Advice on partitions and extra HD's for ultimate performance

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by djibouti33, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. djibouti33 macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2008

    I'm about to order myself the new Mac Pro, and I'll be buying separate HD's from 3rd Party (although I think I'll drop an extra $100 for the 500GB). Before I do this, however, I'm trying to 'visualize' the best, most efficient, and safest way to store my data and get the best possible performance out my drives and applications. Things that are in question are partitions, extra HD's, scratch disks, dedicated HD (or partition?) for OS/Apps.

    I have lots of questions, but I guess I'll just ask: How do you have your machine set up, and how do you utilize extra HD's or partitions? Also, what is your reasoning behind this, so I can learn something without blindly following?

    I'll be working with Logic, Premiere, Flash, Photoshop, DW, as well as regular admin tasks such as email, address book, and web.

    I tried to keep this simple, but I have one more actually. If I do dedicate a drive or partition for the OS and Apps, does that mean that my Home folder should stay on that drive too? If not, do I just manually move it to whichever partition/drive I choose?

    Thanks so much,

  2. SolrFlare macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2007
    Get at least one raptor HDD, make that your boot drive then do the following:

    Create a master User account and install all applications through that account. Then create a separate User account and put that account on your 500gb+ HDD.

    The result is all your apps and OS are booting/running off your fastest drive, while all your personal data is being stored on your big drive.

    Finally, if you plan on boot camping a good bit(especially if you are planning on gaming) slap a second raptor drive into your computer and use that as your exclusive boot camp drive.
  3. djibouti33 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2008
    Thanks for the quick response!

    When you say 'create a separate User account and put that account on your 500gb+ HDD', do you simply mean to just physically move the entire Home folder onto the 500, or is there a way while setting up the user to specify where you want their files to live?

    When I'm in Terminal, will I still be able to type 'cd', and have that point to the home folder on the secondary drive?
  4. big dainjerus macrumors regular

    Nov 9, 2007
    I am glad this question was asked as I would like to know the same thing. Also, do non apple hdd's crash as much as external hard drives do or are they more reliable?
  5. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    From the admin account, go to System Preferences/Accounts. Unlock if necessary. Create a new account. Right click on the new account and select Advanced Options. Change the home directory to /Volumes/ext_drive/account.

    When logged onto the account, that Home Directory will be your directory so opening Terminal you will start in that location.
  6. amik macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2007
    FWIW, it appears some of the newer large capacity drives, like the WD RE2 750 GB and the Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB are giving the Raptor a run for it's money, especially when noise is of any concern. The raptors are still faster in some tests, but the $/gb is significantly higher. I'm personally torn between the F1, the WD RE2, and Seagate Barracuda.
  7. Nick T. macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2006
    This is exactly what I've done on my Windows boxes for many years - - one smaller and faster drive for the OS and apps, additional higher capacity drives for data. Makes backup and system restores much easier.

    I've used WD Raptors for boot drives and Caviars for the data drives in several PCs and they're great.

    When I order my Mac Pro, the Apple HD will be put in an external drive case and the WDs installed.

    Enjoy your new computer!
  8. Nick T. macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2006

    A second boot drive for BootCamp is an excellent idea. If you use Windows very much you will probably want to do a clean re-install every 12-18 months - - no need to do an OS X re-install.
  9. djibouti33 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2008
    I was hoping to get some different ideas from lots of people, but from the lack of responses, I'm guessing that the small/fastest drive for OS and apps + larger secondary HDD is just the best way to go.

    What about partitioning? If I was to run a 150GB Raptor, do I need to dedicate all 150 to the OS and Apps? What about partitioning it, and keeping, say, 50 or 75 for photos? 150 just seems like a lot for the OS and apps.

    And what about partitioning for the other HDD? Any advantage in cutting off a slice Logic, a slice for photoshop, and a slice for Premiere? Or can I just let each one write scratch files and save project files to one large drive?

  10. Mike Teezie macrumors 68020

    Mike Teezie

    Nov 20, 2002
    Everyone's storage needs are very different, but this is my setup.

    I have 4 drives in my Mac Pro:

    1. 500 Gig Western Digital Caviar w/16mb cache. OS X, and apps.
    2. 500 Gig Western Digital Caviar w/16mb cache. Photoshop scratch - and if the mood ever strikes me - Windows Partition.
    3. 750 Gig Raid 1 Set. This is for my photos. It's comprised of:
    • a. 750 Gig Western Digital Caviar RE w/16mb cache.
    • b. 750 Gig Western Digital Caviar RE w/16mb cache.

    I don't use any professional applications except for CS3, so I can't speak to their performance. I do know, that Photoshop, Bridge, and Illustrator absolutely scream. It's almost silly, in a good way.
  11. macz1 macrumors 6502


    Oct 28, 2007
    I would take
    -A large drive (500-1000GB) for apps and OS (empty drives are fast drives...)
    -A separate, smaller drive for Windows Bootcamp (e.g the 320GB stock drive)
    -Eventually a third drive for additional storage, Backup or for mirroring the OSX drive
  12. junior77 macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2007
    I plan on ordering a mac pro soon...and this is what I'm thinking of doing...

    1) WD Raptor 150GB for OSX Start Up / Applications
    2) WD Raptor 150GB for WinXP
    3) Software Raid 0 for data/scratch disk
    a) WD RE2 500GB
    b) WD RE2 500GB

    4) External 1TB for Time Machine
    5) External for bootable backup of OSX using SuperDuper (hopefully Leopard compatible soon!)

    This is a bit extreme, but do not want to loose any data.

    I may do an Raid1 instead of the Raid0, but the speed boost would be nice. Any thoughts on that?
  13. HDproducer macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2007
    This is what I was thinking as well. However, no WinXP and two 1 TB disk for raid0. Any one have experience with the software raid, if it is a good option for FCS?
  14. Mike Teezie macrumors 68020

    Mike Teezie

    Nov 20, 2002
    I've been trying to read around on RAID setups. It seems that RAID 0 is more prone to failure, but I can't really get any solid evidence as to that.

    All I know is, my buddy's RAID 0 array just failed, and he lost data.

    Just that one experience has made me a bit afraid of it.
  15. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2004
    What are you planning on doing with FCS (DV, HDV, DVCPro, Uncompressed SD, Uncompressed HD, ProRes, etc)? Most people don't need a RAID and having two independent HDs to store source material on is much more reliable than a RAID0.
  16. amik macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2007
    Raid 0 is exactly twice as likely to fail since it splits the data between two drives. So when you save an audio file for example, part of it exists on each drive. If one fails, you only have half the data, which is useless.

    Raid 1 is the opposite, since it writes the complete file to both drives.
  17. junior77 macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2007
    Which is why a regular back-up is useful to protect from a crashing HDD of a system array.
  18. manofstyle macrumors newbie


    Apr 6, 2007
    I’m thinking of doing this when my new Mac Pro arrives, however, is it possible to just select only the “Admin” account in the System Preferences and using the Advanced Options change the location of the ~ home directory to second drive.


    Must I create a second account as directed above? If so why?
  19. pjschwartz macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2008
    Twin Cities, MN
    Could someone also comment on the implications to using Time Machine if the OS/App and User Data files are on separate HDs? Specifically, could Time Machine be set up to backup both the OS/App HD as well as the User Data file HD?

Share This Page