Is 2 better than 1?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by mocman, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. mocman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 8, 2004
    #1
    I have a Powermac dual 1.8 and is thinking of adding another harddrive to my system. I have a 160gig now and would like to add one bigger. I want to know if the system will run faster with 2 drives and do they have to be the same size? What are the +s or -s of both? Thanks In Advance
     
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #2
    They do not have to be the same size, and, unless you RAID them, your system won't run faster. However, a second drive is always a good idea for backups, scratch space, faster access than externals, etc.

    FWIW, installing a second drive in a PowerMac G5 is a piece of cake - no tools required, and you're in and out in a minute. The "toughest" part is finding the nicely secured second SATA cable - which, it turns out, is just tucked in exactly where it should be.
     
  3. aricher macrumors 68020

    aricher

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Location:
    Chi-il
    #3
    If you really want something faster I'd suggest adding a SCSI RAID card and a couple of 10 or 15,000 RPM drives - that adds up to very fast read/write speeds. Add more than 2 drives to the RAID setup and your speed increases even more.
     
  4. wPod macrumors 68000

    wPod

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    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #4
    number of drives will not increase the speed, nor decrease if set up properly. if you want faster, go with the above recs of a RAID setup with faster drives.
     
  5. Peyote macrumors 6502a

    Peyote

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2002
    #5
    If you don't want to set up a RAID, or pay the extra $$ for a SCSI setup, a decent solution would be to use Raptor 10K drives. Western Digital makes a 74GB one that's on sale for $155 at NewEgg:

    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=22-144-160&depa=0

    The real benefit would come from using this drive as your boot/system drive. I've heard a lot of good things from setting up this drive as the boot drive. WD also makes a smaller version that is something like 35GB, and is usually found for about $120.

    Not to knock RAID setups or anything, but I've heard you don't gain that much performance. I read a benchmark somewhere where they compared the stock HD, a RAID setup, and the Raptor drives. If I'm not mistaken, the Raptors came out on top. Of course, using Raptors in a RAID might yield even more performance, but be aware that a RAID alone offers no backup. If one drive fails, you can lose a lot of data
     
  6. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #6
    I always thought that you could increase performance in certain tasks by using multiple drives. For example, if you're doing a photoshop task that requires a scratch disk, you can use one drive to actually run the system and the other to perform the photoshop task. But perhaps that's irrelevant in Panther.
     
  7. efoto macrumors 68030

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    Nov 16, 2004
    Location:
    Cloud 9 (-6)
    #7
    You have to look at which segment of "Raid" you use too. I have forgotten all the numbers since I left Raid long ago because I found the speed increase minimal, and the databackup of writing to two drives overboard.

    There is a Raid to have the data split have to each drive (assuming two in raid)
    Another Raid to have the same kernel of data written to two seperate drives (raid backup)
    and a few other versions running more than two systems, and then raiding inside a raid (having two drives being split halves, and then two more mirroring those resulting in a backup of a split/raid system).

    I personally found that for very important stuff, removable media is still king both for cost and convenience. Just purchase a few DVD-RWs or some CD-RWs and put your valuable info on there....use the new drive for more movies or music or games or whatever ;)
     
  8. Peyote macrumors 6502a

    Peyote

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    Apr 11, 2002
    #8

    I don't know for sure, but I think the gains would be very minimal. If you are using Photoshop and writing to your scratch disk, you are probably not reading or writing to a disk in another app at the same time.
     
  9. mactropy macrumors member

    mactropy

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    Dec 4, 2004
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    #9
    RAM is probably more important than a second hd when it comes to performance. Unless you are planning on RAIDing them.
     
  10. mocman thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 8, 2004
    #10
    Thanks Everyone......I will first bump my 512mb ram to 1.5g then I will get a second hd in the near future once I fill up the 160gig that is in here..........or just for safety percautions.......
     
  11. cwright macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2004
    Location:
    Missouri
    #11
    while we're on the topic of RAID setups, let me throw out a question...

    I know that you can setup a RAID 1 system that mirrors two drives so you always have a backup. Here's what I'd like to do with a G5:
    Boot Drive: 74gb Raptor 10k
    Final Cut Scratch Disks:
    4 250 GB internal drives. With 4 disks, can It be set up to have a single 500 GB volume that is useable, and have that volume mirrored by the other two drives? I guess it would kinda be a mix of RAID 0 and RAID 1
     
  12. Poeben macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    #12
    A quick google search will reveal a lot about raid setups. There are MANY configurations possible. OS X software RAID will only allow levels 0 and 1. Other types require a hardware controller.

    The simplist:
    Raid 0 - Striping (faster read/write but no data protection)
    Raid 1 - Mirroring (slower write/possible increase in reads, best data protection.)
    Raid 0+1 - Striping over mirroring
    JBOD - or 'just a bunch of disks' will logically combine any number of disks into one 'big' volume. Offers no speed increase or data protection.

    Then there are all the rest, Raid 3 and 5 being the next most common.

    These use a 'parity' scheme that basically calculates data based on comparing the values on separate disks and creating a parity value. This value will allow you to 'rebuild' data on a lost volume by comparing the parity data to the data remaining on the other drives. The parity data can be either stored on the same disk mixed with the data, or on one or more dedicated drives. These types of setups offer the best balance between speed and data loss.
     
  13. efoto macrumors 68030

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    Location:
    Cloud 9 (-6)
    #13
    Assuming you can get the computer to group the two 250s together as a single 500, then you should be able to mirror the two newly created 500s. If not, you could always set it up to have Disk1 be mirrored by D2, D3 mirrored by D4 and have essentially the same thing. I know managing the two 250s is not as easy as the single 500, but it would accomplish the same thing and might prove easier.
    Disclaimer: I do not begin to claim to know how Macs manage partitions like that, so make sure you get info from someone who knows. Theoretically it should work (does on a pc).
     
  14. Mantat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Montréal (Canada)
    #14
    Its called RAID 0+1 and is totaly useless in your case. This setup is used in server where you really can afford to lose data. In your case, its not critical if you lose a drive because you should be able to use your backup! Either use a solution that backup all your data drive every hour or do a backup every night. Its much better because Mirroring only protect you againts HD faillure while backup protect you againts HD faillure plus virus, user error, etc... The only backdraw is that there is a delay between the crash and the recovery file.

    From experience, I can tell you that the backup system is way more usefull in your case than the mirroring. Mirroring is mainly used on database server where you cant tolerate even 1sec of lost data.

    The best setup for you would be 2 Maxtor Diamond Max 10 (or 9, cant remember), the one with 16meg or cache, setup in RAID 0 with a backup drive.

    Or, is you want to make it a bit more complicated:
    Boot drive: Raptor 74 gig
    Internal HD for more software : raptor (you can RAID 0 them too)
    External SATA card: RAID 0 of 2 Maxtor 16meg cache.
    Backup solution for the data drives.

    Solution 2 is a bit better but cost 250-400$ more and the benefit of raiding the boot drive wouldnt be that much considering the cost.

    As stated above, you should never think about HD upgrade until you have enough ram, in the case of FC, its 1.5gig minimum.
     
  15. cwright macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2004
    Location:
    Missouri
    #15
    thanks for the replies.

    Mantat: I'm already planning on adding 2GB to the existing 512mb of RAM in the G5, so that should be plenty.
    I'm really trying to keep as much of the upgrades to the computer as possible internal, because this will be my setup for college and I doubt I will have a whole lot of space in the dorm.

    I planned on buying the G5 Drive Bracket so I could have a total of 5 drives: one 10k rpm boot drive, and 4 disks for all my work.
    I had decided on a total of 4 250 GB drives, since I already have one, and the G5 will come with another, leaving only 2 more drives for me to buy (plus the boot drive).

    Would it be better to stripe the 4 250 GB drives into a 1TB volume and just do regular backups?
     
  16. cwright macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2004
    Location:
    Missouri
    #16
    on a somewhat related note...
    My PCI-SATA controller in my current G4 just quit working. It was only a 2-port controller though, and in order to use 5 drives in a G5 I would need another one of these cards.

    I thought It may be a good idea to attempt to get a refund for this card (SIIG SATA controller) and buy a different one that has at least 3 internal SATA ports and maybe an external one as well.

    does anyone know of such a card that will work on a mac?
     
  17. Mantat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Montréal (Canada)
    #17
    Go see the tests on barefeats.com they reviewed some cards a few months ago.

    As for storage, do you really need 1TB? That is an awfull lots of storage, thats over 200 hours of miniDV! I really think that you should consider at most 2x250 in RAID 0 plus let say another 250 gig drive for backup. But that really is a lot of storage.

    Also, the advantages of external HD, especialy for backup, is that you can carry it with you when you go out for a few days. So in case of robery, you wont lose your data. Also, in case of fire, flood, etc... you can always run away with the drive.

    Finaly, there was some big announcement this week about hitachi new drives for the year to come so you might want to hold on you 250gig and upgrade later with .5Tb drives!
     
  18. cwright macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2004
    Location:
    Missouri
    #18
    I guess I dont really need 1TB, but it would be nice to store all my other data too. I have close to 50 GB of MP3s, plus all my other work (photoshop stuff, etc).

    Plus, I may end up buying a TV tuner for the computer as well. It would be nice to have the computer double as a TV also to save space. In that case, maybe I could have two 500gb volumes instead... one for a fcp/photoshop scratch disk and the other for a media drive (mp3s, recorded tv shows, etc)
    In that case maybe I could get a 500gb LaCie big disk and use that as my external backup. I don't really know at this point... but i've still got a couple months to figure it out.

    When are these 500gb drives coming out? I may be interested in those, but they will probably too expensive. right now the 250gb drives are at a better price per gigabyte than the current 400gb drives...
     
  19. neut macrumors 68000

    neut

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2001
    Location:
    here (for now)
    #19
    have fun backing up 1TB ... ;)

    j/k

    at home i have a 400G RAID that works great for my music (b&w) server (currently pushing 300+G of owned music! all in Apple losless format of course) ... i will bump it close to a TB soon. i plan on adding a gigabit dual 450 with a TB RAID as a video image server for my g5. :D

    still debating though ... i could put together a FW800 RAID but that would be $$$ ... i think a server RAID may work better; plus i could run batch tasks (like compression and what not) on the G4 if the G5 is busy with other tasks ... like recording a live session from my 17" TiPB | CDX setup. :D


    peace.
     

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