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DAS RAID system for older Mac Pro with Firewire ?

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Clayton Burkhart
DAS RAID system for older Mac Pro with Firewire ?
on Jan 27, 2015 at 12:01:03 pm

Hi,
I have a 4 year old Mac Pro which still does a decent job of dealing with many projects.
It's a Apple Mac Pro 8 Core 2 x Quad Core 2.4Ghz Xenon Westmere with maxed out RAM, etc.
Been thinking about getting a RAID system and wondering what I can get considering that the Mac Pro is basically Firewire 800.

Before you advise me to get a new one, just know it ain't gonna happen. No way I am investing another $7K for the black trash can and all the peripherals.

So. The question is are there any viable Raid systems that I could actually edit RED files in 1/4 or 1/8 debayering with the Firewire connection?
I also considered a DROBO 8 bay system, but I guess that would be too slow for this kind of application? More of an archival system... Anyone tried it? Don't need a network system (NAS), just a direct connection to a single post (DAS).

An extra controller card isnt an alternative between the Blackmagic Decklink and the GeForce card for CUDA which are already filling my PCI slots by the way. So I guess whatever I get needs to happen in the external box or not at all.

Bear in mind that I am in Europe and something like the Areca 5040 is very difficult to find here...


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Neil Sadwelkar
Re: DAS RAID system for older Mac Pro with Firewire ?
on Jan 30, 2015 at 3:56:26 am

If you have to work over Firewire800, then the max data rate you'll get is about 100 MB/sec. Practically, you'll see between 60-80 MB/sec. There are many FW 800 RAIDs, but over Firewire, they are overkill. A RAID5 of 4 drives can deliver between 200-240 MB/sec, but over Firewire it will still be restricted to 60-80 MB/sec.

So if Firewire800 is what you'll go with, then a single drive GTech G-Drive will also deliver the full bandwidth of Firewire.

Red playback needs drive throughput and CPU/GPU. At the max 5k HD 3:1 full res debayer, you need 139 MB/sec from the drive. Which even a single drive can deliver.
1/2, 1/4, 1/8 debayer may need slightly less. And if the R3Ds were shot 5:1 or 8:1 then the disk needs to deliver just 50-80 MB/sec which is within the range of Firewire.

You're better off, getting a USB3+eSATA PCIe card for your MacPro so you get USB3 and eSATA ports which can give you better speeds with drives. If you have no PCIe slots vacant, you could just add one or two drives inside the MacPro. A 2-3 drive RAID0 inside the MacPro can deliver up to 300 MB/sec depending on the drives.

-----------------------------------
Neil Sadwelkar
neilsadwelkar.blogspot.com
twitter: fcpguru
FCP Editor, Edit systems consultant
Mumbai India


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Clayton Burkhart
Re: DAS RAID system for older Mac Pro with Firewire ?
on Jan 30, 2015 at 5:41:49 am
Last Edited By Clayton Burkhart on Jan 30, 2015 at 5:42:36 am

Thanks Neil, that feels pretty true to my experience.
It seems clear at this point that either I lose a GPU card (I have two GTX 470's) to free up a PCIe slot for an SAS host controller and a raid tower, or that I create a RAID in the interior of the Mac. It has been suggested to put a SSD in the optical bay for my system and use the four drive bays to create my RAID. Either way it would mean updating my GPU, perhaps to a dual core because I would need that power which I am currently steaing from an optical bay for one of the cards to drive the SSD.


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