Mac Pro Drive Configuration

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by hayduke, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. hayduke macrumors 65816

    hayduke

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    #1
    I'm thinking of reconfiguring my drive set-up in my Mac Pro after watching my MBAv2 boot and load apps faster than my quad 3GHz! I was thinking of the following set-up:

    Bay1 - 300GB Velociraptor (System Drive)
    Bay2 - 300GB Velociraptor (My User)
    Bay3 - 750GB Baracuda (Data)
    Bay4 - 750GB Time Machine Back-up for Bay1
    Bay5 - 750GB Time Machine Back-up for Bay2
    Bay6 - 750GB Time Machine Back-up for Bay3

    Bay5 & Bay6 will come into existence with MaxUpgrade's optical disk mounting accessory.

    I mostly do scientific computing on relatively large files (100MB to 2GB). I don't need excessive drive speed, but I think an upgrade is in order. I also get page outs with 6GB of ram so that will get a bump too. RAM is so cheap these days. I think I paid $600 for 4GB ~1.5 years ago.

    Anyways, I already have the 750GB drives so the costs is really just the two velociraptors and the optical mounting system (totalling ~$750), but this isn't too far off from the price of Apple's RAID card.

    So which is better? 4x750 as RAID5 or the above. I should point out that everything will be backed-up to an off-sight server too so that isn't currently a concern.
     
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    Feb 19, 2005
    #2
    This is not bad, if you can increase the sizes all around then go for it. You had me confused for a moment with that "bay 6 & 7" stuff. I want to look into that. Maybe I can rid myself of a couple externals by using this mod.

    Increasing the size aside, I think it is a great setup. Ever thought of RAID as an alternative?
     
  3. richard.mac macrumors 603

    richard.mac

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    #3
  4. vga4life macrumors 6502

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    Jun 16, 2004
    #4
    I would skip the Raptors and go directly to an Intel X25-M or X25-E as your boot and scratch volume (for your working dataset). It completely changes the game.

    The -E model is smaller and more expensive, but has write speeds exceeding 200 MB/sec. The -M model "only" writes ~80MB/sec sustained, but still has essentially zero access times and the same 220+MB/sec read speeds as the -E.

    See http://barefeats.com/hard103.html - though I think dual X25-M's is probably overkill for you if you'd be happy with the performance of a single (non-RAID0) Velociraptor.
     
  5. Horst Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    #5
    I'm setting up my MacPro following the recommondations on this website; granted it is aimed at Photoshop users, but the basic rules still apply.

    Question is, what do fast boot and app load times actually do for you , and wouldn't it be more helpful to have the files you are working on being processed faster ?

    I'd take two of the 750GBs and Raid0 them for data, maybe with a faster partition for the files you are working with.

    Internal drives for Time Machine seem like a waste of speed, but that's just me.
    And then you might want to add an external FW drive for backup clones; a 1 TB HDD with 3 partitions should fit system/user/data of your configuration.



    FWIW, my rig is going to look like that:

    System/user : 2x 500GB (Soft)Raid0 / ca. 300GB Partition1 for everyday stuff

    Data: 2x 640 GB Raid0 / ca. 200GB Partition1 for large files I'm working on

    Remaining partitions for temporary files, before they get archived.

    Scratch disk/ Bootcamp : 1x 320GB w. 2 partitions

    Of those 5 internal HDDs, one goes into the empty optical bay, nice and cheap with HDD brackets and connected to the motherboard.
    Easily reversable should I need to turn in the MP for repairs. ;)


    On the outside, there are a bunch of drives for file archives, one 1TB drive for Time Machine, one for a SuperDuper clone ( system/user/ current work only ).
     
  6. hayduke thread starter macrumors 65816

    hayduke

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    #6
    I am considering the hardware RAID option. I should look for a comparison of the velociraptors and a RAID5 set-up. The X25s are nice, but pretty expensive. I'll let you know what I do. Keep the ideas coming.
     
  7. UltraNEO* macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

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    #7
    Cool... Well, it depends what your after, Speed or Redundancy.
    RAID5 would offer both to some extent, probably be faster than software raid too.
     
  8. frimple macrumors 6502

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    Nov 18, 2008
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    Denver, CO
    #8
    Re-consider the X25-M's. The 160 gig's came out recently and that dropped the price of the 80's. Brand new 80Gig's can be had very easily on Ebay for $400/per. 33% more than the velociraptor (only 25% of the space though, there's the tradeoff). I got 4 of them about 2 weeks ago for an average price of $400 and they're worth every penny in my opinion.


    EDIT:

    sorry didn't think of this in time. What I was planning on doing before I decided to wait for the new mac pros this summer was to use the optical bay as the place for my X25's. They're freakin' tiny and you can put ~2 in the space of 1 2.5 drive. So my assumption was that I could put my 4 RAID 0 x25's in the second optical bay drive, keep my super drive and then use the 4 3.5 inch mounts to mount up my RAID 5 raptor nest. You could do the same, put your 4x750's in the trays and slide the X25's in the second optical bay. Plus you'd get to keep your optical drive internally.
     
  9. hayduke thread starter macrumors 65816

    hayduke

    Joined:
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    #9
    Now I'm debating holding off a bit as I think the SSD drives will drop in price as more models come out ad higher capacities are available. I've got a 128GB in MBA right now it I think I have better drive performance than my MP. If there were good prices on ~128GB drives (<~350) I would probably use that for a boot and scratch drive.

    I'm also thinking about one of these:

    http://www.transintl.com/store/category.cfm?Category=2746&RequestTimeOut=500

    With two quick drives in RAID0 as a system drive. Any thoughts? I suppose I'd be better off putting something similar in second optical bay. I guess I'm wondering if two RAID0 drives would be faster than the velociraptors. Off to look at barefeats...
     
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #10
    Don't forget, SSD's use flash memory that has a limited number of write cycles. It's only up to ~100k cycles with currently available parts. :(
     
  11. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

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    Jan 5, 2008
    #11
    For my part I've been wondering how I'll handle drive allocation when I upgrade. Since I do routinely work with truly massive files (yes, I'm one of that 1% of people who uses Photoshop files bigger than 2 GB and was bummed about it not being 64-bit) and need a lot of space with which to edit video, here's what I initially had in mind, since price is a factor:

    I use both optical drive bays, so I'm sticking with just the four internal bays. I may one day have cash to flash out for this really nifty external idea:

    http://lifezero.typepad.com/blog/2008/10/super-fast-4tb-raid-for-under-2k.html

    But until then, this is what I've been considering:

    Bay 1: 300GB Velociraptor: Boot Drive
    Bay 2: Scratch Disk/Video Editing Samsung 1TB RAID1
    Bay 3: Scratch Disk/Video Editing Samsung 1TB RAID1
    Bay 4: Time Machine? Samsung 1TB

    Back up the boot drive externally regularly as I already do.

    I've been looking into hardware RAID as well, but something tells me it probably won't be cost effective or worthwhile to RAID5 three 1TB drives. I'd like a bigger speed boost than what I'll get from one Velociraptor, but cash is an issue and I need a fair amount of space to hold all my apps. My Apps folder has ~40 GB of stuff, and that's not even counting all the support files and media that come along with the Final Cut Studio.

    The fact that there are just four bays available to me is a bit of a constraint. The Pro Drive is intriguing but again, drives up the price a bit. Also, RAID0 makes me nervous.

    Anybody have recommendations on a good way to have my cake and eat it too? I would like to have a faster, secure system, without paying too much. I realize that what I want is a bit unreasonable, but I am willing to spring for more if the benefits justify the costs. Or if I land a lucrative job. This is what I'm using in the meantime, but only till I upgrade.

    Bay 1: 750GB Samsung Boot Drive
    Bay 2: 750GB Samsung Scratch Drive/Video Editing
    Bay 3: Stock 320 GB drive: Time Machine on Boot Drive
     
  12. jngphoto macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    #12
    I have a Mac Pro 2.8 8 core basic configuration coming from Apple. Yes, I couldn't wait. I'm coming from a G4, so this will be day and night for me. In the meantime, I ordered 8 gb ram and 2 1TB HD.

    I'm not how I want to configure it, but I've got some ideas from the previous posts and reading this forum. Here's my plans and please make suggestions because I am new to this:

    Bay 1: 320 stock HD (may change for a faster drive in the future) as boot and applications only
    Bay 2: 1TB HD (partition 64gb for scratch, rest data)
    Bay 3: 1TB HD (same as above)
    Bay 4: thinking about another 1TB for time machine or RAID with the above 2 HD.

    My question is if I use Bay 2 and 3 as RAID, should I do RAID0 or RAID1? because I plan on getting a 1TB for Bay 4 and/or an external for Time Machine.

    If I go with RAID0, will I notice a difference, since I mainly use Raw Converters and Photoshop, but will be playing with video because now I can.

    And my final weird question is, can I use RAID1 on my data partitions of my HDs only and RAID0 the scratch partition of the HDs?

    Thanks.
     
  13. frimple macrumors 6502

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    Nov 18, 2008
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #13
    very true but consider with proper wear leveling you can get at least 2-3 years out of a good (read Intel) MLC drive. And consider how long you keep a drive on average? Maybe I'm in the minority but after about 2-3 years I'm looking to change them out (except in the NAS...).

    Also consider that in 2-3 years SSD drives will have dropped in price and Intel won't be the only player in the game with a decent drive (it's all the controller really). I suspect that in 2-3 years most power users and extreme system users will have a SSD standard and most companies (APPLE!!!) will cater to this niche with a high end option on their desktops.
     
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #14
    I need greater reliability for use in RAID. They haven't progressed to that point yet, so I'll have to wait. Then there's the cost/GB to consider. ;)
    Costs will have to drop considerably. When you can buy an SSD for around what a consumer drive goes for currently, then they'll become mainstream. Until then, they will be a niche market for early adopters.

    Flash technology will progress to the level for enterprise use, but it will take some time, as the technology is still being developed. FeRAM already has the reliability needed, (exceeds 1E16 for its bit error rate), but still needs some work to shrink it.

    I'll just have to be patient. :eek: And it's really hard for me. :p
     
  15. sidewinder macrumors 68020

    sidewinder

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    Dec 10, 2008
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    Northern California
    #15
    SSD's are already being used in Enterprise environments. Look at the Sun Storage 7410 Unified Storage System. The SSD's are being used for both read and write acceleration. ZFS with RAID Z utilizing SSD's is incredible.

    We have several of these 7410's in the data center I manage. Sun has a winner on their hands.

    S-
     
  16. Macinposh macrumors 6502a

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    Kreplakistan
    #16
    Wat?

    I tought samsung promises 2 million read writes to their disk,and they should allso have a "bad sector" recognition in witch bad blocks will be left unused.

    So,by that theory the SSDs should outlast regular HDDs.
     
  17. Dragonforce macrumors 6502a

    Dragonforce

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    Apr 9, 2008
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    London (Ealing) UK
    #17
    Sorry for hijacking your/this thread, but I have a question regarding installation of 2 new optical disk drives in my Mac Pro 1st generation

    My original Apple SuperDrive failed yesterday so I bought 2 new P-ATA ODDs, both still sealed in box. Can I just fit them in the bay without messing around with jumpers and such or do I have to do anything prior wiring the drives ?

    Thanks.
     
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #18
    Thanks. :) I'll have to take a close look at it. ;)

    Would you happen to know the actual drives used?
    I expect they will. But given the current Flash components commonly available, I was expecting this to take some more time. At least another year, possibly two.

    No moving parts is a very good thing. ;)

    I'll have to look at Samsung's offerings. Currently, the last I looked, a drive or two had a 1.2 MTBF rating, but when I looked for the details (error rate), it wasn't listed. To me, this doesn't bode well, as it's common among the consumer drives.

    Then I think about the 100k write cycle limitation. (Per cell BTW). It's not as much of an issue if the data isn't erased. But for say a temp file/directory, I'd think this failure rate would show itself.

    I'm not aware of an OS that has SSD drive optimization built in ATM. OS developers still need some time to work it into existing/soon to be released products from what I understand.

    If you have a source to alternative information, I'd truly appreciate any links. :)
     
  19. hayduke thread starter macrumors 65816

    hayduke

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    #19
  20. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

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    Jan 5, 2008
    #20
    Thanks for the tip...that represents a $100 price drop, making these now a reasonable buy. It now costs me $500 to upgrade all of my HDDs according to my plan...Worth it, you think? Also, I'm thinking about the idea of putting the three 1TB drives on a RAID5 with a card.

    Has anybody around here used the velociraptor as their boot drive? I'm wondering if it'll translate to the speed gains I hope it will. It should, as the hard drives are obviously the bottleneck in my system, but it's always better to ask.
     
  21. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    X25s will run circles around the Velociraptors.
     
  22. Dragonforce macrumors 6502a

    Dragonforce

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    #22
    Well, after fiddling around with those I had to set the jumpers to "cable select" to make both drives work. :rolleyes:
     
  23. sidewinder macrumors 68020

    sidewinder

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    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Northern California
    #23
    The Velociraptor will boot and load applications faster than other hard drives. But, it's not all that much faster than higher capacity nearline storage drives that cost the same or less.

    Also, when you use your system, what is most of the disk activity focused on? Booting and loading applications or reading and writing data? If you are like most people needing fast drives, it is reading and writing data.

    It's cool to have a Velociraptor in the system, but most people just don't need them and they are a waste of money if you don't need them.

    S-
     
  24. Horst Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    #24
    I happen to have one as a boot drive (VR 300GB HLFS), and also used a single WD 500GB drive and 2x WD640GB in Raid0 before that - got my MacPro not too long ago, and had some fun messing with different drive setups.

    In Geekbench and Xbench, the Raid0 array is pretty much identical in speed (read/write) to the Velociraptor 300GB HLFS, so are boot and app launch times, while the single 500GB drive is of course way slower.

    I got a Velociraptor rather cheap on ebay, and had only one HDD bay left in the MP, else I'd have purchased another pair of the WD 640GB (Caviar Black) for a Raid0 boot drive, and used a fast partition (1) for system and apps.

    That said, I only wanted the fast boot drive as I keep all my programs and everyday stuff on it as well, when speed really matters I use a seperate Raid0 array for large project files and scratch.
     
  25. Dragonforce macrumors 6502a

    Dragonforce

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    #25
    I have a WD1500HLFS (the 150GB Velociraptor) in bay#1 as my boot device, with the 320GB stock drive it took my 1st gen MP about 11 secs from chime to login screen, with the VR it takes about 5-6 secs
     

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