Brand New MP BEAST - Decking Out Storage Options.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by JmeltzFX, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. JmeltzFX macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA

    Hello All,
    Its been several weeks of agonizing decision making, but I finally bit the bullet and ordered my spiffy new MP. Special thanks to: Tesselator, Dr.Pants, and Nanofrog for helping with my initial questions. (Here's a link to my original post, if you'd like to get yourselves up to speed.)

    Here are the specs:

    Two 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    8GB (4x2GB)
    1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512MB
    One 18x SuperDrive
    Apple Wireless Mighty Mouse
    Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad (English) and User's Guide
    AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi Card with 802.11n
    Country Kit

    I'm now about to spend a good amount on INTERNAL and possibly, EXTERNAL storage as well. I have a few questions about recommended File Systems, Drive Formatting, Pricing, RAID/Striping options, and SSD's.

    Just FYI, this new system will be used for: (in order of importance)
    1) High End Compositing - Nuke, Shake
    2) Motion Graphics - After Effects, Motion, Color
    3) HD Editing
    4) Gaming - Mostly on Windows (via Bootcamp)

    I am planning on purchasing 2 Hitachi Ultrastar A7K2000 2TB Drives for their renowned reliability. Google Price listing

    That will total 5TB Internal storage. I think this will be quite sufficient to start with for all my existing Music, Movies, Pictures, Etc. as well as for Capture Scratch.

    1)If I use Disk Utility to partition my drives, what format should I use? Will Windows be able to see these drives?
    1a) Specifically, I'd like to be able to share files b/w OS's (EX: iTunes). I believe NTFS is what I would need on any "file-share" drive. Is this correct? There is also a file-size limit, any idea what this is?

    2)I'd like to keep my operating systems as separate as possible, what would be a good size to allot to both Snow Leopard, as well as Windows 7? Do these need to be physically separate drives, or can/should they be partitions?

    With all the $$ I'm spending on other components, I won't be able to afford SSD drives...YET If I plan on purchasing Intel 160 GB SSD's when they're cheaper, would it be wise to set my OS drive sizes to 160 right now? The idea being, that a swap would be that much easier later on.

    3)Eventually, I will be purchasing / running my own RAID, however I need to budget for that as a future upgrade. I could, RAID (0, 5, or 10 NOT SURE WHICH) internal drives in the mean time, however I'd like to be able to access the RAID from BOTH OS's. As far as I know, this is not possible w/o a hardware solution. Therefore I'm looking into the base level GRAID found here
  2. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    1. IIRC, options exist for other OSes to read from HFS+ and OSX to read NTFS/other file systems. Personally I haven't had the opportunity to exploit

    1a. Once again, IIRC, file size was a big problem with FAT32, but not-so-much on NTFS, ZFS, and HFS+.

    Personally I would go with physically separate. Otherwise one of those OSes is going to have decreased performance as it would be kept on the "inner" part of the HD (amount of area covered per unit time becomes less the further in on disc as velocity is greater on the outer edges of the disc); then methinks you wouldn't need bootcamp assistant except for installing Windows drivers. You can put it all on one drive, but if you can afford the extra HD, it would be worth it.

    Also, FYI, last time I checked OSX plus Windows on a SSD wasn't exactly a kosher combination. Search around on that one.

    Up to you. It sounds like a good idea, but once again, because the HDD headers can't be in two places at once if you have data on another partition on the same disc, which may decrease throughput.

    Of course, if the only thing that's happening on the volume is launching programs, you may be able to live with it. I wouldn't imagine after a program is launched that the drive's performance would be noticeable.

    The above you should get more opinions as, well, I'm not the best expert around here. My main concern is what codecs are you editing in? Disc throughput could be a really large factor, and should be for this sort of system.
  3. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    1. Use HSF+ in OS X. Windows can't read it, and it's best to keep it that way IMO. But there's software solutions that will allow you to do so if you need it.

    1a. Assuming the FAT32 size restrictions are an issue, then use NTFS.

    2. You can use Boot Camp to allow both OS X and Windows to share a drive (both on the same drive via partitions; BC is a partition tool). Please note this only works for a single OS drive configuration.

    So if you want to use a RAID array as a boot device (OS X), it won't work. You must use a separate disk for Windows. Given what you plan to use the system for, this would be the way to go.

    The array (a stripe set; type 0) would allow you to obtain the additional throughput that would allow your software to work faster (it's not waiting on drives to read/write data as it would on a single disk setup).

    No matter what you do however, you need a proper backup system, and that includes the software/scheduling needed to keep it up to date.

    3. A software RAID is just the cost of the drives needed (cheapest way to go). Figure on say 3 or 4 drives, so ~$3 - 400 for the array (estimate for 1TB drives), + whatever you need for backup. It might seem expensive, but it's not. Seriously, and it looks like you really do need it if you're going to use the software you've listed as soon as you get the machine. If it's to wait on funds (assuming this would include the software purchase), you can add it when you actually get the software (drives + software at the same time).

    BTW, OS X is only capable of 0/1/10. If you want any other array type, you need a hardware RAID controller (not Fake RAID), and they're not exactly inexpensive. But it's an upgrade option later on.
  4. gugucom macrumors 68020


    May 21, 2009
    Munich, Germany
    I think that nanofrog has given you some sound advise. I would expand on some of that.

    Once you start using SW RAID arrays from the disk utility your ICH10R internal RAID device will block the SATA ports for Windows. They will be seen as external devices by Windows. It may be wise therefore to do a Windows installation first thing and determine the nature of it.

    You have the option to use your empty second ODD bay which is already prepared for direct hook up of a SATA HDD. All you need is a pair of adapter rails to fit the 3,5" HDD in the 5,25" bay.

    For your gaming Seven-64 Professional or Home premium would probably be a very good option. It utilizes the big RAM on your machine and will allow the use of DirectX10 and 11.

    I recommend the use of the Bootcamp assistent to create a Windows only partition on a dedicated Windows drive. That is very easy to do. Alternatively that can also be done by disk utility using FAT and the GUID option. The FAT file format will be re formatted at Windows installation for NTFS.

    If you use Bootcamp 3.0 drivers from the SL DVD you will have a HFS driver in Windows which will allow you to read OS X files from Windows but you cannot write. If you need more options to exchange data the Paragon commercial NTFS driver for OS X is very good and stable. It allows you to partition and format NTFS drives in disk utility and write to NTFS disks in OS X. There is also 3G NTFS as a free NTFS driver but it is more difficult to install and requires Fusion to work properly. More opportunities to mess up. You will not really need a data exchange partition with such a set up in my view. The only option missing will be writing on OS X drives in Windows and that is best avoided considering the risks of malware in Windows. If you stlll think you need a common partition for iTunes with full read/write from both OSes I would recommend a separate NTFS drive.

    For disk performance I also recommend installation of the Intel AHCI high performance driver (Matrix Storage Manager). You find a separate How To for this procedure if you search.

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