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COW Forums : Media 100 844/X

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on Jan 31, 2007 at 5:46:26 am

I'm an old Media 100 dealer and have 2 844/x systems I'm getting ready to sell. One w/ and one without XBlur. Both have been sitting in xw8000's.

Dusted em off of em this week. One was our demo and one I bought from a bank (that foreclosed on a dealer when they went out of business), I decided to do some testing.

Remember, this is testing, not don't get too excited yet.

I installed the XBlur hardware on a cobbled together HP XW9300 workstation that I have put 2 Opteron Dual Core processors in. 2- Opteron 280's @ 2.4ghz each. Watching the windows performance task manager, all 4 cores are running, but they aren't doing much when 844/x running and next to nothing on playback.

844/x does most of it's processing on the cards so there is no magnificent increase in performance and consequently not much load on the CPU's.

I'm using an adaptec ul3920 dual port scsi card, but throttled back to 160. This is because on my test system, I'm running two Raid INC 8 bay ide to SCSI hot swap cases (ul 160), and have five 400 GB Seagate 7200 rpm ide drives in each cabinet (leaving 3 slots empty in each cabinet). Getting about 260mb/sec on ATTO tests. The drives are running almost empty as I have less than 200 gigs on the 3 Terrabytes of storage.

I'm running each cabinet as a hardware raid 5 and then striping across both with raid 0 from within windows. This using 1 scsi address on each port. I'd like to run it with 8 drives each or upgrade to a ul320 sata system, but don't have that equipment here and no plans to purchase soon.

Now here's what's interesting. I have been simultaneously running the 844/x hardware with multiple tracks with matts on many of the tracks to stress it out a little. and..........

At the same time, I'm running Vegas Video in STD def and HighDef. Loading the 844/x QT 8 bit files into Vegas, editing and playing back multiple tracts without much strain. Mixing with DV and other file formats. When rendering back to the 844/x software codec, the 4 processors are cranking at about 75%-80%. Renders are real fast. Threw some filters on and because the 844/x QT's are uncompressed, Vegas screams through them whereas std qt files slow the system down as the compression is tough and it isn't multi threaded under windows.

I'm sending and using files back and forth with ease to both programs.

While rendering from Vegas, I'm able to edit in 844/x and playback in real time. Dangerous, but I'm doing it.

Vegas has been rendering back to the same 844/x video array that 844/x qt uses. Some HDV files and DV files were being pulled from a network via gb enet.

Not recommended, but it's how I'm testing. I wouldn't do it while outputting to decks without a lot more testing, but I'm thinking with more drives it might work as the opterons are real good at sharing the load. (like maybe another array running off the LSI 2 internal SCSI ports, it just might work or with 1 array made up of 2- ul320 sata arrays to scsi or regular scsi arrays).

I brought in some HDV files to Vegas and set the project up as std def. Was able to pan and scan the hd video files without losing resolution or quality as long as the window stayed about a 2x zoom or less. Rendered them out and imported back into 844/x and they looked good. 8 bit good.

For those of you who haven't used Vegas Video, it is a very strong editing package, but not considered by some to be professional, which is BS. It's only 8 bit for you purists and isn't as stong on outputting to decks as some, but it does everything you need in an editor and so much more and faster than most of what's out there.

It has many audio and other tools within the program or as plug ins. Many are freely distributed by the end users and some are sold. Many users script there own.

It's very strong for using different digital file formats and resolutions in one time line and has nested timelines. I always use my full resolution files from my digital camera and then I can crop, pan, zoom etc to my hearts content. This program is very fast with multiple photos. I did a 15 minute video for my son which was 50/50 on stills and std def video 2 years ago. Took about 30 minutes to convert that to 1920 x 1080 high def and then rendered it out. Vegas renders to many many codecs....

I think I now have a machine that maybe can keep the 8444/x happy for the next few years. The 844/x captured files are usable on both the 844/x software and Vegas (as well as AE Boris etc). I can even render out the full Vegas file to 844/x qt and output via sdi or component to decks.

You can now have another software tool for compositing and editing utilizing almost any file format. Vegas works in HDV, HD, and std def and 844/x works in std def. Mix and match to your hearts content. Maybe some possibilities here. It also network renders for no extra cost.

There's 2 firewire ports on the HW9300, so you can capture the HDVor std def from firewire. I can either edit the HDV M2t files or convert them to almost anything I want for editing or finishing. Oh yea, 24, 25, 29.97,30 frames etc, progressive or interlaced. Lots of choices. Cineframe will capture in realtime and convert in faster than realtime if you want to go out of the M2t file format or you can use vegas to output to different formats. Between the 2, there isn't much you can't do.

For more info on Vegas, try the Vegas forums on the cow or at:

I have 1 more day of testing and then will be taking this to a clients for a demo on Thursday. Tomorrow I'll hook up the output box and see what I get out of Vegas with that.

I'm just throwing this out in case anyone wants a little hope that they can keep on plugging away with their system for a few more years and maybe have a way to add to it. The old M100 hardware lasted 10 years and I'm guessing the 844/x still has some legs left.

My results are just from 2 days of goofing around and I can't guarantee all this, but so far, it seems to be working. I have a few hiccups, but am constantly testing and making changes.

This morning, I rebuilt the machine from scratch and only put vegas and 844/x on it to keep it lean. Just one stoppage on the drives today. Cautiously optimistic. Blown away when Vegas rendered at 75% on 4 cores and edited in 844/x at same time....

A few times in the past, the drives would run slow, about 25% of speed. I would then have to reboot the computer to get the drives back up to full speed. Don't now what's going on there. Hasn't happened since I rebuilt today, so am keeping my fingers crossed. Only sold 844/x's with 10 drive scsi systems before, so this drive set up is new for me. Got the Raid inc from the bank system.

That's it for now. Kind of busy for the next 6 weeks, so can't keep on playing, but thought some of you might find this interesting.

Sorry for any typos, it late and I'm tired.

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Robert Griffiths
Re: Hope
on Feb 4, 2007 at 3:41:44 pm

While most of this is over my head, please keep us informed. I would love to extend the life of my 844/x. Maybe you have a smal cottage industry blooming here rebuilding and extending the beast we all love to hate. ;-) People ship you boards, you re-build on a new machine, you ship back... hmmm...

G r i f f
R o b e r t G r i f f i t h s , D i r e c t o r
F i r e D a n c e r P r o d u c t i o n s , I n c.
C a r b o n d a l e * C o l o r a d o * U S A

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Re: Hope
on Feb 10, 2007 at 3:18:56 am

Have run some more tests. Seems to run pretty solid. I'd could edit with it.

I've looped play back up to 3 hours, but not all the time. I'm thinking it has more to do with my drive array. Using an unfamiliar and untested system. 10 ide drives in a 2 ul160 cabinets. with 5 drive raid 5's on each and then a strip 0 across them.

Switched to each cabinet as a 5 drive raid 0 then striped across those two as raid 0. Overall speeds in atto speed test were the same 254MB/s.

This setup seems to run the playback loops longer. 4 realtime layers, 2 with moving alpha channels.

Able to keep both Vegas Video editor and 844/x open at same time.

Only thing I haven't tested is capturing. Shouldn't be an issue as capture uses less speed than playback as it's only 1 stream to capture. Probably won't have time to test that for about 5 weeks. Busy and traveling.

Got some extra gear and 2 - 844/x's if anyone is interested with HP XW8000's or this HP XW9300 (2 dual core opterons).

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