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Raid vs Flash

Posted on 2006-11-08
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
I am into video editing.  I read in a magazine article that a 4 hard drive striped array is about equal to a flash drive.
Has anyone had any experience with working with a 4 drive raid 0?
If the speed of the 4 drive raid isn't impressively faster than just two or even one drive I would like to know. Eventually I will be editing HD.
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Question by:wylackii
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 17902185
A flash drive is not that fast if you're talking about data transfer rates.  If you're talking about solid state drives, that's another story.  The controller you use is the biggest factor in determining how fast you can go - I have an Areca 1220 PCI-e controller with 5 drives in a RAID-5 setup that I measured using HDTune to have a throughput of 250MB/sec.
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Expert Comment

by:saw830
ID: 17902276
Hi wylackii,
Is it as fast?  hum... there are lots of variables to come into play here.  CPU speed and load, bus speed and load, interface (usb versus ide/scsi/sata) speeds and loads, drive spindle speeds, etc.  So I'm not sure that you can do a theoritical comparison.

I would be more concerned with the risks of using a 4 drive raid 0 array.  If any one drive in the array fails you loose the array, there is no error correction in raid 0.  Granted, you could loose a flash drive, but each time you add a drive to the array you increase the chance of a failure in the array.

Hope this helps,
Alan
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Author Comment

by:wylackii
ID: 17934079
I don't plan on using it for anything critical. I If the array fails I will lose only time. My back up solution will use the 2 biggest drives I can afford 3 months from now and have a raid 1 array.
So 6 drives Total.
What brought this question up is that for $500 I can get an add in card and put 4 GB of ddr ram into it to increase performance on all my cached video files. I ruined a 15000 rpm scsi drive by constantly scrubbing through the video
(got the drive before the Raptors appeared). My previous 10 minute video had 1 GB of cached effects files alone.
If I am patient I hear SATA III has theoretical speeds of 600 MB/s but until I have real world numbers I will have to wait.

Assuming I have core duo (or even the upcoming core duo duo :)_), a real nice mobo and 4 quality hard drives (nothing special) in a 4 drive striped raid,
Would I be able to edit uncompressed HD or should I fork my money over to Ulead which converts it to 720 but edits 1080 in real time?
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Expert Comment

by:saw830
ID: 17934731
I understand.  I have a close friend that does digital video editing.

I expect that a RAM drive would be the fastest if you can get the ram as close as possible to the PC's data bus.  I expect the RAM to always out perform any drive due to reduced (non-existant) spindle and head position seeks.

I'm not a big fan of  USB, but I'm slowely converting.  I still don't expect a USB bus to run faster than a SCSI bus.

There is an advertisement that I came across in a magazine a couple of months ago that showed a newly developed PCI based RAM drive.  I can't remember the brand at the moment, but I'll have a look tonight and see if I can find the ad.
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Author Comment

by:wylackii
ID: 17941321
I have seen one for PCI express x1. But still $500 is alot for only 4 GB of working space. If a 4 drive striped raid could come close I could spend that $500 on a quality hardware based raid card and inexpensive hard drives. Besides, those ddr drives are limited to the pci bus. My next question will be "are the pci (pci express x1) bus speeds faster than SATA 300 (or even SATA 600)?
Thanks for the input.
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Accepted Solution

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Callandor earned 350 total points
ID: 17944150
Those speeds (300 and 600 MB/sec) are interface speeds, not sustained data transfer rates - as soon as the buffer empties, the rate drops to the sustained transfer rate, which is around 50-60MB/sec for an IDE 7200 rpm drive.  An 8MB buffer empties pretty fast with an interface that handles 300MB/sec.

As I mentioned before, I have the Areca 1220, which is a PCI-e x4 card teamed up with 5 Samsung 250GB SATA II drives in a RAID-5 configuration and I can get 250MB/sec sustained transfer rates reading - writing will be slower, due to parity calculations and the need to read beforehand.  PCI-e x1 is one "lane", which is handles up to 2.5 Gbits/sec, which is close to SATA II speeds.
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Author Comment

by:wylackii
ID: 18049167
Thanks for help.
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