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Kona 3 damaged?

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Glen Hurd
Kona 3 damaged?
on Sep 25, 2009 at 8:01:51 am

I travel a lot and edit using dvcpro50 footage on a macbook and SATA 5-bay while on location - FCP 6.0.5 on OS X 10.5.6. When I get back to my office, I move the 5-bay onto my dual duo-core intel G5 3GHz, with 6 GB ram and Kona 3, FCP 6.0.6, OS X 10.5.8, where I finalize the edits, do my color work and audio, and then master to tape.

The other day, the 5-bay refused to power up. It turned out to be a bad switch. But in the process of trying to test it, I was plugging the SATA cable into it when it suddenly powered up, and I drew a nice spark off the SATA cable onto the 5-bay. Evidently it fried the SATA Channel Multiplier, since it no longer works.

Needless to say, Final Cut hasn't run the same since either.

First thing I noticed was it couldn't play through the 6 filters I use for color-correction, and the two layers of graphics that run throughout the show.
I've spent several days troubleshooting, as well as digging through google and especially the cow archives.
My question is: can I compare the RT Extreme settings I get now with what they should be? Is there a way to read the results of FCP's RT Extreme test, and compare the results with different configurations (ie. with or without additional hardware)?

As a note of interest (to me, anyway), I couldn't get the machine to return to it's normal speed with the Kona removed. So I copied the com.apple.finalcut.plist and other preference files onto this machine from my laptop, and suddenly the G5 was back up to normal performance, exceeding what the macbook pro could handle.

I installed the Kona3 again, using version 6.03 drivers, hoping that sunny days were back again, but alas, it's back to it's apparantly damaged self.
Again, I copied the old preferences from the laptop onto the G5, and while that seemed to help, what happens now is that the monitor freezes while the timeline chugs through the difficult stuff, and then resumes playback when there's only a couple of layers of video playing.

Does anyone know how I can go about troubleshooting RT Extreme settings or guess why adding the Kona card into the mix should slow the system down? Other than a speed reduction, it seems to be operating normally - dumping several 1-hour shows to tape with no problem

To summarize: The G5 performs like its old self with the Kona 3 removed.
When the Kona 3 is added, Expansion slots verified, slot number verified, etc. using various drivers from Kona, it turns the machine into a slug, maxing out at 2 layers of SD video (with the same effects) before it starts to drop frames.


Sorry for the long description, but I'm hoping the details will help if anyone wants to puzzle this one out.

Thanks in advance.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Kona 3 damaged?
on Sep 26, 2009 at 5:35:55 pm

What hard drive are you playing off if and have you reset your easy setup? I'd do a trash of your preferences instead of copying them from one machine to another.


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Glen Hurd
Re: Kona 3 damaged?
on Sep 26, 2009 at 9:44:48 pm

I tried trashing prefs first. Hardrive I'm working off of for my tests is a SATA that I have internally installed as an extra - I'm not working off of system HD.
When I trashed prefs and removed the card, the FCP was still very sluggish - through several cycles of trashing and rebuilding prefs.
Once I copied prefs from another machine, it was back to normal (without Kona card). I celebrated :)
Once I install the card, the Kona was very sluggish, and I was back to head scratching.
Now, when I turn the Kona off (viewing), the computer performs well again.
Perhaps there's a secret setting in the control panel that I've forgotten about? I've racked my brain over this. Drives are running at 90 MB/sec and I'm only using SD footage as my test bed.
Since RT Extreme is a big part of working in FCP I am surprised there's no way to hack it or catalog it or compare it to other machines. I'd love to be able to look at its specs and say, "Hmm, looks like there's a bottle neck in my memory or cpu or whatever that wasn't there 6 months ago. Better take it in."
Without Kona, I'm playing a base layer with 7 color effects,including 3 3-way color filters controlling saturation on 3 different hues. Above that base layer I have 6 alpha-layered motion-graphics dissolving in and out - together, along with a static graphic layer. It plows through these without much of a stutter.
With the Kona engaged, I can only do the base layer. Otherwise the video output just freezes.

As it stands now, I have no idea where the problem is or even why. Other than speed, everything seems to be working normally -except the fried 5-bay Sonnet Tech tower.

I'm going to try putting the Kona in other slots (it's in slot 3) and see if that makes a difference. Or maybe try it at an 8x speed and see what happens. It does look like a Kona card problem, though. Which helps me at least be in the right forum, LOL.


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Glen Hurd
Re: Kona 3 damaged?
on Sep 27, 2009 at 5:22:39 pm

Tried different slots, different speeds (4 and 8). No difference.

CPU usage at around 200 % when Kona card locks up on SD material.
CPU usage at around 300 % when Kona card locks up on 720 60p material.
So doesn't seem tied to computer performance at all.

I wish there was a table somewhere where I could look up Kona performance for a particular broadcast parameter.
If anyone wishes to compare their Kona system to mine, here's what I'm able to do.

RT Extreme - Unlimited.
Playback Quality and Framerate to High and Full
All clips playing off same drive, which never exceeds 50MB/sec during test.

I add 1 filter to each clip. Apple's Broadcast safe filter (which I don't use, but I'm using as a common RT filter to stress the system). It's in default mode.

For my SD setup (DV50), Kona 3 can display 5 clips with the BS filter, set to 25% size (spread throughout the monitor) before it locks up.
For my HD 720p, Kona 3 can display 1 clip at full size with the BS filter, or 2 clips, if only the top clip is cropped. Without any filters it'll play 3 clips, all sized to 50%. But on 4 it freezes.
I'll try talking to Kona direct.
Thanks for looking.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Kona 3 damaged?
on Sep 28, 2009 at 1:16:17 am

Glen -
I am not reading every word of your thread, and only have smart ass comments for you.

1) you do not have a G5. You have a MAC Pro.
2) you are not going to contact Kona. You are going to contact AJA.
3) The AJA Kona 3 card is an input/output card, and is not doing miracles for rendering time. You say in this post that your "drives" are running at 90Mb/sec. A modern single SATA drive will run at this speed. If you have even 2 drives striped RAID 0, you will get dramatically better performance than this. But you have a 5 bay SATA array (damaged or not ? ) - you should be getting over 200Mb/sec with this array. Your Sonnet tower is probably using a Sonnet E4P SATA host adaptor with a 5 bay RAID 0 drive array.
4) this is my suggestion (which you will not take, because you "know better") - blow away your 5 bay array, reformat it using Disk Utility and do an AJA System Test - I bet when you do this you will get over 200Mb/sec. And now for the bigger suggestion - get a crowbar, and take out 60 bucks from your wallet. Buy a new 500 guig SATA drive, and install it in slot 2 of your MAC Pro SATA drive ports. Reinstall the operating system and Final Cut Pro (and for heavens sake - update to OS-X 10.5.8). I bet when you do this, everything will be fine.

A "blown" AJA Kona 3 card is not affecting your render or processing times.

Bob Zelin





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Glen Hurd
Re: Kona 3 damaged?
on Sep 28, 2009 at 2:15:31 am

1. Yes
2. Yes
3. I wasn't running striped - no need - currently on an SD project with lots of storage requirements. My point was that the drives aren't my bottleneck. The Kona freezes even at read speeds of 10MB/sec. The drives are capable of more. (Yes, the Sata port multiplier on the 5-bay is fried.)
4. I'm not arrogant, and will happily buy another drive and do a clean install to see if that fixes anything. Not sure where I came off looking like that, but I do appreciate your input.

'Bye for now . . .


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gary adcock
Re: Kona 3 damaged?
on Sep 28, 2009 at 12:29:41 pm

[Glen Hurd] "The Kona freezes even at read speeds of 10MB/sec. The drives are capable of more. (Yes, the Sata port multiplier on the 5-bay is fried.) "

OK

you changed drivers on the card-
did you bother to change the firmware on the Kona card also?

I would not check anything else before you get the Kona card and the firmware on the same versions.

Bob is correct in that the Kona does nothing for render speeds or RT settings, but both of those were reduced when you lost the high speed storage.


gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL


http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Glen Hurd
Re: Kona 3 damaged?
on Sep 28, 2009 at 2:32:55 pm

Apparently I suck at communication.
The 5-Bay enclosure was not set up for speed. Just convenient storage of terrabytes of SD footage for an ongoing reality show. Losing the bay has no effect on speed since I can hook up the same unstriped drives within the Mac Pro and connect to the other drives with the PCIe Sata card. My point was that the system itself is not being taxed at all. Drive speeds don't need to go over 10MB/sec on some sequences. Yet the Kona struggles even there.
There was definitely damage to the enclosure, what I'm suspecting is that there was "software damage" (if there is such a thing) to the Mac Pro.
So my next step is to do as Bob suggested and set up a second system disk with fresh install and see how the card behaves then. Just can't find the crowbar at the moment . . . might be lying over there next to the port multiplier . . .
And thanks for the tip on firmware and version number of driver. I've tried all the latest drivers - 6.03, 6.5, 7.0. (I was just going back to the one that I'd known had worked the longest.)


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gary adcock
Re: Kona 3 damaged?
on Sep 28, 2009 at 4:15:30 pm

[Glen Hurd] "The 5-Bay enclosure was not set up for speed. Just convenient storage of terrabytes of SD footage for an ongoing reality show. "

how fast the storage attached to FCP is a factor for RT handling as much as RAM and CPU speed.

the with the card installed it is forcing FCP to be more "professional" and react like that, so if your drives are on the slow side - you will get dropped frames.

"Losing the bay has no effect on speed since I can hook up the same unstriped drives within the Mac Pro and connect to the other drives with the PCIe Sata card. My point was that the system itself is not being taxed at all. Drive speeds don't need to go over 10MB/sec on some sequences."

Its not about how much media, but the Temp files and rendering will be much slower.

By the way - where is your scratch disk set to now? bet that is part of your problem also.



gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL


http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Glen Hurd
Re: Kona 3 damaged?
on Sep 28, 2009 at 4:50:42 pm

Great points, Gary. Faster drives mean better overall performance. What I am dealing with is a "before and after" scenario, where memory, drive speed (different enclosures but same speed), and cpu are constants. What has changed dramatically is the Kona performance.
My scratch disk is one of the attached Satas.
I just heard back from Kona (I mean AJA :P) and they're saying I may have corrupted a bunch of files outside of the normal Kona set (which I have uninstalled and installed 4 or 5 times to date). So more and more it's looking like wise-ass . . . I mean wise-ol' Bob's advice was still the best. ;)

I'll let you know . . . and thanks to everyone for helping me out.


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