Need RAID 0 External Storage for MBP: WD, Lacie or G-Tech (or other)?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by lloydh, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. lloydh macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Location:
    London, England
    #1
    My budget only allows for a 2-drive solution and I'd really like a quad-interface drive so that I have the option of picking up a SATA ExpressCard/34 at a later stage.

    Candidates with approximate online prices (Dec '08):

    Western Digital My Book Studio II 2TB (£250)
    Lacie 2Big Quadra 2TB (£350)
    G-Tech G-RAID 2TB (£450)

    I understand that, while very cheap, the WD My Book Studio II isn't particularly speedy (thanks to energy efficient 'green' drives) and it also 'features' an inescapable power-saving mode which frequently spins down the disks.

    The Lacie seems good on paper but I've encountered poor Lacie reliability before - one bitten twice shy.

    Finally, the G-RAID is incredibly expensive, and while I like that there are no annoying LEDs on the drive, the price and presence of a fan make it less appealing.

    ---

    What real-world performance differences can I expect with the drives? Will they all be able to saturate FW800 for sequential reading (which I presume is the most important criteria for HD editing)?

    Presumably all three solutions are software RAID. Will they require proprietary software/drivers or are they set up using Apple's disk utility?

    Which of the above drives would you recommend/avoid and should I be considering any others?

    Thanks,



    Lloyd
     
  2. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #2
    Well, first of all, all three of these drives employ a fan of some type. It's not easy to keep two disks in small box cool by passive means. The WD actually has the most annoying fan of the bunch by a large margin (I have one).

    These drives are all hardware RAID, BTW. The WD and LaCie are switchable RAID 0 or 1, whereas I believe the G-Tech is RAID-0 only (they sell a separate product called the G-SAFE for RAID-1 applications).

    There's other tradeoffs. The LaCie has easily swappable drive modules, but it's very mixed bag which hard disk manufacturer you actually get. I have two 2Big Triple 1TBs and those both came with Samsung Spinpoint F1s. The disks are not considered user-swappable on the WD and G-Tech, but you know you're getting WD drives on the WD and Hitachi drives on the G-Tech.

    In my experience during field data management work on sets, G-Tech and CalDigit are expensive but seem to make the best external RAID solutions outside of building your own (which isn't necessarily cheaper if you use enterprise-class drives that are designed to work to work in RAID arrays). You get what you pay for.
     
  3. DPA macrumors 65816

    DPA

    #3
    Western Digital drives are infamous for crashing. I have a 500gb g-drive Q and 1tb lacie. I have had no problems but do not have them setup in a raid configuration.
     
  4. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #4
    lloydh,
    What kind of HD video are you going to be editing and which software will you be using?

    Don't tell that to the dozen or so WD drives at my office that have been working 50-some-odd hours a week for, at least, the past 2-3 years flawlessly.;) All HDD makers have rough patches where everyone swears them off. Not too many years ago the Deskstar drives (then IBM, now Hitachi) failed in such high numbers that people started calling them 'deathstars'.


    Lethal
     
  5. DPA macrumors 65816

    DPA

    #5
    Too bad I can't talk to hard drives. Boy, would I give them a piece of my mind.: "My grandma transfers files faster than that.", "Did I say I wanted that in the Trash? Oh yeah, never mind." "Reconnect that media like your FireWire port depends on it." And that's just the beginning.;)
    If you haven't had any problems then good for you. Everyone that I've talked too, at the Apple store, professional editors, and professional videographers say that G-Drives and LaCies are the best for Final Cut. Please to your own research too before making this purchase.
     
  6. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #6
    But G-Drives and LaCies are just enclosures, not drives. I've had more LaCie enclosures tank on me than anything else and rarely have I see a working pro endorse LaCie products. I've also started to hear a few people grumbling about G-Drives since the company was purchased by Fabrik. But it's too soon to tell if those are just isolated incidents or the sign of new trend. G-Drives are probably still a safe bet, and I also recommend Caldigit and WiebeTech. For the more budget minded though going w/an OWC enclosure and bare drives of your choice from Newegg is a consideration as well.


    Lethal
     
  7. DPA macrumors 65816

    DPA

    #7
    Very true about Caldigit and WiebeTech drives. I haven't had any problems with my G-Drives but I had a feeling that Fabrik might mess up G-Tech. You might not here pros raving about LaCies now but a few years ago they were. G-Drives are now probably the best in my opinion but are quite a bit more expensive than LaCies. I think that LaCies were endorsed because they had a FireWire port when FireWire was in it's earlier years. Hitachi drives are still in the G-Drive enclosures right or have things changed since Fabrik took over?
     
  8. lloydh thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Location:
    London, England
    #8
    Primarily 1080p24 ProRes 422 (hopefully sourced from a Sony EX3, but that's another issue), though I'd like to experiment with an uncompressed workflow (which I realise will be beyond a 2-drive RAID and probably even the bandwidth provided by an eSATA ExpressCard/34 on my MBP).

    I will edit with FCS2 supplemented with After Effects.

    @ CaptainChunk & LethalWolfe, I too have looked at the new CalDigit VR, which from an aesthetic, performance and build quality perspective looks very enticing. Unfortunately, UK distribution seems pretty flakey and the 2TB drive would cost over £600 - almost two and a half My Book Studio IIs! I notice that CalDigit promote their products for being single-supplier... is it possible to replace the factory drives with off-the-shelf ones without going through CalDigit?

    @ CaptainChunk, the WD product page states that the MB Studio II does not have a fan - this may have been a change with the Studio II, facilitated by the switch to energy efficient drives. Seeing as you have had experience with both the WD and Lacie, is there a discernible performance difference between the two?


    Thanks
     
  9. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #9
    I do remember when LaCie was the bees-knees, and then wave after wave of people complaining about them which, at the time, I just chalked up to them being very popular which means there are more drives 'in the wild' to fail. But when that trend never turned around I wrote off LaCie unless it's an emergency and they are the only option (any port in a storm). I've had three different LaCie products fail this year and each one of them was only a year or two old and none of them were used heavily.

    I'm not sure what HDDs G-Technology is using these days.

    Out of curiosity, why do you want to get away from editing native XDCAM EX?

    It might void the warranty. You might want to e-mail CalDigit directly and ask.


    Lethal
     
  10. DPA macrumors 65816

    DPA

    #10
    Wow, I haven't heard this many bad things about a LaCie from one person ever. Thanks for letting me, and other viewers, know about this problem that some LaCies encounter. My dad has quite a few friend who use Final Cut Pro for semi-semi-semi-professional work and most of them have LaCie drives. I will now think more than twice about buying an external hard drive.:rolleyes:
    BTW, It probably does void the warranty if you replace the factory drives with off the shelf ones because I don't see why the would want you to replace their product with some other company's.
     
  11. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #11
    Not without voiding the warranty. While CalDigit (among other manufacturers) drive modules are essentially Hitachi hard disks attached to custom sleds, you have to buy their modules to keep the warranty intact. You can buy a quality bare enclosure from a company like WiebeTech, as LethalWolfe mentioned, and add your own drives if you want that kind flexibility.

    When you buy a pre-built external, quality will vary on a number of factors (not just the hard disks themselves): enclosure design (ergonomics, cooling), bridge chipset, RAID controller (where applicable), etc. This explains the price difference between consumer units like WD and professional units like CalDigit.
     
  12. FX120 macrumors 65816

    FX120

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    #12
    I wouldn't buy an external array unless it's got Segate 7200.11 drives inside.

    I use 6 of the 1TB drives in RAID 0+1 on my machine, Black Magic design speed test puts the average data transfer rate at ~230MBps which is enough for 10 bit uncompressed 1080p/24 video capture.

    I would like to go with 8 drives, but unfortunatley that would require purchasing an *really* friggin' expensive RAID card instead of using the onboard NVRAID...
     
  13. lloydh thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Location:
    London, England
    #13
    It seems like a good intermediate codec and I have read that intra-frame codecs are preferable when moving through FCS applications, particularly Color.

    @ FCP.guru.guy, the reason I ask about replacing HDs is that I can buy a 500GB CalDigit VR for £360 and pick up a pair of 1TB drives (even Seagate 7200.11s, FX120 ;) ) for around £160 - resulting in a £520 2TB CalDigt VR (with a pair of spare 250GB drives ...and no warranty, it would seem). Food for thought.
     
  14. DPA macrumors 65816

    DPA

    #14
    I understand why YOU would want to replace them, I said that I don't see why they (CalDigit) would want you to replace their HDs with another manufacturer's HD. Sorry for the bad wording and typo.
     
  15. joaoferro99 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    Location:
    S. California
    #15
  16. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #16
    This is what I have. An OWC aluminum dual drive enclose with FW800 and two drive inside both from newegg. The fan was not quiet so I spend $6 to replace it with a fan rated a 14dba. It still makes noise but less. Now I'm shopping for a LONG FW800 cable.
     
  17. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #17
    Color does prefer intra-frame codecs, although Apple says it does support XDCAM EX as an input codec and I'm not aware of any of the other FC Studio apps having problems w/ inter-frame codecs. My suggestion would be to do all of your editing natively w/the EX codec then once you've locked the edit use the Media Manager to convert only the footage you used in your Timeline into ProRes. Take that new ProRes Timeline and send it to Color. You can also set your EX Timeline to render using ProRes which basically gets you the best of both worlds. The smaller file size of the EX codec and the quality of ProRes when you need to render.


    Lethal
     
  18. MrLatte23 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    #18
    DiskSomnia nicely solves the disk spin down problem, http://www.digital-heaven.co.uk/freeware/disksomnia.php

    Personally, I use Seagate 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drives (jumper removed!!), in quad interface OWC enclosures, making sure it has the latest chipset available. I like knowing exactly what HD and chipset, I'm buying.
     

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