Advice & guidance on Render/Video Editing Server + Workstation (10Gbe workflow)


Apr 29, 2017
(Long, robust & complex Video/Rendering thread, sorry in advance!) - Repost from Tom's as well;

Hello everyone, thanks in advance for your help! I just build my dream office at home and went for the gusto with upgrading my 5 yo media server too. Ive not got an abundance of storage drives + RAID controllers and not sure the very best use for them. I am quit technical but Id love fresh eyes/ears on this from fellow techys. I'm heavily into Video Editing/Production, including Adobe suite, 3D Animation software, and Protools Audio production.

A) Current Workstation BoM -

Intel Core i7 5930K w/ Samsung SM951 PCI-E SSD (Non-NVMe version) as OS Drive, Sammy 256GB 850 Pro (Cache Drive) and 4 x WD 750GB 2.5" Black HDDs in RAID 5 (working volume) for a 2.0TB usable drive running on ICH10R onboard Asus X99-A Motherboard. (Not happy with the performance of this array at all.

B) New Render/Media Server BoM (Just arrived!) -

Intel Core i7 7700K with Asus Z170-A Motherboard, Samsung 960 Pro 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD.
Both workstation and Server now have 10GBe SFP+ Network cards and are connected to Ubiquiti Edge Lite 48P 10GBe SFP+ switch for use of the server as a working volume for rendering and storage.

Old parts id like to utilize :

4 x WD SE 4TB HDDs (in RAID 5) running on old Adapted 5445 controller, but just got LSI 9261-8i controller which I want to put to use in the new server, as well as the Samsung 850 Pro 128GB SSD that I have kicking around. Lastly, I have a pair of Seagate 4TB Ent HDDs running RAID 1 for important documents and files (that I don't intend to touch) And I also have a batch of 4 x WE RE4 2TB HDDs that are about 6 years old, but have only 4 years of 24/7 use on them.

Performance Goals & Expectations:

Server to provide a working volume for High-Bit rate Video Production and Rendering (Adobe AE, PP, Maya, etc) and also Plex media server, and of course file/printer sharing in my home network. Id like to hit the 1000MBps transfer speeds on that server with my storage arrays (to utilize the 10GB network elements) Overall storage space could be sacrificed to achieve these goals, I'm open to input and guidance here.

Some Ideas I've considered;

Ive heard RAID 10 for my Server Working Volume is the way to go, also that Cachecade is available for the LSI card to use a front-end SSD for Cache (make sense?) How about the 4 x WD 750GB HDDs running on-board RAID 5 in my local workstation, can we eliminate them completely? Thoughts and feedback welcome guys!

Edit : I realize I missed some critical elements, both systems are running Windows 10 Pro OS 64 bit, both systems have 32GB RAM, the Chassis for the Workstation is Fractal Design R5, the chassis for the server is a 4U Norco 9 x 3.5" HDD + 1 x 2.5" (non-hotswap) chassis.
I can't speak to the 10GBe network (been wanting one at home!), but for sustained 1000MB/s you're going to need more spinners or several SSDs.

I know this because my 8 drive RAID 6 with 5TB WD Blacks gets 900 to 1200 MB/s reads and writes with my Adaptec 8805 controller when transferring files to and from my NVME 950 Pro (and in benchmarks). The theoretical max striped ("RAID" 0) speed is around 1500MB/s with each drive at 196MB/s.

Even with RAID 10 I don't see you getting that 1000MB/s with just 4 spinners. If you plan on using those WD SE drives, it looks like they get 171MB/s on SATA and 204 on SAS to give you an idea of how many you'd have to add. Plus there will likely be overhead from the controller.

Someone else will have to speak up about using an SSD to speed things up, as my impression was that most topped out at around 550MB/s unless you went with NVME with a controller that supported it (I've never looked into enterprise SSDs which might do better).
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For cheap 10GB network at home you can look at refurb'd Mellanox 2 SFP+ cards on Newegg. Two cards and cables for ~$80. Works great for two boxes. I have this setup at home between my main rig and my NAS.