Getting a mac pro, optimal setup for Mac Pro hard drive question

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by coolmemin, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. coolmemin macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    #1
    Hello everyone, I would like to say first of all that I am just starting making videos and have taught myself everything just by looking at tutorials online so my knowledge probably has some holes in it, but basically this is my issue. I make teaching videos for my calculus students. I have started making more because they find them very useful but i find myself waiting a long time in the transfer of files from the camera, rendering, and then compression (i compress many different versions...small,medium,large), so I have decided to get a 2.8 Ghz 8-core mac pro. I have searched and searched around the forums and the internet but I can't seem to find the answer to my question. Most of the talk is about doing RAID setups which I don't think I can afford at this point in time (I don't get paid to do these). I would like to upgrade the hard drive in my Mac Pro though since I assume it would be a bottleneck in all of the steps that I am trying to make faster. I also have 2 external firewire 800 drives that I have so far been using as my scratch disks on the iMac I have now. I am trying to figure out what hard drive to get as my scratch disk. I heard good things about the velociraptor but 300GB seems like not enough space for FCP, so my question is,

    if I did go with the Velociraptor, what is the best way to set up FCP so that I can improve the speed of the tasks I need to perform while at the sime time not running out of hard drive space?

    I also considered the 1TB Samsung Spinpoint which got good reviews, and I'm considering getting both maybe, but in that case, what would be the best use of the combination. Should I set the Raptor as my boot drive and scratch drive, and what about the rest of my applications?

    Also, if I set the raptor as the scratch disk then would I just set it in the settings for FCP to capture, render, etc on that disk?

    Or would it possibly be better to forget about the raptor altogether and just get a high quality 1TB drive like the Samsung or Hitachi and be done with it. Would the raptor even be worth it?

    I know this is long, but its really bugging me. Thank you
     
  2. mperkins37 macrumors 6502a

    mperkins37

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2007
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #2
    The Raptor is a Great Boot drive, But too small for scratch duty.
    I have a 150 GB Raptor for boot disc, & 3 1TB seagate's. Works Marvelously!
     
  3. -DH macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Location:
    Nashville Tennessee
    #3
    The MacPro has 4 SATA drive bays, but only comes standard with one (the boot drive). If you'll be working with DV or HDV, or even DVCPro HD, adding internal SATA drives makes more sense than just about any external option. Fill up those extra three drive bays and you can even RAID them if you want. A quick and inexpensive way to add up to 3 tb of hard drive space. The internal SATA drives have MUCH better throughput than any Firewire setup.

    OWC has 1tb Hitachi DeskStar SATA drives for $157.99 (U.S.) and Seagate 1tb SATA drives for $151.99: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/hard-drives/sata/mac-pro but you may be able to find others even cheaper.

    -DH
     
  4. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #4
    The bottle neck for all the file outputs you have to make is going to be CPU first, then RAM. Unless you are dealing w/ProRes HQ or Uncompressed formats you don't need to worry about RAIDs. Putting as much RAM as you can afford and using Compressor to create a 'virtual cluster' (basically treating each core of your computer as a unique CPU) will do the most to spend up your file conversion times.


    Lethal
     
  5. coolmemin thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    #5
    I was planning on starting with 10GB of RAM, 8GB through a 3rd party vendor and leave the 2GB that come stock. And then if i need to upgrade to 16GB i can buy 4 more sticks. I dont think, although i could be wrong, that i would need 32 GB.

    I am using a Canon HF100. It records in HD, but I'm not sure if that is one of the formats you mentioned...sorry for my ignorance on that one...
     
  6. foshizzle macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    #6
    Shooting with the HF100, you are shooting with AVCHD, which gets imported as AIC (apple intermediate codec) because Final Cut (express or pro) does not work directly with AVCHD. Basically, if you shoot at the highest setting on the HF100, you'll be looking at 50 GB per hour of footage. This can add up quickly. Also, be prepared for as much space for the final movie, after you export it to whatever format. I'd suggest going with the stock apple hard drive, then buy two or three 1TB drives from newegg which are fairly cheap now.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...35313496 1035507776&name=7200 RPM&Order=PRICE
    If you use these as your scratch disks (in RAID-0) format, you'll be fine on speed, and you could use your external firewire800 drives to backup the final project or other clips. You didn't say how big the FW800 drives are so I'm not sure if that would work or not. But definitely test out the internal drives before using them for production uses if you go with RAID0, since it is not a redundant RAID setting and if you lose a drive and your stuff isn't backed up to anything else, it is all gone.

    The other option is to go RAID5, which, if you buy three drives, you only have usable capacity of two of them because the third is used for redundancy and if one drive fails you can replace it and get all the data back up. This is a bit slower, but since you're dealing with AIC, around 17 MB/S, speed will not be a huge issue, and you'll have a built in backup. (still a good idea to backup final project files to DVD/FW800 drive).

    You may also want to backup the image of your SD card to a DVD for archival purposes, although it may not be completely necessary.

    I edit my HF10 footage on my MBP's internal 7200 RPM drive and it does fine. It also has worked with a 5200 RPM external FW800 drive without a hiccup.

    Enjoy the Mac Pro, I wish i had something like it to render my final footage. One minute of this stuff takes forever, I'm probably looking at an entire night for anything over 30 minutes. But compressor and Qmaster come in handy for sure between the iMac and MBP in my house.
     
  7. coolmemin thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    #7
    This is probably a very dumb question but to use the drives in RAID I will need a RAID card right. Is that all I need to set up a RAID? I am not planning on using a RAID now because of money but just for future's sake. Thanks everyone for the input. It helps a lot.
     
  8. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    #8
    You don't need one for RAID0 or RAID1. But I'm not sure you really need to use RAID. You can't edit the HF10's native format, AVC, in Final Cut, so you need to transcode it to something else. The two obvious choices are AIC (Apple Intermediate Codec) and ProRes. You'll probably be fine with AIC, and so won't need the extra bandwidth RAID0 provides. You can just back up your footage to a spare drive manually.

    You want to keep separate system and scratch disks, and you'll be better with a 1TB Spinpoint than a Velociraptor once you've got more than 200GB of footage and rendered material.

    On the topic of RAM, Final Cut can only make use of 4GB; so unless you plan on having lots of programs running at once, you won't make use of 10GB for editing.
     
  9. xparaparafreakx macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
    #9
    Do remember that there are two extra SATA ports on your Mac Pro motherboard that you can use.

    You can run cables to give your computer eSATA:
    http://www.newertech.com/products/esata_cable.php

    Or do more crazy creative things like running that SATA cable to your optical drive and hijack the power cables and hook up more SATA hard drives up there.



    (Special note: you XP and Vista users can't use these two extra SATA ports.)
     

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  10. ChemiosMurphy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Location:
    Warminster, PA
    #10
    It is such a PITA running the Sata cable up to the optical drive. you need a REALLY LONG 90 degree SATA cable. I had to run one for my blu ray burner, and it was too short. Fitting it through the area to get it in where the optical drives are was nearly impossible. I really wouldn't go this route.

    Onto hard drives....

    I have a raid 0 setup for editing. I do mainly ProRes422 HQ stuff from HDV and AVC-Intra. It speeds things up. Copying files to the RAID is really fast and it's worth it.

    Raid 0 is risky business, so back your stuff up. My main 750 gig boot partition is cloned onto another 750 gig in bay 2, and I have two 640 gig drives in bay 3/4 for the raid. I ALSO have an eSata card for another two 640 gig drives, for the clone of the internal raid.

    I use SuperDuper to clone the drives nightly. This works for me since I save my FCP files to a thumbdrive, and the autosave vault is on the boot drive. So the FCP file is backed up in multiple places. The neat thing about having an two seperate raid 0's, the one being internal and the other external, is that I can take the external one places, and just clone it back to the internal one. It's really easy.

    Another reason why I like cloning is that it doesn't add another layer of overhead. Raid 1ing two Raid 0 arrays slows the computer down and just makes it more complex. with SuperDuper you can make a schedule for when to clone, and I just do it overnight at 2 am. It works for me.

    The Western Digital 640AAKS drive is probably the fasted 7200 RPM drive on the market. Newegg has it for $80 with free shipping. I have four of these drives and they are fast.

    If you are going to be working with ProRes, just do the raid (but keep a clone). Like Keith said, you don't need the 10 gigs of ram. I settled for 6 gigs and got more hard drives. Just set a price limit for yourself that is rational and based on what you'll be doing.
     
  11. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    #11

    If you'll allow me to go off-topic, what camera is the AVC-Intra coming from? I'm interested in shooting some stuff on an HPX-3000 and wondered, if the footage had been shot on one, how it looked.

    I don't know if you're grading or just editing, but I'm intending to use it for narrative stuff and I'm interested in how it holds up to non-too-aggressive grading when using the various gamma modes. I'm also interested in how much light it needs (I've heard it's ISO is pretty low) — but you may not be in a position to have any opinion on this.
     
  12. ChemiosMurphy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Location:
    Warminster, PA
    #12
    The AVC-Intra is coming from the Panny HPX-3000.

    The footage looks good. The company i work for, Drexel U, just got the camera a few months ago and we just did our first AVC shoot recently in Wilkes Barre in the outdoors shooting a doc.

    The footage looks great. There is a bit of noise in the image if you get up close and look at it, but its great. The real beauty of the camera is that it has 4 levels of ND on it, so you can drop all the ND and keep your iris open to get a really shallow DoF. It's simply beautiful.

    As for the light, we were mainly shooting in daylight, but with a few fills here or there. But we did shoot one interview inside with a few 1K's and a tota, and it looked great. The one issue with the camera is that it overexposes REALLY REALLY easily. It's almost scary how quick it overexposes. When we got the camera and tested it, that was the biggest issue.

    I don't know too much about the gamma changes since my boss is grading it, he hasn't complained about it, so I guess it's ok.

    But when you do shoot AVC-Intra, prepare to buy lots of P2 cards. I was the designated dumper on location armed with a crappy macbook (cringe) and it took over an hour to dump 15-20 minutes (all that will fit on a 32 gig card). So be prepared to shell out lots of money on many P2 cards.

    Long story short, the clients were raving about, my boss and the DP absolutely love it.
     
  13. coolmemin thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    #13
    Ok, so I think I would like to do a RAID setup for editing. So if I want to set up a RAID0 with a backup (which I understand is basically a RAID1) then it looks like I should have:

    1) Two 1TB internal drives set up in a RAID0 to use with FCP.
    2)Two 1TB external drives to back up these (I can clone them overnight as suggested above and they also have the benefit that I can take them with me... I go to the Apple Store One to One School and it would be nice to be able to take my data with me)
    3) One 1TB or 500GB hard drive to use as my boot drive and all of my apps, etc.
    4) One 1TB hard drive to use as a backup drive for my boot drive.

    Ok, so this is a lot it seems like but I already have a 1TB external firewire drive and a 500GB external firewire drive, so I can use them for backup purposes. So does this sound like a reasonable setup that would provide me with adequate speed and protection? Or does this seem like overkill?
     
  14. ChemiosMurphy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Location:
    Warminster, PA
    #14
    Nice choice!

    Don't do the 500 gig drive for the main boot disk, use at least 750 GB. I only have 150 gigs free on my 750GB boot disk, and some programs only let you install yourself on your main disk! Go for the Western Digital 750 AAKS from newegg!
     
  15. coolmemin thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    #15
    what about the WD caviar black? Would this be a better hard drive? Its available in a 1TB version as opposed to the AAKS which is only available up to 750. ooo, i just found OWC is selling the AAKS for a little less than $80, and i read that newegg's packaging is terrible, so I think I'm going to order 3 of these through OWC. Thanks a bunch!
     
  16. coolmemin thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    #16
    One last thing, I posted a similar question on another forum and they suggested against the NVidia video card upgrade for FCP. They said that the stock ATI card is actually better if I will be using FCP and Motion, etc. but not for games. They also suggested the ATI 3870 if I wanted to upgrade, but my guess is that it won't really make much of a difference. What do you think?
     
  17. ChemiosMurphy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Location:
    Warminster, PA
    #17
    Don't get the Nvidia upgrade, not worth it. The ATi2600 smokes it in Core video. The 8800 is for gaming, so don't worry about it. Get the 3870 if you want, but my stock 2600 works fine.

    I've never had a problem with Neweggs drives, i've purchased 6 for myself there and two for a friend and never had a problem. They just put bubble wrap around the drive that is in a static proof bag.

    *Note* I just had a hard drive get screwed up with compressor tonight. I was rendering out a video from ProRes422 HQ to Uncompressed (to try and fix a toast blu ray issue (toast sucks with blu ray)) and batch monitor/compressor ate my hard drive. I mean it kept sucking every free gig out of me. It ate 150 gigs until i killed the process, but only gave me <50 gigs back. I was pissed.

    The good thing about having a clone is you just change the startup disk, boot from the clone, copy over the files you changed manually, and then reformat the messed up disk (since it was a software glitch). I don't have time to try and figure out what the problem was, just format and clone your clone. The clone is cloning itself now, but excluding that time I only lost 15 minutes of time. Hope that makes sense. Good luck!

    -Chip
     
  18. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #18
    Compressor will eat up all the 'extra' RAM if setup as a virtual cluster.

    RAID-1 is redundant, it's not back-up. Redundancy comes into play to limit downtime due to a hardware failure but it won't protect you if you accidently deleting a file or if a power surge fries your hardware. That's what a back-up, ideally kept off site, is for.


    Lethal
     
  19. coolmemin thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    #19
    Ok so now I have one last question. I am planning on cloning the 750 GB 2 disk RAID0 as suggested onto 2 external drives but my question is this: 1 have a 750 GB and a 1TB external drive. Can I partition the 1TB into a 750 GB and a 250 GB so I can still use that extra space since if i set up a raid with the external drives i would be losing those extra 250GB?
    Also, in the unfortunate incident that my hard drive does die, would I basically work off of the external ones while I replace the dead one, and then once i get a replacement i should clone from external to internal?

    I still dont know how to set up the RAID0 but I'm going to do some research right now. I'm sure its not too difficult, but I am assuming I would set up a RAID0 for both the internal and also for the external clones correct???
     

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