If you want to add to your hard-disk storage with minimum cost for maximum speed, the Ahard from Acard is a terrific solution. It lets you combine two fast-but-cheap ATA drives as a single RAID volume. This will outperform most single drives – SCSI or ATA – without a problem.
When I tested FireWire hard drives a few months ago, I was disappointed to find that the drives weren’t that well-suited to audio-visual (AV) work. Because FireWire drives use a bridge between the FireWire connection and the ATA drive, the results were slow. The Ahard card will allow you fantastic speeds at relatively low prices.
If you are not that familiar with the inside of a Mac, you may be forgiven for a little reluctance to delve. However, installation and set-up is pretty straightforward, at least in G3 or G4 towers. All you need is the Ahard card, a couple of ATA drives and a screwdriver. You can pick up a 40GB ATA drive for £125, so for £250 you can get an extra 80GB of internal storage. This is great for video projects – big enough for a full-length feature film, and fast enough to keep up with the throughput.
You set the drives up as a single volume by flipping a couple of dip switches and formatting. Because the RAID is a hardware setting, it doesn’t depend on software to mount the volume. This means the card works perfectly with Mac OS X.
The performance will differ depending on what make and model of hard drive you use. However, it should easily outstrip your normal internal drive. It’s likely that an Ahard RAID system will be fairly close in performance to a SCSI RAID system, but at a fraction of the cost.
If you want to use your Mac for video work, the Ahard RAID is an ideal way of solving the storage problem. It gives you all the speed you need, and bumps up your space for minimal expense.