15 pm

My internal SSD tests around 350 write and 450 read...which I've heard was pretty consistent for the Samsung 830 SSD...I think the SATA controller allows me to hook up 6GB SSD drives...I'll check again...

To make thinks worse, my co-worker just got a MBA- the new 2013 kind...I told him to run the Blackmagic app to test his computer...he pissed me off lol! He's pulling in +650 write and +700 read...guess I should just buy a couple MBA's and start editing that way...could save some money!


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 8, 2013 at 9:37:17 pm

[Rome Will] "he pissed me off lol! He's pulling in +650 write and +700 read..."

That'd piss me off too. :) These MBAs don't use SATA - they use PCIe SSDs which do away with the SATA 6Gbs speed limit. I wouldn't be surprised to see them clocking 1GB/s in near future.

Not sure how these MBAs would fare for serious editing though given their relatively slow integrated graphics and limited memory.

If there a way for your coworker to run a test on your J4?


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Rome Will
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 9, 2013 at 1:08:43 am

Ok Alex...Im at now and I did like you said...here goes:

1) I unplugged each SSD and ran them individually through thunderbolt to check their speed...I didn't do this through the J4, I did it through a Seagate adapter which had thunderbolt connection...and each drive came up around 384 Read and 305-310 Write

2) Before I took the 840 SSD's out the J4, I tried to do a 2 stripped RAID and got speeds around 480 write and 650 Read...which means that as I add more SSD's I get slightly faster Writes...but my Reads (which are kind of more important) max out at 640/650 after I RAID anything above 2 SSD disks...

3) This sucks...Like I said, I use a MBP 2011 i7 with 16 gb of memory...really wish I could reach the 750 speeds with the Pegasus J4...but something seems to be holding up the READ speeds...Im hoping that the 840 Samsung PRO's I have coming tomorrow will help with the Write speeds..

Will keep you posted. Thanks again for the help/advice...anyone else have any ideas on whats creating the- as Alex said- bottleneck for my SSD speeds?

I'm going to do some more research and see if those things like turning off TRIM, etc...can help with the SSD speeds...

Rome


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Rome Will
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 9, 2013 at 1:11:46 am

And yeah Alex...the PCIe looks like the move...I see OWC has the HELOS thunderbolt for sale with a 900gb PCIe SSD...but that might be a little much for 2 TB which is what I want...thats $3k...vs. my $2K for 2TB at 640 Read and 550 write...and there's no guarantee that Ill get the advertised speeds for the PCIe SSD cards...


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Kannan Raghavan
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 10, 2013 at 3:51:24 am

Wow! The J4 with 4 Sammie 840s would set you back quite a bit. It's actually more expensive than the Pegasus R4 8TB with HDDs. But for such speeds in a small form factor, it's only the J4 I guess.

Kannan Raghavan
The Big Toad Films Pte. Ltd.


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Rome Will
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 12, 2013 at 5:24:49 am

Yeah @ Kannan, it set me back around $2100...$1800 for the 4 Samsung 840's and the rest for the J4 (ended up keeping the Pro's and sent back the regular 840's...can tell the difference with the write speed, but not that much once its in RAID 0)...

We'll see in the long run if it pays off...and you're right, I could have opted for the R6 at >$2k...but even in RAID 0 I doubt I'd get >600 read/write...with this, I am.

If anyone is able to break >700 like the advertising says (and I've seen benchmarks floating around the internet) I'd REALLY like to hear...for some reason, I'm stuck on 600 write and 650 read with my 4 SSD 840 Pro's stripped...sucks...really wanted the max speed. But I guess it is what it is.

I'll try to get the Lacie Big Disk (Thunderbolt) to have as my backup for this J4...slower, but will do the good job for the redundancy needed...


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Kannan Raghavan
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 12, 2013 at 1:16:00 pm

Wow! 600 write and 550 read?!! That's super fast for most people. You editing uncompressed by any chance? RAW footage?
There's something about the Lacie (brand name) that just turns me off. Not many people use the Lacie for editing, I think. I'll go for the Graid for now. Thanks for your inputs Rome.

Kannan Raghavan
The Big Toad Films Pte. Ltd.


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Rome Will
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 15, 2013 at 2:33:51 am

Yeah @Kannan, I was thinking of editing footage from the 2.5k on the BMCC...but now I was thinking of getting the new 4K model...still, I don't really know how to do proxies and from what it looks like, seems a little complicated.

@ Eric, I guess you're right...if I shoot ProRes on the Blackmagic then I'd be fine with a decent thunderbolt HD for my footage...even if I end up with an Epic, if I didn't use R3D, would I be ok?...I honestly I don't know. And I've thought about an Epic (or Scarlet) recently...sill my overall reasoning to get the fastest HD for editing was because I was thinking if I had enough hard drive speed, I might could skip things like a RedRocket...but honestly Eric, I just don't know yet. I haven't edited since college, but its all I've thought about. I've saved what I could over couple years in hopes of shooting a feature and submitting it to film festivals as I would have done if I went to Tisch (sorry for the mini life story, but I'm putting A LOT in this...figured I go hard and try to make it happen)...So...fastest hard drive as I can get equals future proofing myself...


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Eric Hansen
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 15, 2013 at 3:11:03 am

Rome

I think you need to do some more research because you're spending a lot of money on things that don't matter.

According to the KataData app on my iPhone, the BMCC 2.5k raw at 23.98 is 120MB/s. Epic at 5k 2:1 at 5:1 compression is 80MB/s (which actually seems higher than I thought. I'll double check this with some Epic footage tomorrow). These are more than doable with slower drives.

A Red Rocket accelerates de-bayering. It doesn't have anything to do with drive speed. If you're working in Premiere on a laptop such as the Retina MacBook Pro 15" with a resolution of 1/8 or 1/16, you don't need a Red Rocket to edit. If you're editing on a modern tower with 8 or more cores, a Rocket doesn't help much when you're editing (typically). It helps a lot when you're transcoding, grading or outputting a 4k image to a monitor.

Future-proofing in this industry is almost a fool's errand. Especially with storage. Buy what you need for your project now and look out maybe a year into the future. Anything further than that is just a guess.

As far as the 4k BMCC, i wouldn't bet on that until you have it in your hands. By then you're post setup will probably have changed a few times.

in my experience, if you're planning on shooting a feature, more space is much more important than more speed. Especially if you're shooting raw formats. My last feature clocked in at 250TB. That's a lot of J4's

e

Eric Hansen
Production Workflow Designer / Consultant / Colorist / DIT
http://www.erichansen.tv


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Rome Will
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 17, 2013 at 12:34:38 am

Hey Eric my bad for the late response...but you're right. I DO need to continue to do more research.

I think I've decided on the Red (b.c as you mentioned, the BMCC 4K will probably take a while)...now comes the biggest question of Scarlet vs. Epic...there's a ton of info online and so far, the main thing I need to decide is whether or not I'll be shooting slow motion...

As for the Red Rocket, I guess I misunderstood the product description and its purpose in a workflow. I see from your tag you're a consultant- I really appreciate your advice! My setup is below...don't need your advice just yet, as I want to research some more first...but for now, I think I'll stick with the J4 as an external HD for my main footage. Still, I will definitely do more due diligence before I add any more pieces of equipment. My setup is for editing (what looks to be) Red Scarlet/Epic footage

MBP Late 2011, i7 w/16gb of memory (2.4 GHz quad-core w/the boost)
Apple Thunderbolt Monitor
Asus PA 248Q (for color grading, 2nd monitor)
Blackmagic Intensity Extreme
Pegasus J4 (w/4 500 gb SSD's)
*soon to be Lacie 10GB Big Disk (for backup)
*soon to be Tangent Tk Element (just gonna get the center one)


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Eric Hansen
Re: Promise Pegasus J4 or GRaid Thunderbolt?
on Aug 12, 2013 at 3:49:06 pm

Rome, what codecs are you editing with that you need 700MB/s? The only time I need speeds that approach that are for 4k DPX. And in those cases it's for grading, not for editing. And even then, it's rare that I have a DPX source. Most of the 4k material is compressed such as R3D and XAVC (Sony).

e

Eric Hansen
Production Workflow Designer / Consultant / Colorist / DIT
http://www.erichansen.tv


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