2008 Upgrades and 4TB HDD Timeline

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by NoManIsland, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. NoManIsland macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2010
    I'm doing some upgrades to my MP storage on a very limited budget, and could use some feedback. I have about $250 to spend and am considering the following options:

    1) OWC 120 GB SSD for OS/Apps
    2) 3TB Hitachi HDD for Time Machine
    3) ATI 5770 for gaming

    My current setup is two 1TB HDDs for system/data and media, and one 2TB HDD for TM.

    I'm coming close to needing more capacity, so the idea of the 3TB drive would be to make it my TM drive, put my two 1TB drives in RAID 1 for my system and critical data, and have the 2TB be my media drive. That would give me two points of failure on my most critical documents.

    I've been having problems with sluggish system performance and would love to have the speed boost from the SSD, although I acknowledge that it would be a bit of a luxury. I've heard that OWC is going to come out with new SSDs soon based on the new Sandforce controller - can anyone confirm this with some sort of timeline? The thought is if I go with the SSD and get by on the limited capacity, then I can get a 4TB HDD when they come out, allowing me to use the full capacity of my existing three disks. Does anyone know of a timeline for the appearance of 4TB drives?

    I'm not a heavy gamer by any means, but the ATI Radeon HD 2600 in my machine is getting tired, and I'm wanting to play Diablo III when it comes out, so I'm anticipating needing a new card. I can only afford a 5770 - is the jump to the 5780 so big that I should hold off and save up more?

    I'm almost evenly split between the three options, and really I'm going to do all of them eventually, but I need to decide on order. These are luxury upgrades, as in none of them are essential to my work. I'm leaning towards SSD, then HDD, then 5770 (or whatever's out by then). Thoughts?
  2. beto2k7 macrumors 6502

    Jan 6, 2010
  3. IceMacMac macrumors 6502

    Jun 6, 2010
    I made myself promise not to buy a GPU upgrade at least until Lion is released. Why?

    1. Apple is going to want to sex-up the Lion release with some GPU power and OpenCL. Apple's motive for new GPU power is also fueled by the imminent release of a new FCP suite. I can assure you that Apple won't be doing any demos with the 5770 or even big brother, the 5870. Both are several steps down from peers and are getting old in relative GPU years.

    2. Vertex3 will be released shortly which will be a jump in performance and will drive older SSD technology down in price. Again not a good time to buy SSD.

    3. Hard drive technology, by comparison, is static and not about to see any big jump.

    Easy decision: Buy your Backup storage now...and wait for what's next.
  4. TheStrudel macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2008
    Another note on graphics cards - elsewhere, it's been reported that the drivers coming in Lion (and available now if one knows where to look) will support AMD graphics cards built for PCs, no flashing needed. While this may still be a limited subset of cards, you'll still be buying way better cards for less money than are possible now, so definitely wait on that one.
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Given the fact you've stated you're biggest need is capacity, look to solve that first.

    The SSD and GPU card are luxuries by comparison.

    Once you've the storage capacity issue addressed, I'd probably go for graphics next if it were me, as the 2600 is rather old.
  6. NoManIsland thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2010
    Thanks for all the feedback - I made my purchase today. I bought two Hitachi 2TB drives, and was under budget by $50, so I'm on my way to save up for a new video card. So now I'll have the following setup:

    Bay 1: Seagate 1TB
    Bay 2: Seagate 1TB
    Bay 3: Hitachi 2TB
    Bay 4: Hitachi 2TB
    2nd ODD Bay: OWC Bracket to hold WD 2TB and an SSD

    I already have the mounting kit that OWC makes to mount an SSD and a HDD in the lower optical bay, so I'll have 5 HDD in total and a place to mount my SSD when I get it (I'm using the ODD SATA ports on the motherboard, as I have a 2008 MP).

    I'm going to use Disk Utility to concatenate the two Hitachi's to form my Time Machine drive. I was debating whether or not to stripe them as opposed to spanning them, but they don't need to be fast when doing TM, and as I understand it span is better in case there is a failure in one of the two. I'm also debating whether to stripe the two 1TB to use as my boot disk until I get and SSD - too risky?
  7. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    Since a concatenated array (or JBOD as mentioned by the rest of the IT world :rolleyes:)) still loses all of its data once it gets broken (i.e a member disc fails) you might as well use a RAID0 and benefit from its better performance.

    Striping the OS discs is totally fine, just make sure you've got a backup system. But since that applies for both striped and single drives, there really is no point in not using a striped array for boot.
  8. NoManIsland thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2010
    I used "concatenated" instead of JBOD because I've seen ambiguous usage of JBOD to refer to spanned arrays and to enclosures presenting the disks independently.

    In the setup where I would stripe the system drives, my TM drive array will be my only backup until I can buy an external to give myself two points of failure. I'm concerned that, with the elevated risk from striping, plus the elevated risk from combining the two 2TBs to form the TM disk, that there is a large chance of data loss. It will be a while before I can add another layer of security, so I don't want to get too risky in the meantime.
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    In terms of immediate access, you're correct (array is disabled, and inaccessible in that state).

    But there's a notable difference, as that when a stripe set goes, it's really gone. The remaining functional disks in a JBOD (concatenation) however are recoverable via a software recovery tool. So you only lose the data on the dead drive (once the recovery is completed), rather than everything like you would with a stripe set.

    To me, this has its advantages, particularly for archived data (i.e. using HDD's rather than tape for the last line of backup defense or data that's no longer kept on storage media/systems further up the storage chain).

    I've run into this as well. Though JBOD can mean both single disk and concatenation, I usually think of concatenation when I see it (single disk mode is usually implied).
  10. NoManIsland thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2010
    Cancelled my hard drive order with Newegg as I decided I'm just not comfortable having both my system volume and backup volume be RAID 0 arrays. I would prefer security to speed at this point - this might change when I get my external. I'm going to get a single 3TB instead and put the two 1TB in RAID 1 for my system drive, as I'll be moving my system to an SSD soon, and I'll be able to use the mirrored array for my critical data, giving me two points of failure, and in the meantime have freedom from downtime if one of the 1TBs dies (they are my oldest drives). This will also give me another bay for when 6TB drives come out :)

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