15 Replies Latest reply on Oct 7, 2011 7:14 AM by Frédéric Segard

    How to access more than 2 TB of disk space?

    Harm Millaard Level 7

      In the past I have posted on Adobe Forums: Storage rules for an editing rig. Some...  and on Adobe Forums: To RAID or not to RAID, that is the... .


      With disk sizes increasing all the time and 3 TB models announced, people are often confronted with the limitations of Windows, especially when using Raids. I have had to help people in setting up their raid configuration, and while it is not difficult, if requires some knowledge on how to set it up. I thought this might be of interest to help you install large raids on your own system and correct the limitations of Windows.


      The problem.


      You have a number of large disks, say 1, 1.5 or 2 TB disks and you want to raid them and then discover that Windows does not allow volumes larger than 2 TB. You can't really access the unallocated space in a standard way. That is a shame, because in your case (example), with 4 x 2 TB disks, you had hoped to access 8 TB but can only access 2 TB and having 6 TB of unallocated space is a serious waste. This can easily be corrected.


      Some Background.


      An array is a number of physical hard drives, that are seen as one disk by Windows. This will show you how to convert a MBR  (Master Boot Record) array/disk to a GPT  (GUID - Globally Unique Identifer) array/disk in Windows Disk Manager. By default Windows uses MBR disks or arrays.


      While all Windows can boot from a MBR disk or array, you can only boot from a GPT disk if you have an operating system (see below) that supports GPT and your motherboard has a EFI BIOS and is enabled.

      You can still have a separate GPT disk as a data disk if your operating system (see below) supports reading a GPT disk, even if your system disk that Windows is installed on is still a MBR disk.




      Differences Between MBR and GPT Disks:


          * MBR disks are supported (readable) by all Windows operating systems.
                o GPT disks are only supported (readable) by Windows server 2003 SP1 +, XP 64-bit, Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008.
          * MBR disks use the standard BIOS partition table.
                o GPT disks use extensible firmware interface (EFI).
          * MBR disks supports up to 2TB per single partition.
                o GPT disks supports up to 256TB per single partition in Windows.
          * MBR disks supports up to 3 Primary partitions and 1 Extended partition with up to 128 logical volumes in the extended partition.
                o GPT disks supports up to 128 Primary partitions.
          * Removable disks are MBR disks by default.
                o Removable disks cannot be converted into a GPT disk.



          * You must be an administrator to do this in Windows.
          * Before you convert a disk, close any programs that are running on or from that disk.
          * Before you convert a disk, be sure to backup anything that you do not want to lose on that disk. Converting the disk requires that all partitions and volumes are deleted on the disk first.


      How to correct this limitation.


      1. Right click on My Computer.


      2. Select Manage.


      3. Select Disk Management.


      4. Select the disk you want to modify, right click on it and select Delete Volume until the whole disk is unallocated.


      5. Right click on this disk that you want to convert and select Convert to GPT disk.


      6. When finished, you can confirm that the disk is a GPT disk if you right click on the disk and it has Convert to MBR disk instead now.


      7. Now you can format the GPT disk and have all the space available for use.

      8. Close Disk Management.


      This is the easiest way to allow for single volumes of 256 TB or less. I hope this was helpful if you have been struggling with this problem.

        • 1. Re: How to access more than 2 TB of disk space?

          This may sound stupid but with a RAID setup for video editing would I have a seperate hard drive for my OS and programs and then the RAID setup disks for the video editing and storage?

          • 2. Re: How to access more than 2 TB of disk space?
            Harm Millaard Level 7



            Example (maybe not the most common one, but anyway...)


            1. C drive: OS & programs (single Velociraptor)

            2. D drive: pagefile and temp files (2 x 1 TB raid0)

            3. E drive: projects, media, previews, etc. (12 x 1 TB raid30)

            • 3. Re: How to access more than 2 TB of disk space?

              Tks Harm.  Interesting, you'll be happy to know that a year later someone like me notices your thread and it is helpful.


              I had recently run into the MBR and GPT issue and resolved it similar to what you say. Works nicely.  I've had a couple outstanding questions regarding all your articles about raid setup.


              A) Your beast has (or has had) about 17 disks.  Someone had asked you about your case in the earlier forums, I was curious what case you used as I never saw what exactly you used.  The Lian Li monster case only allows for ATX size boards, not EATX, so I was curious what case you used or did you go to a server type set up?


              B) In terms of Raid, I have a couple questions if you wouldn't mind.  Currently I am using a smaller system than yours and expanding further and would appreciate your viewpoint.  Current system:



              Mobo: EVGA Classifed x58 3

              Intel i7-960

              EVGA Ge Force GTX 470

              24 GB RAM

              Windows 7 Pro 64 bit


              Disk Setup:  (9 disks currently, could add 1 more easily):


              OS:  2 1TB disks Raid 1, Sata 6gb/s (mobo,disk and cables).7200 rpm

              Media:                     (3)   1.5 TB,  Raid 5  7200 rpm

              Renders/Previews:    (2)   1.5 TB,  Raid 0  7200 rpm

              Projects/Page Files  (1)   1.5 TB,  7200 rpm

              Exports/Storage:      (1)   1.5 TB   7200 rpm



              Typically my projects are large, often up to 1 TB of original media that is edited into maybe 4 different 30 minute programs - usually SD output for local broadcasts.  The original media comes in (mentally exasperating combinations) HDV, P2 and AVCHD from Scan Disks.


              Workflow typically is media loaded onto a separate hard drive off line,  then loaded into the system on the 3 disk Raid 5 for use in editing, thus already giving me a safety back up.


              All timeline renders are sent to the 2 disk Raid 0.


              When possible I will edit all programs for one set of media in one single PrPro project unless it starts to slow up depending on how many effects/layers, at which point I will break down the projects to individual show projects which helps tremendously, particularly for some reason on P2 media.    But I try to keep one project for one set of media no matter how many different shows I produce from that media if at all possible.


              You will remember we did some testing together several months ago with your benchmark tests when CS 5 originally came out and there were quite some issues then on the original release, all of which have been quite satisfactorily resolved (for me anyway) with the revisions to CS 5.


              Since that time, my system has been considerably modified and upgraded such that it is also expandable and I have had a lot of good production since (although I never benchmark tested this newer system.)


              I keep in general my media for a particular pjt offline from the editing system above until I need it, and then bring it into the raid 5, do the projects, and then take the media down ready for the next.


              As a note, I had until recently put my media on a 2 disk Raid 0 and kept my renders on a separate 2 disk Raid 0 and that speeded up things tremendously.  Not too worried about the renders getting lost in a bad disk as those are easily regenerated.  Also not too worred about media either as I always have a back up.  But thought I would try out the Raid 5 on a new project.


              Soon I'll be adding an areca controller and expand considerably to a larger disc array.


              But, I would appreciate your thoughts on what you would do differently with the current resources above, as I could easily make changes now before starting my next new project and my disks are all clean!




              • 4. Re: How to access more than 2 TB of disk space?
                Harm Millaard Level 7

                I remember your help with the finalization of the PPBM5 test and thank you again for the effort and time invested.


                First, the case I have is the Lian Li PC-A77 and indeed it currently has 17 disks and 2 BR burners inside, with room for two more disks.


                It looks somewhat crowded, but it works fine.




                In your setup, the 3 disk raid5, presumably on the ICHR10, is pretty slow and definitely slower than a 2 disk raid0 on the ICHR10.


                My first step would be to add at least 1 disk to that array, so it will perform a bit better than a 2 disk raid0. Your next intended move to an Areca controller is a good choice, It will increase the performance, both of your CPU (due to less overhead from the ICHR10) and your array. For the rest it looks like a good setup.

                • 5. Re: How to access more than 2 TB of disk space?
                  eddiem100 Level 1

                  Thanks very much, Harm.  I was thinking the same thing on the Raid 5 array.  In fact, I may be able to add two more to that so I'll do that.


                  I remember this photo of your system well always wondering in the back of my mind what you used and figured I'd ask you a later day!  (I had always liked the Lian Li 343b concept but it just wouldn't take EATX from what I could see so never went that route) But the Lian Li you have seems very well designed for the added HDDs.


                  I have a couple big cases around like the Corsair Obsidian 800D and a CoolerMaster HAF 932, both of which same basic dimensions as your Lian Li PC A77 but your LIan PC A77 is much more economical on the rack space.  Ah well, I guess I'll get a Lian Li next time around!


                  Yes, the Raid 5 is on the ICHR10, not doing too badly.  And the OS Raid 1 is on the Marvell and I have a junk card for the render Raid 0.  I originally had

                  the OS on Raid 0 and it was significantly faster than the Raid 1 from what I could feel, but I opted for safety.


                  The number one bottleneck I have discovered with PrPro CS5, as you have laid out in your other posts, provided you have a decent graphics card, processor and memory is absolutely the disc setup.  You are very correct about that.


                  For me, and to those working to expand, provided you don't have to deal with a mountain of original media like I do, just adding a Raid 0 to the timeline renders makes a fantastic improvement even with the p2 media.  Difference of like flying to Vegas rather than walking.


                  But seeing as I am doing a lot of work from Switzerland right now and Italy, and those places are too far to walk to!  LOL!


                  Thanks very much.  I'll send you a new benchmark one of these days.


                  PS:  One last Q:   In your experience, would it be better to combine the project/page file disk with the media Raid 1 array as well, giving in the end a 4-5 disk Raid 1 array rather than leaving it as its own separate single disk as I have currently?


                  Hmm, not sure I know well enough how Pr Pro accesses project files etc that I would know the answer with certainty. I would seem to think, as the project files themselves are generally not too big, that keeping it on a separate disk would be better so as to allow simultaneous reading between media, project files, etc.  And of course the faster the better.  Is that a correct thought?

                  • 6. Re: How to access more than 2 TB of disk space?
                    Harm Millaard Level 7

                    With 12 GB or more of memory the pagefile is hardly used at all, so there appears no drawback from having both the project file and the pagefile on the same disk.


                    What I have done with my disk setup is the following:


                    A:1,000 GBnoneStock footage, Sonicfire sound
                    B:1,000 GBnoneExports
                    C:150 GB VelociraptornoneOS & programs
                    D:1,000 GB (2x)Raid0Pagefile, media cache, media cache database
                    E.1,000 GB (12x)Raid30Media, projects, previews
                    Server #1Numerous disksRaid6Server 2008, My Documents, software, downloads, photos, music, etc.
                    Server #2Numerous disksRaid5Server 2008, software, movies, backup, etc.
                    Server #3Numerous disksRaid5VMware
                    NAS1,500 GB (7x)Raid5Backup, off-line storage over iSCSI


                    and this is my network setup:

                    Network setup.png


                    This is far from professional, but I'm a mere hobbyist.

                    • 7. Re: How to access more than 2 TB of disk space?
                      eddiem100 Level 1

                      Well, as a mere hobbyist you are doing quite well!   Thanks so much for all the great info.  I've looked at this with great interest and it seems quite an effective setup -- something that I am sure a lot of people will find extremely useful.  I am going to see how it goes without the separate page file disc and double up on the Raid 5 a bit more.  Tks very much!

                      • 8. Re: How to access more than 2 TB of disk space?
                        eddiem100 Level 1

                        As a note, your server raid setups are great.

                        • 9. Re: How to access more than 2 TB of disk space?
                          blackrosekiller Level 1

                          Hi, I am creating (2) 2TB RAID 0 arrays and am a bit confused if GPT is used when you hit 2TB or after 2 TB.  I am new to this but it sounds like I only need to make the partition MBR and not GPT, correct?  Is there any performance advantage for GPT? It's only going to be a single partition on each array.  I'm editing mini-DV video right now but will be moving to AVCHD 1080p video at some point soon.


                          I currenly have my capture drive file allocation set at 32k for the first array I'm replacing and can't remember what the allocation size was for the other array that failed and I am replacing too.  The 2nd array will be for render files.  I believe I may have kept that at the default value which is 4k.  I noticed now that my render folder is on the 32k allocated drive (same as the capture drive) that the renders seem faster but maybe it's also because the render array may have been failing for some time. 


                          I always thought it was recommended to have the project file on the OS drive and then separate arrays for capture and render.  This is how I currently have my system set up until the one array died and I temporarily moved my render files to my capture drive.


                          I was told that 32k is good because the capture files are typically larger than render files.  What would you advise setting the allocation size to for the render drive especially considering that I will be moving to HD projects soon?


                          I don't know if it makes a difference but I'm using CS5.5.

                          • 10. Re: How to access more than 2 TB of disk space?
                            JEShort01 Level 4

                            BlackRoseKiller (what a name!),


                            You don't need, and therefore probably don't want GPT since your formatted array size will be less than 2TB (i.e. 2 x 1TB in RAID 0).


                            I would use 4k cluster size for the Windows formatting. It seems to work well for me for arrays that large.


                            Assuming your OS/programs drive is separate from the two new RAID arrays, then NO you should not put projects on the OS/programs drive, put it on the first RAID 0 arrray. Then use the other for media, media DB, and render outputs. And, do backups often since you do not have a parity RAID.





                            • 11. Re: How to access more than 2 TB of disk space?
                              blackrosekiller Level 1

                              Black Rose Killer is the name of the villain from a series of horror movies I have done (shameless plug).


                              Interesting.  I thought that you had a performance boost by having the project file on the OS drive.  So I should see a boost by having it on the first RAID array.  Would you recommend the capture or the render?  Does it make a difference?


                              It does seem to be faster with the allocation size for my render set to 32k but I realize that I can lose some space in the process.  My previous system had it set to 4k and it seemed like file access was a bit slower.  So you think that the render drive should be fine left at 4k since the files are typically smaller than the capture files?


                              Thanks again.

                              • 12. Re: How to access more than 2 TB of disk space?
                                JEShort01 Level 4

                                I am not concerned about the loss of drive space with the 32k; I can only say that 4k seems to work great for me with Win7 caching turned on and all. Regarding drive arrays, etc., there is LOTS of good info on this forum and a short response here really cannot address all of the details. Check out Harm's excellent threads such as To RAID or not to RAID and many more.


                                I will add though that a very popular setup around this forum is 1 drive for OS/Programs; 1 2x1TB RAID 0 array for Programs/media; 2nd 2x1TB RAID 0 array for media cache and render outputs.



                                • 14. Re: How to access more than 2 TB of disk space?

                                  Thanks Harm and everyone, for the great info.  I'm confused about some things:

                                  1. With the Mercury Playback Engine and a decent GPU, say the GTX570, why is there a need for a RAID for previews and renders?  Doesn't the GPU take care of that?

                                  2. I thought RAIDing the exports would make those go faster?  Or is MPE engaged in making exports go faster?

                                  3. Is the media cache and media cache database the files that are created when I capture my HDV footage?

                                  4. I'm using my Canon HV20 HDV camera to create mostly talking-head short videos (1 to 5 minutes)

                                  and the only effects I'll be doing for now are:

                                  -some enlarging

                                  -some rotating

                                  -some color correction

                                  -light compositing here and there

                                  Do you think I need a RAID right now?  Or would just using separate un-RAID-ed hard drives for the following cover what I'm doing for now and maybe RAID later if I start doing more intense effects or using beefier types of footage? Would the GPU and MPE cut enough slack to not have to RAID? 



                                  B:1,000 GBnoneExports
                                  C:   500 GB noneOS & programs
                                  D:1,000 GB nonePagefile, media cache, media cache database
                                  E:1,000 GBnoneMedia, projects, previews
                                  F:1,000 GBnoneNon-video stuff, My Documents, software, downloads, photos, music, etc.


                                  I'm looking at building the following for CS 5.5:


                                  i7 2600K

                                  16GB RAM 1333


                                  1000watt PSU

                                  Asus P8P67 B3 Intel P67 S1155 Motherboard

                                  Can you suggest a good cooling tower and backup software?


                                  Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


                                  • 15. Re: How to access more than 2 TB of disk space?
                                    Frédéric Segard Level 2

                                    1. MPE and GPU asside, hard disks are always the bottleneck of any computer system. Depending on the footage codec and number of video layers, you can go from a single disk for cache & previews, to a various assortment of RAID levels. Since you seem to be using HDV, running a single disk for your cache & previews is good enough. But depending on other factors, and since your putting your pagefile on it, having a 2-disk (or more) RAID0 is be better.


                                    2. MPE is not involved during exports. It's CPU driven. So having a single disk for your export is good enough, especially for HDV (and other light-bandwidth codecs). But the export can be routed to the cache/preview disk(s), or the media/project disk(s). No real need to have it on it's own separate drive, unless you want to keep all your exports for quick on-line reference, and keep things organized a particular way. A single disk for exports are rarely a bottleneck when exporting.


                                    3. Yes, the media cache is what is generated at capture, as well as generated content: http://help.adobe.com/en_US/premierepro/cs/using/WSa41b87baf39dd9b0-4a7aee25125bce32690-80 00.html


                                    4. Media drive: To put it simply, yes, you can use a single fast drive for your purposes. You can always upgrade to a RAID down the road if you see the need. HDV is only 25Mbps, and you can sustain 2 to 3 streams of it without any dropped frames on a fast 7200RPM drive. Effects and scaling on a clip will not require faster drive throuput. This is where MPE comes in. So your safe with just one drive for your media & project (and previews)