NAS Server & New Workstations

The world of video production is always changing. Technology moves forward at an unrelenting pace, and as people who work with video all day long, we have to stay on the ball. I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about our workflow as a company. Pieces of it are still in progress, but I’m happy to share the ideas and the things we already have in place.

Firstly, we built two brand new editing workstations. Both are intel platforms. One is Z97, and the other is X99. The z97 workstation has a 4790K and 16GB of memory, along with an older GeForce GTX 660 Ti for leveraging CUDA performance in Adobe Creative Cloud. The X99 workstation has a 5820K, 32 GB of RAM, and a GTX 960 for GPU accelerated tasks. The reason we chose the X99 platform is because of its versatility. It uses the new DDR4 memory spec, as well as supports all chips on the LGA 2011-3 socket. So while we may “only” have a 6 core 12 thread CPU now, in the future when xeons for the socket come down in price, we can pick up silly amounts of processing power on the cheap and greatly extend the life cycle of the system. For instance, the top of the line xeon from 2012 launched at just under 4000 USD. Nowadays you can pick it up on ebay for 500 bucks or less if you wait for a good sale. That’s eight cores for not a lot of money! The top end xeon for the lga 2011-3 socket currently retails for 3800 USD brand new. But in a few years, we’ll be able to pick up an 18 core 36 thread beast for pennies on the dollar. That’s the advantage of the relentless march of progress, the bleeding edge trickles down to the consumer faster and faster.

The second half of our workflow is still in the works. We’re going to build a high capacity and highly expandable NAS (Network Attached Storage) server! This NAS is going to replace the numerous external hard drives that we have used over the past years. With the way we shoot footage nowadays, we are always clamoring for more storage. This NAS will have us covered. It will be running FreeNAS in a RaidZ ZFS Pool, have 5 3TB drives with room for 16 drives total, a SSD boot/cache drive, 32GB of ECC RAM, and a quad core xeon to make all the magic happen. It’ll be used for longer term storage than externals, but not archival. So projects that we shot and have a possibility of revisiting sometime down the road, we will put on there. Depending how fast it is, (and it should be rather speedy,) we can even dump projects on to that and work directly over the network.

Should be a fun build, and we’re excited to make it happen.