ATA's vs ultra-wide scsi

5 replies [Last post]
Tim Hogg
Offline
Joined: Oct 12 1999

I'm about to buy a new G4 mac for DV editing. I know the Ultra ATA-33 IBM drives are excellent for DV - but how many tracks of audio can you also squeeze out of the 7.5 mb/s data rate alongside the video image? I would like at least 4 (and maybe more)and was wondering if I should pay the extra and get ultra-wide scsi (the 40mb/s one - not the scandalously expensive 80 mb/s version).

The dealers I've spoken to haven't been much use. Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks, Tim Hogg

bcrabtree
Offline
Joined: Mar 7 1999

First point - nobody seems to be selling ATA33 drives today, they are all ATA66.

The sort of datarate available on WIndows PCs is 11MBytes/sec to 19MBytes/sec, depending on the drive (and that with them running in ATA33 mode!!).

I suspect that you will only get this sort of performance if you get one of the two higher end G4s, which support ATA66 and, I guess, will also handle ATA33 better (if, somehow, you do find someone selling ATA33).

I suspect with the money you save buying ATA66 drives - rather than SCSI - you could afford to upgrade from the base G4 (assuming that was what you were going for) to the middle model, and perhaps still be a few quid ahead! And, the middle and top end models do offer some distinct advantages on top of ATA66 compatibility, notably double the bus speed.

As for extra audio tracks - however many extra audio tracks you have, the DV data rate stays at 3.6MByte/sec.

And, for folk doing audio editing alone, a datarate of 11-19MByte/sec represents a huge number of tracks.

Bob C

Tim Hogg
Offline
Joined: Oct 12 1999

Thanks for your prompt reply. Apologies for not getting back sooner, but I’ve had no access to the net since reading your answer. However, as you might have guessed, I'm still a bit confused (bear with me if I'm missing the point):

1. Although the DV rate remains constant at 3.6 mb/s, surely every time I add an extra
audio track while editing (for multiple dialogue tracks, music etc), the hard
drive will be under more of a strain. For example, while using a friend's old beige Mac (with Premier, a miro analogue card and an external scsi drive), we tried adding a fourth audio track only to find the computer couldn't cope, started dropping frames and doing strange things. My confusion with getting an extra hard-drive was: I would like at least 4 - 8 audio tracks to play with while editing and can I do this by using Ultra ATA drives rather than paying the extra and going down the scsi route. SCSi is a more stable datarate (so I’ve been told) - but the Ultra ATA option is obviously more attractive as it's half the price with twice the storage capacity

2. Are Ultra ATA 66 drives backwardly compatable to the ATA 33 system as used on the new G4's?

Also, two quick queries regarding the review you did on the G3 (which will compare to
the G4 I'd imagine):

1. Could you edit without having the camera continually attached via fire wire. The reason I'm asking, at the moment I hire/borrow a Sony Camera when filming - once I've dumped the footage on the computer's hard-drive, the camera has to go back and I was hoping to edit without the camera present and only get the camera back to output the finished film. Any comments on this approach would be handy (for example, is the picture on the computer monitor very jeky? If I'm trying to match lighting in shots, will the picture contrast and brightness be radically different when I later watch it on a television set?)

2. Any opinions on using a non Apple monitor (same spec models from Sony etc seem very competively priced)?

Thank you very much for your help and sorry for the huge shopping list of queries - I fully understand if you don’t have answers
to all these queries (afterall, you’re not an Apple Dealer - I’m only writing as a last resort because the dealsers I’ve spoken to have been so poor). Generally it seems the only way to tell if something is going to work, is try it and see what happens. Thanks for your help and comments.

Tim Hogg

bcrabtree
Offline
Joined: Mar 7 1999

Re Point 1

I do not think you will find that modern ATA drive will be affected by adding audio tracks - though if you add 20 of them, that may be different (but I don't think so).

The data rate of an ATA33 drive should be 7-11MByte/sec on a G3 or lowest end G4; on a G4 with ATA66 support (the two top models), the datarate with an big ATA66 drive (and, an ATA33, too), will be of the order of 15MByte/sec or more.
Hopefully, though, someone with actual experience of large numbers of tracks will be along shortly.

2.

I guess you mean the cheapest G4 in the range, the one that is not ATA66 compatible.
I hope to check this out shortly, but we've still not had hands on.

I think they will be, but they won't run at much more than 8MByte/sec. If they are incompatible, you could get a friend with a Windows PC to run a DOS utility that is available from IBM's web site. This forces the IBM ATA66 drive to report itself as an ATA33 - after which it will be treated like one.

As for your other queries:
<1. Could you edit without having the camera continually attached via fire wire.>

I simply can't remember - but I think so. Again, there are a lot of G3 editors here abouts, so hopefully one of them will reply in a more definite way.
<2. Any opinions on using a non Apple monitor (same spec models from Sony etc seem very competively priced)?>

Absolutely no problem - and much better value, especially if bought from a Windows Mail Order company, rather than a Mac dealer.

As for your problems find a decent Apple dealer - it is a complaint I make to Apple regularly. I did so again on Monday, when Apple came to our offices, and I'm going to do the same when the come again tomorrow (Thurs). I think the message has got through, though, that they need to get some decent editing system builders if they wish to maximise sales.

Bob C

Tim Hogg
Offline
Joined: Oct 12 1999

Thanks for the help once again. (If you're wondering about the gap between replies, I can only access the net when I can sneak on at work!)

Your comment about the service from Apple dealers was interesting. I've found the experience very .... odd to say the least. The PC market seems to be geared much more to the individual consumer - but I get the impression from Mac dealers that they aren't interested unless you're a corporation buying ten machines. For example, all the queries I eventually put on your bulletin board, I've been asking for months and months. I can even accept that they may not know the answers - but they never get back to you, regardless of how many times you repeatedly contact them. Which is in stark contrast to the PC sellers I've dealt with.
Odd?

Anyway, I'm off my soapbox now - thanks for your quick replies. Believe it or not, despite this, I'm still going to wait until Apple releases Final Cut Pro before I make my final decision. Mad? Maybe ...

Bye for now
Tim Hogg

Tim Hogg
Offline
Joined: Oct 12 1999

Thanks for the help once again. (If you're wondering about the gap between replies, I can only access the net when I can sneak on at work!)

Your comment about the service from Apple dealers was interesting. I've found the experience very .... odd to say the least. The PC market seems to be geared much more to the individual consumer - but I get the impression from Mac dealers that they aren't interested unless you're a corporation buying ten machines. For example, all the queries I eventually put on your bulletin board, I've been asking for months and months. I can even accept that they may not know the answers - but they never get back to you, regardless of how many times you repeatedly contact them. Which is in stark contrast to the PC sellers I've dealt with.
Odd?

Anyway, I'm off my soapbox now - thanks for your quick replies. Believe it or not, despite this, I'm still going to wait until Apple releases Final Cut Pro before I make my final decision. Mad? Maybe ...

Bye for now
Tim Hogg