ATA / SATA configurations

10 replies [Last post]
Mike Walters
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Joined: Oct 29 2002

Hi,
Having haid no end of stability problems with a Dual Athlon system and the RTx100 / Premiere Pro 1.51, i decided to change to something more stable.
On the basis of the Matrox website tested systems i managed to pick up a Dell Dimension 8400 system which i am setting up at the moment.
On my existing system i currently have 3 X ATA hard drives for system, capture and output/storage.
The Dell specs say it has 2 IDE ATA channels an 4 SATA channels. I had intended to use 1 ATA channels for the DVD writer, and 3 SATA channels for the 3 X SATA hard drives i had purchased. 1 for system, 1 for capture and 1 for output / storage. (I know strictly speaking you do not need 2 SATA drives for capture and output as they can both be done on the one drive but i need the space and flexibility).
The problem comes when i come to set this up. In the Matrox spec it says to disable the RAID settings which i have done and operate the system in Combination Mode. No problem, that all sets up correctly. The problem is that when i do this it disables 2 of the SATA ports leaving me with just 2 ATA and 2 SATA.
I now can't set the system up as i would like.
I have pondered this and have come up with a few of options.
1. I use SATA 1 as systems disk and SATA 2 as capture etc and have an ATA hard disk for storage. Possible but not very flexible and will the ATA drives slower rates adversely affect performance?
2. I use the setup as above but have a disk caddy for the SATA capture drive to enable me to swap projects around. Slightly better than above but what about performance.
3. I change my operating system to an ATA drive and use both SATA ports for capture/output/storage - again maybe with a caddy to enable project swapping. Presumably this will get the benefits of SATA for video capture and editing but how will this affect performance of the system?
What i need please is advice on how best to set this up to ensure best performance and flexibility.
Ideally i would like to use both ATA and all 4 SATA ports - can this be done without upsetting the stability of the RTX?
Any advice GREATLY appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
Mike

Alan Craven
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Joined: Jan 26 2001

Provided you use Windows to stripe a RAID array, you should be OK with the RTX100. I had problems with a RAID array using an Intel on-board RAID controller when I let the controller stripe the disks in the BIOS.

Mike Walters
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Joined: Oct 29 2002

Hi Alan,
The Matrox site seemed to specifically suggest that i keep away from RAID which suits me fine. The challenge really is how to get the most amount of storage and some flexibility with it. I'm just reading all the threads on external drives (Firewire) and wonder if that might be the way to go?
Mike

rjpobrien
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Joined: Jul 30 2005

Could you install the RAID driver and use the SATA ports but as normal ports ie not set up an array. I hope that makes sense! Don't know if it will work or if I'm even on the right track but might be worth a try.

Richard

Mike Walters
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Joined: Oct 29 2002

Hi Richard,
I wondered that. I have posted the same question on the Matrox forums to see what they suggest as it is they who said it needed to be in combination mode.
Till then my questions are:
1. If i were to switch the system drive to an ATA unit from it's present SATA location would that significantly reduce the system performance. (That would then give me 2 SATA drives for video work).
2. Is an external drive via firewire going to give me the system performance i want? I always thought external drives were too slow for video capture and editing.
If anyone has the answers to those it would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks again,
Mike

rjpobrien
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Joined: Jul 30 2005

1. No. SATA is theoretically faster but as far as I am aware, has not yet siginificantly outperformed PATA. The problem is that obviously SATA is far more future proof.

2. I don't edit in this way and use internal drives but from reading this forum I gather that a lot of people do edit using external firewire drives. One thing I can guarantee is that USB2 is not good enough for editing. I think that a firewire drive will be more than adequate and gives you the added benefit of being able to move between systems or adding to any new system you might get in the future with the minimum of fuss. Downside is that it is a bit more expensive than internal but TBH they are pretty cheap anyway so this would be how I'd do it if the previous suggestion turns out to be a non-starter. Out of interest, have you actually tried the Matrox card with a RAID array set up or are you avoiding based on recommendations? If the latter, is it worth trying anyway?

Richard

Mike Walters
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Joined: Oct 29 2002

Hi again Richard,
I haven't installed the Matroxcard in the computer yet as i'm finishing a project on the computer it is currently installed in and don't want to run the risk of losing anything. What i am trying to achieve before the migration to the new pc is to get it set up exactly as Matrox recommend as it has been so unstable on the other pc.
As they specifically stated that it should not be in Raid mode but in Combination mode that is the reason i went down that route. And to be honest, if i can move the C drive to an ATA hard disk that would give me 2 SATA disks for video work which would be ideal for most of my use. I might consider caddy mounting one of them so i can swap it about as i need to for different projects. On the other hand leaving them both permanently mounted AND using firewire disks might be an even better solution. Unless i hear significantly different advice that might be the route i go down. It would give me great opportunities to edit on my laptop with the firewire drive when i am away which would be a great benefit.
Maybe i just need to buy a firewire enclosure and try it with an existing drive?
Thanks for your input,
Mike

Alan Craven
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Joined: Jan 26 2001

Mike,

I have used the RTX100 for nearly three years now with a PATA system disk. Originally I used a pair of 160 GB SATA drives as a RAID O (striped in the BIOS - not as Matrox recommend) and latterly as separate drives - one for capture, the other for export.

The reason I abandoned the RAID was that often one of the pair was not detected at boot up. I subsequently discovered that this was because of the number of drives I was using, 6, and the detection was timimg out before the last was detected. I increased the time-out to 35 seconds from 25, and have had no more trouble.

My experience withthe RTX suggests that most problems are caused by it running too hot, and most of the rest are caused by an inadequate power supply. This is, of course, assuming that you have a compatible motherboard in the first place!

DVdoctor
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Joined: Apr 1 1999

There is a small adaptor that you can get that will convert a sata connection to ata. It might be worth looking at, but It looks like are being forced to a mixed mode? is this the case if you make all your devices SATA,
Sharyn

Mike Walters
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Joined: Oct 29 2002

Hi again,
Matrox seem unwilling / unable to reply on their forum.
If i stick with their recommendation for Combination Mode i am left with 2 ATA and 2 SATA connections. That being the case i think i will use 1 ATA for the system disk, the other for DVD RW and the 2 SATA ones for capture and edit. I will also look into the option of editing on a firewire disk too for the portability.
Thanks for your help,
Mike

Mike Walters
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Joined: Oct 29 2002

Hi
I finally had a reply from Matrox and they tell me that the only configuration that the RTX100 will work in is this combination mode which means 2 of the SATA ports are disabled! I have suggested to them that where they recommend the Dell Dimension 8400 for editing with the RTx they should make this limitation absolutely clear.
That said they suggested that i could install a PCI SATA card which would solve the problem. I'm not sure if it will upset the stability of thr RTx or not but it is a possibility.
Mike