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Old 10-01-2012, 11:07 AM   #1
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Default Hard drives for performance

Hi, I have three hard drives and I was wondering how best to utilise them for best performance. I currently have my operating system on my WD 10,000 rpm drive (It's one of the very unreliable 74gb models, so I don't like to put stuff I'm working on on it). My other programs are mostly on a 7,200rpm drive, and I bought a spare 7,200 rpm drive when I thought the WD had finally died. I'm thinking of using this purely for data I'm writing like for rendering video and CG scenes onto. Is this the optimal use of these three drives? Where is the best place to store the raw video files I'm working on? I'm thinking: 1st drive: Windows only. 2nd drive: Other programs and raw video files and any files used in projects. 3rd drive: for writing final data. IE rendered video/CG scenes.
Or would it be better to use the spare third drive for the raw data AND for final output and save the second just for programs?
I'm sure the MOBO and processor limit the maximum speed, but motherboards and processors have been getting faster at an alarming rate. Mechanical drives don't seem to be.
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:34 AM   #2
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Default Re: Hard drives for performance

Well, my first question is how are you backing up these drives.
Seems to me I'd be looking to replace your OS drive (the WD 10000rpm).
I know this doesn't answer your questions, but without backup, what's the point ...
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:57 AM   #3
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Default Re: Hard drives for performance

Agreed, a backup plan is extremely important.

Personally, I would replace the OS drive with an SSD and use the other drives as data storage.

If the 2 7200 RPM drives are the same capacity, speed and cache size, you can put them in a RAID 0 which will increase performance. Again, having a good reliable backup is paramount.
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: Hard drives for performance

All I do for backup is copy each days work onto an external drive. It's fine for me, since I'm not under time constraints, and I still have all the raw footage backed up in the form of the DV tapes.
If I remember rightly, RAID 0 pretty much halves reliability and doubles write speed. (I know it's not exactly that simple.
I've never looked into SSD drives, actually. It's something I should probably research. Last I heard about them was that it wasn't really worth making the switch. That was just one article, though, and it was 3 or 4 years ago. Other than any performance benefits, I'd imaging they would be virtually silent and consume a lot less power, and be more reliable, correct?
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: Hard drives for performance

The 3rd and 4th generation of SSDs have greatly improved speed and reliability. Reliability is nearly the same a HDD now-a-days. And prices have also dropped considerably. Check out the Crucial M4 series and the Samsung 830 and 840 series.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:14 AM   #6
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Default Re: Hard drives for performance

Well, I meant using the hardware I already have, but I'll have to try a SSD at some point, so I may put my OS on a SSD, all other programs on the 10,000rpm drive and write to the 720rpm drives in a RAID 0 array. Then again, in a complex scene or video composition, there's a major bottleneck caused by the actual processing of the data, so write speed, I guess, isn't that important and maybe RAID 1 would be better?
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:56 PM   #7
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Default Re: Hard drives for performance

Quote:
Originally Posted by defl8or View Post
Well, I meant using the hardware I already have, but I'll have to try a SSD at some point, so I may put my OS on a SSD, all other programs on the 10,000rpm drive and write to the 720rpm drives in a RAID 0 array. Then again, in a complex scene or video composition, there's a major bottleneck caused by the actual processing of the data, so write speed, I guess, isn't that important and maybe RAID 1 would be better?
Actually, the fastest write speed would, obviously, be an SSD. That aside, RAID 1 and 0 arrays write speed will be nearly the same. For RAID 1 the file must be written to each drive. For RAID 0 the file must first be "chunked up" into clustersize chunks, then written with part(s) written to one drive of the array and part(s) on the other. Both methods take about the same amount of time. For huge files, I mean really big files, RAID 0 would have a slight advantage.

EDIT: forgot to mention, given write speed is key to your app; you might check out RAMDisk and similar apps, some free, others are a bit costly. Basically a RAMDisk allows you to "partition off" a chunk of memory that looks like it is a disk to the OS. Obviously, you'll need lots of extra memory to do this.
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