Video editing - Raid 0 or Dual HD's?

I have 2 SATA 250Gb drives and an Nvidia nForce 4 chipset.

Any recommendations on using RAID 0 or having two drives, one for read, and one for write?

With only one drive, the drive has been the main bottle neck when changing video formats. Adding the second drive was a big improvement, about 75% faster, maybe more at times. I think the advantage was because one was only reading and the other only writing.

I am not sure if RAID 0 will help this much, or might even be slower since both drives will still have to read and write even though it would in theory be only half the data.

I know for a PVR set up this would help, but I am mainly interested in opinions about throughput.
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  1. I think I am working with two files on each drive by your definition. The source file is on the first drive and the destination is on the second drive (the source is in DV format, and the destination is a DVD image, or mpeg etc.). The source is unmodified. I also keep any source video unmodified during editing, writing the edited file to the other drive. I alternate which drive is the source and which is the destination.
  2. Go with the separate 2 drives like you do now.

    Having 2 drives in RAID0 equals rougthly to having 1 drive of double capacity and nearly double speed, but only when you do sustained continous read OR write, not alternating them in very different disk portions like you'll do in this case.
    This is because using the same drive array the heads must continously move between the 2 files when the program alternates reads and writes.
    Using 2 different devices the drive's heads (with small fragmentation of course!) move only to adiacent tracks with no latencies.
    Using big filesystem caches minimizes this difference, but using 2 drives is still a bit faster even with a 256MB disk cache (I tested this with 2 WD Raptors on Win 2003 Server and Gentoo Linux with xfs).

    Not mentioning data security... having 2 drives is much more secure than a RAID0, especially with Microsoft OS.
  3. In my humble opinion, you've got it right. Put source and destination on separate drives.. Separate controllers would probably be even better if you've got them (Wild guess here). I recently upgraded my system to an X2 4200+ and ran a conversion for the heck of it, wmv to divx using vegas 6c. AMD dashboard was showing both cores in use but only about 75% each! It then dawned on me I did sourc/destination on the same drive. Ran it again between two separate SATA drives and pinned both cores at 100% through most of the conversion. There were occasional dips but I imagine it's background tasks getting a piece of the action.

    I've only done minimal tweaking so far so we'll see what the future holds. I'm dying to try Vegas's ability to use networked computers for rendering along with the dual core.

    I tried raid 0 awhile back for video capture (single file) and found it absolutely unnecessary. A single SATA drive dedicated to video capture was fast enough to avoid dropped frames on a 1.8Ghz Barton system.
  4. Another vote for having separate drives for source and destination. maury73 explained it pretty well.

  5. That's what I was thinking as well, but I haven't had any practical experience in with either. Sometimes there are unknown factors.
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