need mac pro setup advice for photography use, lightroom & photoshop

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by iperspektive, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. iperspektive macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2010
    new england
    hi all,
    not being an expert on computers, i need your excellent input please.
    i have searched & read the forums for almost a week now, and could still not find the final answers to my questions. i apologize in advance if i'm duplicating another thread here...your advice will be very much appreciated!

    goal: i want to have a fast&reliable setup for my photography work.

    my usage details:
    wedding & portrait photography, (i.e.processing 2,000+ images for a wdg) .mostly on lr3; i typically work on 20-30 images from that batch in ps cs4(have a bunch of 32-bit plugins that are not yet ready for cs5 yet, once they upgrade, i'll be on exclusively on cs5) and cs5. i don't do much video, and don't plan to.

    i have been on a fast mbp 17 for the past year, hitting it pretty hard. recently upgraded to a mac pro(my geek self is very happy about that, my wallet, not so much :)

    current hardware setup:
    mp nehalem quad-core 2.8ghz, 16g ram
    4x 2tb hitachi 7k2000 hdd, 32mb cache, in bays 1-4
    1x wd caviar black 1tb, 32mb cache, external enclosure via esata
    2x newertech maxpower 6g esata controller

    i put this together based on diggloyyd's macperformanceguide recommendations. here's how that is:
    wd 1tb has a 150gig partition for system+apps, currently 70g of that is used. it also has a 200g scratch partition, and the rest is empty,spare space just in case(i aim to keep all disks less than 50% full for optimum speed).
    2x 2tb disks dedicated for data, raid-0 (total of 4g)
    2x 2tb disks for time machine, raid-1 mirror
    multiple clones on various ext hdd's for off-site backup, rotated.

    1. thinking of getting a 120g owc mercury extreme pro ssd, (i have read that they don't have a fragmentation issue as moct other ssd's, and the price is very attractive as well) to the empty optical drive, and put the system&apps there. that would leave me with ~40g of empty space for scratch/empty space for future expansion+performance.
    should i use that as scratch, or leave it alone?

    2. should i replace the optical drive with another ssd for scratch space? if yes, how big an ssd? i mostly develop within lr, and use a max. of 10-15 layers in ps. a typical psd/tiff in my workflow is 50-80mb, with occasional larger file sizes of 300-400mb. is having the same partition/drive as scratch space for both lr & cs4+cs5 an issue?

    3. from what i've read here so far, i'm thinking putting the optical drive in an external enclosure via usb 2.0 or fw should be fine? i do burn cd & dvd for clients on this machine, so i will use it, though certainly not on a daily basis, and speed is not crucial for that job.

    4. what do you think of the raid-0 + raid-1 strategy for the internal drives? could they be configured in a better way for my purposes?

    5. any other suggestions on the setup in general? as i said, i really don't have much knowledge on this, and have been learning this stuff very recently as i go :)

    thank you so much in for your replies and time!
  2. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    you on DWF by chance ?

    I did a big write up there on SSD and LR ? can send you a link to it ?
    if your are not on its a good source for wedding photographers ? I have been on that since about 1002 one of the first 200 :)

    I do wedding photography and also have a post production company mostly Album design and PS work with some raw clients also

    but first thing a boot with a partition for scratch is bad !!! digiloyd is wrong here ? he is usually good but bad advice :) its like having a file cabinet with two drawers and you keep having to access the second drawer every few files !!!!

    your boot on SSD is nice and the swap can be a bit quicker so for a computer where someone makes a living with it its worth it !
    but your boot drive should only be a boot nothing else !!!

    your scratch for PS and cache for LR can share a setup though
    I would get two 40 gig SSD from OWC and set them up in raid 0
    since you have the eSATA adapters you just need a way to get them in a case ! and you want one that has its own SATA port for each drive ! not a PM case
    sansdigital makes a nice little one thats eSATA you could use a icydock and put them in that case ? they are about $30 I think can get the link if you want ?

    but I would do that for my cache scratch

    for data ask yourself if you can loose hours of work using raid 0 ? otherwise dont do it the small speed gain might not be worth it ?

    you could put your 4 2TB you have now in raid 10 ? a bit of speed bump and some security to go along with it then the extra optical can hold a SSD for boot :) a plain 120 from OWC would do fine I would figure out a way to clone it though just in case :)
    using a external burner that extra SATA port could then be a clone HDD for your boot ?

    BU for time machine ? can come from many sources one could be a external FW800 mercury case from OWC that holds 4 HDDs run them in JBOD a 8 TB time machine would be a good bu setup for recovering files from human error

    raid 0 + 1 is not what you want its 1 + 0 while it seems small it provides more safety so you want raid 10

    getting the cache of LR on SSD is going to be your biggest bang for buck in performance :)

    the charts below help show how SSD for LR is nice ;)

    the ones with the two bars was from our mac 3,1 setup
    big thing to notice is the cache is the main thing ! having the catalog or files on SSD do not make it faster its the cache that counts !!!

    these tests were mainly for develop mode and to get the sliders white so you can start working on the image :)

    the second chart was a bit later and was with a new mac 5,1 quad 3.2

    big speed bump the older mac pro I got the times down from .53 to .42 ? could be a mix of files ? but I used 5D and 5DII files so I put the new time of the older machine in their just so things would be easier to see how much quicker the newer machines are :)

    again notice though the catalog location is not that critical and having it on a single regular HDD or a raid 0 or on my areca 1222x raid 6 setup the times were all the same so this is why for LR the raid 0 of your main working drive wont help !!!!

    raid 0 will help a bit with PS writing and reading but not as much as you think it will :)

    again PS the thing to speed it up is make sure you are using CS5 and Snow Leopard and as much ram as you can get 16GB like you have is minimum depending on your file size ? you might want to go up or you could stick their ?
    check your efficiency and file size to see where you are at with your current files :)
    you mentioned updating once your plugins are up to date ? depending on what they are and how much workflow relies on them they may be slowing you down ? again always test things out yourself ;)

    this should help you get a start to think of a setup :)

    so for a photographer using Lr and PS

    LR cache on SSD is the key thing the catalog and original file location can be on a normal HDD

    PS CS5 and SL and memory ! and scratch on SSD

    your storage ? thats not as big a issue you want speed and security and for making a living I want both ! so raid 10 or even going with a raid 6 setup like areca raid card might be a option ?

    Attached Files:

  3. iperspektive thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2010
    new england
    Honumai, thank you for your detailed response. it is a good chunk for me to absorb in one sitting, so i'll have to take in small bites and try to catch up with you :)

    that would be great, i'd love to read it! i'm not on dwf, but have heard about it more than a few times in the past, will certainly check it out! :)

    that's perfect, lucky me! so you understand exactly what i typically go through!

    that's been my impression also, from reading the threads here - i understand it's not optimal, so it seems to me leaving that ssd as a system+apps only is ideal. which brings me to the next point for scratch...

    yes, that link would be much appreciated :) if i understand this correctly, the enclosure would have two sata ports, and i'd connect them to the two esata connectors that i currently have? that scenario might interfere with the external backup via esata idea that i had, so i'd have to substitute that with say, fw800, i think. would that be too slow for tm/clone backups?

    my initial impression was that he was negating/balancing that risk by having the raid-1 tm backup run continuously on bays 3&4?
    at the same time, your point on the incremental speed gain is well taken, esp. after seeing your charts! that pretty much negates the need for raid-0...

    this should give me a total of 4tb of usable space for data, correct? or should i keep these half full(ie 2tb) for speedy performance as well? and if i can manage using the upper optical drive for 2xssd's as scratch, then i should be ok, i think?

    so, the idea for the 8tb size for tm is to double the 4tb of data space, correct?

    wow! thank you so much for posting this, it really put things in perspective! :)

    they are some ps actions and plugins such as nik &onone sw...they are being updated to 64-bit right now, and i think by year-end i'd be using cs5 exclusively.
  4. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    sent you the links and the text of what I said :)

    for your bu and firewire and your plans ? you could get two eSATA cards and have a total of 4 eSATA connections use two for scratch/cache and one for your BU :) so you would be good to go with that

    time machine :) its nice to be 1.5 - 2 X the size of your working data I think ? so yes the 8TB to cover the 4TB

    and yes to your keep them about half full ? I say up to %60-%65 but no more as they start slowing down !!!

    NOW one good thing I do like about raid 10 is you can go up to about %70 full and still be quicker than you were with a single disc :) so it kinda extends your speed is a better way to look at it :) hope that makes sense

    basically you could go up to 3 TB on a 4 TB raid 10 and still have good speed :) me I like having one large storage area over a bunch of small ones !

    again I never say this is the only way as their are so many options and it all comes down to budget and hassle :) and how much space one needs

    space I say is your working files and pending files for albums that are not made out yet but are coming !!!! yeah the fun of waiting on brides :) hehhehe

    so having a slower archive file that is also backed up is not a bad idea that you allow to get more full than your main working

    as example

    main working 2TB never get over half full

    pending work 2TB fill it up to 1.5TB as its more a holding place for other work

    deciding on if you shoot raw and keep ALL your raws or edit down then throw away those after a while just in case you found out Aunt betty was one you cut cause she had frosting on her face in all the shots !!!
  5. iperspektive thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2010
    new england
    thank you so much on all the info you have given, it's been very helpful!
    i think i am going the ssd+4 internal hdd way for backups. once that setup starts getting >50-60% full with data, i will upgrade - hopefully larger ssd prices will have come down to better levels by then :)

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