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Best RAID solution for an animator's system

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January 2, 2012 2:23:42 AM

Hello,
I have a friend who is an animator. He has already filled up the 4 available slots for hard drives, so he was asking me for a RAID solution that would let him keep those hard drives intact. I don't know if i am right but i was thinking about telling him to purchase a hard drive enclosure with esata and RAID option. I need a better solution than this. Thanks.
a b G Storage
January 4, 2012 1:48:28 AM

If you've already used all of your motherboards SATA connections then you've basically got three choices. First, you could buy a new motherboard. That is not a great option for most people, but it is an option. A lot of motherboards come with eight SATA ports these days. Second, you can go with an external solution like an ESATA or USB 3.0 RAID enclosure like you mentioned. The third option is a PCIe RAID card. RAID cards are pretty expensive and not all RAID cards are compatible with all motherboards.

If you post a budget, the current hardware setup, and the hard drives he wants to RAID then we can give better advice.
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a b G Storage
January 5, 2012 5:57:06 PM

blackzero619 said:
Hello,
I have a friend who is an animator. He has already filled up the 4 available slots for hard drives, so he was asking me for a RAID solution that would let him keep those hard drives intact. I don't know if i am right but i was thinking about telling him to purchase a hard drive enclosure with esata and RAID option. I need a better solution than this. Thanks.



The best solution is use a external enclosure with combo interface like USB3.0/2.0/FireWire400/800 and eSATA

or DIY raid solution:

Get the five SATA ports hardware RAID controller with PCI bracket

Connect all five drive to this controller config those HDD to RAID0, RAID10, RAID3, RIAD5 or SPAN... (RAID10, 3 and 5 are redundant raid)

Connect this RAID control to ONE of the internal SATA port

The system should see the RAID immediately, there is NO software or Drivers required.
Format it and ready to go.

If you want external solution, get a cheap computer case ($20~$50) install 10x HDD and use 2x USB3.0/eSATA hardware raid controller and PCI bracket

Now you have a 10x drives USB3.0 and eSATA RAID solution with a fraction of cost :-)
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January 5, 2012 7:45:37 PM

Definitely get an external RAID box. The good internal controllers empty cost as much as some boxes do with drives in them. They still max out the performance of the HDDs, and can be disconnected quickly and sprinted out of the room in case of emergency (fire, storms, etc). I got an external 1TB LaCie 2big quadra RAID box 3 years ago for $200 with both HDD's included, and it caps performance and cools very efficiently. I'd have had to spend $300-350 dollars if I went internally, and I'd have zero performance improvement since the drives can't exceed the bandwidth of the $10 PCI express x1 to eSATA card I purchased. Also, I have actually had to haul it to my basement during tornadoes and it saves a lot of time and possible broken feet over trying to haul your whole computer box downstairs, haha.



Oh, and don't forget cooling fans if they're internal. And possibly ear plugs. And a gyroscopic seismic monitor warning system.
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a b G Storage
January 5, 2012 9:39:52 PM

A good PCIe solution is generally better than an external solution, but generally more expensive as others have indicated. I think in terms of price vs. performance an external solution is probably the best option. I don't think I would buy a $600 model like the one linked by FireWire2, but that's the right idea. The five SATA to one SATA controllers that FireWire2 mentioned are interesting, too. I've never seen those before.

@overfocused: Do you live in a tornado-prone area? Because tornado safety is pretty low on my list of concerns for my electronics. I would even argue that having the drives inside your machine is an advantage because you only have one thing to haul around. Also...noise, heat, and vibration? I have four HDD's in my case right now and they're quiet and plenty cool. If you have loud, hot, or vibrating drives then the drives are the problem - not the housing. And finally, a PCIe 2.0 x1 slot has a bandwidth of about 500 MB/s. That's a problem for an SSD raid, but it's going to take a lot of drives to exceed that with an HDD RAID.
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January 6, 2012 4:18:58 AM

danraies said:
@overfocused: Do you live in a tornado-prone area?


I live near Chicago which is windy but generally not really tornado-ey, at least until about 4 years ago. In the last 3 years there have been I think 3? tornadoes not too far north from our house... if any of them had changed direction south for just a couple minutes we'd have gotten hit. But, we seem to be just below the general path of the weather or something cause for the last 24 years here, a noticeable amount broadcasted for Chicago will hit the south side and some of the south suburbs, and then fall just short of us. I didn't get this thing for emergencies though. I got it for storage and for the ability to plug into my laptop, or any other box I want to. As for emergencies I'm just saying it is good for situations where you gotta get out fast compact and light.


danraies said:
I would even argue that having the drives inside your machine is an advantage because you only have one thing to haul around
All drives inside my machine are backed up to image onto my external raid, so if I had to ditch the main box I could.


danraies said:
Also...noise, heat, and vibration?


Seismic monitor of gyroing is joke! I keed I keed!
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a b G Storage
January 6, 2012 3:35:54 PM

danraies said:
... The five SATA to one SATA controllers that FireWire2 mentioned are interesting, too. I've never seen those before...


Yes, that is pretty nice... I don't have to worry compatible issue with ANY OS, cuz it only needs a SATA port and no drivers

I test 5x 3TB CoolSpin + internal SATA II host - I got about 248MB/sec, not too shabby for small little thing :-)
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January 16, 2012 1:36:06 PM

Best answer selected by blackzero619.
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