RAID question, how to configure? - ICH10R, Areca ARC-1212 + SSDs + mechanical disks.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by DiZeX, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. DiZeX macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2010
    Helsinki, Finland

    I'm building a Hackintosh. I've Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5 motherboard, Areca ARC-1212 RAID card, two Intel X-25M 80GB SSDs, four WD Caviar Green 2TB disks and three 1TB disks.

    I want to use those X-25Ms in RAID0, boot and software disk. Two 2TB disks in RAID0 for video edit scratch/project disk. Another two 2TB disks in RAID0 for Time Machine backup for video edit scratch/project disk. Rest 1TB disks are not so important, so forget them.

    My question is that, is it better put those X-25Ms to ICH10R sata and create software RAID0 and those 2x 2x2TB WD disks to Areca controller? Or would it be better if X-25Ms and 1x 2x2TB are connected to Areca and another 2x2TB to ICH10R?

    Or what would you suggest to do?

    Performance and reliability are top priorities. Thanks.
  2. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020


    Jul 21, 2004
    Hackintosh? You sure?

    As an editor myself, I'd never in a million years trust a non-genuine Apple machine as my workstation. I can't risk being SOL if something goes wrong or something doesn't work as it should or I have compatibility issues with software or hardware, ect... Never Never Never...

  3. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Don't do this.

    RAID-0 is not for backup. If I was in your position and had 4 2 TB drives and wanted to use two for scratch and two for backup, I would partition the scratch drives to 1 TB (since any more then half generally means slowdowns) and then use the other two 2 TB drives in a RAID-1 for Time Machine backup, for redundancy.

    I wouldn't go off on this tangent, but,

  4. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    This would be fine.

    Also fine.

    Possible, but not recommended.

    You can use JBOD to get a larger capacity logical disk, but without the total loss of data if one of the drives fails. At least the unaffected drives still contain usable data.

    Place the SSD's on the ARC-1212, as well as the mechanical stripe (2x 2TB). Then put the remaining 2x 2TB (JBOD) and all 3x of the 1TB disks on the logic board (ICH10R).

    This will do the following:
    1. Get each disk attached to a port.
    2. Skips the throttling issue with the ICH10R (if you ran all 5x mechanical on the logic board, you'd still be under ~660MB/s, where the throttling would occur).

    The ARC-1212 can definitely handle what I've described you do with it. You cannot use JBOD + RAID at the same time though, and why the 2x 2TB drives must be a stripe set.

    What you could run into however, is where to locate everything. It's doable, but there will be some requirement for drive mounts and/or external enclosures. There's exactly 5x available SATA ports on the board in the '09 systems, so there's just enough for what I described. It's those attached to the RAID card that need space, and an external enclosure (example; it comes in black or silver) and the correct cable will solve this. You will need to run the cable through a PCI bracket (unless you're willing to cut a hole in the back of the case), and the SSD's will need mounting adapters, such as the Icy Dock to fit the 3.5" bays in the enclosure.
  5. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007
    Then you are barking up the wrong tree.

    The idea with OS X is that it works well because its limited to a certain set of hardware.

    If your planning on using this in a critical environment then thats a very, VERY silly idea.

    I bought a Mac Pro to do uni CAD work on because I felt that was important even if it was twice the price of a overclockable self build.

    If you want OS X. Use a Mac. Far too many problems to come up against (not to mention RAID drivers in OS X).

    Bad plan IMO.
  6. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I don't think it's a problem to run RAID0 for a backup volume... (after all, it is a backup and not the only existing copy) but it's not advisable to run your primary storage and your backup array both on the same RAID card or controller. If that card goes or somehow corrupts your volumes, then you are really up ***** creek. :D

    So I would suggest that if you are going to run 3 RAID0 arrays, then make sure your backup array is not on the same controller as your primary working array. Spread your risk around.

    Also, If I was you, I would consider running the 4x2TB disks in a RAID10 array on the Areca. You get performance and redundancy. I would still backup critical stuff to a standalone drive but depending on the content and your risk tolerance, the RAID1 part of the RAID10 array might provide sufficient security to avoid having to backup anything or at least everything.

    EDIT: I agree with Concorde Rules... a Hackintosh is the least reliable system you can build. Either go Windows or buy a proper Mac. One software update could screw your entire system.
  7. DiZeX thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2010
    Helsinki, Finland
    Self-quoting; Said that, meaned just the storage subsystem.
    And for those, who said that going the Hackintosh way is very BAD idea what comes to reliability, software updates, etc.. I'm aware of those things and I do know that there may be problems. But I cannot in this time to justify myself to spend twice more money for the Real Thing(tm). Maybe later I will.

    Thanks for this suggestion. Thinking, how would Time Machine react if half of its "backup system" will lost in the case of one drive fail?

    Do you mean, that ARC-1212 doesn't support JBOD and RAID at the same time? For example, 2x2TB JBOD and 2x2TB RAID0 attached to Areca? Or do you mean OS Xs own software raid doesn't support this kind of configuration?

    Thanks for the links, never before seen those kind of external enclosures. Will put them behind of the ears for future needs. As I said on my first post, I'll using Hackintosh, so I've the Fractal Design Define R2 case, which has eight 3,5" bays and two 5,25" bays.

    I've thought this alternative too, but if I do 4x2TB disks in a RAID10, then I cannot use the features, what the Time Machine would offer to me; If I figure out, that yesterdays/nudiustertians (two days ago) video edit project is better than todays, so I can restore this project from the TM backup... And if I do 4x2TB RAID10 and want to use the TM, then I should buy more storage space (4-8TB), shouldn't I? Thanks for this suggestion, anyways.
  8. PaulD-UK macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2009
    You would do what any working editor using FCS would do - just reopen your Saved (Save As) project backup - or the Autosaved one if you didn't do a Save yourself - which you would have done if you are a working editor. ;)

    Another 'working editor' tip: Never keep anything on a RAID system except working files off tape, or in a tapeless workflow, backed up twice elsewhere on non-RAID systems. :)
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I know you can use a RAID 0 as a backup, but I just don't trust it well enough for that purpose myself (JBOD can be done with the same drives, but offers a little more safety, as if a drive goes, you don't lose all the data on the set).

    But to each their own.

    There may be cases where a RAID 0 makes sense over JBOD, if you've so much capacity that the speed is necessary, and a better means (i.e. redundant RAID level) isn't possible for the backup set. Say a result of the lack of funds (it's just riskier IMO).

    Given the listed equipment, this isn't possible, as a RAID controller can't run both RAID and JBOD simultaneously (you have to select between the two).

    As it happens, the Areca is stable enough to do this (OS array + primary data array). Though your idea of separation to reduce risk is quite sound (and is done in the right environment, as the funds will be approved/made available for additional gear to do so).

    Assuming the backup is kept to a stripe set, then it could be arranged so that the ARC-1212 handles both the OS and backup arrays, leaving the primary data array on the ICH10R.

    There's risk with either method, but it's acceptable given the application IMO (near the limit though IMO, as I'm not a big fan of stripe sets to begin with; I tend to put the additional funds forth for rendunant arrays of some sort).

    But assuming the backup is done via a JBOD, the SSD's should be run off of the ARC-1212, which means RAID ONLY. Thus the second pair of drives must use RAID as well, and 2 drives in this instance would be limited to a stripe or mirror (due to the lack of additional ports in order to support additional levels for the mechanical drives).

    This is possible, as is a level 5 or 5 array. But I'm presuming that the capacity requirements means those levels aren't viable, and the budget isn't adequate to make it happen.

    But it would be more advisable. At least a RAID 5 for the primary array, as you get a balance of redundancy, capacity and performance (better than 10 in regards to performance and capacity, though you do sacrifice some of the reliability, as a level 5 can only handle the loss of a single disk rather than a pair).

    But such an instance would be beneficial to get a larger card (port count), as 2x SSD's + 3x mechanical could throttle the ICH10R, assuming they're run simultaneously. If not, the smaller port count would be sufficient, but I'm figuring simultaneous access will be the case until informed otherwise.

    It should see less capacity, but still work (so long as the remaining capacity is adequate to hold the backup data). However, I've not tested Time Machine myself in this regard, so I don't know if it actually reacts the way other backup software does.

    Correct. You have a setting for RAID or JBOD mode on the Areca card, so it's not capable of both simultaneously. That's why the backup set is on the ICH10R if you go JBOD (Disk Utility can do JBOD).

    Disk Utility is also capable of JBOD, and why you can use the ICH10R for that purpose, while using the ARC-1212 (or any other card that I've seen) for RAID.

    As you're wanting to DIY your own system, you can select a case that will allow you to keep all the disks internally (cheaper too, just make sure you've an adequate PSU). As it happens, this case would suffice, with a little room to spare.

    I use Lian Li myself, and stuffed in 17 3.5" disks (my RAID usage is under Windows though, not OS X).

    If Time Machine is the limiting factor, then find better software (I've only used OS X as a single drive, as it's more of an experiment than anything else). Seriously.

    Beyond this, I'd need much more information as to specific requirements and budgets.

    For example:
    Throughputs required
    Redundancy needs (if you know, otherwise it's likely to be RAID 5 as a bare minimum)
    Disk count
    Specific usage (this can help to fill in the holes for information, and aim you to the right solution)
  10. DiZeX thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2010
    Helsinki, Finland
    Yeah, that's another way to do this thing. :) Nevertheless, I prefer Time Machine way, lesser files to handle.

    I don't think that all drives will run simultaneously. As SSD's are just boot + software disk, they will do their job only when starting the machine or the software.. Then all disk activity will be based of the mechanical disks..

    So, would it be better if I don't RAID0 those mechanical disks. Instead I would make 3x2TB RAID5 and one spare drive? And those 4x2TB disks will be connected to Areca. X-25M's will be in ICH10R and software RAID0.

    Is that solution worse (if viewed by performance factor) than X-25M's and 2x2TB in Areca RAID0 and 2x2TB in ICH10R RAID0?

    My budget has spent. So, I cannot buy more equipments now. Maybe later. So I have those equipments (GA-EX58-UD5, Xeon W3565 3.2GHz, 12GB ECC RAM, 2x80GB X-25M, 4x2TB, 3x1TB, Areca ARC-1212, Radeon HD4870 and Corsair 850W power supply. All together in just little under €3200.) and now they are waiting to assembly.

    What would I want to do with this Hackintosh, is mainly to edit HD, specifically/usually four to six video tracks simultaneously by chroma keying. Sometimes more. And those HD video clips are in ProRes 422 HQ, which is around 220 Mbit/s. That counts about 110-165 MB/sec.

    As to capacity needs, one project is around two hours worth of raw material and in one month there is about two-four this kind of projects. So, this counts about 1.6-4.5TB worth of material. After one month I'll offloading the material to el cheapo external USB disks and archive them. Please, no comments about this way to archiving. I just need reliability during one month starting after completing the project.

    Redundancy needs; I think it's OK, if one drive fails and no data has lost. I can buy new drive in 1-2 days to replace the failed drive. It would be a bonus, if it can sustain two drive failure, let's say one-two days between failures.
    For X-25M's, I don't care if either will fail, I can restore the boot/software disk contents from Time Machine to some kind of mechanical disk and use it temporarily.
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    OK. That makes matters easier.

    Well, you've options available to you.

    ARC-1212 = 4x 2TB drives in a RAID 5 (performance is higher than 2x stripe set; about 1.5x faster, and you've some redundancy as well). If you want to run 3x 2TB in a RAID 5 + Hot Spare, that's fine too (performance would be slightly over a 2x stripe set of the same drives).

    System = 2x SSD's in a stripe set (OS & applications) + 3x 1TB's in JBOD (backup location, as you've not indicated a specific use for them so far).

    As the backup set won't typically be running simultaneously with 2x SSD's, you shouldn't see throttling (ICH10R can handle a 2x SSD stripe).

    No, see above. :)

    Well, you've certainly something to work with already. :D

    What I recommeded above will work for this, and has some additional throughput that can allow you to go over the 50% capacity mark for the mechanical set as well (once you hit the inner tracks, it slows down the fuller it gets, so keep that in mind).

    I'd go for the 4x disk RAID 5, and pick up a spare as soon as possible (kept on hand, in the event of a failure, as there's not an additional port to maintain it as a Hot Spare). But as it's a workstation that you're using daily, it's not a problem (unlike if the system were a remote).

    If you get an error message that indicates a bad disk, shut the system down, and swap the drive (the PSU doesn't have an Inrush Current Limiter to handle Hot Plugging, which is necessary to utilize Hot Swap when the disk doesn't have it's own PSU - I have the 1000W version BTW). Restart, and it will begin the Rebuild process.

    Backplane cages for the HDD's should contain the Inrush Current Limiter though, so it's a thought for the future if the case doesn't already have that (your case doesn't have this; what I use to allow Hot Plugging).

    Actually, I wouldn't complain. HDD is the cheapest way to archive these days. Just make sure you connect them up once a year (perhaps twice) to turn the platter motor and servo (otherwise it could die on you, and cost you your data).

    You can always pull those drives and place them in a Port Multiplier enclosure (example - I'm used to them less expensive than this @ ~$250USD; they can hold up to5x drives per eSATA port, and there's 8/10 bay units available). Connect via eSATA (cards can be had for cheap; here) as well at some point down the road (inexpensive, and easy to do).

    They're also good for backup as well (just a thought for some time down the road as it were). ;) They can be quite useful for things like archival/backup purposes.

    That's why I recommended RAID 5.

    It's possible, but there are instances where you may not be able to get one quickly enough (and it can slow you down, and stress the array as well, potentially causing another failure prior to the rebuild = array is toast = data is gone). So it's good practice to keep a spare on-hand (no matter the level used). Granted, you can restore from backups, but it's time consuming, and in cases of another dead drive/s, you've got to order additional unit/s.

    Do yourself a favor, and get a spare as soon as you can (you'd only need 1x). You hopefully won't need it (odds are on the low side for a 4x disk set), but if something goes wrong, you'll be glad you have it.

    For this, you'd have to use either 10 or 6. Both will cost you capacity, and some throughput (you'd have to test it for performance; as for 10, you add disks in pairs; individually is fine for 6, but it's moot in your case due to the card = 4 ports). At a 4 disk set (and limited to a 4 port card), the capacity and performance would be fixed until larger capacity drives come out (and hopefully faster).

    It's for reasons like this (Online Expansion), I generally recommend going with 4 ports over what you think you need (it allows you an inexpensive path for capacity and performance upgrades, even redundancy).

    You can also make a clone (externally run, or swapped internally when necessary).
  12. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007
    If this works perfectly for you with no issues then you will be very lucky IMO. I do surf the hackintosh forums but not convinced by the supposed lack of issues...

    You may have invested in a false economy, but only time will find out I guess. Good luck with it.
  13. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Generally speaking, it's gotten much better from what it was.

    Based on success stories of that particular board on various hackintosh sites, it would seem to be quite capable without the headaches experienced with others. There seems to be decent How-To's as well for that particular board, and I think the EFiX will work as well (they tend to concentrate on Gigabyte's boards).

    The PCIe cards all work as well (HD4870 & ARC-1212, as they either use existing drivers in OS X or come with them). Memory, HDD's and PSU won't matter (no driver support required).
  14. DiZeX thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2010
    Helsinki, Finland
    Thank you all, especially nanofrog, for your comments and suggestions.

    I'll build the machine around next week, depending various things. I'll then post my experiences with it. :)

Share This Page