Should I pull the trigger with this Mac Pro config?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ObaMaciden, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. ObaMaciden macrumors member


    Nov 4, 2008
    Alright, I'm ready for your input, after researching for a month on getting a Mac Pro.

    I will be using the Mac Pro for web design and graphic/video editing. My main tools will be CS4, Flex, and FCS2.

    Here is the configuration I'm looking to buy:

    Mac Pro Dual Quad 2.8GHz
    10GB RAM (4x2GB OWC + 2x1GB stock)
    ATi HD 3870 (possibly w/Arctic S1 Rev2 Cooler if too loud)
    ACD 23" + 30"
    Storage 2.62GB on board + 4GB Drobo FW800
    as follows:

    -On Board Mac Pro:
    --300GB VelociRaptor (as boot drive) that SuperDupers/Time Machines to 320GB stock drive
    --2x1TB WD Black Caviar in Raid 0

    -External Raid (for back up)
    --4GB (Seagate 4x1TB Barracuda Sata 7200 Rpm 32MB)
    --Drobo gen-2 FW800 (4TB in Drobo = 2.7TB real capacity)

    What do you guys think about this config?

    The questions in the back of my mind still are:

    1. Use 2x640GB WD SE16 in Raid 0 as boot drive, but how would that compare to VelociRaptor in performance as boot drive? Is it a good idea to use Raid 0 for boot disk?

    2. For back up, avoid Drobo, instead do 2x1TB Raid 0 in external enclosure with eSATA II/FW800 for SuperDuper?

    3. Instead of ACD's, go for 2xLaCie 324 (10bit PVA) that comes with dual HDMI?
    4. Still wondering if 10GB RAM is just the right amount?

    Any suggestion will be greatly appreciated.
  2. Munix88 macrumors member

    Aug 15, 2008

    1. For the boot drive I believe it would be better to use the Velociraptor. I have seen several benchmarks on that show RAIDed disks for startup don't make much of a difference. Velociraptor Comparisons <-This even shows 2 Velociraptors make no difference in boot up (but are tons faster elsewhere). Therefore since the VR is just straight up speedier than the others I would use that for the booter.

    2. Don't know

    3. I don't suggest the ACDs at all really. Their "superior" IPS panel may be more advanced than TN displays but it is incredibly outdated compared to what you can find now at similar prices with better color from other companies. I've heard about LaCie but I've never seen any reviews of them. Another brand to check out is NEC. Apparently some of their monitors use the same panels but are somewhat cheaper than LaCie. I have the NEC 2690WUXi and it is gorgeous.

    4. If you can afford it to throw it in this huge investment, try for the 14GB or 16GB mark. Due to the nature of how the memory is used, filling up all the memory slots provides the maximum memory throughput. This has been shown in several tests including this one by Other World Computing: OWC Memory Tests
  3. IroquoisPliskin macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2008
    I agree about the ACD. They are very old, behind in technology and expensive.
  4. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    The only 23"+ LaCie using IPS now is the 526 (26") I think. They moved to S-PVA panels along with Eizo. Not that those S-PVA panels aren't good.

    Personally I'd go with NEC displays (assuming you are in the US) rather than Apple, but they would cost you like $600 more for a 24" and 30" which makes the ACDs still a viable option.
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    No, just use the Velociraptor as the OS drive. RAID 0 won't help noticeably in boot, nor is it the safest way to go. More risk involved than a single drive.

    You could use the RAID 0 for storing applications. The speed boost may be worth it to you. It's not too terrible to replace a failed drive, then reload the apps from the install disks.
    This can be done. Quite easily in fact, but this backup method does incur additional risk, due to RAID 0. If you value your data considerably, it would be best to avoid this.
    LaCie's are good, so are others. I like the current NEC line, particularly the 2490WUXi. For the 30", you might want to look at the Dell 3008WFP
    Many have done it this way, but a couple of additional 1GB sticks to balance the channels might help you enough to make it worth while. Beyond this point, I'm not sure of just how much graphic/video editing would actually use, if available.
  6. Munix88 macrumors member

    Aug 15, 2008
    Actually the 26" NEC LCD2690WUXi I bought from newegg for $1200, only $300 more than the ACD 24" with a slightly larger size but same resolution. The bigger dot pitch size is not noticable at all if you keep it at a reasonable distance (reasonable being safe for your vision). Colors and darks are much stronger and not as washed out. Plus it has a feature that among other monitors has one of the best even light distributions.

    As for what nanofrog said about memory usage in video apps, if you plan on using After Effects it will use every last bit of memory while rendering. I'm not sure about other apps but I'm sure the others work similarly.
  7. ObaMaciden thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 4, 2008
    Thanks to all for the inputs so far, especially Munix88's being in the same boat as I am in becoming an MP owner. BTW, Munix88, what config are you thinking of?

    Also, nanofrog has made an excellent point about sticking with VelociRaptor as a boot drive, which I plan to back up via SuperDuper to the 320GB stock drive.

    I'm still learning FCP (which max out with 4GB of RAM, I think), and I'll definite be using some of the new features in After Effects CS4. That being said, I am going for 16GB of RAM--just so when I need it there is no if's.

    I'm still deliberating over Drobo vs HDD enclosure RAID (possibly a 4 bay Sans Digital, about which I'm still gathering info). The difference from a good RAID enclosure is Drobo costs around $350 more. Money is a factor, and reliability is just as important. On the other hand, Drobo is supposed to be scalable up to 16TB, and they may even support Seagate's 1.5TB in the near future, if Seagate can resolve the nightmare with OEMs.

    Anyone can offer judgment from personal experience with external backup, particularly Drobo vs standard RAID enclosures? I need to be certain that my 2TB from internal RAID 0 can be backed up securely!
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I've found the NEC 2490WUXi for $993.99. So it's not that much different from the ACD at all, and think it's a better monitor. :D
    There are numerous ways to do this, even with a limited budget.

    Personally, I'd use an eSATA card and a Port Multiplier Enclosure. Then add the drives of your choice. Backing up 2TB over USB is slow. You might want to even look at NAS, particularly if you have an old PC lying around, as you can DIY one. :)

    eSATA Card:
    Syba SD-SA2PEX-2E (2 port) $22.58 at amazon.
    You can also look at Sonnet Technologies, but they are more expensive ($89.00).

    Plenty around, but the SANS Digital is a decent ready made way to go. Just add eSATA card and drives. BTW, newegg does offer a silver one if looks matter to you, but it is more expensive at $250.

    If you look around carefully, you may be able to find an enclosure at a better price. A good chance it will be quite ugly, if this matters to you.

    Hope this helps. :)
  9. zer0tails macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    what about a SSD as the boot drive? I read somewhere the author of Anandtech has that setup and its smoking fast.

    Just a thought. :)
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Not the most wonderful $/GB, as they still aren't exactly cheap. ;) IIRC, even the Velociraptor has a better ratio in this regard.
  11. vipster macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2008
  12. ObaMaciden thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 4, 2008
    Sweet, I just ordered it on Amazon, where I get 2-day Prime shipping for free. It should get here on Thursday. I also ordered an Eye-One 2 to test out its rumored color correction excellence.

    Good looks are nice, but not essential. I was initially drawn towards Drobo for its TIme Machine support and promised scalability, like up to 16TB. Some of the 4-bay enclosures I looked at either say they max at 2TB-4TB or don't say anything about capacity per bay at all (Sans Digital caps at 4TB).:confused:

    Heck, 4TB of backup is a huge pile. I guess by the time I filled it up, Drobo's 16TB will be 1/2 on sale like the NEC I just ordered? Can someone suggest a reliable 2 or 4-bay enclosure?
  13. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Good choice. :) You should be quite happy with it. :D

    Drobo uses a different connection that can be daisy-chained together. 4x 4bay enclosure with 4TB in each enclosure, based on 1TB drives were the largest at the time of release. Hence the 16TB total.

    Port Multiplier enclosure are incredibly simple. A 4 drive box, 4 SATA cables, PSU, and a small circuit board. The board uses a chip and 4 SATA connectors internally, and an eSATA connection externally. Simple. The 4TB number was based on the largest drive available at the time. So as larger drives become available, you can just swap them out. Same as the Drobo. ;) :)

    Given their simplicity, really any will do that meets whatever appearance and pricing you set. ;)

    Instead of daisy chaining PM enclosures, you attach multiples up to the eSATA card. They make 4 port versions, but they are more expensive, and can be found for ~$165 or so. But the Syba I linked earlier can at least get you started. Much cheaper too. ;) :p

    Hope this helps. :)
  14. Munix88 macrumors member

    Aug 15, 2008
    I'll be beefing mine up with 16GB of Trans Intl. ram, which was the cheapest option for me. I would've prefered OWC with their RAM rebates but since I live in the same state I have to pay taxes on it. :rolleyes: Don't get me wrong though, seems to have a good rep 'round these parts.

    I was also contemplating getting the Velociraptor to use for boot pretty hardcore for a while. THEN (now to confuse you with more tantalizing options :eek:) I found Tom's Hardware hard drive charts showing the 320GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 edging very close to the VR in almost all benchmarks (this is due to it being a single platter) except in random access time. So I figured if I RAID them I can get better performance overall as well as around ~620GB of space for only $130 total on, $20 less than the 150 gig variation of the VR. The obvious risk being RAID failure but I have backup ready for that so it doesn't bother me.:cool:

    Hopefully this confu ... I mean ... helps your choices some more.
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    As a boot drive, the Velociraptor does outperform the 320GB 7200.11 Seagate. Check the "Windows XP Startup Performance" section. The Velociraptor (150GB model) produced 11.70MB/s during boot, and the Seagate 320GB 7200.11 model produced 8.40MB/s. It may be worth the cost difference to some. Particularly the impatient. ;) Like myself. :p

    The reason is due to the Random Access speed, as this is the type of use that is stressed during a boot. Accessing multiple files of various sizes, typically small in nature. So the drive heads must move far more often than with large, contiguous files.

    This particular specification is also very relevant to a workstation for the same reasons. Most disk access is not comprised of large files. So it doesn't get to reach high avg transfer rates and maintain them for any length of time.

    Hope this helps to clarify things. :)
  16. ObaMaciden thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 4, 2008
    Thanks nanofrog, your tips have definitely helped. I'm ditching the Drobo idea now. Well, I ordered the Syba esata card and the rather sleek looking dual Raid enclosure, Sans Digital MS2UT+B, totaling around $200, which is 1/3 the cost of a Drobo. The MS2UT+B even includes a lithium battery powered 2.5" HDD enclosure with multi-card reader/writer to copy direct to the hard drive! That'll be sweet as my Canon HF100 AVCHD SD Card camcorder fills up the SD card fast when I am on the go.

    And, Munix88, thanks for the comp tip on Seagate. I ordered the VR based on popular vote both in the Mac and PC worlds, besides I'm under the impression that VR is bone fide server grade and I'm not sure about the


    Well, the big Mac Pro box is sitting in my living room!:D:D And I've pretty much ordered most of the components, all due to arrive by the end of the week. So here is my final config:

    Mac Pro Dual Quad 2.8GHz
    16GB RAM (8x2GB OWC)
    ATi HD 3870 (possibly w/Arctic S1 Rev2 Cooler if too loud)
    Dual Display: NEC LCD2690WUXI-BK 26" + ACD 23" (15 months old from friend)
    Storage 2.62GB on board + 2GB external RAID as follows:

    -On Board Mac Pro:
    --300GB VelociRaptor (as boot drive) that SuperDupers/Time Machines to 320GB stock drive
    --2x1TB WD Black Caviar in Raid 0

    -External Raid (for back up)
    --2GB (Seagate 2x1TB Barracuda Sata 7200 Rpm 32MB)
    --Syba eSata card 2 port
    --Sans Digital MS2UT+B with 2 bay esata enclosure (sleek looking:cool:)

    Well, first thing first, I'll need to de-clutter my work space and make room for the new additions of the family.:p

    Attached Files:

  17. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Congratulations. :)

    Hopefully, you'll be up and running in no time. :D
  18. ObaMaciden thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 4, 2008
    Thanks for all of your support.

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