Best storage setup for motion graphics - suggestions welcome

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by kitkats, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. kitkats macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2010
    I make motion graphics for a living using After Effects, Cinema 4D, PS and AI. I recently bought a 2.66 8-core Nehalem and have another 16GB of RAM on the way to give it 24GB total. Next step is to sort out the storage.

    Most of my jobs require 5 - 10 GB of data (including renders) with the odd job needing more like 50GB (if I shoot a lot of HD video). I rarely work on anything longer than a couple of minutes and they tend to be heavier on vector + bitmap assets than video files. Once a job is finished it all gets archived to 2 separate external FW drives. I don't tend to backup during jobs which is something I should probably change. I have another external HD for Time Machine which backs up my OS and most importantly, emails.

    My plan was to put a 100GB SSD in to run the OS, applications and probably my home folder; then striping two regular drives (WD RE's most likely) with software RAID 0 for all my working and render files. But then I started wondering if I would see a better performance from using an SSD for my working files too. I've spent too much already this year so am trying to get some sort of performance on a budget, eg. about another £300 - £400...

    If I use an SSD only for the OS, Apps + Home do I really need to worry about getting a drive with greater over-provisioning such as the OCZ Vertex II, when I can buy the Extended Edition or the 3.5" Version quite a bit cheaper?

    When using After FX should I be reading my assets from one drive and rendering to another to increase performance?
  2. telequest macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2010
    If you want speed in After Effects, I'm guessing it'll be way more important to set your memory and multiprocessing preferences optimally, as opposed to disk storage reading and writing. If you haven't already be sure to follow Adobe's guidelines on memory and multiprocessing preferences.

    With your 8 cores and plenty of RAM, your setup will be screaming, especially if you tune it according to Adobe's recommendations.

    BTW, I just graduated from an old G5 dual 2GHz to a new MP hexacore. I just did a test on an old project that used to take over 17 minutes to render on the G5. It rendered in under a minute on the hex.

    Even at that great speed, it was only writing to disk at 225 MB per *minute* (standard def DV/NTSC). Even if you render to high def uncompressed, I doubt you'll be writing fast enough to disk to stress even a conventional spinner. BTW, I use a pair of WD Caviar Blacks in RAID 0 for both input and output, with continuous backup on a 2TB WD Caviar Green via Time Machine.

    I'd be curious as to other opinions. But I'm guessing that RAM and processor speed are generally going to be the bottlenecks during renders rather than whether you're reading/writing to and from an SSD or single disk or RAID.
  3. kitkats thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2010
    Thanks. Yeah I'm pretty familiar with the AE preferences for multiprocessing, I'll probably render on 4 or 5 cores (8 - 10 threads) most of the time.

    I'm still not sure whether I need a highly over-provisioned SSD if it's mainly just being read from with minimal writes.

    And for those bigger jobs where AE is pulling a lot frames from 30GB+ of HD video as I scrub around, I'm still not sure whether I'd see any improvement having those assets on an SSD over a RAID0.

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