Mac Mini thunderbolt G-technology Studio XL slow connections for clients

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by dzogg, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. dzogg macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2016
    Hi there.

    We have a Mac Mini server connected to a G-technology Studio XL thunderbolt 24TB drive with RIAD5 located in out server room. There are clients (40-60) connecting to the server via afp and smb and authenticating individually to use the File sharing service (only). There are seven shares, different users have access to what they need. The users mainly require access to an image library, indesign and photoshop files. Users are opening and working on these files via the network (each file between 3MBs and the largest about 100MBs).

    All users are complaining of slugish connections while working on documents.

    We have tested the Mac Mini and G-tech drive using Blackmagic and AJA speed tests.
    We have tested the network and no issues found there.

    Is there a maximum throughput that the Mac Mini is limited to? Would a Mac Pro handle it better, if so, how?

    I would like to run throughput tests between client and server, which ones would you surrgest?
  2. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    Questions: Which Mini (you wrote Mini Server, that implies TB1 - I run several)? Which OS version(s)? Which version(s) of Photoshop (I run only CC versions of the Suite, no AFP needed; to me, AFP is only needed for CS6 and earlier but newer versions of OS X don't even connect to my El Capitan Servers via AFP now)? Are the workstations using DAS scratch disks when PS is being used (they really should be)? Have .DS_store and icon preview files been disabled for network access on your array (they really should be)?
  3. dzogg thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2016

    Thanks for your reply campyguy.
    It is a Mac Mini server with TB1, sorry. Running OS X 10.10.5 and Adobe CC 2015. I am unable to answer the DAS scratch disk and the .DS_store questions at the moment, I shall check and reply as soon as I can.
  4. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    Here's a bit of homework (or workwork?) for you, some relevant reading regarding optimizing PS relative to your usage. Regarding your workflow, depending on how your network files are accessed I'm guessing that the Mini's TB1 network is a bottleneck here - TB1 is pretty fast, but if your 3-5 dozen active clients are all working through the Mini and it's TB1 connection I'd be considering a different network layout or file workflow. I learned about and used a file checkout system in the early 90s when I got my first jobs at Boeing and a local transit authority when working on CAD files and image files - we used a checksheet and and an application that tracked file revisions and histories, and it saved us from beating up the network - I use a version of that workflow to this day, even with much faster network interfaces. We work on local copies of files, then return them to the server when they're done being worked on. It's Autodesk Buzzsaw Pro, and there's lots of competitors out there - Buzzsaw isn't limited to just Autodesk products.

    AutoCAD and PS both use scratch disks. Consider using local DAS drives (preferably SSDs) for a local scratch disk - you don't need a large SSD to be very, very effective; in PS, your OS drive is the default scratch disk - slow, slow, slow. I used to render huge GIS shape files - the PC/Win system I was handed was a dog, and trimming and rendering one of the shape files would take roughly 6 hours - I added a tiny (5GB), relatively fast (at the time - 7200RPM) hard drive, made that second drive both the scratch disk for AutoCAD and the WinOS, and added more RAM (a total of 16GB); my render of that same shape file was cut to under 15 minutes - that should give you an idea of what taking a scratch load off the OS drive can do for a Mac or a WinPC. Read up:

    In the first web page, pay attention to the "Manage scratch disks" section, the text on "Automatically Save Recovery Information", the "Minimize or turn off panel preview thumbnails" section, and turn on the Efficiency indicator. We use a 120GB SSD DAS attached via USB 3 as a scratch disk; each Mac/PC and DAS are attached to a UPS, in case of a power outage.

    In the second web page, there's lots of helpful information. Also, turn off "30-bit Display" - there's a setting in there for Macs, but it's Windows-only (according to Adobe) and it's a bug that Adobe hasn't fixed in some time - turn it off.

    If you're using newer versions of the CC suite and the Mac OS, IMHO there's no reason to keep AFP networking enabled - it's completely off on my networks. Others may have an opinion about this, but it's old SW tech that Apple's moved on from a few OS version ago.

    I'd update that Mini to another Mac with a bit more horsepower AND TB2 - TB2's extra bandwidth is a significant upgrade over the older Minis, and the newer Minis have PCIe-based SSDs - they're so much faster than the older Minis it's not even funny. If you're using that Mini Server as an access point for connection, and not to act as a server - I'd upgrade with as many Mac clients on your network.

    And, look into turning off file previews/icons and disabling .DS_Store files - that's a lot of refreshed file previews and folder information on your array that are getting refreshed when they don't need to be IMHO. This step alone should provide a quick and significant speed bump in your network activity. Cheers!

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