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Ideal HDD Setup ?

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Andy Joseph
Ideal HDD Setup ?
on May 1, 2010 at 9:26:21 am

Hi Guys,

I'm a motion graphics designer, mainly working in Adobe After Effects CS3. For long i'm wondering as in what should be the Ideal HDD (Hard Drive Disk)setup for designers like us.

How many HDD should be there in worksation & for what purpose. ?

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Andy Joseph
Re: Ideal HDD Setup ?
on May 1, 2010 at 1:02:18 pm

Sorry for typing mistake. HDD - HARD DISK DRIVE

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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Ideal HDD Setup ?
on May 1, 2010 at 6:26:14 pm

Hi Andy -

While I'm by no means an expert, here's what I've gleaned in my research (mostly on the COW), and how I've set my machine up. I'm running CS4 Production Suite on a Dual Quad machine with Vista 64-bit, and I have four internal drives:

My C: drive is a 500GB SATA drive reserved just for the OS (I know it's overkill). My D: drive is a 500GB SATA drive (all are 7200rpm) and is reserved just for APPS. My E: and F: drives are my media drives, and both are separate drives (no RAID) used for project media. I'm doing 3D (Max 2010), graphic design, motion graphics, and editing on this setup, and have had luck so far with HD (1920 x 1080) projects shot with a P2 camera. It's not all realtime in Premiere, but close enough for me. Renders are almost realtime in Premiere, so I can't complain - the longest projects I've done so far are about 3 to 4 minutes long (I consider this shortform), with some footage and lots of Camtasia 6 screen captures (at 1920 x 1080). At some point in the future I plan on adding a RAID array to my E-SATA connector on the machine, and possibly a tape backup drive as projects get larger and more frequent.

I'm extremely pleased with the setup, and, as I said, most of the info that guided me to the choice was gotten here. Good luck!

Joe Bourke
Creative Director / Multimedia Specialist
B&S Exhibits and Multimedia

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Andy Joseph
Re: Ideal HDD Setup ?
on May 2, 2010 at 6:43:42 am

Hey Joseph,

Thanks for your input. I've heard that you must have at least 3 Drives (Not talking about raid here as SSDs are quite fast now), which you already have - good. So far i've got 2 Drives:

- Intel X25-E Extreme SSD
- Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM 500GB

I'm wondering which next HDD should i buy:
- SSD, WD VeolciRaptor 10000RPM or Barracuda 7200RPM ?

And after getting them, how to setup all these three drives. I mean which one for OS, scratch disk, application, projects & source files ?


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Jon Bagge
Re: Ideal HDD Setup ?
on May 2, 2010 at 12:50:00 pm

How many drives you have will depend a lot on what you're trying to achieve as well as how much money you're willing to spend.

Your basic setup is 2 drives; one for system/applications and one for projects/data. Having applications on a seperate drive is unlikely to give much benefit IMHO. But a render drive and/or scratch drive will give a slight benefit.

If you're working with video media you might look into having some media drives striped together. With HD this is pretty much a requirement. A simple setup for video could be 1 drive for system/apps, and 2 drives striped together for media/projects. Or a 4 drive system: 1 for system/apps, 1 for projects/non-video graphics, and 2 striped for video.

If you want to spend the cash you can have the system drive as an SSD, but keep the media drives as normal drives.

Before you go venturing off with lots of drives though, give a moment to consider your backup options. You really should have some good recovery options if you get unlucky with a drive.
There are lots of options here, you could have another drive in your machine for backups, or perhaps an external drive.
But you should backup your system/apps partition in a way that makes it possible to recover a bootable system quickly. And your project drive needs good backup too.
Video media that you can reconform from tape or other sources are less important if you have the originals available.

Personally I have a 3 internal drive setup: 1 for system/apps, 1 for projects/data and one for render/scratch/temporary stuff. Then I have an external drive that completely backs up the system and the project drives on a regular basis.
I then also use external drives for video.

Hope this is of help to you.

Jon Bagge
Editor - London, UK
Avid - FCP - After Effects

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Andy Joseph
Re: Ideal HDD Setup ?
on May 3, 2010 at 9:24:24 am

Thanks Joe. This is indeed helpful.

Ok now for backup I have 2 External Drives (2.75 TB) so no issues with that.

Joe, will there be a noticeable boost if i use HI-Speed drives such as SSD's or VelociRaptor 10000 for Scratch Disk AND/OR Project Disks too. ?


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