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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am building an HTPC/Digital Video Editing/Gaming Rig (yes I want it all), and recently took advantage of a sale at CompUSA where I picked up two WD 250 Gig drives ($229 apiece after rebates). I'm undecided on how to best configure them and would appreciate any advice.


I had planned to have one drive dedicated to the OS, apps, and games and the second dedicated to digital video editing and PVR. But I've seen some recommend Raid 0 for improved digital video editing speed. What are your thoughts? Also, if you would not go with Raid 0, then would you use the Promise Ultra ATA 100 controller card included with the WD drive, or standard IDE hookup to the motherboard? If I went with the controller card, would I still have 4 IDE hookups available on the mobo since the controller card is PCI based?


Also, if I go with a non Raid setup, what are your recommendations regarding the master/slave setup? The rig will have a DVD/CD player and a DVD/CD burner. I was thinking of setting the OS HD as a Master A with the DVD/CD burner as the slave to it, and then have the DVD/CD player be Master B with the video editing HD as the slave to it. See any advantages/disadvantages with this setup? My thinking is that you set the devices you use the most as your masters. Is that correct? I also read somewhere that you should separate the hard drives and not have them be master/slave to each other, but I cannot remember where or why for that matter.


Thanks in advance for your time.


-Kilroy
 

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Never mix in the same ide channel bus a hard drive with a cd or dvd unit, thats because the bus must operate at the slowest speed unit, so your throughput will be affected.


Raid was designed specifically for SCSI applications, now you can find in the market a lot of implementations using IDE Technology.


I think that you wont improve your performance using Raid 0, you will have data protection but no more performance.


Use the best IDE controller for your Hard drives, if the ultra ata 100 card has two buses, use uno for each hard drive and use the built in IDE for CD'roms.


Just my two cents.
 

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Generally better to have app and data drives on separate channels. It reduces the bottleneck when they "talk" to each other.


Same goes for any drives that do a lot of copying to/from each other. Put them on separate channels if you can.


Promise also makes a nice ATA 133 card. Not sure if WD drives can make use of the increased throughput, but Maxtor supposedly can.


With anything, though, you are talking about barely noticeable read/write times for real world apps. Just get a 7200 rpm drive with 8mb cache and I think you will be happy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Okay, I think I got it sussed out.


I should have mentioned these are Ultra ATA 100 7200 RPM 8mb cache drives.


The included Ultra ATA 100 controller card will support two drives, so I will put the drives on one controller card, then hook the DVD/CD player and the DVD/CD burner to the mobo IDE connectors on separate channels.


Thank you both for the advice, and if I didn't interpret your advice correctly, lemme know.


Also, hduhart, I thought Raid 0 offered no backup protection, which was one of the cons to using that array. Hrm.


-Kilroy
 

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I believe (but I could be wrong) that Raid0 does give you the high bandwidth throughput with no data protection. I believe Raid1 gives you the disk mirroring and data protection. There is also a Raid5 that provides both better bandwidth and data protection but requires a three drive configuration.


I have a 3.0 GHz system hooked up in a Raid0 and it works rather well.


If you want to use a Raid0, some motherboards support it directly, otherwise you have to buy a special controller card, in that case I would probably wait for Serial ATA drives (or what ever they are called) to come down in price, and hope they are less noisy then SCSI drives.


One thing that I believe is very helpful is to have a partition of 20 GB (maybe 30 at the most) for your system partition and then leave the rest of the disk for the data media area. This way you can use tools like Norton Ghost to back up your system to DVD rather easily without having to back up all the media data. I can ghost my system onto one DVD and it takes around 30 minutes to do using a 2X DVD-R (only using about 7 GB of the system partition and Norton Ghost uses disk compression to help make this size smaller).


For me, being able to easily back up my system partition is important because every once in a while I end up installing something that requires me to revert my system back. Since I can backup my system partition in around 30 minutes, I do these backups before making major system changes such has updating my ATI drivers or reconfiguring my hardware, or after a close call when I wish I had a backup and still managed to survive.


If you have an ATI All In Wonder card or similar Tivo type capability it does not take long to go through a lot of disk space, so it is useful to have this on a separate partition then your system.


Having said all this I suppose one could argue that my HTPC is not being used in a typical way, since I do a lot changing around on it and experimenting.


Getting back to your initial questions, I have a second system where I have two 200 GB drives being used with the Promise / WD PCI IDE controller card, this supports the 133 speed and I use the IDEs on the motherboard for the DVD and CD-RW. This is nice, it gives you more IDE support and allows you to run more drives as primaries.


Hope that helps.
 

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RAID 0 is striping only. Doubles your chance of disk failure (if one goes, you lose everything) but does increase performance. I don't know how heavy duty your video editing will be, but if you have a bottleneck with a slow processor or video card, RAID 0 isn't going to help much.


Assuming your MB isn't too old, it should already handle ATA100. If I were you, I'd put the boot partition on IDE with a separate OS partition and use the Promise card for the other drive. Put both optical drives on the secondary IDE channel.


I suggest this because having two HD's in master slave configuration will slow down throughput, and having a HD and optical on one channel is even slower.
 

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I have a production studio where alot of editing is done and we used to put everything into RAID because of the greater size of the drive. When you are editing 100s of hours of material, the size of the drive matters. BUT, nowadays, we don't use RAID anymore because of the size of the drives are much larger. We would rather use multiple 200 GB drives rather than have them in a RAID configuration. Mostly because over time the drives will become fragmented and you will get frame drop outs in your video. (if you are editing for fun, do whatever you want, it won't make a difference). But frame drop outs are a problem when doing alot of digital video editing and is best avoided because over time you will lose audio sync because of dropped frames. The way to avoid this is to completely wipe the drives after every project. So, as we finish a portion of the project we'll wipe a 200gb drive, while keeping other drives in use. The other thing is that you want the larger drives because when video editing you never want to really use the last 20% of your drive to avoid any dropped frames. But if you are only editing small pieces of work, odds are it won't make a difference and you can go RAID.
 
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