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Thread: Hard drive selection help required

  1. #1

    Default Hard drive selection help required

    can anyone help me with deciding what hard drive to buy for a video capture PC.
    I currently have an Athlon 2600 on an Nforce motherboard, 512Mb PC2700 ram, and an 80Gb WD JB hard drive.
    I read articles which say use 2 drives for video capture, one for O.S. and one for data.
    Is RAID useful in video capture, the motherboard supports SATA raid, and I can buy 2 converters with a new hard drive and use the 2 drives in a RAID array (current drive is IDE, I have seen the converters for 10).
    Is there any advantage or disadvantage in this method, or is it just best to buy a large second hard drive and use them both on the IDE channel of the PC?
    The current hard disk has an 8Mb cache, am I right in thinking a large cache may help during disk intensive work like video capture.
    Any help/comments much appreciated.

  2. #2


    Welcome to the forums

    The whole seperate drives for capture and OS is a good way to go - its essentially an easy method of good housekeeping. Generally, capturing to the same disk as the OS (where files are constantly being saved, accessed moved and deleted) doesn't make for the best capture environment. Not only is it possible that the disc will be accessed during capture, it's also likely that your disc will become quickly fragmented. And we've all read that a defragmented drive provides the best performance. So keeping a drive seperate for capture means you can easily keep it "clean".

    I've never really understood why a RAID configuration would improve performance. RAID 1 ensures data failure is minimised by mirroring the drives (you always have a backup!) but RAID 0 essentially only creates one out of two. Now where's the performance boost in that? Maybe I'm missing something?

    I've got one Drive on an a single IDE (these days it's probably more logical to refer to this as PATA?) channel, and another on a SATA channel. I've partitioned the SATA the drive into a 30GB partition for Win XP, and the remaining 130GB for capture and video editing. On the other drive, I've got a 10GB partition for for Win XP that I install test applications, with the remaining 100GB for storage (website, created videos, pictures, backups etc - it's amazing how much you amass!).

    The 8MB cache does indeed help with video capture, and that's why I use the SATA drive with an 8MB cache for that very job. But here's a thing, I started of capturing on a Packard Bell machine with a PII 600, 128MB ram and a crappy, thrashed drive. Never once did I get a dropped frame!

    A good harddrive DOES make a BIG difference (check out the new 10,000RPM WD Raptor drives on a google search), but just as important is good housekeeping! Its all very well having the fastest drive, but if you don't regulary tidy it up, it's like making an F1 car to run on diesel.

    Just my thoughts. I've written more at

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Paris, France, Europe


    Little note on RAID performance

    Mirroring will only decrease write performance. Same data, two physical places to put it, can only be as fast or slower.

    Raid 0 (disk striping) may improve performance, because you're writing half data to one physical place, the other half to another, at the same time. The two disks are "striped" rather than just joined together, so that pretty much every file will be part on one, part on the other. This can allegedly improve read performance too, depends on hardware and caching and so on.

    RAID 5 (lots of drives, striped with parity) is best for security. Performance not necessarily better though, but lose one drive and you can reconstruct the lot via checksums (need a minimum of 3 drives to do this). Your drive space is limited to (number of drives - 1) * space on each drive and all drives must be identical for best performance.

    This is a rough idea of the stuff involved. Hunt for benchmarks and stuff for more detail than I can give.

  4. #4

    Default Re RAID

    the only Raid solution I was considering was Raid 0, striping the data across the 2 drives. As the data can be split across the 2 drives and written at the same time, it can increase the performance. I know this would mean total loss of data if one of the 2 drives failed, never had a drive fail in any pc, but there is always a first time! Only if using Raid gave a significant performance boost was I going to consider it, but going on Marc's advice, I guess just adding a second drive, maybe on the SATA channel will suit my needs. I will have a look at the Raptor drive, and look for the larger cache.
    Being a comlpete beginner with video, I'm sure this forum will be of much continued help.
    Thank you for your advice.

  5. #5


    Cheers for clearing up the RAID issue Fruey - really should have known that

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