Mac pro ram and raid 0 vs SSD

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Viper95, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. Viper95 macrumors newbie

    Mar 22, 2012
    I'm getting a new 8 core Mac Pro with the GPU (or GFX?) upgrade. The programs I mainly use are:

    Logic Pro 9

    Would 16GB be enough for my needs? What would be the difference between kings tons hyper X ram and the value series? If they both run at the same clock speed, how can their be a difference?

    As for hard drives, I have a few options:

    1. Two WD caviar blacks set to raid 0 for OS, one caviar black for audio files and one hard drive for windows.

    2. Three caviar blacks set to raid 0 for OS, and one hard drive for audio files

    3. Four caviar blacks set to raid

    4. One intel Solid State Drive for OS, two hard drives set to mirror raid for audio files, and one hard drive for windows.

    Which one would be faster and by how much? Can an external hard drive be setup for raid 0? Can solid states be set to raid 0?

  2. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    Given your usage, 16GB of RAM would be more than adequate. As for the RAM itself, Kingston's HyperX RAM usually has more aggressive timings for lower latency. It's generally targeted to gamers and overclockers.

    Nonetheless, I would suggest looking at Mac-specific modules instead. Mac-specific modules will be ECC and have the proper thermal sensors specified by Apple. A 16GB kit (4x4GB modules) is $127.99 at OWC.

    Out of those four options, I would lean more towards #4. There's a higher probability of failure when drives are striped as RAID-0 and that's pretty risky for a boot volume, IMHO. A single SSD as your boot volume would actually be faster than a pair of striped Caviar Blacks in the same role.

    I would probably also consider buying a FW800 drive to be used as a Time Machine backup. RAID-1 does offer redundancy, but it's not the same thing as having a true backup because it won't protect you from mishaps (such deleting important files on accident; they'll vanish on both drives).

    Yes, you can set up external drives as RAID-0, but you would need identical drives in an enclosure and also connected via a faster method than FW800. RAID-0 is pointless over FW800, as a single modern mechanical drive will totally saturate FW800's bandwidth and then some. You would want to use eSATA, which would require an expansion card.

    And yes, you can set up SSDs in RAID-0, but to reap the speed benefits, you would need a 6G SATA card. The internal SATA bus on the Mac Pro is 3G (you'll easily bottleneck with newer SSDs).
  3. Loa macrumors 68000


    May 5, 2003

    I agree with what the Captain said, but I'd go one step further with an option #5:

    SSD for boot (in the 2nd optical bay if empty), with a RAID0 of 2 or 3 Blacks in the remaining slots, plus your windows drive.

    As for back-up: don't use RAID1 or any of the mirroring RAIDs. Redundancy is not back-up. Just have 2 back-ups in different locations, and you're just as safe as you can be.

  4. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    True 6G HBA/RAID cards (8x PCI) are a waste for internal use unless you are going all in and replacing the backplane for all drives and doing more than just RAID0 or single SSD for boot. 2x3G RAID0 SSD's net you same as 1x 6G SSD. You can get an Intel 520 240GB for 320.00 or so. The absolute cheapest 6G bootable card is around the same price. So do you want 6G speeds with 480GB of SSD storage or spend the same amount of money for 240GB of SSD storage and a snarly cable mess inside your box to get you over 540MB/s R/W? Keep in mind there is a limit to X58 bandwidth in general so if you need more than 700MB/s at any given point getting a RAID card WOULD be beneficial. These are really rare cases though. Also could take a look at this bad boy. Super fast and super clean for your insides. Also kind of effectively killed my desire for 6G SATA.
  5. iNeedAMacPro, Apr 22, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2012

    iNeedAMacPro macrumors member

    Jan 23, 2012
    Hi Viper95,

    I'm a musician and even if I don't use a Mac I can help you a bit. First of all, I don't know how many VST instruments you will use but generally speaking you want a lot of ram if you use a lot of sample based instruments. I have 32 gb of ram and when I load a full orchestra I have 5, 6 gb left. Make sure you get RAM with fast timings.

    I would not go for RAID. Once you load the samples they are stored in the ram so unless you just want them load fast you don't really need to risk choosing RAID. Just spread your libraries across 2-3 hard drives 7200 or 10000 rpm. SSD is of course good for the booting drive. Good luck.
  6. CaptainChunk, Apr 22, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2012

    CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    Yeah, I SO want one of those... I think that might be my next splurge after a new GPU. And I really love how you can replace the blades with ones with bigger modules down the road. That's a really cool feature.
  7. throAU macrumors 601


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    SSD would be faster, but sticking with hard drives...

    Considered RAID10? You get both speed and resiliency for both your OS and your data and can sustain up to 2 drive failures with no impact to performance.

    You don't need to think about where to put stuff because you just have one big pool.

    I mean, if you're doing pro level type stuff, your data is probably far bigger than your apps - which means you likely want to be able to read it and write it faster than single drive speed.

    And yes, RAID is not a backup. It is for speed and/or business continuity under hard disk failure. Not data protection... bad data written to a RAID set due to software bug (or user error), crash, etc or the box frying all its drives due to power problem (not unheard of) still means you lose data with RAID.

    No one thinks they'll lose data due to user error until it is too late :D

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