Adding 4-5 hard disks in new system.

20 replies [Last post]
Dangerously
Offline
Joined: Aug 22 2001

Hello.

I'm hoping to build a new video editing PC from scratch. My current PC has around 300 gb of work in it, so i'm not keen on upgrading it in case I lose all my work (I only have the essential stuff backed up once on a 200gb external drive). This PC has four hard disks inside, two striped and partitioned to a system drive and work drive, and the other two striped to make a 200 gb drive. I'm not happy with this set up (it wasn't made by me) since theres the obvious higher risk of losing all my work, and the case is too small so one hard disc has to sit on the floor of the tower. It also makes a racket with all the fans in there (it's a dual Athlon MP and one HD is in a cooling thing).

I want to build a new system with at least 3 hard disks to start with. A system disk, and two 300+ gb disks. I don't want to set up a RAID system either.

I was looking at an Asus A8N-SLI Premium motherboard. Would that let me add three none RAID HD's. Are there motherboards that would? What should I look for in a motherboards description to indicate I could? Does JBOD refer to what I want, a none RAID system?

I figure i'll work on one HD, and periodically copy what I need to backup on the other HD, and my current external backup HD.

Also, can anyone recommend a tower for a large amount of internal HD's. I think i've found some that can hold 6, but I don't know about cooling them. I want to avoid the racket that my current PC makes. I can't even detect background noise and other audio problems until I watch a finished scene on video or DVD.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

cstv
Offline
Joined: Jul 26 2002

I'd certianly opt for SATA over standard PATA. The drives themselves cost pretty much the same. SATA is faster, future-proof and the cables are smaller so airflow is improved inside your case reducing the requirement for fans which in turn reduces noise.

A motherboard like this one which features 4 SATA connectors would allow you to connect 4 SATA drives for video. You could then use a PATA drive for the system (windows) and CD/DVD drives. I'd avoid using SATA for the system drive because while it can be done, the windows installer doesn't fully support it yet so you need a floppy disc with the SATA driver as part of the installation sequence - an annoying headache.

Please bare in mind that the motherboard above is designed for PCI-express graphics cards and Athlon 64 CPUs making the rest of the system more expensive: there are other boards with multiple SATA connections. Most motherboards have 2 SATA connectors as standard but there's nothing stopping you adding more with a PCI card which would probably set you back about £20.

300GB SATA hards drive would cost you about £100 each. If you're worried about losing data due to drive failure then you could always mirror 2 drives. Unfortunately that doesn't account for inevitable human mistakes such as accidentally deleting files.

Quiet PC are good for fans, cases, etc that will reduce the noise from your PC.

hope that helps,

mark.

Des
Offline
Joined: Apr 7 1999

A simple suggestion - take a look at SPAN storage at:
http://www.span.com/catalog/spanstor_system.php?products_id=2923&x=50&y=8
a 4 x 250 gig Maxtor setup with a caddy will cost £383 ex VAT.
It's operating with Firewire 400 - no need to go to 800 or USB2.
2 cards to plug in, then the Firewire cable and then go.
The caddy allows you to archive off onto cheap hard drives which you can store on the shelf.

Sony Z1 / A1E / PD100 - Avid Liquid 7.1 - 2.66GHZ Core 2 Duo / ATI 950 Pro / 2 x Iiyama 17" flat screens
Storage: 1 x 80GB / 2 x 400GB / Offline Firewire 1 x 2TB and 3 x 400GB

getlostdave
Offline
Joined: Feb 14 2003
Dangerously wrote:
Hello.
I was looking at an Asus A8N-SLI Premium motherboard. Would that let me add three none RAID HD's. Are there motherboards that would? What should I look for in a motherboards description to indicate I could? Does JBOD refer to what I want, a none RAID system?

I have recently rebuilt my system around this motherboard. and I currently have 7 hard disk drives attached. ( 80, 160, 250Gb PATA, 250, 300, 320 and 400Gb SATA ) With 1 PATA connector for my DVD Writer, there are still 4 free SATA connectors.

I have to admit I do like the layout of the SLI Premium Motherboard. I have the Asus Star ice CPU cooler which sucks air across the CPU heat sink rather than from below. With the arrangement of the Motherboard, this results in the fan directing the warm air directly towards the Hot air vent at the rear of the case. This arrangement also results in dragging air across the Motherboard chip set heat pipe exhaust which is between the CPU and case exhaust fan. ( I currently have an Antec Sonata case, obviously the exhaust fan on other cases might not be so favourably placed. )

Dangerously wrote:
Also, can anyone recommend a tower for a large amount of internal HD's. I think i've found some that can hold 6, but I don't know about cooling them. I want to avoid the racket that my current PC makes. I can't even detect background noise and other audio problems until I watch a finished scene on video or DVD.

The Antec P180 seems to get a lot of praise and has been discounted to bellow £90(ex vat) at several on line stores. I do have one, but it's still in the box at the moment. The theory is that the 3 compartments in the case isolate the Heat generated from the Motherboard, the PSU and the Disk drives hopefully making cooling easier.

Dave

cstv
Offline
Joined: Jul 26 2002

i must admit i hadn't looked at the spec on the A8N-SLI Premium yet, but wow! I thought the Gigabyte board that i linked to above was nice, but this thing rocks! AND ebuyer have got it for £117 inc VAT!

I was considering upgrading fairly soon anyway because a conflict between my SATA PCI card and my Nebula DVB-T PCI card... the upgrade may happen a bit sooner now... :D

back to the question, so yes. the A8N-SLI Premium has 8 SATA connectors and 2 PATA connectors (each PATA channel can carry 2 devices and SATA can take 1 each).

mark.
mark.

Dangerously
Offline
Joined: Aug 22 2001

Cheers. The Asus Motherboard certainly seems the way to go. I've had the Antex P180 case recommended to me twice now. I've also looked up Getlostdaves Antec Sonata case. That has 3 x 5.25" drive bays and the rest are 3.5" bays. So how do you fit 7 hard disks in it? Shouldn't I be just looking at 5.25" bays for my hard disks?

Presumably i'm wrong about this, so how many HD's would I get in the Antec P180?

Again, thanks for the advice.

cstv
Offline
Joined: Jul 26 2002

hard drives are generally 3.5" - the only reason you'd want 5.25" bays for HDD is if you were using some sort of sound-reducing case or a caddy of some kind.

Dangerously
Offline
Joined: Aug 22 2001

Oh no! I've been looking at all these cases thinking I needed 5.25" bays. Sorry about that. Boy do I feel stupid.

The Sonata case looks very promising, especially since it comes with a PSU on overclockers. I know this is a bit off topic, but what sort of power supply would I need for this kind of setup. The Asus SLi Premium, Athlon 64 Dual Core 4400, 2gb RAM, around 6 HD's (eventually) DVD drive, floppy drive, and probably the most bog standard PCI-Express graphics card I can find (I don't know what the onboard graphics will be like on this Motherboard).

Another question. I have an Ethernet card connecting my "editing" PC up to the "everything else" PC. I'm assuming I can attach this card to the new Motherboard. Am I right?

Cheers.

cstv
Offline
Joined: Jul 26 2002

if you get the A8N-SLI Premium, that comes with 2 Gigabit LAN ports on-board so you can ditch your existing Ethernet card completely... that's what ebay was made for ;)

getlostdave
Offline
Joined: Feb 14 2003
Dangerously wrote:
Cheers. The Asus Motherboard certainly seems the way to go. I've had the Antec P180 case recommended to me twice now. I've also looked up Getlostdaves Antec Sonata case. That has 3 x 5.25" drive bays and the rest are 3.5" bays. So how do you fit 7 hard disks in it? Shouldn't I be just looking at 5.25" bays for my hard disks?

I should have probably mentioned that 1 Hard Disk isn't actually attached to the case!

Dangerously wrote:
The Sonata case looks very promising, especially since it comes with a PSU on overclockers. I know this is a bit off topic, but what sort of power supply would I need for this kind of setup. The Asus SLi Premium, Athlon 64 Dual Core 4400, 2gb RAM, around 6 HD's (eventually) DVD drive, floppy drive, and probably the most bog standard PCI-Express graphics card I can find (I don't know what the onboard graphics will be like on this Motherboard).

The sonata case is rather nice, however the PSU in the Sonata only has a 20 pin motherboard connector, rather than the newer 24 pin connector that the Premium requires.
I think that the Sonata II has the correct connector, but it might be worth checking.

Custom PC had a scary PSU review late last year (you can see the results at http://www.custompc.co.uk - unfortunately you will have to register). If I remember correctly about a 1/4 of the PSUs simply died (some permanently) when their maximum stated capacity was utilised and a further 1/4 didn't produce stable voltages under maximum load.

The Antec PSUs didn't get a glowing endorsement (although one of the PSUs tested had been superseded by a new model by the time the review was published)

The following PSUs were recommended:

Seasonic S12-500 Seasonic £70.50 6 Approved Premium
Seasonic S12-600 Seasonic £79.89 6 Approved Premium
Akasa AK-P460FG BLV2 Akasa £53.60 5 Approved
FSP FX600-80GLN FSP £99.88 5 Approved

One interesting fact, only 2 of the suppliers actually made their own PSUs (Seasonic and FSP I think) and it appears from other reviews ( http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/other/display/foxconn-hiper.html ) That different PSUs from the same supplier can be of vastly differing quality, presumably due to the fact that they are sourced from different manufacturers.

The Asus Premium has no on board graphics.

One final small point the ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard, which on paper looks to be better than the Premium (and it's release is probably what has caused the premiums price drop) appears to in fact be slower. ( http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/mainboards/display/asus-a8n32-sli-deluxe.html ).

Dave

getlostdave
Offline
Joined: Feb 14 2003

One other thing to consider when building your PC:

A quote form the Custom PC review of the Samsung SpinPoint P120S:

Quote:
The P120S isn't all about performance, however; it's also one of the quietest drives around. On paper, the P120S is quieter when accessing data than most drives are when idle. Having tested this in our feature on making your PC quiet, we can vouch for the P120S's near-silent operation.

While at 250Gb, these aren't the biggest of hard drives, if quiet operation is important, then this is probably the one to go for.

Dave

getlostdave
Offline
Joined: Feb 14 2003

As you expressed some interest:

overclockers.co.uk
This week only ( runs from Thursday to Thursday )

Antec Sonata II Piano Black Quiet Case - 450W Smart Power PSU (CA-040-AN)
Price: £65.50 (£76.96 Including VAT at 17.5%)

Dave

Dangerously
Offline
Joined: Aug 22 2001

Cheers for that. I'll ask on the Overclockers forum about whether it would support the Asus Premium. Would 450W be enough for this board and a large number of hard discs though?

I've been adding up prices and it seems i'm going to have to seriously cut down on how much I spend on this system, CPU, RAM etc. And i'll also have to start with one hard disc (and a small system disc) and buy more later.

Dangerously
Offline
Joined: Aug 22 2001
cstv wrote:
I'd avoid using SATA for the system drive because while it can be done, the windows installer doesn't fully support it yet so you need a floppy disc with the SATA driver as part of the installation sequence - an annoying headache.
QUOTE]

I'm not that familiar with Sata. Assuming I go with the Asus Sli Premium motherboard, would that support one ide drive?

Do all motherboards that support Sata support IDE, is it a backward compatible format?

I've already invested in two 300gb Sata drives for video work. I'll probably get a smaller drive (80 gb maybe) for a system drive, since i'll not be putting games or other unecessary programs on there.

Thanks for all the advice so far.

cstv
Offline
Joined: Jul 26 2002

in spite of the name, SATA and PATA (IDE) are not compatible. They are 2 very different ways of connecting devices.

Fortunately the Asus A8N-SLI Premium has 2 PATA connectors, each supporting up to 2 drives; a master and a slave. This became a standard motherboard feature a number of years ago and will most probably hang around for a while longer - certainly until the next version of windows is released with propper support for SATA in the installation process.

So yes, the A8N-SLI Premium will support a single PATA drive for use as a system disc. I should point out though that it is perfectly possible to install windows to an SATA drive. The process is the same as installing to a SCSI drive. When asked "do you want to load a third party SCSI or RAID driver?" or words to that effect, press F6 and you will be prompted to insert a floppy disk (not a CD) with the SCSI/SATA driver on it. From there onwards it's a normal installation, but since i haven't build a system with a floppy drive in for about 5 years, and certainly haven't used a floppy disk for anything other than this exact purpose, i consider it a pain in the back side!!!

This is especially true when you come to reinstall the system and find that not only can you not find the floppy disk with the driver on, which in itself requires you to a. find a floppy disk and b. find the driver somewhere on the web, but you then have to find a museum to borrow a floppy disk drive from! ;)

NB. Most linux distributions will install straight to SATA drives without and problems.

mark.

StevenBagley
Offline
Joined: Aug 14 2000

Hmm,

I'm pretty certain I installed Windows XP (slipstreamed SP2) version onto my machine at uni's SATA drive without needing a floppy disk. In fact, I'm certain of it as I don't have a floppy drive in the machien at all.

Although whether that is due to it being a supported chipset or because SP2 added the necessary driver I dunno.

Steven

Vimeous
Offline
Joined: Mar 10 2006

Cases
Coolermaster CM Stacker
Expensive but there are three variants with differing internals designs that support up to 11 drives.

SATA / PATA
PATA to SATA converters are available. Whether they're worth the cost is another matter.

Work (Mrs Vim)
Panasonic HDC SD20/100/200/300
Dell Precision (Nehalim EP) | Microboards Duplicator
Edius 5.5

Home
Canon XL1s | MA-200
Athlon X2 4200+ | 2Gb | A8N-SLI Premium | 6600GT | SonicFury | 4x 250Gb Maxline III (RAID10) 4x 250Gb WD RE2 (RAID10) | DVDRW | Coolermaster Stacker 830 | Seasonic 700W | 2 x VP171s-2 TFT
Premiere 6.5 | Canopus ADVC 300

Dangerously
Offline
Joined: Aug 22 2001

Thanks for the advice. Might be something to consider when I need more hard disk space. I built the new PC at the start of the week. The older PC, which I wanted to keep running in case I needed to retrieve my work, had already broken down, so I decided to use a 40gb PATA drive out of that to install Windows XP. Fortunately, I had all my work on an external hard disk.

So, at the moment i've got three hard disks in the case. 1 PATA 40 gb system disk, and 2 SATA 300gb disks which seemed to install fine without any drivers. The case is the Antec Sonata II with a 450 watt PSU. It's pretty quiet with a large 120mm fan in the back and i've added an optional 120mm fan in the front, just behind the SATA drives. It doesn't make the racket the old one did, but it rumbles quite a bit, but audio editing is far easier.

Couple of problems. Windows installed on the PATA drive okay, but made the PATA's drive letter E:, although it has only been a problem once or twice. And I did a load of work on my current video yesterday, then copied my work folder over the identical folder on the backup hard drive, then today found all yesterdays work was missing. I'd been working on the wrong drive, the backup one instead of the work one. I wish there was some way of making it obvious when i'm on the wrong drive, like making the Explorer Window's background colour something garish when exploring that particular drive. Any ideas?

Thanks for all the advice. It's been most helpful.

P.

Vimeous
Offline
Joined: Mar 10 2006

How about changing the drive letter?

For Win2k and XP PC's in a standard non-RIAD environment:
Find any old "My Computer".
Right-click and select manage NOT properties.
Select "Disk Management".
You'll see a list of all your drives with their various partitions.
From there you can right-click on a partition and choose which drive letter you wish.

Bear in mind this easy-to-execute change can have wide ranging impact, especially on your carefully setup options and settings within your chosen editing software.
In your case, where you'd want to change the system partition letter, the impact can totally screw up your setup so you may have to just live with it as it is.

As always with PC's if you're not sure don't do it unless you can cope with your entire system becoming a completely mucked up nightmare.

I assume your system partition is E because you've left an original install of Windows one of the other drives that you no longer boot from (or have linux kicking around)?
If it's not too much hassle I'd be very tempted to start again, configure the PC without the old boot drive attached, configure drive C as normal and finally reattach the drive which should force it to another drive letter other than c.

HTH

Work (Mrs Vim)
Panasonic HDC SD20/100/200/300
Dell Precision (Nehalim EP) | Microboards Duplicator
Edius 5.5

Home
Canon XL1s | MA-200
Athlon X2 4200+ | 2Gb | A8N-SLI Premium | 6600GT | SonicFury | 4x 250Gb Maxline III (RAID10) 4x 250Gb WD RE2 (RAID10) | DVDRW | Coolermaster Stacker 830 | Seasonic 700W | 2 x VP171s-2 TFT
Premiere 6.5 | Canopus ADVC 300

Dangerously
Offline
Joined: Aug 22 2001

I've tried changing the system drives letter, but Win XP won't let me change that letter, since it's the system drive. The IDE disk was formatted before I installed Windows XP, so I don't think that caused it. Perhaps I just didn't notice it during the install.

Anyway, that isn't a big problem. My biggest worry is the human error that could be caused by having two identical disks and me working on the wrong one. I guess i'll ust have to have my wits about me.

Thanks for the suggestions.

P.

Unicorn
Offline
Joined: Apr 12 1999

You can change the system drive letter in the registry, though I forget where you find it. Somewhere there's a list mapping drives to drive letters: you just change it there and reboot.

Ah, here's the page I found explaining how to do it a while ago:

http://www.petri.co.il/change_system_drive_letter_in_windows_xp.htm

P4-3.06/2GB RAM/2500GB IDE/SATA. Avid Media Composer, Liquid Edition, Premiere 6, Lightwave, Vue 6, eyeon Fusion 5. DV and HDV editing/compositing.