Mac Pro - ideal drive configurations?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by smchan, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. smchan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    #1
    After a long absence from Apple (Apple IIc, Mac IIcx, & Mac IIfx!) I'm leaving the land of cheap PC's for something I believe will "just work". My employer bought me a MBP at my request a few months ago, and I've been very pleased with my experience so far - hence my desire to switch at home as well.

    My Mac Pro is on order, and I'm trying to figure out the optimal drive setup. My requirements are:
    - occassional access to Windows via bootcamp (at least until I crossgrade my apps to OS X)
    - photo processing with Photoshop
    - video post-production with Premiere Pro & AE
    - light sound mixing (for video purposes) with Soundbooth
    - VMware virtual machines running Linux for my day job
    - not overly complicated backup scheme

    For drive setup, I'm considering the following 2 scenarios:
    - 1x500g (boot & apps), 2x500g RAID 0 (video, virtual machines), and 1x500G (bootcamp Windows)
    - 3x500g (boot, apps, video, virtual machines) and 1x500G (bootcamp Windows)

    I'm not totally clear on the Pro's software RAID capabilities, nor do I have experience with many of the applications above on OS X, so guidance on how to best configure the machine is appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Sam
     
  2. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #2
    Well of the two setups you described, I personally would prefer the second one. I am not a big fan of software based RAIDs (particularly RAID 0 with it's inherent higher failure rate whether software or hardware RAID- see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_RAID_levels#RAID_0 ) unless there is a definite need to implement them and you have a disciplined backup scheme for them.

    Again in MY eyes since the internal SATA bus on MPs supports SATA II I would not think that the addition of a 2 drive striped RAID would yield enough speed benefit to overcome my paranoia about losing ALL the data on both drives with a bad write. When you talk about 4 drive (or more) RAID 0 arrays for professional use then yes the speed benefit can be quite an attribute (with even less reliability unfortunately), but not so much on a 2 drive array.

    On another line though- with the prices decreasing daily it seems I would seriously look at the WD 2 platter 640Gb drives in place of the 500s for at least the boot drive. Newegg has them for $85 (!!!) and they have gotten rave reviews for performance due to the 2 platter design! A search on these forums (and googling it) will reveal a lot of very good feedback on the drives.
    You can check them out at http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218

    Good luck and enjoy your new machine! Then get busy with Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper and make sure they are all backed up to external drives too! :D
     
  3. Dmac77 macrumors 68020

    Dmac77

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Location:
    Michigan
    #3
    Personally, I would go with option 1 (RAID0 setup) but make sure you back up!!!!!! Nothing worst then one of you drive failing in a RAID0 array.

    Don
     
  4. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #4
    Have you considered hardware RAID? :)
    Use a total of 5 drives. 4 in RAID5 or 6, and the 5th as an OS disk.
     
  5. smchan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    #5
    Argh! Thanks for helping me spend more money. :) I am seriously considering these drives for a RAID 0 array now.

    Sam
     
  6. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #6
    Could have been worse a few months ago when these were $50 or so higher on average! :D
     
  7. Silencio macrumors 68020

    Silencio

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #7
    I too am very satisfied with the Western Digital 640GB drives. Fast, quiet, and affordable.

    One other nice thing about VMware Fusion is it can use your Boot Camp partition as a virtual machine, so if you just need to fire up Windows for something quick and don't need all of your system's horsepower behind it, you can save yourself the time and hassle of rebooting into Windows.
     
  8. Digital Fury macrumors member

    Digital Fury

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    Location:
    In the tall weeds with the big dogs
    #8
    I don't know why you want a specific drive for the Windows partition. I'm currently running OS X and Windows from a single 1 Tb Samsung F1 with a 128 Gb Windows partition. You can resize it later if you want and you can back it up with Winclone. I also clone (delta only) the whole thing with SuperDuper! every night.

    I have setup a RAID0 of 3x F1s with the remaining emplacements and backing this up with hot swappable SATA drives using an USB2 <-> SATA dock thingy.

    Like Silencio said, you can use VMware Fusion (or Parallels) instead of Boot Camp is you don't need to play Windows games or have direct access to the hardware for some reason. Note however that you can also use Fusion or Parallels against the Boot Camp partition, which is useful if you just need to use Windows applications without rebooting, while keeping the capability to reboot strait into Windows to play native games for exampke.
     
  9. smchan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    #9
    I am a huge VMware fan. Started using Workstation 3 and ESX several years ago to create stand-along demo machines for my professional work and use Fusion on my MBP now for those small handful of Windows apps (primarily Visio) I can't use natively on the Mac. So this is exactly my strategy. The only time I'll need to boot Windows native is for performance sensitive apps - the CS3 suite in this case until I can cross-grade from my Windows license to OS X.

    Sam
     
  10. smchan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    #10
    Excellent point. I have a Seagate 7200.11 1TB drive... I could split it for OS X + Windows, then add 2-3 striped RAID 0 drives for "working" video drives and still gain the performance benefits, I presume?

    In fact, I have a pair of these 1TB drives... maybe I could use 1 for boot, 1 for backup, and 2 x whatever (like WD 640s) for video and virtual machines?

    Good ideas all... I'm learning with every post. My OWC memory is due in today, and my MP is due on Friday. Looking forward to a fun weekend project! (Unfortunately, I also have 3 video projects in the queue that I really should finish before I attempt to migrate.)

    Sam
     

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