New Mac Pro (3.2ghz) Software RAID 0 Benchmarks

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by sirris101, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. sirris101 macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2008
    Got my 3.2ghz Mac Pro yesterday (stock ram). I threw in two new Seagate Baracuda 500gb 7200.11 drives and used Disk Utility to create a RAID 0 set (using the software RAID). Excellent drives based on what I've read at Bare Feats.

    Attached are my results in XBench. I have to say I'm pretty impressed by these results. Am I right in believing these are good numbers?

    P.S. I've been running RAID 0 on my PC for years and know the risks. Backup often...

    Attached Files:

  2. rds macrumors regular

    Aug 9, 2007
    Heh nice. I'd like to see some RAID 1 benchmarks ;)
  3. Vinney macrumors newbie

    Jan 18, 2008
    can i ask - what is 'soft' raid ?

    i want to raid my mac pro ... and looking for some info on doing so.

    ideally i want to raid 0 two of my 500's and then create two partitions within that for OSX and XP .... all critical data will be stored off the raid on my other HD ( 1TB)

    can you shine any light on how i go about this and what are my options ...

  4. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    Nice results. I have my Samsung F1s in a RAID 1, but I think I may switch them over to make a 1.5TB RAID0 and just backup onto externals.
  5. rds macrumors regular

    Aug 9, 2007
    Any chance you could do a quick benchmark of that setup? I will be putting a couple of F1s in mine to RAID 1.

    Funny, I started watching your eBay a couple of days ago to see how much they were going to sell for ;)
  6. Mr.PS macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2008
    I've raid 0 setups on PC's since 2000 or so. I never had a failure or any issues. I had backups - always, so it was never an issue even if I did have issues with drives. I run software raid 1 on a Linux CentOS box I have and it works well also. I would recommend software raid....
  7. lin2mac macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2008
    So what kind of work do you do that you can justify performance gain at the cost greatly increasing your chance of catastrophic failure? Is there some app you run that is intolerably slow without RAID 0?

    Unless you're connecting to a SAN which already protects you with redundancy I can't understand why anyone would use RAID 0.

    Backups are great, but you're still SOL for as long as it takes you to purchase new disks reinstall and restore from backup (if your backup procedure works).
  8. Trishul macrumors regular


    Oct 27, 2006
    Sarasota, FL
    i'm a film/video maker, and i use RAID 0.. as the original video is always kept on the hard media they were originally recorded on, if one of my drives fails it wouldn't be the end of the world.. i don't have critical deadlines, so my clients would be able to wait a few days for me to rebuild my media directory.. now i've moved to XDCAM (a tapeless workflow) this would be even easier to reconnect the original media. So long as i keep backups of my Project Files (no more than 50MB each), i'm not going to suffer any major issues. So long as you keep organized, then things aren't too bad if the worst happens.

    but yes even though the performance boost isn't going to change anyone's world, when editing and rendering previews, even a couple of seconds of speed boot can help your creativity and sanity, so for someone like myself striped RAID setups are very worthwhile, even with the risks considered. Also gamers benefit in the same way, so long as they backup their save files, it's not going to be that hard to replace the actual game files.

    There is this big thing about backing up and stuff, and while hard drive failure happens, i think most people will find it doesn't happen nearly as much as some seem to go on about, i find physical media (i.e. discs, tapes) are more prone to damage due to being transported around so much. If you have a good power supply, adequate surge protection, don't randomly unplug your drives while they're being accessed, and so long as you don't move your drives around too much, then i find there's not too much to worry about. )
  9. lin2mac macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2008
    As a software developer I can sympathize; anything to speed up the compile is a good thing. However, I had a disk fail last month on a dedicated server and feel lucky that my RAID 5 array saved my bacon. I have too much data to conveniently backup on any device that I can afford so have chosen redundancy as my "backup".
  10. Kingsly macrumors 68040


    I too am planing on running a software RAID in my MP. For now dual 500's in a RAID 1 (I've gone tapeless on my workflow but still prefer the redundancy). ;)

    I'd love to see some numbers on a SW RAID 1 compared to a single disk.
  11. Vinney macrumors newbie

    Jan 18, 2008
  12. rds macrumors regular

    Aug 9, 2007
    There are many resources available explaining the differences between hardware and software RAID (this forum has plenty.)

    RAID 0 is talked about a lot in this forum because Mac Pro owners are often video editors (etc) that require higher read/write performance than most.

    You will not be able to use the software RAID included with OS X to run Windows. You would have to buy a third party hardware RAID solution that is compatible with both operating systems and the Mac Pro. For this reason, I have bought a couple of 1TB drives to mirror and am keeping the 320GB that comes as standard as a Windows drive.
  13. benpatient macrumors 68000

    Nov 4, 2003
    it will be marginally slower.

    as for why someone would use RAID 0 when it "dramatically increases" chance of "catastrophic failure," I can tell you from personal experience that drive failure in a Powermac or Mac Pro isn't very likely. The drive bays are well-cooled and there's plenty of open space in the case. Most hard drive failures occur in a machine like a mac mini or imac, or in laptops.

    Your chances of a hard drive failure in any give situation are X.

    with RAID 0, they are 2X. With RAID 1, they are probably something like 1/X.

    All that means to me is that RAID 1 is very safe. Now if X is .0005% per year, then I'm not too worried about situation X or 2X. Probably 99% of consumer-grade machines only have 1 physical drive connected at all times, anyway.

    Much more likely than a physical failure is a software mistake or user error that either deletes or overwrites a file on accident. RAID 1 doesn't help you there at all, as the file just gets deleted/overwritten in duplicate.

    Managing your own backups, while harder, is much more effective if properly done.

    I had a 2-drive 7200rpm RAID 0 boot array in my G5 back in 2004, and it was getting sustained read/write speeds that are faster than today's fastest single-drive solutions even back then. It was brilliant, and neither of those drives has ever had a physical issue.
  14. sirris101 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2008
    HD video editing.
  15. Mr.PS macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2008
    I too am a big fan of Raid, espacially Raid 0. Were you running Software raid 0 in 2004? If so, how did you get it to boot off the raid array? I really want to raid my Mac Pro.
  16. Macinposh macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2006

    And that is the reason why raid1 really cant be recommended to casual users.

    It´s a different thing is if you are on a tight schedule all the time and absolutely have to have backup all the time (read,vid/audio/photo production) where you have to have access to the days work even if something happens.
    Even then you usually have your "hourly" tertiary backup that you do manually,just in case your raid1 (or raidWhatever) bites the dust.

    Raid1 for "casual" users is actually be far more dangerous than the classic manual backup.
  17. Death Warrant macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2007
    I go with RAID 1 for System and Data and use Time Maschine for Backup to an NAS. Thats perfect! This should fit the needs :)
  18. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    Time Machine for Backup to an NAS?

    How do you use Time Machine with a NAS?

    I tried to use a shared RAID 5 drive on a PC in the basement without success. I can mount the remote drive, I can transfer files to and from it, but Time Machine will not see it.

    What do you do to mount a network drive on Time Machine?

  19. NewbieNerd macrumors 6502a


    Sep 22, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Actually, just to be correct, assuming 0 <= X <= 1, your chances with RAID 1 are X^2 and your chances with RAID 0 are 1-(1-X)^2=2X-X^2, which is about 2X as you said if X is very close to 0. Nerd, I know... :rolleyes:
  20. Wild-Bill macrumors 68030


    Jan 10, 2007
    I think you wait for the 10.5.2 update, at least that's what I read.
  21. MacInMotion macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2008
    Compare to hardware solutions

    Didn't those drives have firmware problems that killed random read times?

    For comparison, find attached Xbench scores for a single 146 GB Seagate Cheetah 15K.5 SAS drive and a 3 X 750 GB Hitachi Ultrastar A7K1000 SATA RAID 5 array, both attached to a Mac Pro RAID card.

    To summarize for the text search engines (all scores are Xbench scores, higher is better):

    2X Barracuda software RAID 0: sequential score 202, random score 90
    15,000 RPM SAS drive by itself: sequential score 217, random score 327
    3X Ultrastar hardware RAID 5: sequential score 242, random score 83

    What's really killing the RAID 5 are the large block random writes.

    Attached Files:

  22. GotPro macrumors 6502

    Jan 29, 2007
    Note about saving time with RAID 0 on OS X through Software RAID.

    I'd do a render of a video with RAID 0 and without RAID 0 installed on the machine.

    Would be an interesting benchmark.

    While the hard drives are faster, the OS and the CPUS are controlling the RAID, so you have less firepower to actually muscle through your applications.

    It's not a hardware raid where the processing is off-loaded to a RAID SPECIFIC and OPTIMIZED PROCESSOR... the operating system and CPU has to do all the RAID work...

    So... if you get 1.5x the throughput in disk speed, but lose, say, 10-15% of your CPU power... is it a worthy trade-off?

    I'm just wondering...

    I've done RAID 0 setups a ton... and had one till recently... but... just wondering :)
  23. sirris101 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2008
    Nope. Mine came with the latest firmware preinstalled. They've been working fine. However, I don't know if the latest version has any none issues; I would assume not.

    Cool to know you can use both an SAS drive and SATA drives with the Apple RAID card. Apple's web site makes it seem like you cannot.
  24. mrcandy macrumors regular

    Nov 12, 2007
    Calgary, AB Canada
    I have two of the exact same drives, 7200.11 500GB - only mine originally came with the firmware that had the cache size problems.

    I have benchmark results from before and after the firmware upgrade, and the results by OP in post #1 very closely match my post upgrade results. So - yes, these numbers are good for these drives.
  25. NightSailor macrumors 6502


    Feb 24, 2008
    Hard RAID vs Soft RAID


    It is easy to find RAID information elsewhere, but here are my thoughts.

    Soft Raid or Software RAID Built in to OS X. Allows RAID 0 or RAID 1, but can’t do RAID 5.

    Hard Raid, or Hardware Raid, requires Raid card about $800 from Apple, and this allows RAID 5 and speeds everything up taking the load off the CPU’s for faster thoughput.

    Raid 0 Stripe set: Two or more drives, if one fails, you have to restore from an external backup or rebuild everything. Each drives multiplies the odds of a failure, but increases speed. 3 drives, 3 times more likely to fail, 3 times the speed. 4 drives, four times faster and four times as likely to fail. Practically speaking a RAID 0 with backup is a good option if you want speed and can live with the headache of rebuilding everything.


    Two 500GB drives in a RAID 0 with a 1TB drive as a back up. $900 You would still have room for another drive. So, why not have one?

    Here is what I'd recommend three 320GB drives in a Raid 0 with a single TB drive for backup gives you 960 GB of storage--all for about $500, and you could keep it all internal. Cheap because everyone wants 500GB drives or larger these days. Three drives are threes times as likely to fail, but who cares, get a spare for $80 and be ready for it. What you get is triple speeds but not for boot up unfortunately.

    Raid 1 Mirror set. Two drives with identical data. No speed advantage. It is slightly slower or about these same as one drive, but you can just switch to the spare drive to instantly be up and running again. Fast to repair, just install another drive and hit restore overnight and be up and running with redundancy the next day.

    Example: Two 1 TB drives in a mirror gives you 1 TB of storage with another identical copy.

    Raid 5 Stripe set with Parity. If one drive fails, pull it and install another which is automatically rebuilt. You lose a bit of speed compared to RAID 0 but you don't lose everything, and in fact can be up and running pretty quickly. What is that catch? You must have a hardware RAID controller card and that cost $800.

    If you have the bucks a Hardware RAID card will give you good service. I've been toying with this option. My idea was four TB drives in a RAID 5 array for 3 TB of storage and 1 for parity check and to rebuild a damaged drive. You'd want a spare drive on hand to eliminate a lot of down time. Cost would be about $2300.

    1. The Hardware Raid card Apple sells will run SAS drives, which are much faster drives. So 4 300 GB SAS 15,000 rpm drives in a Raid 5 array, will give you 900GB of space and blazing fast disk access. You could also go with Hardware Raid card in Raid 0, and accept the risks for a 33% performance gain at a risk factor of 4. This drives cost $700 each. Compared with eSata, throughput is 50% faster, and disk access is 3.5ms compared to 8.5ms. [three disk array with separate boot disk] Buy the Hardware card first, because they won’t work without it.

    2. The Mac Pro will support two other drives through an eSATA connectors. So two more drives can be hooked up external to the case.

    3. While the Mac Pro has vibration isolators in it's drive trays, it is a very bad idea to mix SAS and eSATA drives as the vibration characteristic are not compatible and cause errors.

    If you want something even faster, MTRON makes 128 GB SSD drives which in a RAID 0 would be light lightning. without any moving parts, I think RAID 0 would be a good choice for this. You'd have to sell your '63 Corvette to afford it. Two of these in a RAID 0 along with four SAS drives internal, and full trays of memory, would pretty much Max out a Mac Pro and leave space for as many external drives as you like. And in a few years, unlike the Corvette, they won't be worth much.

    Access your requirement, storage needs, and budget, and then come up with a plan to meet those needs.

    Good luck.


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