Please take a look at my 3,1 setup

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by wildatheart, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. wildatheart macrumors member

    wildatheart

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2008
    #1
    I am a photographer and mostly work on the road with my 2011 Macbook Pro 17”, with a 3G OWC 1TB SSD in the optical bay for Lightroom catalogs and a Samsung 1TB 850 Pro in the hard drive bay with one partition for my system and another for my User directory. There’s no doubt it’s useful life has been extended by SSD’s, and I need the storage, so no retina for me… anyway, back to my Mac Pro, which I don’t use as often, but I would like to eek some life out of, too. I have been buying some upgrades; Sonnet Pro Card, USB Card, SSD’s. I may be missing a trick or two when it comes to the best setup, so any advice gratefully received.

    Predictably, I mainly work in Lightroom and Photoshop. The LR catalogs and images are all on the RAID0 Hard Drives, my system and Home folder are on the Sonnet Pro.

    OSX10.9.5
    2008 Mac Pro 3,1 2 x 2.8GHz Quad Core

    2x4TB WD Black in RAID0
    2x4TB WD Red in RAID0

    Card slot #1 (PCIe 2.0 x16) NVIDEA GeForce 8800GT

    Card slot #2 (PCIe 2.0 x16) Sonnet Tempo SSD Pro Plus with 2x 512GB Samsung 840 Pro in RAID0, with a 100gb partition for my boot volume Macintosh System and a 923GB partition for my Home directory; 950MB/s read.

    Card slot #3 (PCIe 1.0 x4) Inateck 4 Ports PCI-E USB 3.0 Expansion Card

    Card slot #4 (PCIe 1.0 x4) cheap PCIE to SATA III and eSATA CONTROLLER CARD, ASM1061, connected to eSATA HD dock (this card lets me hot swap drives in the dock, whereas the eSATA ports on the Sonnet Pro don’t). Link Speed 6 Gigabit, negotiated speed 1.5 Gigabit, due to the dock I imagine; I can get 6 Gigabit link on an internal SSD, though only in slot #1 and #2.

    I am about to install 1x 128GB Samsung 830 and 1x 120GB Samsung 840 EVO in RAID0 in the lower optical bay, connected to the two sata ports on the motherboard, to use as a scratch/cache disk for PS and LR.

    I am about to upgrade my RAM from 12GB to 32GB with cheap RAM from eBay (fingers crossed).

    I’m a little unsure of how best to set up my hard drive bays; I’d like to have around 6TB of storage for my LR catalogs, and the rest can be assigned to safety backups and additional storage. Not sure which HD’s to use, either; the RED’s are noticeably quieter, but the BLACK’s measure 280MB/s read vs. 200MB/s for the RED’s.

    Should I assign a partition on the Sonnet Pro for any LR catalog I am working on (with the images on the hard drives)? I believe this might speed things up in LR, but perhaps not as it’s also the boot card (currently the catalogs are with the images on the Hard Drives). Or should the working catalog go on the scratch disks below the optical bay?

    And finally, I might like to try a little Bootcamp and Windows in the future, if that allowed for some modest gaming.

    As said, any tips appreciated!
     
  2. Tucom, Jan 2, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015

    Tucom macrumors 65816

    Tucom

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    #2
    The RAM will be the best upgrade you can do, by far - given you've got the SSD's going already. A newer, faster GPU may be a solid improvement if the apps you use are GPU accelerated. Take a look at the EVGA GTX680 Mac Edition - will be a monumental improvement from that aging 8800 you've got currently. There's also the Radeon HD 7950 Mac Edition, with a lower price, and will ALSO be a monumental upgrade from your current GPU, though not sure if the 7950 Mac Edition is compatible with the 2008 MP's.


    The only other real thing you could do is upgrade the CPUs, but I don't know how much that would cost, and if it would be worth it.
     
  3. wildatheart thread starter macrumors member

    wildatheart

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2008
    #3
    Thanks Tucom - apparently LR uses no GPU acceleration and PS only a little, so my understanding is that a new GPU card would be of no benefit here.
     
  4. m4v3r1ck macrumors 68020

    m4v3r1ck

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    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #4
    As you are using a lot of RAID0 (16TB for data I presume) I'm very curious about your back-up sheme.
     
  5. wildatheart thread starter macrumors member

    wildatheart

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2008
    #5
    Currently I have 2TB on the WD RED RAID0 for Time Machine backups of my System and Home volume and 6TB as a SuperDuper! backup of all my images and LR catalogs, which are on the WD BLACK RAID0, my active work volume.
     
  6. m4v3r1ck, Jan 3, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015

    m4v3r1ck macrumors 68020

    m4v3r1ck

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #6
    please take a look at my 3,1 setup

    Are you telling us you are backing up TO your internal RAID0?

    If NO: good

    If YES: very bad idea, losing one on each RAID0 will leave with nothing but an empty MP 3.1. (re)Consider making external (bootable) backups!
     
  7. wildatheart thread starter macrumors member

    wildatheart

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2008
    #7
    Well yes - I have one raid0 work volume and one raid0 backup - though it's early days so I'm just setting things up. I appreciate there's a risk of a drive failing, but it seems unlikely two drives in each raid fail at once (or is there a technology fail scenario in which exactly that would happen?).
     
  8. m4v3r1ck, Jan 3, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015

    m4v3r1ck macrumors 68020

    m4v3r1ck

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #8
    Please take a look at my 3,1 setup



    Never bet your work-files on technology alone, always have good external back-up scheme as your MP could default in whole including the internal disks!

    I would strongly advice you to reconsider your back-up scheme ASAP. There are many scenario in which a HDD/SSD can fail in your system. Search and check the sub-forums here about back-ups to external single enclosures/nas/das ect.

    EDIT: you can also consider - besides an onsite external back-up - doing offsite back-ups as an extra fail-safe option, in case some bad things happen at home/office.

    It's up to you to value your own OS X install and work-files.

    Cheers
     
  9. wildatheart thread starter macrumors member

    wildatheart

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2008
    #9
    Thanks - I'm not in bad shape really, I have an additional off site backup. I would be interested to know whether there is *any* scenario where two software raids in one mac simultaneously will fail (and single drives would have survived) vs. this happening simply if one drive in each raid were to randomly fail at the same time.
     
  10. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    United States
    #10
    Not trying to be a downer or make you feel bad, but you could have stopped at a single SSD hooked up to the native SATA2 and called it a day. Similar to another current "extending life of MP 3,1" thread, at this point you're just throwing money at the wall.

    RAID 0 SSD setups are overkill for your usage. SSD scratch disk is insanely overkill for your usage (you do not need a separate scratch disk or partition for Photoshop). IMO, waste of money on the Sonnet Tempo controller for your usage. Splitting up the SSD into separate boot and home directory partitions offers absolutely zero performance benefit and just complicates things.

    Not so sure you'll get much additional performance out of 32GB RAM. Do you know if you actually need more RAM? (if you do, I'd be curious to know how you came to that conclusion).

    From what I've read, the best thing you could do for your setup is move the LR catalog to the SSD (moving the photos to the SSD would help too, but obviously that's not practical ;))... it may not make a massive difference, but it might be perceivable depending on just how large your catalog is.

    With your current hard drive setup, I'd use the Blacks for main data storage and the Reds for backup. If you're still below 4GB of data and have a little room, then I'd split the Reds up and use them as separate duplicate backups, and get more storage in the future as needed. If you're already (or very soon) past 4GB data, then you'll have to split up the backup, or get a larger backup drive (I think 6GB WDs are now available).

    I would never recommend using RAID0 for backup. That's just a straight-up no-no. Also, for something as important as photographs (which are generally irreplaceable), I would strongly recommend having two backups (or using something like CrashPlan as a secondary backup), with at least one backup being "separated" from the MP.

    Again, I'm not trying to be mean or anything, but it just kind of looks like you got off track of what would make your computer go faster. By far the biggest bottleneck in your computer is the CPU itself.
     
  11. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #11
    A lightning strike or other power surge zaps all the internal electronics. A fire takes out your office or it gets soaked from an adjacent fire. It gets stolen. Someone (like a child) gets access and erases everything. A program screws up and corrupts your data.

    Not all disasters are hardware failures. Part of being prepared in emergencies is going over the possible failures and how you would handle them. In some of our corporate disaster drills we had to get systems up and running with certain facilities and people "not available".
     
  12. wildatheart thread starter macrumors member

    wildatheart

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2008
    #12
    Thanks - I appreciate the very useful feedback -and the sentiment. Yes, the CPU is the main bottle neck. Thing is, I bought items I will want to use in my future 2012 Mac Pro, so I feel ok about it. The RAM was cheap but has good feedback on eBay, and I noticed that I was creating page outs in my typical LR use by observing iStat and I noticed I wasn't creating these page outs unless I was on PS and LR. Though I'm sure 32Gb is probably overkill. I also wondered whether my existing RAM is any good at all, based on the stress test that I posted as a separate topic today; I would love get a view on that from someone that knows!

    Happily, though, my MP feels transformed; I can now work on LR with similar speed as I can on my -admittedly middle aged- MBP, when it really wasn't possible before. And for what it's worth, my startup and app load is is shorter than it was with a single SSD on the backplane. I'm sure I have misdirected some of my efforts, but it's been fun.

    I will certainly revise my storage and have single drives for backups. I was never too concerned as I have a third backup, and I wanted to compare the speeds, but yes, I see that RAID0 for backup makes no sense whatsoever.

    I have a separate home and system partition as this allows me to swap between laptop and MP; the MBP has the same configuration so I Superduper!/Smart Update the home directory from one machine to the other when I swap (which I only do every few months). I have tried syncing software but didn't get on with it and this is by far the most reliable way I have found.

    I think PS recommends the scratch disk is not on the boot drive?

    Thanks again!

    ----------

    Yes but note the 'and a single hard drive would have survived' - I suppose I am wondering whether placing 2 disks in RAID0 makes them more vulnerable than simply twice the risk of a single drive failure. Sorry I'm being dull...
     
  13. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    United States
    #13
    That's good to hear. I probably should have gathered from your OP that you enjoy tinkering with your setup. Sometimes its hard to know how much practical advice to offer versus just letting people have fun. That you have plans to "upgrade" to what is essentially a 4+ year old Mac says a lot. ;) As far as results, keep in mind that sometimes we conflate various issues and at the same time, what one perceives as performance improvements can be rather subjective.

    With all that RAM, there shouldn't be much access of the scratch file to begin with. The whole notion of a separate scratch disk dates back to a time before plentiful amounts of RAM. The mechanical nature of hard drives creates a physical bottleneck that doesn't exist with SSDs. But like I said, feel free to experiment and have fun. :)
     
  14. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #14
    A Raid 0 is effectively a single volume with two points if failure. It is twice as likely to suffer a failure as a single drive. If either drive fails, the entire volume is gone. I'm not a fan of Raid 0 because I have no need for a single volume with more than the 4tb drives I can buy cheaply. I prefer 2 4tb volumes over a single 8tb volume. A single drive failure only costs me half my data instead of all of it.
     

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