I thought you folks might find this interesting. I wanted to start my own video editing company and began with a 8 core Mac Pro 3.2 GHz--base system with 2 GB Ram and a 320GB Hard Drive. My goal is 27 1TB drives in two enclosures--without any rack mount, and with quiet operation.
Here is how I started.
I next upgraded the four drive bays in my Mac Pro with (4) Seagate 1TB hard Drives. I pulled the memory and sold it on eBay. I put in (4) 4GB Memory boards for a total of 16 GB. I chose this size memory board so I'll have room to upgrade to 32GB as memory prices drop. So far, it seems like 8GB is as much as I've used, but then I've hardly tried video editing yet, so it remains to be seen how much memory I'll really need. I'll probably max it out at some point, just for grins.
My next mod was to disassemble much of the machine get at the two spare onboard SATA connectors. Presently these cables are run to a card slot. I can post pictures of how to take the computer apart in another forum post, if anyone is interested.
But as I expect to fill up all my card slots, they will be moved and used internally. I am holding off on most of the internal mods until my warranty gets a bit older.
I was using one of these Sata connectors to hook up a single drive in a double drive enclosure--a 3.5" Mercury Elite Pro. I felt this would never be able to satisfy my storage needs, so it was probably a waste of money.
I plan to build a mod to add three drive bays to the 2nd optical bay. One will be my OS 10 boot disk, one will be a windows boot disk, and the third will be a Solaris 10 boot disk. My other four drive bays will be a RAID 0 Stripe Set served by an Apple Raid Controller.
Still I needed more storage, so I bought a used, slightly banged up, G5 Power Mac case on eBay. This is a pretty big box and I knew I could stuff 20 drives in it, if I planned it right. My over all plan is this. The box has two (2) drive bays already to go. I figure I can fit 4 more drives in the single optical bay. I have an old drive cage that will hold 4 more, that's 10. I picked up (2) five drive hot swap bays (That's 20 bays), a cage, power supply, power splitter, and two addonics sata port multiplier, along with a Sonnet Temp (Software Raid) four port Sata card. All I need are two more port multipliers and a bit more sheet metal and I'll have everything I need.
I had a little trouble posting pictures and can't delete this post.
What else can I tell you. I just thought it would be cool to have a second box that looked a lot like my Mac Pro, to hold a bunch of RAID Drives! Skip down to the next post and last picture to see what it looks like.
I'm pleased as punch and will start installing the four bay drive cage above the power supply tomorrow. After that I'll start wiring it up.
Just getting the hang of sizing and embedding these images. here is the bare case.
Here is the donor RAID box.
More internals to be moved over.
Cutting the front to make an access door to the 10 Hot Swap Bays.
Here is the front switch assembly with USB and Firewire ports. I have the connector that fits into this. I may try to use this switch and make the firewire and USB ports active. I don't see that I will use the USB ports, and I'll only be using firewire to transfer data into the computer. So i don't think I'll need more of these. It all depends if I have time on my hands. It would be nice to get the switch working.
I ground off all the mounting posts. I should have left a few--it would have come in handy later. At first I wanted to see if the whole RAID enclosure would fit inside. Then I decided to cut it down the middle to section it, and only use the front half.
I cut whole in two blank card slots covers with rectangular holes to take the port multipliers. I can't find the pictures so I'll post them later. I put them back to back so the cables will fit. These port multipliers are available built into a card cover. The problem of not enough space for the wires remains.
Using a combination of pop rivets and nuts and bolts i secure the power supply to the base of the G5 case, and then the break-out board for the power cables. Finally I mounted the drive age assembly for the 10 hot swap drives.
At this point I reinstalled the base of the front, and press fit the cover to see what the final product will look like. I do not have the wires hooked up yet, nor are the two four bay drive cages. One will be easy, the other (for the optical bay) more difficult. I may have to mount the next two port multipliers on the back of the case, simply because I don't think the wires will fit if I mount them next to the two others.
nice work! that looks like it'll be pretty sweet and you will have a ridiculous amount of storage. I was pretty excited when I bought another enclosure for one of the hard drives I had lying around to add 120 gb onto my system, i've got 300 total now, you have nearly 100 times more.
nice work! that looks like it'll be pretty sweet and you will have a ridiculous amount of storage. I was pretty excited when I bought another enclosure for one of the hard drives I had lying around to add 120 gb onto my system, I've got 300 total now, you have nearly 100 times more.
Don't get too excited. I only have 5TB right now. This whole enclosure only has one drive in it right now--a 320GB drive--the original one I had in my Mac Pro. I tried selling it twice on eBay and had no takers. TB drives are getting cheaper, but at $250 each, ten of them would set me back $2500--oouch. So it will be a year or two before I fill it up.
My plan is to start adding drives as I have money, and learn how to edit. I'm going to Manhattan Thursday night--an Apple Final Cut demonstration. I need to start meeting other people in the industry. I've picked up a few books, but finally decided I'll go with the Apple study program.
Since I acquired the G5 case somewhat banged up, I have not be to concerned about making this a beauty queen. The case looks fairly good, even with a few scratches. The bottom line it I'm more concerned with function and maintainability on the inside than I am making everything look perfect. I don't want to put weeks of my time into this project. I want it done!
Here I am mounting a 4 bay drive cage. I have only one more 4 bay mount to build, which will go in the optical bay. These won't be hot swap drive bays. So, the idea was to make it removable on slide rails for service. Pictures show two 4GB SCSI drives, which will be removed. For now they keep the drive bay square.
This shows one set of rails installed.
I needed to nip a piece off the drive cage to give some of the existing wiring room to breath.
Drive Cage Installed.
Note the existing drive bays on the top right of the full case photos. I thought I'd need special drive bay rails. It turns out, I only need round head screws and maybe a couple of washers to mount two drives there.
I don't think I mentioned how I picked the name of the machine. Well, I'm a Pisces and I chose that name for my new Mac Pro. I figure I'll be keeping it a very long time, since I paid so much for it. Hopefully, software will be written to better utilize all 8 cores, and it won't go obsolete any time soon.
Later when I started looking at external drive solutions I began thinking how many drives I could fit in one of these cases. Other options were either too pricey, not very nice looking, or a combination of the two. So I decided to build my own. I'm calling the second G5 case--Pisces II, which if you know the symbol for Pisces, you will know it looks like a Roman Numeral II only joined together at the top--sort of like my two cases--they will be joined by a few cables.
The two 5 bay hot swap enclosures I have installed, came with a 450W power supply. According to my calculations I'll need an average of 12W per drive plus 3W per fan. Max draw is 30W per drive. I suppose this is during start up. In which case I'll need 600W for the 20 drives. The case comes with two fans, each drive enclosure has a fan. I plan to add as least one more 90mm on the back. So that is at least 5 fans @ 3w each= 15W. If I add in some LED's--say another 10W. I'm up to 625 watts for start up. If I use a 1.5x safety factor, I'll need somewhere around a 937W Power Supply. I'm not going for redundant power supplies. There is nothing that I will be doing that can't wait a day or two to replace a power supply.
After speaking to a sales rep for a power supply company. I've been advised that 750 watts should be plenty big enough. I'll be ordering that tonight.
I'm not sure what the real world through put will be. So for a scratch disk for video editing, I'm leaning towards four  320GB SAS drives in a Raid 0. With the Apple RAID card, that will allow me to edit one stream of uncompressed HD Video. So the external drives are mostly for long term storage.
Well here is my current plan.
Bays1-4 RAID Stripe Set via Apple Hardware RAID--This are my scratch Disks--Raid 0 Bay 5--Boot Disk OSX--needs an IDE to SATA conversion board. Bay 6--Boot Disk Windows XP 64 [uses spare on-board [#5] SATA connector] Bay 7--Boot Disk Solaris 10 [uses spare on-board [#6] SATA connector]
Bays 8-12 Raid 5 Video Storage Bays 13-17 Raid 5 Mirror of Bay's 8-12 Video Storage [RAID 5 + 1] Bays 18-19 (existing P-II Bays) Personal Music Archive [Backup is on Mac Mini external Drives] Bays 21-24 21 --Picture Files, 22--DMG Files, 23--Windows back up files, 24--spare OS X boot Bays 25-28 25--28 [Concatentation all four drives for Time Machine Back Up's]
Throughput is supposed to be 3.0GB/s. Going through the port multiplier, I have my doubts if this will be feasible.
After installing an Apple RAID card, I will still have one PCI Express card bay for some sort of of card interface to stream in video and audio.
The only other question in my mind, is how other computers on my network will be able to access these files, if I want to job out the various editing tasks using a work flow process. That will be my principle question for the conference on Thursday.
My next project is to build an editing workbench in the basement. A work flow process seems to be the wave of the future. I don't know enough about the requirements yet, but I think that if I want to add one or two more people to my one-man shop, 3Ghz iMac's might work--perhaps we shall see quad core processors by the time I get that sophisticated.
My network is a single 16 port Gigabit switch with three wireless G access points. My house is wired well--I used to work as a telecom consultant. My office has 5 drops and I'm adding two more so I can get my printer and wifi access point off my desktop. Moving files between my Mac Mini and Mac Pro on the hard-wired LAN has been slow--at least it seems so with really big file batches. So, from what I've read, perhaps Firewire 800, with no overhead, will work out better for sustained data transfer between an iMac and the Mac Pro file system. Firewire cables can be run fairly long distances to directly connection machines.
Jeez, when I think about my first 286 PC with 640kb of ram and a 30GB HD, I am stunned by the all the new technology. But I'm glad I'll be able to set up a Video Production company, with cash out of pocket, bit by bit, while not long ago, it was a process that was priced out of reach of the common man.
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