Raid question for audio and more 2010mp

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

  1. TheLOGICalone macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
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    Jersey
    #1
    I just ordered a 3.33 6core. I will use it primarily to record up to 16 simultaneous audio files in protools or logic, produce hip hop beats using large instrument sample libraries, and mix many tracks with many heavy plugins, and I also want to play games in windows 7.

    So my plan is to get a:
    -250gb ssd from owc for osx installation, sample libraries, and temporary recording drive.
    -2x 1tb wd caviar black to put in some kind of raid configuration, I was thinking the one with double speed. This drive will store all my sessions that I will access from time to time but that I can't fit on ssd.
    - then a 2b drive just to back up everything.

    My questions are:

    1. Where do I put my windows 7 install, I'm thinking I'll need 80-100 gb.
    2. Is it worth getting a bigger ssd (500gb) just to have more room for recording and accessing current sessions and perhaps for windows 7 install?
    3. Is it bad to use a ssd as a recording drive, writing and deleting 100mb-1gb audio files frequently?
    4. Can I set my 1tb raid hd to auto backup my recording folder on ssd?
    5. Can time machine auto backup ssd and 1tb raid on my 2tb drive?
    6. Do I need any extra hardware to achieve this, like a raid card?
    7. Does any of this make sense?

    Thank you.
     
  2. psychometry macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    #2
    If you're going to write PT session data to a RAID, get a hardware RAID controller. Here's a DigiDesign thread with comments from staff that explain why. Also, don't use SSDs in your RAID. Use enterprise-grade HDDs with your RAID controller. SSDs don't fare well when there's constant deletion and replacement of data.

    I don't use Logic so I don't know about that part.
     
  3. TheLOGICalone thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 7, 2010
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    Jersey
    #3
    Thanks for the info, that thread was informative. I will do some research on hdds, but do you have any suggestions off hand? Brand, size, raid controller, config?
     
  4. psychometry macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    #4
    Search newegg for enterprise hard drives and something like this to raid your 2+ HDDs.
     
  5. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #5
    1. Use bootcamp on your backup drive to create a partition for Windows
    2. If you can afford it, buy as much SSD as you can
    3. No, that level of reading writing will not impact your SSD... it will outlast your computer... Intel rates their SSD's for rewriting 100GB/day for 5 years.
    4. There are lots of programs to do this, I'm not familiar with them though... ask in the OSX forum
    5. Yes
    6. No
    7. Absolutely. Great plan.
     
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #6
    First, please understand that if you create a RAID using Disk Utility, the Windows disk will not boot off of the SATA controller built into the system (ICH).

    To be able to use a separate Windows disk (Boot Camp is totally out of the question in the case of RAID), you'll need a separate controller of some kind.

    The easiest and definitely cheapest way to do this, is get a PCIe SATA card (example ; use the jumpers to set the internal/external ports, as it's only a 2 port card). You'd need to get a SATA data cable, and get power to the drive (physical installation in the empty optical bay).

    How to get power:
    SATA Backplane Extension Cable
    SATA Power Cable

    You'll need to cut off the Molex end, and splice the power cables together (follow the wire colors and locations) using solder + heatshrink tubing, crimp connectors, or wire nuts (any of these will work; cleanest = solder + heatshrink tubing IMO). No matter the splicing method however, it gets power without sacrificing the DATA line on the original cable to the optical bay (you'll need this), and won't void the warranty. :)

    Take one of the SATA power ends to the Windows disk, and plug the Backplane connector end into the SSD, also located in the optical bay (there is a mount available if you wish, or you can DIY something). Up to you.

    The other is to get a RAID card, and go that route. It's more expensive, and not necessary (presuming a stripe set is what you plan to run), as OS X is capable of handling 0/1/10.

    1. See above.
    2. Read what I posted for Virtual Rain, as it's applicable to your situation.
    You've a few choices:
    A. You can get a large SSD, as there's more capacity for wear leveling.
    B. Use 2x SSD's (separate the working files for audio to another disk for the additional capacity for wear leveling). This may be a cheaper solution BTW, as large capacity SSD's are expensive yet.
    C. Use a mechanical array, as the file sizes are sufficiently large enough you'd be able to utilize the advantages (mechanical RAID is good for large file, sequential transfers; not so much compared to SSD for random access of small files). It's also the cheapest way to go, and won't have the write limitations associated with SSD.​
    3. IMO, Yes. See #2. ;)
    4. Yes. The array is seen as a single disk to the system.
    5. Yes.
    6. Yes, see above. But you may not need a RAID card (will depend on how many SSD's you decice to run, as the ICH has a throughput limit of ~660MB/s). For simultaneous access (worst case), you add the throughputs of all the drives up attached to the ICH (array + single disks). If it exceeds the limit, you need to use a separate controller to reduce the load (moves it to the PCIe lanes).
    7. Yes. Addressing throughput issues (bottlenecks) and proper backups are never a mistake. :D

    If there's a RAID created under Disk Utility, a separate controller will be needed though, as a Windows disk will no longer boot off of the ICH.

    Fortunately, this can be done fairly easily, and inexpensively. :)

    Keep in mind, Intel and other SSD vendors/manufacturers base their information off of manipulated statistics run on an empty drive.

    There's no long term data, but common sense tells you that if the avaialbe cells for writing/re-writing files is reduced, the write freqency to each cell is higher. That will reduce the time the cells will be fully functional. So there's no guarantee that an MLC based disk will actually last 5 years.

    Realistically, 3 is more likely a best case scenario IMO, if the disk is to serve multiple duty (i.e. OS + applications + libraries + the frequently written audio files), as the latter use will be on a smaller capacity. The unchanging files (OS, applications, and libraries), will be fine, and the disk can still be used for reads of that information if the remaining cells are dead (kind of nice, but not 100% functionality).
     
  7. highdefw macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2009
    #7
    @nanofrog,

    So let's say I have an 8 core MP with 1 ssd for booting (in optical drive), 2x 1TB for a raid via osx, a 4th drive for backing up, and a 5th drive just for windows. I can't boot to windows since the raid is there?
     
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #8
    Correct. If you're starting from scratch, and create the array first, you'll never get a Windows disk to boot.

    There has been one person IIRC, that found a way around it via a second installation of OS X (proceedural steps matter too), but I wouldn't trust it over stability reasons (and lost time if something goes wrong). Method went in reverse (had Windows in before the array was created, then had to make a second installation of OS X). There was other information that was missing too, which may be of critical importance (system model, and port the Windows disk was attached IIRC).

    All in all, too risky, so I stick to thinking that results in fully functional solutions that are also stable (no need to rain dance naked under a blue moon with a chicken egg on your head type of thing :eek: :p).

    Using a SATA card does exactly that, and it's not expensive. Cheap insurance for a fully functional installation IMO. ;)
     
  9. TheLOGICalone thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 7, 2010
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    Jersey
    #9
    Thanks guys, thanks nanofrog, it all sounds pretty complicated, but no pain no gain, especially for a pro rig- data is important and worth the extra effort.
     
  10. highdefw macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2009
    #10
    I'm still not sure if I understand this completely... so to get this to work, I would need to purchase a sata card which would connect to the PCIe slot, then connect a hdd to it?
     
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #11
    Yes.

    This puts the Windows disk on a separate controller than the SATA controller that's already built into the system (ICH10). So the Windows disk isn't affected by any changes made to the firmware by Disk Utility (why it won't boot if you make a RAID under it).

    The single post linked has an example of the card I'm talking about (based on a SIL3132 chip = 2 ports @ 3.0Gb/s). That particular card has the jumpers and internal ports (others only have eSATA ports, no internal ones). There's even OS X drivers out there for it (SIL's drivers, but there's others too, as some have had difficulties with specific cards - insufficient details to sort it out), so you could use one eSATA port (good for backups), and the chip works with Port Multiplier enclosures, which will allow you to connect up to 5x disks to that single eSATA port (4 bay PM enclosure, 5 bay PM enclosure).

    It also covers how to get power to the disk without sacrificing the DATA signal that's part of the OEM cable for the empty optical bay, and even a mount that will allow you to place both the 2.5" SSD and 3.5" HDD in that bay.
     
  12. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Vancouver, BC
    #12
    I never knew that... good to know... thanks! (Although I gave up completely on Windows awhile ago now! :D)
     
  13. TheLOGICalone thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jersey
    #13
  14. sochet macrumors regular

    sochet

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    #14
    I've got a '08 MP (upgrading to a '10 soon) and it handled 24 channels of tracking at 48kHz/24 bit perfectly fine, even with waves and UAD plugins it never struggled (this is in Logic) I use a WD velociraptor as the boot/program drive and a WD Black to write the audio to.


    I recommend getting one of the velociraptors (they go up to 300 gb now) it does make a difference!

    Will you be using PT HD? If so, then you need to worry even less about it. I've streamed files for a HD mixdown from a FW800 drive recently (you have to get the right chipset hard drive though) 30 odd channels (granted it was going through an SSL and loads of outboard, not DSP) but it coped fine! (And that was with a G5 too!)
     
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #15
    An SSD would help immensely for loading the OS, applications, and audio libraries.

    If all you're doing is audio, you may not need RAID at all. But understand there's 2x forms of it; hardware and software. Disk Utility is a software implementation (system resources + drivers), while a hardware solution, such as the Apple RAID Pro (pile of junk BTW), has it's own processor, cache, and controller (takes the processing load off of the system).

    Disk Utility is fine for 0/1/10, but for parity based arrays (5/6 & nested parity 50/60), you need to run hardware.
     
  16. TheLOGICalone thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 7, 2010
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    Jersey
    #16
    no hd, but I'm not too worried, will probably do a similar wd setup. My mind is at ease.
     

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