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Looking for RAID experience

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February 9, 2012 10:34:07 PM

Ok, I am looking for practical advice, not theory. I have read all the theory I care to.

Situation. I do a lot of photoshop rendering, as well as video rendering. I am looking for speed mostly. Not necessarily the absolute fastest, but fast. If fast enough I would consider raid 5 just to cut down on the pita factor (pain-in-the-a$$) if a drive crashes.
So, here the setup.
I have 5 new WD RE3 320gb drives. And yes I will be using mobo raid. Iky9.
So my thoughts are...

1) Raid-0 all 5. fly by the seat of my pants and hope i have backups if a drive crashes. I will be backing up externally.

2) 1 drive for OS, Raid-0 2 drives for read/source , Raid-0 2 drives for write.

3) 1 drive for OS, Raid-0 remaining 4 drives.

4) Raid 5 all drives.

Part 2. If raid 0 or 5 on all drives, do I create OS Partition? Everything I read points to yes.

Thanks all for your advice. Remember I am looking for any experiences with similar or close to same situations. What works, not what SHOULD work.
Thank you.
mark

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a c 82 G Storage
February 10, 2012 1:09:26 AM

RAID 5 without a caching controller will be significantly slower than RAID 0. I'd setup configuration #3 and perform regular external backups.
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February 10, 2012 3:03:49 AM

marks-o-lot said:
Ok, I am looking for practical advice, not theory. I have read all the theory I care to.

Situation. I do a lot of photoshop rendering, as well as video rendering. I am looking for speed mostly.


First of all, are you sure your drives are going to be the bottleneck here? "Usually" with video rendering/editing, you max out processor or memory resources long before drive I/O or access speed is an issue. (I have less experience with image editing, so maybe that's where the drive speed comes into play.) If it were me, I wouldn't use RAID in this situation.

Having said that...

Of the options you have in your post, I'd use #2. #4 won't give you the drive speed you want/need, and both #1 and #3 seems excessive (four or five drives in RAID0, wow :??:  ). Actually, I'd maybe tweak #2 a bit. Buy a sixth drive - have an OS drive, an application drive and then two drives in RAID0 for "source"/read and two drives in RAID0 for "destination"/write.


The current setup on the box I do my video editing on has four independent internal drives and an independent RAID5 array for storage. An OS drive, an "application drive" where my rendering and editing software lives, scratch drive 1 (source materials), and scratch drive 2 (destination location). This setup's worked well for me, though all those drives are SATA (3Gbps) spinning disks @ either 7200 RPM or 10K RPM, and if I were to build it again today, they'd all be SSDs, except for the RAID 5 array.

Only things I'd point out about it is that it occasionally bottlenecks in uncommon places (gonna happen when you've got the system accessing 4 drives and an array simultaneously), and of course, there's the issue of timing moving the completed renders off the drive being used for the rendering destination... but I don't run rendering ops 24/7 or anything, so that's usually not an issue.
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February 10, 2012 3:23:59 AM

I'm going to agree with Infidel, that's good advice.

I can only comment: I use an OS drive and a RAID 0 for games with 2 drives which gives great load times. It seems logical to me to have an OS drive, Apps drive, then the 2 raid 0's for reads and writes ;) 
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February 10, 2012 4:12:03 AM

AS far as the bottleneck goes.. I'm running quad core q6600 and 8gb ram. so i think im ok there. I was running and os/apps drive and 1 drive source and 1 drive destination. a 2 hour movie would average 57 min render. but i want faster!
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February 10, 2012 7:37:59 AM

marks-o-lot said:
AS far as the bottleneck goes.. I'm running quad core q6600 and 8gb ram. so i think im ok there. I was running and os/apps drive and 1 drive source and 1 drive destination. a 2 hour movie would average 57 min render. but i want faster!


Small world. The system I mention above is a Q6600 (@2.4 GHz) with 8 GB DDR2. (Yeah, a few years old at this point).

And, based on my system, I seriously doubt that adding faster drives/RAID0 is going to help your rendering speed at all - check the Q6600 processor against benchmarks on more recent quad core procs:

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_lookup.php?cpu=Intel+Co...

(Generalized benchmarks, you'll probably want to look at video rendering-specific ones.)

Passmark score on the Q6600 (@2.4 Ghz) 2,966, putting it way at the bottom of the performance list for high end CPUs. If you browse up that list a bit, you can see that the core i5s and i7s have much better scores, and you can pick some of them up for less than $250.

That's what'll give your rendering speeds a boost. But don't take my word for it, pull up task manager or a performance monitor during a render and see what's tapping out at 100% usage - it's processor, and I doubt your disk I/Os or accesses are even hitting 1% of capacity.

Also, depending on your graphics card, and what resolutions you're rendering, you may want to look into GPU-assisted rendering software. All the professional video editing suites these days offer some level of support, as do a lot of the more popular consumer products, and that's an easy way to get those rendering speeds way down without any hardware replacements.

Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 costs a couple hundred, Sony Vegas comes in around 100 and CyberLink Power Director is about 50, IIRC, and I'm about completely positive they all support GPU-assisted rendering with some graphics cards. Hell, maybe you can even find some freeware or FOSS rendering tools that have CUDA instruction sets in them now, but I have no experience with those, at least as far as GPU-assisted video editing goes.

If I were you, that's what I'd look at to boost render speeds. CPU upgrade and/or GPU-assisted video editing software.
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