2 x Intel SSD as boot volume (RAID0) configuration for March 2009 Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by hubiedubie, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. hubiedubie macrumors member

    Jan 12, 2009
    I'm planning on using a pair of these as my boot drive in software RAID0 configuration. Doe anybody know of any issues / pitfalls there may be with this?
  2. vga4life macrumors 6502

    Jun 16, 2004
    Boot camp won't work with the Intel X25 SSDs. (Some kind of EFI issue.)

    Otherwise, should be screaming fast.
  3. twig16 macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2009
  4. PowerPaw macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2009
    Someone in a another post had mentioned problems with sleep and beach-balling... I think that was with an intel x25-m as well but can't remember. Don't forget you will need to mount it in a 3.5" sled.

    Personally I'd give it a year or so - an expensive upgrade, spend the money on more RAM instead :D
  5. Horst Guest

    Jan 10, 2006
    Amen to that.

    Mac Pro + spending money on boot drive(s) - waste .
  6. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    This was true of traditional hard drives but no longer holds for SSD's.

    With near zero access times it's no longer necessary to spread I/O funcitons across multiple drives to achieve top performance. SSD's change the game, you no longer need to worry about latency due to heads moving across a disk. Putting your OS, apps, and scratch all on a single SSD RAID0 array with a decent controller with write-back-cache will provide an incredible improvement over the old mantra of one disk for each function.

    SSD's require a change in mindset.

    OP... go for it... I plan to do the exact same thing with my MP... except I may use OCZ Summit (ideally) or Vertex series drives.
  7. More macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2008
    Everytime I read one of these threads I laugh.

    If anyone has ever used a Mac Pro with either one X25-M or dual X25-M drives (RAID-0) they'll know that it's the greatest performance boost to general system responsiveness and operation you will ever experience. Enough of talking this solution down. They absolutely rock. My system drive is 2x X25-M in a RAID-0 config and it's hands-down the best investment I've ever made. Every other traditional hard drive based system feels like a snail.

    Stop basing judgements on price and over-analytical fragmentation tests. Even if these drives slow down with different patterns of usage they're still faster than anything else ever. Reads are off the charts and writes are just as good if not faster than any other hard-drive RAID-0 config.

    The internet is full of people with opinions based on other people's opinions.

    2x Intel X25-Ms as a boot volume (RAID-0) is nothing short of SPECTACULAR!
  8. J the Ninja macrumors 68000

    Jul 14, 2008
    8-core Nehalem....400MB/s of drive read bandwidth....starting Leopard. If you do it, time the boot with a stopwatch. I want to know if you can go from a cold start to the login window in under 5 seconds or not. (I've heard tales of under 10 seconds off a single drive)
  9. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    OS startup is typically CPU constrained... a lot of stuff has to be processed. Unless OSX startup is multi-threaded early on, a pile of cores or even a ton of SSD's is not going to significantly improve startup time.

    BTW, how often do you boot your machine? I only restart after installing updates.
  10. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    The quickest thing I've ever seen was on an ASUS board, where they stored an OS on the board via a firmware chip. ~5 sec. The OS is stripped, but it works. Fastest cold start to internet browsing/email I've ever seen. :p
  12. hubiedubie thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 12, 2009
    More did you use a RAID card or just software RAID for this configuration?
  13. More macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2008
    I'm using Apple's good old software RAID solution in Disk Utility. Does the job nicely ;)
  14. More macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2008
    If anyone has any questions about the Intel X25-M 80GB, dual X25-M 80GB (RAID-0) in a Mac Pro with MaxUpgrades aluminum sleds don't hesitate to ask. More than happy to post some pics, benchmarks, app launch times etc.

    These are mounted in my 2008 8 core 3.2GHz Mac Pro with 16GB RAM :)

    FYI. I use 2x WD RE3 1TB drives as my scratch and media drive.
  15. twig16 macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2009
    I guess it comes down to what you actually DO with your computer.

    If you boot it up open a bunch of apps and shut it down 50X per day with a stopwatch in hand, then SSD will yield benefits.

    If you boot up once per day and actually use your machine to WORK within an app on images or graphics files, then I dispute whether a fast boot/app drive does anything to improve your workflow, and the money would MUCH better be spent first on RAM, then on a fast array for your scratch disc(s) and data drives.

    From barefeats (who have, in-lab, MANY more SSD options and much more thorough benchmarking than any individual here):

    There is much interest in using Solid State Drives (SSDs) for boot drives. With the exception of the Intel X25-E, the write speed of SSDs is unimpressive. Also the price needs to come down and the capacity go up for SSDs to be practical as OS X boot drives.

    On the other hand, for Professional photographers who use Adobe Photoshop edit RAW photos with lots of layers, a pair of 32GB X25-Es in a RAID 0 set as a dedicated scratch volume is very attractive, producing up to 500MB/s read and 340MB/s write. If you need more capacity, Intel is supposed to start shipping a 64GB version by March 1st, 2009. "

    Another words, if you really have money to burn, and feel the need to put it into the diminishing returns proposition that is SSD, use them for the right thing (which is not a boot drive).
  16. More macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2008
    My machine is used for real-world work and I can assure you that the responsiveness of the machine in a general capacity is incredible. It's easy to point out the negatives but if you can afford it, it's a phenomenal upgrade.

  17. hubiedubie thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Thanks More. Were they difficult to install with the Maxupgrades kits?
  18. NYCubby macrumors newbie

    Sep 4, 2006
    Mac Pro 2x Intel X25-M Software Raid 0


    I have to agree with the 2x Intel X25-M Software Raid 0.

    I did a test with my 2x Intel SSD's and got over 350MB/s read and about 150MB/s write -- nothing short of amazing!

    I am hoping that with the lack of legacy IDE on the 2009 Mac Pro that perhaps the EFI Bios emulation will now allow the SATA controller to stay in AHCI mode and support Bootcamp on a software raid.

    I hope someone that gets a 2009 Mac Pro can test this ASAP! I will upgrade my 2006 Mac Pro if it works!!!

  19. More macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2008
    Not at all. Absolute doddle. The box came with the two Intel X25-M 80GB drives in their factory boxes (very small and extremely light). The two aluminum sleds came wrapped in bubble wrap along with eight little black screws. You just sit the sled on a table, pop the SSD drive into the obvious location and just slide-in the four screws and tighten with the supplied tool against the heatsink. Pull out the Apple drive sleds for drive 1 and drive 2 and slide in the MaxUpgrade sleds. They fit great and complement the machine perfectly. Booted into the Leopard 10.5.6 install CD and formatted both of the 80GB intel drives. Called bay 1 (D1) and called bay 2 (D2). Used Apple's software RAID to create a stripped array and dragged D1 on first and then D2. The drive was setup and formatted as Macintosh HD and shows as 148.42GB in capacity.

    Just done some timed tests with booting and launching CS4 apps.

    Boot (from start-up chime): 15.8 seconds
    Photoshop CS4 launch (cold*): 1.8 seconds
    Illustrator CS4 launch (cold*): 2.2 seconds
    InDesign CS4 launch (cold*): 4.0 seconds

    *cold = first launch of the app from a system restart.
  20. hubiedubie thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Thanks More. That's sealed the deal, I'll be ordering a couple of these tomorrow.
  21. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    These guys are still stuck in the mindset of having multiple drives... one for each function (OS, Apps, Scratch, etc.)... does anyone remember why this was recommended in the first place? It was due to latency and seek times associated with waiting for a single disk to move the heads all over the place to read and write these bits of data. SSD's completely negate the latency effect and you can now run your entire system off a single volume... YES... just one volume for OS, Apps, data, media, and scratch... and it will be extremely effective for everything. (BTW, I agree... who cares about boot times). Paging, switching apps, loading and saving files, etc. are where the gains can be had. Put everything on a single wickedly fast RAID0 SSD array and be amazed.
  22. sparkie7 macrumors 68010


    Oct 17, 2008
    Can you set up an RAID0 SSD array with just One SSD? or were you inferring partitioning the single SSD to act as separate drives
  23. k2director macrumors regular

    Jan 2, 2006
    Whew, that's nice! More, how long have you been running this configuration? Long enough for any weird performance hitches to materialize?

  24. mcgowan7 macrumors newbie

    Sep 18, 2008
    Can you give some insights into how you setup two drives in a software raid 0 configuration as the boot drive?
    Since the OS is not fully up yet, how can software raid be used to boot the system? I would think that it couldn't be used as the boot volume. DO tell. Because if I can, I think I'm going to set up two cheap ssd's as a raid0.

    Here's the logic..
    The intel x25 drives look really good. two drives raid 0 at 225MB/sec each= 500MB/sec read. But they are 500.00 each... out of my league

    BUT, if you shop around a little you can get a lesser quality drive (OCZ?) at 150MB/sec for about 100.00.
    Pair them up raid 0 and you have 300MB/sec read performance for $200.00, which will certainly CRUSH any hard drive, which i believe are around 100MB/sec average read.


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