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Martin Nelson
Mac Pro Possessed
on May 17, 2010 at 3:14:02 am

I've posted this on the Apple forum as well, but, as you'll see if you can bear to read this whole thing, I am desperate.

I have a Dual 2.26 Quad-Core Mac Pro. It has 6 Gigs of factory RAM and the NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 graphics card and is running OS 10.5.8. The computer’s primary use is for editing on Final Cut Pro (v 7.0.2), but it does serve day-to-day purposes as well.

Everything that can go wrong with it has and endless attempts at fixes, at best, only temporarily fix the system. There have been so many issues and so many approaches to finding the cause(s) that I’m afraid this will be a pretty long posting and I’ll still forget some things. Please bear with me. If you like a challenge, I’m your man.

I got this Mac on 10/2/09. We (Any time I write ‘we,’ I am referring to a highly-qualified Mac technician who has done much of the heavy lifting throughout this process; I think he now wants to become a farmer) copied a lot of files from my previous G5 (running OS 10.4.11), but did a new clean install of Final Cut Suite and of any other apps. We also installed 3 1-TB Samsung HE103UJ internal drives in bays 2, 3 & 4 in a RAID using SoftRAID software v.3.6.8. Gorgeous. I’ve got the best computer in the world. Ha.

On 10/6, I launch and get a SoftRAID Disk Error message telling me that one of the RAIDed partitions encountered a read error. This message will continue from time to time throughout my trials, but, until the last few days, we’ve never detected any actual problems with these drives and no tests run on them could find any performance issues.

On 10/9 “Final Cut Pro quit unexpectedly. The problem may have been caused by the KGCore plug-in.” This seems to be a known problem (http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/8/976905), which will continue to pop up from time to time, but otherwise, things are running well.

11/17, I finish one job and take over an existing Final Cut project. There are 4.5 TB of media spread over six 1-TB drives (eventually this will grow to 7 drives) daisy-chained via short firewire 800 cables to my CPU. From this point on in the narrative, my internal drives will not be used for media at all. I will continue occasionally to get read error messages from SoftRAID, but I detect no actual problem and all three of those drives are sitting idle anyway.

Lot’s of technical problems start to occur now, but many of them have to do internally within the project (I would elaborate, but I’ve looked ahead and this sucker’s going to be long enough without side issues). One issue I do address is in early January, I add an additional card to my Mac to provide more firewire 800 ports. I now have six of the external drives each plugged into their own port and only one drive piggybacking on one of the others. I see no real improvement, but still, I attribute my crashes to FCP project issues.

Then in April I start crashing and freezing. All. The. Time. Endlessly. Throughout all of this, btw, I am regularly trashing permissions, caches and temporary files; repairing permissions; trashing FCP preferences; running Disk Utility and Disk Warrior and Compressor Repair (http://www.digitalrebellion.com/compressor_repair.htm). My tech finally suggests we clear the internal RAIDed drives so we can reformat them not as a RAID and then do a fresh install of the OS on one of them and install Final Cut there in its own little isolated world. On 4/22, we do all this. That drive (just to confuse things) is called ‘Final Cut.’ The only third-party drivers running from here on out are SoftRAID’s and Kensington Mouseworks.

I sometimes have to make several attempts to get FCP to launch, but it seems fairly stable for a few days other than it’s lagging something terrible. I’ll do some extremely basic action —loading a clip into the viewer for example— and I’ll get the beach ball for 5-10 seconds. Sometimes when this occurs there appears to be no activity on the external drives (that is, the lights aren’t flashing).

4/27, This is when things start to become really inconsistent. I pull all drives and launch FCP without any media connected. It appears to run fine. No lags, no crashes. I quit and remount just two of the media drives, each into a native fw 800 port. Restart FCP. At first it lags when I’m rolling over media from one of these two drives, then after a while it quits lagging. I quit app, restart; everything runs fine. I let it sit while I write an email, return and now it lags when rolling over media from the one drive. Then it gets over it again and runs fine.

I reboot from my other startup drive and get a SoftRAID error. It is not on the Final Cut startup drive, but one I’m not actually using now. I reboot from the Final Cut drive and get the same SoftRAID error message (I may not have cleared the error messages in SoftRAID; can’t recall). I eject the two internal drives I’m not using.

I swap the firewire cables for the two drives I’ve been testing and launch FCP. Seems to run fine. Quit and attempt to remount all 7 drives. One won’t mount. This is new. Launched Disc Utility and it hung trying to find the drives. Forced Quit while it was still looking. Tried to restart the Mac, but it hung up on shutdown. Forced shutdown from power button, powered down drives.

Powered up. Launched FCP. Ran fine for a while then encountered occasional lags. Sometimes the problem drive from earlier flickers during these hang-ups and sometimes none of the drives do.([I realize, in the history of computing, ‘occasional hang ups’ would not be considered an issue, but on the original boot drive, the app either crashed or it didn’t; when it ran, it ran immediately.)

Had to go back to the other startup drive for something. Came back, relaunched FCP. Had a small sequence (2:44) in timeline, hit play, it hung up. First one drive flickered then several other drives in turn. Some of them had no media in this sequence. Eventually it settled down. Everything feels very unstable.

Ran Disk Utility and Disk Warrior. The iffy drive’s directory was only slightly off, less than 5%.

4/28, While reading an email, with nothing going on in the background, I got a SoftRAID read error. That drive holds only files for apps that weren’t running at the time. Since these drives are no longer RAIDed, I can isolate which drive is having problems. It’s ‘Media 1’ in Bay 2. I quit FCP and it crashes on shutdown. I’ve now got a great app called FCS Maintenance Pack (http://www.digitalrebellion.com/fcs_maintenance.htm), which includes a Crash Analyzer. It suggests this crash was caused by Qmaster.

4/30, Since the main issue now seems to be hang time. We decide to install a couple of eSATA cards. I plug four of the seven drives into eSATA ports and now have just 3 drives running each to their own firewire 800. Possibly a marginal improvement, but probably not.

5/3 We run some speed tests and the external drive that was acting up earlier is pretty slow. Turns out it was very fragmented. We defrag and things look better. Much better, in fact. For an entire day. It runs so well that I decide, on 5/4, to run Compressor on a ninety minute show to see if I’ve got an any performance improvements (I decided to not an entire Compressor/Qmaster conversation here). Compression was much faster. Then, not immediately, but shortly thereafter, I had a panic crash where the screen comes up in several languages telling you to shut down from the power button. I restarted the computer to make sure it would start up and then quit for the day.

5/6-7. Today, it was very difficult to get the computer to start. As best I can recall, it would stop halfway into the startup screen and I would have to power down at the CPU and start over. Eventually it got up and after trashing some preferences seemed to run OK. Today and tomorrow everything works perfectly. No drive issues, no lag, no SoftRAID error messages. My computer works exactly the way I would expect the biggest, baddest Mac on the market should. I take the weekend off.

Monday 5/10/10, Early in the day, I get this error message: “The device you removed was not properly put away. Data might have been lost or damaged. Before you unplug your device, you must first select its icon in the Finder and choose Eject from the File menu.”

I haven’t pulled anything, nor do I see any drives missing from the desktop. Something could have gone offline for an instant and then back on without me spotting it, but I can’t find any evidence. This has happened a few times over the past week or so (forgot to include above and I can’t say exactly when it started). At least once when this message came up it locked up Final Cut. Still, everything runs well today. Tomorrow I’ll only make modest use of the computer and not run FCP at all.

Wednesday, 5/12/10, FCP starts to hang up again. I run speed tests on the drives and one of them — not the one I recently defragged — just hangs during what should be a quick test. I eject and remount the drive and it gives me decent — not great — performance numbers. I go back to work. The rest of the day is rough with lots of lagging. Then, in the early evening, shortly after I’ve run Disk Warrior and Disk Utility, I’m playing a sequence and I hit the pause button and it doesn’t pause. Typically, in FCP, if it crashes, it crashes, everything stops. Not this time. I think my keyboard has become disconnected. I crawl under my desk and fiddle with the USB connector and when I come back up, my screens (I have two) were all messy, like acne, like snow, like nuclear rain. Scattered pixels over the app’s windows and over the desktop were screwy.

Eventually FCP crashed (Crash Analyzer just said it was caused by an unknown error) and I was able to regain control of the computer. I would like to quit for the evening and start drinking, but I’ve got to get out a DVD of my project. I eventually successfully export a QuickTime Reference file from Final Cut and then successfully compress it in Compressor. I then eject all the external drives. The QuickTime is on “Media 1,” which is one of the three internal 1-TB Samsung drives.

I start the build in DVD Studio Pro. It gets all the way to the end, hangs on 'Completed,' and then I get the "…device you removed was not properly put away…" message. Now I can't swear that one of the drive icons didn't blink off for a moment, but they were all there when I looked. But when I opened Media 1 all the folders in it appeared to be empty.

A restart brings all that info back. I check Console for the moment of the incident and, sure enough, it indicates “disk4: media is not present.” I think this is referring to “Media 1,” but I can’t find in Disk Utility or SoftRAID a reference to disk4 so I’m not sure.

5/13/10, I’m crashing all day long. Crash Analyzer, variously says the problems are caused by my graphics card, a corrupt project file, some inappropriate media in the project, corrupt audio files or a problematic QuickTime component. There were also some force-quits, which don’t generate a report. Now, I’m pretty impressed with this analytic software overall, but I think I’ve overwhelmed it. I don’t honestly think it’s a different one of these things each time I crash.

I run Apple Hardware Diagnostics from the install CD and it finds nothing wrong.

5/14/10, Today I start a crash journal. The remainder of this history is pasted from it.

I wish I had started this when the problems started. We now join our story already in progress.

5/14/10, 2:45 FC Drive
Pulled “Media 1,” which appeared to be the source of the SoftRAID errors, from computer then relaunched and started FCP. Played OK for a few minutes then started displaying pink or green frames. Then it hung for a while. I did other things for a few minutes. Returned and now it played, but with HUGE pixilation and loud audio static. Then hung up. I'm now hoping it will crash — which will generate a Crash Report in Crash Analyzer — instead of having to force quit — which won't generate a report.

3:05
Forced quit CompressorTranscoder and CompressorController from the Activity Monitor. No affect. Forced quit all Compressor and Qmaster related processes. No effect. Finally forced quit FCP.

3:09
Launched Disk Utility and as it displayed drives, I got the "…the device you removed was not properly put away" message. All drives appear on the desktop, but “Deception” (one of the external eSATA-connected drives) doesn't show in Disk Utility. Here are a few lines from the Console for that moment (bolding mine):

May 14 15:08:54 martin-nelsons-mac-pro Disk Utility[364]: Disk Utility started.
May 14 15:09:00 martin-nelsons-mac-pro kernel[0]: Failed to issue COM RESET successfully after 3 attempts. Failing...
May 14 15:09:00 martin-nelsons-mac-pro kernel[0]: IOBlockStorageDriver[IOBlockStorageDriver]; executeRequest: request failed to start!
May 14 15:09:00 martin-nelsons-mac-pro kernel[0]: IOBlockStorageDriver[IOdisBlk8s3:ock Stresourceor agshoeDriverrt];age ex.
May 14 15:09:00 martin-nelsons-mac-pro kernel[0]: ecuteRequest: request failed to start!
May 14 15:09:00 martin-nelsons-mac-pro mds[80]: (/Volumes/Deception/.Spotlight-V100/Store-V1/Stores/FEE1E744-878D-4219-9CEF-A037A6F8F98D)(Error) IndexCI in ci_ftruncate:ftruncate(53 /Volumes/Deception/.Spotlight-V100/Store-V1/Stores/FEE1E744-878D-4219-9CEF-A037A6F8F98D/live.2.indexPostings, 4096) error:22

And then farther down:

May 14 15:09:00 martin-nelsons-mac-pro kernel[0]:disk8s: media is not present.
May 14 15:09:00 martin-nelsons-mac-pro kernel[0]:
May 14 15:09:00: --- last message repeated 1 time ---

Etc.

When I clicked on “Deception” in a Finder window, Finder quit responding. Quit all open apps and tried to do a force relaunch of Finder. Desktop cleared and then everything hung there. Chose Shut Down from the Apple pulldown menu. Menu went away leaving only the desktop image with no icons on it, but it didn't shut down. Forced shutdown from the CPU 3:31

Powered off all external drives. Restarted. Accidentally in other startup disc. Restart again on FC drive. Can't find any reference in SoftRAID, Disk Utility or System Profiler to disk8s3 (from Console text above). Mounted Deception and still couldn't find a reference. 3:59

4:03, Decided to verify “Deception” using Disk Utility. It's predicting it will take 28 minutes. Should take about 20 seconds. I verified all drives including this one yesterday and found no problems. Also ran Disk Warrior and found it less than 10% (maybe much less; don't remember) out of order.

Meanwhile, Disk Utility seems to have stopped progressing. Activity Monitor doesn't suggest it's hanging up, but there's no movement in Real or Virtual Memory usage and in Disk Utility nothing happening in the progress bar. I stopped verify and started it again. It makes a quick run to Checking volume bitmap and then again says Estimated time: 28 minutes. That's just crazy. 4:14, I'm gonna ignore it for a while and see if there's any progress. 4:22, Finished running finally. “Deception appears to be OK.”

Launch Disk Warrior. Deception is 8% out of order. Try to rebuild, but am told it's in use. Quit all apps including DW. Restart DW. Deception is sill supposedly in use. Restart computer. This takes forever. Launch DW and attempt to rebuild Deception's directory. I get a disk malfunction error and am told to backup my data from the preview disk

I've got a spare drive. Guess I'll start copying.

4:54 Started copying 931 GB

This ends up taking a couple of days, which gives me time to write this novel.

5/16, After copying. My tech guy wants me to run TechTools v3.1.3. It hangs up trying to find volumes. I have to force quit. I then try to shut down, but ultimately have to do it from the CPU. I power off all external drives and restart. It won’t restart. I power down from the CPU and start again. This time after 10 minutes or so it starts. I think it might be a good idea to restart. It shuts down, but won’t restart. I launch from my other startup disk. This works fine. I run Disk Utility and Disk Warrior on the “Final Cut” startup disk. It finds no problems and only minor directory issues. I rebuild the directory anyway.

I restart in “Final Cut” drive and rebuild its permissions. Launch TechTools and it scans volumes quickly. It’s now running. It’s now done. It finds nothing.

More general notes:

The system log has hundreds of pages of this error:

May 13 16:55:23 martin-nelsons-mac-pro [0x0-0x105105].com.apple.FinalCutPro[1676]: Final Cut Pro(1676,0xa02aa720) malloc: *** mmap(size=268439552) failed (error code=12)
May 13 16:55:23 martin-nelsons-mac-pro [0x0-0x105105].com.apple.FinalCutPro[1676]: *** error: can't allocate region
May 13 16:55:23 martin-nelsons-mac-pro [0x0-0x105105].com.apple.FinalCutPro[1676]: *** set a breakpoint in malloc_error_break to debug
May 13 16:55:23 martin-nelsons-mac-pro [0x0-0x105105].com.apple.FinalCutPro[1676]: Final Cut Pro(1676,0xa02aa720) malloc: *** mmap(size=268439552) failed (error code=12)
May 13 16:55:23 martin-nelsons-mac-pro [0x0-0x105105].com.apple.FinalCutPro[1676]: *** error: can't allocate region

There were major crashes at various points when all of the firewire drives were offline and other times when they were online and two of the three extra internal drives were offline. The “Final Cut” drive, which is one of the internal, aftermarket 1TB drives and is serving as the startup drive when working in Final Cut Pro, was, of course, online.

There have been numerous times in the last few weeks when I have not been able to successfully turn on the computer on the first try —it gets partway launched then hangs, forcing me to hit the power button— or turn off the computer without resorting to hitting the power button on the CPU.

Possible fixes:
We’ve removed the one drive flagged by Softraid for errors, Media 1. And I’m replacing the second drive that appears damaged, Deception. Can the problem be further disk errors or driver conflicts? Most of my external drives are Lacie 1TB disks, formatted with the Lacie utility in Mac OS Extended format with the Apple Partition Map. The two remaining internal Samsung drives are formatted with SoftRAID as single disks, in Mac OS Extended format with GUID partition scheme and block sizes optimized for digital video. Memory was tested with “memtest.”

Could it be bad RAM? We have the stock 6GB that came with the system. Could replacing it with 16GB of new RAM possibly fix it?

Is it a bad video card, processor, or motherboard problem? The pervasiveness of the problem makes me think it is a hardware issue, not software.

I’d like to test the drives with a second Mac Pro, but I have none available.

Would downgrading Final Cut Studio and removing one of the Pro Applications Updates possibly help?

Well, I'm exhausted. I wonder if anyone made it to the end. If you have any ideas I would be eternally grateful. I'm tapped.

Martin


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Michael Cheung
Re: Mac Pro Possessed
on May 17, 2010 at 8:48:33 am

Taking a look at those logs I would say ram problem. A lot of malloc (memory allocation) calls failing. Can you test them?

Michael Cheung

Editor/Assistant Editor/DIT

http://www.filmcutter.co.uk


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Peter Wiggins
Re: Mac Pro Possessed
on May 17, 2010 at 11:46:48 am

Well I did make it to the end, but speed read through it so sorry if i have missed something.

A few points

1) Having many disks hanging off your computer is not the best working practice.

2) Why did you use Softraid? You can make a RAID0 out of 3 drives in your Mac without extra software.

3) My advice, pull all disks out, put a fresh drive into the MacPro, do a new install of the OS, do all the updates then install FCP and do all of the updates. Add another disk, format it as unjournaled and make this your capture scratch disk. Does FCP run OK now?

If it does, add more hardware bit by bit until you hit a problem.

Peter




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Martin Nelson
Re: Mac Pro Possessed
on May 17, 2010 at 1:34:57 pm

"1) Having many disks hanging off your computer is not the best working practice."

OK, but how do I handle nearly 7 TB of media internally? And keep in mind, none of them are daisy-chained.
"2) Why did you use Softraid?"

Have to talk to my tech and get back to you on that.
"You can make a RAID0 out of 3 drives in your Mac without extra software."

A couple of the drives are formatted using SoftRAID, but nothing is currently RAIDed (is that a verb?)
"3) My advice, pull all disks out, put a fresh drive into the MacPro, do a new install of the OS, do all the updates then install FCP and do all of the updates. Add another disk, format it as unjournaled and make this your capture scratch disk. Does FCP run OK now?

If it does, add more hardware bit by bit until you hit a problem."

We may do just that, Peter, but this is in fact all a fresh install. I'm just trying to find a way to get this job back up as quickly as possible. And I'm prepared to spend money; I'm just tired of buying things conjecturally.


Martin

2 x 2.26 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
6 GB RAM
OS 10.5.8
FCP 7.0.2
Quicktime 7.6.6
Avid Media Composer 4.0.2.20


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Martin Nelson
Re: Mac Pro Possessed
on May 17, 2010 at 1:13:09 pm

"Taking a look at those logs I would say ram problem. A lot of malloc (memory allocation) calls failing. Can you test them? "

We did run Memtest. Everything came up solid. Any reason to think we need further testing? What would you use?

Martin

2 x 2.26 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
6 GB RAM
OS 10.5.8
FCP 7.0.1
Color 1.5.1
Quicktime 7.6.4
Avid Media Composer 4.0.2.20


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Michael Cheung
Re: Mac Pro Possessed
on May 17, 2010 at 1:39:49 pm

I would test in another system, but if it came up good in memtest there's no reason to think otherwise.

I've just taken a more in depth read of your situation. I'd say that you should do a rebuild as Peter suggested. I wouldn't use softraid, again, as Peter Suggested. However I would opt for creating a Raid 5 system rather than 0 though - it sounds like you have a pretty decent system, why not go the extra mile and get redundancy.

I've had similar crashes with certain external hard drive arrays connected when they've been sitting idle for a long time. I think sometimes they have problems coming out of sleep mode.





Michael Cheung

Editor/Assistant Editor/DIT

http://www.filmcutter.co.uk


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Steve Eisen
Re: Mac Pro Possessed
on May 17, 2010 at 12:59:44 pm

[Martin Nelson] "I've posted this on the Apple forum as well, but, as you'll see if you can bear to read this whole thing, I am desperate"

I don't have time to read your post. Take it to an Apple store or call their support.


Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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adam taylor
Re: Mac Pro Possessed
on May 17, 2010 at 2:01:59 pm

i too had many months of problems with what i thought to be a fresh install. Although not similar to your problems, the cure was a brand new internal system drive, not a reformatted one. Complete reinstall of everything and problem was solved.

Follows Peters advice !

Adam Taylor
Video Editor/Audio Mixer/ Compositor/Motion GFX/Barista
Character Options Ltd
Oldham, UK

http://www.sculptedbliss.co.uk


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Martin Nelson
Re: Mac Pro Possessed
on May 17, 2010 at 2:20:10 pm

"…the cure was a brand new internal system drive, not a reformatted one. Complete reinstall of everything and problem was solved."

But, Adam, as of mid April, this was essentially a brand new internal system drive. We took one o my three internal Samsung 1TB drives (new in October) reformatted it and created a separate system system drive just for FCP. Fresh install of everything on it. I have the original system drive for my day-to-day use with the bulk of my other apps.

Martin

2 x 2.26 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
6 GB RAM
OS 10.5.8
FCP 7.0.2
Quicktime 7.6.6
Avid Media Composer 4.0.2.20


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adam taylor
Re: Mac Pro Possessed
on May 17, 2010 at 2:28:02 pm

you are doing exactly what i did - reformatting an existing drive and believing it to be new because of it...ITS NOT!!

There are more things in a drive that can cause problems than just the format alone.

It took me six months of replacing almost every component, swearing blind it could not be the drive until we ran out of things to try, so in went a BRAND NEW drive and the myriad of problems we had been having simply vanished.

Its now working so well, that the machine in question has been running my file backup system for the past two years flawlessly!

Adam Taylor
Video Editor/Audio Mixer/ Compositor/Motion GFX/Barista
Character Options Ltd
Oldham, UK

http://www.sculptedbliss.co.uk


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Mike Kahn
Re: Mac Pro Possessed
on May 17, 2010 at 2:21:56 pm

I agree with everyone above about using the Disk Utility raid service. I have done it on many computers and have had no issues. You continue to get the RAID errors and this would be a good way to see if the software raid is the problem.

Reading your post, I kept thinking to myself it sounds like an issue with your external drives. Have you checked that your preference is to keep drives from going to sleep? This could cause major issues with hangups. If a drive is not being used even though it's open in the project, it may go to sleep while you are using media from a different drive and then you try to access media from the sleeping drive.

What brand of drives are you using as externals? I have had bad experiences with lesser brands not ideally made for video.

Are all these drives Mac OS X (no journaling) formatted?

Another thing that may help is to restrict these drives from the spotlight. This is done in system preferences/spotlight/privacy.

I would also suggest doing a clean install of the OS, update everything, run a permission repair, then install FCS, install updates, permission repair.

Have you tried loading in Safe Mode? There may be a driver that you have installed thats hanging your system.

Just some initial quick thoughts. Hope something helps. I know how frustrating a buggy computer can be.


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Martin Nelson
Re: Mac Pro Possessed Furthermore
on May 17, 2010 at 4:38:03 pm

I successfully ran FCP this morning with all the external drives (that is, all media) offline. I played a long sequence, I jumped around, I basically did the sort of things that would cause it to wig out if the media were online. No problem. I then mounted the two most recent, most important, drives —Let's call them Ted and Quentin— and figured, before launching FCP again, I'd run Disk Utility on them. I noticed something interesting, but possibly not relevant.

When Quentin is mounted, it shows up as it should in the left column of Disc Utility. But also showing up in that left column is the following:
931.5 GB LaCie d2Next-Quadra Media
disk5s2
disk5s3
disk5s4

These disks are all grayed out and if I attempt to mount them, I get a could not be mounted error. These phantom disks are in some way associated with Quentin as they don't come up if I only mount Ted.

Is this at all relevant? I have no idea. But having opened my Pandora's box on you generous few, I fear closing it and sealing in hope.

Geez, that was vague and flowery. Maybe I need some sleep.

Martin

2 x 2.26 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
6 GB RAM
OS 10.5.8
FCP 7.0.2
Quicktime 7.6.6
Avid Media Composer 4.0.2.20


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Paul Dickin
Re: Mac Pro Possessed Furthermore
on May 17, 2010 at 5:16:22 pm

Hi
That's how a three-disk raid-set might show up....
You would need to create a new single Partition to get rid of all the junk - an Erase isn't enough.



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Martin Nelson
Re: Mac Pro Possessed Furthermore
on May 17, 2010 at 5:18:55 pm

"That's how a three-disk raid-set might show up....
You would need to create a new single Partition to get rid of all the junk - an Erase isn't enough."

Thanks, Paul. You have any reason to think that would be creating any problems?

Martin

2 x 2.26 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
6 GB RAM
OS 10.5.8
FCP 7.0.2
Quicktime 7.6.6
Avid Media Composer 4.0.2.20


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Paul Dickin
Re: Mac Pro Possessed Furthermore
on May 17, 2010 at 5:22:41 pm

Hi
In my experience FCP beachballing is always a disk-access problem...



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Steve Gustafson
Re: Mac Pro Possessed Furthermore
on May 17, 2010 at 6:04:25 pm

Steve here. I'm Martin's tech support guy. Thanks for all the replies. We both want to get this system fixed and out the door.

I think that removing the Lacie externals and using all-new internal drives might be the way to go. I've seen the Lacie power supply failure a bunch of times, but couldn't find a problem drive when I looked at the system a couple weeks ago.

The reason we used SoftRAID was to slice the 3 disk RAID into six partitions - Avid Media Composer still requires small, non-TB partitions. I couldn't find a way to split the RAID using Apple's Disk Utility.

Even though the RAM passed memtest and Apple Hardware Test, I'm tempted to replace it too with a new 12GB kit.

What about the video card? Any chance it's a video card failure, or a motherboard problem?







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B.J. Ahlen
Re: Mac Pro Possessed Furthermore
on May 18, 2010 at 10:53:13 pm

[Steve Gustafson] "I think that removing the Lacie externals and using all-new internal drives might be the way to go. I've seen the Lacie power supply failure a bunch of times, but couldn't find a problem drive when I looked at the system a couple weeks ago.
"


The error messages indicate a problem with the FW external drives. The setup is begging for trouble.

LaCie has been committing suicide the last few years, they used to be good but seem to have lost their way.

No matter what video format you're editing, just put an eSATA card in the Mac Pro and get a proper drive box such as what's advertised in the margins here.

My personal favorite is FirmTek with drives I buy myself. For the moment I favor WD drives from Newegg (after Seagate lost control of their Chinese factory QA last fall), but Hitachi are also good.

See for example http://www.firmtek.com/seritek/seritek-5pm/ for a 5-bay enclosure that is rock solid.

It's about $540 naked (with no drives and no eSATA card). Add a hardware RAID card and five 2TB drives in RAID 5 to get about 7.5 TB net net usable disk space with reasonable (but not absolute!) protection against one drive failure, and good performance.

Your existing media drives are probably fine, it's just the clunky FW connection that is making trouble.

I don't think you'll gain anything by switching to a 12 GB RAM kit, other than if you use After Effects in which case that is just short of a must-do. Go to OWC to get top Apple-spec RAM for a fraction of the "FOB Cupertino" price.


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Philippe Perrot
Re: Mac Pro Possessed Furthermore
on May 18, 2010 at 11:35:54 pm

I agree with Mr Ahlen, LaCie drives daisy chained (or not) is a real source of unstability because LaCie uses some special drive firmware or drivers.
I've recently installed on a 2x2.26 macpro 4 samsung internal drives formatted in Raid 0 with apple raid card, but without card it's running fine in 2 other mac pro I've installed before and formatted with apple disk utility.
You tried to use your external drives plugged with sata, but if they still are in their LaCie enclosure, thats a good reason of non-working.
Why don't you use as external drives some products Sonnet-like, sata or sas enclosures ? It's fast and pretty stable....
Good luck


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Martin Nelson
Re: Mac Pro Possessed Furthermore
on May 19, 2010 at 2:57:00 am

Thanks B.J. and Philippe,

Tomorrow we're stuffing my CPU like a Thanksgiving turkey. We're putting four Hitachi 2TB drives inside and moving the original internal drive to the hidden slot under the optical drive. I know we can't RAID them internally, but I have a full set of backup drives and once I've copied all the LaCies, they'll be a second set of backups. When the project is over, my producer can buy an enclosure for those drives and RAID them for her next project.

Just for overkill, we're also upping my RAM to 12GB (from OWC, as are the drives) and installing the ATI Radeon HD 4870 Graphics card. We're hitting this from every possible direction; I've got to get back up and running.

Martin

2 x 2.26 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
6 GB RAM
OS 10.5.8
FCP 7.0.2
Quicktime 7.6.6
Avid Media Composer 4.0.2.20


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Mac Pro Possessed Furthermore
on May 19, 2010 at 5:47:46 am

[Martin Nelson] " I know we can't RAID them internally"

Why the heck can't you Martin?

Are you thinking that Just because your backups are not identical in size that that would keep you from striping the internals as RAID 0?

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™

EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards

A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Martin Nelson
Re: Mac Pro Possessed Furthermore
on May 19, 2010 at 12:37:25 pm

Ah, my bad, David. I've had at least as much conversation on this problem offline as I have on; I forget which discussions have taken place where. Ideally, I'd like to do a RAID 5 so I get nearly as much space as I need, but still get redundancy.

What I should have written was, "I know I can't do a RAID 5 internally." We may well do a RAID 0.

Martin

2 x 2.26 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
6 GB RAM
OS 10.5.8
FCP 7.0.2
Quicktime 7.6.6
Avid Media Composer 4.0.2.20


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Michael Cheung
Re: Mac Pro Possessed Furthermore
on May 19, 2010 at 12:41:27 pm

Get a Raid card and you can. If you're getting 4 new 2TB drives - you may as well!

Michael Cheung

Editor/Assistant Editor/DIT

http://www.filmcutter.co.uk


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Philippe Perrot
Re: Mac Pro Possessed Furthermore
on May 19, 2010 at 8:05:07 am

You can't raid internaly because of Avid ?
A raid 0 with the four 2tB could reach 400-500MB in read write and accelerate renders, but it's only a scratch volume without securing datas


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Martin Nelson
Mac Pro Possessed III: The Bowels of Hell
on May 21, 2010 at 1:50:16 pm

Yesterday we pulled my 3 Samsung 1TB drives and replaced them with 4 2TB Hitachi 7200rpm 32MB SATA II Deskstar drives. There's no RAID, but each drive is partitioned in two. One partition is formatted to be my FCP startup drive and FCP is freshly installed on it. All updates are run. We also pulled the RAM and put in 6 x 2GB of OWC RAM. We then copied six of the seven external drives over to the internal, renaming everything so the internal drives now are named what the external used to be.

Before copying the seventh drive, I figured it was time to run some tests. All external drives are disconnected from the computer. I launch, I play the sequence where it lays. The clip plays, but throws up pink frames and green frames and then quickly crashes. Crash Analyzer (http://www.digitalrebellion.com/fcs_maintenance.htm) says "corrupt media," but Corrupt Clip Finder (same link) finds none.

I run Disk Warrior — directories are pretty messy, but clean up nice. I run Disk Utility and everything appears to be fine except for the partition that is the other half of the startup drive. Steve, my tech thinks that the external hard drive that was the source for this media had a problem copying and I should erase this partition and copy again. I'll do this eventually, but for the time being I take this one offline.

I launch FCP again. It plays briefly then crashes. Crash Analyzer says "Graphics Card / Driver Issue," says "A common cause of issues is running Final Cut Studio on an underpowered graphics card."

Well, I've got the Radeon HD 4870 sitting here in a box. I hook 'er up, run software updates just to be sure, launch FCP and stand back. It loads the project (this takes about 10 minutes because of the size) and then announces at 100% of the load, "This project is unreadable or may be too new for this version of Final Cut." This project crashed yesterday, but it did first launch. I start digging through the Autosave Vault to find a project file that'll launch, but they all give me this.

So I quit, take all media and render files offline and launch again. I scroll around a little, play various parts of my long, entirely offline sequence and then, after 30 seconds or so, it crashes. Crash Analyzer says "This crash was caused by corrupt media or media that is unsupported by Final Cut Pro." Again, there is no media online.

I want my mommy.


Martin

2 x 2.26 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
6 GB RAM
OS 10.5.8
FCP 7.0.2
Quicktime 7.6.6
Avid Media Composer 4.0.2.20


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David Roth Weiss
The definition of insanity
on May 21, 2010 at 5:48:14 pm

Martin,

I hate to say it, but you're continually doing many of the same things and expecting a different result. That's the definition of insanity...

First, as any competent person who configures NLEs will tell you, you need a much more systematic approach to the endeavor.

1) You start with the system drive, you install the OS first. Update until it tells you that your OS is up to date. Now test and make certain that the most basic setup and components work as expected. If all is good then proceed.

2) Install you new RAM. Now test and make sure all works again that the RAM is all recognized. If it does then proceed.

3) Put the other drives in, one at a time since you're not raiding them, and test them one at a time.

Forget all the partitions and crap, that's just a whole lot unnecessary doodoo. If your system drive is too big, just get a smaller one.

Quit over-thinking, and stop trying to reinvent the wheel. Simple is better, complicated is bad.



David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™

EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards

A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Michael Cheung
Re: The definition of insanity
on May 21, 2010 at 5:50:55 pm

Agreed.

Keep it simple.

Michael Cheung

Editor/Assistant Editor/DIT

http://www.filmcutter.co.uk


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