View Full Version : Killer System Suggestions Please

12-30-2002, 03:01 PM
One of my coworkers just got the greenlight to round up a new system for video editing production (lucky bastard!). Currently using FCP on an emac with an Apple Superdrive installed. Will be buying a new dual 1.25 plus other goodies to go with... I am not a video guy (currently learning imove http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif ), so I am not sure of what to call what he does other than "TV commercial grade".

The-powers-that-be are looking for high quality product. What's the best bang for the buck for speed, and still rock solid for production work?

We know our Mac and SCSI hardware pretty well around here, but with a focus on DB and file servers... at first glance we are thinking factory Apple SCSI setup, but are wondering about other options, such as:

мя UL4S vs. Apple OEM choice, or any other SCSI contoller?

мя Anybody prefer a U160/320 drive other than latest 36G Cheetahs?

мя ATA options, including a PCI controller, optimum drives (cuda V?), RAID options, including an external RAID 5 box (for storage redundancy) and a striped volume for production, vs. SCSI?

Any thing else you use and love, or really need? Anything expected out soon we should wait to buy, like XRAID etc.?


How about optimum config. recommendations? Seperate swap files, RAM discs, etc? OS on SCSI or ATA (does it effect performance?)? Other essential software besides FCP?

I know this is open ended, but we are used to "making do" with nealy minmum hardware, so this opens up the options considerably.


12-30-2002, 04:32 PM
I think its even been kicked around before.

Cheetah X15.3 or Atlas 10K IV for U320 drives.

ATA: IBM 180GXPs or WD SE on HARD RAID. What happens if you put one drive per controller and 2+ controllers?
www.storagereview.com (http://www.storagereview.com)

No question on controller: UL4D even though Apple's Cheetah + UL3S (says dual, but its not), and its last years Cheetah, not the X15.3 nor 10K.6 probably.

Do you wait for new models in Feb 2003?
Do you want the first of the Power4 970's next September?
Wait for the XServe RAID and SoftRAID X 3.0?

Whatever you buy, you should outgrow it in 6 months, and it should pay foritself in less.

12-30-2002, 05:37 PM
Thanks G.

Pretty much what I figured, just curious if the video types are still stuck on SCSI or if ATA is almost on par for production/editing. As Ricks and others who I trust are converting to RAID on ATA on new world Macs, it would seem like a viable option.

Going to see what is announced at MacWorld, but will probably buy no later than April. I read SR will have at least a working beta/demo @ MW next week, so that could be very intersting.

I already warned against the Apple SCSI setup for the reason you mention....

As we don't currently have any dual ATTOs...are both channels accessable inside and out? I am thinking both inside for a dual channel striped volume, and still able to connect with a seperate chain on an external box for storage (he would edit *OR* archive, not both at the same time), assuming we do go SCSI.

Granite still the internal cable/terminator or choice?

Sure hope the Gurus are back in action before we lay the money down....love to support 'em with a nice little order...

12-30-2002, 05:55 PM
Like you, I have only used iMovie and iDVD 2. I second Gregory's recommendation of the UL4D and fast latest Cheetahs if SCSI is your decision. But the big and fast latest ATA drives like the IBM 180GXP or Seagate CudaV or WD will do the job whether HardRAIDed or not.

For iMovie I kept the application on one IDE drive on my fastest bus and created a scratch disk volume on another IDE drive (a fast IDE drive) on another bus for the iMovie movie files so that the application and the movie files being created would not be fighting for I/O on the same bus or on the same drive. iDVD 2 would need OSX.

For a 40 minute movie:
iMovie files, 10GB
Exported QuickTime movie (for iDVD) at highest settings and no compression, 8GB.

Also have done three 59 minute movies:
iMovie files, 12GB for each 59 minute movie
Exported QuickTime movie (for iDVD) at highest settings and no compression, 11GB.

Archiving just those four iMovies and the QuickTime movie files (for iDVD2) to free up your application and scratch disks takes 87GB on another drive. With all of the bells and whistles of FCP, the files could very well be larger, I don't know.

In my case, the 1.25 DP will take four drives internally. I have the SuperDrive and the Combo Drive so all that space is taken. For pro work, you might start with four big ATA drives, perhaps two HardRAIDed, tho I did not find that necessary. But eventually for pro work you will need to archive by off loading to something external to the 1.25 DP. Until I got interested in digital video, I never needed so many GB. Like speed, DV is an itch that is hard to satisfy once you get into it to the point of some confidence. k

12-30-2002, 06:50 PM
Kaye -

We are well aware of the volume of space needed, and are thinking about an external RAID 5 with perhaps a min. of 1/2 a TB; maybe even a SAN box of some type.

When you render, do you know if the limiting factor is clock cycles or I/O on you buick? If it is CPU, then the extra $ for SCSI (or hardware RAID) is probably overkill, right? Better used for a BIG, robust storage solution....

Any reason to have more than a Gig of RAM for this type of setup? As old OS 9/8/7 hacks, we are still closing apps we are not using...old habits die hard. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

12-31-2002, 01:08 PM
I could NOT find this thread earlier! So I posted some info here (http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/Forum19/HTML/000759.html) but I have to wonder if one G4 or many, if you are looking at SANS and all that storage to share, what about XServe and some lower end G4's? The XServe does use one channel per ATA drive to get better performance, has a lot more PCI bandwidth to work with etc.

I actually think 1GB RAM is probably MINIMUM. In fact, the main reason to upgrade is to break the 2GB limit for some, hoping for 4/8/16GB RAM offerings in the not too distant future. So your work is done in RAM as much as possible.

SCSI RAID for scratch? 73GB x 4 = 288GB of 300MB/s is hard to justify if XServe does what it is suppose to using an I/O channel per drive.

And AMD has a new Hammer that so far has been tested on 50 OS's, highend will likely have 1MB of on-die L2 cache for 15% boost in performance over 256k. And 4MB L3?

12-31-2002, 01:18 PM

First, thanks to xlr8yourmac, take a look at this http://www.markertek.com/systems/finalcut_g4_mt.html for the various systems they offer. Might give you some clues about what you need and/or want to do.

Rendering can be either CPU or I/O or both. When I started my second project, the first 59 minute one, I noticed a loss of sync between audio and video towards the end of importing DV into iMovie. At that time I was running both the iMovie application and saving the DV files to one HardRAID (two 120GXP 40GB drives off of an Acard 6880M in HardRAID) on my G4-800DP. This single volume HardRAID is also my OS9.2.2 and OS 10.1.5 boot drive. What I discovered is that the HardRAID was so fragged after a month of fooling around with my first 40 minute project that it was no wonder about the loss of sync. Running DW, DFA, DD, Speed Disk, and DW again, solved the loss of sync by providing a lot of contiguous free drive space. But I resolved to save the iMovie document to an empty volume on another bus.

I tried the Buick G4-1.25DP with iMovie yesterday. There is a definite increase in speed of rendering in iMovie (the little red thermometer bar under the clip after you make a change) over my G4-800DP. I don't see a difference caused by drive I/O on a scratch disk, a single 120GXP on the Buick's ATA/100 bus. I also tried saving to a HardRAID of two 180GXP drives in the Buick. No difference. So as long as your scratch disk is good, fast ATA on the ATA/100 bus or HardRAID, the big difference is CPU, tho I must admit that the G4-800DP is more than adequate. Either machine, you don't have to wait long for rendering to complete. k

12-31-2002, 04:55 PM
Thanks for the feedback.

My brother does quite a bit of imovie stuff on bare minimum hardware (400ish imacs) and swears that the easiest/best way to avoid sync problems is to have a volume you can erase after each project. Start fresh and don't worry about it.

I was looking at Gs link (Thanks!) to the preconfiged high end FCP work stations, and noticed that none include SCSI, so it seems pretty clear that current (fast) ATA 100 or better is very adequate.

Which rules out all questions about SCSI (except perhaps as an external connection to a RAID box).

Just saw a rumor today about the next gen. Xserve, which was reported to handle up to 1.2 TB with its 4 internal drives...now if we had a working Gigiabit network, that would be a good start, especially if RAID 5 comes along with...

"...Both the pro desktops and Xserve will not go much beyond 1.3 Ghz, though 1.5 Ghz may materialize should Motorola be able to come through, even though they might be a prototype version like the current 1.25Ghz version that is now shipping. The new Xserves will also have ATA 133, and will come with drive sizes up to 320GB (Maxtor), giving a total of 1.2 Terabytes."

A NAS may be a bit much to start, but if this project does move forward over the coming year, I think a RAID box would be realistic. Need to see just how much video needs to be archived.

Any other sugestions for 1/2TB+ Strorage that is easily accessable (not a tape libarary)?

Thanks fellas.