Best use of 4 HDD slots in a MacPro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by CoffeeMonkey, Jun 3, 2009.

  1. CoffeeMonkey macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2003
    One of the main reasons that I decided upon a MacPro rather than an iMac is the number and the accessibility of the 4 drive slots.

    With the machine scheduled to arrive in the next few days I've been thinking about how to best utilize this capacity, and I've narrowed it down to two possible options:

    Drive 1: System and Applications
    Drive 2: Home directory
    Drive 3: Mirror of home directory
    Drive 4: windows disc


    Drive 1 & 2: striped
    Drive 3 & 4: mirror of disc 1-2

    The most disc intensive stuff I'll be doing is editing/processing home movies and some photo editing in Aperture.

    Anyone have any opinions or advice?
  2. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus


    Oct 8, 2002
    The Bamboo Forest
    I have:

    1&2 - 500 GB striped - OS, docs, etc.
    3 - 1 TB Time Machine for 1/2
    4 - 250GB scratch disc.

    Once I start running out of HD space I'll get another 1TB and probably do 2 1.5 TB stripes with main and Time Machine, getting rid of the 250.

    Between your two configs I'd probably do the 2nd one as the 1st one doesn't really buy you anything. I'd do Time Machine though instead of a mirror. If it's a true mirror then deleting stuff on your main will mirror the delete anyway and you haven't saved yourself any trouble.
  3. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I have a preference for RAID.

    Depending on the speed/capacity requirements, you have a few options.
    1. RAID 10 four identical drives. Won't work with Windows, so you'd need a separate drive for that. The empty optical bay is rather handy. ;)
    2. Stripe up to 3 drives, use the 4th for a backup drive. Again, a separate disk for windows.
    3. Stripe all 4, and place a backup drive in the empty optical bay. A second disk for windows would also fit. Depending on the specific model of MP, you might need a SATA card. External is also possible for backup, but internal is cleaner. Slightly less expensive as well.

    Please note, that all of the above RAID setups are software RAID via OS X. It saves money over a hardware solution, but windows can't be used on it (can't read the partition tables).

    Hope this helps. :)
  4. Flash SWT macrumors 6502

    Flash SWT

    Mar 14, 2009
    Houston, TX
    Here is how mine is setup right now:

    Bay 1: 640 GB split into
    100 GB Windows
    480 GB Scratch space (and backup OS X install)
    15 GB FAT32 partition for passing files to and from Bootcamp
    Bay 2 and Bay 4: 750GB mirrored OS, apps and data
    Bay 3: 1.5TB Time Machine drive

    When the price comes down on SSD I'll add one to the second CD bay for OS/apps.
  5. heywoodja macrumors member


    Feb 14, 2005
    Milpitas, Ca USA
    My setup:

    Drive 1----OSX, Documents, Home and misc stuff.
    Drive 2----Porn.
    Drive 3----Porn.
    Drive 4----Porn.
    External drive, Time Machine backing up my porn.
  6. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    Of the two presented, this is your best option I believe. Sounds like you bought the MP due to its form factor, rather than need for out-right speed.

    Keep it simple.

    Perhaps look at adding in some SSDs down the road, (i.e when they're actually affordable/value per GB), for a performance boost.
  7. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    :eek: :D
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    So you've discoverd a hobby then? Or is it a psychosis? :eek: :D :p
  9. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

    Jun 3, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    Bay 1: 320GB \_______RAID 0 OSX/Apps/Scratch
    Bay 2: 320GB /
    Bay 3: 640GB -- Home Folder & Documents
    Bay 4: (empty)

    I would probably put a drive in there for windows when i reinstall, but am unsure what i'm going to put in there atm. I would LOVE an SSD, however, that's a bit out of my price range atm...

    Who knows, this thread may give me some ideas ;)
  10. product26 macrumors 6502a


    May 30, 2005
    mirrored raid

    my setup:

    250x2 mirrored - system
    500x2 mirrored - storage
    650x1 - protools drive only because protools does not support raids

    eventually will be:

    500x2 mirrored - system
    1tbx2 mirrored - storage
    650x1 - protools
  11. Luis Ortega macrumors 6502a

    May 10, 2007
    Fetcham Surrey UK
    Quit wasting drive 1 on unimportant stuff!
  12. mattlong1978 macrumors member


    Dec 4, 2008
    United Kingdom
    I like your first option more I'm similar in respect bay 1 is a system/application drive and bay 2 is my user directory, however until I can consolidate it i have a further storage drive in bay 3 then windows in bay 4...and time machine over fire wire 800 to a caddy.

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