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Need Help with a Super Computer

Last response: in CPUs
December 15, 2002 5:21:56 AM

Below are the components in my new system followed by my intended setup and questions. Any advice and suggestions on the setup will be greatly appreciated. The system is a bit complicated and should be quite challenging to configure. It seems a bit long, but it is in outline format. Thanks ahead of time.


Motherboard: Asus P4T533
CPU: Pentium 4 3.06GHZ
RAM: 1GB RIMM4200 ( PC1066 232 pin )

Hard Drives:

(4) Fujitsu 18.4GB 15K RPM ULTRA160 SCSI (MAM3184MP)(68 Pin)
(1) IBM Ultra2 9.1GB 9LZX Ultra2 SCSI (may go in my sons computer)
(1) Seagate Cheetah 9.1GB Ultra160 SCSI (ST39205LC) (80 Pin)
(1) Fujitsu 9.1GB Ultra160 SCSI (MAH3091MC) (80 Pin)
(1) Maxtor ATA Ultra 133 160GB IDE

AGP Card:

(1) Gainward Geforce4 Ti4600 Powerpack

PCI Cards:

(1) 3400s Adaptec Scsi 4 channel Ultra160 SCSI Raid Card
(1) 39160 Adaptec Ultra160 SCSI Card (2 independent Ultra160
Channels and 1 50 pin) (do I need this?? I need the 50 pin, but I can convert it to a 68 pin device and hook up to one of the separate channels on the 3400s—more of this later). Also, I may be putting one of my Fujitsu 18.4GB 15K RPM ULTRA160 SCSI (MAM3184MP)(68 Pin) Hard Drives on this.

(1) Soundblaster Audigy2 Platnium Card
(1) Dazzle Digital Video Creator 2
(1) Hauppauge Win TV-D
(1) Maxtor ATA 133 PCI Card or Creative Labs DXR3 “dvd-decoder” (may need these—may not—more on this later).

50 PIN SCSI Devices

(1) Creative DVD-RAM
(1) Onstream 30GB Tape Drive
(1) Iomega JAZ 2GB
(1) Iomega 100MB Zip Drive

IDE Drives:

(1) Plextor 48/24/48A CD-RW/R (ATA 33)
(1) Pioneer DVD 106s/2 (ATA 66)
(1) Sony DVD+-DRU500A (ATA 33)
(1) Kenwood 72x Cd-rom (ATA 33)(I have this drive, but may not include it--see below on the discussion about IDE setup).

Other Relevant Stuff:

Roughly 20 Fans and 8 Hard Drive Coolers (Sounds like a jet engine—ok for me)
Windows XP Professional

Here are the questions regarding setup for optimal performance:

(1) First, Scsi Hard Drive Placement:
This is what I have come up with:
-On the 3400s I will have two Raid Arrays:

1. 3 of the Fujitsu 18.4GB 15K RPM ULTRA160 SCSI Drives on RAID 0. Two on two of the four channels on RAID 0. (I’ll be backing up with the 160GB Maxtor so don’t need any protection.

2. Another RAID 0 configuration consisting of the Fujitsu 9.1GB Ultra160
SCSI Drive and the Seagate Cheetah 9.1GB Ultra160 SCSI Drive.
The Questions Regarding this:

1. I’ve talked with Adaptec and they see no problems with having an array over
Multiple channels and it will not cause a performance decrease. I just don’t want any bottleneck, which may be a problem with 4 of the Fujitsu 15K drives on just two channels. Does anyone see a problem with this or have any input?

2. I know you should always have the exact same drives in a Raid Array, but does
Anyone see a problem with the 2nd array I’m doing, since they are different brands—but they are the same size?

3. As will be seen in a moment, I plan on putting my last Fujitsu 18.4GB 15K RPM
ULTRA160 SCSI Drive on the Adaptec 39160 Drive and boot Windows XP Pro
From there. This brings me to one of the most important questions. I have read
many posts and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s best to separate the operating
system and applications (more of this later) on its own hard drive. I do not
understand this. What is the benefit of having raid (for performance) if the
operating system and applications and saved files are not on the RAID Array??? It would seem to me that I should put all 4 of the Fujitsu 15K Ultra160 Drives in an array and
boot the operating system and applications from that?? If there is a reason for this
please let me know and also what gets stored on the RAID Array for a performance
increase if the OS and Apps are not on the Array?? Please, any input on this
would be greatly appreciated!!!!

4. What about Stripe Sizes? What is the Optimal level? 90% of my files will be
Under 10MB and most of that will be under 5MB. I’ve read that it’s best to have
A 64k stripe size is best for overall performance. Is this right?

-On the Adaptec 39160 this is what I plan. This takes into account that I will boot
the OS and Apps from here (see question 3 right above).
1. On Channel A I will have the Fujitsu 18.4GB 15K RPM ULTRA160 SCSI
Drive if this is the best thing for performance to do. If I do this how do I set it up concerning partitions? I’ve heard it’s best to have one partition for the OS and another for apps(concerning apps I have heard it’s best to have an additional one for games) and another for a Swap/Page file. Also, is it best to do without the swap/page file since I will have over 1GB of ram. This is the 2nd most important question!!
2. On Channel B I will have the IBM 9LZX and on the 50 pin connector I
Will have all the Ultra SCSI Drives. No question here—straight forward. That is if I decide to keep the 9LZX on this computer—probably will not and will just get an adapter to connect the 50 pin scsi devices to the 3400s—any ideas or comments?

(2) Hard Drive and DVD/Cd IDE Drive Placement:
--I’m really lost here. Where should I put the 5 IDE Devices (4 DVD/CD drives and
the hard Drive)? The hard drive is ATA 133 and the Plextor, sony and kenwood(may not put in the system) drive are ATA 33 and the Pioneer 106s/2 is ATA 66.
--On the motherboard I have two ATA 100 connectors and two ATA 133 Raid
Connectors. On the Maxtor PCI card(may not include—see below) I have 2 ATA 133 Connectors.
(1) How should I set this up? Can I put any of the DVD/CD drives on the
Maxtor PCI Card or on the raid connectors on the motherboard? Can the
Hard Drives be put on the Raid Connectors on the motherboard without a
Raid Array?? Finally, will having say an ATA 66 and ATA 33 on the same channel decrease performance of the ATA 66 Drive?? I’m a bit lost here and need help.

What about the 6th PCI device? Should I go with the Maxtor ATA 133 PCI card or the DXR3?
1) DXR3
This device will allow me to have two more sound outputs. I have the new POWER DVD Player, but is it better than the hardware decoder of DXR3.
2) MAXTOR ATA 133 Card
Will I use this? From what I think I know, I can only hook up hard drives to the raid on the board, which means I have 4 regular IDE devices(upon the two connectors) which I can hook up. This is not a problem since I am only left with four after the hard drive is on the raid. But, on the ide channels on the motherboard I will have a CD-RW, CD-Rom, DVD-ROM, and a DVD-+R/RW. However, is the IDE connectors on the MAXTOR PCI Card able to recognize non-hardrives—any conflicts.
3) Do I need either of these cards.
Final Questions:

(1) The server case I have is double sided and has two 400W power Supplies, but I
Believe I will need more. I would like to note that having two 400Watt PS is not like having one 800 Watt PS. I would like to get two 550+ Redundant power supplies, but I’m having trouble finding one. Any suggestions regarding this???

Any more info or advice about anything would be greatly appreciated. Thank You for the help.

More about : super computer

December 15, 2002 6:00:16 AM

all that scsi on winXP, what a shame.

wtf? i'm uberl33t mang. i've got dual cpus, 6 scsi drives in raid0 and 2gb of ram for my UT2003 machine. so i'm a hax0r.
December 15, 2002 6:17:43 AM

do what mbetea?

How about my system?

I need input
Related resources
December 15, 2002 6:24:37 AM

Hello. If you want an impressive system, here's a <A HREF="" target="_new">link</A>. Just add a graphics card to it - ATI 9700 Pro.

<i>It's your world kid!!!</i><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by halkebul on 12/15/02 03:46 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
December 15, 2002 6:41:21 AM

<font color=blue>Oh My God</font color=blue>
Can i have some of your money???

The only suggestions i have are ditch the plextor and pioneer dvd & burner.
Better can be had from liteon.
I would also add you can save a few dollars by getting liteon too... but its kinda silly to say that given the sot of your whole rig isnt it? :smile:

<b><font color=purple>[Rik_]</font color=purple> I wonder how many people have made their own phasechange system?
<font color=blue>[LHGPooBaa]</font color=blue> I get phasechange whenever i eat a hot chillie :lol:  </b>
December 15, 2002 6:53:44 AM

already have the components so i can't ditch anything. Setting it up this next weedkend. I love plextor. I have never had any problems with them Just wish they would make an updated scsi drive. the dvd burner (sony) is the best. It burns both + and - and it works great.
December 15, 2002 6:55:52 AM

My suggestions are. Ditch the plextor cd-rw and get a lite-on. Lite-on`s are a faster drive and better quality. Also ditch the GF4 ti4600 and get a ATI Radeon 9700Pro. Also I want some of your money as you seem to be loaded. :-)
December 15, 2002 6:58:19 AM

Well if youy cant ditch anything WHY DID YOU ASK OUR ADVICE? That seems to just be showing off and makes all of us feel bad. Next time you post on here dont bother skyting and think of other peoples feelings first.
December 15, 2002 7:04:31 AM

awww *HUGS*
hope you feel betta... but you do have a point.

<b><font color=purple>[Rik_]</font color=purple> I wonder how many people have made their own phasechange system?
<font color=blue>[LHGPooBaa]</font color=blue> I get phasechange whenever i eat a hot chillie :lol:  </b>
December 15, 2002 7:23:33 AM

what about your system?

wtf? i'm uberl33t mang. i've got dual cpus, 6 scsi drives in raid0 and 2gb of ram for my UT2003 machine. so i'm a hax0r.
December 15, 2002 7:25:53 AM

I'm not showing off. I just need help putting this thing together. I have already bought the components so i can't go out and change them. I currently have a Pentium III 750 in my computer in here now. When i upgrade it's too last. I apologize if i came on as arragant, but i do need help in putting this monster together.
December 15, 2002 7:35:29 AM

I will have a go at it and try and explain what I know about it.
For a start you are better off using thw 9.1 U160's for boot/operating system, and have the two raid arrays as per size of remaining disks. i.e. (4) Fujitsu 18.4GB 15K RPM ULTRA160 SCSI (MAM3184MP)(68 Pin) in one raid set possibly raid 0+1 or just 0 or 1, and the other 2* 9.1gb drives in onother raid set/channel as raid 0 or put it on the 31960 and have the 3 9.1gb drives there as boot and program drives. Another way is to forget about the 39160 card and have the 3* 9.1gb drives on the other raid channel.
ok, eplaining this as I see it.

This is my opinion, have the operating system on one 9.1gb drive as once you update it ect you will be using half of it already and some things cannot be saved in other directories. Next is to have all your programs setup on the other two 9.1gb drives either in raid setup or on the 39160. I usually setup my operating systems and programs on separate partitions incase i need to re-install my operating system again, this allows me to have all my programs setup untouched by a re-install on another drive or partition on the drive.
I would setup your 3 9.1gb drives on raid 0, use one for o/s and the rest for your programs.

Ok, I can hear you saying why not put all that on the 18.3's, yes you can, but I was thinking maybe since you obviously deal in video files and edit them prolly best to store retrieve them from the 18.3gb*4 hdd's perhaps in raid 0+1 array effectivly giving you security and speed however the total drive capacity will be 36gb or set it up as raid 0 for speed, mass storage and backups/images can be stored on the IDE 160GB drive.

I think removing the 39160 card from the equation will help you/us/me figure out the best way of configuring this beast.

At this point I have confused myself and will take a coffee break. lol

<A HREF="" target="_new"> My networked systems</A> :smile:
December 15, 2002 7:41:17 AM

well then. take the sticks of ram, put them in the ram slots. take the cpu and put it in the cpu socket. hookup the hs+f. put the mobo in the case. here's the tricky part:

you're going to want to take each pci card and stick one in each pci slot. BUT, here's the catch, the graphics card has to go into the agp slot (the brown one above the previously mentioned pci slots). assuming you already have your drives in the case we can skip past that part. next you're going to want to hookup the drive cables to their respected ports. now run your power cables to all your drives and the mobo from the psu(s). then hook up all your case leds to the header on the mobo. now close the case. that's it for me, i'm not 100% sure on hooking up monitors, keyboards, mice, etc. so hopefully someone else can chime in and we'll get this thing up and running.

ps. are you the guy i sold ocean-front property in iowa to?

wtf? i'm uberl33t mang. i've got dual cpus, 6 scsi drives in raid0 and 2gb of ram for my UT2003 machine. so i'm a hax0r.
December 15, 2002 7:59:31 AM

really? Can i have one? :) 

<b><font color=purple>[Rik_]</font color=purple> I wonder how many people have made their own phasechange system?
<font color=blue>[LHGPooBaa]</font color=blue> I get phasechange whenever i eat a hot chillie :lol:  </b>
December 15, 2002 8:39:44 AM

It didnt really make me feel bad. I was just trying to get a point across to the other guy. I find it hard to believe though that someone that bought so much performance hardware doesnt know how to put it together. :-)
December 15, 2002 8:48:12 AM

yeah... allmost obscene the amount of specialised hardware he has. He should give some to us poor technogeeks! :) 

<b><font color=purple>[Rik_]</font color=purple> I wonder how many people have made their own phasechange system?
<font color=blue>[LHGPooBaa]</font color=blue> I get phasechange whenever i eat a hot chillie :lol:  </b>
December 15, 2002 10:08:50 AM

Yeah my thoughts exactly... it seems almost impossible to me that someone could know that much only in theory ?


<font color=blue>Its winter now... So how come my CPU temp is still </font color=blue><b><font color=red>55C</font color=red></b>
December 15, 2002 11:29:19 AM

I'm sorry that some are being a jackass and attacking you for no reason. I can't really answer your questions, but I can apologize for them being rude. That's one hell of an uber rig though so I suppose they're jealous.

As far as finding a powersupply, try <A HREF="" target="_new">;/A> or <A HREF="" target="_new">;/A>

This article about raid is pretty good, but I'm not sure if you can apply it to your case. It's been a while since I read it. <A HREF="" target="_new">;/A>

<font color=red>
<A HREF="" target="_new">Forum Assassin</A></font color=red>
December 15, 2002 5:45:07 PM

Stiffler i've put together a few systems, but have never played around with RAID and want to get it right.

I'm leaning towards dropping the 39160 scsi card and hooking up my scsi devices as follows. Let me know how this sounds.

The 4 fujitsu Ultra160 SCSI drives in a RAID 0 Array over two channels with a 64K stripe size. Partioning it as follows with partition magic.
Partition 1 OS
Partition 2 Apps
Partition 3 Utilities
Partition 4 Games
Partition 5 Saved files/data files

The other two Ultra160 drives will also be setup in a RAID 0 congiguration on one channel.

The 50 pin scsi devices through an adapter will be hooked up to the last channel on the card.

Not being an expert in any calibur on RAID or Partioning, is this the best way for performance to hook up the hard drives. Or should i incorportate the other SCSI Card. Please let me know what yall think.
December 15, 2002 7:09:07 PM

you can configure the partitions any way you want, it seems you have that all taken care of. i wouldnt recomend using the gray ribon cables for all those drives. get the high speed 68 pin braided cables. i may have some i could sell you if you cant find any for a reasonable price. i doubt you could find some for less than 20 bucks each. imho that many scsi drives for storage is a bad idea and quite frankly foolish. i thought you were going to be using them for video capturing. for that purpose you will still want more space. scsi wont give you too much bennefit unless you are serving files to many clients. they are not faster than ide drives striped. if you stripe all your data on 4 drives you are just increasing your chance of data loss by 4 times. i didnt really read all you said, but i saw that you were talking about using 50 to 68 pin adaptors. you take a performance hit with those things. as for a power supply, i would recomend an enermax or antec 550. im with you 100% on the plextor drives. dont get me wrong, lite on makes very decent drives, but they dont hold a candle to the reputation and reliability of plextor drives. i wish they didnt stop making scsi drives, i have their scsi 40x reader but i had to have faster than 12x write so i had to go with an ide.

my computer is so fast, it completes an endless loop in less than 4 seconds!
December 15, 2002 8:25:13 PM

Thanks for the offer jihiggs. I have the cables you mentioned though. I will be using the scsi drive for video editing, rendering, and capturing among other things. I do have the 550 Watt enermax power supply, which i'm sure i'm going to utilize every watt. Had a redundant power supply (one 400 and one 350), but they don't make them much bigger so i'm sitting on those. As far as the 50 to 68 pin adapter, that will be on its on independent scsi channel with only 50 pin devices. However, i know will probably use the 39160 scsi card.

Here is my new SCSI device set up. Let me know what yall think.

Adaptec 3400s SCSI RAID card with 4 independent Ultra160 channels:

RAID 0 Array with one Fujitsu Ultra160 Hard Drive over 3 of the channels. Partioned with the swap file and apps.

RAID 0 Array on the last channel with the other 2 non-fujitsu Ultra160 Drives

Adaptec 39160 SCSI Card with two independent Ultra160 Channels and one 50 pin connector.

Channel one will have my 4th Ultra160 Fujitsu Hard drive with the operating system.
The 50 pin connector will have the 50 pin scsi devices.

I'm reconfiguring it this way, because of the bottleneck that will occur if i have all 4 of the Fujitsu Drives on the 3400s in a RAID 0 Array. These drives have a data transfer rate of 68-86 MB/sec and the PCI bus is 132 MB/sec so the fourth drive will not add any performance increase just a larger size array.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated
December 15, 2002 8:37:06 PM

Well I am sorry it just seemed strange to me that someone with no experiance of RAID would dive head first into it quite as much as you planned. I never doubted what you said just thought it unusual. And as jihiggs said your choice does seem a little extravert for most requirements !

What do you plan to do with it ?

and I have a Lite on drive and although there is nothing bad I can say about it, the only reason I bought it was because I couldn't afford anything else at the time (I am a poor Student) and if I could have I would have bought a Plextor


<font color=blue>Its winter now... So how come my CPU temp is still </font color=blue><b><font color=red>55C</font color=red></b>
December 15, 2002 9:14:05 PM

I'll be using it for video capturing, editing, and rendering. Also, for ripping cd's and DVD's. Also, i do a lot of business over ebay and it's not uncommon for me to have over 10 programs running at the same time. In otherwords a lot of multitasking. And of course the usual office programs and games.
December 15, 2002 10:23:03 PM

how does ebay eat up drive space? but i have been reading a lot of people are switching to raid arrays for browsing ebay.

i hope what you capture doesn't have too much value to it or you're capping small video (320x280) for the web. you're swamping your pci bus with all that scsi, so i wouldn't be surprised if you run into problems with dropped frames/corrupted files. the only thing that you would need all that scsi for is if you're running a toaster2 setup (which i didn't see it listed so i'm assuming you're not).

to rip what cds and dvds? ones you created?

wtf? i'm uberl33t mang. i've got dual cpus, 6 scsi drives in raid0 and 2gb of ram for my UT2003 machine. so i'm a hax0r. f342 m3!
December 15, 2002 10:28:07 PM

So you say you have bought everything allready?
Could you return somethings?

If you can I would do this if you are doing video capture.

Dual CPUs and mobo
Radeon 9700 Pro
A poster above said that SCSI drives will not help much for video capture. He is right. You would be better getting more of the Maxtor 160gb drives. For analog video capture, you needs lots of hard drive space.

Ram 2GB
Pinnacle Editing card or an AVID
Happauge or Pinnalce TV Tuner card with PVR
Kenwood cd-rom you don't need it.

the Prisoner

PS:I just thought of something: Build two computers and network them together and that reduce the complications of trying to get everything to run together.

I'm not a number, I'm a free man! :mad:  <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by the_Prisoner on 12/15/02 07:35 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
December 15, 2002 10:56:48 PM

Regarding the Ebay comment--I sell stuff on Ebay on the side and use photoshop and several other programs which require a lot of multitasking. Nothing to serious, but i have 512MB of ram in the machine i'm using now and i always run out of memory.

Also, i removed one of the Fujitsu ultra160 Hard Drives off the RAID so that i wouldn't saturate the pci bus. I will have 3 on the RAID now instead of 4. The Fujitsus' have a data transfer rate of 68-86 MB/sec. I believe these are burst rates. Not sure what the average is, which is what really matters. I think 3 will be fine. As for the other SCSI devices, they won't cause a bottleneck.

Any insight to this?
December 16, 2002 2:07:33 AM

There's a pinnacle card that does every premiere effect rendering onboard (and it comes with premiere as well). Is that the one u mentioned?

I'm just your average habitual smiler =D
December 16, 2002 2:29:27 AM

A little spendy for me. Adobe premiere 6.5 is $500.00(US) retail for just the software.

The less expensive Pinnacle boards come with some newbie friendly software.

the Prisoner

I'm not a number, I'm a free man! :mad: 
December 16, 2002 3:40:13 AM

Motherboard: Asus P4T533

I suggest you on a pro asus board for help.The version have change.I guess you be needing a Itanium PSU

Now what to do??
December 16, 2002 10:54:04 AM

I will give you a tip, move your question back to the hard drive section to avoid the useless unrelated comments. :wink: Then some others may feel easier commenting on your setup! The CPU or hotheads and flammers section is not the place for serious discussions IMO and has been that way for as long as I can remember.

I am seriously joking lads :tongue:

<A HREF="" target="_new"> My networked systems</A> :smile:
a b à CPUs
December 16, 2002 11:04:09 AM

LOL, the system will never boot, due to resource conflict. I used to think the same way. I've come to some conclusions:

1.) Your SCSI controller(s) and IDE controller(s) can't share with anything (at least not anything usefull).

2.) A perfectly configured system can use 3 PCI busmastering devices. I've gotten away with 4 because I'm better than perfect.

3.) Killing the Serial and Parallel ports probably WILL be necessary if you really DO play on using all those cards. You will probably want to kill any unused IDE controllers also. And if any of your cards can go to IRQ6, maybe the floppy controller.

4.) I kill nothing except Serial Port 2 as I need everything else, but like I said, I'm better than perfect.

<font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
December 16, 2002 4:40:50 PM

What's your budget? What do you want to use the thing for? What is your timing for implementation? Without those 3 things, no one can offer any real advice.

$5000? $10K? CAD/CAE/CAM? Gaming? Can you wait for GeforceFX or 800FSB? Do you need dual monitor support? Active DVIX editing? Sound engineering? Give us purpose and budget at least, and we can offer useful 2 cents of crap opinions.
a b à CPUs
December 16, 2002 6:30:35 PM

Ultra 160 is complete unnecessary for a RAID array if you're using two channels for the cluster. Why? Because the PCI slot is only 133MB/s, and two channels of Ultra 80 would give you the same 133MB/s through that slot as an Ultra 160 card can (no matter how many channels). In other words, you only get an advantage if you're comparing single channel settups or if you're using a faster PCI slot (server boards have 64-bit and 66MHz PCI slots in addition to the standard 33MHz/32bit slots).

Having said that, please buy my 3 Channel Ultra 80 card, I can no longer afford drives for it! It has 64MB cache to help.

<font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
December 17, 2002 12:56:28 AM


I know it's going to be difficult, but if there is a will there is a way. I actually have built very similar systems. 6 pci cards, etc.. I've always had SCSI, but never an additional RAID SCSI card. I really don't forsee a huge problem with getting the SCSI card and SCSI RAID cards on there on IRQ's, but the other cards will need to be played with until they are either on their own IRQ or shared with a compatible device. It'll be a bitch, but i've been there before.

I won't have a parallel device, but i will have a serial device hooked up. USB keyboard and mouse and a superdrive that reads floppies so no floopy to take up an IRQ.
December 17, 2002 1:01:02 AM

Well scrumlord, i'm putting it together this coming weekend. I already have all the components. I'm using it for video editing, rendering, capturing, etc. I also dabble in music. I'd like to get the GeforceFX, but just can't wait any longer. Also, into gaming. And the usual office productivity programs.
December 17, 2002 1:10:32 AM

thanks crash, didn't get around too all that, was going to. that's what cracked me up at first, all that scsi and a. using xp ( i "think" adaptec might have some newer drivers for it though) and b. running it on a 33mhz bus.

i'll be very surprised if you get it running, even more suprised if you get everything to function properly (specially video capture).

my way of thinking is if you feel compelled on having all that hardware it's an absolute waste not to use a server board, be it a dual or single cpu. server boards are made to be "loaded to the gills" and chug right along. it's like buying a huffy bike and then replacing the rims, bearings, sprocket, etc. it's still a huffy!

wtf? i'm uberl33t mang. i've got dual cpus, 6 scsi drives in raid0 and 2gb of ram for my UT2003 machine. so i'm a hax0r. f342 m3!
December 17, 2002 1:14:38 AM

This is only part true. In theory yes, the Ultra160 drives will transfer 160MB/sec, but this is only copying within the same drive. Disk to disk/media transfer is done at 68-86MB/sec. I believe these are burst rates and the average rate could be lower. So two of these drives will not cause a saturation of the PCI Bus. I would love to know what the damn average rate was on these drives. I still think three will be fine. Occasionly, i might hit the 132MB/sec limit, but i seriously doubt that. I don't know--need input here. I would love to get a Server board, but they suck as far as my other needs. Most don't even have AGP and if they do it's usually 2x. The 3400s is a 64 bit card too, but it's backward compatible.

Anyhow here is the SCSI Hard Drive placement FYI and comments:

On the 3400s RAID controller with 4 independent Ultra160 SCSI Channels:
3 of the Fujitsu's 15K RPM Ultra160 Drives in RAID 0 spread out over 3 of the 4 channels.
The last channel will also be setup in RAID 0 with the following two drives:
1) Seagate Cheetah 9.1GB Ultra160 SCSI (ST39205LC) (80 Pin)
(1) Fujitsu 9.1GB Ultra160 SCSI (MAH3091MC) (80 Pin)

On the Adaptec 39160 Ultra160 SCSI Controller:
on the first channel i will have the 4th Fujitsu 15K RPM Ultra160 Drive in. I will boot my OS from here.
--sidenote, my 4 50 pin scsi media drives will be hooked up to the 50 pin connector.

Any comments on this setup.
a b à CPUs
December 17, 2002 1:32:53 AM

If the commercially available supplies turn out to be not enough, you could try some form of this idea.

You could run an AT supply in parralel with your 550W. 5V or 12V relays with >=10-20 amp contacts could work. remember to short the on button leads to an on condition.

A possible pitfall: not loading 5V or 12V supplies with the result that the supply shuts down. I read somewhere to load it with about 3 or more drives to properly load 5V and 12V, for most supplies.

Extra Credit: I've always wanted to do something like this with an ATX supply, anybody know about anything like this?
a b à CPUs
December 17, 2002 1:35:52 AM

Regarding my above post, I believe the parallel supplies would share a ground throught the PC chassis.

Anybody know something I dont? Related that is.

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by knewton on 12/16/02 07:38 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
a b à CPUs
December 17, 2002 2:02:28 AM

Well yes, two SCSI cards and that soundcard could work together if he turned off a serial port to get back an IRQ, or didn't use SB16 compatability to save an IRQ. But then he'll want at least one NIC, that's another IRQ (even using an onboard part).

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a b à CPUs
December 17, 2002 2:05:01 AM

That still means my 80MB/s per channel card can match an Ultra 160 card if you use two channels on the 80, or 1 or more on the 160. Anyway, just trying to sell this card, at least you know I'm not lying about performance.

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December 17, 2002 2:28:52 AM

Well, i won't be using a pci or onboard nic card. I have that all setup through USB. The serial port is for my Wacom tablet. But hey I can convert that to usb via an adapter. What do you mean by SB16?
a b à CPUs
December 17, 2002 2:34:08 AM

Sound Blaster 16 compatability mode is for DOS mode games, I'm not certain whether any can be run through an XP command prompt or not.

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December 17, 2002 2:34:33 AM


Do you have any thoughts on the Hard Drive placement? Being new to RAID configurations and partitioning, how should i go about loading my apps, games, OS, data files, etc..

I'm a bit confused about partitioning the RAID. Do i separate the apps from the data files. For example, say i have Excel on a partition with the apps. Do i save the excel files on that partition with the apps or do i create another partition for the files. I'm a bit lost here. I have heard and plan on creating a swap file in the first partition. Thought a gig of ram would mean i wouldn't have to, but photoshop and some of the programs i use may be hitting the swap file.
December 17, 2002 2:39:14 AM

The only PCI card i can really part with is the DXR3. The only real use of this is that i can have sound from two more of my cd/dvd drives. I don't have to have sound coming from two additional drives--nice addition but no really a priority. I mean is this hardware decoder better than Power DVD or other software players?
a b à CPUs
December 17, 2002 5:24:39 AM

There are several thoughts on this:
1.) Level 0 is the fastest and only requires two drives. You could load everything to those drives, and get great performance from only two drives, but if one fails the whole cluster data is lost
2.) RAID 1 can use as few as two drives but offers no performance increase. It simply copies data to two drives so that you have a 100% backup.
3.) RAID 5 uses sets of 3 drives, it splits data up like Level 0 but uses the third drive to store a parity bit. If you loose one drive, you can rebuild the array after replacing it. Because it splits data onto two drives, it's faster than a single drive. But because generating a parity bit takes power from the RAID processor, you loose a little performance.
4.) RAID 10 (also called 0+1) requires at least 4 drives. You get two arrays, one is Level 0, the other is a mirror image of it. You get all the advantages of both.

RAID 0 and 10 give you half the total capacity of the drives (because one drive is a copy of the other). RAID 5 gives you 2/3 the total capacity (because 1 drive is parity).

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a b à CPUs
December 17, 2002 5:25:49 AM

Oh, there's always the option to put your OS and configuration on a single drive and your need-fast applications on a RAID 0 array.

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a b à CPUs
December 17, 2002 5:28:41 AM

Yes, it's better, it has more adjustment and requires less CPU power. If you were re-encoding files in the background while watching a movie, the reduced load could be handy.

One other thing is that you can easily make some adjustments to the driver that allow you to use the card to make professional-quality VHS recordings from Macrovision protected DVD's!

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December 17, 2002 6:53:49 AM

Honestly, you can achieve much better performance for a fraction of the money you pumped into this system. Here's a fun way to build a lightning-fast video editing system on the cheap:

* get a dual Athelon MP motherboard
* install as much RAM in it as it can swallow
* get a small, fast EIDE drive for the OS
* create a small application partition on the system drive... this is actually only going to be a platter back-up for a RAM drive.. you'll want to make it large enough to handle all your workhorse applications, but small enough that it can fit completely into system memory, and still leave you 512MB - 1GB system memory for the OS
* install a RAMDrive driver that will let you partition system memory and treat it exactly like a normal disk drive.. there are several products that can do this
* setup a RAID 0, RAID 5 Array with FAST EIDE drives.. some EIDE drives outperform the fastest 10,000RPM SCSI drives (check out the Tom's reviews of the Western Digital drives with 8MB cache), and handle much higher capacities..

The RAID features will give you throughput that will rival any PCI-based SCSI controller solution. I guarantee that a RAID 0 IDE solution will handle anything you might want to throw at your PCI SCSI controllers... especially if you move your application, temp file, and cache access to the RAMDisk (WAY faster than SCSI).

As for partitions, it is wise to put your OS on it's own partition, your application files on another, possibly along with temp and cache storage. Some people also like to put small data files (text documents, spreadsheets, etc) on their own partition.. the RAID array should be reserved for your large files.. video/audio projects & rips, etc.

The system I describe here will eat your super-computer for lunch, and it would cost a lot less to build.