Best SSD solution for MP 1,1

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by villagemusicman, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Hi All,

    I'm looking at adding two SSDs as fast storage options in my MP. Currently all four bays are full with good ol' fashioned HDDs and after checking here it seems the Velocity solo x2 PCIe could be an option.

    My 1st question is, would i be better off with the OWC alternative 'Accelsior' (although i'm told the MP 1,1 can't handle speeds above 3G), or stick with the solo x2 and in which case, which SSDs' would best suit it? OWC Electra or Crucial M4's. I know going the solo x2 route would mean i couldn't use it as a bootable drive but that's not an issue, i need something a bit nifty so when loading large sample libraries, i'm not hanging around for too long :)

    My 2nd question is about RAID. There's a lot of info here about RAID0 & RAID1 but would either be a necessity for someone like me who predominantly uses the MP for music creation? I normally back all music data and content to DVD-DL and the system HHD gets backed up every week via SuperDupa.

    Any advice to the above would be most welcome!

    Thanks,

    VMM
     
  2. macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Location:
    Here
    #2
    PCI-e v1 is going to limit the speed quite a bit.

    Why don't you look for a x4 RAID card?
     
  3. macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #3
    ^^ Only if it's single lane...


    Rotational RAID0 is awesome for large files 1MB and over! It competes favorably to SSD in both cost and performance.

    SSD RAID0 is very awesome but the cost performance ratio is in the mud comparatively.

    You're backing up to DVD so I assume your projects are smallish. Nothing like NLE and mixing on multiple gigabyte multi-channel samples? It kinda depends on the size of your projects but assuming I'm guessing your session sizes correctly you would notice a big speed increase from RAID0 in rotational media but not much from SSDs - already being fast enough.

    RAID0 almost linearly multiplies the throughput of your HDDs by the number that you include in the stripe set. For example with 2 of the 3TB 3-platter Seagate drives I get evenly sustained 400MB/s in both directions. With three of those drives in the RAID stripe I like like 560MB/s and with four of them I get 720MB/s. I can get benchmark utilities to show more than that but I'm talking about evenly sustained speeds. Peak speeds and burst rates /can be/ just about perfectly linear:
    • Single Drive: 240MB/s
    • 2-Drv Stripe: 480MB/s
    • 3-Drv Stripe: 690MB/s
    • 4-Drv Stripe: 800MB/s
      Tested.
    And if I allow the cache to influence and/or am being particular about the file sizes used for testing I can get even more than that - but it will only occasionally actually happen during audio editing sessions and the likes.

    With SSD you're already at around 400MB/s so raiding them by 2 will give you around 750MB/s - which while sounds great I'm not sure would be noticeable for projects under a gig in the editor window. Especially as you point out yourself, the MacPro1,1 is limited to 3G per connection. http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=16895030&postcount=28 and won't even see the benefit if connected to the (internal) SATA ports.

    As far as which drives are best I dunno but I mostly trust Tom's Hardware and don't trust forum opinions without extensive test results accompanying them. ;) There's an mSATA adapter that RAID0's two mSATA drives and connects to an (8-lane I think?) PCIe port that I think would be ultimate in both cost and performance.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    Hi,

    Well that's a lot of food for thought!

    Yes my projects are quite small and only very rarely do i handle video so maybe RAID isn't a necessity for me at this stage. I have a few VSL sample libraries and because of their size and loading times, i figure having a dedicated SSD or two would be beneficial. I know it's possible to remove all four HDDs and replace them with SSDs + adapters but given the cost of SSDs above 250gb, it might be prohibitive.

    Will check out 'Tom's hardware' and the mSATA adapter looks very interesting so maybe, the way to go is get a couple of the Barracuda 3TB ?

    Tbh as i have very little 'under the hood' knowledge, it feels very confusing but i'll keep looking into these options. When or if a new MP comes on the market, i can make the leap then as the MP1,1 is always going to be a limited in how far it can catch up.

    Thanks for your replies though, it's been very informative all be it a little daunting :)

    VMM
     
  5. Tesselator, Feb 25, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013

    macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #5
    I just realized I made a mistake. The mSATA adapter I mentioned isn't PCIe... it's SATAIII. (two mSATA connections to one SATAIII connection) Sorry. :)

    But I understand the confusion. I think it becomes a lot less confusing if you primarily concern yourself with the buss specifications - in this case namely their respective speeds (per connection). Then the component choices and arrangements become more clear.

    First the best arrangement, then follows selecting components which won't bottleneck that arrangement. The later requires a little research - which is where Tom's comes in as a good place to start. :)


    Oh, and yeah, I like my Barracudas... They go for between $105 and $135 each - with a little hunting.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    Hi Tesselator,

    Thanks for your reply.

    As the mSATA is a SATA III connection would i need an additional SATA III adapter in order to get it to work or is it a non-starter?

    Based on your comments, i'm thinking of going down the velocity solo x2 route with a 2 Crucial M4s' BUT updating the existing HDDs to the Barracudas. Still not sure if i need to get into RAIDing given my workflow.

    Lastly, if it's ok with you can i pm you with regards a imac/Mac Pro connection question? I've started a thread here but haven't had much luck with a definitive answer.

    Thanks

    VMM
     
  7. Tesselator, Feb 26, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013

    macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #7
    1. That caddy adapter I linked to? It accepts two mSATA devices and plugs directly into a standard SATA port. Its form-factor is that of a standard SSD (if there is such a thing). So whatever one would need to make a standard SSD fit into the MacPro sleds would be the same for this too. I'm the kinda guy who would just use spacer studs and duct tape so I dunno if there are SSD to MP Sled brackets available or not - I assume there are.

      Remember part of the SATAIII standard is backward compatibility with SATAII and SATAI. And of course the SATAII standard specifies backward compatibility with SATAI too - so in all 4 cases no electronics are needed. They're also forward compatible too. Meaning you can plug a SATAIII device into a SATAI connecter and it'll just work - at SATAI speeds of course tho.

    2. If the velocity solo x2 asks for x2 or x4 PCIe lanes then it will be faster. If it's a x1 card it will be slower than a SATAII connected device.


      • SATA revision 2.0 - 3 Gbit/s - 300 MB/s (8/10 = 240 MB/s max of actual user data)
        (per connection)
      • PCIe revision 1.x: - 2.5 Gbits/s 2.5 GT/s (8/10 = 200 MB/s max of actual user data)
        (per Lane - per card)

      That's for large file transfers. For 500byte ~ 16KB files the SSD will trounce a RAID no matter what connection it's hooked up to (PCIe or SATAII). An SSD's total throughput for small files like that is around 20MB/s for the 500byte files and already maxed out at 240MB/s for the 16KB files. A two drive RAID is about half that or less - but catches up at around 300KB to 400KB file sizes. A two or more drive RAID can then surpass an SSD as installed in a MacPro1,1 because the SATAII ports are 240MB/s each while a single SSD is limited by the speed of its single connection. Of course one could always RAID multiple SSD drives too but... :)

    3. The good thing about RAID is that it's super easy to setup and take down. Get two or three matched drives (I think those Barracudas are the fastest currently available without going to a specialized drive like the velociraptor drive [single platter, high spindle speed]), edit for a few days on a single drive. Then move the data off, RAID0 your set, and edit for a few days like that. If you feel it's about the same sell the extra drives or use them as shelved storage units. Or you could give them to me of course... I accept donations! LOL :D

      You could even do both at the same time through partitioning. make two partitions on each drive 1TB for the 1st partition and 2TB for the rest of the space (each drive). Drag the two 1TB partitions into the RAID0 creation window and make it. Set the RAID Block size to 256K for fastest transfers of files over 256K (which are almost all of them). That will give you three total volumes each with approximately 2TB and one of them will be a RAID0. Then you can just test away. Also if you decide to destroy the RAID group the data in the other partitions will remain in tact and those partitions can be resized without data loss too. (all done thru DiskUtility)

    4. Sure. Where's the thread BTW. I'll tell you what I know (if anything) but I suck at networking. :D
     
  8. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    Hi Tesselator,

    I think you've forgotten twice the amount that i know ;)

    Thanks for your clear breakdown. Will digest it and then prise my wallet out of my wife's hands :)

    Apologies i forgot to post a link for the other thing

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1545303

    It's nothing major, but i'm trying to use the imac as 2nd monitor when needed. My 2006 MP has a dual DVI link card and the iMac has a MDP. Wrongly, i assumed a simple MDP to DVI cable would work but i suspect it needs an active connection in order for the conversion to work? I've been looking for a PCIe MDP card that i can install in the MP but have had no luck.

    As always, any advice is appreciated!

    Thanks

    VMM

    EDIT: Haha i've loads of drives lying around. I'll organise a shipping create and send them over !
     
  9. macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #9
    Yummy! It'll add to my collection. I have like, over 100 drives in storage now (not in use) - ranging from 10 megabytes to 1TB.

    I'd use them for wall art or something but those dang things are freek'n heavy! A hundred or two more and I could weld them together in the shape of a dolphin and sell it the parks and recreation department as art. :D
     

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