New to Mac Pro... A few questions!

MattSepeta

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jul 9, 2009
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I am looking to replace my Macbook Pro with either a Mac Pro but have no experience with them so I have a few questions I was hoping you guys could answer...

1. I have found a good deal on a 2010 eight core 2.4GHz. Is there any reason this model is worse than any others? My use will be heavy photo editing, 1080p video work and compositing, and Photoshop graphics work. My main reason for a Mac Pro over an iMac is the ability to add in new graphics cards as Aperture is very GPU reliant, as well as the ability to have a few full size drives inside, and swap them out with ease as they fill up.

2. I am going to be running 2 24": ACDs. I plan on adding another radeon 5770 1GB to help with that. Is there anything special I need to do or know beyond plugging in the new card?

3. USB 3.0... Is it possible to add USB 3.0 functionality? Will something like this work? I have a new MBA with usb 3.0 I keep at home and want to be able to move large files (Aperture libraries, etc) quickly between the office and home.

4. Taking advantage of SATA III speeds for my boot SSD, is there any way to add this? If I understand correctly, the above CalDigit card would add this?

5. I'm going to get 4 x 3TB 7200 drives, to go RAID 1+0. I am brand new to RAID, so is there any reason this wouldnt work on the Mac Pro? This would give me 6TB of faster storage with redundancy, correct?


Thanks, and excuse my noobness :confused:
 

Loa

macrumors 68000
May 5, 2003
1,599
46
Québec
1. Is there any reason this model is worse than any others?
Nope, but you might want to go for a higher clock speed with less cores. Photo editing apps won't benefit from an octo-core, and the 2.4GHz will mean low performance. If you can find a 3.33 hex core, it's going to be a LOT more powerful for photo editing.

2. I am going to be running 2 24": ACDs. I plan on adding another radeon 5770 1GB to help with that. Is there anything special I need to do or know beyond plugging in the new card?
Nope. Simple as that. Current cards should even handle 2 displays with ease if you have enough mini display ports on it (like Apple's 5770).

3. USB 3.0... Is it possible to add USB 3.0 functionality?
Yes, there are many cards now that make that work.

Will something like this work?
It should, but I can't confirm.

have a new MBA with usb 3.0 I keep at home and want to be able to move large files (Aperture libraries, etc) quickly between the office and home.
Not going to happen with direct USB cable. If you have an external USB3 drive to move the files, then it will work.

4. Taking advantage of SATA III speeds for my boot SSD, is there any way to add this? If I understand correctly, the above CalDigit card would add this?
The trouble is "booting" from SATA3. I don't know if the Caldigit card boots on Mac. There are cheap alternatives, but they all imply adding cables and adapters inside your Mac. Read here.

5. I'm going to get 4 x 3TB 7200 drives, to go RAID 1+0. I am brand new to RAID, so is there any reason this wouldnt work on the Mac Pro? This would give me 6TB of faster storage with redundancy, correct?
Why the 1, in that RAID set-up? Redundancy isn't a back-up solution at all. But, yes, it will work.

Loa
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
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3. USB 3.0... Is it possible to add USB 3.0 functionality? Will something like this work? I have a new MBA with usb 3.0 I keep at home and want to be able to move large files (Aperture libraries, etc) quickly between the office and home.
Using a drive to transfer the data between different systems, Yes. Directly via a USB cable, No.

4. Taking advantage of SATA III speeds for my boot SSD, is there any way to add this? If I understand correctly, the above CalDigit card would add this?
It does, as do other cards.

CalDigit doesn't have a good track record with storage systems however, so I'm hesitant to recommend their products (too many past disasters that are well documented in here).

5. I'm going to get 4 x 3TB 7200 drives, to go RAID 1+0. I am brand new to RAID, so is there any reason this wouldn't work on the Mac Pro? This would give me 6TB of faster storage with redundancy, correct?
It will work.

Please do not fall into the trap of thinking a redundant array can supplant a proper backup system however. You'll end up losing your data at some point if you do (in very simple terms, it's a matter of when, not if).
 

MattSepeta

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jul 9, 2009
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375th St. Y
Thanks guys, this cleared up a lot of questions.

Regarding backup, I clone my working drives with external usb drives once every two weeks or after important content capture stored at home off site.

Maybe jbod is a better solution, I probably wouldn't even benefit too much from the raid 0 aspect..
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
Thanks guys, this cleared up a lot of questions.

Regarding backup, I clone my working drives with external usb drives once every two weeks or after important content capture stored at home off site.

Maybe jbod is a better solution, I probably wouldn't even benefit too much from the raid 0 aspect..
I would suggest setting your backup software schedule to do it automatically, so it's not forgotten (and far more frequently, such as a daily <incremental> and full backup once a week; clone the OS disk to an external to take care of that end each time you make a change). Time Machine can do this, as can 3rd party applications.

As per the storage media, for backups, JBOD is fine (allows for all of the capacity to be usable, and visible as a single volume). Fast enough too, as backup doesn't need to be blazingly fast, particularly when they're scheduled overnight.
 

MattSepeta

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jul 9, 2009
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0
375th St. Y
Thanks

Yes, I do have my backup plan already in full effect via offsite backups as well as online backups, so for all intents and purposes lets forget about the backup element and focus on pure performance.


For the kind of work I will be doing with this, would I benefit from a speed increase of a RAID 1?

If I were to throw in the 4 3TB drives, could I link them in two pairs of 2 JBOD style, to effectively have 2 6TB drives?

Regarding processor, what about the 6 core 3.33ghz? Or will my softwares (Adobe photoshop, premiere pro, after effects, media encoder, apple Aperture 3) not utilize those benefits?
 

GermanyChris

macrumors 601
Jul 3, 2011
4,185
2
Here
Yes, I do have my backup plan already in full effect via offsite backups as well as online backups, so for all intents and purposes lets forget about the backup element and focus on pure performance.


For the kind of work I will be doing with this, would I benefit from a speed increase of a RAID 1?

If I were to throw in the 4 3TB drives, could I link them in two pairs of 2 JBOD style, to effectively have 2 6TB drives?

Regarding processor, what about the 6 core 3.33ghz? Or will my softwares (Adobe photoshop, premiere pro, after effects, media encoder, apple Aperture 3) not utilize those benefits?

Ps is not a core aware as it should be so it will not take advantage of the 8 cores and will benefit from the higher clock. Adobe encoder is core aware. I don't use any of the other programs on a regular enough basis to have an opinion.

If I were you I'd go single 3.3 over dual 2.4 unless you have ideas about processor upgrades.
 

Loa

macrumors 68000
May 5, 2003
1,599
46
Québec
For the kind of work I will be doing with this, would I benefit from a speed increase of a RAID 1?
My advice: read up on RAID modes before making your decision. A RAID1 will not give you any performance increase. It's meant to be useful for systems that *have* to be up 24/7 and situations where you simply can't be offline, even for a minute.

RAID0 is the basic performance RAID, as it will roughly double (or triple if you use 3 drives, quadruple for 4...) the performance of the read/write of your drives, especially for large files.

Loa
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
For the kind of work I will be doing with this, would I benefit from a speed increase of a RAID 1?
As mentioned, RAID 1 wasn't designed to increase speed, but rather redundancy (if one disk failed, the other would remain operational; such as an OS disk, which would allow the system to continue to operate, which is highly important in a server for example).

As mentioned, read up on RAID levels (Wiki is a good resource for this, and follow the links within their RAID page).

If I were to throw in the 4 3TB drives, could I link them in two pairs of 2 JBOD style, to effectively have 2 6TB drives?
Yes, this is possible.

Regarding processor, what about the 6 core 3.33ghz? Or will my softwares (Adobe photoshop, premiere pro, after effects, media encoder, apple Aperture 3) not utilize those benefits?
Without further information, it seems ATM that a 6 core machine would offer a better balance of performance for you, as you get enough cores at a fast clock to handle multi-threaded applications properly, and the clock speed helps out those that are not (i.e. Photoshop in particular).

You can sit down and figure out how much time you'll be spending in each application by % (x hours in each application/ total hours worked in a day), and get back to us. But it's highly likely that the 6 core will still be the recommended system.
 

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