Internal hard drive capacity increases from 80 to 120 GB, and HDD migrates from Parallel ATA to Serial ATA. Hard drive is, in a way, Cantar weak point. It is the only mechanically-operated internal storage unit; feature which accounts for its two major flaws: a limited lifespan and low read/write transfer rate.
In the computer world, it’s been a while since the old storage interface standard called PATA (Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment) or IDE has been replaced by SATA (Serial ATA). Comparatively, PATA, a parallel standard, is limited in speed (100 to 133 MB/s) and uses flat ribbon cable 40-pin or 80-pin connector.
SATA was created to go beyond the transfer rate of this already old protocol. SATA connecting cable is much thinner since it has only 8 wires on a much smaller connector. Data are transmitted on two differential pairs: one transceiver and one receiver, plus 3 mass wires. The serial technology enables a bandwidth of 300 MB/s for SATA II; it supports HDD "hot" plug and unplug. It also allows using greater cable length, 40 cm for PATA, and 1 meter for SATA. Last, the Master/Slave model, usual for IDE interfaces, disappears. No more configuration jumpers to move!
SATA standard also includes a power connector, which is much like the data connector but with 15 pins. These two connectors are provided with coding notch to prevent wrong connections.
Communication between Cantar and Sata hard drive still runs via Cantar Firewire bridge. To this end, Aaton (aka "one is never better served than by oneself") has developed its own SATA/Firewire interface card based upon an Oxford 934 chip. For Cantar user, this change is painless and unseen, since this Firewire bridge supports the internal hard drive. But we should not bury our head in the sand, this does not remove Cantar external port fragility. So, it is necessary to comply strictly with manufacturer's instructions about connection and disconnection, Firewire chipsets compatibility and voltage issues.
These additional 40 GB are a step towards the 10 to 16 tracks loudly requested by Cantar users. Let’s hope that Aaton will surprise us with the brewing future Cantar-X3, and get it over with mechanical supports and with Firewire, source for many ills of today Cantar!
About Cantar storage unit and data security, DC Audiovisuel introduces the exclusive upgrade of a Cantar-X2 into a Cantar-X16. It would include a three SATA III 250 GB SSD RAID-5 system. The space needed for these three discs would be used to increase track number and mic and line input number, a recurring demand from sound mixers. Of course, this model is virtual; it is due to the creative imagination of our R & D.
If you decide to switch your own Cantar to SATA, DC Audiovisuel can take care of replacing your old hard drive in our service lab.
* procrastinate: Latin "pro", "forward", and "crastino", "tomorrow"