Best Ram Option? (Nahalem)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by thriii, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. thriii macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    #1
    Im going to be ordering my mac pro soon and im pretty sure of everything but the ram.. its going to be used for heavy photoshop work (huuuuge files) so far i have

    One 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB
    One 18x SuperDrive
    80GB X25M SATA 2.5IN 9.5MM SSD DRIVE GEN2 + IcyDock 2.5" to 3.5"(Boot/Applications)
    Western Digital Caviar Black 1 TB

    I was told its best to install ram in 3s since nahalem runs in triple channel.. so if this is true what ram should I get with this type of setup? I'm lookin to get 6GB (3x 2gb)or 12GB (3x 4gb) if its not 2 much.. is 9gb (3x 3gb) possible? havent see anythin on that yet

    Other then the ram does any1 see any problems with this setup?
     
  2. kenscott30 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    #2
    12GB (3x 4gb)

    From OWC.

    Get 2 1TB drives, and raid them (strip). Cut off 16gb each for a scratch (total 32gb scratch). Then get a back up 1TB drive and back up OS and DATA off the stripes. Just don't fill up the strip over the 1TB back up.

    Ken
     
  3. thriii thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    #3
    this setup would be better than the SSD? and wouldnt i need more space for a photoshop scratch disk im goin to use the stock hd as a scratch disk until i get another 1tb and then the stock hd will be used for win7
     
  4. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #4
    I agree for large Photoshop files, you probably want 12GB from OWC. There's no such thing as 3GB sticks so 9GB is not an option.

    For storage, I would go with a pair of SSD's in Software RAID0... Dual Intel's would knock your socks off and only set you back about $500.
     
  5. thriii thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    #5
    im tryin not to go over 3500.. adding 6GB to the specs i listed above will put me at 3682.62 :( so cant go for the 12gb.. im not 2 sure how to config the setup your talkin about so cant really check the price.. i dont know 2 mucha bout raid.. this is the mac pro i would be ordering before the changes
     
  6. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #6
    Just start with a single SSD now and 6GB of RAM and upgrade later then.

    An SSD is the single most noticeable upgrade you can make these days.
     
  7. glhiii macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    #7
    Upgraded Mac Pro

    I had 6 gb RAM in my Mac Pro (early 2008) -- just put another 8 gb (2 sims) in it and it is MUCH more responsive, even when I'm not using all the RAM. I can now run VMWare with 2 virtual OS's and 10 other programs and it switches between each instantaneously. It seems to me that if you're going to get a Mac Pro, you should have at least 12 gb RAM -- otherwise, why not get an iMac.
     
  8. maven8 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    #8
    I have the same machine as you, and it has 8 gigs of ram (4x 2gb). I haven't had the chance to take out one dimm and see if the performance is better in triple channel, but I don't see any memory performance issues with 4 sticks of ram.
    However, you are probably aware that photoshop CS4 on OSX is 32bit. Which means that even if you had 16 gigs of ram, photoshop would only have access to something like 3.2. The windows version of CS4 is 64bit and will use all the ram you've got. (I've verified this). Hence I'm running it in Windows 7.
     
  9. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #9
    It really depends what you are doing... VM's require a lot of RAM to run effectively... sure. However, I run 6GB in my 2009 quad and I'm not left wanting for more with FCS or any other app so far.
     
  10. Dark Goob macrumors regular

    Dark Goob

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    Jun 6, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #10
    Thats why I bought a used one, so I could afford a Blu Ray drive and maybe SSD's. Just make sure it has Applecare.
     
  11. willriley macrumors newbie

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    Dec 27, 2009
    #11
  12. maestrokev macrumors 6502a

    maestrokev

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #12
    Yep, I run 6GB on my MP 2009 quad. I run Lightroom, Handbrake, Photoshop and even rip DVD's simultaneously and monitor my pageouts - no problem exhausting my 6GB RAM.
     
  13. Nitro1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    #13
    Do not get a SSD to run Raid on.

    A. they are like thumb drives, they are only good for a certain number of writes then they go bad

    B. Use it for your boot and you never have to worry about it dying unless you format a lot. It will also help with you boot times and if you put your apps on it they will boot faster.

    NEVER use a SSD as a normal hard drive would be used. They die to fast and would be a waste of money.
     
  14. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #14
    That's a bit of mis-information in my opinion.

    A. While MLC cells are good for only 10000 writes, with decent wear leveling, the average SSD will last a home user a decade or more depending on use. In fact, Intel estimates their MLC drives will last for 5 years at 22GB per day. So you would literally have to wipe your drive and reinstall OSX and all your Apps every day to get the drive stop accepting writes after 5 years (at which time it's effectively become a read-only drive).

    RAID does not make this situation worse. In fact, running SSD's in RAID0, actually improves life expectancy by spreading the write operations over more drives... 2 drives in RAID0 have twice the write life expectancy of a single drive.

    Plus, the more extra unused space you have on the drive, the more room there is for wear levelling... another argument in favour of RAID0 or at least larger capacity drives than what you need.

    B. Just because you are using an SSD for a boot drive, does not mean it's immune from being written to (which is what I think you were implying). A boot drive will be written to regularly for journaling, logging, defragmenting, and of course, installing applications, storing preferences, etc.

    C. I'm not sure why you're recommending people don't use an SSD to replace their HDD... that's exactly what they're intended purpose is. There is no real issue with life expectancy, especially for enthusiasts who will likely update their hardware long before it's "worn out".
     
  15. ildondeigiocchi macrumors 6502a

    ildondeigiocchi

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    Dec 30, 2007
    Location:
    Montreal
    #15
    So untrue.:confused: VirtualRain put it best! SSD's are so much better than conventional HDDs. All they need is larger capacities.
     
  16. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #16
    Sorry, but there is nothing wrong about his information!
    Using a SSD as a storage device that reads/writes several hundred Gigabytes a day, it's just a complete waste of money.
    As VirtualRain stated, Intel gives an estimate of about 20GB a day for 5 years.
    Nothing to worry about if you use it as a system drive, but as a storage drive, e.g. for audio/video editing, it definitely won't last that long.

    Therefore I absolutely can't understand VirtualRain's recommendation to use a striped set of SSDs for storage, not to mention the price.

    SSDs are absolutely amazing for boot drives, but still can't compete with magnetic drives if high capacity and write speeds are in demand.
     
  17. Loa macrumors 65816

    Loa

    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    Québec
    #17
    Hello,

    How quickly threads are forgotten... I did the 6GB (triple channel) Vs 8GB (dual channel) on my quad nehalem, under 10.5.8.

    Here are the results.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=736539

    If someone told me that memory handling is different under 10.6, I'd be happy to do the same tests again.

    Loa

    P.S. I did not have the money (still don't) for 12/16GB, so I did not include it in my tests.
     
  18. Loa macrumors 65816

    Loa

    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    Québec
    #18
    As for RAIDs Vs SSD, here's my personal experience.

    I went from a single 640GB HD (came with my MP), to a 4 disk RAID0 set, to a SSD as boot disk (with the RAID0 for all my non-OS data).

    Both steps were significant general speed upgrades, but not mind blowing. I did not go "WOW", not once. I'm guessing, though, that going from one HD directly to a SSD would be a great leap.

    As for using a regular HD, the fastest part of a RAID0 for scratch, or a partition of a SSD for PS scratch; with 8GB of RAM, using a 25 complex layers 12 megapixel image: no difference.

    With 8GB of RAM I saw very little paging, so scratch disk optimization didn't make any difference for me.

    After all those tests, I realized that PS4's real limitation is that it can only use one processor. Saving a 25+ layers 12mp file takes a LONG time using a single traditional HD. Thing is, you can only save a few % of that time by going to a multi-disk RAID0 set. One processor is going at 100%, and a single HD is just about enough to do the job.

    Most of those speed tests/optimization don't matter a whole lot until we get PS5, that should be multi-proc aware, as well as 64bit.

    Until then, don't go crazy while trying to optimize for PS4, IMO.

    Loa
     
  19. ncc1701d macrumors 6502

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    Mar 30, 2008
    #19
    Was that software or hardware Raid 0? if Hardware, which card?
     
  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #20
    Though they do use Flash memory, the newer drives incorporate a feature called wear leveling, which extends it's lifespan considerably. It's a young technology, and still needs additional time to work out the kinks, including OS's to be optimized for it. Most are still optimized for mechanical.

    This will depend on specifics, such as the actual drives, capacity requirements, throughput requirements, and usage pattern. And it will almost certainly have a budget requirement in there too, and that typically rules all decisions.

    It's possible to kill one though, but not likely to be seen by most users. The enterprise market is far more likely (remember, there are systems that run in the TB range per day :eek:).

    It will depend on the level. SSD's fine for 0/1/10 IMO, but I wouldn't trust it yet with parity based arrays, given the parity data (a hidden partition with no additional capacity available for wear leveling).

    Cost considerations is a big one, and where mechanical will continue to rule for awhile yet. Budgets are the biggest aspect in the real world, and can't be avoided.

    VirtualRain and I have been around this one before, and he does concede that point. ;) My impression of his statement is that it's from a technical POV only, as there are large capacity SSD's out (OCZ's Colossus comes in up to 1TB, but at ~$4300USD, it's by no means a bargain).
     
  21. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #21
    When buying 4 GB DIMMs make sure you buy RDIMMs.
     
  22. vogelhausdesign macrumors regular

    vogelhausdesign

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2009
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    #22
    1TB Stripe raid is a good idea, although I'd make the scratch disks 32gb each if you're working with large PShop files, I found that any file I use in PS larger than 500mb, using 3 scratch disks, somehow works better with a larger scratch ( dont ask why, I dont know why).

    Also, I've noticed that 14GB RDIMM RAM is not enough to run a lot of photoshop filters/PLug-Ins ( 3rd party) while using a large photoshop file, so you might want to invest in 14GB+ RAM, even if you think you wont need it..

    Trust me if there was one thing I wish I would have spent more money on in my wildly expensive 2.93 Octo setup, it's RAM.
     
  23. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #23
    The Quad will also run nicely on 2x4 + 2x8 GB RDIMMs. So 24 GB should cure any deficits.
     
  24. Nitro1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    #24
    Thank you, But in all honesty this is all opinion. If you want them and you want a fast hard drive then you will get it. Oh well. good luck either way. I still stand by my point of a SSD is amazing for a boot but would not recommend for normal storage.
     
  25. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #25
    In my opinion, having a blanket statement such as "SSD is amazing for a boot but would not recommend for normal storage" shows a lack of understanding in the factors involved... whether it's wise to use an SSD in any given workflow depends on a great many factors.

    A more beneficial position to take is to look at one's requirements and usage model to determine if an SSD is suitable or not. This need not be based on opinions... people can make an informed decision on the suitability of SSD's for their work based on facts. Intel publishes their life expectancy specs... 10000 write cycles for MLC drives = approx. 22GB/day for 5 years. If your writes are higher and longevity expectations are higher, then yes, you should look at alternatives to SSD's. If your write's are expected to be less than this, or the added performance is worth the cost of replacing drives every few years, then by all means, use an SSD or two or three for your storage needs.

    I suspect that in general, for the folks frequenting this forum, there is nothing wrong with using an SSD for all storage needs. Sure there are instances where they may not be the best choice (large media file editing or massive database servers) but for the average professional or home user, they provide fantastic performance for all storage needs and will last as long as any other component in the system.

    Keep in mind that the #1 application of SSD's is as the ONLY drive in some high-end laptops underscoring my point that they are suitable for general storage needs.
     

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