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Old Jan 27, 2013, 06:26 AM   #1
sanderr2
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Early '08 Mac Pro as Media Server advice

Hi,
I have recently taken the plunge and invested in 4 x Apple TV3s. I've been using my 27" iMac to store rips of my BD and DVD collection but am fast running out of space.

I have a "spare" early '08 Mac Pro (2 x 2.8gHz Quad core Intel Xeon, 6 GB RAM) which has the storage expansion capabilities that my iMac lacks.

So I'm wondering how best to reconfigure my old Mac Pro. My current thinking is as follows:

Use the 4 HD bays for 4 x 3TB Seagate drives. Although my data isn't mission critical, I don't really want to have to re-rip hundreds of DVDs if a drive fails so I was thinking of setting these up as a software RAID 10 to give 6 TB of backed up storage. I know that disc speed for what I'm doing isn't an issue but from what I've read, this seems to be the best way of getting a single high capacity logical drive that can house my media collection with a mirrored backup. If there is a better way or other suggestions I'm all ears!

I was going to invest in a small SSD drive for boot / application purposes in one of the optical bays and an internal Blu Ray drive in the second bay.

Any advice and guidance would be very gratefully received. I'm keen to understand the process when one of the 4 drives in the RAID fails if I go down that route.

Thanks in anticipation,
Rob
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 10:02 AM   #2
ColdCase
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That will work but RAIDs typically take forever to rebuild when one drive fails.

For my collection of family and ripped video (4TB) I use a daily backup via either time machine or a cloning tool like CC Cloner.

If you don't want to deal with splitting libraries, you can JBod (concatenate) two pairs of 3TB drives to two 6TB volumes. And then just backup one 6TB volume to the other.

RAID schemes would be better if you need the speed, but for data that changes less frequently (only when you add a rip) not that useful. IMHO there are other options.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 10:22 AM   #3
flatfoot
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... you can JBod (concatenate) two pairs of 3TB drives to two 6TB volumes. And then just backup one 6TB volume to the other.
That. You can use CCC to regularly do incremental backups from one 6TB volume to the other.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 11:03 AM   #4
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Yes, should have been more clear, for my media I use CCC to incrementally backup. It detects new or modified files and sends only those to the backup device. Quick and reliable.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 12:02 PM   #5
sanderr2
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Thank you for the guidance Flatfoot & Coldcase - I didn't know that I could use JBod. I already use CCC (what a great product) to perform incremental backups.

One other question, I've read online that my early '08 Mac Pro can only have a maximum of 4TB - presumably this is the limit for "official" upgrades at the time of launch ie 4 x 1 TB drives. But presumably modern SATA3 drives will work due to SATA backwards compatability - I just won't get the SATA3 transfer speeds?

Thanks,
Rob
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 12:43 PM   #6
OrangeSVTguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanderr2 View Post
Thank you for the guidance Flatfoot & Coldcase - I didn't know that I could use JBod. I already use CCC (what a great product) to perform incremental backups.

One other question, I've read online that my early '08 Mac Pro can only have a maximum of 4TB - presumably this is the limit for "official" upgrades at the time of launch ie 4 x 1 TB drives. But presumably modern SATA3 drives will work due to SATA backwards compatability - I just won't get the SATA3 transfer speeds?

Thanks,
Rob
Correct. You will be limited to SATA2 speeds as with any Mac Pro unless you buy a PCIe SATA3 card.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 12:56 PM   #7
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Correct. You will be limited to SATA2 speeds as with any Mac Pro unless you buy a PCIe SATA3 card.
However, mechanical drives don't saturate a SATA3 port anyway. So it doesn't matter in this case.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 01:02 PM   #8
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I would probably ditch the power-hungry 2008 Mac Pro for something like a 2011 Mac Mini and fit two drives in it.

I can only talk from my own experience that the early 2008 Mac Pro eats a lot of power.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 02:58 PM   #9
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I would probably ditch the power-hungry 2008 Mac Pro for something like a 2011 Mac Mini and fit two drives in it.
12TB Mac Pro (Possibility of 16TB) > 2TB Mac Mini

He did say a media server.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 03:24 PM   #10
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12TB Mac Pro (Possibility of 16TB) > 2TB Mac Mini

He did say a media server.
Sit the Mac Mini on top of a big Thunderbolt RAID array of disks ...
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 03:30 PM   #11
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Instead of a new mini, one of the NAS solutions is much less money and easier to set up.

for a mini vs a NAS and media servers in general see

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1472233
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 03:32 PM   #12
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Sit the Mac Mini on top of a big Thunderbolt RAID array of disks ...
That adds a lot of additional cost and negates some of the power savings that Pressure was suggesting by going with a Mac Mini. If you are going to add an external RAID array to a Mac Mini I would just recommend keeping the Mac Pro.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 05:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
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12TB Mac Pro (Possibility of 16TB) > 2TB Mac Mini

He did say a media server.
4 TB should be enough for most, just put 2 x 2 TB disks in a Mac Mini.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 06:25 PM   #14
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4 TB should be enough for most, just put 2 x 2 TB disks in a Mac Mini.
I do not see how you can just decide/assume that 4TB should be enough for most people. 4TB is nothing these days.

What 2TB drives are going to fit in the Mac Mini? Not any that are 15mm.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 10:50 PM   #15
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Although the mini with OS Server is awesome, just saying that if you are building a media center from scratch, there are way cheaper and better products than a mini used strictly as a media server.. I mean the Synology DS112j is only $150

Now trying to save a few $$ by giving and old computer new life is a different story.
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 06:34 AM   #16
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Quote:
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I do not see how you can just decide/assume that 4TB should be enough for most people. 4TB is nothing these days.

What 2TB drives are going to fit in the Mac Mini? Not any that are 15mm.
In the same way you assume 4 TB is not enough, see that was easy.

Besides, it was just a friendly recommendation from someone who has that model Mac Pro. It uses a lot power and is anything but noise-free.

Now, I'm much more interested in hearing what sanderr2 decides to do, rather than continuing this useless discussion.
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