Mac Mini Server: Raid 0 vs System+Scratch Disks?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by montom, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. montom macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2005
    I'm about to get a Mac Mini Server for audio, video, and graphic production, in addition to everyday productivity use.

    If in the same situation, which would you prefer?

    1) to stripe (Raid 0) the two internal disks, or

    2) use one as the install/OS disk and the other as the data/scratch disk?

    (...assuming you have a 1TB external backup drive, and find FW800 to be much slower than internal SATA for a data/scratch disk).

  2. indg macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2007
    raid-0 and use the external fw800 drive for backup.
  3. DannySmurf macrumors 6502a

    Jul 7, 2005
    Go RAID0, unless you have some technical reason not to (want to use Bootcamp, for example).
  4. VideoFreek macrumors 6502


    May 12, 2007
    I've gone with option 2, but then I use my mini as a server and not in the way you intend. RAID 0 will certainly buy you increased speed (search around, someone posted some benchmarks in another thread), but this will come at the expense of reliability. If you do this, a really solid backup strategy is essential. I would clone the system to an external FW 800 drive, so that if an internal disk fails you can boot off the external and limp along until you are able to replace the failed drive.
  5. indg macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2007
    raid-0 or not, you should always have a backup regardless. the OP said he has a 1tb external drive, so that could be his cloned backup drive (superduper, ccc, whatever) as the saying goes, always buy hard drives in pairs (your main one and a backup).
  6. montom thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2005
    Thanks for the tips.

    I went ahead and did the RAID 0, and the system really flies now.

    XBench gave sequential 157.38 MB/sec and random 69.26 MB/sec.
  7. kdcarver macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2010
    Installation of RAID 0

    I purchased a Mini Server. On install, it's JBOD (and appears to assign one of the disks with a single folder "backup"). I haven't loaded any data on the machine yet, so would like to switch to a RAID 0 (and have a 1TB external as a clone).

    May I assume that you re-installed the OS, and changed to a RAID 0 with the Install DVD Disk Utility? Could you elaborate?
  8. reebzor macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2008
    Philadelphia, PA
    I have no figures to back this up but I was pretty sure a 3.5" 7200 rpm FW800 drive is faster than a 2.5" 5400rpm sata drive...
  9. mangrove macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2010
    FL, USA
    I'd just call up OWC TEch Support and ask them. Say you were thinking about getting a Voyager Q and wanted to know since it has 2 FW800 ports and accepts either 3.5 or 2.5 drives.
  10. evilcat macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2005
    Well Fw800 maxes out at 82Mb/second in extended testing. An internal 7200rpm can get up to 150Mb/s but most lower capacities can just about hit 130Mb/s. OWC's fastest 5200rpm maxes out at about 98Mb/s on Esata.

    Thing is, these figures are for copying large files, where the disk gets time to spin up to top speed. With smaller files, the cache will make a difference, as will the disk latency. Although an SSD on FW800 could never get above 80Mb/s, it will still be faster than any HDD because they have to spin up and seek over the platters, and an SSD doesn't. This means a 7200rpm external FW800 drive will be faster than a 5200rpm on FW800 unless you're copying, say, a 600Mb ISO file.

    Whether it will feel any different to you is another matter...

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