Options for new job - Going from Web Dev to Hi-Res print - Different MP configs??!?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Sean Dempsey, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006
    I have a 2006 Mac Pro 1,1.

    I use it for 95% Web Dev, and 4% print, and 1% hi-res grand format print.

    Now, I am working for a new company who has my focus on probably 80% hi-res print work, 10% grand format print, and 10% web.

    I currently am just using a C2Duo Macbook Pro, but am going to want a desktop, as the laptop just isn't cutting it. It's got 4 gigs of ram and a 7200rpm 500 gig drive, but I still get beachballs and spinners constantly.

    What is the setup for a Mac Pro for hi-res print? I am thinking the single CPU version would be fine, with a SSD system drive and then just various drives for files? Better to set up a hardware striped raid to run files off of?

    Also, for something like this 4 gigs of RAM in the laptop doesn't seem to cut it. Would this be an 8gig minimum type setup?

    I'm really just tired of beachballs and long render times when trying to manipulate large files in illustrator and photoshop.

    I don't know if the company will let me spend the money on a Mac Pro, so if not, I am guessing that an i7 27" imac would be the 2nd choice, albeit a huge downgrade from a properly setup Mac Pro, and then a Mac Mini next?
  2. MRU Suspended


    Aug 23, 2005
    A 27" iMac with 8gb ram would give you best value. Great IPS high res screen, blazing value CPU and enough ram to compliment.
  3. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    1st choice would be a Quad core Mac Pro (doesn't look like an Octad would be utilized). That cost savings should make the MP more attainable, and you can argue against the iMac's glossy screen in favor of the MP + separate monitor solution.

    As per RAM, 8/12/16GB, depending on your file sizes and number open (8GB = 4x 2GB sticks, 12 & 16GB = 3 or 4x 4GB sticks respectively).

    SSD might be nice for a boot/applications disk, but I've no idea of your budget. Given your comments though, this may have to be skipped in favor of a mechanical RAID of some sort (you need a backup system regardless of what you use for your primary data, including SSD, as they can break too).

    Further information, particularly on software used, file sizes, and budget, would help us fine tune any information offered.

    Hope this helps as it is. :)
  4. strausd macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    If your budget won't allow for an SSD, you might want to look into a seagate momentus xt hybrid drive. It's a 250, 320, or 599 GB 7200 RPM drive with 4 GB of SSD. It uses an algorithm to figure out why files are used the most and puts those on the SSD. This could dramatically increase boot times or time for opening applications. The 500GB is only $130 on amazon. It's a 2.5" drive so you would need something for it to get into your MP, but you would have to do the same for just a SSD.
  5. Sean Dempsey thread starter macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006
    I already have a 30" ACD, so the iMac 27" is tempting for the bonus screen.

    But, I typically like to use 3-4 monitors. I already have monitors, internal storage, external storage, backup capacity, all that.

    I just need more SPEED and don't want to hamstring myself with an iMac.

    And, I don't have a budget. I am going to come up with 2-3 options for a machine (minus the stuff I mentioned) and propose those.

    The company I am working for does not have a machine right now, I am using my MBP17" from home right now. I have a Mac Pro at home too, but I am not donating that to the company.

    They already have the 30" ACD and a Drobo with 2TB loaded (not sure what effective GB that is). And basically everything else. Mass storage isn't a problem, it's just SPEED I need, but don't know how much I can spend.

    Do you think I could do a SSD for the system drive, then maybe just a Raptor for main files, and then just a regular 7200rpm for mass storage, and then just do 8-12 gigs of ram so I never hit a scratch or pagefile?

    Does an iMac have an eSATA option?
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Go ahead and plan out the system you really need, and present that to them for budget approval (explain thoroughly, as to justify the need, or they'll see it as more than is necessary).

    You can go with an SSD for the OS/applications (will load faster), and a RAID (i.e. stripe set, aka RAID 0), for scratch and data storage (faster than a single disk), as well as a proper backup system (i.e. an eSATA card attached to a Port Multiplier enclosure; there's multiple options with this, such as RAID 10 (assuming the card supports it), as well as JBOD). Use 7200rpm disks for the PRIMARY data (stripe set), and you can use 5400/Green disks for the BACKUP system (need capacity over speed, and they're cheaper).

    Skip the Velociraptor for data. If you go with a mechanical boot disk rather than an SSD, it would help, as it is faster than 7200rpm disks for random access performance (what you need for loading OS's and applications, and what the SSD excels at over any other storage tech right now).

    Whatever you do however, do NOT run without a backup in place, especially a stripe set (one disk fails, all the data is gone).

    I'd go with 12GB of RAM, as it's easy to add in an additional 4GB in the open DIMM slot if needed (no need to swap out DIMM's).

    Unfortunately, No. :(

    Externals would be via FW or USB.
  7. Sean Dempsey thread starter macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006

    Yeah, this is basically how I have my home Mac Pro set up. I just don't want to bring it in to the office.

    Now, I can't do a real Raid0 with a Mac Pro without a raid card, or a eSATA port and a external raid0?

    I was looking at this for an external raid0: http://eshop.macsales.com/Customized_Pages/Framework.cfm?page=mepal_splash_raid.html

    its got the eSATA, and runs the hardware raid so the Mac Pro doesn't have to.

    They already have a 4TB storage solution, it's just a slow Drobo though.

    What about a SSD OS drive, and then another SSD "working files" drive, and then just a regular SATA drive for storage. Keep the 100 or so gigs of "current" files on the second SSD, and the rest of the junk on a regular drive, and back it all up nightly to an external mirrored raid1?
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I wouldn't take it to the office either, unless you're hired on as a Contractor, where it's clearly stated/understood you're responsible for providing the necessary equipment to get the job done.

    Assuming this isn't the case, you shouldn't have even brought in your laptop, as it's the company's responsibility to provide you with the necessary tools.

    If they're unwilling to do this, it might be time to seriously be looking for a new job, as I'd take it as a cash flow problem that could extend to wages not being paid when due.

    You can do a 0/1/10 array internally via Disk Utility (software based array via the ICH in the chipset).

    An eSATA card will also use it's drivers to create an array (software implementation).

    But there are eSATA enclosures that have a chip in it (RoC = RAID on a Chip, such as an Oxford 936 or 924). Those aren't software, but they're not the same as a true hardware controller either (i.e. little to no cache, and only viable for 0/1/ or 10 if on a 4 port version, as there's no NVRAM solution for the write hole issue associated with parity based arrays; the 936 is a 4 port model that will allow a RAID 5, but it's not suited for it).

    The unit you linked is such a unit (2 bay model).

    But if you can fit it internally (not seeing any reason you can't), then there's no real need for the external solution.

    If you use it, you'd still need an eSATA card that works under OS X though, as you need it to pass the data between the enclosure and system.

    SSD's are NOT suited for high write environments, particularly the MLC based units (MLC is cheaper than SLC). The published data from drive makers is manipulated, not real-world results. That is, they base it on the best 90% of the cells (tossing the worst 10%), and calculate the data (wear leveling implemented) on an empty drive (gives the maximum # of cells for wear leveling = the SSD's equivalent of remapping bad sectors).

    An SSD is fine as an OS/applications disk however, as they're high read environments, which SSD excels at for speed (random access throughput).

    Put scratch space/data on a mechanical RAID 0, and use mechanical as your backup sources (Green drives are perfect for backups, as you can get cheap cost/capacity, as speed is a lesser concern).

    Just make sure if you use a RAID 0 for data, that you have the backup system in place from day one.

    The above configuration information is based on the lowest cost possible. There are compromises, namely availability (uptime), as you have to restore data when the stripe set fails.

    If your data requires more redundancy than that (i.e. you can't afford the time lost to restore the data, and possibly re-perform some lost work that may not have been backed up just before the failure), then you need to consider a different array type (and possibly separate that from scratch data).

    BTW, no matter what you do, when dealing with RAID, a UPS becomes a necessity, not an option (preferably an Online type).

Share This Page