Raid question for 1st Mac Pro: WD Black or Green?

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

  1. M Zorin macrumors newbie

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    Aug 11, 2010
    #1
    I've ordered my first ever Mac: a 3.33ghz 6-core.

    I'll be audio and photo editing in the main, using Aperture and (when it's released) Adobe Audition 4.0.

    I've got 2 questions though:

    1. How large does an SSD boot drive need to be?
    2. If I run 2 x WD Caviars as a raid scratch disk, should I go for the quieter Green model (I want the MP to be near silent) or the faster Black version?

    Thanks.
     
  2. OptimusP83 macrumors newbie

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    Aug 4, 2010
    #2
    Raid and Green drives are a bit counterproductive. Go with the Blacks for sure. The speed difference will be noticeable. Also the Greens have very aggressive sleep characteristics which usually doesn't play well with Raid. If you want silent though, get the Samsung F3 drives. They are (IMO) better than the WD Blacks from an acoustical standpoint (practically silent at seek though there is an odd whirr that happens only at spinup), and trade blows on benchmarks. They are cheaper as well.

    As far as SSD Boot, I would go for at least 64GB. 32 would be doable, but you would probably run out of room for Applications quickly. The Crucial c300 drives are the best performance available now.
     
  3. beaker7 macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    On PCs, perhaps. Without TRIM on OSX they degrade significantly.

    Go Vertex2 or OWC.
     
  4. OptimusP83 macrumors newbie

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    #4
    Yea that is true, but they do have idle Garbage Collection, which is not as good as TRIM but is OS independent. So as long as you aren't hammering on the SSD all day long, constantly, performance wont degrade noticeably.
     
  5. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #5
    the 1tb samsung f3's are very good in raid0 I have two raid0 setups the wd caviar black 2tb's are good and the


    wd re4 wd2003fyys are better yet for raid they are the most money


    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136579&cm_re=wd_2tb-_-22-136-579-_-Product




    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136456&cm_re=wd_2tb-_-22-136-456-_-Product


    the 2tb black is on sale for 160 at newegg with the code if i needed anymore of them I would buy them not the more expensive wd's
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #6
    First of all, what capacity are you looking for? There is Caviar Blue as well but it tops out at 1TB. There is 2TB 7200rp, Hitachi as well, that's pretty good drive as 7200rpm WDs and Seagates are expensive.
     
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #7
    1. How much capacity will you need for the OS + applications + audio libraries?

    I'd think 120 - 160GB would be more than sufficient, but without details, I don't know (I'm under the impression libraries alone can consume quite a chunk of space, and you don't want to fill an SSD to allow for the wear leveling to function properly). You could be fine with an 80GB model, or may need 256+ GB.

    2. The Greens won't be fast enough, and have heard reports that they're not that great with RAID - stability issues - (remember, as you reach the inner tracks, the throughputs slow down). So go with the Blacks or RAID Edition models (RE units are built for abuse = additional sensors to prevent physical contact of the heads on platters, aka Crash, and have better ratings in their specifications, such as MTBF, and longer warranties <5yrs instead of 3, which is common on consumer models>).

    Please understand that SSD's (MLC based) aren't suited to high write environments (i.e. scratch space; more information has been posted in other threads), as mechanical is. Given larger files, a mechanical RAID as you're thinking makes better sense both financially and in terms of system stability.

    Green drives, Yes. RAID OTOH, would be beneficial, particularly as scratch space, as it's cheaper and more stable for high write environments.

    I've had problems with Samsungs, as have others I know and trust (people reporting problems). But all drive makers have bad disks (drives made over the last few years are common to have 10 - 13% failure rates new). How much is a result of bad manufacturing v. shipping, is hard to say. But what you get delivered to your door will include both if there's a problem.

    For RAID, you can use consumer disks on the ICH (SATA controller on the logic board). This is cheaper, but not the best way to go, as RAID is more abusive to a drive than single disk operation.

    With a RAID card, Enterprise grade are tied together for stability reasons (recovery on a card v. system board are different, and the settings are different in the drive's firmware). The improved specifications and sensors make a big difference too.

    So as a general rule, if at all possible, I recommend using enterprise grade drives (data won't be in quite as much danger due to higher MTBF and non-recoverable errors; 1E15 for enterprise v. 1E14 for consumer models; mechanical version of write cycles for Flash cells used in SSD's, which are MLC = 1E4, SLC = 1E5)
     
  8. M Zorin thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 11, 2010
    #8
    Thanks for your help...

    ...I should have said, I'm thinking 2TB drives in mirrored raid.

    Caviar Black Enterprise is sounding like a good option.

    SSD-wise, I was thinking it was just for OSX and applications, so I was going to keep audio and picture libraries on the raid drive, then use the 1TB stock hard drive for Time Machine backups.

    Is that a good idea?
     
  9. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #9
    Are you sure you need RAID 1 if you have 1TB HD for backups? That sounds like a decent plan though
     
  10. M Zorin thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    Nanofrog - is there still sufficient advantage to using the RE4s if I'm not using a dedicated raid card?
     
  11. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #11
    If you really want your Mac Pro to be near silent don't go Black! Seriously!

    I dumped my 3 Black drives after a few month because the noise was really unacceptable. Two of them were 1TB Black drives which I replaced with 2 WD20EARS (WD Green).

    They are configured as a RAID 0 and run absolutely stable for more than half a year now. No problems whatsoever. The speed of the array is absolutely identical to the RAID 0 out of 2 1TB Blacks (200MB/s+).

    My Pro is now equipped with 4 Green drives and an Intel SSD for boot. The machine is almost inaudible. :D
     
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #12
    What's the RAID 1 for? Backup?

    I ask, as you don't really need to do that IMO. Single disk or JBOD is sufficient. Both have the same failure conditions (if a disk dies, the data on it is gone; in a JBOD, the other disks still retain their data). You can use other RAID levels that offer better capacity usage as well as redundancy, but you'd really be looking at RAID 5 most likely (usable capacity = n - 1 disks, as the capacity value of one disk is needed for parity data).

    BTW:
    • Caviar Black = consumer model
    • RE4 = RAID Edition

    Both are available in 2TB capacity models.

    As per the SSD, it's faster at random access than any other disk technology, so it will be the fastest way to load your libraries (audio in particular). You'll notice the difference, according to those that have done it.

    If it were for primary data, it may be worth it. But not so much for a backup solution (using a second, non RAID connected disk would give additional data security for that sort of thinking).

    Yes.

    They have better specifications (namely MTBF and non-recoverable bit errors; enterprise = 1.2 - 1.4hrs of MTBF v. 800,000 hrs for consumer models, and error rates are 1E15 and 1E14 for enterprise and consumer non recoverable bit errors respectively).

    They also have additional sensors that help prevent crashes (when the heads physically smack the platter/s, as the scratch that results = lost data).

    For scratch space, you may not care, as disks are cheap enough (and the data is temp anyway). Up to you if you want to deal with the down time (actual time you'd have to use fixing it). This is dependent on non-critical data (stripe set is disasterous for critical data, and anyone that uses it for that, is a fool).

    I've never had problems out of mine (1TB Blacks used for backup drives), RE3's for the SATA RAID.

    I've not had access to the newer models yet (i.e. larger cache versions and capacities), but hopefully there's reviews that include noise testing (dB results).

    There's also been reports that the Green models don't survive well in RAID (makes sense to me for random access, as they're slower armatures = servo motors). Combine this with the lack of the additional sensors, crashes are more likely IMO. They're really meant more for sustained transfers than random access (i.e. backup and large files). Performance can be dealt with by adding additional drives if they are used in a RAID environment. But there may not be sufficient SATA ports to accomodate this.

    Up to the individual to figure this out.
     
  13. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #13
    Don't get me wrong, the Black drives as well as the RE3 run great and stable, no question, but compared to a Green drive they are loud as hell. They were the loudest part of the Mac Pro.
    I'm not in the audio business so I don't know how important white noise is, but personally I can't work with a computer that can be heard when entering the room. Drives me nuts.

    Unfortunately I can't give any indication about longterm stability since I've been using Green drives for only 9 month now, but till today all drives (12, 10 of them in RAID configurations) run great.

    WD gives 5 years warranty, so if a Green drive fails (which may be sooner in a RAID config as a Black or RE drive, who knows for sure?), you simply get a new one. Considering that each person has a solid backup solution including spare drives for their RAID setups that shouldn't matter.
    IMHO it's absolutely worth it for having a silent computer.

    I haven't tried the RE-GP yet, but since they also only spin with ~5200RPM and are certified for 24/7 usage in a RAID system, they might be the ideal choice.

    If you want maximum performance though, then there is no other way then settling for 7200RPM drives like Black or RE.
     
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #14
    I actually meant in terms of noise, not stability. :eek:

    I can't hear either the RE3's or Caviar Blacks in my system. But its a server case (on the floor, but right next to me), not a MP, and the drives are mounted via screws through rubber grommets for vibration reduction (Lian Li PC-V2010).

    SAS units OTOH, particularly 15k rpm units, sound like a small jet when spun up, as I've MAID active on the Areca for those (grommets help there too, but they're audible when active).

    :cool: :D

    Currently, the WD20EARS only offers 3 years (all of the non RE4 versions of the Green line), so perhaps you picked up yours before that changed. Datahsheet for Greens (.pdf).

    The RE4-GP (WD2002FYPS) has a 5 year though (1.5TB model too). RE4-GP Datasheet (.pdf).

    This seems to be of a higher importance, and why I went this way. As I said, noise isn't an issue for me, but the case and anti-vibration mounts can help make a difference.

    Not sure if the current sleds could be modified with rubber grommets or not to help with this (i.e. height issues,... by adding the grommet and screw = won't connect to the tabs that hold it in). :confused: But the parts to do it are available. Check out Lian Li replacement parts for the screws and grommets (screw + grommet; smaller head to keep height down, and they're not terribly expensive either).
     
  15. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #15
    Well, lets say I'm a little sensitive when it comes to noise. ;)

    My fault, the EARS I purchased also have 3 years. I thought WD gives 5 years for all of their drives.

    Actually the sleds have rubber grommets. The drive doesn't touch the sled at all, so vibrations should be decreased.
    I just made a quick shot, so that you can see what I mean. It's the same principle Lian Li does with their rubber washers.

    [​IMG]
    By transporteur at 2010-08-12
     
  16. johnnymg macrumors 65816

    johnnymg

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    #16
    Just rebenched my C300 and after ~4 months of use it's write/read speed hasn't changed more than + 5%.

    The C300 is FAST out of the box and stays FAST. :cool:
    JohnG
     
  17. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

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    #17
    ...how's that M225 SSD in your sig line working out for you?
     
  18. johnnymg macrumors 65816

    johnnymg

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    #18
    The M225 works fine in my 2010 MBP. Wakes from sleep perfectly. Absolutely no problems with this drive.

    That said, for a new purchase I'd recommend the C300 version as it's a fair bit faster and only modestly more expensive. Try B&H for the best prices on them.

    cheers
    JohnG
     
  19. beaker7 macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Personally, that's why I'd not recommend them. They are slower in some tasks, faster in others, basically overall a wash compared to Vertex 2. Current on NewEgg the 128GB C300 and the 120GB Vertex 2 are exactly the same price, and you have greater potential for performance degradation on the C300.

    If you're hooking it up to a SATAIII controller, or a PC it might change but...

    For reference: http://www.anandtech.com/show/3812/the-ssd-diaries-crucials-realssd-c300/1

    edit: actually now i see with rebate the Vertex2 is $30 less.
     
  20. OptimusP83 macrumors newbie

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    #20
    When I said RAID and Green drives are counterproductive, i meant the Combo of the two. Raid has many benefits, an for some people it can really help speed up workflows. I used to have a RAID 0 set on my old DP Quicksilver machine, because the drives back then were so slow. I dont find it as useful anymore though. The gains for my uses are minimal. SSD is the next step for me, just need to save up for the purchase...

    FWIW: I have 2 WD Greens and a Samsung F1. The F1 ouperforms them in EVERY metric but power use. It is MARKEDLY quieter than my 500 and 750GB Greens. I hate them personally, but I can't be bothered to spend $100 replacing the two. Plus I would have to migrate my Win7 install over which is a pain...
     
  21. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #21
    Hmm... Well, since I'm a performance junkie, here's a couple of things to consider:
    Noise Canceling Headphones
    Ear Plugs

    And then there's my trick of choice; Crank up the stereo a bit when I run the jets... err... SAS disks. ;)

    :eek: (sorry, couldn't resist) :D :p

    They used to, but changed it ~ a year ago (maybe a tad longer than that now). :(

    Nice. :D

    I didn't remember them in the 2008 I had access to. So either I'm getting senile (possible, as I usually can't remember what I had for dinner after about a week), or they added it to the 2009's. :p

    RAID still has its uses, even with Green drives (corporations are watching thier power bills closely, as well as the HVAC system requirements - equipment, as less power consumption can reduce the ratings necessary = cheaper equipment). But Greens require additional drives to get performance at the same level as can be done with 7200rpm disks.

    Given the recent changes implemented by WD, the RE4-GP models are the only ones that can be used in RAID now. But they do have the additional sensors, and should be safer than previous consumer grade Green disks that were placed in arrays (had their TLER values adjusted so they'd work with a RAID card; the major change that WD did = eliminate this capability on consumer models). I've just not had the chance to test any yet to see what they can/can't do.
     
  22. OptimusP83 macrumors newbie

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    #22
    I had forgotten about those. They could be a viable option I suppose, but I still prefer 7200RPM drives personally. I think someone recommended Seagates above? I would steer very clear of Seagates. They run hot, noisy, and slow. Definitely a Trifecta a bad. Not to mention their firmware issues recently, speaks volumes of the quality control...
     
  23. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

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    #23
    ...thanks for the info, I am waiting on an M225 128Gb SSD I already ordered with the crucial coupon making it $199 shipped... I opted for this model as it had a 5 year warranty and crucial is great honoring their warranty... they won't be making this in 5 more years if something happens to it so they'll replace it with the latest/greatest then... kind of like apple care:D
     
  24. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #24
    I go for performance myself, but the RE4-GP's definitely have their place.

    As per Seagate, or any other brand, they've all had their problems. But given what happened with the 1.5TB consumer models, and a lesser known/publicized problem with the enterprise SATA disks known as "The Boot of Death", I shy away from them right now. Allowing that to make it out into production for enterprise grade disks was a disaster and should never have happened (critical use market, so it's not taken lightly).

    Heat was another issue, but if used with backplanes (what they're expected to be used in), have fans to help keep them cool (HVAC too in a good number of cases = data centers), as well as an alarm system if the temp exceeds what it's set at (fixed = 55C, some have a selector switch for 45C or 55C - these are part of the backplane cage/enclosure; example).

    Their SAS disks were immune to the problem. But they don't share the same parts either. Different platters, spindle motors, servos, ... and PCB.
     

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