Daily Blog – John E. Johnson, Jr. – May 12, 2008: MOVING TO A NEW COMPUTER IS AS BAD AS MOVING TO A NEW HOUSE.

My last computer was purchased 5 years ago, and as my video editing work moved to high definition, encoding speed was so slow, I could go to lunch just waiting for a few minutes of video to be completed.

So, it was time for a new computer. I ended up building one from scratch – with the help from one of our staff, Sandy Bird – and it cost a lot more than the usual system that I used to purchase from Dell.

The parts included a Quad-core Intel 3.2 GHz processor, 4 GB of DDR3 1600 RAM, five 500 GB SATA hard drives, Adaptec RAID card, Gigabyte motherboard, Asus video card, 750 watt power supply, and a huge case. At least I thought it was huge. The Asus video card was so big though, it was still a tight fit. The monitor for video editing has to be large too, so I picked the new Gateway 30″. The OS is Microsoft XP. I thought about Vista, but just about everyone I know hates Vista. So, XP.

Anyway, it had been so long since I last upgraded to a new computer, I forgot what a living hell it is to do so. Not so much building the computer. That was easy and fun. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Sandy Bird has built dozens of them. We had a new staff member, Josh Samet, over to help out. He will be writing some reviews for gaming.

And, no, the hard part was not re-installing all the programs. That is pretty much an automated thing, although digging up all the installation keys was annoying.

The nightmare was transferring all the data files. It’s like moving to a new house. You have to buy a new refrigerator, maybe some new rugs. But, you have to move all your stuff. Tons and tons of stuff.

Here is a photo of the living room after the computer build was finished. It looks just like a room being packed up for a move to the new home. The box for the video card was as big as a receiver. What a waste of paper!


Anyway, to the data file transfer. First, I copied the data files to an outboard USB hard drive. I needed a 250 GB drive because video files take up lots of disk space.

So, after waiting an hour or so for the data files to be copied, I unplugged the USB drive.

Whoops!!! What a mistake that was. Unplugging a USB mouse, keyboard, camera memory card, and lots of other things, while the computer is still on, never caused me a problem. But, when I unplugged that USB hard drive before officially “dismounting” it, kapoof went the sectors that list where everything is located. I could not get any computer, not the old one or the new one, to recognize that drive.

So, after re-copying the data files to another USB drive, and making sure to click that “Safely Remove Hardware” button on the bottom menu bar of the desktop, I was able to transfer my data files.

In the old days, I had maybe 250 MB of data files. They were things like e-mail addresses, manuscripts, spreadsheets, etc. No video files.

Now, there are hundreds of GB to transfer. Music, video, and just a little bit by comparison, of text.

If and when we go to 4k resolution video, let’s see, what is the next step up from Terabyte?

3 Responses to “Daily Blog – John E. Johnson, Jr. – May 12, 2008: MOVING TO A NEW COMPUTER IS AS BAD AS MOVING TO A NEW HOUSE.”

  1. Zeh Says:

    Just buy an iMac. You´ll avoid all this mess.

  2. Dj Says:

    @Zeh: Actually, the iMac won’t be able to handle the HD video like Jej’s New Machine can do (2 @ ~3.06Ghz has nothing on 4@~3.2 Ghz). Maybe the Mac Pro could spank his machine, but not an iMac.

    Jej: a Petabyte is what is next. That would be 1,024 Terabytes. I am also really interested in what sort of exact specs you are using. Any sort of modifications to your hardware? Did you overclock the Core 2 Quad? I see five 500 GB Hard Drives, what stopped you from doing five one terabyte Hard Drives? I noticed a RAID card, what type of RAID Array did you use and what was your reason for that? I would like to know, as a comparison for Video Editing Equipment.


  3. JEJ Says:

    Regular Windows XP can’t deal with anything over 2 TB. I would have had to install Windows Server to do that. I had the same problem with my media server too, because I installed Windows Media Center as the OS. So, for the media server, I have three 1 TB drives in RAID 5, with a single hot spare that automatically kicks in if one of the RAID drives crashes. The total space that the OS sees is a bit less than 2 TB. The OS is on a separate drive.

    I have not overclocked the processor yet. I used four 500 GB SATA drives in RAID 5 which means the data are spread out over the four drives, giving me more speed, but with protection if a drive crashes. RAID 5 does not have a speed advantage unless you use at least 4 drives. RAID 5 is not redundant. It is just a configuration that lets the system reconstruct the data from the crashed drive. If you go to RAID 10, you get redundancy for protection, and striping for speed.

    RAID 0 gives you maximum speed but no redundancy. If one drive fails, the entire array is gone. RAID 1 gives no speed increase, but does give redundancy (the data are stored in duplicate). It is sort of an automatic backup system. You have two identical sets of data. If one drive fails, you have it all on the second drive. I used RAID 5 because it has better storage efficiency than RAID 1, meaning that only the parity information is needed for reconstruction, rather than just storing two complete sets of the data. The speed suffers compared to RAID 1, unless you have at least 4 drives, which I do.

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