Mac Pro Upgrades

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by iBeard, Jul 5, 2007.

  1. iBeard macrumors regular

    Jan 4, 2005
    My Mac Pro will be here next week. Here are some upgrades I'm thinking about.

    Stock specs:

    2 x 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    1GB 667 DDR2 FB DIMM ECC (2 x 512)
    ATI Radeon X1900 XT 512MB
    250GB SATA 3Gb/s drive
    16x SuperDrive DL
    Airprt Extreme & BT 2.0+EDR


    2GB OWC 667 DDR2 FB DIMM ECC (1GB x 2)

    and either
    1TB Hitachi 7K1000
    2 x 500GB Maxtor MaXLine Pro in a RAID 0

    and then I'm thinking about the Dell 3007WFP, but I'm not sure about that yet.

    (I'm also thinking about the 24" Dell, 23" and 30" ACD)

    By the way this machine is going to be used mostly for CS3 and FCS.

    Ideas? Suggestions?

  2. flappo macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2003
    in the cubicles
    mine's similar

    2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    4GB 667 DDR2 FB DIMM ECC-4x1GB
    ATI Radeon X1900 XT 512MB
    750GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s drive

    i think 4 gigs is supposed to be the best ram level and the 750 looked enticing as it has a 16 meg buffer

    i'm sure there'll be a blu ray drive we can add in the next few months . too
  3. suneohair macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2006
    What are you using the RAID for? Striping is really only fully utilized in a database or large file, high access situation. If you are going for speed, I would get smaller, faster drives as you would be wasting a lot of the 500GB. Unless you are doing video, but even then a lot of space is waste since you wouldn't want to keep data on those drives due to the lack of fault tolerance.

    The TB drives are might pricey IMO. I would wait til next year for those.

    The 24 Dell is ok, go for the 2407WFP-HC, better color and backlight (the 2407WFP regular version backlight is terrible). The 30" displays are limited as far as input since they have no scaler and they don't have other inputs aside from the DVI (the dell may have analog). If you want other sources, stick with 30" and below. The 27" Dell is super nice looking and a nice performer, it would compliment the Mac Pro very nicely.
    Dell hasn't been selling them too well since they are expensive when you see that the 30" is just a few hundred more. Because of that, I have heard you can call Dell and bargain a bit. Probably getting it below $900. Also, Dells end of quarter is at the end of the month. If they need to get the revenue up they will have some great deals and coupons. Keep an eye out for that.

    I plan on getting a 4GB upgrade when I get my Mac Pro. Just in case FB-DIMMs get more expensive next year. Plus the price per GB is low.

    Its looking good though. Good luck to you.
  4. iBeard thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 4, 2005
    I'm going to be working with DVCPRO HD files, which are decently large.

    And yes I'll need to get another drive for redundancy.
  5. suneohair macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2006
    Cool. I wasn't sure what you would be using them for. Getting another for redundancy is a good thing.

    If you want real speed, I would get a PCIe RAID controller. All the duties would be on the card rather than the OS. More reliable IMO.

    I hope my other advice helped. I am always looking at display stuff so if you have questions please feel free to ask.
  6. dollystereo macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2004
    Dont do raids, they are unsecure, I los 600 GB last year, cause one of my 300Gb Seagate drives failed. I think Dvcpro Hd is not that bandwidth hungry.
    Just my 2 cents.
    Drive Fails, it happens!
  7. suneohair macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2006
    If he is running a RAID 5, he would be fine in reality. The only thing is if something happens to the computer, bye bye data. I am going to assume he has a backup plan in place.
  8. bocomo macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2007
    New York
    i have a very similar setup for heavy ps cs3 use and i couldn't be happier (well, adding to my 3GB of ram would make me happier)

    i would echo the backup advice given because i have lost data to HD crashes too
  9. macpro8 macrumors newbie

    Jul 3, 2007
    macpro 8-core

    i'm planning on getting my macpro in october when leopard arrivals, and i'm getting a 30-inch apple cinema display. my advice get the 30-inch and if you can afford the 30-inch apple get it, the dell 30-inch is $500 cheaper.
  10. hayduke macrumors 65816


    Mar 8, 2005
    is a state of mind.
    Any suggestions for a card and a RAID box? I can't justify the cost of an x-serve RAID and I'm not (too) scared of linux.

    Regarding a few earlier posts RAID 0 is just plain dumb. Unless you mirror it to another RAID 0 in which case you might as well RAID 5. I think most folks won't feel the RAID0 speed increase and the risk is to heavy (see the post above about loosing data). No offense, but you only loose data if you have a bad back-up scheme. Drives are cheap compared to 100s of hours of work etc.
  11. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    I disagree, I don't think cards are significantly faster nor do I think they're more reliable.

    The difference in speed is rarely detectable on most modern machines. Maybe for large arrays (like 5 or 6 drives), but for 2 drives, no big deal.

    As far as reliability, that's totally untrue. Corruption of the RAID configuration is more of an issue, for sure, but it's still not much of an issue.

    The bigger issue is if your controller dies or you want to move the RAID to another computer.

    With software RAID in OS X, you can plug arrays into any computer you want, as long as it has OS X. The RAID will automatically be detected and interpreted correctly.

    With a PCIe card, you run the risk of your computer dying and not being as able to transport the RAID to another computer (it certainly wouldn't be as easy).

    Anyways, I used to be full-on in favor of hardware RAID. Now I only like it because usually it supports RAID 5 (though rarely on macs). RAID 5 is really, really cool. However, hardware RAID is more expensive and far less portable.
  12. suneohair macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2006

    My point was that software requires CPU cycles. With RAID be handled by your CPU I think your chances of corruption is more likely than if the controller is handling it. And obviously if you are rendering video, there aren't as many cycles there for the RAID to get busy, so you would take a hit in speed. And the whole point of getting a RAID has just been negated by your software.

    You can't say everyone should use software or that software is better because you say so. Read the link I provided which sums it up nicely. There is no "get this" standard that exists. Everyone has different uses and different budgets. Hardware offers more options and doesn't use system resources like software does.

    Each one has their place. My point was saying to look at it. The speed gain may not be super but hardware has its advantages.

    If it was me, I am less concerned with speed and more concerned with the important of my data. I would look into a Drobo or a system like it. RAID has no real place in a desktop IMO.
  13. Digidesign macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2002
    Like you mentioned earlier, it depends on what you use it for. For pro apps like Final Cut Pro, having a 4xdisc RAID-0 setup has sped up my production process tremendously, despite the fact that it's software controlled. I'd respectfully disagree that the software negates the benefit from the RAID.

    One thing about the hardware vs. software RAID... I recently had to move my OS drive (2 partitions: OSX + Vista)from an external eSATA enclosure back into the main bay so that Windows Vista could boot (it won't boot off an eSATA connection). I swapped one of my four RAID-0 drives from the internal bay with the external eSATA OS drive, and OSX picked up the change automatically as if nothing happened. I'd venture to guess that this ease of use is due to the software controller.

    I agree though that for performance and dependability, hardware RAID is superior than software RAID.
  14. iBeard thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 4, 2005
    Now I'm thinking about running a RAID setup like the one in the article you posted. but with a much larger Speed partition because I'll be working with HD.

    I'll probably pick up 4 of those 500GB Maxtors to run the setup.
  15. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    I didn't say software is better, I said it's better in certain ways and the the downsides aren't that bad.

    Of course it's slower than hardware RAID, and of course, it's got fewer options.

    However, it's not that much slower and for a 2 drive setup, you don't need that many options.

    Also, data corruption is not actually that likely with software RAID, but obviously it's more likely with software than with hardware RAID.

    In my experience, the portability of Software RAID in OS X (yes, I know the software standards are arbitrary and unique to each company) makes up for any downsides you may have.

    I've had computers fail and it was nice just plugging in the drives to a new computer with no special hardware and simply continuing as if nothing happened.

    Bottom line: For people using 2 drive setups in OS X, the portability of software RAID probably makes it more useful than hardware. Not to mention, it's cheaper because you need no special hardware.

    And, on a side note, no hardware RAID option for Intel Macs apart from possibly firewire bridgeboards offer SMART info.
  16. suneohair macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2006
    I think you are right slughead. It depends on the use. My only beef is that people expect to see ungodly speed increases but the usage patterns of someone, even someone doing video just don't match what RAID is capable of. Which is mostly my point.

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