Mini Server Raid-0 Upgrade...

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by whyrichard, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. whyrichard macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002

    I am in the process of upgrading my old Mac Mini Server (2.53ghz, 4 gigs ram) with new hard drives.

    I am thinking of getting two 1 terabyte 2.5" hard drives and setting them up in a Raid-0 configuration.

    A few questions:
    -Is this a good idea for a server?

    -How much of an improvement will there be in speed?

    -What is the easiest / safest way to preform this upgrade while avoiding starting from scratch?

    -Hard Drive suggestions? Normally I would get a Western Digital, but Hitachi's and Samsung's are getting good reviews on NewEgg...


  2. mus0r macrumors regular

    Mar 27, 2005
    Striping two laptop drives is pretty silly, IMO. The speed of those drives is low and you'd be better off buying an external RAID array with 3.5" drives or just a higher capacity SSD.
  3. whyrichard thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002
    What about:

    Internal SSD for bootdisk (say about 80gb)
    External RAID-0 3.5" HD's...

    What external RAID hardware do I need for this?


  4. mus0r macrumors regular

    Mar 27, 2005
    That is similar to what I have. I have a 2012 with Fusion drive and a 4 bay RAID 5 array.

    As far as what to get, that's more a matter of budget than anything. I got my
    from for $200 which is absurdly low. I am very happy with it. I also set up 2 of the new Promise Thunderbolt units which are very nice and very pricey.
  5. whyrichard thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002
    So... would you all recommend an internal bootdisk SSD (80gb) and an external RAID0 Array?

    This would be a sweet spot for speed on a 2.53ghz mini server?


  6. mus0r macrumors regular

    Mar 27, 2005
    It really depends on what you're trying to do. A SSD boot drive is always a good thing, if you can. As far as storage speed goes, it depends on what you're doing. I do audio and I use RAID 5. It's not as fast, but it's safe. And after losing a great deal of work when a drive failed, safe was what I was after.

    If you do RAID 0, I highly suggest a good backup strategy. One drive dies and your array is FUBAR.
  7. whyrichard thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002

    I would be using a time capsule for a constant time machine backup. I would also have an offsite backup for emergencies.... good plan, ya?

    always painful to loose work...

    we are a design/sculpture/architecture studio. our files are 3d modeling files approaching 100gb's.... 3 macs on ethernet...

  8. mus0r macrumors regular

    Mar 27, 2005
    Will files be shared between users, or simply stored on the server for individual use?
  9. monkeybagel macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2011
    United States

    RAID 0 would never be a good idea for a server. RAID 1, 5, 6 or 10 would be the optimal RAID option. In a Mac mini, internally you would be limited to RAID 1.
  10. mus0r macrumors regular

    Mar 27, 2005
    I agree never a good idea. I disagree that you can only do RAID 1. Disk Utility allows RAID 0, I've done it.
  11. whyrichard thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002
    The files will be shared on the server. 3 users accessing them, but with little opportunity for conflicts.

    I was thinking of raid0 for maximum speed... but if no one recommends raid 0 what are my external raid options that maximize speed?

    I thought that since internally I am limited to 2.5" hd's that an external raid enclosure would be faster due to the ability of being able to use 3.5" disks...?



    I see on wiki:
    In RAID 10, often referred to as RAID 1+0 (mirroring and striping), data is written in stripes across primary disks that have been mirrored to the secondary disks.

    How many disks do i need to pull this off? 3? and would this be easy enough to set up?

    2x 1tb drives in raid 0, mirrored to a 2tb drive?

    That sounds quite nice...

  12. mus0r macrumors regular

    Mar 27, 2005
    When I had a Mac Pro I used a nested RAID setup. I had a mirror of 1TB stripes. So ((500)-R0-(500)-R1-(500)R0(500)) if that bad diagram makes sense. I always get confused as to whether that's RAID10 or RAID01 or if they're the same.
  13. whyrichard thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002

    ... I got a "G Speed Q", 4tb arranged in a RAID-5 config, hooked up to the mac mini server through firewire 800.

    When hooked up to ethernet, speed tests are not so different from the internal 5200 drive:

    Opening a 127mb file with rhino:
    -16 seconds from the mini internal 5200 rpm HD
    -15 seconds from the g-drive.

    Surprised! my question is:
    to quote jack... so... "is this as good as it gets?"

  14. mus0r macrumors regular

    Mar 27, 2005
    If you're going to use FW800, yeah. Why would you hook multiple drives up to an interface that's slower than the interface of a single modern drive?
  15. whyrichard thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002
    is there a way to connect the gdrive to the mini any faster? it supports esata and comes with the cables... can i hook into the mini using esata?

  16. mus0r macrumors regular

    Mar 27, 2005
    If your Mini is one with USB 3.0 (a 2012 model) then you can get a USB 3.0 to eSATA adapter for about $20.
  17. whyrichard thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002
  18. opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    How does he connect the external raid at decent speeds? He has an 'old' Mac mini so I am guessing no USB 3. Also you can get 7200 1tb drives 2.5" drives.
  19. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    In general I would agree with you but here is something to think about -

    A single drive may fail and of course a striped set of drives may fail. Either way, one has to consider doing backups. In this case, if a single drive is used for booting, OS and perhaps apps, it could always fail. A striped set of drives is the same in that if a drive fails, it is no different than a single drive failing. The question remains if and when a drive or a drive in a striped set will fail. Ultimately, it would require replacement in either scenarios.

    I have had a striped pair of drives in a Mini that was extremely fast (2xSSD) and one drive failed. I was able to use a backup and restore to one good SSD drive and continue working. The key was having the back up available and luckily, no data was lost due to timing of drive failure. The disadvantage of striped drives is two fold - 1) ease of replacement: requires a small amount more work to get drives in and out and 2) the arguable notion of two drives are riskier than one for drive failure.

    Over time, I prefer to have a single drive in my system and all other drives external when possible. The only exception is with a Mac Pro as the sleds are rather easy to get to and "repair" is usually quick.

    So for the original sub-thread on internal drives within this thread - nothing wrong with striped drives as long as you have a good back up plan and consider the efforts required to replace drives as part of your plan (money and time and labour).
  20. Giuly, May 1, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014

    Giuly macrumors 68040


    You get a NAS and connect it via Gigabit Ethernet.

    Also, replacing the 5400RPM boot drive with an SSD might be a good idea.
  21. monkeybagel macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2011
    United States

    That would be the main point there. With the other RAID formats, there would be zero downtime, where with RAID0 you are guaranteed downtime, even with a perfect backup.
  22. opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    Unless you aggregate the Gigabit with a second TB Gigabit adapter (as well as have a switch and NAS and network that supports aggregation), in otherwords run dual Gigabit to all devices) then I don't consider a Gigabit NAS that much faster than Firewire 800. If you want the full speed from two 7200rpm drives in an external RAID enclosure (on RAID-0) then you need to either run it via USB 3.0, or TB, or TB to eSata. The drives will bottle neck on a NAS. I dont see the OP has any of these options (USB3.0 or eSATA) short of buying a Belkin TB Hub to get USB3.0 (which is only running at half USB 3.0 speeds) or Lacie TB to eSata Hub.

    He is better to buy two HGST 7200rpm 2.5" drives and run them on his SataIII internal connections or a HGST drive again with a 960GB SSD in a fusion setup. Both give him 2TB size volume at a minimum 250MB/s speed. I get around 130MB/s out of my HGST 7200 2.5" drive (by its self).

    I get 109MB/s max over my Gigabit connection and around 200 when running IEEE 802.3ad (aggregated Dual Gigabit). I don't have a NAS, but I am guessing that would be the speed between the NAS enclosure and the mini.

    All I am saying is that a NAS would not be reasonable in speed relative to USB 3.0, eSATA, internal SATA or TB. So the OP should go internal unless he has those options.
  23. philipma1957, May 1, 2013
    Last edited: May 1, 2013

    philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    Your gear is old and outdated for the gear you attached it to>

    I am sorry I missed this thread. you can't speed it up very much but you have a few saves. If you know how to set your gear back to the snow leopard osx it came with then update to snow leopard 10.6.8.

    you can sell your machine off on ebay. this is assuming that you run lion or mountain lion right now and do not need snow leopard.

    your mini can run:

    snow leopard, lion, mountain lion.

    it can run windows vista, windows 7 ,windows 8 and linux. if you sell the mini on ebay configured with 10.6.8 and the oem dvds it will sell for a lot of money.

    then buy this gear.

    this will run far faster and more efficiently then your equipment. it will allow for a faster connection to the new gear you purchased.

    when you advertise the older gear list all the osx that it can run.

    Of course if you need snow leopard none of my advice is worth a thing. what did you pay for the g speed ? $799.95 if you did see if you can return it for this

    this machine will destroy your g speed machine. hooked up to a 2011 that i linked you will double your speeds.

    your cost would be about 100 to 150 more for the pegasus then the g- speed. the g speed is old tech.

    the server mini i linked would be around 800 with tax but i think your mini can get more then 600 on ebay due to all the osx's it can run. that is 200 more. if you did the 2 moves you may pay 300 more but your gear would be really quick. also the pegasus can swap 1 drive for an ssd and boot if it is hooked up to the 2011 mini.
  24. Giuly macrumors 68040


    A RAID0 of some 128GB SSDs is faster than this for small block sizes. And you should be able to fuse this with an external (RAID of) hard drives via FW800 as well.

    Also, a 2009 Mac Mini doesn't have internal SATA-III, it's SATA-II, but you can always do the eSATA mod to route out something faster than 1GBit/s.
  25. gtstricky macrumors regular


    Apr 19, 2012
    My 2 cents...

    Are you just sharing docs and thinking of a RAID for backup purposes or is this a mission critical device that can never be down?

    If you are doing it for data backup I would invest in a newer mini and just get an external drive and use time machine (as well as an online backup service).

    Unless you are running a business on it (online sales site, 24hr database etc) this RAID might be overkill.

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