View Full Version : Raising the bar: ATA-RAID performance

07-21-2001, 04:22 PM
For anyone interested in what's now possible for Hardware RAID of ATA drives, I have successfully put together a Hardware RAID 0 array in a G4 DP450, which is giving me Sustained Reads of 68.58 MB/sec, and Sustained Writes of 60.67 MB/sec. I didn't know that was possible from ATA drives, but lo and behold... I am achieving this by using a Sonnet Tempo RAID66 PCI card (purchased from MacGurus) and two Maxtor 60GB 7200rpm ATA drives.

In the event that anyone might be interested, I have put up a page on my web site which documents my experience with this set up: http://www.DotComMusic.com/ears2u/ataraid.html

08-02-2001, 07:13 AM
Is all of this installed internally, or an external case? I am trying somewhat
the same but at a more cost effective way trying to use another standard 40GB
ATA/66 hd that comes with the G4 500/dp. Do you think the later of this message
may work for me? If so, what else do you think I may need other than the extra

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I have a MAC G4 500 dual processor with 256MB ram/40GB hd/40GB external firewire hd using OS9.1. I am using Digital Performer ver. 2.7 sequencer software for audio, but the computer locks up or ask me to turn off some of the inserts (effects) to increase memory during recording. If I keep the number of tracks below ~15 it's better, but still slow. I have OSX installed to allow me to use both processors, but I am waiting to upgrade the Digital Performer to ver. 3.0 which uses OSX and install three more 256MB ram board for 1GB total ram this Friday. Since nothing else on my computer is OSX ready yet, I've only been using

But I was wondering if I can install another ATA/66 hd (the factory 40GB hd) in one of the empty slots and create a softraid set-up? Any suggestions for either
of the above?


08-02-2001, 08:19 AM
I'm fairly certain that IDE/ATA can not be installed externally. I'm sure some KRAZY hacker might try this - but with the cable lengths he would be risking stabilty and performance.

To RAID - you should make sure the drives are MATCHED. Also with IDE/ATA you normally need a PCI card - since its kinda a pseudo SCSI.

I just glanced through the page... does this stuff also work with X?

Hopefully I will have enough dough to get a G4/867 soon.... and of course 3RD party enhancements always look better than Apple BTO options.

08-02-2001, 03:15 PM
Tony, in answer to your questions:
The solution I came up with is all mounted internally.
You question regarding SOFTware raid of ata: I don't think you'll see any performance gain from software raid of ata drives. The only thing you would gain would be a larger volume (the sum capacity of your two drives). To achieve a throughput gain, you will have to HARDware raid your ata drives. (refer to the link in my original post.) In order to do that, all you need besides the two (or four) drives would be a pci controller, such as the Sonnet TempoRAID card which the Gurus sell here on their IDE Storage page for just under $200. When ordering, make sure that you specify the RAID card, as the other (cheaper) option does NOT support hardware raid, which remember, you need in order to realize the performance gain of ata/raid.

The track performance you are getting, Tony, seems extremely low to me. Are you trying to run audio from your firewire drive? That might explain the limitation you're experiencing. I would suggest that you copy a song file (including all associated audio files) to your startup drive as a test to see how it runs there. My thought would be that firewire is going to be too slow. Try a benchmark utility test of both your firewire drive and your boot drive, and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Dragon, I do not run OS X, however I see on the Sonnet web site, they state that this pci card IS fully OS X compatible. Since I'm utilizing an Apple driver for my RAID volume, I would think that it would all work in OS X, however I know better than to make a definitive statement on that before I fully test it. And for now, I'm going to wait on installing OS X.


08-03-2001, 05:44 AM
Yes, I ment Hardraid type of setup! I read the article highlighted in your
message, and was wondering if the Sennet Tempo RAID PCI controller is necessary?
With a total of four drive options available on the G4, I was wondering if it
has it's own raid capability? The HD does have another ribbon connector ready
for another HD!

And as for as the Digital Performer program, I know all of my extensions are enabled! And most I do not even have. So I need to turn them all off while using the DP program and see if that helps, which I agree it should. Another thing I noticed is when I alow some of the HD space to be used as RAM, the DP program does not see it. Is there some way to assign this extra RAM to a particular fuction or program? I did try running different songs from the startup HD, external firewire HD, and DVD, since I have them saved on all. The DVD was the slowest of all, then next was the firewire HD, then the internal HD, which was the best.

Hopefully this weekend, with the installation of the extra ram giving a total
of 1GB and the DP upgrade for OSX using both processors. I should see a significant increase in performance. I hope! If not I will persue the Raid option in OS9.1 until they complete the OSX version!

Thanks for the response!

08-03-2001, 03:34 PM
With a total of four drive options available on the G4, I was wondering if it
has it's own raid capability?
No. The G4 is able to handle 4 total drives with the stock setup. This is two off the ATA/3 (for the DVD & ZIP) and two HDs off the ATA/66 bus. It is not setup has a hardware IDE/ATA RAID. That would be nice, but I thin most Mac POWERUSERS would rather have a SCSI RAID option built in http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Another thing I noticed is when I alow some of the HD space to be used as RAM, the DP program does not see it.
OK - is this a setting in DP or are you talking about virtual memory?

There are several options you could try to increase performance -
You could
A) partition your stock drive. You could DEDICATE one partition to your recording... The first parition is usually the fastest, since its on the outter tracks.
B) get a second hd. This would normally be faster and you can dedicate the ENTIRE disk to recording. You could even partition this.
C) get two matched IDE/ATA drives and the hardware RAID controller. This would give you the most speed from an IDE/ATA setup.

Turning off extensions, VM, AppleTalk, Filesharing, etc... can also help.
You should also see if setting your disk cache to 1MB or less helps. Disk Cache is good for FINDER operations but it can slow down audio and video processing.

Life in the fast lane leads to:
The Resteraunt At The End Of The Universe

08-03-2001, 04:54 PM
Tony wrote:
"...was wondering if the Sonnet Tempo RAID PCI controller is necessary?"

Remember: you won't get any performance gain by SOFTware raid (with ATA). Therefore, since (as Dragon points out) your internal ATA bus is NOT capable of hardware raid, you will need *some* hardware controller. Personally, I chose the Sonnet, but there are others to choose from. You may be able to find user reviews of some of these on the xlr8 web site, but realize that several of the options are all made by ACard (as is the Sonnet), and are essentially the same product. And besides, MacGurus sells the Sonnet, so why not give THESE good folks your business and order from them? http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Regarding your extension set: with your Dual500 G4, I seriously doubt that you will see much noticeable change in performance by slimming your startup set. I'm running Logic, and seem to have pretty much exactly the same performance with a bare-bones set as I do with my full set. I would think that the same might be true for DP, as well. But try that anyway. I have no idea about using a RAM disk: I haven't explored that, but it's an interesting concept.

Good luck, and keep us posted on what you end up doing!


08-03-2001, 09:53 PM
I did install my additional RAM for the 1GB RAM total this morning. Also I tried
turning off the unused/assumed unused extensions which made things worse. I ended up turning all extensions back on. One thing I did notice is that my sound
bite files shows all the takes I've recorded for each track on every song I have recorded into DP. It should only have the last take for each track, which would
free up a lot of memory! Also the fact that I am using multiple effects inserts
on each track up to 27 tracks on some songs. This also eats up memory. And finally, I am running DP and all saved songs from the same internal hard drive
with my OS. Remember, the other hard drive I now have is a 40GB "fire wire"
back up! So I think if I install another internal hard drive for DP only, and
eliminate the unused recorded "takes", and save all songs on the dedicated DP
hard drive, this should fix the speed problem.

As for assigning RAM for DP. I was refering to using the DP options. I have tried alocating RAM in the finder's memory option in OS9.1, but the DP does not see it. It does not change anything from it's settings since it was first loaded onto my computer. And I have yet to find an option in DP for telling it to use the RAM I setup in the finder as increased RAM memory. In the mean time I will start searching for another internal HD to install into the second drive bay. Since the G4 is not RAID ready, the second drive should not have to match the main OS drive if I plan to only store my recorded tracks/song on it, right?


08-04-2001, 02:44 PM
Tony wrote:
"Since the G4 is not RAID ready, the second drive should not have to match the main OS drive if I plan to only store my recorded tracks/song on it, right?"

That's right. I would suggest that you buy a 7200rpm drive. Hook it up as the Slave on your main ATA bus, using the other connector on the ribbon cable which attaches to your boot drive, making sure that you set the jumpers on the new drive properly for Slave (find that in the documentation that comes with your new drive). They can be found for very little money these days. You should have no problem with your track count.

08-04-2001, 08:24 PM
That's what I was thinking. I want a 75GB IBM 7200RPM 2MB cache installed as
the slave, which I have already read on how to configure it as a slave. I can get this drive for $133 with nothing else needed. My master drive that came with
the MAC is a 40GB IBM 7200RPM 2MB cache drive. I realized this when I upgraded
my ram. I always thought it was a 5400RPM drive, but now I am a little happier.