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Thursday, 17 April 2014 22:03

G-Technology G-SPEED eS PRO RAID

Written by  David Hurd
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A vital part of any editing system is a RAID, which is basically a bunch of hard drives working together to securely store and playback all of your video clips and other media. When selecting a RAID, there are several factors to consider: its speed, size, reliability and its features vs. the cost. The G-Technology G-SPEED eS PRO RAID offers a nice balance within all these parameters. 

The G-SPEED eS PRO operates quietly, which is very important for anyone working in a small shop. Large shops usually have a RAID system living in an air-conditioned machine room that feeds the editing suites. In a small shop, the RAID is situated within a few feet of you and your client’s ears — and editing next to a noisy computer and RAID can be hard on everyone’s nerves.

SPEED 

Just like with cars, the need for speed in technology can be expensive. But when you invest in a RAID, there’s a “time is money” principle in effect and the money you spend comes back in editing time saved. Not only do you save time, but you also get smooth real-time playback that makes editing much easier, especially when syncing music videos.

Since speed is expensive, it’s best to select a RAID based on the format of the projects you’ll be editing. The G-SPEED eS PRO will edit SD, but it’s designed for bigger formats, such as editing uncompressed HD or 2K media. A single G-SPEED eS PRO unit supports several streams of ProRes 422 compressed HD and a single stream of uncompressed HD playback, while two units will support two streams of uncompressed HD playback and a single stream of 2K. So if you’re planning to edit uncompressed HD or 2K, you’ll need to order two units.

SIZE

Size matters when working in HD and 2K because the files are so large. Case in point: standard definition DV is 25 Mb/sec in size, and many HD formats are about 220 Mb/sec while uncompressed HD is about 1240 Mb/sec. As a result, data can quickly add up on a large project, and you always want room to spare. The good news is that the G-SPEED eS PRO can provide storage ranging from 4 to 32 terabytes, depending on the capacity of drives used and if one or two of the units are utilized. I chose to use two of G-Technology’s 8TB units, so at 16TBs I’m set for just about any 2K project. 

RELIABILITY

Reliability is everything, and the type of RAID configuration that you choose will determine if you’ll sleep well at night. The two most common configurations are RAID 0 and RAID 5. RAID 0 is the fastest configuration but provides no safety backup. It stripes all of the disks to improve speed, but if one disk fails all of your data will be lost. 

The RAID 5 configuration arranges the data so that if one disk fails, no data will be lost. By using one of the disks, RAID 5 reduces your total capacity but it will provide safety and peace of mind. Using two G-SPEED eS PRO units in RAID 5 with an ATTO R680 controller card will write data at about 1000 MB/sec, which is still fast. The write speed for a single-unit configuration will be about half of that, depending on the controller card used.

FEATURES VS. COST

The G-Technology G-SPEED eS PRO RAID delivers great value for your money. My G-SPEED eS PRO 8TB units are in sturdy, aluminum enclosures, which are cooled by very quiet fans. I like that they’re small and lightweight — at only 8x5x7 inches and 12 pounds each, they’re great for a DIT cart for on-location use and also great for your editing suite. The two G-SPEED eS PROs connect to the ATTO R680 controller card in my MacPro via 6-foot locking Mini-SAS cables (included with the eS PRO). ATTO has been my favorite controller for years because it’s fast and reliable, so it was my first choice to use with the G-SPEED eS PROs. 

Most professionals use RAID 5, so that’s what the drives come with. I’m used to working with uncompressed high-definition material on a 16-drive SAS RAID, which by comparison is hotter, noisier and over seven times the price of the two G-SPEED eS PRO units. You may be thinking, “All of this for only 20 percent more speed?” Well, like I said before, speed is expensive and the G-SPEED eS PRO should be all you need for HD and 2K work.

To test editing speed I wanted to use footage from a commonly used camera, so I used BMCC ProRes 422 HQ and 2.5K RAW footage, which is the kind of material that the G-SPEED eS PRO is designed to handle. I worked with clips in Adobe Premiere Pro CC, which uses CUDA processing from graphics card as well as CPU processors to speed up playback with FX and rendering. The speed of the RAID will also determine how fast these processes will happen. 

The G-SPEED eS system I used worked well. Playback was smooth without rendering, and they rendered quickly when the amount of FX was too great. With ProRes 422HQ I got seven layers of video to play back without rendering. I also added New Blue Film Effects to three video layers without needing to render for smooth playback.

Overall, the G-SPEED eS PRO scores well in every department. It’s compact, quiet and fast, and at 16 or 32TB it has the size to get big jobs done. The use of Enterprise-class drives and RAID 5 gives it a strong reliability factor. 


Contact: G-Technology | 310.449.4599 | www.g-technology.com 

 

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