Need some help configuring Mac Pro!

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mufasis, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. mufasis, Aug 27, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 27, 2013

    mufasis macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Hey guys long time reader, first time poster. Just need a little bit of help with my upgrade path. I'm building a home studio and I got a sweet deal on a brand new mid 2010 MP, 2x2.4ghz, 6gb ram, basically all stock. So far I have ordered the EVGA GTX680 mac edition and 32gb of ram from owc. I'm kinda stuck on how I want to setup my hard drives. I know I want to boot from a SSD but I'm unsure of the logistics. I also know I'll want some decent space to store media and projects. Are the pcie ssd cards really worth it? What about running raid 0 straight from the sata2 that the mac pro already has? Is there anyone out there doing music/media production? I would love to get some more opinions. Thanks guys!


    -Ryan
     
  2. Tesselator, Aug 27, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #2

    I can add a few things but if you got the money and an e-bay account to sell off what you don't end up liking/needing then you should try for yourself - it doesn't take much time and then you'll know for yourself.

    The deal with OS X speed-up is getting small files from 0.01k to about 8k to load in ASAP. Well "possible" is the crux there. When you do I/O benchmarks for random access of files between those sizes you find that HDDs deliver about 0.5 to 20 MB/s, SSDs do about 5 to 200 MB/s, and a two SSD RAID0 does 10 to 400MB/s - (respectively for files from 0.01k ~ 8k). Notice that from HDD to SDD the difference is 10x but from SDD to SDD RAID0 is only 2x. Also the vast majority of file I/O is actually around 1K so the average speeds are on the low side of those scales. Even for app loading as apps are not usually solid files but rather a special kind of folder with a 100 or more small files in it. ;)

    I was slapped in the face with this reality when I placed my entire 400GB OS X installation on two rotational drives in RAID0 over a single USB2.0 connection and noticed almost no speed difference at all between that and having the same installation on the same drives but attached via the native SATA II backplane connections. Very close to identical speeds all around and USB2.0 is only able to deliver 35MB/s max. :p That's within the 1 to 40MB/s that two HDDs in RAID0 can offer with such small files and thus there was no difference.

    This is something to consider when choosing between PICe I/O cards and the native SATAII connections. If it's for the OS and other small-file I/O then you can safely skip the PCIe card - as they probably won't add anything noteworthy beyond what SATAII SSD can deliver.

    For the overall config I think if I were doing it today and had no particular budget (you mention none) I would go with 6 SSDs all on the SATA II native buss. One 500 to 640GB SSD up under the ODD (DVD) for the OS + Apps and five 800GB SSDs in RAID0 (4 in the main drive bays plus one up under the ODD) for projects and application data. I'd add a USB3 card and connect one of those dual bay drive docks in which I would rotate HDDs for backup storage - probably 3 TB drives and 2TB ones in RAID0 as an option to consider. The backups would be only Time Machine scheduled to go off every 4 hours with something like TimeMachineScheduler.

    Note that if you place your OS X instalation on a RAID of any kind there will be some restrictions automatically applied. Like for example no "Recovery Partition" will be created, some Apple updates can not be applied, and a few other things as well.
     
  3. mufasis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Thank you for the quick reply. I would say my budget for the hard drive stuff is like < 1k at the moment.

    Just curious but what about files bigger than 8k?

    I dont need tons up backup space. I was thinking something along the lines of like ~500GB for boot/os, and maybe like 3-4 rotational 2-3TB hard drives in raid 0 for back up, movies, files, etc. I'm just trying to figure out if its worth it to get an ssd pcie card. I do like the OWC accelsior as it has esata and a good warranty but I also like the idea of going the samsung 840 pro/velocity x2 route.
     
  4. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #4
    Ah OK that's different... your plan below looks about right then.

    Well, the typical fast SSD on a SATA III profiles about like this:


    [​IMG]


    And you can clip all of the over 300 MB/s to about 295 to 300MB/s for SATA II. Of course double everything for a 2-Drive RAID.

    A 2-drive RAID0 using rotational drives (Seagate Barracuda ST3000DM001-1CH166) looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    And a 4-drive RAID0 using the same 3TB drives ($130ea) looks about like:

    [​IMG]

    Those marks are sequential sustained but like 1 or 2MB files for random I/O looks close to the same as those. Notice that the 4-drive RAID0 is not 4 times the speed as a single drive like 2 drives double a single's speed. It's a diminishing returns thing or something. Given that the Seagates do about 210MB/s actual, it goes something like this:

    1 Drive: 210MB/s
    2 Drives 390MB/s
    3 Drives 540MB/s
    4 Drives 640MB/s

    And then for some reason you get another 100MB/s for every additional drive you add up to 6 (which is the most I've tried on a Mac). These top speeds are typically maintained across 60 to 70% of the drive's surface but with these Seagates it's more like 85% which is unusual - and I dunno why. So when using rotational drives in a RAID or even as a single drive it's a good idea to short-stroke the drives to like 80% or so - via partitioning. Either that just be mindful not to fill the volume(s) past about 80% - either way.


    Hmm, well, there's three themes not two. There's the OS and Apps. Then there's the Application Data (movies, photos, MP3s, miscellaneous files, etc.). And then there's the backup. The first two you got right but the backup should be of everything you don't wanna lose and it should be external not internal. I keep a backup of everything except downloaded MP3s and DVD Rips. If it's important stuff like work files or family photos then multiple rotated backups preferably with one of the rotated volumes kept off-site (like at the office or a relative's house).

    If you don't need that much space for application data then you can cut some costs but I wouldn't eliminate or compromise the third theme.

    For example:

    • Application Data - Four 2TB Barracuda Drives at $70ea.
    • OS X and Apps - Two 250GB Samsung 840 series SSDs at $200ea.
    • Backup kit:
      • A USB3 Thermaltake dual drive dock at $60
      • Two or three 4TB Barracuda drives at $170ea.
      • A USB 3.0 Card at like, $20
    Is like $1,100 in total if only two 4TB drives. If you went with four 1TB drives for the application data then you could get under the $1k you mentioned. You might only need 3TB drives in the backup kit at that point as well.

    From what I've seen you won't be able to notice the difference unless you're using it for application data. For OS and Apps the two SSDs above will be the same speed in the native SATAII as in one of those PCIe adapters - pretty close to zero difference.
     
  5. mufasis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    So what would you recommend if I need high speed for application data?
     
  6. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

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    #6
    I am very happy with my Apricorn Velocity Solo x2 card and my Samsung Series 840, 500 GB SSD drive. Not only do I get SATAIII, but I also get to keep my four internal drives. And, yes, IMHO, the Solo x2 card is really worth it.

    Lou
     

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  7. mufasis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    Well I think I've narrowed it down to either a Samsung 840 Pro 512GB SSD on the Apricorn Velocity x2 solo or the OWC Accelsior_E2 480GB PCIe card. I like the OWC cause it has esata on board but its slightly more expensive. Either way I'm going to do 4x2TB Seagate Barracudas in raid0 on the 4 native backplane slots. What do you guys think?
     
  8. Tesselator, Aug 29, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #8
    ^^^ Sounds fine to me. When you get it all set up do yourself a favor and put the SSD on the extra SATAII connector up under the DVD drive and see if there's any speed difference. I'm betting you will immediately sell off your newly purchased PCIe card. ;) Then you can use the money to buy another SSD instead. :D


    http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=17797794&postcount=2 <-- 5th paragraph.

    Or my bulleted example in post #4.

    But I need a more specific definition of what "high speed" is. ;) For what apps and etc.
     
  9. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

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    #9
    I did, and you are wrong!

    Lou
     
  10. mufasis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    DUN dun DUN dun..........*In Peter Griffen's voice....*, lol.....


    Anyways flow why did you go with the apricorn velocity x2 solo over lets say the owc accelsior?
     
  11. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

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    #11
    ^^^^All OWC stuff is expensive. The 480 GB is $730.00 bux. And, I'd rather have the SSD removable. It's part of the Accelsior. Also, it looks like it needs drivers, the Solo doesn't. It just wasn't the solution for me.

    Lou
     
  12. mufasis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    I'm pretty sure the E2 is plug and play, you might be thinking of the first Accelsior.
     
  13. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #13
    Let's see the 4k benchmarks. "You are wrong" doesn't help. If one's faster let's see by how much. You know... something technical instead of personal?!?
     
  14. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

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    #14
    ^^^^I'm really not going to argue with you (seems you like to argue with lotsa folks). I had to take my SSD out of the Solo to upgrade it's firmware, I really don't feel like pulling it out again. While it was out and connected to the internal SATAII in the the optical drive bay, it felt fast, but not as fast. Yea, not very scientific. I ran no tests on it.

    But, as as fas as being personal, my friend, most of your posts to this forum very are personal and have very little basis of fact.

    Lou
     
  15. Tesselator, Sep 1, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601

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    #15
    Yup, I'm a person.. so everything I do is personal. :D But really, asking for the benchmarks (naturally only if you had them already or could easily produce them) is seen as argumentative? I don't get that. <shrug>

    And thanks for coming clean on not having actually tested it! It's a three or four hundred dollar issue and there are some interesting unknown-to-me variables at play behind the scenes so it's something I'd like to know more about.
     
  16. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

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    #16
  17. Tesselator, Sep 1, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #17
    Kewl!


    Well, I meant "personal" as in you're personal feeling of how fast it was or wasn't as should be obvious from the context. You seem to be using "personal" (in attempting to describe me) to start a fight or something. I don't wanna fight and thus tried to defuse it with a bit of irony (Yup, I'm a person so everything I do is personal :D).
    You can fight by yourself if you like tho. I'll watch. [​IMG]


    And to be clear I don't think someone's personal feeling of how fast something is or isn't is irreverent. But it's kind of limited and subject to massive error as I'm sure you would agree. No?
     
  18. flowrider, Sep 2, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013

    flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

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    #18
    ^^^^Somebody posted benchmarks of a Samsung SSD mounted in an internal SATAII bay. As You can plainly see, my results are quite a bit higher with my Solo x2 card.

    As far as fighting goes, not me guy. You seem to have been involved in a number of disagreements lately.

    Lou
     
  19. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #19
    For booting and appd only purpose you don't need PCIe card. All small files reads/writes and IOPS are within SATA II specs, for most of SSDs. ICH10 in MP tops out about 110k IOPS. You'd have more benefits from PCIe card using SSD for storage of bigger files. BTW, Blackamgic is worthless as boot drive testing tool.
     
  20. mufasis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #20

    Tesselator, quick question. So if I did two samsung 840 pros in raid0 in the optical bay how would I mount them and where are the connections? Also for apps and backup I could do like 2x3TB raid0 on backplane for apps and 2x2TB raid1 on backplane for time machine right? Also what hard drives would you recommend for the sataII backplane for apps and time machine backup in raid0/raid1?
     
  21. mufasis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #21
    So after thinking some more this rig is going to revolve around music production. I need a place to store completed projects, current projects, DAW software and samples. Anyone else have any ideas for me?
     
  22. DPUser macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    My 4,1>5,1 Hex is the heart of my recording studio. It sits in a machine room and is configured like this:

    3.33 Hex CPU
    ATi5770 driving three monitors - two DP and one VGA
    24GB RAM
    UAD2 Duo PCIe
    TI Firewire 400 PCIe
    ASM1601 chipset SATA3 PCIe (configured one internal, one external port)
    Disconnected Internal optical drive. External FW optical drive used
    120GB Intel 330 SSD Boot Drive - OS and Apps - in OWC SSD Cradle
    120GB Intel 330 SSD Working Project Data - optical bay SATA2 #1
    240GB Intel 330 SSD VI Sample Data1 - in optical bay SATA2 #2
    240GB Intel 330 SSD VI Sample Data2 - In optical bay, SATA3 from PCIe
    1TB WD Green - general storage
    2TB Seagate1 - Backup SSDs and Download/Installer/Misc Data
    2TB Seagate - Redundant Backup SSDs and Backup Download/Installer/Misc
    2 External 3TB rotating Time Machine Overall backup (one kept offsite)

    Primary DAW is Digital Performer 8.04 in 64 bit mode under 10.8.3.
     
  23. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

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    #23
    Looks like you might not get a quick answer to your question. Tessy seems to be in a TimeOut.

    Lou
     
  24. mufasis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #24
    lol......

    ----------

    Nice setup, thanks for the reply!
     
  25. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

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    #25
    I disagree. BlackMagic gives a darn good indication of which storage devices and IO schemes work best on a Macintosh.

    I guess, like Tessy, you would say that SATAIII and SATAII are equal in every day use. I don't think so.

    Lou
     

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