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chasg Nov 8, 2006 05:53 AM
two drives for striped RAID? which?
Hi All,

I posted the below in "Peripherals", but I then realised that here was more appropriate (as it's mainly Photoshop scratch disks I'm concerned with). My apologies for the cross-post.

I'm going to purchase an eSATA 5-bay external enclosure (Sonnet 500P). I plan to use two of the bays to stripe two drives together for fast scratch space (Photoshop, iView, Stitcher etc).

In this thread: I was pointed to Microdirect as a place to buy SATA drives. I was going to get any old 160GB 7800rpm SATA2 drives, but I found Western Digital Raptor drives (designed for RAID, 10,000rpm). I used to edit video (back when SCSI was standard on Macs, a while ago!) and 10,000rpm drives were de rigueur.

Would two Raptors be overkill for what I need? (among other things, I regularly work with Photoshop files that get up to 1.5-2GB in size, and the single SATA drive I use for scratch in my dual 2.0GHz G5 really struggles).

Thanks for any insights,

art_director Nov 8, 2006 11:24 AM
You've spoken of using 10,000 RPM Raptors and an enclosure. As a word of advice, should your direction change, do know the Raptor drives will not work as internal drives in your G5 tower unless you get a third party SATA card -- they don't play nice with the boards in G5s. I found out the hard way.
chasg Nov 8, 2006 11:32 AM
Thanks for that info, pretty important (sorry about your misfortune).

It just so happens that, in order for this enclosure to work, I need to get a SATA card anyways. So, I'd be ok if I were ever to move the Raptors into the G5 (not that it would really make much sense, what with only two bays available inside and these drives actually being quite low capacity).

As you've obviously used them, do you think that my plan to use two striped for scratch is overkill?

art_director Nov 8, 2006 01:10 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by chasg (Post 3197904)
Thanks for that info, pretty important (sorry about your misfortune).

It just so happens that, in order for this enclosure to work, I need to get a SATA card anyways. So, I'd be ok if I were ever to move the Raptors into the G5 (not that it would really make much sense, what with only two bays available inside and these drives actually being quite low capacity).

As you've obviously used them, do you think that my plan to use two striped for scratch is overkill?

Yeah, that's a little heavy-handed. That said, I don't work on high-res retouching and the like. If you do it may be appropriate.

Have you looked into the Sonnet G5 Jive? It's a nifty way to add drives inside your box but you can only create a software RAID with that approach. Some frown at that idea. You can get them off for approx $75.

My system ( and needs) isn't the same as yours but I just went through the enclosure purchase recently. For me, the best solution was the Wiebe Tech RT5. I have 5 500GB drives in it running as a hardware RAID. Can't say enough good things about it. Also, you can use IDE / PATA drives, which are ever so cheap right now.
chasg Nov 8, 2006 01:33 PM
Well, I ordered the Raptors, we'll see if they have to work hard or not :-)

I considered the Sonnet internal solution (wow, the price sure came down from what it was when it first came out!), but I wanted to go external mainly because I'll be swapping out a drive once in a while (I'm going to have a big 750GB drive that'll store completed projects. When it's full, I'll shelve it and put another in. This is going to replace my old archiving method of using DVD-Rs, which now take up two days of burning to archive a big project!!)

I'm getting the Sonnet 500P. I'm only going to RAID the two Raptor drives, the rest will be plain 'ole JBOD. The choice was down to a mixture of speed, price and reduced cable-clutter (it's a port-multiplier box, so one SATA cable, one power cable, yay!). I looked at the Weibetech products, particularly the SilverSATA ('cause they are hardware RAIDs, convenient). The RT5 is a beautiful box (gotta love the interface options), but is a little out of my price range (considering what I really need a SATA enclosure for). Are you editing video?

The enclosure that I _really_ wanted comes from MacGurus: much better specs than the Sonnet 500P, but it turns out that shipping from the US to the UK would add almost 100% to the price, so I had to consider other options (curses!).

The whole reason I'm going with an enclosure is that I presently have three completely full LaCie 500GB FW800 drives on my desktop. My projects tend to come to around 50GB (though the last was almost 100GB), and that fills up "mere" 500GB drives quickly. I have a colleague who has 9 (yes, nine) of these boxes on his desk (the cable clutter is pretty impressive, he's had to rewire his office to be able to power them). I really didn't want to go down that road, and so started looking at hot-swappable enclosures, and eSATA seemed future-proof (though I've had to buy a PCI-X SATA card, which of course won't be any good for the MacPro in my future, a year or so away. Oh well, I have to work _now_!)

I remember my first hard drive: it was a massive 90MB monster for my Mac Plus. I thought that I'd _never_ be able to fill it up! LOL

art_director Nov 8, 2006 04:35 PM
Your post had me rolling on the floor. I've been in the exact same spot with respect to multiple hard drives, etc. And, I too, had a 48GB hard drive that I'd never fill. Ha. If only we knew then, right?

No, I'm not into video editing. I'm in advertising -- print, design and some web stuff. I archive a lot of data for my clients and, like yourself, kept buying external drives.

Having lost a few drives over the years (not a matter of if they'll go, but when they'll go) I decided a RAID hardware solution was my best bet. Now, if one drive goes down, I just throw in a fresh one and it's rebuilt for me. No lost files. In theory.

The RT5, stocked with 5 500GB drives, gives me a total of 1.86TB of storage. As I said with my first 48GB external drive, I'll never fill this.
art_director Nov 8, 2006 04:38 PM
BTW, OreoCookie over in the PowerMac forums on MacNN, gave me the RT% lead and advice. Really a helpful fellow / gal.
chasg Nov 8, 2006 04:57 PM
yeah, OreoCookie really helped me too with the SATA and RAID learning process and the decision (OC even alluded to your RT5 purchase in my thread :-)

It's amazing how much data I hold for my clients, but it's inevitable that if I were to delete a job and associated files off my drive, the client will call that week and ask for something from that job (it's happened three times). Heck, I even hate it when I've got the job archived to DVD and they call looking for "just that one image", it takes ages to track it down! (yeah, I should catalogue everything, but when my "clients" iView catalog got bigger than a few gigs, I stopped bothering).

I have a friend who is a car photographer, and regularly shoots with a 39MPix digital back. When these images are retouched, they end up really huge (photoshop layers and all that). He's actually gotten into the habit of billing for an external hard drive, and he gives them that when he delivers (way easier than dealing with discs, for him at least).

So you're using RAID 5 in your RT5 then? Clever (the Sonnet 500P can't do RAID 5, as it's all in software). And yeah, a mere 1.86TB is going to seem laughably small soon. I wish "they" would hurry up with the holographic memory, I could use a few petabytes in my Mac.

48 megs? Each shot from my camera is about that large! (hey, at least _my_ first hard drive could hold two shots from my camera, LOL ;-)

art_director Nov 8, 2006 05:03 PM
Yep, OC is the man.

I know what you mean. I have some clients who call me for files from jobs over three years old. Needless to say, it's easier to have it all at my fingertips.

I have my own system of filing so I can generally find something within seconds.

Part of my business involves working on very large projects. As I move through a job I generally have abrupt changes in direction. History has taught me that saving in versions can avoid major headaches and delays. So, a job that might actually take up 10GB, is 40GB in reality given the multiple iterations I store. It's saved my goose on numerous occasions.

You'll have to post back with the results of your new setup.

Good luck.
chasg Nov 8, 2006 05:12 PM
Iterations, I do exactly that! (in an earlier life I was a graphic designer, and I got into iterations back before photoshop had layers, saved my butt a ton of times :-)

OC asked me to post my experiences with this whole RAID/SATA thing, so keep your eye out (of course, the card I need is not available in the UK, so I'm looking at two weeks or so before I get it <sigh>)

What, by the way, is your filing system like? Me, everything is labeled with the date and time shot/worked on. So, it's easy to find the project itself, the difficult part is determining which DVD-R that _one_ photo is on <grr>


art_director Nov 8, 2006 05:18 PM
I break it down like this:

Client > Date ( w time if needed ) > Project > Version

There's some fine tuning in there as well but you get the basic idea.

Depending upon the job I may package everything ( w art, fonts, etc. ) with each new version. In other cases I keep all the art together in an assets folder.

My system is cobbled together from the file management systems of various agencies I've worked for. I kept the parts I liked from each and pitched the stuff that didn't suit my taste / needs.
chasg Nov 8, 2006 05:25 PM
Evolutionary improvement, I like it :-)

When I'm doing graphic design stuff (I like to keep my hand in for old, valued clients), I will always get InDesign to put together a nice package of everything, even if I don't send all that to the printer. Keeps it all together, just in case/when the client calls me back looking for "that one version I rejected but now like" a couple of years later.

Bedtime for me, later!

art_director Nov 8, 2006 05:38 PM
Precisely what I do.

Good chatting w you. Good night.
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