How many Hard Disks can the new Mac Pro hold?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by nyzwerewolf, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. nyzwerewolf macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    Hey guys,

    I am planning to purchase a new Mac Pro with Mac Pro Raid Card. Just wondering how many Hard Disks it hold.

    Also, is it worth spending 700 bucks on the Mac Pro Raid Card or is there a better choice I have?

    Hope you guys can help!
    Thanks :)
  2. Willis macrumors 68020


    Apr 23, 2006
    Beds, UK
    Internally, 4. Or 5 if you rig one in the second drive bay but you just need to mod it a little. If you're using RAID, it really depends on your circumstance and what you will use that card for
  3. nyzwerewolf thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    Willis, thanks for your response bud!

    I'll be using the Raid Array as a Scratch Disk for Final Cut. I'll be working with AVCHD footage. It is for a church. So we are looking at 2-3 hours for footage per service.
  4. Gymnut macrumors 68000


    Apr 18, 2003
  5. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Screw the Apple RAID card, that thing is worthless.

    Check out bootable cards from Areca. For example the ARC-1880; be sure to get a backup battery since they are not included with Areca cards.
  6. loungecorps macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2010
    instead of worrying about a raid card you should start converting you avchd files to something that is easier for editing. that format is notorious for weighing unnecessarily hard on editing systems:mad:
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    In terms of SATA ports, it has 6x (4x used for the HDD bays, 2x for the Optical Drive bays).

    But there are 3rd party mounts that can allow you to fit more (especially 2.5" disks). But you'll need a card/s of some sort to provide ports.

    Check out MaxUpgrades, TransInt'l, and OWC for mounts (MaxUpgrades also has an adapter kit if you want to use the HDD bays with a 3rd party RAID card).

    Definitely NO, as it's an overpriced piece of junk (slow, only 4 ports, OS X only, and last I heard, still has problems with stability over the Battery Backup Unit).

    Areca's the best choice, ATTO second (similar performance, but cost wise, Areca offers a better value, and even comes with cables for internal port models).

    As mentioned, you will need to buy the BBU if you run it (ideally you do; BBU + UPS), and get a decent UPS (Line Interactive unit with a Pure Sine Wave output would be the recommended bare minimum; Online/Double Conversion would be better if possible - REFURBISHED units are your friend). Worst case, get the UPS first (between the two, it covers you better).

    Beyond this, more details would be needed to get you into the best possible setup within your budget. ;)

    BTW, hardware RAID is expensive, so be prepared (card + enterprise grade mechanical disks + any kits or enclosures that may be needed to reach the disk counts for performance targets). And I can get you links from vendors that ship internationally. :)
  8. VirtualRain, Nov 26, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2010

    VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    You don't need a RAID card. You can setup a RAID 0, 1, or 10 array using DiskUtility in OSX. You probably don't even need RAID. A large fast Caviar Black will handle HD video editing just fine - scratch and project files. However, if you want RAID for some added performance, maybe run a 2 disk RAID0 array with reasonably sized drives (eg. 2 x 1TB), and then have another large drive (2TB?) for backups and archiving your AVCHD files.

    FCP will automatically convert it to pro-res upon ingest. It doesn't work natively with AVCHD. AVCHD, is good for storage/archival though as it's very space efficient.
  9. nyzwerewolf, Nov 28, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2010

    nyzwerewolf thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    Hey guys, thanks a lot for all your responses.

    Initially, I was planning to go with building a Workstation with the same specs as the 8 Core Mac pro. Here are the Hard Disk Configuration for the Windows Workstation.

    OS Hard Disk: 1 X 640GB WD6401AALS

    RAID0 Array: 4 X 500 GB Seagate Constellation ES ST3500514NS

    Video Export Drive: 1 X WD3000GLFSRTL

    Video Archive Drive: 1 X H3IK10003272SP

    Raid Controller: 3ware 9650SE-4LPML

    Then the church suggested using a Mac - which was my first proposal but they denied it because of the cost, but now they are considering it again.

    I have been editing in Final Cut Pro for a while on my MacBook Pro and Hackintosh. AVCHD gets converted into ProRes 422 upon ingest from the SDHC card, so I am not worried about the work-flow.

    I am basically confused on how to do the Hard Disk setup if we go with a Mac Pro. I found a nice storage solution from Sonnet but trying to figure out how the heck to RAID0 them. I'd love to keep the Hard Disks connected internally to a Hardware Raid Controller as I feel that I get better read/write speeds than an eSATA solution.

    MaxUpgrades seem to have a promising solution to add up to 8 SATA 3.5" hard disks, but not sure if that solution apply for the 2010 8 Core Westmere Mac Pro. Can anyone verify?

    I like the solution by MaxUpgrades to add 6 SATA 3.5" hard disks - which fits perfectly for our need. ( 4 X 500GB for RAID0, 1 X OS HDD, 1 X Export)
    I'd love to go with the solution that allows me to add 8 drives - which is great for scalability.
  10. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    #10 8 bay case. 8 bay case.

    use a pci card they won't boot but they will be over 350MB/s in raid0 they use 2 esata connects not one. a software raid0 with 2 drives to one esats and 2 drives to the other esata will give 350MB/s speed read and write. you can use a low cost pcie card like this Technology/MXPCIE6GRS/
  11. nyzwerewolf thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2007
    Long Island, NY
  12. nyzwerewolf thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    If I use NewerTech MAXPower eSATA 6G PCIe 2.0 RAID Capable Controller Card I should be able to create a 2TB RAID0 Array from 4X500GB Hard Disks inside the SANS Digital 8 Bay TowerRAID.

    And what is the purpose of dual eSATA ports? I mean, I understand it is a 3.0Gbps port each - but how will the dual eSATA port benefit me? Will I get 500MB/s if I am using PCIe 2.0?
  13. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    This card will not work, as it does not have drivers for OS X. You're limited to Areca or ATTO.

    You also need to realize that if you do use such a card, consumer disks will not work. Enterprise disks are required, so you'd be looking at Western Digital's RE (RAID Edition) lines, or similar units from other vendors.

    What I'm not sure of, is if you really need to run RAID5 (requires a card; example).

    Also, stay away from software implementations of RAID5 (typically eSATA card + Port Multiplier enclosures). These are fine for 0/1/10, but not parity.

    For parity, you'd need a proper RAID card (handles the RAID 5 you're interested in), and a SAS enclosure, such as the Sans Digital TR8X (they do look nice with the MP). BTW, example of a card with external ports.


    In the case of the equipment you're wanting to use (above), both eSATA ports will go to the enclosure (4 ports per eSATA connection in this unit; max limit for PM chips is 5x disks on one port).

    Assuming your disks would be capable of generating 500MB/s in an array, then that would be the max throughput possible with that card when in a PCIe Gen 2.0 slot (1x lane card).
  14. nyzwerewolf thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2007
    Long Island, NY

    3ware/LSI card was for the Windows Workstation I was planning to build. Not for the Mac Pro :)

    No, I don't want to use RAID 5. I want to use RAID 0. All I care about is speed. After I edit the video and export it to the final format, the raw files will be dumped.
  15. nyzwerewolf thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    I was looking to get Seagate Constellation ES ST3500514NS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Enterprise Internal Hard Drive

    Western Digital RE4 WD5003ABYX 500GB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive looks good too. Only $79.99 compared to Seagate's Price of $91.99. WD is 64MB Cache w 3 Yr Warranty. Seagate is 32MB Cache with 5 Yr Warranty. Now I don't know which ones to chooose / damnit :confused:
  16. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Then the LSI will work (good for mechanical disks). You'll still need to run enterprise disks for stability reasons (this isn't to do with the MP or OS X, but with recovery = different timings programmed into the disk's firmware). Take a look here.

    But if you're just after insane speeds with a stripe set, get a 6.0Gb/s card, and run it with SSD's (4x recent SSD's in a stripe will generate ~1GB/s).

    Cheapest internal 6.0Gb/s RAID card I'm aware of is the ARC-1880i.

    As per disks, I'd go with the Western Digital (larger cache should give a slight performance boost; this is reflected in independent testing I've seen, not just theory/marketing hype).
  17. nyzwerewolf thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    To create a 2.0TB Array with SSD, I'll have to ask the church to shell out an insane amount of $. And knowing them, that ain't happening. So I am sticking with regular HDDs. I gonna go with WDRE4 then.

    I cannot use the LSI with the SANS Digital 8 Bay TowerRAID since LSI does not have eSATA. If I choose SANS Digital 8 Bay TowerRAID with 4X500 WDRE4 drives, I am thinking of choosing: NewerTech MAXPower eSATA 6G PCIe 2.0 RAID Capable Controller Card

    If there is any other cards that you think is better than the above mentioned card, I'd love to know..

    Thanks :)
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Why must the stripe set be 2TB?

    For faster throughputs on an array that's essentially temp data from what you've described, go for less capacity here, and move smaller chuncks off to the primary data storage location (where you use mechanical for cheap mass storage).

    This uses the strengths of feach technology (SSD = performance, small capacity, HDD = cheap capacity, mediocre performance comparitively speaking).

    You get a good balance this way (cost/performance ratio).

    There is a cable that can be used with MiniSAS (SFF-8088 to 4e*SATA), but it's meant to be used with 1x port per disk (1:1 ratio).

    The PM chip messes this up in your case (which is why it doesn't have 8x eSATA ports on the back). Such enclosures used to be common enough (you could find them from a few vendors), but they've become harder to find since MiniSAS has become cheaper. It's also cleaner and faster to implement MiniSAS (fewer cables to sort through, and less chance for getting the disks on the wrong ports in the event of a failure and the cables are being investigated as the cause of the problem).

    It comes with a card (Highpoint RR622), so give that a try first (know it will work in a PC, and others have reported it does work in the MP as well, but will not boot).

    Something to keep in mind, as it can save you $80USD. ;)

    RAID or eSATA?

    The newertech will be fine for eSATA. As per Highpoint, they're not my favorite company by any means (poor customer support, and spotty track record with product performance and functionality - particularly their RAID products).

    As per RAID, Areca is my brand of choice due to the price/performance ratio (they tend to beat out everybody in this, and in terms of performance, they and ATTO usually have the fastest cards out there).
  19. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Why do you need a RAID card? OSX can run Raid0 perfectly without a Hardware RAID card. Save some money and make things a lot simpler without sacrificing any performance.

    Also, Why do you want to use low density 500GB drives? Using a pair of higher density and faster 1 or 2TB WD Blacks is again much simpler and better performing.

    You guys are trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill here. There's no reason you can't run a perfectly suitable storage solution just using the 5 internal drive bays.
  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
  21. nyzwerewolf, Nov 28, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2010

    nyzwerewolf thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    alright alright let me explain this from the beginning :)

    The church I attend would like to have their weekly services recorded and distributed them on DVDs and publish them online.
    This is not a multimillion dollar church, but a church that has been established for 10 years and growing.

    So, here is the work-flow: HD Camera -> SDHC -> Windows Workstation or Mac Pro -> Adobe Video Editing Suite or Final Cut Studio Suite

    Initially, I proposed a Mac Pro since I am proficient with Final Cut Studio applications. But, the budget for this project was not so much that a Mac Pro was just something that I could only dream of. So I decided to build a Windows Workstation that has the following specs:
    CPU: 2 X 2.4Ghz Intel Xeon E5620
    PCB: ASUS Z8NA-D6C Dual LGA 1366 Dual Intel Xeon 5500 and 5600
    RAM: 2 X Kingston ValueRAM 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
    RAID Controller: LSI/3ware 9650SE-4LPML 4 SATA II (3.0Gb/s)
    RAID Array Storage: 4 X Seagate Constellation 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Enterprise Hard Drive

    and other Workstation components. In the Windows Workstation, we are planning to use Adobe CS5 applications for editing, exporting, dvd authoring, etc.

    Last week, I proposed buying Mac Pro again, and church officials seem to accept it. So now I need to give them an estimate of the total price. It has to go through the committee for review before the fund can be approved for purchasing the Mac Pro. Fund for purchasing the Windows Workstation has already been approved. Both Windows or Mac OS X will work for us. It is just that I have better experience with Apple's Final Cut Studio applications than Adobe's video editing suite. I believe a Mac Pro is a good investment, and if anything happens to the hardware of the Mac Pro, the church can just bring it to the Apple store instead of bothering me to fix it like they would if they went with a Windows Workstation.

    So here is what I am looking for: I am looking for a reasonably priced RAID Storage Solution that I can utilize in the Mac Pro for video editing.

    If I was going with the Windows Workstation, I will be using LSI/3ware 9650SE-4LPML 4 SATA II (3.0Gb/s) and 4 X Seagate Constellation 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Enterprise Hard Drive

    Since the Mac Pro came into the scenario, I was not sure what RAID Storage Solution is best for me. I definitely want to go with RAID 0 because I need the maximum performance out of the HDDs for:
    1) ingesting 3 hour long AVCHD footage & converting to ProRes 422 in Final Cut Pro
    2) editing, exporting in Final Cut Pro
    3) Color Correction & Render in Apple Color
    4) Exporting for Web and other media in Compressor
    5) Rendering motion Graphics in Adobe After Effects
    6) We are also looking to do Direct-to-Disk Uncompressed HD recording using Matrox MXO2 Mini/Capture Card.

    So basically I am looking for a cost-effective RAID Storage Solution for Mac Pro for the above purposes. But remember, I will be trashing the ProRes 422 files after the final files (dvd & web formats) are created. So I am not planning to preserve the ingested ProRes 422 footage in the RAID array. I just want the RAID array to be a workhorse. I will be archiving the original raw AVCHD files to an external hard disk.

    I hope this helps.
  22. ryan42 macrumors 6502


    Dec 3, 2003
    Near Houston, TX
    I have six 3.5" drives inside my Mac Pro. I stuffed two in the second bay and removed the carriage screw that impeded the second drive from fitting. I was worried about temperature but they're the coolest two hard drives in the machine.
  23. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    So, again, there is absolutely no need for a RAID card, and no need to go beyond the 5 HDD capacity of the Mac Pro chassis.

    Here's what I would do that's economical and should perform amazingly well...

    OS/Apps = 60GB Vertex 2 SSD $100
    Ideal drive for OS/Apps if you don't have a lot of other apps besides FCP... if you do, then consider a 120GB drive for $200.

    Working Files = 2x or 3x Caviar Blacks (suggest 1TB w/ 64MB cache) $90 each
    Run this RAID0 array using DiskUtility in OSX. Consider that the data rate of ProRes 422 HQ is 220MB/s max, which a RAID0 array of 2 WD Black's can handle (250MB/s STR). ProRes 422 HQ also consumes about 100GB/hr. So if you're working with 3hrs of video, you're going to use about 150GB per drive or about 15% which is going to be on the highest performing outer tracks of the drives. If you want some overhead, run a 3 disk array, but I don't think this is necessary. I can edit ProRes 422 HQ easily off of a single WD Black without any noticeable lag.

    Output Files = 1x Caviar Black (pick your capacity) $90 assuming 1TB
    There's no need for a super fast output drive as your final encode is going to be CPU constrained.

    You've already indicated you're archiving to an external drive, but if you want, you could use the last drive bay (assuming you go with a dual drive array for your working files) for that and/or backups. A 2TB WD Green would be ideal for this role.

    This storage solution is going to cost you less than $400-$500 and fit in your Mac Pro without any complication and perform like nobody's business. :D
  24. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    1. You might want to consider the Hex core system instead (even though it's 2x fewer cores, the clock speed actually makes it a bit faster for true n core multi-threading, and definitely faster for single threaded operations).

    2. Even if you go with a Windows workstation, go for a vendor system for support reasons (PITA to do the warranty support, and if you happen to take a hiatus/vacation or leave for whatever reason, they may be in trouble if no one else has the skills or inclination to deal with it).

    Something to consider at any rate.

    BTW, you may want to increase the memory capacity (test your actual usage pattern on another machine if possible and watch the memory usage to get an idea of what you really need).

    For RAID 0, Disk Utility is fine. Yes, a card is faster, but not significantly so with 4x mechanical disks. SSD's are a different scenario, and are better used for fast temp storage (even if it's a single disk for Photoshop's scratch space).

    This will save money and reduce complications (especially if users with no idea of what a stripe set is has access to the system).

    So you might want to consider the following:
    • SSD for Photoshop scratch
    • 2x SSD stripe set for working data (what you're wanting to use the 4x HDD's for; faster, and can be had for ~ the same money using smaller disks - just need enough capacity to hold the data being worked on)
    • Internal mechanical storage for completed projects
    • Internal mechanical disk for backup of the completed projects (say Optical bay 2)

    You will need to replace the SSD's when they wear out, but that's not that big a deal anymore.

    OWC has 40GB SSD's for $95USD (Pro version = 7% additional capacity for wear leveling). The RE version (RAID Edition; 50GB is $190) units have 28% of additional capacity for wear leveling (sometimes called over-provisioning).

    At $95 each, they're cheap enough, and the ICH will be sufficient (could throttle if all 3x will run simultaneously, but from other information I've been given, they won't run simultaneously very often, if at all).

    Use 2TB disks if needed for the completed project files, and backup (you can even get a PM enclosure and JBOD disks for backup on the cheap; Sans Digital eSATA enclosure + Disk Utility will get this done if you wish, or you could also use it for the primary project data in a RAID 10).

    Just do not RAID 1 the primary project file location and the backup disk. They need to be handled with backup software only so things like user error aren't automatically duplicated on both disks (i.e. accidental file deletion).

    So go back and price both the PC Workstation this way (and use a vendor system such as Dell,... and get the upgraded 3yr warranty as it gets you faster phone support), and the MP.

    Then see if they'll go for the MP (PC Workstation this way is more realistic, so they don't try to cop out and use a cobbled together system where you're stuck doing all the warranty support work).

    Good luck. :)

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