RAID 0 or SSD?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by 3587, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. 3587 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    #1
    I'm very new to the Mac Pro but I have been spending a lot of time on this forum... I bought this computer for the snappy feel, running two large monitors, and a bunch of apps, plus I'm in school. I don't do much extreme work, mainly run Parallels XP, Mail, Safari, Pages, Word, iTunes, iPhoto, etc. I just had the money to spend on a Mac Pro and I love speed!

    Now my question is this... Would I be better off with a couple WD 500GB Blacks in a software RAID 0 or buying an Intel 160 SSD by itself? What is the speed difference? With my system, apps, and documents... I'm only sitting at a total of 85GB. But I do have a 1TB drive that holds all my movies/media, which sits at 700GB.

    Price. Of course the two 500GB costs much less than an SSD... But I want the snappy OS feeling, quick launch, and overall speed increases while working in apps. If it suggested to get the SSD, of course I'll have to wait awhile to get my hands on one...
     
  2. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #2
    Why not both. For practicality you need a capacity of two small SSDs. So why not RAID0 them?

    If you go for HDD, bigger drives would be considerably faster. !,5 and 2 TB aren't that expensive anymore.
     
  3. pprior macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    #3
    Especially for virtual machines, SSD will clean up, in my experience. Most everything else you're running will fit inside ram most of the time, so you won't really see much benefit from either unless you're booting the machine frequently. However for Parallels, a (good) SSD is a marked improvement over hard drive, even RAID0.

    That's my experience at least, and I'm waiting to get my hands on a new G2 intel drive - I used an older OCZ version only.
     
  4. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #4
    What about a pair of SSD's also in a stripe, and the Blacks striped as well for large files. You'd need a backup of some sort, but that's with any setup.

    Once the prices normalize, you should be able to get a pair for the similar funds, if not less (depending on street, particularly sale prices) for the SSD's, but you'd get twice the speed for the money. The sacrifice is the second SATA port. Well worth the trade off IMO. The Blacks aren't expensive now, and I've seen the 1TB models for $90USD recently. Also, using the 1TB versions would be faster than a pair of 500GB's. :)
     
  5. ungraphic macrumors 6502a

    ungraphic

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    Nov 15, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #5
    I'm in the same boat; going to get SSD but waiting for TRIM and Garbage Collection to become OS independent. That firmware is really the only thing holding me back.
     
  6. 3587 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    #6
    Okay, I can barely afford an SSD, so which setup would be better for speed overall... One Intel SSD 160GB (when available) or two WD 1TB Blacks in a RAID 0?

    Also, do you have to have a RAID approved HD or will any of the 1TB Blacks work?
     
  7. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    Even without a Raid0 the Intel SSD is way faster than a Raid0 of two 7200rpm disks, except for sequential write of course, but that doesn't really matter if you use as a system disk.

    You don't have to use the WD Raid disks unless you want to run them 24/7.
    For desktop use the normal Blacks work fine in a Raid.
     
  8. Bubba Satori Suspended

    Bubba Satori

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    Feb 15, 2008
    Location:
    B'ham
    #8
    Another big vote for the raided SSDs. Seriously way faster. Raided disks for media storage.
     
  9. adamk77 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2008
    #9
    If you're simply deciding between a SSD and a Raid 0 HDDs, I would recommend the SSD without a second of hesitation. That is, if you are in a position to be able to pay the premium for a SSD.

    I have the 160 GB Intel G2. I love it. The IO ops per sec is simply astounding.
     
  10. parakiet macrumors regular

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    Nov 23, 2008
    #10
    is one 80gb ssd from intel enough to boot from or will it be rather small for os+applications+swapfile?
     
  11. adamk77 macrumors 6502

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    Jan 6, 2008
    #11
    I have Snow Leopard, Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, Office 2008, XCode, and other small applications installed. I'm using, IIRC, around 25-30 GB of space.
     
  12. matthewtoney macrumors regular

    matthewtoney

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #12
    SSDs

    From my own experience, a good SSD will still kick the butt of a couple of RAID-0 striped hard drives, but there's certainly a big price difference. There's also *certain* things where the speed is far more noticable - I find that no machine boots faster than one with a good SSD as the boot drive.
     
  13. 3587 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 23, 2008
    #13
    Thank you for all the responses... I guess SSD it is!

    Now, where is the 160 at Intel?:mad:
     
  14. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #14
    You still don't get it. Instead of one 160 GB use two 80 GB for the same money and RAID0 them. It is even faster. Only a question of two available SATA ports. Plus a big 1,5 TB mass data storage disk which isn't more than 95$.
     
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #15
    Exactly, and the pair of smaller SSD's isn't much different in price either. It can go a little either way (depending on exact pricing at time of purchase).

    The Intel's are fluctuating now (have been selling more than MSRP lately), but there's alternatives, such as the OCZ Vertex series (Indilinx controller) that are also desirable drives. Not quite as quick, but less expensive. Otherwise, wait for the Intel's to stabilize in a few weeks or so, when supply improves. ;)
     
  16. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Nov 30, 2008
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    UK
    #16
    Striping two Intels would be nice, but what about firmware updates if the drives are configured to Raid0 (software)?


    The OCZ drives are really fast drives and slighly cheaper than the Intel ones but they get 'slow' quite quick. Even without support of TRIM yet (coming firmware will fix that), the Intel drives performance remains stable. That and the reason that they've got better firmware support made me switch to Intel in my workstation and move the OCZ to my portable.
    That's why I definitely recommend the Intel G2! Best to buy.
     
  17. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #17
    It shouldn't be a problem. The drive is still connected to it's own port on the logic board, and the firmware update won't wipe the data (if the flash application's been written properly). ;)

    I agree, the Intel's are the better way to go. But the prices have been too crazy as of late, and a purchase would need to wait until supply improves (stabilizing prices). I just can't see paying over MSRP by significant margins (there's a thread in the forum on it).
     
  18. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #18
    I second that. Fortunately prices in Europe did not rise, it's just pretty hard to get that drives.
    Still it's absolutely worth waiting for them instead of buying slower drives for the same money, and two weeks with a regular hard drive should not be a problem, we lived for years with them. ;)
     
  19. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #19
    I wasn't aware the prices had remained unaffected in Europe. :cool: But as you mention, if they're still hard to come by, waiting a few weeks isn't that big a deal. :)
     
  20. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #20
    While this is theoretically true and proven with some benchmarks (even my own), from what I've read, the real-world impact of SSD's in RAID0 is fairly minimal. It's a great way to achieve a larger volume size from smaller drives but I'm not sure it's a sure-win performance wise. This comes from monitoring activity on XtremeSystems.org where those guys are balls-to-the-wall performance seekers and this is what they are saying.

    My advice to the OP... get the 160GB SSD and when budget allows, buy another one. :D
     
  21. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #21
    IIRC, those issues where that they hit a limit of 660MB/s, and it was on ASUS boards (I spent alot of time in those forums reading the posts). It's quite possible that it's happening with other boards as well, but I didn't find the evidence when I was looking a month or so ago.

    But the experiment Samsung did with 24 of their SSD's on an Areca RAID controller showed the potential at least (PCIe 8x lane, 24 port model). Nutz, but it gives some idea of what's possible with a big budget. :D
     
  22. ungraphic macrumors 6502a

    ungraphic

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    Nov 15, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #22
    Problem with that, even if you do have a big budget, is that you cant fit all 24 drives into your case. Mac pro could handle 6 at the most, 5 if you still want to keep an optical drive.
     
  23. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #23
    6 is definitely not the maximum! 12 or even 16 (without optical drives) should not be a problem.
    There are adapters that could fit two 2.5" drives into one 3.5" tray. Maybe you can't use them with the SATA ports on the logicboard, but I'm not sure.

    -> optical bay adapter
     
  24. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #24
    Yeah, there's definitely a cap on the ICH10's throughput. But I believe we also have a lot to learn about the impact of the large write-erase blocks on most drives and the interaction this has with stripe size. It's odd to me that no professional review sites have tackled this issue. For example, what's the impact of using RAID0 arrays with small stripes (even 128KB stripes) on drives that have write-erase blocks of 512KB?

    Of course reads should will be faster, but SSD's are so damn fast that a RAID0 doubling of read performance will only be really useful in very limited circumstances that are not CPU bound. For example, I don't believe boot times or app load times scale proprortionally to the number of SSD's in a RAID0 array. Do they? I better start looking for some stats before I look foolish! :eek:
     
  25. jazz1 macrumors 65816

    jazz1

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    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Mid-West USA
    #25
    So use the SSD for the system and applications and fast good old fashioned HDs for data then? I've been toying with the idea of doing this and RAID0 in the three bays not used by the SSD.

    I've got an SSD in my Macbook Pro, and am amazed at the speed.
     

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