Hard drive setup: How's this look, any suggestions/advice?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by HXGuy, May 4, 2011.

  1. HXGuy, May 4, 2011
    Last edited: May 4, 2011

    HXGuy macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    #1
    Thinking of my new system (Mac Pro 2.8Ghz Quad-Core) and here is what I'm thinking...tell me what's good about this, what's bad, and what could be better.

    Disk 1: 128GB SSD: Boot Drive
    Disk 2: 320GB Clone drive + Time Machine Backup for Disk 1
    Disk 3: 2TB scratch/storage drive
    Disk 4: 3TB Time Machine for Disk 3
    Disk 5: 2TB clone of Disk 3. What do you think, needed?

    Then, have an external drive to clone both Disk 1 and Disk 3 that will be off-site.

    Main applications used are: Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, QuarkXpress

    Any suggestions or other thoughts?
     
  2. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #2
    First question; will you be earning a living from this system?
     
  3. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Mar 25, 2010
    #3
    Absolutely, this is how me and my wife make our living...we work from home and it's all we do.
     
  4. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #4
    A stripe set isn't a very safe way to store data. It's faster than a single disk for sequential file access, and it's cheap. But if you depend on that system for a living (i.e. can't afford to waste time fixing it when it breaks = matter of when, not if), then a redundant level would be the way to go. BTW, fixing a broken array = fix/replace bad disk + restore data via backups + re-perform all lost work (what you did between the last backup and the time the array failed). This adds up quickly, especially when working with large files. So you don't want to have to do this if at all possible.

    Some other questions that could help, is your file sizes, current capacity needs, and capacity growth (i.e try to design out a system that can grow with you for 3 years as a minimum to reduce overall costs).

    Throughput requirements would be nice as well, and your budget.

    Keep in mind, proper storage isn't cheap (don't follow the advice from DigiLloyd <favors using stripe sets in his earlier opinions, and it attracts attention due to low cost - but the compromise involved is too high for pros>). Such a configuration is fine for enthusiasts/hobbyists, but not professionals that need a working system all the time. I really can't stress this enough.
     
  5. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Mar 25, 2010
    #5
    I was having the same discussion on another forum as well and they all convinced me to stay away from RAID0 for this system, the files are too important to risk for a little speed boost.

    The new direction I'm thinking is...

    Disk 1: 128GB SSD: Boot Drive
    Disk 2: 320GB Clone drive + Time Machine Backup for Disk 1
    Disk 3: 2TB scratch/storage drive
    Disk 4: 3TB Time Machine for Disk 3
    Disk 5: 2TB clone of Disk 3. What do you think, needed?

    Then, have an external drive to clone both Disk 1 and Disk 3 that will be off-site.

    How does that sound?
     
  6. HXGuy, May 4, 2011
    Last edited: May 4, 2011

    HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Mar 25, 2010
    #6
    Ok...new thought...

    SSD for boot drive.
    RAID0 for scratch disk.
    Regular HDD for storage.

    RAID0 vs SSD for scratch disk...I'm reading that SSD isn't all that great for scratch disks because the write speed isn't all that great and sometimes actually slower than a traditional disk, especially with small file changes. Plus, a 128GB SSd is around $250 whereas i already have a couple SATA drives I could use for RAID0.

    So, are there any down sides to using RAID0 strictly as a scratch drive?
     
  7. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    RAID0 is fine for scratch, but you're wrong about SSDs being slower than mechanical discs for writes. Especially for small file changes, SSDs beat the crap out of mechanical drives (pardon my french ;)).
    However, it depends on what SSD you chose. There are indeed some SSDs that are not as fast as advertised (Sandforce controlled drives). Still faster than mechanical drives, though. Good SSDs write with up to 300MB/s, compared to mechanical discs with 145MB/s.

    But yes, if you want to save money, a RAID0 from mechanical drives is fine for scratch. Just make sure it's backed up.
     
  8. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Mar 25, 2010
    #8
    So the scratch disk berea to be backed up too? I thought the scratch disk (in this case used just for Photoshop) is used just for overflow if you run out of RAM and once you are done working on the particular file and save it, it clears the scratch disk?

    What kind of backup would be appropriate anyway? Time Machine only backs up hourly and files being worked in may not even be open that long.
     
  9. HXGuy, May 5, 2011
    Last edited: May 5, 2011

    HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Mar 25, 2010
    #9
    Transporteur: after all the research and different configurations I've done over the last 24 hours, I've come full circle back to the one you recommended, which was... :D

    1 OS SSD, 1 scratch SSD, 1 bootable backup (1TB), 1 3TB storage drive, 1 3TB backup drive.

    The only modification I have here is to use a 2TB storage drive as I want proper versioning out of Time Machine with that using a 3TB drive.

    The other thing I'm thinking is to add a 6th drive to clone the storage drive, so if that does fail, then I can work right off the cloned drive with no down time. What do you think about that?

    Oh yea, also a 7th drive (I know, this is getting out of control) for weekly clone back ups of the boot, scratch, and storage drives that will be kept off site.

    Edit: How does this drive look for the scratch drive?
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226168

    And this one for the boot drive? It's only 70MB/s write but write isn't that important on the boot disk, right?
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167031
     
  10. woodbine macrumors regular

    woodbine

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Location:
    Bath, UK
    #10
    just a thought, OWC do a stacking device that allows an SSD + Hard Drive in the 2nd optical bay. That would give you 6 drives in total.
    That's the direction I am currently looking at for my set up. The other day, when I cleaned out the dust I laid another SATA cable into the optical bay, ready for when I can buy the SSD.
    I have 2008 MP.
     
  11. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Mar 25, 2010
    #11
    Ok...so I think this is my final setup. I feel like maybe there is too much redundancy (like, can't I get rid of Disk 2 all together since Disk 6 and 7 already are clones?). But maybe there is no such thing as too much? These drives have the last 5+ years of work on them...if the disks went bad, or were stolen/fire/etc...we would be royally screwed.

    Disk 6 and Disk 7 would be rotated off-site.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #12
    You could consider something like this:
    • Disk 1: SSD Boot disk
    • Disk 2: SSD Scratch disk (40GB model from OWC can be had for $100USD; here).
    • Disk 3: 2 - 3TB mechanical disk for primary data
    • Disk 4: Clone of OS (use the 320GB)
    • Empty ODD bay: 2- 3TB mechanical HDD (Time Machine or other backup software controlled)

    This will help, but the primary storage pool is still a single disk. To get this faster as well as redundant, you'd need to run a RAID 10 (what OS X can do without the need of a RAID card), or get a proper hardware RAID card and run a parity level, such as RAID 5. Either way, it means more money (RAID 10 would require a minimum of 4x disks + external externals for at least your backups/clones, and a RAID card + enterprise disks + external enclosures for the backup/clones will be even more $ than that). Exact cost would require specifics...

    But you've still not indicated budget, capacity, growth, or throughput needs, so all of this is just general ideas ATM. Meaning, it may not really be the best fit for your needs. This is where the specifics come in (again :rolleyes:). :p

    BTW, you do not need to backup the scratch disk, as it's temporary data.
     
  13. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Mar 25, 2010
    #13
    Thank you for cleaning that up. It's what I suspected, but wasn't sure. Either way, I'll have the space on Disk 2 since I'll be using a spare 1TB HDD that I already have.

    Budget...I want to stay at $3000 or less including the computer.
    The Mac Pro refurb is $2300 inc. tax. RAM is going to cost $300 so that's $2600, leaving $400 for the hard drives.

    I already have several 1TB disks, of which I will use one and I have one 2TB external I can use. That means I need to buy:

    Two SSD drives
    One 2TB internal HDD
    One 3TB internal HDD
    One 3TB external HDD

    I'm thinking that will all cost more than $400 but I can go over a couple hundred if needed.
     
  14. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Mar 25, 2010
    #14
    Just added everything up on Newegg and ouch, looks like I'll be around $250 over budget.

    Here's what I chose...

    Boot Drive: Intel X25-M SSDSA2MH080G2K5 80GB SSD
    Scratch Drive: Mushkin Enhanced Callisto Deluxe MKNSSDCL40GB-DX 40GB SSD
    Storage Drive: Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARS 2TB 64MB Cache
    Time Machine for Storage Drive: Western Digital Caviar Green WD30EZRSDTL 3TB 64MB Cache
    External Clone Backup: Western Digital Elements 2TB USB 2.0 WDBAAU0020HBK-NESN
     
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #15
    You should be able to manage this then if you don't go crazy on the SSD used for the boot disk (say 80GB max, and I suspect the OWC 60GB would be of sufficient capacity as a boot disk, which is ~$139USD). Neither this or the 40GB versions are 6.0Gb/s, but they're fast, and quite good for random access. And more importantly, would allow you to stay within your actual budget. ;)
     

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