First of all, I have read Tweakers Page exporting section because that is where my primary concern is. First my questions, then background and my current and proposed configurations:
Question 1: Will adding a hardware RAID controller, such as an LSI MegaRAID remove enough burden from the CPU managing parity on my software RAID 5 that the CPU will jump for joy and export faster?
Question 2: If true to above, then compare thoughts on adding more smaller SSDs for either a one volume RAID 0 or smaller two volume RAID 0 to complement existing HDD RAID 5. That is, I'm thinking of buying four Samsung 850 Pro 128 GB SSDs to put in a four disk volume to handle everything (media/projects, media cache, previews, exports), or split it up into two volumes of two disks each and split the duties, or keep the four disk volume idea and put the previews & exports on my HDD RAID 5 array.
The 850's are rated at SEQ read/write: 550/470 MB/s thus I could get around 2000/1500 MB/s read write in a four disk RAID 0 or 1/2 that if I split into two volumes to minimize volumes from reading/writing at the same time, if that really matters with these SSDs?
The Tweaker's page made a few comments. One is splitting duties among different disks, rather than a large efficient RAID may actually slow things down. Since the SSDs are much faster than a single HDD, I'm thinking that is no longer accurate, thus I'm leaning toward the Four disk configuration putting OS & Programs on C drive, Media & Projects on D (HDD RAID 5), Pagefile & Media Cache on SSD (2-disk RAID 0) and Previews &Exports on 2nd SSD RAID 0 (or combine the two RAID 0's and their duties).
Just trying to get a perspective here, since I haven't purchased anything yet. Any experience/stories, I would appreciate.
My current drive configuration:
My D drive is software RAID 5 consisting of four 1 TB Western Digital RE4 (RED) 7200 RPM HDDs with a CrystalDiskMark SEQ Read/Write of 339/252 MB/s.
The C drive is SSD 500 GB (Samsung 840 (not Pro) and does 531/330 MB/s. My OS, Program Files and Page File are on C, and data/media files/project, etc all are on the RAID drive.
Current setup allows for smooth editing, only the exporting seems slow, often taking between two and two and a half times the video length to export. Thus a 10 minute video takes 20-30 minutes to export. 15 minute video can take 30-40 minutes to export. The first 10% of the two-pass export takes under a minute (seems fast), but it gets slower where the final 10 or 20% can hang for many minutes like my system is running out of steam. So where is the waste?
I have enabled hardware acceleration (did the GPU hack since my GPU isn't listed) and it may spike at 25% usage a few times and eat up 600 MB of VRAM (I have 2 GB of VRAM), otherwise it is idle the whole export. The CPU may spike at 50% but it doesn't seem overly busy either.
Our timeline is simple with two video streams and two audio streams (a little music and mostly voice) with simple transitions (jump cuts or cross dissolves). We sometimes fast color correct, so that might use the GPU? Also, since we film in 1080 60P and export 1080 29.97 frames/sec, I think that is scaling and uses the GPU. I know without the GPU, it does take a lot longer. I have ruled out buying a faster GPU since it doesn't appear to be breaking a sweat. I just need to know if my system is bottlenecked at the hard drive level because I'm using software RAID and my disks are slow and will hardware RAID significantly reduce the CPU load so it can export faster.
Our files are not huge in nature. Most our clips are several MBs each. Total project files are between 5 GBs and 10 GBs for each video with Windows Media File export being 500 MB to 1.2 GB on average. We shoot using Panasonic camcorders so the original files are AVCHD, I believe (.MTS files?).
1. I'm thinking of buying (and future proofing) an LSI Logic MegaRAID 9361-8i that is 12Gb/s SAS and SATA (because some current SSDs can exceed the 6Gb/s standard).
2. I'm not replacing my current RAID 5 HDDs because not in my budget to upgrade to 6 or more large SSDs. These drives are more important to me for temporary storage because I remove the files once backed up. I don't mind a few inexpensive smaller SSDs if they can make a significant difference for editing and exporting.
I can only guess my HDD RAID is slow but the CPU is burdened with parity. I would imagine running RAID 10 would not help much.
CPU - i7-3930K CPU @4.5 GHz
RAM - G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3 2133 @2000
Motherboard - ASUS P9X79 WS LGA 2011
GPU - Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660 OC 2GB (performed the compatibility list hack to enable hardware acceleration).
C drive - 500 GB Samsung 840 SSD (Windows 7 Pro 64 bit and programs).
D drive - four 1 TB WD RE4 Enterprise HDDs 7200 RPMs in software RAID 5
Case - Cooler Master HAF X
CPU Fan - Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO with 120 mm fan
Power Supply - Corsair Pro Series AX 850 Watt 80 Plus Gold
Optical Drive - Pioneer BDR - 208DBK
thanks in advance,