HD Setup / Photoshop Scratch Disk

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by thriii, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. thriii macrumors 6502

    Feb 14, 2007
    I'll be setting up my Mac Pro tomorrow and it has 3 Hard Drives.. I plan to have it set up like this

    HD1 (SSD): Boot/Applications
    HD2 (1TB): Data/Music
    HD3 (640GB): Scratch Disk Partition or full HD for Scratch Disk?

    If HD3's Scratch Disk is fine as a partition, I'll partition it 3 times for a Windows Operatin System, Time Machine, and a Scratch Disk.. is there a problem with using this drive like this for the scratch disk?

    Another thing is I'm thinking about installing Windows XP as a Virtual OS.. If I do this what would be the best way to do it? I've read about kernal panics and other kinds of problems so I decided to stay away from trying it but i might need to for a couple programs.. is there any safe options or a way I can install something like that so it doesnt effect the Boot drive if something goes wrong?

    Is there a better way to set this up? How should all the drives be formatted b4 I use them?
  2. justit macrumors 6502a

    Dec 1, 2007
    Having a smaller time machine backup disk than your data disk isn't a good practice. IMHO I'd switch HD2 for HD3.

  3. gugucom macrumors 68020


    May 21, 2009
    Munich, Germany
    Running a native Windows boot drive with three visible partitions is really pushy IMO. On top you make Windows real slow because it can only run in the lowest partition. You would have to do some real magic with disk utility to make this work with a proper GUID partition table.

    Dedicating a drive to Windows only makes for a cleaner system and long term for a happier user. If you run out of SATA ports for drives just use an additional ODD SATA port and the 2nd ODD bay for scratch or OS X boot preferably.
  4. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    More RAM will be a lot better choice than any scratch disk.
  5. KG2002 macrumors member

    Oct 21, 2009
    Would not a partitoin on SSD be a better option?
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008

    Scratch space was created as a means to supplement memory when the physical chips were horrible in terms of cost. Few could afford the physical memory needed for some tasks, so a solution was created. It wasn't perfect (slower), but was much more affordable.

    That's changed now, and actual memory is much less expensive, and the better way to go.

    If you partition an SSD, make sure you plan for unused capacity for each partition (10 - 20%, depending on the maker of the drive; 10% for Intels, 20% for others). It's needed for wear leveling. If you don't, you'll have nothing to use when a cell dies, resulting in corrupted data.
  7. Macinposh macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2006
    Depends a bit.
    Pity that most of the programs are capped memorywise (fcp,CS..).

    PS can utilize itself 3Gbs, plugins & actions a extra 1Gb, and exxess memory (up to 2Gbs) will be used as scratch.
    So,basically,PS can use about 6Gbs.
    If you add LR (or Aperture) and OS X to that,they would need memory as well, 10-16Gbs would be nice.

    But PS will use disk scratch a lot,regardless how much mem you have. Especially when working on layered,larger files (500meg+) or if jumping from program to program.
    That´s when a fast disk comes handy.

    I personally would use the setup like this :

    1st:SSD : OS & Progs.
    2nd: 640 : Media.
    3rd: 1Tb :Scratch : Partitioned in 2 = HFS+ (800Gb) and windows (rest).
    The HFS scratch part could easily hold you backups of you media and SSD and still have space to left (so it is not so full that the disk starts to slow down) to be an effective scratch disk.
  8. thriii thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 14, 2007
    Thx for all the replies :) I plan to replace the 640GB for timemachine with a 1TB or 2TB drive. my data is coming from a 200GB Macbook Pro so not to worried about the time machine space since it will be replaced. Ive been reading and I'm thinking about buying another 1TB Caviar and placing it in a striped raid with the other drive i have.. I have no idea what a striped raid is at the moment.. but if i place those in a striped raid and partition off maybe 100-200GB for a scratch disk would that be a good option?

    HD1 (SSD): Boot
    HD2 1TB (Raid):900GB Data / 100GB Scratch
    HD3 1TB (Raid):900GB Data / 100GB Scratch
    HD4 1TB or 2TB: Time Machine

    How does this look now?
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    If you build a RAID (stripe set), leave it all as a logical partition. The throughput will take care of the scratch for you. Partitioning it could place the scratch data on the inner tracks of the drives (slowest on mechanical drives).

    You might want to think about adding HDD4 (same disk model as HDD2 & 3) to increase the throughput (the more members, the faster the throughputs). Then place a Time Machine drive in the empty optical bay, and attach it to the ODD_SATA port (will work with OS X HDD's). If the bay is occupied, then take it external (perhaps via an inexpensive eSATA card; ~$25USD).
  10. thriii thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 14, 2007
    my 2nd optical bay is empty and I do have an IcyDock 2.5 to 3.5 but lookin at the guide here it seems I can place the SSD in the empty optical bay.. if i do it this way I can have the SSD/Boot Drive in the optical bay, and for the internal HD bays I can place 3 1TB drives (raid) and a 1 or 2TB for time machine.. if i get just 1 extra 1GB Caviar Black so i have 2x total can i raid those and then add the 3rd when possible? will I have to format those drives or will it just copy it once the new drive is added? i dont need any additional hardware for raid do i? and a logical partition is just 1 big partition im guessing? so it would be fine to leave it like this when my data/media is goin to be on the drive with the scratch disk?
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Personally, I'd put it in the optical bay, along with a dedicated Windows disk. Use a metal plate of an old optical drive and use it as a mounting plate(ideally suspect/DOA unit). Then just drill some holes to mount the disks, and connect the cables. You will have to get readily available power cables and some SATA cables as well. A stable, inexpensive way to do it. ;) Connect the SSD to one of the ODD_SATA ports, and the Windows disk to a SATA card so it can boot (example). The same card (solder mask is red) is available on newegg as well. Just set the jumper for at least one internal port, and you're good to go. The BIOS emulation built into the EFI firmware will take over, and allow it to boot. :)

    That leaves all the HDD bays open. If you want to add a drive to the array at a later time, you can, but it's involved. You have to backup the data first, insert the drive, and create a new array out of the members you wish. This means the drives will be initiallized for the new configuration, and the existing data wiped (why you make the backup first ;)). Once it's complete, you restore the data off the backup.

    So if you have 3x disks in the array (assuming its only for OS X, you can create it via Disk Util, so no card needed). That leaves one open HDD bay for a backup disk. The array would also be fast enough to allow the scratch data to use this disk without a dedicated partition (not an ideal thing to do, due to simultaneous access and inner tracks).

    If you make the array a single partition, it will look like a single disk (logical disk).

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