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i am setting up a high speed/high resolution scientific image acquisition system. i need data write rates of ~1 GB/sec sustained for ~1 hour. i don't have experience with raid, but my plan is to raid 0 the following:

  • LSI MegaRAID 9280-16i4e
  • 11x Western Digital Black Caviar 2 TB SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB
  • 3ware CBL-SFF8087OCF-10M SFF-8087 Serial ATA Breakout Cable
  • GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD3H LGA 1155 Intel Z77 Motherboard
  • SILVERSTONE Strider Gold Evolution SST-ST1200-G 1200W v2.3 80 PLUS GOLD
  • Rosewill RSV-L4411 4U case 12 hot swap bays

data is coming in over this pci frame grabber: http://www.silicon-software.info/en/products/item/95-me4-vd4-cl-en.html -- i basically just need to be able to stream its full bandwidth to disk.

questions:

  1. are any of these choices suboptimal?
  2. will write speed be independent of the cpu? (ie, how do i ensure using dma?) is there a way for the data path to even bypass ram?
  3. is there any bottleneck to look out for on the motherboard, ie the north/south bridges? if so, how would i detect/avoid such a problem?
  4. is this "sequential" writing? is that the same as "streaming"?
  5. i assume that with sustained writing like this, caches (on the controller, hdd's, cpu etc) are not relevant?
  6. how do i ensure the psu is adequate for all these drives? i understand i might have to worry something about amperage draws on the rails? will inadequacies here show up as performance problems/random crashes or will it just clearly work/fail?
  7. same question as (6), regarding cooling.
  8. why the huge variance in raid controller prices? what features distinguish expensive fancy cards from the built-in raid on most motherboards? does my task take advantage of the 9280's strengths?
  9. would there be an advantage to using an external drive enclosure? does connecting to them impose a bottleneck?
  10. what bios settings should i be careful with? ahci, etc?
  11. what fs is best? the camera/frame-grabber drivers are all windows, so i'm stuck in win7. i assume 64 vs 32 bit will improve bandwidth?
  12. anything else to look out for? what tuning should i expect to have to do?

thanks!

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