I want to go for a better disk I/O setup than I currently have, but just look at current day prices of HDD's. That will cost a fortune if I want to extend on my current day 16 x 1 TB disks or even replace them with faster SATA-600 disks with larger cache. One thing to note is that I suspect one of these disks in my raid30 to be starting to give trouble, causing time out errors. It has not died yet, but it may in the near future. One thing is for sure, while I can port my Areca ARC-1680iX-12 controller to a new system for the time being, I ultimately want to get the new PCIe-3.0 controller, possibly called the Areca ARC-2082iX-24 with the 24 + 4 ports. Of course with at least 4 GB of cache memory and a battery backup module (BBM).

Why a 24 port raid controller you may ask. First of all, the price difference between a 12 port and a 24 port model is very small and you do not want to be in a situation where the number of ports are a limitation. Second, if HDD prices were not so high, and they may come down in the next couple of months, then the following setup may be worth considering, provided raid support for the trim function of SSD's materializes:

  • C: OS & programs: 4 x SSD in Raid10. One could always start with a single SSD.
  • D: Pagefile, media cache, renders: 6 x HDD in Raid0 using 2 internal ports plus the 4 external ports.
  • E: Media, exports and all other stuff: 22 x HDD in Raid30, including 2 hot-spares. 2 x (10 R3 + 1 HS).

Why would anybody in his right mind want so many disks? That makes no sense at all. Actually it does. Why? Because disks are still the main bottleneck in each system, the CPU, GPU and memory are way faster. If you only edit easy codecs like DV or HDV the Need for Speed is of course less than when editing RED 4K or EPIC 5K material. If you edit multiple tracks, your disk speed requirements go up, if you use multicam, your speed requirements go up, if you use 4:2:2 or even 4:4:4 material, your speed requirements go up. If the nature of your video is fast moving, lots of short clips, your speed requirements go up. If you use AE compositions exported as uncompressed, your requirements go up because of the sheer size. Redundancy costs extra disks but buys safety.

Initial preference of raid controller: Areca ARC 2082iX-24 (PCIe-3.0), expected end of Q3/2012?

Given the high prices of HDD's I have to postpone the choice and number of disks and the definite raid configurations for a later date. The controller is not out yet, so patience is the word, but realistically it may boil down to 2 x (7 R3 + 1 HS) plus 4 x R0, for a total of 20 HDD's. Well, 16 new 2 TB HDD's are still less costly than a single i5-2590 Xeon CPU, and the other disks can be ported from my existing system. That leaves me room to grow when the need arises.