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Monday, September 8, 2014

HP Z Turbo Drive and Setup for Adobe Applications..!


With the extensive line of HP Z products one that might go overlooked is their Z Turbo Drive. Think a ioFusion card but in a small form factor and at a lower buy in price. First off the cards are not going to outperform the latest ioFusion drives but I think you'll find them to be very fast, priced in the market of similar pci-e SSD cards and most of all stamped with the trusted HP seal of approval. Why does this matter. Well mainly because their are all kinds of these pci-e SSD cards out on the market now. Not all are up to the quality as say the HP Z Turbo Drive. HP partnered with Samsung to bring you an affordable alternative to the above mentioned Fusion cards but not cutting on performance as you'll see in some screen grabs below..!

I myself have tried another similar card out there called the ASUS RaidR. I was very excited to try this card out and for the money is an option you can certainly look at and give it a try. I felt like for the money it wasn't bad but my benchmarks didn't quit live up to the advertised speeds. That being said I like the HP Z Turbo Drive even better. Both are easy to setup. Basically plug and play. All you have to do initialize it like you would any other spinning hard drive or SSD. Initilize, Format, choose a block size or go with default and you are ready to start benefitting from having a super fast(approx double the speed of a typically SSD)and not double the price of an uber fast traditional SSD. Now that sounds like a winner doesn't it..?! :)

How I'm using it is mainly for my scratch, media and cache files. Why is this important you might ask? Well just like having a dedicated raid to store and playback all your media files like audio and video clips with the fastest access you can afford(see here my DIY 4K RAid)you want your scratch, media and cache files to load equally as fast without any lag. Even the fastest SSDs on the market won't be as fast as the HP Z Turbo drive or similar(but again not all are created equal so do your own test and make sure if you opt for an alternative they have a good return policy-I've talked to others who tried other brands out there and were not too impressed with the results like the Asus RaidR is wasn't as fast as advertised at least in my case).

So for me the HP Z Turbo dive has been a nice addition to my workflow. I've found that files load extremely fast, playback seems improved(more r3d layers playing back in some cases at FULL Resolution with multiple layers), and also great for After Effects in place of a fast traditional SSD. You can expect even better results.

I'm going to leave you with the basic setup I'm running. Note that I'm mainly focusing on Premiere Pro and After Effects but any program that utilizes a scratch, media and cache files etc will most certainly benefit also. Photoshop and Speedgrade come to mind but just scratch the surface of apps that do.



Setup:

First off you'll need to initialize the Drive or Drives(Note if you plan on setting up dual HP Z Turbo Drives as one you need to initialize them as Dynamic-it should prompt you to do so but in case you are not sure what to do just follow what windows is asking for). In my case I have two HP Z Turbo Drives I'm Raiding them in Raid 0. This is the maxamine speed configuration you can do with two Z Turbo Drives(and I'm running the smaller capacity cards the larger ones and future ones that come to market will give you even faster results). Below is a sreen grab of Windows Disk Management. If windows doesn't automatically call for you to initialize the Z Turbo Drive you can right click in Windows 7 on the Computer icon and click Manage. This will pop up the Computer Management window. You'll then need to click on Disk Management and most likely your drives will pop up asking to be initialized. At this point you have multiple options. If your goal like mine is to run dual in the fastest config you'll click on the first or top drive and begin going through the Software Raid process. You'll use striping and it will ask you to select the second Turbo Z Drive. It's pretty easy and you'll just click through the settings and it should work just fine. Where you can experiment is with the block size or just use the default which I believe is 4K block size in Windows 7. Once the drive is in a Raid 0 you should see a Aqua colored bar or green colored bar over two drives. These should be your HP Z Turbo drives(note they share the same name also).
 Note: Disk 2 and Disk 3 are my HP Z Turbo Drives in above pic showing the Raid 0 config.

Now you can setup them as your scratch, media and cache drive. It's relatively simple to do but I'll leave screen grabs as examples. There are a lot of articles out there on optimizing Adobe CC and Premiere Pro, After Effects etc but the images below will help you see exactly how I have mine setup.

Below is the Setup for Premiere Pro CC:

 In Premiere Pro the areas to direct Scratch, Media and Cache are showed in the below pics.

In Windows 7, Premiere Pro CC after opening any project go to:
File>Project Settings>Scratch Disks(which will take you to pop up window in below pic):
Note: Above Scratch Folder on S: is the HP Z Turbo Drive. Everything is directed to:
S:\My_Premiere_Project (you can name this anything you like and that goes for the Media Cache Folder as well).

Next let's setup your Media Folders:

Again in Windows 7 Premiere Pro CC click on Edit>Preferences>Media(will take you to pic below):
Note: Above images shows all Folders are directed to 'S': Adobe_Cache_Folder\ as well as click on Write XMP ID to Files on Import(you will do this in After Effects as well). At this time you can clean the Media Cache Database. I recommend you just start fresh with the new HP Z Turbo Drive. It will all rebuild and this way if there are any issues in the project with cache this may help resolve them.

Now you should be benefiting from having an uber fast HP Z Turbo Drive as you Scratch, Media and Cache.

Below is the setup for After Effects:

First launch a previous AE project or if the pop up window on launch comes up you can just hit close.

In Windows 7 After Effects CC navigate to the Edit>Preferences>Media and Disk Cache. You should then see the below pop up window launch.
Note: Above image shows all check marks checked including 'Write XMP IDs to Files on Import(like you did in Premiere Pro CC)and all Folders are directed to the 'S':\Adobe_Cache_Folder. At this time you can Clean Database & Cache.

That's the basics of the Setup..! Now you can get back to business as usual. I hope this quick guide helps you setup your new HP Z Turbo Drive. I personally really couldn't find any good information on the best setup and I know a lot of people run CC so I figured I'd share what I'm doing.

Below I'll share some screen grabs of some quick AJA System Test I took while setting up the HP Z Turbo Drives...enjoy..!

First HP Z Turbo Drive:
Note in above pic is the Speed test showing what you can expect running a single HP Z Turbo Drive!

Second HP Z Turbo Drive:
Note in above pic similar Speed results on the second HP Z Turbo Drive.

Dual HP Z Turbo Drives:
Note in above pics Speed test show a very fast Turbo Drive running in Raid 0(Striped)in Windows 7.


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