Best Mac Pro setup- Dedicated boot drive? Boot from RAID 0?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by dabirdwell, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. dabirdwell macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2002
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #1
    Hello all.

    Well, I decided that I couldn't wait for Gainestown and ordered a 2.8x8 MP today. I'm going to get another 8GB of RAM (I assume 10GB in matched pairs will still perform at full speed). My real dilemma is a Boot/Storage solution-

    I'm moving from a Dual 867 G4, so all my current drives, both internal and external are IDE, which basically means I'm starting over as far as internal drives goes. The G4 power supply gave out so I'm getting this external enclosure to put my old drives into for file recovery.

    As far as new drives go, I can't figure out what to do. I'll spare you my million iterations of drive configs I've sketched over the past two days. My real question is this:

    Is it better for me to maintain a dedicated boot/apps disk and use a RAID 0 set for fast home folder stuff? Such as this:

    Bay1:Stock 320 Boot Disk
    Bay2:750 RAID 0 Disk
    Bay3:750 RAID 0 Disk
    Bay4:Mirror of RAID set

    Or could I RAID three disks and get faster performance by booting and using files from the same array? Such as this:

    Bay1:500 RAID 0 Disk
    Bay2:500 RAID 0 Disk
    Bay3:500 RAID 0 Disk
    Bay4:Mirror of RAID set

    I could use partitions as necessary for Boot Camp, OSX System, scratch disk, etc, if valuable.

    I expect that this will be the biggest jump in computing experience I've had since switching to OSX when it was brand new. I just want to plan this setup carefully.

    Thanks~
     
  2. twig16 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    #2
    option 1
    no RAID on boot drive.
    Simpler, safer, plenty fast.
     
  3. sidewinder macrumors 68020

    sidewinder

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Northern California
    #3
    How are you going to mirror the RAID 0 setup?

    A backup is not a mirror and you really have to need the speed and not care about the data to risk running a RAID 0 array.

    The drive performance on your Mac Pro is going to be a lot better than what you experienced with your G4 so I would skip the RAID 0 setup.

    Using RAID 0 is just asking for data loss and is generally a bad idea. It's kind of like playing Russian Roulette with your data. You'd be better off getting 2 1.5TB drives using them in a RAID 1 configuration. No, performance will not match the RAID 0 array, but data security will be greatly enhanced by comparison. The performance is still very good.

    I had some of the same questions you hasd when I got my Mac Pro. I decided to go with a 4 drive setup:

    2 750GB drives in RAID 1
    1 750GB drive for Time Machine
    1 500GB drive for a scratch disk

    The three 750GB drives are Seagate nearline storage. The 500GB drive does not get backed up and is used for files that do not need to be backed up. If this drive were to fail I would not lose anything I actually cared about. It's literally a scratch disk.

    This works for me because 750GB of disk space is plenty for my needs. I would be surprised if I ever used 500GB of it.

    S-
     
  4. dabirdwell thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2002
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #4
    Even if I use a RAID array I would still have a backup, probably two rotating Time Machine disks with one always offsite. Other than a longer rebuild time, is there really more risk with RAID 0?

    Edit: I was thinking of using a RAID 0+1. Also, I'm a little wary of using the Seagate 1.5TB drives. That whole production line has been a giant mess. More risk there than in the RAID 0 itself, it seems.
     
  5. Aea macrumors 6502a

    Aea

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    #5
    A longer rebuild time? The second something goes wrong in a RAID 0 you get the joy of replacing the whole array from a backup. For this very reason it is hardly ever used unless paired with another level (Raid 1+0 seems to be the most popular).
     
  6. dabirdwell thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2002
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #6
    Sorry, that's what I meant by using a mirror. I edited my last post to reflect this.
     
  7. Aea macrumors 6502a

    Aea

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    #7
    I would really recommend a 1+0 over a 0+1. In a 1+0 you're basically creating two RAID 1 arrays and then RAID 0'ing those, this gives you better fault protection.
     
  8. dabirdwell thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2002
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #8
    How do the two compare as far as processor-intensive requirements and performance? Seems like you might give up some performance to mirror first, but maybe I don't really understand it.

    Also, that requires identically-sized drives, where I could use a larger mirror drive and smaller striped drives in a 0+1.

    If I am to have a dedicated boot disk, how could I use 1+0?
     
  9. Aea macrumors 6502a

    Aea

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    #9
    I don't think there's any real difference in performance between the two, and some quick googling told me that OSX only supports 1+0 so I think it's a moot point.

    Edit: You can add more then 4 Drives, and personally I would use a Third Party RAID, not Software if you can.
     
  10. dabirdwell thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2002
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #10
    Arg. Hardware RAID cards may be a little out of reach at the moment. I'm going to stretch to get a solid basic hardware setup with RAM, storage and a 3870. I think I'll have to begin with software RAID or none.
     
  11. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #11
    In which case, forget RAID. Buy a fast boot drive.
     
  12. jhero macrumors 6502

    jhero

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Not near an Apple Store
    #12
    On octos, full speed is achieved when all dimms on both risers are populated properly.
     
  13. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #13
    Personally I favour a fast dedicated boot drive with home folder moved to another drive or series of drives.

    Money no object I'd probably have a VelociRaptor boot drive. Money being an object I've gone with a WD6400AAKS.

    Ideally I'd love a hardware RAID card and to then have 3 big drives in RAID5 (probably 3 x Samsung 1TB F1's). Cost and need come in to it though, I can't afford a RAID card and it's just not necessary. Instead I have a Samsung F1 750GB that houses my home folder, I then back this up nightly to another using SuperDuper.
     
  14. dabirdwell thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2002
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #14
    I've heard great things about the WD 640 Blue, and had thought about using those as my drives for now. Can't beat the performance to price ratio. I've also wished for RAID 5, but can't get to the point of justifying the price yet. I'd also love to be able to use the Seagate 1.5TB drives, but am I right to still be worried about build quality/firmware issues?

    What about this though- I've heard from some sources that having a fast boot disk is a lot less important than having fast disks that house your data. The logic being that a slightly faster boot time is less valuable than faster access to the files you manipulate all day long. Doesn't OSX cache up entire apps in RAM so it doesn't have to go to disk? If that's true, I think I'd rather have a middle-of-the-road boot disk and faster storage pool.

    Also, I currently have my entire iTunes library on an external 500GB FW800 drive (MyBook IDE). Should I move that, and the movies from my media drive to whatever internal data disk setup I assemble and just consolidate it all in one place? Or might I get better performance while multitasking and using iTunes if that stream of data is coming through a different I/O (FW800) than the files I'm editing/etc (internal SATA)?


    Thanks for all the advice, BTW-
     
  15. dabirdwell thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2002
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #15
    Sorry for incuding so much crap in one post-

    This was the most important question I wanted answered, because I've heard so many conflicting opinions-

    Thanks a lot!

     

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