Noob's head is spinning over 5,1 SSDs/upgrades

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by fullgoosebozo, Apr 2, 2017.

  1. fullgoosebozo macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2017
    Hi, everyone.

    I have been reading and reading these forums, but all it is doing is causing my head to spin. Between different opinions, uses, and flat-out arguments, I can't keep up. So I apologize in advance for staring a new thread, but here's why:

    I currently use a Mac Mini that I tricked out (as much as they can be tricked out) with two Samsung 850 EVO SSDs, maxed out memory, and two external USB 3.0 back up drives. The thing is great, and really serves every need I have... except for editing video and photos of my kids. Can't do anything about built-in, crappy video, and it takes FOREVER to do anything at all.

    So I just bought a Mac Pro 5,1 (2010 2.4 8-core) in like-new shape for not a lot of money. Yes, it's older, but -- from what I see -- it can still crush everything I would need it for: Internet, Office, family photos and videos (lots of them), and the occasional Civilization game. I do not use Windows (except at work), so I don't need dual-boot drives, etc.

    After being spoiled by the Mini's SATA III SSDs, however, I don't want to move backwards in the speed department. When I researched SSDs in the Mac Pros, I saw there were two options: Installing a SATA III SSD (running at SATA II speed) in one of the regular bays, or installing a PCIe SSD (Predator or Samsung 941) in the PCIe slot. After that, it's a blur to me. People talking about boot drives, TRIM (I honestly don't know what that is, but also read that SSDs should not be trimmed), speed of the drives not meeting the speed of the system anyhow, scratch drives (don't know what that is either), etc., etc., etc.

    Guys, here is what I have now and want to move to the Mac Pro:

    1. A boot drive similar in speed to what I have now that has the MacOS on it and ALL of my applications
    2. A second drive that has all my music, photos, videos, and documents
    3. A third drive to back up both drives regularly.

    That's it.

    Could someone please tell me the best drive solution and briefly explain why? Are there any other upgrades you would recommend given my little use?

    Seriously, if there was a way to upgrade my Mini's GPU, I would do it and be a happy man. But there isn't, and I am sick of watching the spinning beach ball every time I try editing a simple video on IMOVIE of all things, or when I play the random game of Civilization.

    Sorry again for starting a new thread and for the length of my post. I just thought it would be better to explain my exact situation up front.

    Thank you in advance.
  2. justinkr macrumors member

    Jan 20, 2017
    Instead of upgrading your Mac mini. I highly recommend u to upgrade your mac pro 5,1 Graphic card and Rams and do a fresh OS X install. That will help. And Use your SSD for main hard drive. I have Mac Pro 2,1 And I don't have any issue. Im running with un flash gtx 750 ti 2GB but if u have the money get a better graphic card or a flash card your 5,1 will run smoother.
  3. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2011
    If you want the best SSD performance with options to grow/add then I would get one of these and add the SSD (or two) of your choice... Technologies/TSATA6SSDPSE/

    Then you can mount up to 4x3.5" drives at SATAII speed inside using the standard drive sleds, use these for docs and backups and whatever size drives you want. You could even create two software RAID1 volumes if you installed four HDDs.

    Another option rather than having OS/Apps on the SSD and everything else on a larger, slower HDD is creating a Fusion drive using an SSD and a large HDD. It will show up as a single volume but will be the combined size of the SSD and HDD, macOS will determine what to move to the slower HDD itself. This is tiered storage where data is automatically promoted to SSD or demoted to HDD based on demand. On the plus side, you don't have to organize where things go on your own. On the negative side, if either of the drives in the Fusion volume fail then it's as if you're only using a single drive, the data will be lost and have to be restored from backup.

    TRIM only applies to SSDs, so it would be silly to say they shouldn't have TRIM enabled. TRIM helps with garbage collection and helps maintain write performance by reducing the need to read-modify-write a page/block and instead simply write data to pages/blocks that have been marked as empty or invalid and not care what data is there since it's no longer needed or referenced by the OS.

    Scratch drives are fast drives used for transitional data, such as transcoded/optimized video files used when creating and editing videos. If the drive(s) fail then you don't lose any critical data since the master files don't live there.

    Hope this helps and doesn't add to your confusion. ;)
  4. JedNZ macrumors 6502


    Dec 6, 2015
    Deep South
    I have a Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD in an Accelsior S SATA III PCI-e card with my boot and apps on it. Although it provides SATA III speed that the SSD can serve, it's overkill. A reputable branded SSD in one of your direct drive bays will provide you with 98% (a guess, based on observations and experience) of what it would if it were in a SATA III PCI-e card.

    And don't entertain any talk about an NVMe blade in a PCI-e card. I've got that, and although it's lovely to have I get little or no value out of it as far as the speeds it can serve. I've only seen it peak over 600 MB/s a couple of times for very short bursts.
  5. h9826790 macrumors G5


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    Just plug that into one of the SATA II port. For booting and loading apps, you should not feel any difference then running the SSD via a SATA III connection. I have the SATA III card. I can tell you that's my real world result. The SATA III helps a lot for large file sequential read / write, but booting or loading apps simply not the case.

    For booting. If you can boot you Mac with a SSD connected to one of the SATA II port in 20s. By installing a PCIe SATA III card, you should also boot in 20s (or longer, if the card required some time to initialise before the Apple logo shows up).

    For loading apps, SATA III should has little bit advantage. However, the improvement should be less than 1s. e.g. If Photoshop can open in 5s with SATA II connection. Then the same SSD may able to load the same apps in 4.5s if there is a SATA III connection. For human being, that's practically nothing.

    Apart from that, you can install up to 4HDD in the drive bay for your data and backup. Just be careful that most large size HDD (e.g. 8TB or above) have non standard mount point, which doesn't fit your HDD tray. The biggest one I can get with the correct mount point is the 6TB HDD (WD red).

    For the backup HDD, if that's just for backing up data. A large HDD should be good enough. However, if that will serve as a backup boot drive a well. Then you may consider a SSHD (e.g. Seagate FireCuda), so, it won't be too expensive, and when you really need to boot from the backup. The speed still reasonably fast.
  6. kschendel macrumors 65816

    Dec 9, 2014
    I will second h9826790's opinion. I have both SATA and PCIe SSD installed. The SATA SSD's are in drive bays running at SATA 2 speeds. The PCIe is a Toshiba OCZ which isn't quite as speedy as the high end Samsung's but it was a lot cheaper. (It's also NVMe but that's OK for my purposes, I use it with linux).

    The PCIe SSD runs at least double the sequential read / write speed of the SATA SSD when you benchmark it. In real world interactive use it's really hard to tell the difference. If I run extended DBMS tests (lots of I/O) they will complete faster on the PCIe drive but you have to time them to notice.

    I suggest starting out with SATA SSD's in drive bays. If you aren't satisfied with the speed you can get the Sonnet card suggested above (or an equivalent) and move the SSD's onto that card. I suspect you'll end up being perfectly happy with SATA II speeds for most of what you do.
  7. MacStu09 macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2009

    This isn't tough to answer. You don't have any heavy uses, or need anything all that special really. For your needs, all 7200rpm HDD's would be fine. But for the best solution, just go with 2 SSD's of any type, and one 7200 rpm drive.

    Install OSX on one SSD, use another SSD as a scratch drive (just a place to access video files/documents that isn't your main drive), and back them both up to a 7200 rpm standard HDD. You're not going to be disappointed, and it'll meet your needs fine. Anything else for your situation is overkill, and it really is that simple.
  8. fullgoosebozo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2017
    Thank you all for the valuable input. I appreciate it!

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7 April 2, 2017