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Topic: Buying Today - Is Raid worth it?

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  1. #1

    Buying Today - Is Raid worth it?

    I am thinking of getting one of the Sweetwater Pre-fab music computers:
    Rackmount, 3.2 Intel, 2 Gig Ram, RME 96/52

    They only have room for two drives so you cannot configure it in a Raid Array.

    Is that a big deal if running Platinum and other huge NI Libraries and eventually Giga?

    If so, would you recommend going with the 200 Gig or 300 Gig Hardrive for Samples. Is there a difference in performance?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member newmewzikboy's Avatar
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    Re: Buying Today - Is Raid worth it?

    Raid 0 isn't going to make much difference -- either in reading or in writing. At least not any more different than intelligently and manually distributing your samples or output audio files over multiple hard drives. The basis of RAID 0 is to make 1 or more hard drives look like one partition or one hard drive. So, if you have very large samples, or if you have very large audio output files, creating RAID configurations make sense to get one large continuios space. But its not going to make much difference if you have multiple files being read or written. Not any more different than manually calculating what is used the most, and intelligently distributing the sample files over your drives.

    You might make the argument, but if I had a large sample file, and it was distributed across different platters, obviously the buffering load would be reduced since i have two hard drives doing the work. The problem with that is you cannot tell where RAID will place the parts of the file. 90% may be on one drive, and 10% on the other. When you also consider that your other samples will be distributed in a similar way, throughput in the end diminishes. And it also ranges based on your project. If you had a heavy string project, distributing your strings across multiple platters makes sense. But if your next project was heavy in percussion, but used little strings, you would want your percussion to be more distributed than your strings.

    RAID 0 would make sense if you wanted to have more than one application or thread access a SINGLE file, AND each application or thread needed a different part of a file. The file might be broken up across two drives via RAID. Unfortunately, you cannot easily force this sub clustering of the SINGLE file without an additional server layer, and I don't know of why you would need to do this in an audio situation? In a database situation, this might make some sense since you may want two different queries accessing a different record set within a SINGLE tablespace file.

    In the end RAID 0 will not hurt, but it won't help anymore than figuring out where to distribute your audio files (both sample and audio out) based on your usage.

  3. #3
    Senior Member newmewzikboy's Avatar
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    Re: Buying Today - Is Raid worth it?

    As for your purchase, if you can only have 2 drives, I would think this may not be enough for what you wish to do.

    1 drive would be allocated to OS
    1 drive would be allocated to Samples (recommend as large as possible)
    Where are you going to place your audio? This doenst leave much room for error or growth, especially gven all the processing you may want to do.

    Most MOBO's these days have 4 SATA connections + additional IDE connections.

    So, my configuration, if I were making one DAW + sampler:

    2 gig RAM
    3+ mz P4

    1 IDE for OS
    1 IDE for DVD/

    2 SATA RAID 0 for Audio
    2 SATA RAID 0 for Samples + Video playback

    Except to run GIGA and everything else I need more than 2 gig. Not sure XP can handle it

  4. #4

    Re: Buying Today - Is Raid worth it?

    Thanks for the response newmew!

    That helps! I am a little bummed that their units only have space for two drives. He mentioned you could add a Firewire drive, but that is more external crap around the studio I would much rather have tucked away in a case.

    I forgot to mention this will be a second PC dedicated only to running EWQL stuff. My main DAW is a Dual Mac 1.25 running Pro Tools LE so recording adio is done on my Main DAW.

  5. #5
    Senior Member newmewzikboy's Avatar
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    Re: Buying Today - Is Raid worth it?

    Well, keep it simple. Personally, I build my own computers, and not very often. I have a standalone XP machine dedicated for Giga only.

    2 Gig
    1.7 mz
    2 drives only

    Its enough for a chamber orchestra 2222-4221-2-pa-hp-str plus a few extras, but not enough for a bunch of other stuff. Not even sure that I can run NI or other plugs while running GIGA. GIGA has its own wave streaming driver in memory and i think it takes over the damn machine.

    Just bought Atmosphere and am installing it now on my DAW as a VSTi, and I just received GPO in the mail (although i was already using GOS in my orchestra). Not sure where to stick GPO yet, as you can run it as VSTi, in Kontack player, or with a GPO player. Probably will stick it on the GIGA machine but I am concerned I won't be able to use GIGA at the same time.

    You might look at DELL machines. They are pretty cheap if you don't wnat to buuild one from scratch

  6. #6

    Re: Buying Today - Is Raid worth it?

    I'd ask them for a different case so you have the option, whether you go raid or not it would be nice to have a 3rd drive eventually as these samples take up a ton of space. 200 gigs will be gone in no time. I run raid 0 in my systems and haven't had a problem. I don't know if you have the option to run 1 C: drive, 1 D: drive and 1 E: drive all on their own buss. Try to always get a system that can be upgraded and not maxed out. Generally that means spending a bit more on a motherboard.
    Later

  7. #7
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    Re: Buying Today - Is Raid worth it?

    I agree with the previous post. Also, putting two 250s into a Raid 0 Array for a 470+GB drive is a lot cheaper than a 400 GB drive and it's always a good idea to leave yourself room to grow. I'm putting big P-4 systems into boxes the owners originally bought for Giga Sampler 64 with P-IIIs four years ago.
    Best wishes, jc

  8. #8
    Senior Member newmewzikboy's Avatar
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    Re: Buying Today - Is Raid worth it?

    With samples using higher sample rates and bit rates, you are easily going to run out of hard drive space. I am already maxed out on my drive at 16/44.1.

    So, spend the extra money and get a good SATA enabled MOBO IMHO.

    I'm straggling by using old multiple equipment until 64bit Windows becomes stable, then I am moving to a Dual Core Processor and a 64 bit MOBO. Keep it simple, and save your monely till next year.

  9. #9

    Re: Buying Today - Is Raid worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by newmewzikboy
    Well, keep it simple. Personally, I build my own computers,
    That's usually a good way to go.

  10. #10
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    Re: Buying Today - Is Raid worth it?

    This is not meant to bad-mouth Sweetwater, as I don't know much about their units. But if you've decided to purchase a pre-fab and want more drive space I would suggest you consider a Carillon system. Our Carillon was puchased 3 months ago and has been flawless; we are very happy with it. We run Carillon's tweaked/streamlined XP OS with 2GB RAM and GigaStudio on one 200GB drive, plus 3 400GB SATA drives in a RAID array for samples. Tech support has been responsive and efficient. 1-800-422-7455. Ask for Mike Seltzer, who really knows his stuff.
    justin thyme

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