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1 SSD and/or 15K rpm drive? Or 2-3 7200 in RAID?

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January 2, 2010 7:18:33 PM

Which will be faster? One newer 15000 rpm or solid state hard drive ~150GB, or 2-3 WD Caviar 7200rpm SATA II 160gb drives in RAID 0 (or RAID 5 if I get 3)

Motherboard is an ASUS M4A78T-E with it's onboard RAID controller.

I ask this because I'm slowly getting into some higher end video editing and rendering uncompressed 1280x720x32 frames (2.7MB each) at a source rate of 250 FPS takes a LONG time when your HDD can only write at ~15 fps. :o 
a c 415 G Storage
January 2, 2010 8:06:57 PM

Use an SSD to speed up boot times and application load times because of their unmatchable fast access time.

Use hard drives in a RAID 0 array for holding large files that have to be read and written quickly (like video files being edited) due to the high transfer rates for both reading and writing.

Note that mere playback of standard audio or video files doesn't require high transfer rates (although 250FPS is a different story).
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January 3, 2010 3:29:13 AM

This isn't for playback, this is for rendering and editing. I render the source footage at anywhere from 150-500 FPS and then edit those files in Vegas and AE. I'm looking for a setup that will allow me to write and read large files more quickly.

This is my HD Tach score on my primary drive (WD Caviar 320GB)




At this rate, no matter what the source footage of the video, I can only render out uncompressed video at 17-20 frames per second, I was hoping to speed this up as I know the rest of my system is more than capable.

(To be honest, 4-5 years ago I never thought I'd see the day where hard drives were the bottleneck of a gaming rig)
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a c 415 G Storage
January 3, 2010 4:29:28 AM

-Gamah said:
This isn't for playback, this is for rendering and editing.
Yeah, I understood that from your original post. I wanted to make that comment for the benefit of lurkers because questions about SSD vs. RAID performance are always coming up in this forum and the answer is always "SSD is best for random I/O, RAID is best for transfer rate (i.e., large file I/O)" - but a lot of people seem to get the wrong idea that it means you need fancy RAID setups to play movies because movies are large files. Not true, as normal movies played at normal speed just don't require a very high transfer rate. The file may be multi-gigabytes long, but you can take like an hour or so to read it.

But the stuff you're doing certainly does require a high transfer rate! Be sure to try to arrange your drives, folders and files so that you're not trying to simultaneously access two of those huge files on the same RAID set - that will slow down the transfer rate dramatically.
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January 3, 2010 7:35:03 AM

Am I better off buying the 15K rpm drives for RAID? How much faster (than the drive in the picture from my above post) can I expect 3 cheaper 160GB 7200RPM drives to perform in RAID 0? What about RAID 5? My files are certainly big, a 1 minute clip without audio is about 55GB.

Here's an example of the kind of stuff I am doing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2whLHg_EkQ

As you can see, the high framerate is needed for the slow motion to be smooth, and because this is rendered in Double NTSC (nearly 60FPS) in order to do 1/4 slow motion (common) I have to have at least 240 FPS source footage. A clip that long takes about 15-20 minutes of my actual effort to edit, but due to the immense file size, rendering both the original footage, and the final clip took about 2 hours.
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January 3, 2010 7:51:26 AM

The best option(regardless of the performance/price ratio) is to get 15K drives at RAID0. Though raid 0 will get you the max speed available, i strongly reccomend against it because it doubles(or triples if you get 3 drives) the chances of a catastrophic failure in which you won't be able to recover any of your files

Imo,your best best(and also a very good price/performance solution) is to get 3 or 4 7200 rpm(or even 10k rpm if price is not a very big issue) disks at raid5. Sure,you will loose the storage of one drive,but this will give you increased speeds and reliability over any single drive.
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a b G Storage
January 3, 2010 1:40:53 PM

I have a slightly different perspective than Godhatesusall

You need balance in a well constructed video editing system. When you are rendering your video is your CPU maxed out? If so then a hard drive upgrade isnt going to do a lot for you. If your CPU is idling along, then go fo a hard drive upgrade.

Video transcoding/rendering needs lots of disk throughput if your CPU is up to it. In that case go for RAID 0. Contrary to what people say here, the likelyhood of a failure is minimal. And if you are worried then back it up. RAID5? Never for rendering on a consumer grade PC. If you threw in a hardware RAID controller - maybe...

SSD's are good for rendering if you get a couple with good write speed - look at the benchmarks.

If your processor is up to it, then I would use 3 or 4 hard drives in a RAID 0 configuration, or 2 SSD's in a RAID 0
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a c 415 G Storage
January 3, 2010 4:39:19 PM

-Gamah said:
Am I better off buying the 15K rpm drives for RAID? How much faster (than the drive in the picture from my above post) can I expect 3 cheaper 160GB 7200RPM drives to perform in RAID 0? What about RAID 5? My files are certainly big, a 1 minute clip without audio is about 55GB.
For files of that size what you're looking for is pretty much straight transfer rate. Look for drives with the highest transfer rates, and put them into RAID 0 (or 0+1). Don't assume that a drive that spins faster has a higher transfer rate - for example the 10KRPM 300GB Velociraptors have less data per track so they're not really any better at transfer rates than something like a 7200RPM 1TB WD Black drive. The high spin speeds are there to reduce latency, which isn't really going to help when dealing with a 55GB file that's reasonably contiguous. If you can find a 15K drive with a really high transfer rate, then great. But it's the transfer rate that's key, not the spin speed.

Watch out for SSDs because some of them are slower than HDDs for sequential write speeds. SSDs are probably not the best match for what you're trying to do because their biggest feature is very fast access speeds - again not what you need. And frequent writing of 55GB files to an SSD is going to be a lot harder than a typical system in terms of using up the limited number of write cycles available.
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January 3, 2010 4:47:06 PM

vvhocare5 said:
I have a slightly different perspective than Godhatesusall

You need balance in a well constructed video editing system. When you are rendering your video is your CPU maxed out? If so then a hard drive upgrade isnt going to do a lot for you. If your CPU is idling along, then go fo a hard drive upgrade.

Video transcoding/rendering needs lots of disk throughput if your CPU is up to it. In that case go for RAID 0. Contrary to what people say here, the likelyhood of a failure is minimal. And if you are worried then back it up. RAID5? Never for rendering on a consumer grade PC. If you threw in a hardware RAID controller - maybe...

SSD's are good for rendering if you get a couple with good write speed - look at the benchmarks.

If your processor is up to it, then I would use 3 or 4 hard drives in a RAID 0 configuration, or 2 SSD's in a RAID 0


I'm on an Phenom II 955 clocked to 3.4Ghz, I use maybe 10-30% CPU while rendering, my only bottleneck is the hard drive.

I don't suppose it would be possible to do RAID 0 with 2 160 drives, and then RAID 1 to the first array with a single 320, would it?

If that isn't the case I will most likely pick up 2 or 3 cheaper drives for RAID 0. Most of my editing projects take only a few hours, a disk failure won't cause me to lose anything important, since the important stuff is backed up on 3 (2 of which aren't even in the system) other drives and DVD at the moment. :sol: 
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