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Kevin Brice
09-17-2005, 11:49 AM
Hi everyone,

KHS-TV was going to set up a new Toaster with two striped (RAID-0) Western Digital Raptor 10,000 RPM SATA hard drives for video, until we saw "NewTek does not recommend IDE drives (including the new SATA)" on the VT system requirements page. What is wrong with SATA? Will it not work without constant glitching? What problems are we likely to encounter if we use an SATA setup?

Jim_C
09-17-2005, 11:58 AM
SATA can work well and reliably.
But it is still not as tried, true, surefire and fast as screaming scsi raids. I would think NT would only want to suggest the fastest and most reliable set up.

Kevin Brice
09-17-2005, 12:49 PM
OK... we've been leaning towards SATA due to its lower cost and our small budget. Would SATA be able to reliably play and record at least one RTV stream? We mostly use our Toaster for live productions, but we'd still like to be able to use ToasterEdit if we want to.

jcupp
09-17-2005, 01:32 PM
In 90% of the machines we sell the customers opt for SATA (or in the old days EIDE). You will just need to be diligent about defragging and don't expect six streams of uncompressed at once. Use a 64 bit PCI-X controller (Adaptec or RocketRaid work, Promise and 3Ware's SATA controllers are dogs). Two streams are no problem three sometimes but I don't recommend trying to play and record at the same time using the same array.

Kevin Brice
09-17-2005, 02:13 PM
...You will just need to be diligent about defragging....
Is the need for more-frequent defragmenting because the SATA drives somehow fragment faster/more easily or because the drives are slower and can't find the various pieces of fragmented files as fast as SCSI drives can?

Kevin Brice
09-17-2005, 07:25 PM
In 90% of the machines we sell the customers opt for SATA (or in the old days EIDE). You will just need to be diligent about defragging and don't expect six streams of uncompressed at once. Use a 64 bit PCI-X controller (Adaptec or RocketRaid work, Promise and 3Ware's SATA controllers are dogs). Two streams are no problem three sometimes but I don't recommend trying to play and record at the same time using the same array.
I've been looking up stuff for the Western Digital hard drives... the web page says the drives support Tagged Command Querying. The Adaptec card doesn't support it, but Promise cards do. Is TCQ something I want? What is wrong with Promise cards, anyway?

John Perkins
09-17-2005, 08:12 PM
What is wrong with Promise cards, anyway?
I think of them as more of a threat than a promise... :censored: :censored: :censored:

They tend to be slow and buggy, IMHO. In almost 10 years of dealing with their cards, I really dislike them.

I've heard good things about the Highpoint RocketRaid 1820A lately.

There is Tagged Command Queueing and Native Command Queueing. Very few controllers support TCQ. NCQ is the new "standard" for command queueing. Unfortunately the Raptors don't do NCQ so you are left with no CQ in most cases.

Command queueing lets the drive reorder requests in a way that makes more sense. This usually results in better access times but will use very slightly more CPU power.

IMHO, I'd go with another controller, such ad a RocketRaid, and more cheaper drives with NCQ such as Seagates. The Raptors cost a lot, so the extra drive(s) will not add much to the cost and be a huge increase in size. Also, there is no way 2 Raptors will be faster than 3 good 7200RPM drives.

Actually I'm a firm believer in SCSI, but that didn't seem like an option. If you search around, you can find 73GB 10K RPM SCSI drives for about the price of 73GB Raptors. The price of a SCSI card (you don't need a RAID card) compared to a good SATA RAID card is close too. Even a single channel U160 SCSI card will be enough for just two drives and are dirt cheap.

John Perkins
09-17-2005, 08:31 PM
I just made the connection here...Is this for the Dell?

If so, you have one SCSI drive and a controller in the other computer. Just get another SCSI drive.

Also, keep in mind, those normal PCI slots are only 32bit/33Mhz. That means that every device in your system is sharing 133MBps. One SCSI drive gets about 65-85MBps on its own. One SATA gets 40-55MBps.

The PCI-X slots are a better reason to go to a Xeon than the dual CPU capability. PCI-X is 64Bit and up to 133Mhz. It can handle all the RAID you can throw at it.

Just about anything you put in the system will be limited by the bus. All your other devices are sharing that 133MBps with your drives and the VT card soaks up a good bit of it.

Just go cheap and plentiful. You won't be able to take advantage of high-speed transfers no matter what card/drives you use.

Kevin Brice
09-17-2005, 09:08 PM
The SCSI setup actually looks more expensive to me. The cheapest 73 GB SCSI drive I could find was over $200, while the Raptor was $183.00 at NewEgg.

Also, since we're using a Dimension case, there is only enough room for two hard drives, which means we can't stripe three drives together. In my mind, that means we have to stick with the Raptors... is that true, or can we still get away with cheaper drives and get the same drive speed?

Right now, here's what I've got:

- Pacific Digital U-30244 PCI 2.1 or 2.2 to Serial ATA-1 hard drives SATA Controller Card (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16816127001) According to Amazon, this card can do TCQ. Also, on the Pacific Digital web page, the Raptor is listed as an accessory to the card. Are Pacific Digital cards reliable?

- the two Raptors

- due to the heat from the Raptors, two bay coolers where the HDDs will mount. (http://www.buy.com/retail/product.asp?sku=10364101&loc=101&hdwt=0&sp=1#). This still leaves the two regular HDD bays, but I'm really afraid of overheating the machine and overloading the power supply. (It's just a Dimension 4550, after all.... :D)

Is that all reasonable or am I just being really stubborn in not moving to something else?

I've also got another reason to keep the price down; the higher the price goes for hardware, the less chance there is that we'll be able to buy VT[4] Academic (Software Only)... Right now, between the items listed above, more memory, and VT[4], we're up to $925.83.

Thanks again for all your help!

Kevin Brice
09-17-2005, 09:17 PM
I just made the connection here...Is this for the Dell?

If so, you have one SCSI drive and a controller in the other computer. Just get another SCSI drive.

Also, keep in mind, those normal PCI slots are only 32bit/33Mhz. That means that every device in your system is sharing 133MBps. One SCSI drive gets about 65-85MBps on its own. One SATA gets 40-55MBps.

The PCI-X slots are a better reason to go to a Xeon than the dual CPU capability. PCI-X is 64Bit and up to 133Mhz. It can handle all the RAID you can throw at it.

Just about anything you put in the system will be limited by the bus. All your other devices are sharing that 133MBps with your drives and the VT card soaks up a good bit of it.

Just go cheap and plentiful. You won't be able to take advantage of high-speed transfers no matter what card/drives you use.


Whoa... you replied while I was replying...

It definitely is for the Dell.

ALL of the PCI cards are sharing 133MB/sec?! Ow...

There's no chance of getting a Xeon machine. We were lucky to get this one donated and I was lucky to get permission to buy upgrades for it... lol

In our old machine, we have two SCSI drives: one system 17.5 GB drive and a 30 GB video drive. However, I was kind of hoping to keep those drives in that computer so that we could quickly put the VT card back into the old one and switch back to [2] if something unexpected happened with the new one. Also, we quickly found out with our existing drive that 30 GB is not enough. At all. We've got 4 GB left and can barely capture anything.

In addition, with our current setup, RTV constantly glitches when just playing back from a DDR. However, I can't tell if it's from bottlenecks in I/O or from the machine being slow.

Should we just forget RAID then and stick with a single video SCSI drive?

tvoge
09-17-2005, 09:35 PM
We are running a Dell Precision Workstation 670 with 2 GB ram, 4 136 GB SCSI drives striped and I have just added two external SATA drives (connected to the onboard SATA controller on the motherboard) for extra storage. The external drive bays ran about $50 each (with external power supplies) and the drives (300 GB Maxtor Diamond Max) ran about $275 each. This seems to work really well for us. We do exclusively live productions with CG and capture running in our church. We've been using this for about 2 months with absolutely NO problems. Good luck with your implementation!

Todd Voge
Trinity Radio & Video Services Inc.
Faribault, MN

John Perkins
09-17-2005, 09:38 PM
You will saturate the PCI bus with two of anything decent striped together, so you could get a couple of 200 or 250GB Seagates or Maxtors for a little over $100 each. I'd probably put another 7200 RPM drive in there if I had the room since they don't run that hot these days. More drives does mean lower access times even if the throughput is limited by the bus.

Access time is very important when you think about how many files you read at once. Each RTV has a wav so during a transition you are reading 4 files. If you have a voiceover add another, music another...That's the biggest benefit of SCSI, almost 1/2 the access time.

I would still get a HighPoint controller. It's hard to come by RAID cards with good reputations around here. We tend to expose all the weaknesses while hardware review sites just go "WOW, it was fast!"

I did a search and found 73GB 10K drives for way less than $183. But you are right, they might be a little hot in that Dell case, not to mention the draw on the power supply.

Kevin Brice
09-18-2005, 07:17 AM
You will saturate the PCI bus with two of anything decent striped together, so you could get a couple of 200 or 250GB Seagates or Maxtors for a little over $100 each. I'd probably put another 7200 RPM drive in there if I had the room since they don't run that hot these days. More drives does mean lower access times even if the throughput is limited by the bus.

Access time is very important when you think about how many files you read at once. Each RTV has a wav so during a transition you are reading 4 files. If you have a voiceover add another, music another...That's the biggest benefit of SCSI, almost 1/2 the access time.

I would still get a HighPoint controller. It's hard to come by RAID cards with good reputations around here. We tend to expose all the weaknesses while hardware review sites just go "WOW, it was fast!"

I did a search and found 73GB 10K drives for way less than $183. But you are right, they might be a little hot in that Dell case, not to mention the draw on the power supply.
Here's what I've got:

-Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 3.5" Serial ATA150 Hard Drive 200 GB - $330.00 (for three of them)

- HighPoint RocketRAID 1640 PCI SATA Controller Card RAID 0/1/10 JBOD - $89.00

Kingston 512MB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM Unbuffered DDR 266 (PC 2100) - $63.85

- Antec Hard Drive Fan Sensors - Celsius or Fahrenheit LED - HD COOLER - $22.99 (to mount third hard drive in)

- Video Toaster [2] Convenience Upgrade - 3890 - $29.95 (do they still offer this?)

OR

VT[4] Educational Upgrade from VT[x] (Software Only) With LightWave 7.5 - $395.00

Total (VT[2] 3890) - $535.79
Total (VT[4] Educational without Hardware Upgrade) - $900.84

That all look like it will be reliable and work? I think so, but I've already proven that I don't really know what I'm talking about for these drives... :D I'm still not sure about the power consumption/heat...

John Perkins
09-18-2005, 12:03 PM
Looks good to me.

It isn't the 1820A controller, but for that system the 1640 should be fine and it will save quite a bit of cash.

I'd go for the VT4.5. It's just too much nicer, even on a low spec system.

If the power supply is too small you can always replace it for well under $100 and those are cool running drives so I doubt it gets too hot given any attempt at cooling.

The only problem will be figuring out what to do with 4X the drive space. :D

Kevin Brice
09-18-2005, 01:47 PM
Looks good to me.

It isn't the 1820A controller, but for that system the 1640 should be fine and it will save quite a bit of cash.

I'd go for the VT4.5. It's just too much nicer, even on a low spec system.

If the power supply is too small you can always replace it for well under $100 and those are cool running drives so I doubt it gets too hot given any attempt at cooling.

The only problem will be figuring out what to do with 4X the drive space. :D
Awesome! Thanks so much for all your help! I'll post how everything's going when it's all installed! (if I remember to... :D) We probably won't get to switching until Winter Break (or sooner if I can find a good opportunity) since we use our Toaster every day for school announcements and stuff...

Thanks again!

jcupp
09-20-2005, 09:24 AM
Is the need for more-frequent defragmenting because the SATA drives somehow fragment faster/more easily or because the drives are slower and can't find the various pieces of fragmented files as fast as SCSI drives can?

Wow, I take the weekend off and a thread gets away from me :)

The seek time is longer on the SATA drives so if the array is fragmented it can interfere with smooth playback. SATA drives don't fragment any differently then SCSI it just becomes an issue sooner.

Promise SATA controllers are slow, usually slower than the EIDE controller built into your motherboard. 3Ware SATAs are not much better (thier EIDE controllers are good though). I've used Rocket Raid 18xx cards with great success and I been having good luck with the Adaptecs embedded in some SuperMicro motherboards.

SCSI is great but for many people the cost is prohibitive. Hey! Seagate why not build a real high performance, i.e low seek time, SATA drive?

John Perkins
09-20-2005, 09:37 AM
I've had NO luck with the onboard Adaptec on the X6DAL-TB2. EDIT: I just noticed that the PCI-X on this board is only 66Mhz. That sucks. Time to replace the motherboard...

I've got one here and it stutters on 2 to 3 RTV's. Not immediately, but it does stutter.

If I put in a 39320 card, its good for 8 streams with our SCSI RAID box.

I just tried a Promise SATAII 150 SX8 with the same 4 Seagate SATAs and it is no better than the Adaptec SATA.

I've got a 1820A comming in today so we'll see how it goes.

Are you doing something odd, like formatting the array with 64K clusters or anything?

SBowie
09-20-2005, 10:07 AM
I've had NO luck with the onboard Adaptec on the X6DAL-TB2. EDIT: I just noticed that the PCI-X on this board is only 66Mhz. That sucks. Time to replace the motherboard...
Man there are a lot of SM boards ...

As you likely know, with some of them you've got to watch which slot you put the (66mHz) VT card in or it can pull down SATA throughput. Also, when there are two SATA contollers onboard (often the case) *one* of them can be pulled down by the 32 bit card in the 64bit slot, making it inadvisable to stripe across both SATA controllers (whereas doing this with the older 32bit board can be quite advantageous.)

John Perkins
09-20-2005, 10:21 AM
This board is designed to run the PCI-X at only 66Mhz. When I looked back at the manual to find the onboard Adaptec SATA disable jumper I noticed the speed.

The only device on the PCI-X is the Promise controller (for now) and it is able to run all the way up to 133Mhz.

I reformatted at 64K allocation units and it does pull 3PIP, 1 background video and 1 audio. Unfortunately it stutters after 32-40 seconds. I don't think of that as functional. It should either work, or not.

With default formatting it couldn't do 3 total layers for 10 seconds so this is a quick way to speed up the RAID a little. I think it does make defrag impossible without third party utilities though.

Maybe the RocketRAID (on a real 133Mhz PCI-X board) will work better.

SBowie
09-20-2005, 10:36 AM
This board is designed to run the PCI-X at only 66Mhz. But unless I am forgetting something, putting the 32bit (66mHz) card in the 64bit slot pulls that entire bus down to 32bit bandwidth, compomising things severely. If all 64bit slots on that board are on the same bus, you may be screwed.

John Perkins
09-20-2005, 11:51 AM
The only PCI-X on the system is using a 66/100/133 capable card so it's running at its "full" 66Mhz, it's just a crappy board.

SBowie
09-20-2005, 11:55 AM
OK, my point was that if you have to resort to using that slot for the 66mHZ VT card it can get even worse.