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eSATA drives and VSL?
Last post Sat, May 17 2008 by composer22, 16 replies.
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Posted on Sun, May 11 2008 18:55
by Nathan Allen Pinard
Joined on Thu, Jun 15 2006, Portland, OR, Posts 183

I'm just wondering about eSATA drives. I've seen them and they supposidely get blazing fast speed past most expensive audio hard drives even in a raid 0 config. I currently use 2 1TB Glyph drives in JBOD mode, which I'm aware I should have raid mode, working on that.

Has anyone had any luck with eSATA drives with VSL?. They are about 260ish for 1TB and the card is only 150, so I'm curious. Any cons I need to know about? 

Nathan Allen Pinard
Posted on Sun, May 11 2008 20:19
by cm
Joined on Fri, Dec 20 2002, vienna, Posts 9094

all modern motherboards have sATA II onboard, fortunately this type of connection starts to become available also as eSATA (enhanced, external) and it is the logical successor of SCSI - either regarding speed and performance. one step further is SAS (serial attached SCSI) where 15k rpm drives are already available ... most SAS controllers accept both: sATA and SAS disks.

 

i can only recommend the usage of sATA disks and we already have a pile of 1 TB seagate and samsung drives in use ... the raw throughput is about 70 MB/s (sustained, not peak) ... as written in earlier posts i don't see a real reason for raiding such disks.

 

just make sure your sATA expansion card is sATA II (3 Gbit/s) and whenever possible use PCEe or PCI-X types - in this case *normal* PCI (32bit) would be the bottleneck ...

christian

 

ps: another advantageous sideffect: you won't spend CPU for firewire ....

 

edit: a quality mark is mentioned capabilty of NCQ (native command queuing) and/or TCQ (tagged command queuing) - either for the controller and for the disks

and remember: a CRAY is the only computer that runs an endless loop in just four hours ...
Posted on Sun, May 11 2008 20:43
by Nathan Allen Pinard
Joined on Thu, Jun 15 2006, Portland, OR, Posts 183

http://www.usb-ware.com/esata-pcie-x8-adapter-4-port.htm

Here's the PCI card I was looking at. Seems to fit the specs you indicated.

I'm not looking at doing this yet, if I even need it. I run VSL samples off of those two glyph drives. I have problems with my strings. I have to play the whole song through to get them to stay in the cache. When first playing them they have to kind of "load" in, so the HD goes crazy.

It sounds like the eSATA isn't as fast as I thought. The glyph drives also run around 80-90 as well. They are just fairly expensive. 

So you recommend the use of INTERNAL sata disks? That's what I have in the mac, but not much space. Or were you saying that eSATA would work providing I got the right PCI hardware. I was looking at the Lacie eSATA drives when considering this.

This is all for Mac too btw. 

Nathan Allen Pinard
Posted on Sun, May 11 2008 20:59
by stevesong
Joined on Mon, Oct 18 2004, NYC, Posts 714

 I can only agree with what Christian says.

One question: what computer are you using?

If, for example, you have a MacPro, it has four SATA II drive bays - - so all you would have to do is to purchase a bare drive, attach it to one of the drive trays that come with the computer and slide it into a drive bay. If you want to use an external eSATA setup then you will need a card, a drive and drive housing. Again this will be either PCI-e or PCI-x depending on your motherboard. (MacPros need a PCI-e card). Among cards, you can choose those which allow you to have software RAID levels 0 and 1 only or those (more expensive) cards which enable you to create other RAID levels such as level 5 and 6 which combine speed and redundancy. (For more about RAID levels, check out Wikipedia on this subject.) If you have a Mac you might want to check out the exhaustive reviews of cards, drives and drive housings available at the Arizona Mac Users Group website (www.amug.com) - - if you have a Windows machine, these reviews would still be helpful since all the drives and housings and almost all the  cards work with either OSX or Windows. 

One point: there are only a few manufacturers of hard drives, such as Seagate, Western Digital, Samsung and Hitachi. Glyph, for example, makes drive enclosures and bridge circuits necessary for Firewire and/or USB, not drives - - it uses drives made by one of the hard drive manufacturers.

One of the advantages of eSATA external drives is that they do not need bridge circuits - - all the circuitry is on the card. The only major disadvatage of eSATA drives - - at least in regard to the MacPro - - is that, at the present time, as far as I know, only two cards, the Areca 1221x ($720 at newegg.com) and the HighPoint RocketRaid 3522 ($460 at Other World Computing) allow you to boot from a drive or array connected to the card. Another card offering bootability, made by CalDigit will, according its manufacturer, be released in June. According to CalDigit, this card will work with both OSX and Windows and also with BootCamp on a MacPro. 

Stephen Siegel
New York City

MacPro (4.1) dual-quad Xeon @ 2.9.3 Ghz
24GB RAM; OS 10.8.5
2 960 GB OWC E2 Mercury Accelsior SSDs one dedicated to samples and the other partitioned into a partition for samples and a part ion for apps and files.
MOTU 2408 MK III (PCIe)

MacBook Pro with 2.5Ghz Core 2 Duo
4GB RAM; OS 10.8.5
MOTU 828
Firmtek/Seritek 2SM2-E Express Card SATA adapter.

Logic 9.1.6.; Finale 2011
Posted on Sun, May 11 2008 21:17
by DG
Joined on Wed, May 12 2004, Posts 8608
Nathan Allen Pinard wrote:

I'm not looking at doing this yet, if I even need it. I run VSL samples off of those two glyph drives. I have problems with my strings. I have to play the whole song through to get them to stay in the cache. When first playing them they have to kind of "load" in, so the HD goes crazy.

Are you sure that this is a drive problem, and not partially because of the way the OS handles memory?

DG

Nuendo 6.03, 4.3
2 x Intel Xeon x5675 3.07GHz Hex Core
48GB RAM
Windows 7 (x64)Pro
RME Multiface II
Intensity
ATI HD5400 series graphics card
Posted on Sun, May 11 2008 23:37
by fitzpatton_14145
Joined on Sat, May 14 2005, New York, Posts 10
It's in the Vienna Instruments section, recently added, that addresses the way my Macbook and G5 seem to handle memory. VE programs that load on my Macbook are closing prematurely on my G5 and I'm beginning to draw the conclusion that VE handles memory on the G5 and Intel differently.

Thoughts?

Thanks,

Fitz
Fitz
Posted on Mon, May 12 2008 15:10
by musos
Joined on Sun, Dec 08 2002, Johannesburg, South Africa, Posts 912

To Nathan,

For the record, I bought an eSATA card and drive box from Sonnet:

Sonnet storage solutions 

I have 4 drives, for VSL and for backups. 

Though I haven't come near to pushing the setup to the limits, I'm very impressed with the ease of use and reliability. 

Regards - Colin 

Posted on Mon, May 12 2008 18:03
by stevesong
Joined on Mon, Oct 18 2004, NYC, Posts 714

For anyone considering the purchase of an eSATA card, drives and enclosures I again strongly suggest going to www.amug.com (website of the Arizona Mac Users Group). The reviews on this website are comprehensive and detailed covering many different aspects of product design and capability - - things like drive temperatures in different enclosures, different capabilities of different SATA cards, tests of may different hard drives, etc. You will find out things significant in making purchasing decsions. For example, as I noted earlier, currently only Areca and Highpoint make cards that support booting a MacPro from a drive or array attached to the card, both cards use the same processor and appear to have similar designs, but the Highpoint card is more than $200 less expensive than the Areca card. You will also find that arrays created with these cards have pretty spectacular performance - - for example, average read/write speed for an 8 drive RAID 6 array (a RAID 6 array can suffer the loss of two drives without losing data and can rebuild itself after the loss of two drives) is 485MBS write and 501MBS read. 

Stephen Siegel
New York City

MacPro (4.1) dual-quad Xeon @ 2.9.3 Ghz
24GB RAM; OS 10.8.5
2 960 GB OWC E2 Mercury Accelsior SSDs one dedicated to samples and the other partitioned into a partition for samples and a part ion for apps and files.
MOTU 2408 MK III (PCIe)

MacBook Pro with 2.5Ghz Core 2 Duo
4GB RAM; OS 10.8.5
MOTU 828
Firmtek/Seritek 2SM2-E Express Card SATA adapter.

Logic 9.1.6.; Finale 2011
Posted on Fri, May 16 2008 11:04
by sasha
Joined on Sun, Mar 25 2007, Los Angeles, Posts 59

Isn't it true that one can connect an eSATA external drive directly to the motherboard? I think I have read it in some forum.

I have several Seagate Free Agent Pro drives that have eSTAT ports. If it's not posible to conect them directly to the motherboar then would this card do it? http://www.newegg.com/Pr...em=N82E16815283005 

sasha 

Posted on Fri, May 16 2008 13:47
by stevesong
Joined on Mon, Oct 18 2004, NYC, Posts 714

 Sasha:

There is a difference between SATA and eSATA  in terms of connectors.  Motherboards and SATA drive mechanisms come with SATA ports.  (As CM noted earlier, all modern motherboards come with SATA II ports.) These are for internal connection of SATA drives. When external SATA enclosures first appeared they had the same kind of connectors as those on the drive mechanisms and motherboards. Experience showed that these connectors were not robust enough for external enclosures where they would have  to survive repeated insertions and removals of cables. As a result a new kind of connector, eSATA, was developed for external SATA drive enclosures. External drives housed in eSATA enclosures can be run from the motherboard by wiring some of the SATA ports on the motherboard with SATA to eSATA cables - - the eSATA end of the cable being attached to an open slot on the rear of the computer. The device pictured at

http://www.usb-ware.com/sata-dual-internal-esata-adapter.htm

is an example of this kind of device.

(The MacPro has two unused SATA ports on its motherboard, Newer Technology makes a  similar device, called an eSATA extender cable for connecting these ports to an empty slot on the back of the computer. However, installation is, reputedly, a delicate affair and the drives cso connected do not have hot swap capability.)  You can see this device at: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer%20Technology/MPQXES2/

After installing the cable from motherboard SATA ports to an eSATA connector affixed to an empty slot on the back of the computer,  an eSATA to eSATA cable connects to the eSATA ports on the computer. Alternately, you can purchase a card PCI-X or PCIe SATA cards with external eSATA ports. Either solution would allow you to use external drives such as the Seagate Free Agent Pro drives you mention. However, connecting to ports on the motherboard may not - - as is the case with the MacPro - - allow you to hot swap drives in an external enclosure, while most SATA cards do allow hot swapping.

You don't mention what kind of computer you have or whether whether it has free PCI-X or PCIe slots, etc. This would be important information to know when advising you.  I am also not familiar with card you mention. If you have a Mac (or even if you don't - - since all enclosures and most cards will work with Windows machines or Macs) there are comprehensive reviews of SATA cards and enclosures at www.amug.com.

Stephen Siegel
New York City

MacPro (4.1) dual-quad Xeon @ 2.9.3 Ghz
24GB RAM; OS 10.8.5
2 960 GB OWC E2 Mercury Accelsior SSDs one dedicated to samples and the other partitioned into a partition for samples and a part ion for apps and files.
MOTU 2408 MK III (PCIe)

MacBook Pro with 2.5Ghz Core 2 Duo
4GB RAM; OS 10.8.5
MOTU 828
Firmtek/Seritek 2SM2-E Express Card SATA adapter.

Logic 9.1.6.; Finale 2011
Posted on Fri, May 16 2008 14:18
by composer22
Joined on Wed, Apr 23 2008, Posts 60
I wish I had a bit of imagination and knowledge about these internal connectors. Might have saved me a few bucks. As it is, I have a Sonnet Tempo SATA E4P PCIe arriving in the mail today. I tried two Seritek 2SE2-E's, but could not get the drivers to install, and was hesitant about installing the drivers manually when I might try to get a better card. We will see. My drives are GlyphTech GT050Q's which are small enough to be portable and include a nice case. They work great with my MB Pro. Now trying to get them to work on my new Mac Pro is the challenge. Personally, my advice is to stick to larger companies when looking for a SATA card, and take your time. Support and user base is important in determining what will work together on whatever rig you have. Also consider whether you want to RAID them...drive manufact is important with card manufact.
Posted on Fri, May 16 2008 20:13
by sasha
Joined on Sun, Mar 25 2007, Los Angeles, Posts 59

Stephen,

Thanks for taking your time and for a detailed advise.

I use PC and the motherboard has two unused SATA connettions. So I will get the sata to esata cable or the converter card and will conect it to my free agent drives. Currently I rhave the cube spread between those two and run them through firewire and usb2 and they are just not fast enough.

sasha 

Posted on Fri, May 16 2008 22:28
by cm
Joined on Fri, Dec 20 2002, vienna, Posts 9094

the plug-and-play support for sATA appears to be somehow pre-mature ... on XP i found out disks show up after scanning drives in Disk Management (Computer Management) - Menu Action, SubMenu Scan Drives. this is very similar to resetting the SCSI bus on earlier windows versions ...

maybe the disk utility on OS X provides a similar function ...

christian

and remember: a CRAY is the only computer that runs an endless loop in just four hours ...
Posted on Sat, May 17 2008 00:37
by composer22
Joined on Wed, Apr 23 2008, Posts 60
Today I finally got my eSata drives (Glyph GT050Q's) running with a Sonnet EP4. One thing that became clear was that the factory partitions resulted in slower performance , even though they were Mac Extended (Journaled). I re partitioned and it resulted in significant performance differences. I also test w and w/o journaling and saw NO significant performance differences between the two.

Advice: Repartition your new drives with journaling on

Being a bit crazy, I went to frys and purchased 3 SATA "green" drives for the Mac Pro internal bays, and tried RAIDING two of them - testing before and after performance

BEFORE RAID - single drive (journaled)

Disk Test 84.16
Sequential 135.10
Uncached Write 144.19 88.53 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Write 147.95 83.71 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Uncached Read 99.53 29.13 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Read 170.46 85.67 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Random 61.11
Uncached Write 24.01 2.54 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Write 199.49 63.87 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Uncached Read 83.80 0.59 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Read 145.98 27.09 MB/sec [256K blocks]


AFTER RAID - two drives in RAID 0 (journaled)

Disk Test 125.06
Sequential 150.62
Uncached Write 147.99 90.86 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Write 232.24 131.40 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Uncached Read 84.87 24.84 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Read 269.37 135.38 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Random 106.92
Uncached Write 53.94 5.71 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Write 414.25 132.62 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Uncached Read 100.96 0.72 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Read 152.56 28.31 MB/sec [256K blocks]

Xbench by the way


Reedit: I posted the wrong results in earlier post a few seconds ago
Posted on Sat, May 17 2008 01:53
by stevesong
Joined on Mon, Oct 18 2004, NYC, Posts 714
The WD "green" drives are designed to minimize power consumption and have, therefore, variable rotational speeds, making them exactly the opposite of ideal drives for streaming samples. They are good for data storage, however.
Stephen Siegel
New York City

MacPro (4.1) dual-quad Xeon @ 2.9.3 Ghz
24GB RAM; OS 10.8.5
2 960 GB OWC E2 Mercury Accelsior SSDs one dedicated to samples and the other partitioned into a partition for samples and a part ion for apps and files.
MOTU 2408 MK III (PCIe)

MacBook Pro with 2.5Ghz Core 2 Duo
4GB RAM; OS 10.8.5
MOTU 828
Firmtek/Seritek 2SM2-E Express Card SATA adapter.

Logic 9.1.6.; Finale 2011
Posted on Sat, May 17 2008 02:21
by composer22
Joined on Wed, Apr 23 2008, Posts 60
Thats ok...they were on sale and I can use them for offline storage till I find some better ones. Save some internal power. Dont really need em since I have 3 GT050Q's for samples and audio. Thanks for you input. FUN!
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