Advice needed in setting up my Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by fandsw, Dec 8, 2007.

  1. fandsw macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2007
    Helena, AL
    Hey there,

    got a new Mac Pro on it's way to me, and I need some advice on how to best set it up. I've never had a Mac, but been building my own PCs for the last 10 years. The MP is used, but still under AppleCare which the seller will transfer to me. It's a 2.66GHz 4 Core MP, X1900XT, 6GB RAM, with a 250GB and 3x 400GB. It comes with Tiger and all the original disks, and I have ordered Leopard, Fusion and Windows XP home. I'm ordering MacOffice2008 next month when available, as well as CS3 and Final Cut Express. My plan is to use the MP as our main home computer for the next 3-5 years, mainly typical home usage, however I also do alot of photo editing and I have a pile of old home videos I need to start moving off of old media.

    Once I get the MP I plan on playing with it of a day or 2 to verify it works ok, and then install Leopard. Now comes my dilemma: with Leopard I plan on doing a clean install, i.e. reformat and start laying out the MP from scratch. Considering that I would like to keep photos, MP3s, and videos on separate drives, how would y'all layout and partition the HDs?? What about Time Machine?? With as many drives as I have I'm almost tempted to also purchase a large external drive, however I'm wondering if I shouldn't just remove the 250GB, replace it with one of the 400GB drives for the OS & Apps and get a 1TB internal instead.

    Suggestions are welcome, looking forward to hearing on how some experience Mac users would lay out my system.
  2. fandsw thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2007
    Helena, AL
  3. netnothing macrumors 68040


    Mar 13, 2007
    Well, if the 250GB is the drive that came with the Mac Pro, it's probably only have a 8MB cache. Check the 400GB drives, they might up that to a 16MB cache. If that's the case, make one of the 400GB drives the main boot drive, you might see a little performance increase.

    Remember with Time Machine, depending on what you backup, you'll need at least that much HD space. I would recommend an external drive for TM.

    I have a 500GB in mine as the primary drive, then another 500GB and the original 250GB internal. I installed Leopard and all apps on the main 500GB. Then I use the other for client files and scratch disks.

    Remember with Time Machine not to have it backup your VMWare fusion virtual machine, as it will change all the time.

    And I definitely recommend a fresh erase and install of Leopard....that's what I did.

  4. Synthabusion macrumors newbie

    Nov 2, 2007
    if you're just using this for a home computer why didn't you wait until the update next month?
  5. fandsw thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2007
    Helena, AL
    Good question, I wrestled with it myself to figure out what I wanted to do. Here are the things that made me jump now:

    1) Proven platform - Assuming the new MP gets announced in January, becomes available February. Even Apple with their great reputation for quality has had problems on introductions of new platforms (iMac freezes for example) , especially one that may require changes to the new OS that was also just introduced. So it may be 4-5 months, i.e. late spring/early summer before the new MP is as stable as today's.

    2) I have 2 weeks vacation at the end of the year, during which I want to setup and learn our OS X computer, as well as transition data from our present PC. Once the new year starts I won't have such a large period of time available for this task, as I would only have a couple of hours on some weekends. This one I will have this week, the new Mac Pro wouldn't be here in time. In addition, as mentioned in 1) above, I don't want to be learning OS X while sorting out teething problems.

    3) I got a good price on mine: MP 2.66, 6GB RAM, 1450GB HD, X1900XT, Dual SuperDrives, and 2 years of remaining AppleCare. Machine had only been used for about 2 weeks, business it was bought for went belly-up and machine sat since unused. Price: $2700. A new one (either of the present or future model) with that much RAM and HD space would have been at least a grand more, with very little gained in terms of longevity for a home user. For someone who is used to building my own PCs for under $1500 each for the last 10 years coughing up $2700 was tough enough, I really couldn't justify another $1000....

    4) Are we 100% sure there will be an update?? There were several on this board with alot more Apple knowledge than I have who were 100% sure that it would happen in November, but it didn't. I agree, it sure seems likely and it wouldn't make sense for Apple to wait even longer, but you never know...

    Will I still have a tinge of regret if the new one comes out and it's everything we hoped and then some.....sure. However, this one I have coming also is exciting the heck out of me and my family.
  6. fandsw thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2007
    Helena, AL
    Thanks for the reply kbmb. I'm definitely leaning to going with the 3 400s installed and putting the 250 on a shelf for emergency purposes, and then getting the 1TB external for Time Machine. However, that $110 price difference in the external vs internal (cost of OWC Mercury Elite Pro) is tough, but the additional security the external buys.....hmmm, decisions, decisions. Does it ever end??? :D
  7. Schroedinger macrumors regular


    Feb 12, 2004
    Baltimore, MD
    I would suggest using the 250 as your system drive, and then using Disk Utility to create a RAID with the 3 400 GB drives. I have a similar setup (using a 500 and 3 750's). I have a windows partition on the system drive and keep all my media files on what I have named "Media RAID." I then have several external firewire drives concatenated together for my Time Machine backups.

    I rely on time machine to back up all the media and will occasionally pop in a spare 500 and clone the system drive so I have a bootable back up. I keep my iTunes folder on the Media RAID, as well as my iPhoto library.

    I've never felt the need for a fast system drive as you're only loading the application once, but media files can use the faster I/O. I have a great deal of HD content which works well with the RAID.

    Good luck.
  8. Hmac macrumors 68020

    May 30, 2007
    Midwest USA
    My Mac Pro came with a 500 gig drive, I installed three additional 500 gig drives. I left the 500 gig as the system drive, set up two other drives in RAID 0 for scratch disks and video/photo storage, and partitioned the remaining drive in half and back up each of the other two using Super Duper. I also have another 500 gig drive that I put in an enclosure and use as an external. I like Super Duper - it's quick and simple, haven't really looked hard at Time Machine. I also have a 32 gig partition somewhere for Boot Camp/Windows.

    The external is a 500 gig WD that I put in an OWC enclosure with Firewire 400/Firewire 800/USB2.0 and a SATA port. Very flexible. My original plan was to plug it into the Airport Extreme and use it as a network drive but I did that instead with an old WD 120 gig I had sitting around. It all works fine.

    When I upgraded to Leopard, I just popped the disk in and clicked the defaults. Nothing wrong with re-formatting, or archive-install of course, I just didn't want to hassle with offloading/reloading all my files and reinstalling all my applications.

    Anyway, that worked for me. The Leopard install went fine and it's been very stable, no issues.

    The Mac Pro is a nice machine, very fast. Installing additional memory and the additional drives was a snap.
  9. MacFanBoyIIe macrumors 6502

    Feb 22, 2008
    Will 1TB internal drives work in the old (2007) Mac Pros?

    What about in conjunction with a RAID card?

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