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Thread: Musician replacing Hard drive on a G4... help?

  1. #1
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    Confused Musician replacing Hard drive on a G4... help?

    I have a Quicksilver PowerMAC G4.

    (It states, in the System Profiler, that I have a version 2.1 model.)
    Dual 1.0 Ghz processors
    Bus Speed: 133 mHz
    L2 cache size: 256 (times 2)
    L3 cache size: 2 MB (times 2)
    Boost ROM info 4.3.3f2
    I have 1.5 GB RAM. (Three SDRAM type of 512 MB each.)
    I use this computer to record original music using
    Digital Performer (version 4.12)
    I have 2 internal ATA hard drives.
    An 80 GB Seagate and a 40 GB Glyph.
    I am running OS 10.2.8
    The pimary use of this machine is recording music. SOME photoshop and video stuff gets done on it and the usual (Internet/Email) stuff as well.

    * I am going to upgrade to Digital Performer 4.6 from DP 4.12, because it apparently DP 4.6 is now "Tiger friendly" (According to the MOTU website) and as a result of this I am going to upgrade from OS 10.2.8 to OS 10.4, as well.
    * I thought the Seagate 250 GB SATA drive for $120 would be good(?) and I would like to (HAVE to) replace the 40GB drive.
    * I would like to get an SATA drive to replace the old broken 40 GB ATA drive, but I am no longer sure what all I need to make this all happen.

    I "run" things off of the 80 GB drive and store/record/save my music to the 40GB drive. (Not supposed to keep the music on the same drive that the O/S is on in case of problems.... it's original music, so it can't be easily replaced in a timely way or at all if there is a disaster.)

    I was hearing an unusual sound of whirring or grinding and beeping in the tower a few weeks ago. Nothing that was measurable in terms of time or repetition or frequency. (Sounded like Chewbacca arguing with R2 D2 sometimes.)

    I was getting crashes like crazy. Kernel crashes ( ?)
    Especially while being online and using Netscape.
    (Sorry, but Safari gets a bit annoying at times.)
    I was told to try MANY things to problem solve from several people.

    During this time another person told me the trouble was actually the 40 GB drive going bad. This was based on the drive NOT showing up at times on the desktop or in the Disk Utility I was using for disk assessment from the CD ROM.
    Finally, I did get the music backed up on a DVD... I then removed the 40GB drive and the trouble cleared up. No more noise from "Star Wars characters" living in the tower.

    The 40 GB drive did not get as much "use" as the 80 GB so I was puzzled as to WHY the 40 GB drive went bad. (I guess just simply that it was on as much as the 80 GB drive?) I now have to replace the 40 GB drive... Ever since the 40 GB drive I had (The one I save the music to.) crashed I have been trying to seek a replacement for it.

    I never put the computer to sleep when I was finished for the day.
    Not since I got it in 2002.
    I would shut it down completely.
    (I lived in a community which lost power more than should be allowed so I was trying to be protective/pre-emptive.)
    Since then I have moved and now I put it into "Deep Sleep"

    The company that put the machine together for me, Sweetwater, used a Seagate Barracuda 80 GB drive and a GLYPH 40GB drive, I'm told, because of some of their affiliations with other companies. I did not ask for any specific drives when I bought the computer.( I didn't know enough TO ask for anything specific.)
    __________________
    So WHAT company makes a good drive to record music on/with?
    In the process I have been learning quite a bit about the computer itself.

    I was going to get a Hitachi ATA type drive and then told those were nicknamed "the Deathstar".
    I have been told that Maxtor's are not as good as Hitachi.
    Reliability and personal experience seems to be the deciding factor of most people. Everything has variances from the "norm", I know.

    I was told to check out the Maxline III Hard Drive because they "are made to run 24/7 w/ a 5 yr warranty". But it has a "seek time of 9 ms.

    Which brings up yet another concern... Another person stated that the "seek time" of the new drive needs to be faster than 8.9 ms for Digital Performer to work correctly.

    Being concerned with the seek time is puzzling me as well.... If a faster seek time on the drive is required... would a 8 ms(lower number) seek time be faster than 8.9 ms? I would think it would be since the seek time appears to be LESS in the 8 ms version hard drives. When running a race, the person with the fastest time has the lowest number.

    So, size and speed of the new hard drive IS a concern of mine.

    I was directed to a Sonnet Trio Ultra ATA133 PCI Card, because I was told this G4 that I have has a "bottleneck" issue of speed because it is ATA 66. Also... a G4 Quicksilver would only be able to use 120 or 137 GB of a larger hard drive , so a PCI card would be needed for a large drive.

    So I looked into the SATA area.

    Then it was brought to my attention that SOME PCI cards do not recognize or support "Deep Sleep" mode. HELP!

    I am at this point wanting to go with a SATA drive. I think I would like to put as many internal hard drives as I can in the tower that are the SATA type. I see and agree with the advantages of them and I see how I could take them to the next level should I get to the point where I simply replace this G4 with whatever may be current when the time comes... could be a G5, could be a: ???

    As I looked inside my tower ... currently it appears I may only have room for 3 internal hard drives total(?) Can there be more?
    (I am basing my question on what I see in the tower....
    2 drives are there already (The 40 GB, disconnected and the 80 GB (MAIN) drives.) and there seems to be unused power and computer connecting cables/wires for one more drive(?)

    I had been thinking it was fairly simple to get a replacement drive and hook it in.

    It seems finding one that is best suited for recording music on a Quicksilver G4 is proving to be not as easy as earlier thought.

    So after having checked around for SATA Hard drives and PCI cards ...
    I am thoroughly confused on a PCI card.

    I was going to get a Seagate 250 GB SATA drive for $120 because it also has a 5 yr warranty.

    I also was going to get the Sonnet Tempo PCI card, because I was told the Sonnet Trio has been viewed poorly since "day one". Another person told me that Sonnets have slow throughput (?) (which I am assuming is not good for recording.)

    I thought that all I needed to do was to get the PCI card and a new internal SATA drive that was compatible with this G4 I have.

    Some people have been very helpful in the Apple Discussions Forums and as a result I have been learning quite a bit that I was simply unaware of. But... Now I am more confused though.

    Since arriving on this Mac Gurus forum...
    (Sorry, but I had no idea it even existed.)

    I have read some other threads that has brought up a concern as well.

    This computer has always made a fair amount of "noise" where recording music is concerned.... I found lots of info about the noise of hard drives, but eventually concluded that most of the noise I hear may be the fan. So, the fan noise has now also become a concern as well. I simply never knew anything could be done about it and just accepted the noise.

    Since all of you guys seem much more knowledgable than I on all of this...
    I am going basically on what I see, because I have no experience with it.

    I was told that I need adaptors for power plugs too for the SATA drive as well(?) The COOLMAX SATA POWER ADAPTER was suggested for $5.
    The 4 pin Cable molex connector is for the power supply only when installing an SATA drive, yes?
    Meaning it will be the "bridge" adapting the power supply from my G4 to the hard drive? Why are SALES people not telling me this stuff when I call? Ugggh.

    So, I am hoping I could find a good (meaning brand name) SATA internal hard drive of at least 250 GB in capacity for under $175 with a fairly quick seek time that is better than 8.9 ms.

    If I get one that allows me (the computer) to "communicate" with the new SATA drive and I KEEP the 80GB internal Seagate hard drive I have... do I hook that into the PCI card also?
    Would I need to use some kind of ATA/SATA adapter(?) because of the new drive?
    Should I simply go get 2 SATA hard drives and a PCI card that would run them both?

    Additionally... Someone told me:"If you really want to do it right get a 16mb cache on the HD." HOW do I go about doing that? What should/could I get that covers all ground safely?

    I know... a G5, but upgrading my system...
    How far can I max out this G4?
    Trying to keep this under $500.
    DP 4.6 upgrade is $149 and OS 10.4 goes for $99 some places.
    The Seagate drive for $120 looked reasonable, but is it good?
    The 80 GB I have has not flopped.... YET.

    I have a La Cie 160 GB external hard drive connected via Firewire 400.
    I am looking to partition the drive and store my iTunes library on one section and have a back up of my MAC HD on another section. The 3rd I was going to use for mix downs of what I would do on Digital Performer and store on the replacement drive.
    Still running things from the 80GB drive.

    Anyone still there?
    Help please?
    I am close to thoroughly confused.

    Thank you for ANY help you can offer!
    Tommy Hines

    If you are reading this... thank you.
    I am still "new" to these so please forgive my being "green" to some things that may be obvious "no brainers" to you.....
    Last edited by TZ; 11-03-2005 at 06:24 AM.

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    Lightbulb

    I was going to quote and reply, but then, I was amazed that a message could even be as long as yours!

    first and only: get a hard drive controller. Do not use a 2nd drive off the same bus as your boot drive. Glad you got rid of the 40GB.

    Do take a look in the link in my sig "Troubleshooting & Upgrading" and pay attention to FAQ & Help to "Adding and Installing hard drives" and to "Storage Acceleration" from there or from the MacGurus Online Store.

    Upgrade from Jaguar. Great!
    Add FirmTek Serial ATA - $65 - $139/199.

    SATA: one drive per channel. There are two and four channel cards. Two internal and two external would be nice, but at least the SeriTek/1S2. And replace the 80GB drive as well, probably later, with a new ATA drive. (less than 160GB).

    I would pass on Sonnet at this point in time, at least not Trio. And I think SATA is a better drive and investment now.

    There is also a thread in FAQ on SATA drives. My choice would be Hitachi T7K250 160/250GB or 7K500 ($400); or Maxtor DM10/MLIII 300GB.

    The whole idea of 16MB cache is the drive has it and just choose one that has it. Or, just look at what ultimate drive would be. Hitachi 500GB, Maxtor 300GB.

    OS X: Raptor (SATA) The 10K Raptor is an ideal boot drive, fast and smooth and great for OS X.
    Maxtor MLIII for projects (SATA)
    native ATA drive on G4 for other files and emergency OS X boot.
    ~$300 for two drives probably.

    Memtest and/or Rember to test RAM. To be sure memory isn't a problem.

    Deskstar was the IBM, not Hitachi, earlier models like 75GXP that had problems with a DSP chip made by someone other than Lucent, and made in Poland. Done and gone. Not an issue today.

    I would avoid Seagate drives. Definitely and seriously.

    Advice can be both personally, confusing, and often based on one's experience or what someone reads or hears.
    Usually, you do just "buy a controller and some drives" and while most drives today are designed for audio and video, there are a few issues, which is why I would steer you away from Seagate and toward SeriTek and SATA. As for wanting more drives, that is why the four channel card would be good.

    Oh, and just to be clear, moderators, self included, are separate from the Store side of the site, just volunteers.

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    Default A little less confused and a little more confused...

    Thanks for the info TZ.... I'm afraid some of it went above my head, so I have some follow up questions under some of your responses. Just trying to clarify and understand what you are telling me....
    I will precede your words with >>> and then I will put my questions right under it, ok?

    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    I was going to quote and reply, but then, I was amazed that a message could even be as long as yours!
    Sorry.... It was actually longer. I hope you were able to read all of it though. I've seen so many threads in these forums where someone would have to come back with more info. Since I am quite confused on what to do and HOW to do it, I wanted to give all the info I could to try to get a "not too confusing" answer in return that applied to my situation.

    I figured this would be the best spot to post my concerns since I am using my computer for audio apps mostly. I don't know all the jargon of hard drive and PCI topics that I see a lot of the times in forums, so I only learn about it when it is broken down into clearly stated terms, unfortunately for me. Still learning.

    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    first and only: get a hard drive controller. Do not use a 2nd drive off the same bus as your boot drive. Glad you got rid of the 40GB.
    Hard drive controller? Meaning a PCI card that will allow my computer to work with an SATA drive, yes?

    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    Do take a look in the link in my sig "Troubleshooting & Upgrading" and pay attention to FAQ & Help to "Adding and Installing hard drives" and to "Storage Acceleration" from there or from the MacGurus Online Store.
    Ok... thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    Upgrade from Jaguar. Great! Add FirmTek Serial ATA - $65 - $139/199.
    This is a PCI card that doesn't have any of the "trhoughput" concerns I mentioned being told about?

    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    SATA: one drive per channel. There are two and four channel cards. Two internal and two external would be nice, but at least the SeriTek/1S2. And replace the 80GB drive as well, probably later, with a new ATA drive. (less than 160GB).
    You just lost me. If I should go with SATA why would I replace the 80 GB drive later with an ATA drive? Because the computer will only communicate with an ATA type drive? The one I use for start ups?

    And how would I get power to more drives than 3? Are there adaptors? Splitters? Y cables ? Something that will split power evenly from the 3 cables the G 4 appears to have? And if so... how would it supply sufficient power if more than one drive was drawing power from the same source? Wouldn't it creat a problem for the drive to run properly?

    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    I would pass on Sonnet at this point in time, at least not Trio. And I think SATA is a better drive and investment now.
    ?? The Sonnet Trio is a PCI card for controlling an SATA drive. I SHOULD get an SATA drive, but just not use the Sonnet card to control it, is that correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    There is also a thread in FAQ on SATA drives. My choice would be Hitachi T7K250 160/250GB or 7K500 ($400); or Maxtor DM10/MLIII 300GB.
    The MLIII drive is the one that has the 9 ms "seek time" which is greater or takes longer than the required 8.9 ms that Digital Performer needs. The higher the number in seek time is better?
    Aren't you wanting a lower number which would mean faster seek time? I will check out these other drives.
    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    The whole idea of 16MB cache is the drive has it and just choose one that has it. Or, just look at what ultimate drive would be. Hitachi 500GB, Maxtor 300GB.
    Ok... so I want a drive that has a 16MB cache and a good "Seek time" with a large capacity. Seek times are confusing me a bit. Can't seem to get anyone to give me a bare bones answer on what a good seek time is. A smaller number meaning 4 ms, 5 ms, 6 ms, to ME, would be FASTER or better than one that had seek times of 8 ms, 9 ms or more, wouldn't it?
    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    OS X: Raptor (SATA) The 10K Raptor is an ideal boot drive, fast and smooth and great for OS X.
    Maxtor MLIII for projects (SATA) native ATA drive on G4 for other files and emergency OS X boot. ~$300 for two drives probably.
    Sorry, but you lost me here. Understood none of that and I really would like to.
    Would you be able to rephrase it in simpler terms..... absolute beginner here, on all of this.

    Are you suggesting I get this Raptor drive to replace my 80GB drive?
    The MLIII and that 9 ms seek time is appearing to me NOT to be something I would want for Digital Performer 4 because it is slower than 8.9 ms minimal requirement, isn't it?
    The native ATA drive? Would you please elaborate in very basic words for me, please?
    Just trying to understand what goes where.
    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    Memtest and/or Rember to test RAM. To be sure memory isn't a problem.
    And I can find out how to do this in the Help section? I have no idea what this is or how to do it.
    First I ever even heard of it. (Yes, I am THAT clueless.)
    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    Deskstar was the IBM, not Hitachi, earlier models like 75GXP that had problems with a DSP chip made by someone other than Lucent, and made in Poland. Done and gone. Not an issue today.
    OK. One mystery cleared. Thank you.
    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    I would avoid Seagate drives. Definitely and seriously.
    Hmm... ok. The one I have in currently the 80 GB has been going fine ever since I bought the computer in 2002 and Digital Performer has always run nicely on it, but who knows... it might break tomorrow. Hopefully not though.
    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    Advice can be both personally, confusing, and often based on one's experience or what someone reads or hears.
    Usually, you do just "buy a controller and some drives" and while most drives today are designed for audio and video, there are a few issues, which is why I would steer you away from Seagate and toward SeriTek and SATA. As for wanting more drives, that is why the four channel card would be good.
    SeriTek is an SATA PCI card? or is it a hard drive? The option of having it serve 2 internal drives and 2 external drives sounds appealing and logical. The SATA drives can be moved later to a G5 as well, yes?

    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    Oh, and just to be clear, moderators, self included, are separate from the Store side of the site, just volunteers.
    Well, if you have not pulled your hair out by now at how nieve I am to all of this... thanks!
    ________
    I don't know why there were so many blank lines and open space. - Please check and edit posts.
    Last edited by TZ; 11-03-2005 at 04:03 AM.

  4. #4
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    Lightbulb Curious on drive change...

    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    I would avoid Seagate drives. Definitely and seriously.
    Just curious if this changed for a reason in your opinion. What I mean is , in having gone through other threads you had suggested to "paul dolden" on 7/12/05 that he:
    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    go for Hitachi T7K250 250GB, or Seagate 250-300GB. Very little price difference in 160 and 250.
    when seeking an SATA drive. Has something changed your opinon on Seagate drives?


    Yes. Their new models don't play well, and in another thread, Seagate's claimed performance vs real, show they don't live up.

    BTW: if you really want low seeks, Hitachi T7K250 is the best, if you can't afford SCSI or the 500GB Hitachi 7K500, which does well, and does have the 'magic' 16MB cache. Still, a 10K Raptor or SCSI would be nice.

    It is also important to look at how much performance degrades as a drive is filled. Which is why we recommend to never use more than 65% - buy extra, or buy SCSI. An Atlas 10K V can cost $400 for 147GB but deliver 89MB/sec, and never drop below 60-65MB/sec with very low latencies.
    Last edited by TZ; 11-03-2005 at 06:04 AM.

  5. #5
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    TZ has forgotten more than I know about storage, but I was caught a bit off-guard by the Seagate comment myself. I've had nothing but good experience with thier drives. Quiet, and reliable.

    Do tell TZ.

    That was a long first post Tommy. Better that than a simple question with no reference info.

    One thing to keep in mind when upgrading is to only do one thing at a time. Make sure the first upgrade is stable before moving on. Too many things done at once is a recipe for frustration if something goes wrong.

    Upgrading your storage subsystem first would be my recommendation.

    With audio work seek times (lower numbers are better) and sustained throughput are more important than peak benchmarks. Especially with large track counts.

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    In the meantime why not swap the 40 GIG drive into the Firewire enclosure,
    and put the La Cie 160 GB hard drive internal.
    Just a thought...
    Dave

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    Lightbulb

    Dave,

    The QS/2002 was the first Mac that would address >137GB drives natively. I missed that he probably does have QS/2002, so yes, that would work, thanks. I never made it to the "LaCie FW 160GB" down below

    The Seagate drives now have problems with SATA, and I have always said that they are slower than what they are claiming, and in another thread, and on Storage Review, there are now numbers to prove that point. MacGurus sellls a lot of Seagate's, so I've always gone easy, but Hitachi has proven to be a better performing drive, and the latest models really do.

    The WD 10K Raptor is one of the best SATA drives. You don't HAVE to have 16MB cache in a drive and some people get carried away with marketing and hype.

    If you want to compare drives, head over to www.storagereview.com and click on "Drive Performance Comparison" and then click your way through, and look at the reviews on each drive. (Which are also in the FAQ SATA Drives thread.)

    I really don't have anything else to add. Oh, except that the Sonnet Trio is not SATA. It was ATA/FW/USB, and slow. The Tempo series come in ATA and SATA. So you could use Sonnet Tempo SATA in place of FirmTek's SATA SeriTek (PCI drive controller).

    I would recommend a scratch pad, write down your thoughts, edit in a word processor, use a spreadsheet and calculator, and give yourself a couple weeks. The FAQ forum has hundreds of pages, some of it is worth reading.
    Last edited by TZ; 11-03-2005 at 06:20 AM.

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    Lightbulb The short answers.

    Kernel Panics, freezes, and browsers. A whole topic on browsers, Safari, javascript, "lookupd" and Panther are in a couple FAQs on 10.3.x etc.

    Dealing with OS X problems and maintenance. There are also OS X maintenance and utilities to look into and how to use.
    Applejack, Tiger Cache Cleaner (Panther also), OnyX, etc. as well as backups, etc.

    Disk Drives.

    Erase with the Zero-all when you do have problems, or when you get a new drive.
    Never let a disk drive spin down, or let you computer go into sleep.
    Companies claim you need this, and drive vendors claim various seek and latency.
    There is room for four, but that means stacking two which can work, if your drives and system run cool.
    Native SATA drives don't need adapters.
    If you want to put an ATA drive on SATA controller; or, SATA on ATA controller or bus, yes, but you won't need to, so forget all that, or the need for a power adapter. If you do by chance, then look in our Store.
    If you need 250GB, then 300GB minimum drive, and probably 2x as much, or two 250's (Hitachi T7K250s).
    I didn't see that you had LaCie FW 160GB.
    The reason to replace the 80GB is it is probably 2MB cache, old-ish now, and would be better to not use it for your system, but maybe for archived files, projects, emergency system, downloads, etc.
    QuickSilver 2002 models do support > 137GB, so you aren't limited to just 120GB on the native ATA bus.

    Deep sleep:

    Some PCI cards do prevent deep sleep. Tiger fixes some. Not something most of us use though.
    Serial ATA cards from Sonnet (Sonnet-X) or FirmTek (SeriTek). Two internal and two external on one card would be a good option.

    You might want to look at quieter but also more efficient fans.

    You NEED a UPS! Get one! A lot of problems and damage can occur from not having one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Macaholic
    In the meantime why not swap the 40 GIG drive into the Firewire enclosure,
    and put the La Cie 160 GB hard drive internal.
    Just a thought...
    Dave

    Thanks Dave, but that is actually a VERY scary thought to me.

    I am really hoping to find speed and silence with the next drive.
    I think the 40 GB drive is shot.
    I like the SATA upgrading idea too.

    Thank you for the option.
    Tommy

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    Default Thanks ...

    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    The QS/2002 was the first Mac that would address >137GB drives natively. I missed that he probably does have QS/2002, so yes, that would work, thanks. I never made it to the "LaCie FW 160GB" down below
    Sorry... I know my first post was a long one, but I did so because I know very little about all of this and only recently started finding the forums OUTSIDE of Apple Discussions. A lot of these abbrevaitions have gone over my head. Guess I need the beginners area.

    I would just love some info from someone who is recording music that has gone through some of this. I realize that opinons vary.

    Just really would like to go with a good SATA drive that is quiet, fast enough to record original music being performed, with a large capacity and fairly reliable at not such a bad price. Sounds like an ad pitch.

    All I seem to find is Maxtor and Hitachi. Here in this forum they are praised. In the Apple Forums they are knocked.

    So , for someone going through this for the first time, me, could someone who does record music... and has gone through this give me your definitive suggestion about an new SATA drive and the PCI controller that would enable me to run both on a Power MAC G4 Quicksilver version 2.1 made in 2002?

    With simplistic staright forward unabbreviated language?
    pleasey weasey?


    I do appreciate everyone's input.
    Thank you so much for your time and energy.

    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    I would recommend a scratch pad, write down your thoughts, edit in a word processor, use a spreadsheet and calculator, and give yourself a couple weeks. The FAQ forum has hundreds of pages, some of it is worth reading.
    Yes, thank you.
    I understand my questions are long, but it is because of conflicting info that I keep finding.
    Sorry.

  11. #11
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    Lightbulb

    Check the drive performance comparison benchmark of these four models:
    Hitachi - Maxtor - Raptor - Seagate

    Recording music use to require multiple drives, often 10K SCSI and output different sections to each drive. In some ways that still holds.

    All of the drives out there today fall within a close margin and are quieter than their older cousins. All of them have seek times and latency that are "acceptable." And offered you the best drive choices available (outside of $1000 for two SCSI drives, which would be pretty much ideal and expandable to add more drives later).

    We've had people who needed large and massive amounts of storage, but from what you are using, and unless you want to spend $1-2K, two SATA drives is a good deal above what you were trying to do.

    I tried to go through and weed through to what was about PCI cards, what was about drives. And where the problems were.

    The Forum SATA/PATA/FW should have more the information you are looking for.

    ProTools w/ SATA - audio forum
    SIIG ATA and Audio Stuttering
    Recording/Mixing Audio
    SATA cards
    Last edited by TZ; 11-03-2005 at 12:13 PM.

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    Thank a lot!
    I DO appreciate the help.
    I unfortunately am one who needs things spelled out.

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    Lightbulb

    You're Welcome!
    Last edited by TZ; 11-03-2005 at 09:14 AM.

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    Default Confusion over computer terms

    Dear Tommy,

    As you can see, I have decided to pick you over here from the Apple Discussion Forums, with the intent to help you out understanding the various "yargon" used to indicate components which you'll need to be more familiar with.

    Controller or Disk Controllers
    Technicaly speaking they are small microchips which - generally speaking - have enbedded a kind of "software routine" (sometimes called BIOS) which helps interpreting the electronic data flows between the magnetic recorded information held on the hard disk and the other components inside your computer (typically RAM and CPU).
    These "controllers" can be presented under various forms; the most commons are:
    • The controller micro-chip is directly soldered onto your motherboard, like in your Quicksilver machine is your IDE/ATA controller to which you have connected your present 80GB Seagate hard disk.
    • The controller micro-chip is soldered onto a green fibre plastic TSOP card which connects inside your computer via the free PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect bus) slot.

    In addition, these "controller" micro-chips connect to the hard disk via special "plugs" and data cables. Every "controller" has at least one outgoing "plug" to which connect a hard disk. In fact, they always come with at least two of these special "plugs".
    These special "plugs" are also called "controller's bus.
    Your QuickSilver machine has installed directly on the motherboard an IDE/ATA controller micro-chip with two "buses".
    One is used to connect your Optical drive (CD/DVD player/recorder).
    The otherone is used to connect your internal hard disk (or disks).

    The main difference between an IDE/ATA bus and a SATA bus is that:
    • on the ATA bus you can connect up to two different hard disks; one will be called (and will need to be determined as) Master device, while the other will be called Slave device. You may want to read through this "How IDE Controllers Work" article to learn more.
    • on a SATA bus you can connect only *ONE* hard disk; there's no need to differenciate between Master or Slave device under such protocol. But the performance - viewed as the capacity to transfer data between the hard disk and the controller - under the SATA protocol is a lot better than with the previous ATA protocol.

    Hard disk technology has improved considerably in the last couple of years. Magnetic storage capacity has increased more than two folds, yet reliability has improved (see my post over on the Apple Discussion Forums where I've linked you to the Fluid Dynamic Bearing Spindle Motors white paper), and in general all other attributes have also improved (including: idle and operational noise levels reduced, data track seek timing improved, data cache buffering increased, etc.). Ourdays, you can buy hard disks that could only have been dreamed of just a couple of years ago.

    I'll let you sink the above. Post back your "other areas of confusion". We'll be happy to clarify them for you.

    Ciao.

    Costa

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    on the landline, Mr. Smith
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    Hi Tommy,

    Glad you found our little corner of the internet world. I see you are in good hands.

    First, to be clear, I do nothing with music production, so nothing to add that is specific to your needs. Just wanted to second TZ's post: Any modern SATA drive on a good controller will be much better than you have, so don't sweat it too much. FWIW, at work we go through alot of general purpose hard drives......buy a dozen at a time. I rarely see any bad ones, and have had nothing but good experience with Hitachi, Seagate, and WD for the last sevearl years. We have about a dozen servers with either ATA or SATA drives that run 24/7 for years with no issues. Just in our Xserves + RAID we have 21 Hitachi ATA or SATA drives, and never a hiccup.

    I have seen 3 failures from Maxtors in the last 6 months: 1 in a Dell, 1 in an emac, and 1 in a storage array. The first two were the same model el cheapo light weight OEM drive, and is probably a bad design. The 3rd failure was a retail version ATA 7200rpm drive that got a little hot.

    Even with that, I would feel pretty good about using the latest and greatest from every major brand. Fujitsu drives get good reviews lately too, but not a popular consumer brand for drives...
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Mobius Strip
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  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    1hr N/W of LA LA Land
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    Great info TZ. I bow in your general direction.

    I must add that that my primary drives at the moment are WD JBs, and have been absolutely flawless if a tad noisey. They are on one of those slow Trio cards though. That has been flawless as well even if it's not very speedy.

    It's people like you who assist us of limited means to live happily behind the bleeding edge.

    Keep blazing the trail.

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