5 Replies Latest reply on Jul 22, 2010 8:38 AM by Aareses

    Configuration Recommendations




      I work in Healthcare IT and am a training director for alpine skiing in the winter (I train the ski instructors at our mountain).  I really enjoy recording video and editing it and want to seriously get into it, but have run into major limitations with my current hardware.  I purchased several components today in order to build a powerful machine to edit video, game, and store data.  I am using a Canon HF S11 (AVCHD) to record skiers/instructors for movement analysis and cool skiing videos!  I have about 100GB of AVCHD footage from recent events in our divsion and want to create a professional video.  I also use video for our family...we just had our first child and she is a DOLL!


      The new machine I am building will be used for:

           1. Editing with Premiere Pro CS5 and other Master Collection CS5 applications.

           2. Gaming, such as MMORPGs in raiding situations.

           3. Redundant and reliable storage. Basically a NAS on my network (including DLNA connections).

           4. My primary machine!


      I have the following components that will arrive next week:


      • Lian Li PC-A77F Tower
      • Asus P6X58D Premium Motherboard
      • Corsair HX CMPSU-1000HX (1000w) Power Supply
      • Intel Core i7-980x Extreme Edition Gulftown Processor
      • Corsair Dominator 12GB (6 x 2) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Memory
      • EVGA GeForce GTX 480 (Fermi) Superclocked Video Card
      • Crucial Real SSD C300 2.5 inch SATA 6GB/s (256GB)
      • 6 x Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB @ 7200RPM SATA 3GB/s Hard Drive (7200.11). 
      • Lite-On 12x Blu-ray Burner 3D
      • Windows 7 Ultimate x64
      • CyberPower Professional Series 1500VA, 1000w UPS


      These Seagate drives weren't my first choice, but I already owned several and Newegg was selling cheap.  I have fortunately not had a failure yet in approx. nine months on my RAID1 set (knock on wood).


      I have been looking around on these forums and have seen many posts about RAID and hard drive set ups for PPro CS5.  I am contemplating how to set up the 7 drives I have, not only for optimal performance with video editing but for reliable and redundant storage for my data.  Video will largely consume most of the space, but other uses are music, photos, documents, etc.


      The motherboard has 2 x 6GB/s SATA connections (non-RAID) and 6 x 3GB/s SATA connections, any of which RAID 0/1/5/10 are supported.


      I am highly technical, but do not have a ton of experience with the video editing side of it, including building a video editing machine.  I am trying to decide how many logical drives to have (C, D, E, F, etc.) and which RAID set to use.  I'm not going to beat Harm on the charts, but it would be nice to be in there somewhere!  Any advice I can get will be appreciated, especially from Harm or Bill.


      My initial thoughts were:

           C: (SSD) - OS, Programs

           D: (SATA) - 6 Disk RAID5 (or RAID10 for extra safety)


      However, some of Harms posts would seem to indicate significant performance gains from scratch, pagefile, and project disks.  I am wondering how my specific needs of not only editing performance, but reliable storage will pan out for recommendations.


      Any other suggestions regarding the build are also welcome.


      Thanks in advance.

        • 1. Re: Configuration Recommendations
          the_wine_snob Level 9

          I would think about the media and the export disks as a possible RAID 0. Note: a separate, hardware RAID would benefit, vs striping with either the MoBo, or software. That would still leave several physical HDD's for your OS and programs, plus maybe your Page File, and then an array for media, a disk for Project and Scratch Disks, then an array for Export.


          Having read over Harm's articles will put you ahead of most users.


          Good luck,




          PS - are you in Colorado - rather sounds like it with both the skiing and healthcare. Only reason that I ask that is that my wife built and opened the hospital in Summit County, CO, and there IS a lot of competitive skiing out of Summit.

          • 2. Re: Configuration Recommendations
            Harm Millaard Level 7

            This is one of the few times I have to disagree with Bill. No raid0 for you. Your 1.5 TB 7200.11 disks were a complete disaster in reliability. Reading your post, my initial reaction was to suggest a raid6 for you, because of those disks, instead of my favorite raid3. I had those disks in a NAS and experienced a failure rate of more than 70% and my case was not unique if you consider the many posts and complaints all over the place. Luckily for Seagate the 7200.12 series has improved somewhat, but this experience has turned me away from Seagate. I would prefer the Samsung Spinpoint F3 or the WD RE4, but that is no longer an option.


            With your video material, multi-cam is not an issue and a lot of it will be rather simple editing. Presumably not a whole lot of DL'ing to AE will take place in your edits. For that reason I suggest to exchange the i7-980X for an i7-930, overclock it if necessary and use the savings to get an Areca ARC 1680iX-12 raid controller with a BBM (battery backup module) and 2 GB of cache memory. That is around budget neutral and what you lose in performance from downgrading from hexa-core to quad-core will be compensated by the better disk I/O. If you go that route, I suggest a raid6 with your disks.


            For backup, I suggest something like the Thecus N7700 or the QNAP TS-809/859 Pro.


            Carefully consider a third party CPU cooler in combination with the Corsair Dominator memory. I believe the Noctua NH-D14 will give installation problems because of the physical height of the memory sticks and the huge size of the D14.


            For the rest, congratulations on homework well done! This looks like a well balanced system.


            Adobe Forums: Generic Guideline for Disk Setup

            • 3. Re: Configuration Recommendations
              Aareses Level 1

              Thanks for the responses Bill and Harm.




              Can you clarify your thoughts a bit after reading the new information below?  I had briefly thought about a RAID0 for one logical drive, but then that would only leave 4 for a RAID5 or RAID10 set.  I am not against it, but ultimately did not favor that approach (you may however compel me) due to loss of drives.  I am hoping for feedback with: 1) # of drives.  2) which physical drive(s) will comprise that logical drive.  3) which RAID sets (if any) are recommended to be applied to each logical drive?  I am assuming we are all in agreement my 6GB/s SSD should be assigned C: as a single drive for OS/Programs.  I would love your specific recommendations for the remaining 6 drives for the best balance of video editing performance and maximizing data storage (reliability over performance).


              I am in Washington State and ski all over the NW, mostly in Central Washington during the winter and Mt. Hood during the summer (and sometimes fall if it's open).  We actually have national ski teams from all over the world here in the summer, which is cool.  2-3k racers on the hill each day...it's crazy sometimes.  Colorado area is probably the best overall area during the winter, but can't beat skiing all through the summer over here!  It's very cool your wife built and opened a hospital, that is no small undertaking!




              I agree, the 7200.11 were a disaster at one point (and still may be).  Supposedly, Seagate has remedied that with the latest firmware for those drives, which I applied before using the drives I have.  Maybe I was fortunate, but so far none have failed.  I felt that with the low acquisition cost, good monitoring, and a well chosen RAID scheme, I would be ok.  If those drives start failing, I will definitely replace them.  I appreciate your recommendations, which are a safer bet and very possibly where I will end up.  It was a tough decision for me to buy more of those, but because the several I had were rock solid, the cost was very low, and I wanted to keep the same model #, I decided to try them out in a bigger array with a different RAID set.


              I want to get into more complex editing, but for now it is mostly simple.  I will actually be trying to move into AE as much as possible, in fact, I hope to really get into it.  The stuff I've done in it so far has been time consuming, but rewarding...I love it.


              I thought long and hard about my processor decision.  I had read your posts about the i7-930 OC and see you are King of the charts using it.  I also read many other reviews on the i7-980x.  The conclusions on those reviews for gaming, 3D, rendering, encoding/transcoding, etc. were all more favorable toward the i7-980x; some by quite a bit.  I decided to go with the i7-980x because I want the most powerful gaming rig I can get.  The gaming I do, the processor does make a difference and I want all I can get.  It will also be helpful for the video stuff as well.  The i7-930 is definitely the best bang for the buck out there right now and it was second on my list.  It would be first on my list if I were building a lesser machine as well...definitely a great recommendation, Harm.  The i7-980x is four times the cost, for not nearly the gain, but I want that extra horsepower.  Knowing me, I would also be buying it a year down the road, so I figured saving the cost of the i7-930 now, would in the long run save me money (well...maybe)!


              I also went with the 6GB/s 256GB SSD due to the reviews on it, to take advantage of speed on OS/Programs, etc.  I thought about possibly just using that drive for everything on the project, then transferring to the storage array.  I am not against getting a second 6GB/s SSD (either 128GB or the 256GB) and putting it on the second 6GB/s SATA port if needed.  That will of course only then leave me with 5 SATA drives (instead of the 6) if I want to use my Blu-ray, unless of course I get a hardware RAID controller, which I would prefer not to do unless absolutely necessary.  I am hoping I can make the hardware I have work and work very well!


              I tried a Synology 209+ with those Seagate drives discussed earlier.  My preference was to initially go down the NAS road, that is the way I set up my healthcare facilities (normally iSCSI).  We have some pretty cool set ups using EMC stuff.  To give a little more information here.  I have a pretty major home network, including whole home Ethernet wiring (30 runs), APC rack in the garage with a Cisco ASA, Cisco (Linksys...bleh) Gigabit switch, Cisco WAPs, 3 x SuperMicro servers (older retired).  I run exchange, IIS, SQL, and have dual DCs, authenticating everything through AD, including VPN, user logons, etc.  We have two major areas for HDTVs and Audio equipment in our home.  Without having a PC next to the AV equipment, we want our images, music, and video to stream to those locations seamlessly.  I originally had my storage on one of the SuperMicro servers (Windows Server 2008 R2) and despite any permissions/configurations set, the media would not stream to our locations in the manner we wanted.  Despite DLNA, the Synology was not much better (for our needs). What did work well was Windows 7, but I did not want to put that OS on the SuperMicros as they are used for other tasks that are not as conducive to Windows 7 as Server 2008.  This is one of the reasons I want to put storage of that data on this box I am building.  Using iSCSI to hang a virtual drive off a server did not work for streaming either.  All the hassles just go away when using a copy of the data on a Windows 7 box...weird.  Throughput is much better also as it does not have to traverse the switch twice.  It wasn't my first option, but it seems to be the best option given all of our particular variables, to put the data on a very robust box and configure it kind of like a server (well as much as that is possible).


              Choosing a good data setup on this new box I am building is essential for editing performance AND data storage.  The board I have does not support RAID6 (I like that scheme for redundancy for sure).  I want to try the onboard controllers for now to see what kind of performance I can get, without yet spending more $$ on a hardware controller and possibly more drives.  If needed, I will go down that road, but I am hoping I can do it without.


              I tried to define the parameters earlier without giving all the additional information, sorry to inundate!


              With the new information, using the aforementioned equipment, what type of drive setup would you recommend for achieving a good balance of video editing performance AND maximizing storage capacity and reliability (other than chucking the Seagates...haha)?

              • 4. Re: Configuration Recommendations
                Aareses Level 1

                I am writing this from my new build.  I am hoping to get feedback to my questions based on the additional information I provided.

                • 5. Re: Configuration Recommendations
                  Aareses Level 1

                  I was a bit disappointed there were no additional responses to my questions, but I appreciate the input I did receive.  Bill has created PPBM4, a fantastic tool to help evaluate performance on Premiere Pro and I used it repeatedly over the past day, yielding 22 results on different configurations.  The results are attached as an .xlsx file and sorted by lowest Total Time on the PPBM4 Benchmark.  I am hopeful it will be useful to someone.  If for some reason you cannot view the attached .xlsx file, a summarized table (not sortable or as clean) is pasted below.


                  My System:

                • Lian Li PC-A77F Tower
                • Asus P6X58D Premium Motherboard
                • Corsair HX CMPSU-1000HX (1000w) Power Supply
                • Intel Core i7-980x Extreme Edition Gulftown Processor
                • Corsair Dominator 12GB (6 x 2) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Memory
                • EVGA GeForce GTX 480 (Fermi) Superclocked Video Card
                • Crucial Real SSD C300 2.5 inch SATA 6GB/s (256GB)
                • 6 x Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB @ 7200RPM SATA 3GB/s Hard Drive (7200.11). 
                • Lite-On 12x Blu-ray Burner 3D
                • Windows 7 Ultimate x64
                • CyberPower Professional Series 1500VA, 1000w UPS

                  The results are all without overclocking, which I am saving for later once I have everything else ironed out.  Once OC'd, I expect the results will be even better.  Operating System, Programs, and Pagefile were intentionally all kept on the same disk (SSD) and will remain so.  These tests were to compare different RAID and DISK setups across OS, Project, Preview, and Output scenarios.


                  All drives but the SSD are Seagate 1.5TB @ 7200 RPM as listed above.  I used several different combinations of drive and RAID configurations that were available to me on the ASUS Board (Intel ICH10R Controller).  It allows for RAID 0, 1, 5, 10.  I would have liked to see how RAID 3 and 6 stacked up, but no option without buying another piece of hardware.


                  WOW...The Mercury Playback Engine (MPE) REALLY helps!  My SSD is a SATA III.  I was surprised it was almost the slowest score (on my own comparisons) without MPE, but it was the fastest total score with MPE enabled (via hack) on my GTX 480.  Because my SSD produced the fastest benchmark and has plenty of available space, I am eager to compare it on bigger projects versus the final RAID/DISK configuration I end up with.  Based on just a little data, it seems a SATA III SSD with MPE enabled on Premiere Pro has potential to either stay in the same range or outperform big RAID sets.  I will find out as I start on real-world projects.  The SSD does make a HUGE difference loading programs and working in Windows...WELL worth it for me!


                  No surprise, a high disk count RAID0 is king for speed of my available RAID options.  RAID10 made a good showing across 4 disks.  RAID 1 was close and RAID5 was REALLY slow in comparison.


                  Rankings (Total Time Listed in Seconds)

                  1. SSD = 18.2

                  2. RAID0 (more disks) = 18.3

                  3. RAID0 (fewer disks) = 18.4 and 19.5

                  4. RAID10 = 19.5

                  5. Single Disk = 21.1

                  6. RAID1 = 22.9

                  7. RAID5 (more disks) = 62.4

                  8. RAID5 (fewer disks) = 66.5


                  There were many different configurations with project, preview, and output disks.  These rankings are consistent with expectations.


                  What was not expected was that there was only about a 10% difference on this benchmark for SSD vs. RAID0 vs. RAID10 and only about a 20% difference from an SSD or RAID0 to a 2 Disk RAID1 set.  Also not expected, was how MUCH slower RAID5 was...about 4 times slower.  I did not list the RAID5 x 6 ranking above (only in the list) as something was awry.


                  Interestingly, a single disk for project, preview, and output outperformed three disks, where a single disk was dedicated to each of those functions.  Unless you are a professional video editor, is all the hub-bub about disk configurations and RAID sets just...hype?!?


                  With MPE enabled (again based on very little data), it seems whether a Single Disk, RAID0, RAID1, RAID10 are used does not really impact performance significantly.  I suspect that with larger projects, the difference will be greater, but that will be tested as time goes on.  Even if the ratio is the same, however given big projects or working professionally, that 10% will be a huge difference to some!


                  I hope this information helps.


                  Project DiskPreview DiskOutput DiskTotal TimeExport AVIEncode MPEGRender TimelineNotes
         Only (MPE)
                  RAID 0 (x6) 0
                  RAID 0 (x4) 0
                  RAID 0 (x2)RAID 0 (x2)RAID 0 (x2) 0 x 3 Sets
                  RAID 0 (x4)RAID 0 (x2) 0 x 2 Sets
                  RAID 0 (x2)RAID 10 (x4) 0 + RAID 10
                  RAID 10 (x4) 10
                  RAID 0 (x2) 0
                  RAID 10 (x4)RAID 0 (x2) 10 + RAID 0
                  RAID 1 (x2)RAID 0 (x2) 1 + RAID 0
                  x121. Disk x 1
                  x1x121. Disk x 2
                  x1x1x121. Disk x 3
                  RAID 0 (x2)RAID 1 (x2) 0 + RAID 1
                  RAID 1 (x2) 1
                  RAID 5 (x4)39.020.310.78.0RAID 5 (128KB)
                  RAID 0 (x2)RAID 5 (x4)43.428.011.44.0RAID 0 + RAID 5
                  RAID 5 (x4) 5 (64KB)
                  RAID 5 (x5)62.436.415.011.0RAID 5
                  RAID 5 (x4)66.524.311.231.0RAID 5
         Only (No MPE)
                  RAID 5 (x6)73.643.315.315.0RAID 5