My impatient response to the wait...

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by nathanjbrown, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. nathanjbrown macrumors regular

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    Boston, MA
    #1
    My iMac died in January. We've been without a personal computer since that time. I've been waiting for either A.) a Mac Mini refresh or B.) a compelling argument capable of convincing my wife that a Mac Pro is needed for email, web and iPhoto. ;)

    The 2.6 i7 Mini with 1TB HDD appeared on Apple's refurb store last week and I jumped on it. Why? Because I've got a pair of 512GB Samsung 830 SSDs in a drawer that I'll install in the Mini for 1TB of SSD storage (RAID 0). And I've got 16GB of Crucial RAM heading my way, paid for with rewards points.

    Following installation of those components, I'll have a Mac Mini capable of fetching a decent price should I decide to sell it once the new Mini (?) is released (funding the purchase of the new model). And if the new Mini fails to excite me, I'll just keep my customized Mini until I finally convince my wife that the Mac Pro really is the computer for us!

    I also ordered a wired keyboard, trackpad and new Thunderbolt Display.*

    *In some ways, I'm more concerned about the display than I am the computer. The Thunderbolt Display is quite dated at this point. If I get the sense that a new Thunderbolt Display is coming soon, I may choose to return it.

    Good times!
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

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    located
    #2
    Since the Mac mini is limited to S-ATA 6.0 Gbps (S-ATA III), what performance increase do you think you get out for RAIDed SSDs? RAID will only make life more complicated, unless you have a good backup strategy and clone that RAID at least every day to an external 1 TB or bigger HDD.
     
  3. nathanjbrown thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Good points. I had planned on backing up with Time Machine. Cloning, however, is also a possibility.

    More than a speed increase, I was hoping to benefit from a single volume and the ease of use associated with that. Not that managing two drives is tremendously difficult. Just trying to build the most user-friendly machine for my family.

    I welcome any recommendations.
     
  4. Yahooligan, Apr 20, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2014

    Yahooligan macrumors 6502a

    Yahooligan

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    #4
    2x6Gbps = 12Gbps = 1.5GB/s max. The Mini isn't limited to 6Gbps total but per port, with RAID0 you can basically double the speed of a single SSD.

    So, why would you think there WOULDN'T be a speed increase with SSDs in RAID0? Especially when there are a number of posts out there showing nearly 1GB/s out of this very config. :)

    SSD RAID0 + Time Machine to an external drive (A 4TB USB3.0 drive is relatively inexpensive these days) is pretty simple and no more complex than backing up a single drive. Even the RAID0 config is pretty straightforward.

    I say the OP is on their way to having a great Mini with plenty of advantages over a single SSD. :cool:
     
  5. simsaladimbamba

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    #5
    Thanks, did not think about this.
     
  6. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

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    #6
    I would do exactly what you propose with your pair of matched SSDs in RAID-0. That will be a great upgrade to your mini and you will enjoy the speed benefit of the striped array.

    I run a pair of 512GB SSDs in RAID-0 as my boot/app/data drive with no problems, and have done the same with hard disks for years. I do backup with a clone copy and a TimeMachine backup to external drives.

    Sure, if one of my SSDs failed, I would have to replace it and reload from my backup. But, if I had a single 1TB SSD and my drive failed ... I would do the same thing: replace it and reload from my backup.

    I don't understand the paranoia regarding using RAID-0 when backup drives are cheap and easy to use. :confused:
     
  7. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

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    #7
    In real life usage, there is very little advantage to RAID0 over a single fast SSD. Boot times drop by a second or two and applications MIGHT open a fraction of a second faster, but ultimately it's only in bragging rights and benchmarks that it is any faster. Trust me I have two macs sitting next to each other one with RAID0 and one as a single SSD + spinning HD for data storage. Neither "feels" any faster than the other. One of these days I am going to tear down the RAID0 and go RAID1. It was fun to have a non-nMP that has a storage system as fast as the nMP, but the dangers of running RAiD0 and not noticing any real world advantage just isn't worth it.... Just my .02 worth.

    ----------

    The paranoia is that you've DOUBLED your failure rate. If each drive has a failure rate of X within Y timeframe then you've effectively doubled that failure rate.
     
  8. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

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    #8
    So what ... ? The expected failure rate of a disk is pretty low for the useful life of a computer ... so doubling that is pretty insignificant. Plus, if you do have a failure, recovering from it is exactly the same process. The OP already owns the drives ... he might as well get the maximum performance out of them that he can.

    If you put a large-file (i.e. Aperture) library on a RAID-0 SSD you will notice a difference over a single SSD. My Aperture library is huge compared to my OS X system disk usage ... so it is pretty easy to justify RAID-0 simply for performance in that one application.
     
  9. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

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    #9
    OP mentions nothing about large databases of files or anything. Why not recommend RAID1 instead which is 2x safer than a single drive and 4x safer than RAID1? Further I would love to see some hard numbers about whether your aperture library is ANY faster on a single SSD vs 2. The only situation I have seen it actually make a real difference is 4k video editing. Aside from maybe the initial load of the library, it wouldn't make much of a difference at all unless you are using some older and slower SSDs (ie sand force).
     
  10. nathanjbrown thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    I appreciate this input (via spirited debate). Good stuff.

    A bit more info about my use case:
    • 28,000+ image iPhoto library
    • 160GB+ iTunes library (Apple Lossless)
    • Frequent Blu-ray rip/re-encode via Handbrake

    And then, of course, the usual web/email routine plus a touch of Excel, Word and Keynote.
     
  11. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

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    #11
    Ok great ... then I would still recommend using your existing SSD drives as a speedy RAID-0 inside the mini. Then get an inexpensive external 3TB backup drive and partition it 1TB/2TB. Use CCC or similar to create a bootable clone of your mini disk on the 1TB partition (you can automate it for 1/day incremental). Then use TimeMachine to maintain a historical backup to the 2TB partition. Now you have a simple high performance system with 3 copies of all your data (although better still if you had separate external backup drives ... but just keeping it simple). You have both a quick external boot/restore if necessary, and you have longer term historical revision history of all your files.

    I would also occasionally make a off-line backup of your photo/music libraries (of a simple clone of it all again) which you can store elsewhere.
     
  12. majkom macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #12
    You dont double failure rate.. Lets say ssd1 has failure rate X and ssd2 has failure rate Y, than failure rate for combined ssd is XxY+(1-X)xY+(1-Y)xX or 1-(1-X)x(1-Y).... ;)
     
  13. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

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    #13
    Yeah yeah, I know. It's close enough that it really doesn't matter. Point being, even with large iphoto or aperture libraries, in real life it won't be noticeably faster, but you certainly are putting data at a 2x* the risk. Go with RAID 1 (sure you lose half the space), but now you have 1/2 the risk.

    * Since both drives are the same. If they had a 5% failure rate in the first year, that equates out to a 9.75% (nicely rounds up to 10%) failure rate in the first year running RAID 1.
     
  14. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a

    Yahooligan

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    #14
    Taking the risk for a ~10% failure rate and taking Time Machine backups seems reasonable vs losing the space of an entire drive for something you have a 90% chance of NOT happening.

    Based on the OP's needs, it sounds like 500GB isn't really enough space anyway and RAID0 is primarily about having a large disk, speed is secondary.

    The risk is understood, folks just don't feel it's a big enough risk to worry about as long as they're taking proper backups. If it were something mission-critical where minimal downtime is required then yes, RAID1 is the better choice.
     
  15. majkom macrumors 65816

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    #15
    I dont care to google it out, bot i believe ssd failure rates are much lower than 5%, so the risk op will undergo is much lower
     
  16. nathanjbrown thread starter macrumors regular

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    #16
    Thanks, everyone. I appreciate your thoughts on the subject.

    I'll enjoy a single ~1TB storage volume with regular onsite backups and periodic offsite backups.

    N
     
  17. RoastingPig macrumors 68000

    RoastingPig

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    #17
    i myself have two samsung ssd's pulled from my old mac pro. I would love to put them in a new mac mini. so heres hoping for a non pcie ssd mini :D most likely will be pcie tho.
     
  18. RoastingPig macrumors 68000

    RoastingPig

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  19. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a

    Yahooligan

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    #19

    Seems like it was Tuesday just last week...oh wait... :)
     

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