OWC QX2 Report

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by khollister, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. khollister, Aug 25, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2011

    khollister macrumors 6502a

    khollister

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #1
    I thought I had my MP pretty well provisioned until I started ripping all of my DVD's and blu-rays. My little Guardian Maximus Mini RAID 1 box that I use for my iTunes lib was also getting full courtesy of TV episodes. First idea was to change the 2TB internal drives to 3TB, but that only picked up 3TB (one is for Time Machine). I then thought about the nuclear option of a RAID card and 8 bay drive cabinet, but that was going to really hurt (several hundred for the card, a bunch of enterprise drives and the cabinet). I decided to go the ghetto-RAID route with a QX2 and 4 Samsung F4 2TB drives ($580 - B&H had the QX2 for $260 and 4 F4's were $320 shipped from Newegg). Got everything, put the drives in, partitioned & formatted the 6TB available space (RAID 5) and started copying my iTunes lib over (eSATA connection of course).

    I'm amazed at how quiet this thing is. I have it on the floor beside the MP and cold, I really couldn't hear it in a quiet room over the very quiet MP. After a couple hours of continuous copying, the fan has run up slightly, but it is still very quiet. It is slightly louder than the MP, but a very soft, even whir. Built like a tank, too.

    I will run the AJA tool against it when CCC completes. I used the Samsung drives because
    1. They're cheap
    2. They are very reliable (I have a bunch for backups)
    3. They are very fast, especially for a 5400 RPM drive. I get 120-130 MB/s sustained R/W on a single empty drive

    I think this thing is a pretty good deal for a 6TB RAID 5 box that a is quiet and well built. Not a hot rod, but faster than JBOD, all for <$600

    I should note that I will use this for iTunes, ripped movies, SW archive copies and probably my photo library. Don't really need 400-500 MB/s from a SAS array
     
  2. khollister thread starter macrumors 6502a

    khollister

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #2
    OK - ran the AJA DiskWhack test with 512MB and 1GB file sizes. about 180 MB/s write and 225 MB/s reads. This is with about 700GB of data already on the volume (12% full).

    I have a RAID 0 set internally I use for music sample libraries that is across a 2TB Caviar Black and a 1TB Caviar Black. That gets about 200 MB/s write and 225 MB/s read, so I'm pretty pleased with the QX2 and my cheap 5400 RPM drives.
     
  3. Sdevante macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    #3
    First, props for pointing out a cheaper place to buy this than OWC direct.

    Second, any chance you could do a firewire 800 speed test? I was also looking at the F4 drives but don't have an esata connection on my mac mini.

    Thanks!
     
  4. khollister thread starter macrumors 6502a

    khollister

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #4
    No problem - I'll give it a try later tonight. Although I will be willing to bet you are going to be right at 80 MB/s. The drives ain't the limiting factor on FW. Most of the Oxford chipset OWC enclosures I have owned are right at that number with 3.5" drives. I get about 60-65 MB/s on the Maximus Mini with 2.5" drives in RAID 1.

    If it is one of the new TB mini's there are TB to eSATA bridges
     
  5. Sdevante macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    #5

    Thanks, I'd really appreciate it!



    That is brilliant! I'm going to go check into that right now!
     
  6. khollister thread starter macrumors 6502a

    khollister

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #6
    Well, delay of game.

    This particular QX2 appears to be defective. There is a periodic freeze or pause while streaming audio or video from it. After a long session with OWC tech support trying various things, I am returning it for another one from B&H.

    Just my luck

    And I apologize for steering you wrong on the adapter. I recall what I saw was an eSATA to USB3 adapter. Just did a little searching for a TB to eSATA bridge and didn't see one. Sorry about that.
     
  7. MovieCutter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #7
    Shining endorsement...
     
  8. khollister thread starter macrumors 6502a

    khollister

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #8
    By that standard, you wouldn't ever buy anything from anyone.

    ****** Happens. If I get another defective one, then that might be cause for concern.
     
  9. khollister thread starter macrumors 6502a

    khollister

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #9
    After doing some more research, I discovered a number of reports of similar symptoms on video editing forums. I decided to just get a refund from B&H and went with the tried & true Sans Digital TR4M and the OWC PM eSATA card. Running the drives in independent JBOD mode, and everything works great.

    Live and learn.
     
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #10
    Glad to see you caught the difference between the enclosures in terms of the level you implemented (TR4M doesn't have a RoC in it as the Qx2 does, so parity based arrays would be a mistake).

    JBOD is fine for movies in terms of performance, and it allows you all of your capacity without total data loss in case a drive fails (you do have to use recovery software though to access the remaining disks).
     
  11. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #11
    qx2 has real problems with raid5 but raid0 ran well for me
     
  12. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #12
    I almost purchased this unit but since it doesn't allow JBOD, I passed. OWC told me it was in the works (about 6 months ago) but it never happened. I do have their dual drive enclosure and experienced periodic freezes while streaming. Like you said, it's the chipset believed to be causing it. Got tired of using external setups so using iTunes on my win7 build with plenty of internal storage. Works allot better.
     
  13. khollister thread starter macrumors 6502a

    khollister

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #13
    The reason I was originally thinking RAID 5 was some level of disk failure insurance and some performance improvement if I put my photo library on there (faster reads and writes from CS5 and NX2).

    I talked my self into leaving the 400GB of images where they are on an internal WD Black, and then the redundancy became less critical since I rotate backups sets weekly and the music/movie content isn't real dynamic once I get through ripping the rest of the BD's & DVD's. The photos are on Time Machine as well, so RAID 5 (or 6 if I had it) doesn't really buy me much. And at about 30-35GB a crack for the movie-only on the blu-rays (I have a lot of BD's at this point since the price has dropped the past year), the extra 2TB of usable space is looking pretty good - I was already wondering if I should have gone for 3TB drives.

    In fact, if I wanted the performance for image editing, I could almost talk myself into a RAID 0 since I have everything on TM and then weekly on at least one external set. I'll worry about that later when I get bored and might be feeling sporty :)

    What is interesting on the QX2 is that I had the problem on any RAID setting (even SPAN) with either Samsung F4's or Hitachi 7k3000's, but not with some old mismatched WD 1TB blacks & greens(!). OWC tech support said it shouldn't do that of course, but after cruising some threads I found on FCP forums via Google, I decided to punt. I love the packaging (much nicer than the TR4M), but I decided I didn't need/want RAID for this and it really did have to work :) At least I saved a few dollars, too.

    First thing I have ever been disappointed in from OWC (in spite of Lloyd's constant shilling for them)
     
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #14
    Understandable, even if it was to be purely as a movie storage pool as ripping disks is time consuming (not exactly just a couple of minute job to rip a movie, and depending on the size of your collection, repeat this 100's of times every time you have a failure). JBOD reduces this, but it doesn't eliminate this (still have to restore the dead disk in the set, presumably manually, unless you've duplicated the pool as a backup source - better way to go, but you've also doubled your cost). Please understand, I see the original DVD's or BluRay disks as backups, so if the set does go, you've not actually lost the data (it's just a PITA to restore from optical media).

    So I'd be interested in using RAID 5 myself in such a situation (helps with performance too, as you reach the inner platters, particularly if it's to be served to multiple sets simultaneously).

    Well, if you have backups of the ripped movies, then a parity RAID doesn't offer you much beyond convenience for a single location to be served. If you're serving multiple locations, the RAID's performance will help, particularly as you fill the capacity (inner tracks that run much slower - perhaps too slow on a single disk, particularly if it's a Green model, for multiple HDTV's).

    BTW, why not use MPEG4 compression for the BluRay library if your already concerned about insufficient capacity?

    But if you were still planning/putting all of this together, the 3TB models (Greens due to cost), would have been the better choice IMO.

    The other downside to parity RAID and a PCIe hardware controller, is the drives need to be enterprise units, which are more expensive (2TB WD RE4GP <Green Enterprise> is $200 per on newegg right now, yet the 3TB consumer variants are ~$150).

    If you've the time, as you have the backup sources to restore from, then it would be worth it.

    So I'd base such a decision on whether or not you can put in the time necessary to perform a recovery over other factors. Particularly if you're earning a living with the system rather than as a hobby (where stripe sets tend to make sense for performance as the time is usually available, and more plentiful than funds :p).

    Sounds like it was the disks, not the unit. Actually, I'm surprised that this sort of thing isn't more common with inexpensive RoC based boxes such as the Qx2.

    And I've seen endless issues with Hitachi consumer disks. So much so, that I won't even bother giving them a try anymore (both RAID issues, though that's usually the users' mistake of buying consumer disks, and failure rates). But it's even happened with vendors that source their disks from Hitachi (user had no choice as to the make/model of disks as they were already installed in the enclosure at the assembly facility).

    To me at least, it appears that he has a strong self-interest there... :rolleyes: :D

    But OWC usually does a decent job overall (at least they test what they sell from what I've seen).
     
  15. spidey3 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    #15
    I am running with RAID 5 on my Qx2 with no problems whatsoever.
    Is there a reference for the problems you mention?

    Spidey!!!
     
  16. khollister thread starter macrumors 6502a

    khollister

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #16
    I didn't save anything, but if you Google up something like "OWC QX2 dropped frames" you should get there.
     
  17. khollister thread starter macrumors 6502a

    khollister

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #17
    I'm using the TR4 as 4 separate disk volumes, not a spanning volume. No rebuild necessary, just replace and restore the failed drive.

    Both the Samsung & Hitachi's were on the QX2 approved disk list, with the Hitachi's being "recommended". While the old WD's at least played back a movie without dropouts as a spanning volume, the activity light would still come on at periodic times with no read/write traffic from the MP. The other drives did exactly the same thing, but the duration of the phantom activity was much longer and always resulted in dropped frames. I could believe there might be some drive issues in RAID 5, but the exact same thing happened even in JBOD mode. I bought the Hitachi's on a whim due to they were the exact drives OWC sells in preconfigured QX2's. Price was right as well.

    Aside from the old IBM Deathstar days years ago, your experience is by far the most negative with these drives (not debating that you have had crappy luck). It will be interesting to see how they hold up - not the end of the world.

    I have a 3TB WD Green as my Time Machine volume - runs quiet but the performance is no great shakes of course. The funny thing is that is was cheaper to buy a external drive (WD MyBook) at Costco and tear the drive out than to buy a bare drive from Newegg - $129 for the MyBook versus $149 for the bare drive. I will certainly replace the Hitachis with 3TB Greens if they die.
     
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #18
    Definitely easier to restore lost data if you can live with searching multiple disks for the file/movie you're after (not that big a deal IMO, but having a single volume does make it a little easier to find what you're after).

    Ah, OK. I hadn't dug that deep (didn't realize they actually had an HDD Compatibility List at all), so I can understand the additional frustration/anger, as you expected not to be a guinea pig with the drives you selected.

    Although, sadly, I've seen this sort of situation before, particularly with a Caldigit product a client had bought (CalDigit RAID card and their HD Element enclosure that came with Hitachi drives installed from the factory).

    They chose the disks, and it was unstable has hell (no matter what was tried).

    No excuse for that sort of nonsense, and it all eventually went back. But not before an incredible amount of aggravation. That and other stories I've heard, have turned me off of even thinking about CalDigit as a product line to consider.

    Definitely not worth the aggravation to sort it, if it was even possible (whether it was a bad unit or poor drivers).

    It wasn't a particular model, but rather more recent units made in China (earlier models made in Malaysia were fine). The move seemed to toss their QC into the toilet, and I'm not the only one that's noticed that.

    Though they're not alone (Seagate comes to mind for disks since 2008, including the enterprise models dying at the 3 year mark, and getting refurbished models back for a warranty replacement - not happy about that at all). Fortunately, it was time for the client to increase capacity anyway, and they went for WD instead (what I've had the best luck with as of the last 3 years).

    So I'm not the only one that's come across that one... :D

    But yeah, Greens are on the slow side, but you can't beat them in terms of cost/GB, and they're fine for backups. :)
     

Share This Page