I haven't read Harm's link, so please forgive if this is redundant.
Using only three disks, which I would consider a bare minimum, I don't think you should use any RAID at all.
C: Windows and Programs
D: Projects and Scratch
If you add two more;
G: DVD & Blu-ray Images for archive.
Once all those are in place, then you can start doubling up drives for a RAID.
Minimum system requirements : 7200 RPM hard drive for editing compressed video formats; RAID 0 for uncompressed.
Those are the ludicrous Adobe requirements that for a large part make no sense at all. You would never want a 8 drive raid0, but you would want a 8 disk raid3/5 with a hot-spare. Adobe's requirements are only applicable for 2 disk raid0 setup, not for a multitude of that.
8? OP has 2, wants to install a 3rd.
Adobe says a single disk is enough for compressed material like AVCHD or XDCAM-EX 50 Mbps. And for uncompressed a raid0, so two disks are enough to handle uncompressed HD-SDI material with a data rate of 1.485 Gbps. How realistic is that? A single track of uncompressed material requires a sustained transfer rate of around 200 MB/s if one forgets temp files, media cache and render files. Now try to edit only 3 tracks uncompressed and the transfer rate must be at least 600 MB/s.
600 MB/s transfer rate requires at least 8 disk raid0, and that is only to edit maximum 3 tracks.
The requirements also state: Sound card compatible with ASIO protocol or Microsoft Windows Driver Model
You know something, I don´t have a sound card at all and it still works. Weird? You bet.
Great way to present requirements. It takes a great Adobe spin-doctor to come up with those requirements they state. Utter BS.
Now Harm, you've really piqued my curioisty with this last reply. I just today received two WD Caviar Black 640GB hard drives to set up in a simple RAID 0 arrangement running off the motherboard. Already have 'em in the computer case. I've been working on my computer for three weeks, upgrading as I could, and planned to finally get up-n-running with CS5 tomorrow.
I figured all was about to be rosy here with my Canon T2i and its AVCHD clips, because I was planning on using NeoScene to convert my highly compressed footage to something more processor friendly. It didn't occur to me that NeoScene might transcode to a format that overwhelms a two-disk RAID 0. Improve one problem and create another?
Seemingly, native AVCHD clips only require about 5 MB/sec from a hard drive, so getting multiple layers coming off the drive(s) isn't an issue with AVCHD. The problem is that the CPU I have - AMD Phenom II 955 - can't decode them fast enough. Clearly, it would be better to migrate to an i7 platform, but I don't have the money or time to do it this summer. In the meantime, I'm kicking around with one of my AMD computers I built for less taxing school usage this past spring. As of today, I have a simple RAID planned that should bump my disk transfer rates up past 160MB/sec. It's my first RAID setup so I'm pretty excited.
Should I be planning for rain on this picnic?
With a RAID 0 and transcoded NeoScene footage, I figured I would have a drive system able to deliver to the CPU fast enough and clips that not only are more digestible, but have the improved color space of 4:2:2 that comes from the NeoScene transcode. I was hoping to get at least four or five layers going with the GTX 480 card I got on sale last month (another piece for the i7 if needed). I plan on doing a LOT of chroma keying, and from what I read, the NeoScene transcode will improve our work in Ultra. Don't really know, but this is what I glean from other posts and the Cineform website.
From another of your posts, I take it my CPU won't get close to saturating this fast video card. But the price was right and I have my eye to the future.
I have a four disk setup planned:
* 1TB Caviar Green for OS/Programs (already had this as my main disk, and drive charts show it hanging tough in middle of the pack)
* 750GB Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 for scratch disk (also had this one lying around, but was a top performer 18 months ago)
* A pair of 640GB (32MB cache, twin processor) Caviar Blacks as mentioned for RAID 0. Drive charts still show this two year old design working in top quarter of range.
OK Harm, here are my two questions:
1) I can leave my AVCHD clips as-is and watch my processor choke on them, I suppose. Even the GTX 480 can't fix this, nor will sending these clips faster yet to the CPU.
Or, I can transcode to something my weak CPU can work with. Time lost transcoding and a pain, but still part of the learning process and perhaps a good stop-gap measure until I can afford a better platform.
2) NeoScene was my choice from the smattering of things I have found that describe workarounds on the AVCHD compression problem. This could have been $130 towards a better computer, but the aspect of get 4:2:2 color sounds good to my inexperienced ear. Maybe a good idea on its own and a decent fix to the AVCHD choking problem.
Do you have an opinion on this plan/equipment setup?
Do you know of a better transcode from AVCHD that makes for mid-sized files that are easier on a CPU but still manageable by a basic RAID 0 arrangement?
Your material, AVCHD is pretty taxing for your CPU, so your thinking makes a lot of sense and Neoscene usually gets high marks. And the fact that you use Ultra regularly makes Neoscene even more attractive. My guess is that your current disk setup should be good enough for your purposes. I would suggest you try with Neoscene first and if you still need more power or speed, try to identify whether it is CPU or disks that are the bottleneck with your specific workflow, where I would not worry about export times. That is the least critical phase in my opinion, because that only happens once per project and when wrapping up your finally finished project, it is time to celebrate that with a nice drink, while the computer labors over the export.
If you find that your disk setup could be improved, it is easy to buy one or two additional disks and add them to your system at a later date.