Best RAID for video scratch disk

Peel

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 30, 2004
575
84
Seattle
I plan to increase my external/scratch disk storage, and am looking at going with a hardware RAID. I currently have a single 500GB drive for my scratch disk, but find that I keep hitting the limit on that when I have more than one project going at a time. Fry's currently has Maxtor 500GBPATA and Seagate 500GB SATA drives for $109 each, so I figurred I'd pick up 2 or three.

My question is, would I be better off going with a 2 drive RAID 0, or a 3 drive RAID 5? Both will give me 1TB available storage, but the RAID 5 has parity (redundancy) where as the RAID 0 does not. But I hear that the RAID 0 offers better performance, because it doesn't have to write the parity bits on each record operation. I don't know what the real world performance difference between the two is though, and if it's below the threshold of FW800, I guess it would be moot.

So just looking for comments from those of you that have hardware RAID storage systems, what your thoughts/preferences are.
 

bigbossbmb

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2004
1,759
0
Pasadena/Hollywood
What kind of video are you working with?

RAID0 will have better performance and is the RAID of choice IF you have a good backup system (This depends on the type of video you are working with).
 

Peel

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 30, 2004
575
84
Seattle
What kind of video are you working with?

RAID0 will have better performance and is the RAID of choice IF you have a good backup system (This depends on the type of video you are working with).
It's all DV, so the original tapoes are my backup (though may be adding HD in the near future), and am editing using the FCS2 suite. I should mention that I will keep my current 500GB FW400 drive, and place all my non-video collateral on this, as it's backed up nightly. I plan to use the RAID for just video.

As it all comes off of tapes, I'm not completely concerned about loosing data, as I can always recapture. But was thinking that with the time expense of recapturing/re-rendering (and possibly re-transcoding once I start using HD), it might be worth it to go with the redundancy of RAID5. But would do this only if the performance hit is negligable.
 

Aea

macrumors 6502a
May 23, 2007
837
208
Denver, Colorado
Raid5 will be slower then Raid0, of course you could always go with Raid 0+1, you will need 4 HDs, but then you've got both speed and redundancy.
 

bigbossbmb

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2004
1,759
0
Pasadena/Hollywood
With DV, you definitely don't need RAID. FW has plenty of bandwidth.

You mention moving to HD. Depending on what format you are working with, you may or may not need a RAID setup. If you encode everything into ProRes, you'll be fine with just a FW drive if you're doing less than 4 streams at a time.
 

LethalWolfe

macrumors G3
Jan 11, 2002
9,372
119
Los Angeles
For DV or HDV a RAID for speed is pretty much overkill. When you say you are "hitting a wall" w/more than one project open that doesn't sound like a HDD issues but a RAM/Final Cut project size issue. FC loads everything into RAM so big projects (or multiple projects) w/lots of timelines open can start to collapse under it's own weight and slow it down to a crawl. Breaking a long project into chunks and only having one open sequence at a time can help (so instead of working in an hour long timeline work in three 20min timelines). If the project is very large then you might need to actually create a few smaller FCP projects to work out of instead of working out of one, large FCP project.

Here is link to a very good DVD talking about project organization in FCP.


Lethal
 

CanadaRAM

macrumors G5
And if you really wanted to do a RAID - running a software RAID through a single Firewire controller with multiple drives is the least effective way to go about it.

Think about it, the advantage of a RAID is that both drives can be reading/writing at the same time, by interleaving requests to the drives. But if they both are on a Firewire controller, then all that data still has to squeeze through the one narrow hose. Including the increased CPU overhead, it means that gains will be minimal.

If you want to do RAID on Firewire, either get an additional Firewire bus happening (with a PCI-e, PC Card or ExpressCard interface, depending what your machine is capable of -- iMac owners need not apply), or an eSATA card solution, or use an external two bay solution that handles RAID in hardware at the enclosure - like some LaCie, OWC Mercury & Wiebetech enclosures, and gives you the best throughput possible from Firewire.
 

Peel

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 30, 2004
575
84
Seattle
When you say you are "hitting a wall" w/more than one project open that doesn't sound like a HDD issues but a RAM/Final Cut project size issue.
I need to expand mainly because of the storage wall I'm hitting. When I started out I thought that 500GB was more than enough, but have quickly found that If I have a couple different projects that I'm spending my time on, I can fill it up quite fast.


Here is link to a very good DVD talking about project organization in FCP.
Thanks Lethal, I'll check this out. I'm always happy to find a more efficient/productive setup. And while I try to stay organized, it's easy for things to run amok if you don't have a concise system laid out.

And if you really wanted to do a RAID - running a software RAID through a single Firewire controller with multiple drives is the least effective way to go about it.
True. But if you look at the original post, I am looking for a hardware RAID. Thus the controller in the RAID box handles all the interleaving, striping, and parity. You're right about there being only one pipe though.

Hmm... guess I might reconsider the need for RAID, though $218 for 1TB of storage sure has it's alure. :)