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SSD or RAID for Capture Scratch/ Render Files/ Etc.?

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Chris Dolan
SSD or RAID for Capture Scratch/ Render Files/ Etc.?
on Nov 15, 2012 at 11:08:40 am

So I searched this forum and the 'Basics' forum and found there are a few discussions on the topic but they're either old or not really what I'm looking for. My workstation is a 2009 2.26GHz Mac Pro 8 core with 8GB RAM running Snow Leopard.

I recently had some down time and it's a good thing because one of my backup drives died, which served as a catalyst for upgrading/ reorganizing file storage. Short story; I installed a 256GB SSD for my Boot drive & applications/ essential stuff/ music files/ etc., then set up two internal 640GB WD Black drives in RAID0 configuration and added a 1TB internal drive next to an older 750GB internal drive. Those last two will be used for non-current project file storage and backup.

My question relates to scratch and render file locations. I want to utilize the SSD for its read/write speed but it's not THAT big, and there's only about 100GB left. That space will fill up fast with scratch and render files so I'm wondering if the RAID array is fast enough to be both the storage location for raw footage (HD) and the scratch/ render files for current projects. The read/write speed of the SSD is around 240-250MB/s but the RAID setup is only about 180-190MB/s. (Tested with BMD's Disk Speed app.)

Is this fast enough to allow everything to be stored on the RAID array (raw footage, scratch and preview files,) or should I keep render and/or scratch files on the SSD? The latter would necessitate moving project files off the SSD at the end of the project because, as I noted, even 100GB of space will fill up fast. I've been reading up on hard drive speeds vs. encoding/transcoding speeds and what I've found suggests the hard drives are much faster in read/write speeds than the CPU can import/export the data. The source footage is usually only XDCAM EX 1920x1080 25p...nothing crazy like 4k.

Thoughts? What setup works best for you? Some examples and supporting data would be great to see.

Chris Dolan


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Steve Eisen
Re: SSD or RAID for Capture Scratch/ Render Files/ Etc.?
on Nov 15, 2012 at 2:08:22 pm

Your raid is plenty fast for your workflow. No need to use SSD for scratch drive.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Creative Pro Users Group


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