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Replace LHe with Kona 3?

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fearless
Replace LHe with Kona 3?
on Mar 11, 2007 at 12:04:09 am

We now have a couple of LHes and have a one-time chance to swap one out for a Kona 3 on good terms. I know the rumour mill is going wild about NAB and dedicated cards and stuff but if going to a K3 would produce tangible benefits working in FCP and FinalTouch, we just might do it.

We haven't had the best ride with the Kona to be honest - and swapped it out last week it out for a Multibridge to get the benefit of Blackmagic's 24P pulldown Easy Setups (sorry guys, the Kona suggestions didn't work)... the difference in machine responsiveness was immediately apparent. Under the Kona, app switching was always clunky, the Finder and FCP felt slow and crash-prone. The Multibridge architecture, though obviously still hung on the PCIe bus, seemed to have a less adverse effect on the machine as a whole... it actually felt like a Quad, not a G4... but then, half way through the output, the MB died. Kaput. You could have fried an egg on it. And it's the 2nd one we've had die, and the 3rd I know of. So proponents of AJA's hardware integrity are probably on firm ground.

So the question is, dual HD-SDI and 4:4:4 aside, will the Kona 3 be a generally better card than the LHe we use now, doing the same things? If it's more robust all round we'll go there.. if it's just about a feature set that we really don't need, we won't.

On another note, has anyone had problems with embedded SDI audio distortion when doing a downconvert with the LHe? About 1 time in 3 the 2-pop and subsequent audio is thin and clipped, suggesting some kind of timing or muxing problem...?

Thanks
Peter

Quad G5/NVidia Quadro/Kona LHe/Infortrend RAID/Final Touch HD 2.6.1/FCP 5.1.2/OS X 10.4.8


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uncompressed
Re: Replace LHe with Kona 3?
on Mar 11, 2007 at 12:39:51 am

well, the kona 3 would be the one of the three cards mentioned as specified compatible with the final touch. that could be a big start.

it has things-sd to sd, cross and up convert. more software, the DSK, etc...so yes, it is a better card. it weighs more too, noticably in my estimation, not sure what a scale says.

the difference in card cost for FCP systems is so miniscule, i have wondered why people generally dont to better for themselves. If you have a chance to get, arguable to only few people, the very best card FCP has-go for it.


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fearless
Re: Replace LHe with Kona 3?
on Mar 11, 2007 at 12:50:23 am

Thanks, yeah, I certainly wouldn't try running FT with a Multibridge (weirdly, people do) but given that the Kona 3 feature set is of negligible immediate value, I guess I'm just keen to know whether there's likely to be a general performance boost, or whether we'll spend the extra and it'll all feel the same (a bit sluggish)...

Quad G5/NVidia Quadro/Kona LHe/Infortrend RAID/Final Touch HD 2.6.1/FCP 5.1.2/OS X 10.4.8


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uncompressed
Re: Replace LHe with Kona 3?
on Mar 11, 2007 at 3:32:27 am

i dont get the sluggishness thing. have the people you bought it from check over the system they sold you or parts of the system they sold you. something is wrong.


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walter biscardi
Re: Replace LHe with Kona 3?
on Mar 11, 2007 at 4:24:22 am

[fearless] "Under the Kona, app switching was always clunky, the Finder and FCP felt slow and crash-prone. T"

Something is definitely wrong with your setup. I can't stand sluggish behavior with any system and we're running three Kona systems on three completely different machines. All are snappy, except when trying to digitize from HDV, but that's the nature of that format.

I've not owned an LHe, but we're running the Kona 3 on a Mac Pro 3.0 and a Quad G5 while our older G5 Dual 2.0 is still running a Kona 2. All are very responsive so I'm just wondering if your LHe is in the right slot or if you have the correct Slot settings for your machine. I'd be surprised if AJA tech support couldn't figure out what's going on.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
http://www.biscardicreative.com
HD Editorial & Animation for Food Network's "Good Eats"
HD Editorial for "Assignment Earth"

"I reject your reality and substitute my own!" - Adam Savage, Mythbusters


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fearless
Re: Replace LHe with Kona 3?
on Mar 11, 2007 at 8:07:02 am

Fair call Walter. It sits in the 2nd slot above the Quadro (2 slots deep) and below the Atto SCSI card... I gather Quads are less fussy about card location than Mac Pros. Anyhow, I'd love to know how the LHe and Kona 3 compare in this regard... and the LHe in the other machine (a Dual G5 2.3) is also a bit flaky... perhaps both the premium cards (Kona 2 in its day, and K3) are just better than the LHe... I'd love someone to confirm that though.

Quad G5/NVidia Quadro/Kona LHe/Infortrend RAID/Final Touch HD 2.6.1/FCP 5.1.2/OS X 10.4.8


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Bob Zelin
Re: Replace LHe with Kona 3?
on Mar 11, 2007 at 3:25:32 pm

Peter -
I don't know who built your system, but obviously someone did, because not many people know about the Infortrend drive arrays. The Kona 3 is great, the Kona LH is great - they do different things.

You write -
We haven't had the best ride with the Kona to be honest - and swapped it out last week it out for a Multibridge to get the benefit of Blackmagic's 24P pulldown Easy Setups (sorry guys, the Kona suggestions didn't work)... the difference in machine responsiveness was immediately apparent.

REPLY -
Peter, you go to the Audio/Video Setting, and if you are working in 23.98, you switch the Playback menu tab to 1080i/29.97 or 720p/29.97, and you get the 2:3 pulldown, for a 59.94 or 29.97 output. It works, and it's a simple menu change. I don't know what else to tell you - it's changing one menu setting.

YOU WRITE -
Under the Kona, app switching was always clunky, the Finder and FCP felt slow and crash-prone. The Multibridge architecture, though obviously still hung on the PCIe bus, seemed to have a less adverse effect on the machine as a whole... it actually felt like a Quad, not a G4... but then, half way through the output, the MB died. Kaput. You could have fried an egg on it. And it's the 2nd one we've had die, and the 3rd I know of. So proponents of AJA's hardware integrity are probably on firm ground.

REPLY - what is "clunky" ? I don't give a crap if you are using AJA, Blackmagic, Cinewave or Aurora. You are forced to go into the Audio/Video Settings or a Control Panel - certainly with AJA and Blackmagic products - to make changes. The "clunkyness" is the same in both products. As for "FCP felt slow and crash prone" - slow performance is often due to issues with your disk drive array, not the AJA or Blackmagic card. You should use AJA Kona System Test or the Blackmagic Disk Speed test to test your Infortrend disk drive. You should make sure that you have your AJA card in slot 2 or 3, and your SCSI or Fibre card in Slot 4 of your computer - and NO FIREWIRE CARD in slot 2. You should trash your FCP preferences, and if you dont' know how to do this, let me know, and I will tell you how to do it.


YOU WRITE -
So the question is, dual HD-SDI and 4:4:4 aside, will the Kona 3 be a generally better card than the LHe we use now, doing the same things? If it's more robust all round we'll go there.. if it's just about a feature set that we really don't need, we won't.

REPLY -
The Kona 3 and the Kona LHe are almost identical cards, with different features. The Kona 3 will let you do upconvert from SD. The Kona 3 will let you cross convert HD. The LHe will not upconvert, but will let you input analog sources, as well as analog HD sources - the Kona 3 won't do this.

Neither of these products affect the "slow performance" of your system, or the clunkiness of your system.
It is possible that your system is not setup correctly, it is possible that you have a "SLOW" FW 33MHz card in the buss of your MAC Quad. It is possible that your ATTO drivers are not current (use ATTO Configuration Tool from the http://www.attotech.com site to check your drivers). It is possible that your FCP Preferences are corrupt. It is possible that your drive array is full, or has issues, which you can check with AJA Kona System test.



YOU WRITE -
On another note, has anyone had problems with embedded SDI audio distortion when doing a downconvert with the LHe? About 1 time in 3 the 2-pop and subsequent audio is thin and clipped, suggesting some kind of timing or muxing problem...?

REPLY - there is a CLASSIS Digi Beta problem, which goes back to linear video days, and early AVID SDI days. If you dont' have your Digi beta VTR genlocked with the SAME black generator that locks your Edit system (AJA, Blackmagic, AVID, etc), and you layback audio to the Digi Beta, you will get an ERROR CONDITION on your Digi Beta, and you will get AUDIO DISTORTION.


Bob ZElin



Thanks
Peter

Quad G5/NVidia Quadro/Kona LHe/Infortrend RAID/Final Touch HD 2.6.1/FCP 5.1.2/OS X 10.4.8


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fearless
Re: Replace LHe with Kona 3?
on Mar 11, 2007 at 6:04:01 pm

Wow Bob, a comprehensive post - where do I start?

Re pulldown, I'm sure that's what I tried, with a playout full of dropped frames - I'll try again for future reference. Perhaps I had things around the wrong way...

Card configuration is the NVidia card at the bottom (presumably spanning the graphics slot and one other), then the Kona, then the SCSI card. Now I'm uncertain of the actual slot numbering schema, but presumably if they were installed in reverse order nothing would work!

Re prefs, I used to make beer money selling a small Applescript and shell-based utility that did precisely that - trashed and replaced prefs (til FCP Rescue came along and did a rather coarser-grained job for free). Time I updated mine for FCP5!

Certainly the array has been very full of late - and I mustn't blame the card for any system clogs that it creates. I also suspect there's an issue with one of the RAIDs (we have 2 x 4TB) as its write speed (but oddly, not its read speed) seems down when using the above utility. I've been waiting to clear projects before cleaning both up, running some tests, and doing a RAID 50 stripe across them. But perhaps there are controller issues or a disk is playing up... nothing in the RAID's showing an error though...

Thanks for the heads-up on the Digibeta thing - we have been using a black burst generator for all captures and laybacks to good effect, often looping through the KL Box - perhaps we should send both signals direct from the generator's outputs

Thanks so much for your time - I'll continue the detective work. You're right, something's not right... perhaps I have weird alien static...

Peter

Quad G5/NVidia Quadro/Kona LHe/Infortrend RAID/Final Touch HD 2.6.1/FCP 5.1.2/OS X 10.4.8


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Bob Zelin
Re: Replace LHe with Kona 3?
on Mar 11, 2007 at 8:02:08 pm

You write -
Card configuration is the NVidia card at the bottom (presumably spanning the graphics slot and one other), then the Kona, then the SCSI card. Now I'm uncertain of the actual slot numbering schema, but presumably if they were installed in reverse order nothing would work!

REPLY -
the Kona card, and the storage card must not be both in slots 2 and 3 - one or the other MUST be in slot 4. And if you have something else in the open slot (slot 2 or 3, with something else in slot 2 or 3), it can't be a slot card, like an old Firewire card. If you have the Kona and the ATTO card in slots 2 and 3, with nothing in slot 4 - bingo - there is your slow performance.


You write -
Re prefs, I used to make beer money selling a small Applescript and shell-based utility that did precisely that - trashed and replaced prefs (til FCP Rescue came along and did a rather coarser-grained job for free). Time I updated mine for FCP5!

REPLY - it's nothing, to manually go into the user/library/preferences/FinalCutProUserData, and trash the 3 FCP preferences.


YOU WRITE -
Certainly the array has been very full of late - and I mustn't blame the card for any system clogs that it creates. I also suspect there's an issue with one of the RAIDs (we have 2 x 4TB) as its write speed (but oddly, not its read speed) seems down when using the above utility. I've been waiting to clear projects before cleaning both up, running some tests, and doing a RAID 50 stripe across them. But perhaps there are controller issues or a disk is playing up... nothing in the RAID's showing an error though...

REPLY - the very last FCP sysstem I worked on was a guy with a Kona LHe and an XServe RAID with only 4 drives in it - it was full, and he was only getting 60mb/sec write speed, and could not digitize without dropped frames. THE KONA SUCKS he said - it was his drives. I can't diagnose anything without running
AJA Kona system Test.



You Write -
Thanks for the heads-up on the Digibeta thing - we have been using a black burst generator for all captures and laybacks to good effect, often looping through the KL Box - perhaps we should send both signals direct from the generator's outputs

REPLY - remember, if it's a Horita BSG-50, and you don't terminate with BNC terminators, that black generator is doing NOTHING !


Bob Zelin


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fearless
Re: Replace LHe with Kona 3?
on Mar 11, 2007 at 9:31:18 pm

Now it's daylight and I can see the slot numbers:
1 & 2 Quadro 4500
3 Kona LHe
4 ATTO SCSI
Seems like the approved layout.

Re the RAIDs, the slower of the two is doing about 75MB/s write speed, the faster one double that. There's a mere 200GB free on the faster one, but close to 1TB free on the slower of the two. Can't wait to clear off the data and reinitialise.

The black burst box is a Kramer - I'll check termination at the digibeta end.

Re prefs, trashing them is all well and good but having a replacement set handy that were saved when fresh is good too - that's what the script "Replace FCP Prefs" was about... no more lost Favorites!

Thanks!

Quad G5/NVidia Quadro/Kona LHe/Infortrend RAID/Final Touch HD 2.6.1/FCP 5.1.2/OS X 10.4.8


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walter biscardi
Re: Replace LHe with Kona 3?
on Mar 11, 2007 at 9:35:42 pm

[fearless] "Seems like the approved layout."

What about the Expansion Slot utility? Is it in the correct configuration for the Kona? Refer to your Installation guide that came with the Kona.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
http://www.biscardicreative.com
HD Editorial & Animation for Food Network's "Good Eats"
HD Editorial for "Assignment Earth"

"I reject your reality and substitute my own!" - Adam Savage, Mythbusters


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fearless
Re: Replace LHe with Kona 3?
on Mar 11, 2007 at 10:29:52 pm

Expansion Slot Utility? On a G5? Isn't that a Mac Pro thing?


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Bob Zelin
Re: Replace LHe with Kona 3?
on Mar 11, 2007 at 10:22:26 pm

you have listed very important information. You have one RAID writing at 75mb/sec. You have an empty drive slot in your MAC that could hold one single SATA drive. A single new Segate 7200.10 SATA drive can do about 70mb/sec, and you report that your entire Infortrend RAID is only writing at this speed - SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THAT RAID. I don't know if it's the ATTO driver, the RAID firmware, a defective drive, or your array is REALLY full and fragmanted, but SOMETHING IS WRONG, because it should perform faster than a single internal SATA drive (right now, simply run the test on your internal MAC boot drive, you will get about 58-60mb/sec - almost as fast as your entire RAID). You must resolve this issue.

Your card layout is fine, your Kramer black gen is fine. May I suggest buying a flashlight (I can't see anything without one !).

bob Zelin


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fearless
Re: Replace LHe with Kona 3?
on Mar 11, 2007 at 10:28:50 pm

I agree, it's VITAL INFORMATION! The 2nd drive slot is occupied. Yes, I agree there's an underlying issue with the RAID but that doesn't account for the fact that with the Kona out and the Multibridge Pro PCIe card in and running, the nag felt like a racehorse. The LHe was the only thing that changed. Hmmm...

Thanks!


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Alan Lacey
Re: Replace LHe with Kona 3?
on Mar 17, 2007 at 5:10:56 pm

Bob, he posted 75MB/s not 75Mb/s, thats's an eightfold speed difference.

Alan


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