MP3,1 to nMP migration - thinking about internal storage the wrong way?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by analog guy, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. analog guy macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    I wonder if I've been thinking about use of the nMP's (or iMac's) internal PCIe SSD storage the wrong way, at least for my situation.

    My current setup is an MP3,1 with the following drives:
    * 4x1TB HDD RAID10: All data
    * 1x256 SSD: OS/Apps/Mail, and recently moved my Win7 VM that I must run daily
    * 1x500MB HDD: Boot camp

    I back up to a 2TB Time Capsule.

    I've got an nMP (and an iMac late 2013 i7) on order. When I ordered each, I chose 512GB SSD for internal storage. My rationale was I'd give myself room to grow a bit, and I'd use that internal storage for OS, Apps and the VM. I planned to add 2-3 separate 1TB SSDs for data, connected via TB/TB2 (possibly using 2 in a RAID0 configuration for photos and most frequently used data -- still photog here; video is minimal).

    New config would be something like:
    * 512 internal SSD: OS/Apps/Mail
    * 1TB SSD (or 2x1 RAID0): photo library
    * 1TB SSD: other data

    Now I'm wondering if I have been thinking about this the wrong way.

    Maybe I should be using that internal SSD, maxed out, for the stuff that might benefit the most -- the large photo library.

    Would it actually make more sense to go with 1TB internally for either nMP or iMac, and then use 2x256 SSD (TB/TB2) for my OS & Apps?

    Although I'd pay more for the internal storage, I could just get a 2nd 256GB SSD to set up the RAID0 for OS & Apps.

    I'd need a 2-card TB/TB2 enclosure.

    I'm open to any thoughts on my setup, drive configuration, etc.

    I have 2x1TB Samsung 840 EVOs sitting here unopened (+Tempo Pro card), along with an OWC Accelsior 1TB. Not yet sure which is the better way for me to go with that choice. Tempo Pro is probably a bit slower but allows me to keep drives separate, RAID0 (or RAID1), upgrade drives in the future, etc.

  2. analog guy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    Just to add on:
    * I wonder about booting from a TB enclosure. Any folks have experience with that performance?

    * I guess the quality of the internal storage will depend on the drive's random vs sequential performance….and similarly if I move the OS/apps to an external enclosure, the random, small file performance would be the biggest factor if the interface is not a limiter.
  3. magicsleeper macrumors newbie

    Dec 24, 2008
    Belgium, Gent
    I have a LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 Thunderbolt Series 256GB SSD and it's really fast.
    Well faster than the fusion drive :D
  4. analog guy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    Thanks. Do you happen to have any comparisons as to what speeds you see over TB? What SSD are they using?

    My history with LaCie is not particularly good; I'm looking more toward the Sonnet and OWC cases which would allow me to install 2 cards, and I could use something like the Accelsior or a Tempo Pro (with 2 SSDs on it) in each slot.

    Any other comments/thoughts on maxing out the nMP (or iMac) internal storage and then using an external RAID0 set of SSDs for OS & apps?
  5. SnoFlo macrumors regular


    Feb 5, 2010
    Hey Analog, I like your original arrangement: at least it makes the most sense by virtue of my way of doing things :). I always try to keep data and system files separate as far as is possible. In fact, I move mail and contact data off of the boot drive by employing a redirect (digilloyd has a tutorial on that). That way I can image and restore just the OS and apps without data being involved. Should work out a lot cheaper than ordering a 1TB SSD from Apple too.

    Btw, I've had bad experiences with LaCie enclosures in the past. They like to stuff some cheap drives in there - it's like a lottery. :p
  6. analog guy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    thanks for the reply. i appreciate it.

    the benchmarks i'm seeing suggests that SSDs connected via TB perform a little worse than when run internally; in the real-world, the difference in daily use may not be material.

    i moved mail off of my boot drive via a symbolic link when i first got my MP. i had a drive failure while running a RAID0. no problem, just reinstall from the Time Capsule backups, right?

    for whatever reason, TC would not/did not back up the mail when the redirect via symbolic link was happening, so i lost a bit of data. after that i switched to a RAID10 configuration (in addition to the TC backup), and I kept mail on the boot drive.

    still turning this over in my mind. i appreciate the thoughts.
  7. SnoFlo macrumors regular


    Feb 5, 2010
    Hmmm, I don't have the Mac Pro anymore but I believe my mail folder existed on my data drive and that Time Machine backed up the whole drive. I restored data from backups and the mail folder was restored just like any other folder. Well, better safe than sorry: leave the mail folder alone. :cool:

    I suppose you could leave essential photo files on the internal drive but you'll have to prune them regularly if you shoot volume. As I get older I try hard to have a simple drive setup to mitigate against senility-induced disasters. That includes no RAID for me either. Just be comfortable with your solution.
  8. magicsleeper macrumors newbie

    Dec 24, 2008
    Belgium, Gent
    Well the physical drive is a SanDisk SSD U100 256GB. I use it for bootcamp with Windows 8 installed on it.
    It's quite fast between 300-400mb/sec read and 200-300mb/sec write

    I also have a LaCie Blade Runner USB3 4TB by Philipe Starck, an external drive that is also fast enough for data(movies etc) with read and write between 170-180mb/sec
  9. analog guy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    thanks, guys.

    as luck would have it, one drive (of 4) in my RAID10 setup failed in the past 12 hours. i have a replacement on the way tomorrow (and things are still backed up to time capsule), but i'm running a bit slower than normal at the moment.

    don't really feel like using a new drive to fix the RAID when i'm likely moving all-SSD in the next 1 to 6 weeks.

    as it also happens, the iMac i ordered shipped today and will arrive on thursday. (nMP is on order in case the iMac doesn't suit.)

    with the drive failure, i'd like to move toward another setup (SSDs via a TB enclosure), but if the iMac doesn't work then i will have possibly a month or so before getting the nMP and no real way to use it.
  10. analog guy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    quick update as i discovered some options during the course of my research:

    * Sonnet Echo Express II SE -- thought this was the perfect option for me as it has 2 slots, is available now and upgradable to TB2, but it only takes 1/2-length cards. Bummer. Doesn't play with the Tempo Pro SSD card if you use that with 2 SSDs per card.

    * Sonnet Echo Express III-D -- three slots (more than I need), larger, bigger PSU, 2x the cost, but it handles full-length slots and is upgradable to TB2.

    * OWC Helios 2 -- not available yet; similar situation as the Echo Express II SE

    * Netstor NA211TB -- Slightly cheaper than the Sonnet III-D. Potentially upgradable to TB2. Essentially a Highpoint product.

    * Netstor NA211TB-LD -- thought this might be a great option but I have a few doubts. 3 slots and has room for 4x2.5" drives with a built-in backplane. You need a RAID card or host adapter, though. There are 2 more slots, but all the slots are 2/3 length. I wouldn't need the Tempo Pro in this scenario, but something about this made me hesitate. The benchmarks posted made me think that even in a 4xSSD RAID0 performance was less than I'd expect. Can be found with a few names on it.

    * Oyen Digital's DataTale RS-M4T/C 4-bay thunderbolt RAID. Another interesting one -- $600 for a 4-bay enclosure. I was set to jump on this but hesitated. Not upgradable to TB2. Their 3xSSD+1xHDD "Hyper Duo" configuration tested at 680 read/495 write. I figured performance might be better for a configuration with 3 SSDs. Just had a feeling that running 4 separate drives or two 2xSSDs RAID0s on this might bottleneck.

    * Pegasus R4 diskless enclosure. Many people seem to have issues with one part malfunctioning in these types of enclosures and Promise saying there is no option to fix the part--just buy a new device. Not available for 2-3 weeks anyway. Cost is 30% less than and empty Sonnet III-D @ $700.

    Hope this might help someone out. I placed an order for an Express III with the hope it would arrive on Friday, but I don't think it shipped today. Bummer as I'd really like to resolve this.
  11. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I've ordered my nMP with 1TB internal SSD and it will be used for my OS/Apps and latest project work - in my case that means my active Aperture photo library. With 1TB I can keep several months worth of photos on the SSD before archiving them to slower media.

    I also bought a 2TB WD Velociraptor Thunderbolt Duo on sale at Amazon recently which gives me another 2TB at SSD like speeds externally for my photo archives. I think it's the best price/performance mix for second tier storage if 2TB is enough... It's cheaper than SSDs and faster than regular HDs. If you need more, you could buy 2 of these and RAID0 them together, or go the Pegasus2 route for similar money and get even more storage (as you could go with 3-4TB drives).

    Ps... I still owe you a reply to your PM which I hope it get on tomorrow :eek:
  12. ozbimmer macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2012
    Magma is a rebranded Netstor
  13. analog guy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    not a bad option. pretty good speeds….if one can tolerate RAID0. then again, something like the TEmpo Pro SSD is run in RAID0. (I may use it as standalone drives.)

    since this thread began with upgrading an MP3,1, i did find this which was interesting:

    one can connect to the MP backplane and effectively upgrade it to SATAIII if you use the right RAID card. of course, there are other ways to do this, but it is neat that it updates the backplane itself for someone who wants to use the regular drive bays.

    finding a bootable card with 4+ drives has been a challenge for me. highpoint 2720sgl didn't work at all.
  14. analog guy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    quick bump. i decided i am almost certainly moving away from the MP3,1 to the iMac or nMP. in the process i was able to collect some real-world data on the Sonnet enclosure & cards.

    i posted it in the peripherals sub-forum but thought some followers of this thread might find value in the data:


    PS the iMac is benchmarking much faster than the MP3,1 (~2.5x single-core and ~1.5x multi-core). we're talking about the 27" i7 vs the 2x2.8 octo -- same amount of RAM in each.

    my windows virtual machine also has markedly improved performance on benchmarks within the VM, but things like file disk access are immediately a noticeable improvement.

    on the mac side, i use LR pretty heavily. i'll have to run some actual benchmarks, but i have to say that browsing my photo library on the 2-drive SSD RAID0 does not feel MAJORLY faster than the 4-HDD RAID10 setup on my MP3,1 (benchmarked at ~230MB/s, so nothing special).
  15. jtara macrumors 68000

    Mar 23, 2009
    Why on earth do you think you need an SSD for a photo library? Seems awfully wasteful to me.

    If you do a lot of photo editing, you might benefit from a Fusion Drive. Not sure if/how that's possible on an nMP, though. Should be doable, as Fusion Drive is really just software built-in to OSX. Just not sure you can do this with external SSD and external hard drive. The photos you use most often will migrate to the SSD part of the Fusion Drive.

    (To clarify, Fusion Drive isn't a physical thing. I have a Mac Mini with Fusion Drive. It's actually physically separate SDD and hard drives. OSX melds them together into a virtual "Fusion Drive".)
  16. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    If you're doing RAW photo adjustments for a ton of images from a shoot, it definitely helps ALOT to keep the photos you're working on solid state. I agree, for archiving photo libraries, HDs are fine... but for working on photos (or anything for that matter) it makes a huge difference to have your data on solid state.
  17. analog guy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    thanks for your post. the RAID0 is not purely for my photo library, but one use of it is to store the library which includes images that i am browsing/processing in both LR & PS.

    among other things on the drive are VMs and some video.

    the alternative would be finding some enclosure for HDs. i found that i was spending a bunch for a HD enclosure, so stepping up to some SSD enclosures was a bit more (and perhaps more future-proof), and i've generally had better longevity (or luck?) with SSDs than HDs. granted, i've only been using SSDs for 4 years, but i have yet to have a failure whereas every HD-based RAID i've used has had failures, including the latest just last week. (single drive failure in a RAID10, so no huge deal in terms of productivity.)

    i am open to recommendations for a better solution, but i do have an admitted bias against lacie due to problems in the past with multiple products.

    in a general sense, if one can put everything on SSDs….why not?


    the way my work is, there are few jobs that are totally archived. my clients (and my own personal use) often has me editing a shoot from yesterday as well as finding and processing photos that i shot from 3 years ago in the same session.

    perhaps that is unusual from the way most people work, but i tend to have few clients who i work with over a longer term, and projects they work on stretch over a long period of time. tends not to be one-and-done -- nor is it the same client but many sub-jobs.

    (as a more concrete example, i might work with a client to shoot a building that they constructed over a period of years.)

    perhaps there is a better work-flow for me, but i do value speedy access to all the photos in my library.


    ps i do know what a fusion drive is (i do appreciate the suggestion), but as an honest question, is there any reason someone would go with a fusion drive vs an SSD if the cost were the same?
  18. jtara macrumors 68000

    Mar 23, 2009
    When/if that happens, then I'd expect hard drives to disappear from the market.

    But that hasn't happened.
  19. analog guy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    so, that proves my point. but for the cost, you would choose SSD over fusion.

    for my storage needs, i can afford SSD why wouldn't i?
  20. jtara macrumors 68000

    Mar 23, 2009
    Getting back to the original question, I think I would put the OS on whatever drive is the fastest. Of course "fastest" is a fuzzy concept, and it's important to look at actual performance (limited by interface and other factors) rather than drive specifications.

    For your photos, random access performance shouldn't matter. You are looking for sequential read/write performance.

    For the OS, both random and sequential performance are important.

    SSD write performance can be an issue. A high-end hard drive might still beat an SSD on sequential write, but it would have to be a server-class hard drive.

Share This Page