Advice on drive configuration

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by raymondh, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. raymondh macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2007
    I'm looking for some drive configuration advice. I have a 2009 MacPro quad with 6gb RAM. The current drive setup looks like this:

    640gb boot drive with 400gb system and data
    1tb 7200 drive with 700gb photots
    1tb 7200 with 800gb movies used as a media server
    750gb 7200 drive with 100gb scratch partition and 150gb of music used as a media server

    Externally (firewire) I have:

    500gb with 200gb of network shares for other computers on the network
    1tb time machine drive backing up boot and network shares
    1tb clone of photos
    750gb clone of boot

    I also have various drives of archived photos

    The computer is used mainly for photography with Photoshop and Lightroom as the most used applications. I'm looking to do the following:

    Set a drive system up that is efficient
    Speed up application launch. MS Word takes 8 bounces compared to instant on the Macs in the Apple store and images (high res 21mp files) take a while to load in PS.
    Setup a good backup system in case of a boot drive failure or a failure of a data drive. I'm not too worried about the movies or music as I have all the disks, it would just take a long time to rip them all again.
    I would like to be able to have more of my images live on the system instead of archived.

    I'm okay with ditching current drives for larger and/or faster as well as setting up a esata box of drives if necessary. I'm not too interested in SSD at this point as I feel they haven't reached a good price point yet.

    Thanks for any help I get!!
  2. gugucom macrumors 68020


    May 21, 2009
    Munich, Germany
    You will definitely want to look at 2 TB drives. In your shoes I would use the 2nd ODD SATA for a 180 GB Intel 2nd Gen SSD boot and apps drive. 4 TB SW RAID0 I would dedicate to mass data storage on the #1 and #2 HDD ports. 4 TB on #3 and #4 I would dedicate to backups of the boot, apps and data drives. You can go a long way with perfect backup and very snappy apps all internal that way. I guess you could even go without the SSD and run it all on the RAID0 data drives without too much loss of speed, but I'm hooked to SSDs since I first used them.
  3. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    If an SSD is used, place it in the empty optical bay. That leaves the 4 HDD bays open for a stripe set of up to 4 drives or split with backup/archival drives. It would still be OK with the ICH10R issue as well (660MB/s max throughput limit; 250MB/s SSD + 400MB/s from the HDD bays). Faster drives might throttle the bandwidth a bit during simultaneous access, but that may not be too often.

    Placing the OS on the stripe set could also work (random access does improve), but it still won't be as quick as an SSD. A good idea if the budget is limited though. 4x Caviar Blacks can be had for less than the MSRP on the Intel 160GB G2 drive. ;)

    Additional capacity (use of the existing drives to save on costs), could be placed into an external enclosure, such as a Port Multiplier model (up to 10 drives) off a 2 port eSATA card. Drives swapped out later as capacity becomes an issue, and it also allows for some variation in configuration over time to suit the change in needs (the internal stripe set is limited to 4x drives though, and externally, it would suck, given the 250MB/s limit on PM chips). Perfect for 2x mechanical stripes though, and single disk mode, even for a single SSD per eSATA port.

    This leaves plenty of options. ;)
  4. raymondh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2007
    So if I go with 4 2tb internal drives for data/backup would I do two raid0 sets and then do a raid1 set of those two?

    Also, will I notice any difference if I move to a velociraptor for the boot drive?
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I'm not 100% sure of what you want to do, but it seems like you want to use a single RAID array for both data and backup. I can't stress enough, DO NOT attempt this. Simply put, RAID /= Backup. If you make a mistake, it will be duplicated. IF the array actually dies (went past it's redundancy), the data is gone.

    If you want to stripe a pair of 2TB drives, you can build two sets. Then just use Time Machine (or other software if you prefer), to backup one set to another. Personally however, you'd be best to separate the backup drives, as in case one dies, the other still contains backup data. I wouldn't recommend a stripe set as the backup means at all. I know it can work, but I just don't like it, as it does contain risk that I don't think suitable for a backup system.

    If it's otherwise, please explain in as much detail as possible. :)

    As per the VR as a boot drive, it's better than a single drive in most cases, but you'd likely be better off just placing the OS on the array. Newer drives, especially the larger ones (files on the outermost tracks), are near the VR in performance. It's just the seek times of a single VR that are better than a single drive in such cases. Not worth the $$$ IMO. If you want faster than the array in terms of random access, then go for an Intel SSD.

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