Main AutoPano storage - SSD or HDD?  

In the panorama field, hardware is also part of the success. You can discuss here about it: camera, computer, pano head, anything
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Main AutoPano storage - SSD or HDD?

by Track » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:31 pm

I would like to have one storage array for only editing/rendering Gigapixel Panoramas.

I am wondering whether seek times would largely benefit the entire process of going from a few hundred photos to a fully-rendered Gigapixel.

If so, I should get an SSD or two and have 0.4ms seek times and perhaps ~300MB/s in bandwidth.

If not, I could get 4-8 HDD's and have bandwidth in the 1,000MB/s range but with an access time probably above 8ms.

So which one is more important?

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by tived » Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:57 am

I think you will need more then a couple of SSD's to make a good dent, but it also depends on how much ram you have in your system. More ram less dependency on SSD's or HDD's

I think if you have something like 4x SSD's to store your temp DIR, and 8 or so HDD's to store your finals on a dedicated controller you will probably see some improvement

at least that is the plan, but also having 48gb or ram will help :-)

Henrik

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by Track » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:06 pm

tived wrote:I think you will need more then a couple of SSD's to make a good dent, but it also depends on how much ram you have in your system. More ram less dependency on SSD's or HDD's

I think if you have something like 4x SSD's to store your temp DIR, and 8 or so HDD's to store your finals on a dedicated controller you will probably see some improvement

at least that is the plan, but also having 48gb or ram will help :-)

Henrik

Yeah, that's my plan. Store the temp DIR on the SSD's and the final project on the HDD's....

But my question is - would I see benefit from storing the final projects on the SSD's?

Wait, 48GB?? At first, I thought of getting 12GB.. then I was under the impression that 24GB was the key. I mean the France 26GP group used 24GB.

Now 48GB? I wish I could.. but I can't. Not because of money.. but because then I would have to use 8GB modules. And if I do, they'll be clocked very low, which will damper my entire system's performance. It's just not possible.

But if you really think it's important..

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by tived » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:53 am

Hi Track,

I am using a server/workstation mainboard, EVGA SR-2 with dual processor XEON, so I will fill up half the dimm slots with 8GB sticks, I think that memory and hdd are the key to the speed of this process.
If I get this up and running before and over xmas I will do some tests with the various systems I have available, this may help others in the future to better understand what can make the difference. Even if I am wrong, It will still be useful :-)

Now, regarding HDD vs SSD, I can't remember where I read this but someone pointed out that depending on the type of files and size, one or the other has an advantage. At the moment, a single SSD will shine over a single HDD in almost every task.

However, depending on the HDD's you get and your do a RAID-0 or RAID 01/10 you can get really good performance on a dedicated raid controller in particular if you also have a large cache and battery backup unit attached, or a good UPS on to your system!

Reading my one words again and it isn't clear what I am trying to say. If money is no object, then the SSD's will be faster then the HDD's in similar configuration, but if you say you have a $1000, with which can you get the best performance with, then that may or may not change the outcome, obviously the more you have the more its likely to fall to the SSD's the biggest problem with consumer hard drives is latancy, they are really slow getting out of the starting post.

Also when you start looking at very large arrays with 12,16,24 drive controllers you are also paying big bucks for it, this is where you may be better off buying more memory.

So to me, the sweet point is in my circumstance that I have an Intel ICH10 controller on board with 6 channels + a Marvel SATA3 which is pretty useless in raid (its actually slower then the Intel which is only SATA2)

Anyway, if I add 6 ssds, and divide them into two arrays of three disks each (3R0 = 3 disk RAID-0 (stripe)) which is the fastest raid there is, but with no redundancy! I should get something like 600mb/sec +/- 50mb/s i will at the moment be looking at 3x 60gb Sandforce and 3x 120gb sandforce, if you can get the Crucial C300 they are even faster, but I can't get them here.
Some of the guys on Xtremesystems.org are getting 2GB/s with 8+ SSD's and a RAID cache controller LSI or Areca!!!! Now we are taking speed!!

I think that the Paris project used 6 intel drives 160gb, and it may turn out that this is a better configuration or do a 2 disk OS, and 4 disk Temp/scratch disk.

Down the track I would like to add two RAID controllers with at least 8 channels each, and then make it 6x ssd 6R0 boot, 8x ssd 8R0 temp and 8x HDD Storage 8R01 (if i was doing this today I would use Western Digital RE4 3TB disks for HDD's as they are made to be used in 24/7 operation in raid config! that is important, as your standard desktop hdd's can drop out of the array because they are not ready)

48GB ram clocked lower then less ram, what is the penalty? I don't know if anyone has done any tests, if you have a large penalty hit with more ram at lower speed vs less ram at higher speed.
If you work on many small files then the later is probably faster, but if you work on large files, say 10GB/20GB and this amount is bigger then the installed amount of ram, then I am pretty sure that the big and slow will win the race, at least that is my own pocket philosophy :-) and that is what I am working towards, as I have several pano's that are in between those sizes and I am likely to make bigger pano's once I get fully automated. Plus I have room to fit another 48GB :-) ....did you know that there is 16GB modules :-) ha ha ha :-) <grin> tempting if you could get someone else to pay for it!

I hope this all makes some sense, I know it isn't so coherent but I have been interrupted a few times writing this, so please forgive. I do plan to do a write up about this when I can prove or disprove my theory :-)

Henrik

PS: Current system setup to be

2x Xeon X5650 2.66Ghz overclock target 4Ghz
2x Corsair A70 CPU coolers
EVGA Classified SR-2 mainboard
6x 8GB Kingston 1333 ECC DDR3
1x ASUS nVidia GTX460 1GB (could be improved on)
Lian Li PC_2120V Black case
Antec TPQ 1200w
3x 60GB SSD ARAM ULTRA II
3x 120GB SSD ARAM ULTRA II

External DVD and card reader

External storage WD ShareSpace 8TB + 17TB spread HDD's in cradles
Last edited by tived on Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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by Track » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:01 am

tived wrote:I am using a server/workstation mainboard, EVGA SR-2 with dual processor XEON, so I will fill up half the dimm slots with 8GB sticks, I think that memory and hdd are the key to the speed of this process.
If I get this up and running before and over xmas I will do some tests with the various systems I have available, this may help others in the future to better understand what can make the difference. Even if I am wrong, It will still be useful :-)

Yeah, I am doing the same thing. eVGA SR-2 w/X5650's @ 4.8Ghz. I am impressed that you know not to fill up all the slots. I think we're in the same boat.

You mean memory amount and storage-drive speed?

I am wondering though - why are you doing this? It sounds like you're just doing all this because you want to have the fastest computer around.. but why?

Either the rig is capable of running your project, or it's not. If it's super powerful, it won't really matter. Just make sure you're doing this for the right reasons.



tived wrote:Now, regarding HDD vs SSD, I can't remember where I read this but someone pointed out that depending on the type of files and size, one or the other has an advantage. At the moment, a single SSD will shine over a single HDD in almost every task.

However, depending on the HDD's you get and your do a RAID-0 or RAID 01/10 you can get really good performance on a dedicated raid controller in particular if you also have a large cache and battery backup unit attached, or a good UPS on to your system!

Yes, any SSD will have better seek times (0.4ms vs. 4.9ms), and better bandwidth (100MB/s vs 200MB/s+). But SSD's are far more expensive per GB.
I could get 8 HDD's for the price of a single SSD.

That is why I am buying two LSi 8087 cards (8 SATA each). But I don't think the RAM/BBU options are better. They're far from affordable, and they're a bit dated.
You can get a Perc 6/i with 256MB of DDR2 cache and a dedicated BBU for 250$, but then we're talking about 8484 SAS connectors and those can't be used with SAS Expanders.


tived wrote:Also when you start looking at very large arrays with 12,16,24 drive controllers you are also paying big bucks for it, this is where you may be better off buying more memory.

No, like I said, you can get 48 SATA ports for around 500$. Then a 24-drive bay would cost 400$, but it's not necessary. Just get a regular 20$ Micro-ATX case, a solder and a bunch of Y-splitter SATA Power Cables.

tived wrote:Anyway, if I add 6 ssds, and divide them into two arrays of three disks each (3R0 = 3 disk RAID-0 (stripe)) which is the fastest raid there is, but with no redundancy! I should get something like 600mb/sec +/- 50mb/s i will at the moment be looking at 3x 60gb Sandforce and 3x 120gb sandforce, if you can get the Crucial C300 they are even faster, but I can't get them here.
Some of the guys on Xtremesystems.org are getting 2GB/s with 8+ SSD's and a RAID cache controller LSI or Areca!!!! Now we are taking speed!!

Woah.. I think you have a lot of things wrong there. I can tell you're over-excited, but you have to be sure so you won't feel bad later.

A proper RAID 0 array has an even number of drives, not three. Furthermore, the more drives, the higher the bandwidth. So, if you have six, you should get eight. And you should create an 8-drive RAID 0 array. Just make sure you don't have sensitive information on that array, because it has a high chance of failing, unless you buy really, really expensive HDD's.

And you're NO WAY going to get 600MB/s with three drives. Unless you get three 128GB C300's.
If you get SandForce drives, they will only do 600MB/s in very rare, certain places, and mostly they will not get above 300MB/s. That is why I hate SandForce.
Also, the lower the capacity, the lower the bandwidth, usually. A 256GB C300 will have twice the bandwidth of a 128GB C300. So, 60GB is not going to get to 600MB/s no way no how.

I also doubt that he got 2,000MB/s with C300's, unless it was the 256GB version and he had 16. That is really not something worth doing.

I advise you to get four 128GB C300's like me.


tived wrote:I think that the Paris project used 6 intel drives 160gb, and it may turn out that this is a better configuration or do a 2 disk OS, and 4 disk Temp/scratch disk.

Down the track I would like to add two RAID controllers with at least 8 channels each, and then make it 6x ssd 6R0 boot, 8x ssd 8R0 temp and 8x HDD Storage 8R01 (if i was doing this today I would use Western Digital RE4 3TB disks for HDD's as they are made to be used in 24/7 operation in raid config! that is important, as your standard desktop hdd's can drop out of the array because they are not ready)

The Paris26 project members didn't know much about computer hardware. They just got expensive, needlessly over-the-top hardware.

Now, if you were to do a 2-SSD RAID 0 for the OS/Temp, that would make sense. Then a 4-HDD RAID 0 for the final project. That's my thinking.

Again, you're wasting money, in my opinion. Why do you need so many drives? Just for fun?

You don't need the RE4 drives nor the 3TB drives. They are both way over-priced when you get just buy 90$ 2TB drives and set up a RAID 6.

tived wrote:48GB ram clocked lower then less ram, what is the penalty? I don't know if anyone has done any tests, if you have a large penalty hit with more ram at lower speed vs less ram at higher speed.
If you work on many small files then the later is probably faster, but if you work on large files, say 10GB/20GB and this amount is bigger then the installed amount of ram, then I am pretty sure that the big and slow will win the race, at least that is my own pocket philosophy :-) and that is what I am working towards, as I have several pano's that are in between those sizes and I am likely to make bigger pano's once I get fully automated. Plus I have room to fit another 48GB :-) ....did you know that there is 16GB modules :-) ha ha ha :-) <grin> tempting if you could get someone else to pay for it!

I hope this all makes some sense, I know it isn't so coherent but I have been interrupted a few times writing this, so please forgive. I do plan to do a write up about this when I can prove or disprove my theory :-)

Henrik

This is how it works:

RAM Capacity - If you don't have enough capacity, your project will fail. It's just that simple.

RAM Speed - If you have lower speed RAM, your project will take longer.

If you get 1333Mhz RAM, then getting 6 SSD's won't help much because it won't be fast enough. I could be wrong, I haven't done any tests yet.

But for me, 1333Mhz is just WAY too low. I'm overclocking past 2000Mhz, which I need for other things, such as games.


tived wrote:PS: Current system setup to be

2x Xeon X5650 2.66Ghz overclock target 4Ghz
2x Corsair A70 CPU coolers
EVGA Classified SR-2 mainboard
6x 8GB Kingston 1333 ECC DDR3
1x ASUS nVidia GTX460 1GB (could be improved on)
Lian Li PC_2120V Black case
Antec TPQ 1200w
3x 60GB SSD ARAM ULTRA II
3x 120GB SSD ARAM ULTRA II

External DVD and card reader

External storage WD ShareSpace 8TB + 17TB spread HDD's in cradles

Mine is:

2x Xeon X5650 @ 4.8Ghz
Complete WaterCooling system
eVGA SR-2
6x 4GB G.Skill 2000Mhz 9-9-9-8
3x nVidia GTX 580 1536MB
Custom Case (build upon Antec p190)
2x Silverstone 1000w Single-Rail
4x 128GB C300
Blu-ray/HD-DVD 6x Burner

NAS: 8x 1TB, 10x 2TB = 28TB.

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by [bo] » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:03 pm

Track, don't worry, I've tried too many times to convince Henrik that he's spending way too much on hardware - to no avail :D

You can hunt down several hardware topics where we generally reached the same conclusion: X dollars = Z performance and 2*X dollars = 1.2*Z, but there's always the strive for the latest-and-greatest in the people that can afford it. I, personally, cannot.
Some of my panoramas, posted in the Autopano Pro flickr group.

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by klausesser » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:36 pm

Well - in my eyes the question is: how many images do you HAVE TO do in which period of time?

Of course there are always ways to get faster and faster. But in which cases it is oeconomically and ergonmomically preferable and in which cases it´s just nice to be as fast as possible maybe a matter of taste.

When i do a big picture of some Giga it´s not of any interest whether rendering takes 5 hours or 10 hours: i then start rendering over night anyway - or have lunch and rendering is finished the time i drink my Espresso afterwards . . . :cool:
I´m not a mass-producer who has to do a couple of Gpx images a day. Are you?

Being a mass-producer for Gigapixels and having to render 5 - 10 images of that size per day the situation is different. In that case one should think about a render-farm like the ones many 3D animation producers use.

In my case i do sometimes one or two Gigapixels for print on large outdoor posters and for walls at exhibitions, airports and so on. That´s in a range of 2 - 8 Gpx in very best quality to be looked at from viewing distances from 1 m up (at exhibitions there are often trays with flyers and so on placed directly in front of the print and so people look at the prints very close)

Multi-Gigapixel images in the web are very nice - but commercially widely irrelevant. From a commercial view they don´t "earn" the costs of producing them professionally in best quality.

So the main sense of multigigapixel images in my eyes (!) is to make them just for fun. And here rendering time i mean isn´t really critical, is it?

best, Klaus
Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance. Coco Chanel

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by tived » Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:55 pm

Hi Track,
very nice system, I might need to pick your brain regarding overclocking. Maybe a little over the top. So what do you use that beast for?

I'll try and respond to some of your questions

RAID-0 with odd number of disks, yes it is possible, try!

If I am building fastest system around, NO, but its the fastest system I will be able to build atm with a little help from some friends. In actual fact its a compromise.
As you can see at your own build I have almost only chosen the most necessary components (Bo, ok, and added a bit :-) )

I only have one graphic card, and a modest one too, as i didn;t see it being as vital as some of the other components.

1333 Mhz memory, unfortunately they don't do ECC memory in anything higher :-) I noticed that it not so important for you, but then again I don't do benchmarks and don't play games, but the later could be tempting ;-)

I did look at water cooling, even Phase changing :-) but I felt a bit out of my dept and the cost of it was prohibiting (though that Koolance chipset cooler sure is sexy :-) LOL)

Powerful enough ? Time will tell, I just finished a project where I was supporting another photographer who was doing work for the State Gallery and on a single trip we accumulated 200GB of images over a 5 days shoot. I used three computers to cull, edit, assemble, process and render countless of images with pano's and focus stacking.

Time is of essence here, and being able to deliver quickly a quality job is important. People who do not do what we do, often lack the understanding of what is involved in this process after the images have been taken and what happens to them in post processing. It seems that is also apparently lack with some members here too.

I personally don't like to wait, I am very impatient, its spoils my creativity at times, and I am sure other times it help it, but that is a choice I want to be able to make.

8087 is cable connection, so what are you hooking it up to? which controller do you use and recommend? I would be happy with an 8 channel rocketraid

One thing i would like to know is how the SAS expanders work, i haven't had the opportunity to work with these yet! (probably just as well :-) )

I will try and find the link to the 8x Intel SSD's and 2Gb/s transfer i am pretty sure it was on Xtremesystems.org
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showpost.php?p=4514829&postcount=155
Sorry i was wrong it was only 1.8Gb/sec (RAID 2x (3+1)R50 WB FP so thats two raid 5 on two controllers that are stripped :-)....and you are telling that I am going too far :-) <grin>

Can you define "Proper" it may not be "Proper" but it will work and it will be faster then 2 drives, and if I could find the link, there is little to gain on 4 drives over 3 drives in RAID-0 on the Intel ICH10 controller which is the onboard one, that I will be using till I can make a "Proper" raid with hardware raid next year! :-) with 8 disks! Hopefully

I may have overstated the 600mb/s and I can't find the reference to it.

Yes, the C300 disks are shinning all over the rest of the gang of SSD's - but I can't find a supplier for them locally! So I am stuck with Sandforce for the time being. You are totally right about the capabilities of the C300 and the bigger capacity. Spot on! and I envy you ;-)

At the moment, I am getting 6 disks, I will try and play around with a configuration that will give me the best performance for what I do with what I have at the moment.

The whole idea of multiple disks is to increase the bandwidth, as I see it as being the biggest bottleneck in our systems, I am not sure how much difference the memory speed will do, some for sure but if it will make a bigger difference, you may be able to answer that yourself. I would very much like to know. I do know that I would like to have ECC on this amount of memory here.

Is it for fun, I hope so, but I very much hope it will make my life easier every day.

HDD's and raid, can you use the eco friendly hdd;s sure, are there issues with them, yes some, in particular that people are experiencing drives going off-line on their controllers because they are not spinning up on time for the controller. This may be corrected in firmware later. I don't know.

If I were to recommend someone a harddrive for their workstation, it would be the likes of the Western Digital RE4, followed by the WD Black Caviar. YMMV, but people locally to me, rely on the advise I give them. Do I use Green drives, sure do! for JBOD setups! and for use in backup cradles. They are great for this purpose, large and cheap!

Sorry for the bold text, it was just so it would stand out in from yours

This is how it works:

RAM Capacity - If you don't have enough capacity, your project will fail. It's just that simple. NO, it will take much longer to finish the job!

RAM Speed - If you have lower speed RAM, your project will take longer. TRUE

If you get 1333Mhz RAM, then getting 6 SSD's won't help much because it won't be fast enough. I could be wrong, I haven't done any tests yet. Well, we better then :-)

But for me, 1333Mhz is just WAY too low. I'm overclocking past 2000Mhz, which I need for other things, such as games. This is the difference between us, I don't play games and for me the ECC function is much more important, which is not to say, that if it was available I too would chose the faster ram, but only with ECC

:-) You are pissing all over me! :-) I can't even hold a light to the candle here! still I need u to tell how to overclock, please!

Mine is:

2x Xeon X5650 @ 4.8Ghz
Complete WaterCooling system
eVGA SR-2
6x 4GB G.Skill 2000Mhz 9-9-9-8
3x nVidia GTX 580 1536MB
Custom Case (build upon Antec p190)
2x Silverstone 1000w Single-Rail
4x 128GB C300
Blu-ray/HD-DVD 6x Burner

NAS: 8x 1TB, 10x 2TB = 28TB.



Track, thanks very much for taking the time to reply, though we may disagree I very much appreciate what you say, and I am giving it some thought and may change my setup from 2x3 to 2x60 and 4x120Gb SSD's

Also this is the first time, I have come across you here on this forum, so welcome and i hope you will hang around and contribute as I think you can be of great help to us all

All the best

Henrik

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by tived » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:04 pm

'[bo wrote:']Track, don't worry, I've tried too many times to convince Henrik that he's spending way too much on hardware - to no avail :D

You can hunt down several hardware topics where we generally reached the same conclusion: X dollars = Z performance and 2*X dollars = 1.2*Z, but there's always the strive for the latest-and-greatest in the people that can afford it. I, personally, cannot.

Bo, stop teasing! :-)

Hope you are well, I am very excited about this build, its taken so long and now I am getting so close to it, though at the moment it just sits in the workshop waiting for parts after having fought with it, with the OCZ Revodrives! Just could not get them to work with this build.

just going on about large excessive computer builds, I though that what we are building here is pretty massive, but I soon found out when looking at some of the forums, that this is just a small shoebox, there are people with 3 of these, with bigger and better of everything (good for them!), with more water cooling then this system will cost us. With less people who actually have a purpose for the computer other then bragging rights. Though, rest assured, this will be a work horse! :-) it will have to earn its keep, and hopefully sooner then later, cos I am going to need it as I in over my head here.

:-)

Hen

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by tived » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:13 pm

Some good points Klaus,

Sometimes those extra coffee breaks can help solve a problem or give you that moment to see things in a different light. However, I hate having to wait, to me its a waste of time.

So with this build, I will set up the system, so I can off load the rendering to my two other computers with a third as a backup, the key here is workflow (I am sure I have said this before! :-) )

I often get this call, ehh, we need something done, it won't take long....yeah right! and we need it in the morning!

I will often shoot a pano, several times as I mostly shoot at dusk or dawn, with several hundred images each, it can be time consuming and I would like to spend more time on creating images, then to sit and wait for the computer to process or render previews of the many files from a shoot.

anyway, time will tell if I have made the right choice, and if I haven't you all have had the benefit of my experience :-) to me its pushing boundaries and improving on a current situation to a better one.

I am hoping to have a shoot interstate early next year where this system will help deliver it in a shorter time period, and contribute to future expansions :-)

The need for speed!

sorry I couldn't help myself

Henrik

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by tived » Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:33 am

Hi Track,

I tested my system today, still in tatters but, i recieved 3x 8GB Kingston Hynix sticks yester, and have 3 x ARAM Ultra II SSD's running in RAID-0
on the onboard, Intel ICH10R controller and with windows default driver its a very poor showing, less then 300mb/s, however with the latest Intel drivers I am getting an average of 675mb/s....probably not the best benchmark tool, HD Tune :-) <stop laughing!> LOL

I am a bit puzzled about the faster memory and its effect on overall system performance.< I know it will make a difference, but have never really given it much thought, since I believe that I need to have ECC > ..still something i will have to look into, but obvious not something I can change and also have ECC in my case, but its interesting to know.


System is still in the workshop but I hope to have it functioning before xmas fingers crossed!

Henrik

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by tived » Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:35 am

Track,

just to get back to your original topic,

I think SSD's will be a faster option if you go with 8x disks in raid-0, just everything is faster with SSD and less overhead.

Henrik


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