RAID config for 2010 MP

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Sepp, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. Sepp macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2010
    I.m going to replace my 2006 MP with a new Quad 3.2, and am thinking of doing some fancy RAID backup/speed bump.

    Have been reading quite a lot, and understand most of it, but would like to get an advice on my particular case, before I place the order.

    Additional info:

    Software to be used: Adobe CS4/5 - Aperture - Final Cut Studio - (and if feasible SolidWorks on Windows).

    Here's my plan so far:

    a) put a SSD into the 2nd optical bay for the OS/Applications

    b) put in three HDD's (1TB each) for a RAID0 configuration (Scratch disk for FCP)

    c) put in one HDD (1TB) for Windows partition and OSX library data (music/photos...)

    d) attach an external RAID1 (2x 2Tb) or RAID5 box for backup with Time machine.

    Can you please comment on:

    1) if that makes sense at all for my purpose?

    2) will the RAID0 of three HDD's improve the speed of FCS a lot (is there a noticeable difference versus a 2- or 4-HDD setup)?

    3) what do I need for the SSD-optical drive solution (besides the SSD of course)

    4) I'm not sure on the backup RAID - I tend towards the RAID1, as I feel, that it is secure enough - did I miss anything on that?
    Thinking of the RAIDSONIC

    5) for the internal RAID0 I won't need any RAID card, right? Mac OSX will fully support that?

    6) Would the improved performance through the RAID configuration compensate for any hardware weakness (the fact that I consider the entry MP).

    Looking forward to read about your experience. Thanks for helping,

  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    1. I might get 2x2TB for RAID 0 instead, then you have an extra slot free for future. It's slower but on the other hand, it's bigger and more reliable

    3. IcyDock for example

    4. Does RAID 1 provide enough capacity? It's only 2TB as the second one is used for parity. OWC Mercury Pro is pricey but offers four bays and RAID 5 etc. You can grab the empty one and buy HDs from aftermarket, 3x2TB in RAID 5 would be pretty cool. It's all up to your budget though, even a single 2TB HD as backup might be enough

    5. No, but hardware RAID is better and faster as far as I know. The software RAID is sufficient though

    6. Well, the SSD is the biggest improvement but yeah, RAID 0 helps when you have big files to open
  3. Sepp thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2010
    Thanks Hellhammer!

    1) hmm, an option to think about, but since I will get a RAID1 or 5 for backup, reliabilty of the RAID0 is maybe not the highest priority

    3) I guess that is for one of the drive bays, right? I am looking to put a bootable SSD into the 18x Superdrive instead.

    4) RAID 5 would give me 4TB of space with 2TB discs, and also the security in case one disc dies, right? Something to consider...

    6) Does it affect reading speed in the first place, or also write speed?

    One more question: I'd like to run Windows from the last HD - would that work (I don't need to use the RAID from Windows, but was wondering if there were any conflicts on running Windows with a software RAID system?)
  4. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Oh, my bad. Forgot that you wanted to use the SuperDrive bay :eek:

    Yeah, RAID 5 would give you roughly 3724GB of usable space. The good thing is that one disk of the array can die and no data is lost

    Both. It theoretically doubles the read and write speeds

    I'm not sure about this but I guess not. Maybe someone can confirm this
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    a and b are fine. But because of b (RAID set), c is screwed without a solution. :eek: The reason is, you won't be able to boot a Windows disk (separate disk, as you cannot get Boot Camp to run on a RAID set).

    But there is a solution, and it won't cost you a fortune either. Look here as per the solution (same mounting configuration you'd need, so pay attention to that and how to wire it all up). ;)

    It's a lot to type/hunt the links, and I'm being lazy. :D :p

    As per d (backup), you've multiple choices, particularly over the RAID level used. There's JBOD too (aligned with RAID, but it's not really RAID, nor is a stripe set, as it has no redundancy at all; bastard children really).

    For further information, check out the RAID wiki, and pay particular attention to the levels. If you're interested in a parity array (5/6) or nested parity (50/60), then you'll need a proper RAID controller (has a separate processor, cache, and most importantly, an NVRAM solution to the write hole issue associated with parity based arrays).

    OS X can't do RAID 5 (0/1/10 only), but some Fake RAID controllers claim they can (software based; no processor,...), such as SATA or eSATA based cards. Price is a good clue too, as you won't touch a decent RAID card for much under $300 (4 port card), such as the ARC-1210. Using a Fake RAID card for a parity array is begging for trouble, so don't do it.

    1. Addressing the system bottlenecks is a good idea for your applications, as they rely on disk IO.

    2. Yes.

    3. See the post I linked, as it has all the details you need to make it work properly (others have followed this BTW, and it does work). This applies to the SSD (data + power) as well as a separate Windows disk (also located in the empty optical bay).

    4. The RAIDSONIC would be fine for 0/1/10 (all they rate it for fortunately, as there are products like that one that claim they're capable of level 5 as well. Usually, they're software based, and will result in a disaster (when, not if). I promise you.

    That said, RAID 5 offers redundancy if it's implemented properly (can handle the loss of a single disk, and still retain the data). However, it will cost more to do this. It's also not too bad on capacity (capacity = n disks - 1, as one of the disks capacity is what gets used for the parity data - but it's spread across all the members, not one disk).

    JBOD is another way to go, and it's cheaper (same eSATA card BTW, can be used with Port Multiplier enclosures and OS X with the correct drivers installed). As one port would be used for the Windows disk, you can connect an enclosure with up to 5x disks in it.

    JBOD will allow you all of the capacity. No redundancy, but it appears as a single large disk. If a drive fails, you lose the data on that drive, not all drives. This is actually a decent backup impelementation, as those drives aren't used that heavily (helps to reduce the risk of a drive loss = data loss of that drive).

    5. OS X can do 0/1/10, so you'd be fine.

    6. Definitely. Disk IO is one area they're woefully inadequate, as it's a means of keeping costs down (and a user's specific requirements vary greatly in this area anyway = not a single solution that would apply to the vast majority). So it's up to users to customize any configuration they need.

    There's a lot of reading here (links), but it should help get you sorted. :)

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