Fastest 6 core Ever (now) [on a "budget"]

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Burnincoco, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. Burnincoco macrumors member

    May 6, 2007
    I just bought a 3.33 6 core after prolonged research.
    I edit, After Effect and Color a lot of RED footage 3 times a week on a 2.8 core 2 duo iMac, mostly because I was one of the many waiting for this revision of the Mac Pro.
    "He who laughs last laughs the merrier." (old Mexican saying)

    I want to be the fastest kid on the block, so here is my
    (I'll buy it if no one else bests it) setup

    OK so here is what I hope to do to pimp my ride.

    3.33 6 core 16GB plus;

    2 x 200GB OWC Mecury Extreme Pro RE SSD Raid 1 for system = 200GB system (2 x 2.5" drives on HD bay 1)

    2 x 200GB same OWC SSDs at Raid 0 for Scratching and Rendering FCP = 200GB (2 x 2.5" drives on HD bay 2)

    1 x WD Caviar Black 2TB 64MB Cache to use as Time Machine for bay 1 and as a Temp disk for pictures of famous pirates.

    1 x WD Caviar Black 2TB 64MB Cache to use With Super Duper as Backup of bay 2 and to keep more of my pirate era memorabilia.

    What do you Think?
    Can you do Better without buying the $1,600+ 400GB SSD Drives?
  2. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    RAID1 for the system drive?

    Doesn't make sense if you ask me.
    You won't get reasonable speed increase or any means of backup with this configuration.
    What you get is reliability. If one drive fails, you can continue your work without any time-out.

    Anyway, this is not a backup. If you want to backup your system drive, buy a decent size external drive, create two partitions and set up a bootable backup (e.g. with CCC) plus a TimeMachine backup on that drive.
  3. Burnincoco thread starter macrumors member

    May 6, 2007
    You're absolutely right. Why would I want Raid 1 on System if I have bay 3 as Time Machine.

    OK, System lives in bay 1 with Raid 0 on 2 x 200GB Mercurys.

    That makes System almost 2x faster. Rockandroll!

    this is going somewhere.

    I want to make it self contained, no externals
  4. Burnincoco thread starter macrumors member

    May 6, 2007
    "RAID-1 arrays with multiple mirrors are often used to improve performance in situations where the data on the disks is being read from multiple programs or threads at the same time. By being able to read from the multiple mirrors at the same time, the data throughput is increased, thus improving performance. The most common use of RAID-1 with multiple mirrors is to improve performance of databases."

    I dunno

    It writes to two but reads fragments from two = 2x faster read
  5. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    If you wanna keep everything internal you'll definitely run into the maximum throughput of the chipset (650MB/s IIRC).
    4 SSDs would already require 1GB/s, plus the two mechanical drives you'd need at least 1.2GB/s (given that all drives are accessed simultaneously).

    Please wait for nanofrog before you buy any of your hardware. He'll definitely give you detailed advice on how to configure your drive setup.
  6. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    Why not get an external RAID-5 (or RAID-10) array bay?

    You can get 8TB of storage for fairly cheap (e.g. like this unit).

    Granted it only has eSATA so it will be maxed out at 250MB/sec read/write but that should be quite enough.

    Getting an Solid State Disk for the boot / application drive is definitely going to give you a much smoother user experience.

    You are quite limited by having only 4 internal drive bays in the Mac Pro.

    Of course this won't help much with Epic as it will have a data rate of 225MB/sec. RED One footage should be no problem considering its REDCODE RAW is currently a "meager" 48MB/sec data rate.
  7. apolloa macrumors G4

    Oct 21, 2008
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    Hmm, I don't see the point in RAID 0 on SSD drives. You'll already get VERY fast performance from them. I would personally have a 400 or 500GB mid range SSD as the system drive, a fastest performance I can get 250GB SSD as the scratch and render disk. Then get a 1 or 2 terrabyte data drive and a 2 terrabyte timecapsule drive.

    That way you'll keep the total throughput speed down and still not have any bottlenecks in the system.
  8. skiffx macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2008
    Yep, I also agree with above, not point in raid0 for SSDs.
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    This is a waste. Use a single SSD for the OS/applications disk. For reads, an SSD won't be damaged, which is why this is the case (less wear than mechanical in this instance). If you're concerned, get an inexpensive external mechanical disk, and make a clone.

    Another reason, is the available bandwidth of the SATA ports (ICH controller located on the backplane board), is limited to ~660MB/s.

    As the faster SSD's can push ~250MB/s (reads), 3x running simultaneously will cause the disk throughput to throttle (750MB/s can't be run over a 660MB/s limit obviously).

    So you'd be best to stick to 1x SSD (locate in the empty optical bay) and 4x mechanical (presumes worst case = all disks accessed simultaneously for read operations).

    Another fact you missed from the Wiki page on RAID 1, is the improved performance possible for RAID 1 is dependent on the actual implementation (i.e. both disks on the same controller aren't capable of doing this = most software implementations, and certainly when both disks are attached to the system's ICH controller = 6x SATA ports for one controller). Where it can occur, is when disks each have their own controller, which is possible with proper RAID cards.

    Not advisable IMO, as SSD's (MLC based) aren't the best solution when used in high write environments (has to do with the actual wear limits of the cells themselves; MLC = 10,000 writes per the actual Flash manufacturer). Wear leveling improves this, by rotating the writes accross the available cells. But you need to note that SSD makers obtain their data on empty disks, and toss out the worst 10% of the data, so the statistics are manipulated.

    For reads and non-heavy writes, SSD's are fine (i.e. OS/applications, or systems with a single disk type of usage).

    You'd be better off running a pair of mechanical disks in a RAID 0 for scratch space, as they're much better suited for high write environments. They won't load the ICH as much, and is cheaper too. :D

    I'd use these as Backup/archival locations. As performance is less of a concern, the Green models would be sufficient as well (also allows you to save some cash).

    If you want to go past using the ICH (single disk + 4x mechanical disks), you'd need to go with a proper RAID card (also means enterprise grade disks).

    Such a solution opens up alternatives, such as RAID 5 (on a product that's equiped to handle the write hole issue associated with parity based arrays). What this will do for you, is combine redundancy (single disk can fail, and the data is still intact), as well as increase peformance due to parallelism of disks (aka members).

    If you're interested, I'll help you further. But be warned, it's not exactly inexpensive (i.e. RAID card, external enclosure/s, and a proper UPS system). Specifics will depend on the disk count, including the ability for future expansion (i.e. getting a RAID card with more ports than is the bare minumum needed to get started).

    More information would be required (performance requirements, as well as current and future capacity requirements). Boot requirements and other OS capabilities (driver support) can mean adjustments to the setup as well.

    In such cases, a simple eSATA controller running Port Multiplier enclosure/s will suffice for backup/archival data (cheaper than the enclosures needed for the RAID card, can use consumer grade disks, and uses cheaper cables = cheaper overall way to go about it; there's even options as to how the disks are set up; JBOD, single disks, 0/1/10, though 10 is really the only useful level of these).
  10. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Here's a slightly different approach that would get you some bragging rights and practical capacity all for a reasonable budget...

    If I was you, I would figure out how much SSD storage you really need for the OS, Apps, active media files, and scratch and then buy that on just two SSD's. If you really need 800GB for all that, then get two 400GB SSD's. If you can get by with 400GB for that, then get a pair of 200GB SSD's.

    I think running dual SSD's in RAID0 is optimal. You won't hit the I/O throughput ceiling of the ICH, and you will get double the performance of a single drive (FWIW since a single drive is bleeding fast). A backup strategy will mitigate any risk of drive failure.

    I would install the SSD's in bay 1 and 2.

    Then I would get a pair of 1TB WD Blacks and RAID0 them for archiving media files and project work, and your p0rn (aka pirate memorabilia). ;)
    I would install these in bays 3 and 4.

    Finally, I would get a 2TB WD Green and install that in the second optical bay for Time Machine duty to backup the whole lot. Alternatively, you could get a 2TB Time Capsule if you don't already have a decent router.
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    If SSD's were cheap, I'd say go for it (i.e. have the same "disposable" nature of mechanical in terms of low cost). But as they're still rather pricey, I'd keep the scratch space off of the SSD's (why I went with what was posted).

    There's just no long term data for SSD's under real world conditions yet. But the Flash tech itself, is well below mechanical for writes (takes all cells into account, not just the best). Wear leveling improves this, but depends on the number of available cells as to how fast the cells will reach thier write cycle limits (less capacity than an empty disk = increased write frequency, which is what would happen in the case you described). Obviously, the larger the capacity, the less quickly this would happen. But it comes back to high cost for minimal benefit (based on the software, the scratch files will be of sufficient size that sustained transfer rates would be more important than random access).

    It's also based on the need for the system running as much as possible within realistic budget limitations and a good performance/cost ratio (i.e. realistic not to use RAID 1 for example, and RAID 0 can be used so long is there's a sufficient backup system in place on the presumption that the user can invest the time needed for recovery if a failure occurs). Past that, it's going to get more extensive (hardware RAID implementation).
  12. Burnincoco thread starter macrumors member

    May 6, 2007
    WOW! When Transporteur said "Wait for nanofrog" I thought; "Who is this nanofrog you speak of and how will he know I need help"
    I Mean Wow, again. You really know your stuff señor.

    I would really appreciate your help man.

    I'm expecting a 3.33 6 core with 8GB Ram and 5870 card

    Maybe I should have ordered the stock 3GB but when I did, nobody was sure if the 8GB sticks would work. Now some are 100% sure that they wont and some are 100% sure maybe. If they do work, I'll get a pair.
    So that's why I got 8 right now. I can work perfectly with AE, FCP and Motion with 8. for now.

    Well my needs are, working with mentioned software, HD video, RED Footage converted to pro-res 4444.

    I think this is a good setup for the drives;

    240 OWC SSD in the optical bay for OS, Apps.

    4 x 1 TB Caviar Backs 64MB in Raid 10 or 1+0 for Footage and scratch
    so that I wont need a raid card. That would give me 2TB with redundancy right?

    Would it be better to have the footage on a separate drive than scratch?

    That sums up to about $1,100 which is about $100 too much already!
    but well.

    What do you think?
  13. sirnh macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2006
    If you want to save even more money, go with just 120GB, or even 60GB, for OS and Apps.

    Anandtech recommends SandForce controllers for OS X, but doesn't mention OWC's offerings... so you could save yourself some money there

    "I often get questions from Mac users asking what the best SSD is for OS X. Since Apple still won’t support TRIM you need a very resilient drive under OS X. That path leads you to SandForce. Pick up a Corsair Force, OCZ Vertex 2, G.Skill Phoenix or whatever SF drive tickles your fancy if you want the best of the best in your Mac." (

    By the way, NewEgg has your 1TB Caviars for $85, Corsair Force 120GB for $296, 60GB for $165.

    This would bring your total to $636 for the 120GB config with 4x1TB drives and $505 for the 60GB configuration.
  14. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    SSDs with wear leveling don't wear out fast
    write endurance estimate at 1,000,000 (really lowball)
    write speed 285MB/s
    seconds: 701,754,386
    minutes: 11,695,906
    hours: 194,931
    days: 8,122
    years: 22

    Isn't 22 years good enough? I doubt many will use for more than 10 years
  15. sirnh macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2006
    You have to take into account more than wear leveling. You have to account for the read-write-modify nature of SSDs. Without TRIM support or some 3rd party tool, idle-time garbage collection is your best bet to maintain the performance level that you paid a premium for.
  16. Burnincoco thread starter macrumors member

    May 6, 2007
    @ sirnh
    Thanks for pointing the Sandforce thing out. I checked the OWC SSD specs and...
    * SandForce Processor with full SF1200 Series 7% Over Provisioning firmware set
    Also, the Reviews for those things are great.

    So I'm Rocknroll on that one, thanks. And about capacity, I do need 240GB. 120 is just... 120. I know I'll regret it if I dont get what I can afford right now.
    I get free 1 day shipping at amazon and they have the Caviars for $85 too. thanks.

    Right you are.
    I'm not updating the sensor on my RED to the Mysterium-X just yet. (you can do that for $5,750, and get the exact same sensor the EPIC has) Everyone has a hard time editing 4k as it is now.
    FCP doesn't support it yet, only 2k in Color. AE does and that's great for applying effects to 4k footage that will be scaled down to 2k. You just can't see the "seams". I am already apple certified in FCP, used to teach FC three years ago, and really don't want to start again learning Premier for it's awesome 4k REDCode handling abillities. I'll just wait another year for that to happen in FC, at least.

    Of course with my new 3.33 6core, I'll have no problem handling RED 4k from now on. :D If I can just get the RAID right. :eek:

    I hear on the intertubes that the WD Greens are Crap.
    I do Have pirate memorabilia! ;) Cheeky Monkey...

    Gracias! I never thought of that.

    OK, Back to the RAID thing.

    How about this Setup?;

    240 OWC SSD on the optical bay for OS, Apps.
    2 x 1TB Caviar Backs 64MB RAID 0
    1 x 2TB for Auto nightly backup of RAID 0 (It would be awesome to RAID 1+0 with 3 drives)
    1 x 2TB for Media
    1x 1TB, external, partitioned into 2 500GB for Time Machine and CCC (Thanks Transporteur)

    is it better than this?;

    240 OWC SSD in the optical bay for OS, Apps.
    4 x 1 TB Caviar Backs 64MB in Raid 10 or 1+0 for Media and Scratch
    1x 1TB, external, partitioned into 2 500GB for Time Machine and CCC

    reads good in Wikipedia
    and can be done with disk utility

    I cannot afford a raid card.
  17. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Arrr! :eek:

    I'm sure you can find horror stories for any given drive/brand. I run a WD Green 24/7 attached to my HTPC and it's rock solid so far after a year (knock on wood). But the Green was just what I would do... get your favourite brand and capacity for any given drive.

    Unless you are really budget constrained, buy enough SSD for your scratch... which it sounds like you are inclined to do. After all that's where you'll really see a difference when working on a big project and need to undo an edit or something. I mean anyone can load an app in a fraction of a second... but real pirates put their full working file set and scratch on SSD volumes! :D :p <where's the pirate emoticon?!>
  18. Burnincoco thread starter macrumors member

    May 6, 2007
    Arrrr! we definitely need a pirate emoticon!
    I think I'll wait for SSD to be solider-er to make them scratch, they are quite expensive for the capacities I need.

    I can't stop thinking about the "ideal" hard dive setup :confused: How about this?

    240 OWC SSD at optical bay for OS, Apps
    3 x 640GB Blacks 64MB = 1.9TB RAID 0 for Scratch (Faster than 2 drives!)
    1 x 2TB Black 64MB for Media
    1 x 2TB esata for CCC backup of RAID 0
    1 x 1TB FW800 for Time machine and CCC of SSD
  19. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Ok but why all the different drives? Combine storage for scratch and media onto one large enough RAID0 array of 2 or 3 drives (the more the faster eg. 3x1TB or 2x2TB) and then just get a large 2TB drive to backup everything (again, no need for multiple backup drives). If 2TB isn't enough backup, I'd look at getting a Drobo or NAS for backup since the performance is secondary to your other storage needs.

    If you want something more exotic, I'm sure Nanofrog will be back with RAID solutions that will make SSDs look cheap :p :)
  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    1. The SSD is fine (Sandforce based, which is good for OS X, as it doesn't have TRIM support at this time).

    2. The 4x disks in a level 10 would be fine, but you could have capacity issues (i.e. shared data + scratch). Partitioning would fix this, as each would be seen as it's own array. But one of them will be using inner tracks producing a performance reduction from the word go. As 10 is about the same as a striped set, this could be a problem (not sure how much scratch space you'll actually be using, or what your data capacity will be). Capacity of the volume before partitioning is 2TB. Not that much these days.

    3. Given #2, separate disks would be beneficial in this instance. Placing them on the same array is possible, but it only works properly when the worst case (inner most tracks still exceed the performance requirement). This means more members and/or larger capacity disks.


    BTW, you can use Greens as single disk for backup purposes, as speed isn't a high priority, and they're cheaper (not used as much = less wear and tear, and they're not really suited for RAID, unless it's the RE4-GP model; RE = RAID Edition). Given your budget, this will help out. ;)

    Unfortunately, a level 10 array requires 4x disks. :p

    This will work.

    Again, it's fine to use Green models for the eSATA backup and FW external disk in order to save on funds. Single disk operation is fine for these.

    Another solution to consider:
    1. 1x 240GB OWC SSD (optical bay)
    2. 2x 1TB 7200rpm disks for a RAID 0 scratch location (Blacks of your choice on capacity; 2x HDD bays)
    3. 1x 2TB Backup (Green; HDD bay)
    4. 1x 1TB Backup/Clone (Green model; HDD bay)
    5. 4 disk PM enclosure (this one comes with a PCIe eSATA card using a SIL3132 chip, that will work with the OS X drivers from Silicon Image)
    6. 4x 1TB Blacks in a level 10 for primary file storage (completed work files). As it's on a PM enclosure, the Max throughput will be 250MB/s (PM chip), but it's capable of running this (performance of the set is ~ that of 2x disks in a RAID 0, but redundant).

    It's about $1460 (using newegg, and nothing lower than 1TB; no shipping or promo codes figured in, which will help offset the shipping costs or better), but will offer you some redundancy for your primary data location (unless that's the "media" disk you mentioned, which you can eliminate, and save ~$120).
  21. Woodgrove@macla macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2005
    I had also planned on using 2xSSDs in RAID 0 on my future Mac Pro. Sure i realize the chipset bandwith needs to be taken into consideration. If I only add those two SSDs and keep the original 1TB as a single drive for storage. 285MB/sec * 2 = 570, giving the 1TB 80MB/sec. Wouldn't that be nice?

    I hope for INSANE speed with two OCZ Vertex 2 E (or similar) SSDs in RAID 0 :eek:. I have also planned to use the second optical slot for my Bluray-drive so I won't have to worry about that spot for now. I'm thinking about keeping this setup until there is a decent USB3-card out there and when the standard is more established and cheap, if ever. I have lots of USB Storage since I've been using an iMac for years and I can use a FW800-drive as a "once a day"-Time Machine.
  22. bamf macrumors 6502

    Feb 14, 2008
    If only the OCZ Revodrive had proper drivers for OS X to support booting the drive. If you haven't seen it, the Revodrive is 2 x 60GB (or larger) Sandforce based SSDs in a PCIe form factor.

    Mmmm, sustained writes at 400MB/s, and reads at 540MB/s.
  23. apolloa macrumors G4

    Oct 21, 2008
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    It's up to you, but it depends on what you will use the SSD drive for in a raid. I don't think it will make much difference to loading programmes or booting up compared to 1 SSD drive. I would google for some bench marks on RAID 0 SSD setups.
  24. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008

    Does this enclosure reach the 250MB/s throughput? Would be a nice addition, if not replacement for my current box.
    I've got a similar 4 bay enclosure but it levels off at 115MB/s. Cost 160€ without eSATA card. :mad:
  25. xgman macrumors 601


    Aug 6, 2007
    If you really want to be the "fastest" with this setup, back down to 12GB ram. The 4th slot will knock you out of triple channel ram config.

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