Improve performance, additional Hard Disk

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by omarita, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. omarita, Aug 1, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013

    omarita macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2013
    Dear Users,

    a photographer asked me to improve the performance of its Mac Pro. Its current configuration is:

    Model: Mac Pro 4.1
    CPUs: 2x 2.6 Ghz Xeon
    RAM: 6Gb DDR3 ECC 1066Mhz
    Hard Disk: one 640Gb
    Software: He uses only LightRoom and Photoshop;

    My idea is:

    Upgrade the RAM up to 16Gb
    Install SSD unit only for System/Programs (120Gb)
    Install 4x 2TB Hard disk in Raid 10 software (Seagate Barracuda), total 4Tb.

    Currently I don't want to ask him to spend 500+€ for the RAID card. I need performance and reliability and, in my hones opinion, is better and less expensive to buy four hard disk in RAID 10 software (4Tb) than three hard disk in RAID 5 hardware. Anyway, your opinions are welcome.

    Now I have a couple of questions:

    1) is it better to install 8x 2Gb RAM modules (is it faster?) or 4x 4Gb (which would leave 4 slots free for future expansion)?

    2) more important.... how to mount the 5th hard disk? I mean the 2.5" SSD drive? Somewhere under the optical unit, with some adapter? Will I be able to boot from it?

    Thank you in advance for your kind attention.


  2. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    1. The difference between using two or four sticks of RAM is imperceptible. The important thing is that there is more RAM. So, two or four sticks won't make any difference. If it were me, I would go with two sticks.

    2. There are many 2.5" to 3.5" adaptors you can use. Personally, I have used this one from Icy Dock in the past and it worked well. I never tried mounting a hard drive or SSD to the optical bays but I believe they are bootable.

    Attached Files:

  3. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007
    Why RAID at all?

    Also we have no idea what his turnover is (i.e. how much stuff he has in work at any given time). Because if its only like 50-100GB then I'd say get a second 120/256GB SSD as a work in progress drive.

    2nd 5.25" Drive Bay: 256GB Boot, Apps, LR Cache, Previews, Scratch disk.

    1st 3.5" slot: Another 120/256GB SSD for WIP.
    2nd Slot: 2/3TB Barracuda (1TB platter version) OR 2TB WD Black (Performance recent projects drive)

    3rd Slot: 2/3TB WD Green (CCC Archival Backup Disk of Slot 2)
    4th Slot: 640GB as TM backup of SSDs.

    Rocket 640L (SATA III) PCI-E card (or similar) + SATA to eSATA backplane so he can push even older work to external eSATA drives. SATA III SSDs can then be hooked up to this card.


    Absolutely no need for RAID here what so ever.
  4. flowrider macrumors 601


    Nov 23, 2012
    I mounted my Internal SSD with an Apricorn Velocity Solo x2 PCIe card. It allows full SATAIII speeds. Look here:

    BTW, if it were me, I would mount the RAM in Groups of 3, leaving the 2 forth slots closest to the processors MT. This is what Macintosh recommends for best performance, maybe something you wont notice, but something I would do.

  5. applegeek897 macrumors regular

    Aug 23, 2011
    Apricorn Velocity Solo x2 would be the best option for the SSD as it will also give him SATA 3 6.0GB's which the SSD would take advantage of. The SSD I recommend is something like a Samsung 840 EVO.
  6. willgreene99 macrumors regular


    Dec 16, 2010
    I would recommend going with three dimms for each cpu. This will yield triple-channel memory access. Although, it may or may not be perceptible depending upon how large the files are that your friend is working with.

    So something like

    6 x 2GB = 12GB
    6 x 4GB = 24GB
  7. omarita thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2013
    The turnover of data is around 2Tb/year so I would exclude the possibility of using an SSD for data.
    I think your configuration is good enough, but what about the performance improvements claimed by raid striping configurations?
    What is WIP in the first 3.5" slot?
    Is it possible to connect the drives in 3.5" slots to the Rocket 640L instead of plug them to the onboard controller?

    Thanks :)


    Apricorn seems a good deal, no need to struggle with putting the drive in the optical bay. Thanks!.
    Sorry it's not clear to me. Does the 4.1 have 8 slots of RAM or 6? Should I put the ram in group of three?
  8. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007
    See my thread about connecting the SSDs to the 640L:

    Just because he does 2TB a year does not mean he is working on 2TB of data.

    So I'll stand by my config as above as the best way forward. You need to find out how much data he works on in a week long period, I would bet at about 100-200GB.

    Finally, HD RAID does not present any performance advantages when SSDs are many many times faster.

    SSDs for Boot, Apps, Caches, Scratch, WIP.
    HDDs for longer periods of storage.
  9. flowrider macrumors 601


    Nov 23, 2012
    Both the 4,1 and 5,1 Mac Pros have either Four of Eight Ram slots depending on CPU configuration. Eight for dual CPUs and Four for single CPU models. However, Apple recommends that for the highest performance you use only three or six of those slots, although all can be used. This is because the CPU uses triple-channel memory, and supposedly, using all the available slots will slow down memory access slightly. Again Apple recommends, for best performance, you leave the slots closest to the CPUs (Slot 4 and 8) vacant.


    Attached Files:

  10. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    ^ Yep.

    Also I noticed a speed difference in OS X between 16GB and 24GB (but not from 24GB to 32GB). So I would shoot for at least 24GB. That's 3x4GB + 3x4GB. 6x4GB chips should be about $250 to $300 for the MP4,1 from e-bay.
  11. flowrider macrumors 601


    Nov 23, 2012
  12. mcfx macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2013
    More sticks add more latency and combined they also generate more heat.
    On the other hand, to achieve best performance you need an optimal CPU/memory configuration - depending on the number of CPUs installed and chipset you might need en even (dual channel) or odd number of sticks (for triple channel) per channel.
  13. flat five macrumors 603

    flat five

    Feb 6, 2007
    improve performance how?

    if it's anything to do with slow importing into lightroom then i'm afraid he's going to have to petition adobe to speed things up.. spend a lot on hardware as an attempt to fix that and it's going to be a waste of money.
  14. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    Unless the spending is on a different machine. :) I saw that the new LR is almost acceptable on a 4 to 6 core at near 5GHz per core, that ultra fast gammer RAM, and a few fast SSDs. ;)
  15. omarita thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2013
    Thanks a lot for the explanation :)


    omg!! :(
  16. omarita thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2013
    I understand. I'll better investigate on the real amount of space he needs and, if possible, recommend him to switch to a full SSD configuration.
    About reliability, a RAID 10 configuration of, say, 4x1Gb (=2Gb) is more or less safe than an equally expensive single 512Gb SSD? Obviously in both case I'll use a TM backup.

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