Grumply

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 24, 2017
206
118
Melbourne, Australia
Hi guys,

Having priced up a new 7,1 I'm feeling the urge to see if there's anything more I can do to max out my already maxed-out 2010 5,1 for Colour Grading and Video Production.

Currently I have:

- 12-core 3.46Ghz
- High Sierra
- 64GB RAM
- 12GB Nvidia Titan X (flashed)
- 4x USB3 Card
- Blackmagic Decklink Mini Monitor 4k (Video I/O Card)
- Sonnet Tempo Pro Plus (Dual SSD Card)

With the following hard drive layout:
- 512GB 2.5" SSD Boot Drive (gets approx 250MB/s)
- 4x 6TB Spinning Drives in RAID5 (gets approx 250MB/s)
- 2x 2TB 2.5" SSDs in RAID 0 via the Sonnet card (gets approx 900MB/s)

So all of my PCI slots are full, all of my drive sleds are full, and I'm stealing power from the second SATA cable in the optical bay, in order to feed the Titan X enough power that it doesn't have a conniption.

It's still a beefy machine, but I'm wondering if there's anything else I can do to help push around the crazy high volumes of data that video production entails (and net me smoother playback in Davinci Resolve)?

My first thought is to replace the current 2.5" SSD Card with a Sonnet M.2 4x4 PCIe Card ( https://www.sonnetstore.com/collections/pcie-cards/products/sonnet-m2-4x4-pcie-card ), and then stuff it full of four 2TB Samsung EVO Plus M.2 SSDs (which get around 3000MB/s each). And then turn three of them into a 6TB RAID0 (to use for storing the immediate files I'm working with), and then use the 4th M.2 for a cache drive.

This is the easiest upgrade to justify as I'll simply be able to port the card and M.2 drives over to whatever eventually replaces the 5,1.

Doing so will free up two nice 2.5" 860 Pro 2TB SSDs though, so I'm wondering what can be done with those in the 5,1's normal SATAII HDD bays?

I'm already getting 250MB/s from the RAID5 made of 4 spinning drives (which I gather is about the limit that a single SSD will run at in those SATAII bays. But if I put a 2TB 2.5" SSD in each of the bays and RAID them together, will that get me up to 500- 600MB/s? I've read several threads that seem to suggest that 500-600MB/s is as fast as you can possibly get on the SATAII internals, but even though that's not fast by today's standards, it's still the normal speed of a straight 2.5" SSD, and it's twice as fast as the 250MB/s I'm currently getting. So if there's any way I can make that happen, I think that would help too.

Also, while we're at it. I can get 2TB M.2 drives for the same price as the 2.5" ones at the moment, and I'd MUCH prefer to invest in the more future-proof option. Is there any way to adapt and run M.2 SSDs in the 5,1's internal SATAII bays? And if I can plug them in, will it be possible to form a software RAID between 2x 2TB M.2 SSDs and 2x 2TB 2.5" SSDs?

I'm also pondering the possibility of add a PCI-extension box, and using that to add a second Titan X card to the mix. Is that possible with the 5,1? And is it worthwhile?

The Sonnet 4x4 M.2 card requires one of the x16 PCI Slots, so that only leaves the one to work from for GPUs - can you feed two GPUs into a single x16 slot via an extension box?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated.

Cheers
 

tsialex

macrumors G3
Jun 13, 2016
9,138
9,778
M.2 is a format. This format have SATA, PCIe AHCI and PCIe NVMe blades. M.2 SATA and M.2 PCIe are not compatible. PCIe AHCI and NVMe are electrically compatible, just the data protocol changes.

You can convert M.2 SATA blades using adapters to be used with MP5,1 SATA ports, but this is a kludge and you will spend a lot to have the same thing as a 2,5 SATA SSD, with exactly the same SATA2 limits. Forget this.

M.2 SATA blades cannot be used with PCIe switched cards like the Sonnet or High Point.
 
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krakman

macrumors 6502
Dec 3, 2009
286
300
I would propose the HWaccel hack but you need an AMD GPU and MoJave the best card for this is the Radeon VII but i don't know whether it will improve performance in Resolve???

this hack enables hardware acceleration of h264 encode and decode. i use FCPX and compressor and the speed improvement is worthwhile.
 
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Grumply

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 24, 2017
206
118
Melbourne, Australia
Thanks guys, appreciate it.

After a bunch of back-and-forth, staring at a shopping cart filled with 4x M.2 2TB Samsung EVO Plus SSDs and another shopping cart with the Sonnet card in it. I kept digging around further (prompted by the desire to not spend an extra $1,200 on top of the $2,800 it'd cost for the M.2 SSDs + M.2 4x4 Card) in order to get another two old-fashioned 2.5" 2TB SSDs (to fill the internal SATA bays with 4x 2TB SSDs in an expensive and underwhelming RAID 0).

This led me to pondering whether I could squeeze faster speeds out of the 2.5" SSDs I already have, using my Sonnet USB3 Card. I discovered that I couldn't, but that you can now get a 4x USB3.1 Gen2 (10GBps) card to replace the older USB3.0 (5GBps) version.

And pairing the newer USB card with a little dual SSD RAID box, I should be able to get around 800MB/s out of the two 2TB SSDs I currently have in the internal Sonnet PCI SSD card.

Then, to complicate things further, the two Sonnet cards are about 33% cheaper ordered from OWC in the US, than they are to source here in Australia. And whilst I was adding them to my OWC shopping cart, I stumbled across OWC's 8TB Accelsior 4M2 PCIe M.2 NVMe SSD Storage Solution. Which is basically the same thing as the Sonnet M.2 4x4 card, but bundled with 4x OWC 2TB Aura P12 NVMe SSDs. And it works out to be about $1,800 AUD compared to $2,800 AUD for the Samsung EVOs + the Sonnet card(!)

So I've managed to both save myself $1,000 overall, and maintain the performance of the 4TB SSD RAID 0 I currently have mounted internally, by simply moving it into an external box and updating my USB3.0 card to USB3.1

And all of these parts will be able to simply transfer over to 7,1 Mac Pro (if I eventually go that route), or to basically any other machine via PCI ports or expansion boxes.
 
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tsialex

macrumors G3
Jun 13, 2016
9,138
9,778
Thanks guys, appreciate it.

After a bunch of back-and-forth, staring at a shopping cart filled with 4x M.2 2TB Samsung EVO Plus SSDs and another shopping cart with the Sonnet card in it. I kept digging around further (prompted by the desire to not spend an extra $1,200 on top of the $2,800 it'd cost for the M.2 SSDs + M.2 4x4 Card) in order to get another two old-fashioned 2.5" 2TB SSDs (to fill the internal SATA bays with 4x 2TB SSDs in an expensive and underwhelming RAID 0).

This led me to pondering whether I could squeeze faster speeds out of the 2.5" SSDs I already have, using my Sonnet USB3 Card. I discovered that I couldn't, but that you can now get a 4x USB3.1 Gen2 (10GBps) card to replace the older USB3.0 (5GBps) version.

And pairing the newer USB card with a little dual SSD RAID box, I should be able to get around 800MB/s out of the two 2TB SSDs I currently have in the internal Sonnet PCI SSD card.

Then, to complicate things further, the two Sonnet cards are about 33% cheaper ordered from OWC in the US, than they are to source here in Australia. And whilst I was adding them to my OWC shopping cart, I stumbled across OWC's 8TB Accelsior 4M2 PCIe M.2 NVMe SSD Storage Solution. Which is basically the same thing as the Sonnet M.2 4x4 card, but bundled with 4x OWC 2TB Aura P12 NVMe SSDs. And it works out to be about $1,800 AUD compared to $2,800 AUD for the Samsung EVOs + the Sonnet card(!)

So I've managed to both save myself $1,000 overall, and maintain the performance of the 4TB SSD RAID 0 I currently have mounted internally, by simply moving it into an external box and updating my USB3.0 card to USB3.1

And all of these parts will be able to simply transfer over to 7,1 Mac Pro (if I eventually go that route), or to basically any other machine via PCI ports or expansion boxes.
Accelsior 4M2 PCIe is half a Sonnet/HighPoint, it's a x8 card with ASM2824 PCIe switch. OWC is hiding this very cleverly.
 
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Grumply

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 24, 2017
206
118
Melbourne, Australia
Accelsior 4M2 PCIe is half a Sonnet/HighPoint, it's a x8 card with ASM2824 PCIe switch. OWC is hiding this very cleverly.

What does that mean for performance (relative to Sonnet's 4x4 card)?

They say it'll manage up to 6000MB/s in RAID 0, and since the M.2 drives are so fast natively, I probably won't RAID them at all.

What do you lose out on having an x8 card with a ASM2824 switch compared to a x16 card?
 
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tsialex

macrumors G3
Jun 13, 2016
9,138
9,778
What does that mean for performance (relative to Sonnet's 4x4 card)?

Half lanes, half performance, around 2900MB/s total throughput (total = all blades simultaneously with RAID-0)

They say it'll manage up to 6000MB/s in RAID 0, and since the M.2 drives are so fast natively, I probably won't RAID them at all.
With a PCIe 3.0 x8 slot, only MP7,1 and PCs have PCIe 3.0, not with a PCIe 2.0 MP5,1. Never buy OWC marketing without doublechecking it.

What do you lose out on having an x8 card with a ASM2824 switch compared to a x16 card?
Throughput.

Your MP5,1 can get ~6200MB/s with a PCIe 3.0 x16 adapter like Sonnet/HighPoint/Amfeltec. 2900MB/s with cards that have ASM2824 switch like OWC and IO-Crest/SYBA.

For real, it's not a wise decision to buy this card to use with a MP5,1 since you can buy HighPoint SSD7101A-1 from Amazon Promos for around $275~300.
 
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defjam

macrumors 6502a
Sep 15, 2019
795
733
It sounds as if you've reached the practical limits of the 5,1 and investing any more money into it doesn't appear to be justified. I would recommend you reconsider the 2019 Mac Pro. It may cost more than an upgrade but you'll be starting from a position where it can grow over time (much like the 5,1 did). The 5,1 is a solid system (writing this on mine) but it looks as if you've reached its limits and the money spent on these moderate upgrades may be better spent on a new system (wow, is it refreshing to say this!)
 
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iluvmacs99

macrumors 6502a
Apr 9, 2019
819
596
Hi guys,

Having priced up a new 7,1 I'm feeling the urge to see if there's anything more I can do to max out my already maxed-out 2010 5,1 for Colour Grading and Video Production.

Currently I have:

- 12-core 3.46Ghz
- High Sierra
- 64GB RAM
- 12GB Nvidia Titan X (flashed)
- 4x USB3 Card
- Blackmagic Decklink Mini Monitor 4k (Video I/O Card)
- Sonnet Tempo Pro Plus (Dual SSD Card)

With the following hard drive layout:
- 512GB 2.5" SSD Boot Drive (gets approx 250MB/s)
- 4x 6TB Spinning Drives in RAID5 (gets approx 250MB/s)
- 2x 2TB 2.5" SSDs in RAID 0 via the Sonnet card (gets approx 900MB/s)

So all of my PCI slots are full, all of my drive sleds are full, and I'm stealing power from the second SATA cable in the optical bay, in order to feed the Titan X enough power that it doesn't have a conniption.

It's still a beefy machine, but I'm wondering if there's anything else I can do to help push around the crazy high volumes of data that video production entails (and net me smoother playback in Davinci Resolve)?

My first thought is to replace the current 2.5" SSD Card with a Sonnet M.2 4x4 PCIe Card ( https://www.sonnetstore.com/collections/pcie-cards/products/sonnet-m2-4x4-pcie-card ), and then stuff it full of four 2TB Samsung EVO Plus M.2 SSDs (which get around 3000MB/s each). And then turn three of them into a 6TB RAID0 (to use for storing the immediate files I'm working with), and then use the 4th M.2 for a cache drive.

This is the easiest upgrade to justify as I'll simply be able to port the card and M.2 drives over to whatever eventually replaces the 5,1.

Doing so will free up two nice 2.5" 860 Pro 2TB SSDs though, so I'm wondering what can be done with those in the 5,1's normal SATAII HDD bays?

I'm already getting 250MB/s from the RAID5 made of 4 spinning drives (which I gather is about the limit that a single SSD will run at in those SATAII bays. But if I put a 2TB 2.5" SSD in each of the bays and RAID them together, will that get me up to 500- 600MB/s? I've read several threads that seem to suggest that 500-600MB/s is as fast as you can possibly get on the SATAII internals, but even though that's not fast by today's standards, it's still the normal speed of a straight 2.5" SSD, and it's twice as fast as the 250MB/s I'm currently getting. So if there's any way I can make that happen, I think that would help too.

Also, while we're at it. I can get 2TB M.2 drives for the same price as the 2.5" ones at the moment, and I'd MUCH prefer to invest in the more future-proof option. Is there any way to adapt and run M.2 SSDs in the 5,1's internal SATAII bays? And if I can plug them in, will it be possible to form a software RAID between 2x 2TB M.2 SSDs and 2x 2TB 2.5" SSDs?

I'm also pondering the possibility of add a PCI-extension box, and using that to add a second Titan X card to the mix. Is that possible with the 5,1? And is it worthwhile?

The Sonnet 4x4 M.2 card requires one of the x16 PCI Slots, so that only leaves the one to work from for GPUs - can you feed two GPUs into a single x16 slot via an extension box?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated.

Cheers

Do you really want to spend anymore money on an obsolete production platform? Mac Pro 5,1 final OS support is Mojave and if you are using Davinci Resolve 16 as your color grading and video production system, then this program is certified to work with Mojave and Catalina, though Blackmagic said it's ok with High Sierra. But I don't foresee any further support for Mac Pro 5,1 when the 7,1 is here now. Newer programs will take advantage of the newer and more powerful GPU or GPU array as well as the accelerator card that helps with encoding video files. The disk system array would probably be much faster than the 5,1. Would it not be prudent to save the money and scope out a 7,1 system that will help you achieve better efficiency in your workflow?
 
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Grumply

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 24, 2017
206
118
Melbourne, Australia
Half lanes, half performance, around 2900MB/s total throughput (total = all blades simultaneously with RAID-0)

With a PCIe 3.0 x8 slot, only MP7,1 and PCs have PCIe 3.0, not with a PCIe 2.0 MP5,1. Never buy OWC marketing without doublechecking it.

Throughput.

Your MP5,1 can get ~6200MB/s with a PCIe 3.0 x16 adapter like Sonnet/HighPoint/Amfeltec. 2900MB/s with cards that have ASM2824 switch like OWC and IO-Crest/SYBA.

For real, it's not a wise decision to buy this card to use with a MP5,1 since you can buy HighPoint SSD7101A-1 from Amazon Promos for around $275~300.

Those cheeky buggers!

My heart jumped into my mouth for a couple of minutes there. I took another look though, and after a brief conniption I've made my peace with it. For the sale price I've got the 8TB Accelsior for, I'm actually saving about $400 over just buying the M.2 SSDs by themselves, so the price is still right. And I can deal with a 2900MB/s limit (I wasn't planning to RAID the M.2s anyway), so the speed will be sufficient for my 5,1 and I'll get the full speed out of it when I eventually upgrade to a newer machine.

Still, it's needlessly cheeky marketing on OWC's part.

It sounds as if you've reached the practical limits of the 5,1 and investing any more money into it doesn't appear to be justified. I would recommend you reconsider the 2019 Mac Pro. It may cost more than an upgrade but you'll be starting from a position where it can grow over time (much like the 5,1 did). The 5,1 is a solid system (writing this on mine) but it looks as if you've reached its limits and the money spent on these moderate upgrades may be better spent on a new system (wow, is it refreshing to say this!)

I think you're probably right. But these particular 5,1 investments are totally fine, because I'd need to buy them for any 7,1 build I eventually do anyway. So when the time comes I'll just unplug them from the old and move them to the new.
 
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tsialex

macrumors G3
Jun 13, 2016
9,138
9,778
Those cheeky buggers!

My heart jumped into my mouth for a couple of minutes there. I took another look though, and after a brief conniption I've made my peace with it. For the sale price I've got the 8TB Accelsior for, I'm actually saving about $400 over just buying the M.2 SSDs by themselves, so the price is still right. And I can deal with a 2900MB/s limit (I wasn't planning to RAID the M.2s anyway), so the speed will be sufficient for my 5,1 and I'll get the full speed out of it when I eventually upgrade to a newer machine.

Still, it's needlessly cheeky marketing on OWC's part.



I think you're probably right. But these particular 5,1 investments are totally fine, because I'd need to buy them for any 7,1 build I eventually do anyway. So when the time comes I'll just unplug them from the old and move them to the new.
If it works for you, good. I wouldn't buy something from a company that so cleverly hide the specs, they never said that's a x8 card, you have to look at the data sheet of the ASM2824 PCIe switch to know it. Imagine what they do with the customers that need warranty/support.

Just one note, people here are already on the third warranty replacement of M.2 blades/adapters from OWC. Some of theirs products are good, but some are a real disaster. If you search carefully, you will see that some people are just too tired of the OWC warranty process and just taking the loss.
 
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Grumply

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 24, 2017
206
118
Melbourne, Australia
If it works for you, good. I wouldn't buy something from a company that so cleverly hide the specs, they never said that's a x8 card, you have to look at the data sheet of the ASM2824 PCIe switch to know it. Imagine what they do with the customers that need warranty/support.

Just one note, people here are already on the third warranty replacement of M.2 blades/adapters from OWC. Some of theirs products are good, but some are a real disaster. If you search carefully, you will see that some people are just too tired of the OWC warranty process and just taking the loss.

Yeah, it’s pretty ******. That said, there’s a confidence that comes with using a company that actively supports these ridiculous 9-year old computers we’re having to use.

I’ve needed warranty replacements for OWC RAM in the past, but the replacements have been well handled, so I’m comfortable with them.

The rated endurance of the OWC Aura P12 is supposedly a significant step up over the 970 Samsung Evo Plus. Hopefully reality bares that out.
 
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