New Mac Pro - please help me optimize it

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Horst, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. Horst Guest

    Jan 10, 2006
    I'm aware this topic must have been beaten to death, but allow me to ask some questions about system optimization again, mainly re. Photoshop CS4 and Cinema 4D.

    After doing quite some research and getting great advise on this fine forum, I have now put together this system :

    - Mac Pro 2.8 Ghz Dual, 12 GB Ram , GeForce 8800GT

    - Main drive Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB (system, applications, files), using less than 200GB, big files go into external archives

    - Stock drive Western Digital 320GB (SE16 ?) used for Bootcamp partition (XP) and Photoshop scratch disc ( 111GB partition )

    - External 1TB drive/ FW 800 with Samsung Spinpoint F1/ 1TB for Time Machine

    - A bunch of external harddrives for archiving large files and bootable system backups

    - Two ACDs , 23" and 20", connected to the GeForce 8800

    As for performance, my questions are only about two apps really, Photoshop CS4 in general, and C4D rendering, working with highres image files (200-500MB, lots of layers) and highres C4D renders with GI and complex materials. I have googled my behind off, but still am not a lot wiser...

    1) Will I see performance gains if I run my Photoshop files off a seperate internal drive (recommendations ?), instead of having them on the system/application drive, and might that affect C4D renders as well ?

    2) Given the 12GB Ram I have, should I worry about a more efficient PS scratch disc setup ? Recommendations ?

    3) Cinema 4D : OpenGL previews in the editor window are working, but way too sluggish. If I ran my second display off a seperate graphic card, would that make a great difference ?

    4) Where would a Raid0 configuration of two drives really improve performance, regarding the needs mentioned above, and how important is HDD speed ?

    5) Anything else you can recommend ?

    Cheers !
  2. ObaMaciden macrumors member


    Nov 4, 2008
    I use my new MP for CS4 and FCS for web design and here is my config after great suggestions by folks here. It's excellent for me. It might help you get started. (BTW: ACD 23" seems discontinued.)

    Mac Pro Dual Quad 2.8GHz
    16GB RAM (8x2GB OWC)
    ATi HD 3870 (possibly w/Arctic S1 Rev2 Cooler if too loud)
    Dual Display: NEC LCD2690WUXI-BK 26" + ACD 23" (15 months old from friend)
    Storage 2.62GB on board + 2GB external RAID as follows:

    -On Board Mac Pro:
    --300GB VelociRaptor (as boot drive) that SuperDupers/Time Machines to 320GB stock drive
    --2x1TB WD Black Caviar in Raid 0

    -External Raid (for back up)
    --2GB (Seagate 2x1TB Barracuda Sata 7200 Rpm 32MB)
    --Syba eSata card 2 port
    --Sans Digital MS2UT+B with 2 bay esata enclosure
  3. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007

    1) photoshop system files, no change. Your boot drive is not the fastest, but your performance will be decided by manipulation of data sets, not program load times.

    2) Simple: look at swap being used. How big are files you're using when layers active? I work 300-400MB files routinely and don't see swap using CS4 and 11GB ram, so it's not worth investing money. If you're doing Gigabyte sized files, then you probably need a raptor for swap.

    3) Can't help you here, but check out barefeats for data on the 8800 - personally I found performance horrid with it and returned it.

    4) Raid 0 will increase large transfer sizes dramatically. If you routinely are writing or reading large blocks of information, it will help. For most photoshop manipulation, this is not the limiting factor - RAM and processor speed (and GPU speed in upcoming versions) will be far more important.

    The biggest limit I see in your system is the 500GB boot drive. If you HAD to pick something to upgrade, moving it to a larger platter size will improve performance, but I doubt enough for your applications to make a significant difference.
  4. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    For Photoshop work and anything 'Core-Image'. I would of stayed with the default ATI 2600 XT card since it's actually faster than the 8800GT, even with two monitors attached.

    Excess ram will only improve system speed, as for as Photoshop CS3 & CS4 is concerned, it'll only see the about 3072MB. It's not a system limitation but an Adobe one.

    WD Black is a nice drive but not the performance king in my experience, they're better suited for a SATA based array. If you have the capital, then upgrade to an WD Velociraptor and use that as your boot drive. It'll be a hell of a lot snappier!!
  5. ekwipt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2008
    Don't believe the hype i'm seeing better performance on a single drive than two drives in raid 0, three drives yes you'll see performance but at what costs?
  6. scottydawg macrumors 6502


    Jan 22, 2008
    Sacramento, CA
    I would suggest keeping all your ram slots full with even amounts of memory so either 8gb or 16gb.
  7. ekwipt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2008
    Yep 16GB gives full memory bandwidth in the current macpros
  8. Horst thread starter Guest

    Jan 10, 2006
    Thanks, fellows, appreciate the help !

    One follow-up question :

    Just to clarify, if the Photoshop file / image file I'm working on is located on a drive different from the drive with the Photoshop app/ PS system files, would that make a difference ?

    Drive A: OSX, PS app etc., drive B: image file only , so PS and OSX read from A, while all manipulations in PS are written to B .

    I hope that makes sense, computer noob and foreign speaker here...
  9. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    Yes that does make a difference, but only when you are working on image sets that exceed available RAM, which for current PS I think is around 3.8GB. If you're below that, then you won't be hitting scratch at all.

    there was a really nice set of benchmarks on PS and different options of RAM and Scratch disks including RAID recently on Barefeats - I tried to find the link for you , but the site isn't coming up right now. Check them out - it's been in the last 2 weeks I think and read through that set of testing, I think it will help you.

    Edit: found it -
  10. Horst thread starter Guest

    Jan 10, 2006
    Thanks again, nice one; just for the hell of it, I ordered two 640GB WD Caviar Black for some Raid0 experiments - can't leave those fancy drive bays empty, can you ;) ?

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