Setting up RAID Zero on Mac Pro - Best way?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Josh-H, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. Josh-H macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2008
    Is there any benefit to ordering the MAC Pro Raid card for setting up 2 x 500gig SATA drives in a Raid Zero configuration? Or..

    Is this accomplished just as well via software in leopard??

    Apologies if this is a stupid question - but just wondering if I can save some $ by not having to order the RAID card without giving up anything.

    I will use a 3rd 1TB drive for Time machine for back up.

    Thanks for all assistance.
  2. Fast Shadow macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2004
    Hollywood, CA
    It'll be faster with a dedicated card. But the software RAID isn't exactly slow. I just did a software RAID0 array with two 750gig WD drives and it's pretty quick. Quick enough to capture uncompressed 720p via HDMI with an Intensity Pro card.
  3. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    You can use either a hardware solution, or a software one.

    If you only want to stay in OS X, software would be the least expensive. Just keep in mind the CPU is involved, though not by much in RAID 0. Also, a stripe can be dangerous for data. If any drive fails, the data is gone, as it only provides speed, not redundancy. So you should run backups often. ;)

    There are multiple RAID cards you can use that outperform the Apple Pro RAID card. Cheaper too. :eek: The specifics will depend on exactly what you want to do though. If you want to run RAID under OS X and Boot Camp, you will need a hardware solution.

    Due to the nature of RAID, you should use enterprise grade HDD's and not consumer drives, as they will fail much faster, regardless of the RAID set-up used. (Lower MTBF). :(
  4. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    If you're only going to do RAID-0, it's almost pointless to spend big bucks on a dedicated hardware RAID card. The difference in speed between hardware and software RAID-0 is marginal at best.

    I run software RAID on a pair of 1TB Seagate Barracuda ES2 (Enterprise version of the 7200.11) drives to use as a Final Cut Pro scratch disk. It handles HDV, DVCPRO and REDCODE (very demanding codec) just fine.

    However, I do not recommend running a RAID-0 array as your boot drive. Reliability will go down in a striped array that has no redundancy, versus a single drive. I use RAID-0 for rendering (and RAID 1 and 5 external disk enclosures for media), where I can sacrifice reliability for a write speed increase. But it's nothing I would want to trust irreplaceable data on.
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    In a single OS set-up, I definitely agree. :)
    Boot Camp poses problems though. Two completely different arrays could be created, one per OS and run via software, but a hardware solution would likely be easier and offer additional possibilities. ;)
    RAID and enterprise drives are like peanut butter and chocolate. They go perfectly together. :D

    Consumer grade drives are like another type of brown stuff....:p
    Using RAID 0 as a boot drive is just begging for a disaster. ;)
  6. viking396 macrumors member


    Sep 26, 2008
    Good grief, RAID0 as a boot drive is just begging for doom and gloom?? I have been running RAID0 for many many years, if you backup your data you'll be fine, running hardware RAID 0 is ALWAYS better than software RAID 0 by more than "a little" and anybody who thinks software RAID of any flavor is "good enough" is drinking funny koolaid.

    Also, if you use decent drives like Raptor's or the new Velocoraptors (sp?) your chances of data loss from using such a config is reduced by a large margin. By using the best drives I have never had a drive failure running RAID0, but always had backups just in case.

    Granted 8 cores is a lot but if you're going to spend the dough on this kind of machine why suddenly go cheap and go software? I don't get it...
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Not quite total doom and gloom, but I usually have seen this done with consumer drives and no backups. :eek: The Raptor/Velociraptor does have a better MTBF, but I still don't really care for software RAID. In my expirience, there were higher failures than with a hardware solution. :( So combine all of the worst choices, it tended not to fare so well. ;)

    Example of what issues you may see with software RAID.
  8. viking396 macrumors member


    Sep 26, 2008
    Agreed, software RAID not the way to go, but to the original poster, buy decent drives and a good RAID card (it pisses me off Apple didn't include it on board at this cost) and remember to back up regularly and RAID0 will pay you back with very good performance.

    Heck you could go RAID5 with 4 drives and get good performance as well, but there are negatives to this so think about it. Good luck!
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    The logic board is based on the SSI CEB form factor (12"x10.5"), and with the changes they implemented, they may not have had room to squeeze one on it. :( That being said, the desire to be cheap, may not necessarily be ruled out either. ;) :p
    Mmm...Hardware RAID 5. //Homer voice// and add drool. :D
  10. Josh-H thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2008
    Ok you guys have convinced me Hardware Raid is the way to go - so as a config will this work ok?

    Apple Raid Card with 2 x 500 Gig drives striped in Raid Zero and a third 1 TB drive running time machine.

    Speed with redundancy? Or a better way still?
  11. viking396 macrumors member


    Sep 26, 2008
    Nothing wrong with that setup. Just make sure the drives are high quality and you should be good to go. I'm looking at 2 new 300gig raptors in RAID0 for my Mac Pro.

    Good luck!
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    The configuration listed will work. :)

    As viking396 indicated, you should use enterprise grade drives, as consumer ones tend to fail miserably. They just weren't designed for it, as they must spin far more often. Raptor/Velociraptor's work, as do Seagate ES.2 SATA or SAS drives, WD RE.2's, etc.

    That said, do not use the Apple RAID Pro. :eek:
    • Weak performance
    • Very expensive for what you get
    • Does not work in Boot Camp
    • Battery problems (even if resolved, still not worth the money)
    More information would be helpful. :)
    What do you need/want to do?
    SATA, SAS or both?
    Boot Camp with RAID?
    Answers could help direct you to the right card. ;) :D

    For example, if you wanted a 2 drive stripe and a 4 drive RAID 5/6/0+1 (redundant forms), you would need an 8 port(internal) RAID card. A few extra parts (drive mounts and cables), and it can fit inside the Mac Pro. :)

    Something to think about. :p

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