Mac Pro 2009 set-up

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Levina, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. Levina macrumors member

    Levina

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    #1
    Hello all.

    I've always had iMacs and don't know much about the tech stuff and so I could use some help with upgrading my Mac Pro. It is a 2009 2 x 2.26 8-core. I have installed 24GB of RAM after I bought it but now the 640GB HDD is filling up and I want to expand. However, I am unsure as to what would be the best set-up for me and which drives would be the best for that set-up.

    I am not a heavy user, just some surfing, some emailing etc. I am a passionate photographer and edit my pics using Photoshop and Lightroom. I may also convert movies using Handbrake or ffmpegX or some such app. I also use other apps in Adobe's Creative Suit, but that's about it.

    Right now I still have the original 640GB HD, an external drive for TM and two external drives for my images (one on site, one off site).

    I was thinking of getting two 2TB (possibly 3TB) drives for a mirror set-up but am wondering if I need that at all. Would it be sufficient to just get one drive as my working drive (OS, Apps and data) and another as an internal Time Machine Backup. Or is that odd or maybe even impossible?

    I also looked at SSD's but I'm lost here. I understand how you can put the OS and apps on a SSD and use a hard drive for the data, but I have no idea how you would back up a set-up like that.

    As you can see I'm quite lost. I've read a lot but the more I read the more I'm lost it seems. So I'd appreciate any and all help and suggestions. Thank you in advance.
     
  2. Whaditis macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 18, 2010
    #2
    Hi, I remember when I had the same questions but after trying different setups i came down to this one;

    Ended using the original 640 which was later replaced with a 2 tb Red drive for bootcamp and installed Windows 7 after cloning the mac osx to an Samsung 840 pro SSD (128 gb for OS and apps).

    Removed the optical drive and placed the SSD there. Also moved the 640 there as well so then I had 2 drives in the optical bay area.

    In the other 4 lower drive bays in 2 of the 4 installed 2 Western Digital RE4 ( 1 terabyte x2) drives in software raid 0. - This my working drives so they are fast in this setup.

    In the last 2 drive bays are 2 Western Digital Red drives (2 terabytes each) used for redundancy and backup. Each 2 tb Red drive mirrors whatever I produce in the working drives ( WD RE4 x2) so they are exact copies in both Red drives.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Levina thread starter macrumors member

    Levina

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    #3
    Thanks very much for your reply, Whaditis. Appreciate it.

    Okay, so I could install an SSD for OS and apps.
    Install 2 x 2TB drives in raid 1.
    Install another 2TB drive for back-up. Could I back up with Time Machine on that one? Or is an external option better?

    And I would still have my external drives for extra back-up of course.

    So if I go with this, then which drives would be best: WD Red or WD Black? I know that Reds are best in a raid set-up and for continuous use, but my Mac Pro is turned off at night. And I also read something about a parking head problem with the Reds (like every couple of seconds)? I do like that they are silent and cool and are "greener" than the Black drives.
     
  4. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2013
    Location:
    DMV Area
    #4
    As a WD fan, I can tell you that the Black drives are best for use in a system drive configuration. They have the best read/write performance of any drive in the WD family, which makes them great for installing an OS on or using in a Fusion Drive, etc. As far as the backup drives go, I wouldn't spend the extra $ on a Black. Greens are quieter and more energy efficient than other drives, and you wouldn't really need the performance boost for backups. The legend is basically:
    Blacks - Performance
    Reds - NAS, Constant Use
    Blues - Middle of the Road
    Greens - Quiet, Less Performance, Less Energy Consumption
     
  5. Levina thread starter macrumors member

    Levina

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
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    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    #5
    Okay, so two Blacks in a raid 1 set-up plus 1 Green for the back-up it is then.

    Thanks very much, NOTNICE.
     
  6. macmesser macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2012
    Location:
    Long Island, NY USA
    #6
    I have almost the same Mac Pro which I upgraded with a 250GB SSD boot plus 128GB SSD scratch drive. I have a 500GB Western Digital drive for working storage and a 1.5 TB Green for time machine. External drive enclosure for near/on line storage. 16GB RAM. My use is generally light as well; I also do digital photography (CS-6, Lightroom) and find this setup more than adequate speed-wise. Running from an SSD is the biggest plus and the fast scratch (optimally 4XRAM) is also worthwhile. With generous RAM, any decent HD will do because everything else is so fast; your just reading and writing to the mechanical disk minimally so it's not the bottleneck in this kind of setup.
     
  7. Levina thread starter macrumors member

    Levina

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    #7
    Thanks, macmesser!
    I was thinking about a scratch drive, thinking that maybe I could use the old 640GB drive for it. Is a 128GB SSD large enough for a scratch drive and will it be much faster than a HDD?

    I've read a bit more and am starting to think that maybe I won't use a raid set-up after all, but do what you did: a 2 or 3TB WD Black with a ditto WD Green for Time Machine. In addition I would like an SSD for System and Apps and as said, maybe another SSD as scratch drive for Photoshop. So my final set-up would be pretty much what you have. It would save me money and with the external back-ups I think it would work well.

    I was wondering though. The Black drives use "no-touch head technology." Does this mean they too are constantly parking heads, like I read the Greens do? I know WD have some downloadable firmware on their site, but the drives I'm about to buy are not included in the list of drives you can use it on.
     
  8. macmesser macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2012
    Location:
    Long Island, NY USA
    #8
    Probably your first upgrade after SSD boot drive should be to put in as much RAM as you'll want or need. This will effect the size of your SSD scratch disk, which should be 4 times the amount of RAM. (I have 16GB RAM but my scratch is 128GB simply because I thought I might want to bring the RAM to 32GB and I found a 128GB SSD for a very low price.) After RAM, go for SSD scratch if desired. For CS-6 and digital image processing I don't think RAID is necessary as one tends to work with a limited amount of data on the working drive and then transfer it off the working drive to some kind of external storage. If you were running a production line perhaps that would be different, but even my pro photographer friends (I'm not a pro), who are processing one wedding or shoot at a time, tend to eschew RAID for a setup like I have. It was talking to them that led me to my own setup. RAID would probably be a performance hit, anyway. Even striped drives would not be very useful since your work will be done from and on the SSD drives and basically only saved to the HD (or array). I like my setup because it's simple, cost-effective and if I decided to get a new Mac tomorrow every component could be reused in a snap.

    I don't know about "no touch". Couldn't find anything detailed even on WD web site. If it were that revolutionary I'd expect it to be featured prominently. Anyway, I wouldn't think a performance oriented drive would be constantly parking heads; more likely it can in some way sense a shock via accelerometer or it's own gyroscopic effect and go into a protective parking mode quickly enough to forestall damage. The Green drives spin down more frequently but honestly if you used them for a main drive they'd be OK and there would be just a barely perceptible lag when accessed after being idle. As for the drive firmware, generally that's just a slight tweak and is very simple. It shouldn't really factor into your purchase decision one way or the other.
     
  9. Levina thread starter macrumors member

    Levina

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    #9
    My ram now is 24GB which is plenty for my needs. So that would mean that a scratch SSD should be no bigger than 96GB. However, I want to get a Samsung 840 EVO SSD and they start at 120GB but I'm guessing that would be okay.

    And yes, I think I have given up the thought of a RAID set-up. With an internal TM back-up and two external back-ups I should be fine.

    Thanks for your help, macmesser!
     
  10. Levina thread starter macrumors member

    Levina

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    #10
    I have bought a WD 2TB Black, a WD 3TB Green and a Samsung 840 EVO 250GB boot drive. They'll be here tomorrow.

    I have a question.

    The Green drive is for internal TM back-up. Right now I have TM set up to run once a day at the end of the day and I plan to do the same for the internal TM on the Green drive. My question is if the Green drive will be automatically turned off the rest of the day. Or do I have to manually deactivate the disk in Disk Utility? Sorry, I'm new at this (used to iMacs and just one hard drive) and haven't a clue. I'm just thinking that a drive that is only used for one daily back-up doesn't need to spin the rest of the day?
     
  11. Marty62 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2010
    Location:
    Berlin formerly London
    #11
    You might want to consider the "Apricorn Velocity Solo" card for approx
    70 bucks.
    If you fit this PCIe card with the SSD installed on it ( 2 minute job ) you will
    have SATA III speeds and boot up / app launch etc will be super fast.

    At the moment you would fit your SSD to a SATA II port running much slower.

    For the sake of $70 you would save a drive bay / awkward fit into the optical
    bay and gain speed :)

    M.
     
  12. Levina thread starter macrumors member

    Levina

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    #12
    Cool! Thanks for the tip.

    There seem to be two cards, the Apricorn Velocity Solo x1 that costs $ 70, and the Apricorn Velocity Solo x2 that costs $ 150. Transfer speeds double (up to 800MB/s) when using the 2x card with two drives, which is very nice, but with just the one drive there isn't too much difference with the cheaper 1x card. On the other hand I do plan to buy another SSD later this year. Hmmm... Any thoughts on this?
     
  13. m4v3r1ck macrumors 68020

    m4v3r1ck

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #13
    I can highly recommend the Solo X2, now that you've planned to buy another SSD later this year. Keep in mind that the extra SSD needs to be connected to sata connector / powered separate with cables. See this thread for more info's on 2x SSD on the Solo X2:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1675846

    BTW; Apricorn has now the DUO X2 in beta test fase, it fits 2x SSD on one PCie card for (much more) easy install, so perhaps you could find time to wait for it to come out. NO idea when...

    CL & Cheers on your upgrades!
     
  14. Levina thread starter macrumors member

    Levina

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    #14
    Ah? Interesting and good to know! Yes, I think I will wait a bit then. I have bookmarked the Apricorn site and will check them regularly. Thanks!
     
  15. AirPlein1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2014
    #15
    I just finished configuring my Leopard Mac Pro, Levina, and I'm really pleased with the outcome. I have an OWC Accelsior 480 GB SSD PCI card as my boot, with a 960 GB as a scratch disk and a 4 TB internal. The Accelsior has eSATA outs, so I can connect my external mirrored external and read and write at blazing speeds. All of my apps and fonts (things that don't change) are on the boot, and access is super fast…in fact I'm finding that optimizing my performance settings for the project are not at all an inconvenience because Photoshop launches so fast, so my actual efficiency improvement is remarkable.
     
  16. Marty62 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2010
    Location:
    Berlin formerly London
    #16
    I just wanted a fast SSD "Boot" drive so went for the Solo x1.
    All my data and working files are on either a WD Black 1tb or a WD Velociraptor
    10,000rpm 1tb drive.

    M.
     
  17. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #17
    The x1 is slower than the the x2 and will work in the early Mac Pros. In the US prices are $49. and $90 respectively.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=apricorn+solo&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma&Top+Nav-Search=

    For such a small difference in price I see no reason for anyone with a late oMP to buy the x1, when the x2 works so well.

    Lou
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Levina thread starter macrumors member

    Levina

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    #18
    Sounds very good! Interesting that you have it externally mirrored. I'm also looking for a good external drive for back-ups at the moment, as my old one is "just" 1TB, but I'm going crazy as every single drive seems to have problems with reports of DOA's, failure within a couple of months and what not. You know, I have a few Iomega hard drives from the Value Series. The oldest one is a 500GB disk, is 7 years old and still going strong. Never failed me once (knock on wood). I use them for movies now. :)
    At the moment I'm hesitating between a 3TB Seagate Expansion Desktop drive (STBV3000200) and a 3TB WD Elements Desktop drive (WDBAAU0030HBK-EESN) but I'm almost sure I will go for the WD. :)

    Anyway, that Accelsior card is pretty darn nice but a bit too much money for now I'm afraid. I'm spending too much as it is. I do like your set up though with just the one 4TB internal, a boot ssd and a scratch disk.

    Well, you know, over here the x2 is double the price of the x1 so it's not really "a small difference in price". However, I will get the x2. Just waiting for the DUO X2 to hit the streets. Hopefully it is in the shops by the time I am ready to buy the second SSD.


    I have two more questions:

    How do I test my new drives? I've googled and saw stuff for Windows but for OSX not so much. Anything anybody can recommend? Preferably something open source (i.e. free)?

    Also, I'm not sure how to migrate my stuff properly. The logical thing would be to simply clone my old hard drive to the SSD and then move the home folder to the new working drive and that will be used for data. But of course the boot SSD is 250GB and my old hard drive of 640GB is almost full so it doesn't exactly fit.
    I could do a clean system install, but I dread at the thought of having to reinstall all my applications. So do U use Time Machine maybe, or Migration Assistant? Any advice would be most welcome.
     
  19. Marty62 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2010
    Location:
    Berlin formerly London
    #19

    With both the Apricorn x1 & x2 cards, adding the second SSD is a PITA, they both have
    the extra SATAIII data connector but no power !
    So you have to physically fit the SSD somewhere and grab power from one of the 4 x
    drive bays or from the optical bay.
    Running cables thorough the oMP is not easy or pretty !

    The x2 says 800MB/s but that's only in raid 0 configuration, you would need to backup
    those 2 x SSD's regularly !

    I would wait for the Duo card where 2 x SSD's are on one PCIe card.

    So you cannot fit 640gb data onto 250gb :)

    Personally, I would go with a fresh clean install and migrate the items that
    you really need.

    I think "Migration Assistant" is your best bet if you really can't face a re-install.
    I just went through this and decided to not migrate, I wanted a new and clean install of just the
    really important stuff and not 4 years of "invisible" crap moving over to my brand new Mac & SSD!!

    I have several WD drives, both external and Internal and they have all been great.
    Seagate don't get such a good rep these days ... I hope that's wrong as I have 2 x 3TB's as my
    TM Backups !!

    M.
     
  20. Levina thread starter macrumors member

    Levina

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    #20
    I had missed the bit about needing RAID 0 to get 800MB/s speeds!
    I don't want to mess with cables in that tight space. So I will definitely wait for the DUO card.
    My plan was to get one SSD for boot and one to use as a scratch drive for Photoshop. I've never worked with RAID, but I take it that in RAID 0 I can partition the drive just like any other drive?

    You're right that it's nice to start afresh with a new drive. I will probably do a clean install and then re-install applications and hope I can also migrate some. We'll see.

    I think I'm going to buy the 3TB WD Elements "Desktop Storage" as it is called. It's a new drive and I found only one user review, on Amazon, of somebody who got a DOA! :)

    Thanks for your help, Marty!
     
  21. Marty62 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2010
    Location:
    Berlin formerly London
    #21
    I have read that 2.5in drives seem to be more "robust" for some reason.

    I must say that I have several 2.5in drives that are still going strong after
    many years ... one is an 80gb from about 1993 !!

    I have just bought 2 x HGST 1tb 7200rpm 2.5in drives and I'm using one as
    a backup and one in a Lacie Thunderbolt enclosure, having swopped it for the
    slower 5400 that was in .... in a TB enclosure WHY ???

    I have 4 x WD "Elements" drives from 3 or 4 years ago that are fine, other
    than they just have one mini USB2.0 connection and are a tad slow.

    Best of luck with it, perhaps do some "drive googling" before you commit ?

    M.
     
  22. Levina thread starter macrumors member

    Levina

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    #22
    I have a 1TB 2.5" WD external that I love. It's very small, is completely silent and never gets warm. Too bad 3TB drives don't come in 2.5" size. I looked for them but couldn't find any.
     

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