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Thread: My final spec + question about RAID

  1. #1
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    Default My final spec + question about RAID

    Hello guys,

    Hope you're all good. I've been dithering for ages over which desktop to get but I'm looking at the below Dell. Feel free to warn me if I should change anything on the spec (sshh - don't tell anyone but I don't really know anything about computers hehe!).

    My main question is that since people have said I should go for two hard drives whether that means it should be RAID 0 or RAID 1 - Dell let you choose, but I'm not sure which is safer?

    I'm gonna be using for three things: vid editing, internet and email/messenger type things. No games.

    Any comments would be gratefully received hehe.

    Cheers guys.

    Dell Dimension 9150:

    Intel® Pentium® 4 650 (3.4GHz, 800FSB, 2MB Cache)
    Windows® XP Media Center Edtn 2005 (Dell site won't let me pick XPPro?!)
    1024MB Dual Channel DDR2 533MHz (2x512) Memory
    Keyboard Dell Entry Quietkey USB Keyboard - UK/Ire (QWERTY)
    Monitor Dell 19" UltraSharp™ Flat Panel with Height Adj Stand (1905FP)
    Video Card 256MB ATI Radeon® X600 HyperMemory graphics card
    Hard Drive 250GB Serial ATA RAID 1 Mirror [2x250GB 7200rpm drives with DataBurstTM cache]
    Floppy Drives Internal 9-in-1 Flash Card Reader
    Mouse Dell USB 2Button Wheel Mouse
    Modem Dell v92 Data/Fax/Voice modem
    CD/DVD Drives 16x DVD+/-RW & 16x DVD Drives
    Sound Cards Sound Blaster® Live! 24-bit ADVANCED HD™ Sound Card
    Speakers Dell A425 Midnight Grey speakers with subwoofer UK version
    Gedis Bundle Reference List D11916 Dimension 9150
    Microsoft Application Software Microsoft® Works 7.0 - English
    Standard Warranty 1-Year Collect and Return service
    Cover It with Dell Support Services Standard: 3-Year At Home service with Accidental damage cover & E-Learning course
    Norton™ Internet Security™ 2005 15-month subscription
    Video Editing IEEE 1394 PCI Adapter card
    Price: c£1300

  2. #2
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    Default

    Those specs look great!

    About RAID:

    Raid 0 is where the data is 'striped' across two drives, giving you faster access and therefore better for video editing. When data is written to the drives, it is 'striped' across them, so part of it is on one hard drive, and the other part of it is on the other drive. This means that both bits of data can be accessed simultaneously and therefore it is faster loading. If one of the hard drives goes wrng however, you're in trouble.

    Raid 1 is 'mirroring' and is generally used in applications such as servers, where a constant backup of the hard-drives is necessary. When you write data to a hard drive, the one that it is in raid with will also be written to in exactly the same way, or it 'mirrors' it.

    I would go for raid 1 if you do want raid.

    Hope this helps.
    http://www.studioxpro.com

    :.: StudioX Productions :.:
    Dedicated to low-budget film-making

  3. #3
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    Default

    Thanks for the advice seymore!

    Glad to hear you think it looks powerful enough (it wants to be for £1300 eh!).

    Well now you've explained it I'm not sure I really want RAID at all then hehe... On the Dell website it only seems to let you choose from either RAID 1 or 0 - I can't seem to see an option just to have two separate internal hard disks on a Dell Dimension? Anyone know if I'm right? :(

    What I was thinking was that I would have one for just capturing/editing on and the other for all other stuff so I can keep apps separate. But it sounds like either RAID option would not allow that then.

    Does anyone here have two internal HDs that are not in a RAID set-up? If so, how is it for you in terms of performance for editing and just generally?

    Thanks again.


  4. #4
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    I have two internal hard rives which aren;t in raid. One 40Gb one for programs and windows and one 160Gb one for video. I keep it all seperate and it works fine!

    If you don't want raid, but you do want two hard drives (having two is pretty much a must for video editing) then you could try buying it with only one hard drive and then add another yourself once you've got it. This isn't difficult to do, and i'm sure you could find some good advice on these forums as to which hard drives are the most preffered for video editing.
    http://www.studioxpro.com

    :.: StudioX Productions :.:
    Dedicated to low-budget film-making

  5. #5
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    Hey seymour, thanks - that's a great idea. But I've never tinkered with a computer before - it doesn't like invalidate the Dell Warranty if I start opening it up and putting new things in does it?

    Sorry if that makes me sound like a muppet but I'm a total beginner hehe!


  6. #6
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    Actually, that's a good point. Try checking on the Dell website for information on their warranties. That would be a bit strange if they don't allow you to upgrade yourself.
    http://www.studioxpro.com

    :.: StudioX Productions :.:
    Dedicated to low-budget film-making

  7. #7
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    If the PC ships with warranty seals, then yes you will invalidate the warranty by opening the case. If your PC is returned using the waranty and found not to be in the same state as purchase, you will again invalidate the warranty.

  8. #8
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    Albuquerque, New Mexico
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    Default RAID

    Hello Sebastian,

    The specs on the Dell look great!
    I'm a little confused about the hard drive setup you have on your list.
    "Hard Drive 250GB Serial ATA RAID 1 Mirror [2x250GB 7200rpm drives with DataBurstTM cache]."
    To my knowledge RAID 1 can only be achieved with 3 hard drives.
    The fastest DATA is achieved with RAID 0, two drives stripped.
    The best fault tolerence is achieved with RAID 1, which is one drive mirrored by the stripped drives.
    I know, it's really confusing.
    Here is a link to PC Guide's "All About RAID". It is a great explanation of what RAID is and how to configure it for your own use.

    This is how I configured my self-built AMDXPAthlon2700/Gigabyte7VAXP/
    Windows XP Pro based computer for video editing.

    I have three ATA 100 hard drives. One 120 GIG for Windows and all of my main data storage.
    My motherboard came with a RAID controller so I installed two small, fast 40 GIG drives and set them at RAID 0.
    Because of all of the programs and resource usage that accumulates on a computer that is used for the internet and a lot of other programs, I decided to use the RAID stripe to install a second boot of Windows XP Pro.
    I partitioned the stripe first and installed the second boot on it's own partition.
    The other partition is used for the fast data that I want to use.
    The only programs that I installed on the second boot of Windows are my video and editing programs. Along with all of the Microsoft Video9 series codec and programs.
    You wouldn't believe the difference in the speed of the RAID operating system. Fast!
    I have noticed that the RAID Windows always out performs the non-RAID boot of Windows in all categories. Especially video editing.
    The main thing about using RAID 0 is to always have a backup of your criticle data on the stripe.
    Hope this helps.

    Happy Editing!
    Weave
    Weave.

  9. #9
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    I always thought that configuration was called raid 0+1, but i could be wrong.
    http://www.studioxpro.com

    :.: StudioX Productions :.:
    Dedicated to low-budget film-making

  10. #10
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    Thanks for all the help on this guys Your advice about RAID was very helpful too Weave, so thanks.

    I think since I'm such a novice I'm going to try to just stick to two separate internal HDs rather than go for RAID.

    So I phoned Dell and they said they don't sell PCs with two HDs unless they are in a RAID set-up. But I could buy a PC with one HD, then call them to buy a second one from their Parts dept afterwards and have someone from Dell come and install it!

    Okay, so I checked their Parts list online and they only seem to sell two internal HDs:

    DELL 73GB SCSI Ultra320 (10,000rpm) 1in80pin HD = £219.73
    (or)
    DELL 146GB SCSI Ultra320 (10,000rpm) 1in80pin HD = £384.23

    She said if I don't buy the 2nd Hard drive from Dell then I will not be covered by warranty for any issues resulting from installing another brand of second Hard Disk.

    So - my question to you guys would be:

    a) what do you think of these Dell hard disks (e.g. are they too fast/expensive?)

    b) if you were a novice like me would you just buy another brand instead and install it yourself/get a mate to do it (bearing in mind what they said about the warranty - is this a big risk?)

    Again, thanks for helping me out - any views you can give would be appreciated.

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