Dumb nMP question of the day-TB cabling-beach balls

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Reno Richter, May 1, 2014.

  1. Reno Richter macrumors member

    May 31, 2012
    nMP D700, 64g ram, 8 core

    Is the layout below causing the spinning beach ball issue that seems to be getting worse over time?

    My main monitor is a Dell U2713H, flanked on both sides by a pair of Dell U2412M. They are connected to the nMP miniDP to DP. Each monitor is connected to the 3 different TB pairs. No two monitors share the same TB buss (I assume that is the correct term).

    On one of the other open TB ports opposite the monitors are a series of external drives. OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual with pair 3TB drives raid 0, and 3 1TB ssd drives that are removed and taken with me when I travel on business for weeks at a time. All are backed up to a OWC elite pro qx2 raid 5 via a USB3 connection.

    Obviously I have more TB drives then spare TB ports if I connect each monitor directly to the nMP, so one drive is daisy chained.

    So to eliminate the spinning beach balls when moving files around and or switching drives, I was thinking that I should daisy chain the monitors instead and connect all the drives directly to the nMP.

    One associate says it is an OSX 10.9.x issue and changing the cabling is not going to make a difference.

    Another associate says it will slow down monitor refreshing and don't do it.

    The later to me sounds far fetched. The first one could be real since I don't see the beach ball issue when the SSD's are connected to my 2012 MBP (10.8.5) via USB3 when I travel.

    So how are you people with multiple monitors (3 or more) and lots of TB drives handling your cabling in you nMP. Are you giving priority (direct connect to the nMP) to you monitors or your drives when the issue of daisy chaining arises?

    Also is the spinning beach ball issue an OSX 10.9.x issue and even if I change the cabling and give the all external drives direct TB connections nothing will change.

    TIA for any responses
  2. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    Hi Gary

    Not sure if this answers your inquiry, there is this article tip on using Thunberbolt devices with displays HERE. Though you had your 3 monitors connected in the 3 separate TB buses, the author was saying to avoid plugging high speed TB devices in the same bus as with your display to maximize TB performance. Hope your problem gets solved.
  3. Cubemmal macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2013
    Apple has a tech note on this with the nMP. If they're 4k put them on separate busses.

    I chose to have a center Cinema mDP on one bus. two TB Cinemas on the second, and all my data IO on the third.
  4. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    Thanks for the added info. Maybe the thread starter can make use of your current monitor and IO devices setup that may help solve his beach ball problem.
  5. Reno Richter thread starter macrumors member

    May 31, 2012
    Thanks everybody for the replies. Up to my eyeballs with a critical project (and spinning beach balls) and if I get it done Saturday I hope to spend Sunday trying the tips suggested.
  6. bxs macrumors 6502a

    Oct 20, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    Do not daisy chain the monitors. Keep them on different TB busses.

    Ensure your disks aren't configured to spin down. Use the Energy Saver panel to configure this or check the disk vendor's site to see what the spin down features are.

    I have MP6,1 12-core, 64GB RAM, 1TB SSD, dual D700s with three displays all on different TB busses. One is a 34" LG, another is a 20" ACD connected via MDP and the third is a large screen Sony TV connected via HDMI.

    I also have 4x 4TB 2big LaCie units daisy chained off a TB buss that also has one of the displays attached to the same bus. At the end of the LaCie daisy chain I have a 5-bay Burly eSATA Port Multiplier unit attached via a TB-to-eSATA Sonnet adapter & ExpressCard|34 for archiving data.

    I run AE, Premier and FCPX primarily and see no persistent spinning beach balls during the normal work day.

    I use Time Machine to backup the OS on the 1TB SSD to a Time Capsule.

    I use bonded ethernet to a Cisco managed switch to connect to other MacPros and iMacs in the office as well as for access to the internet to send project data to clients around the world -- mainly via my Dropbox.

    I wonder if what you are experiencing is the indexing activity for all your drives as they are connected, disconnected and then reconnected. When you have the spinning beach ball take a look for mds worker processes in Activity Monitor's display. If you see a ton of them (one typically for each disk volume/partition) this may be the cause for the spinning beach balls. At times I see a ton of them and they do consume a fair amount of CPU. They will eventually subside and go away.

    Good luck and post back if you find what's causing your issue.
  7. Reno Richter thread starter macrumors member

    May 31, 2012
    regarding the indexing. The 3 SSD drives are connected to the nMP for about 30 days at a time and then I take them with me when I go to Asia on business for about 15 or 16 days. Rinse and repeat. The 3 drives remain static in content during my travels 99 percent of the time. Maybe one or two files added at most. This last trip which ended 7 days ago today, the drives where never used at all during that trip. Next time I get a flurry of beach balls I will look to see what mds is up to in the activity monitor.

  8. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    It doesn't sound like the problem here is as much Thunderbolt but instead that traditional hard drives are being used.

    As someone else mentioned, make sure the drives aren't set to spin down, or else they'll have to spin back up and they'll beach ball.

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