Some advice on Mac Pro HD set up please?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Jebaloo, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. Jebaloo macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2006
    Hi there,

    I've had MacPro on my list for bout 5 months now, and when I get it (still saving), I want to be sure that I get it right - thank so much for any help.

    Firstly, I will be using it for using these programs:

    Final Cut Pro

    I have an enormous amount of photos, but I've not turned pro yet (just finishing uni), and so am getting Aperture for when I start to get serious.
    Film wise, it'll be more just short films for VideoPodcasts for a band I work with, or for YouTube, possibly some wedding stuff maybe etc.

    My question is about Hard Drives, speeds, size, price...

    I already have about 500GB of stuff, and I imagine that within a year that will have doubled - so we're talking about 1TB of data, plus some sort of backing up system.

    Would it be a good idea to get a built in 750GB drive from apple, and then when it arrives, add in a much smaller (say 160GB), but much faster drive for putting the operating system on? I don't know how fast they go, but I've read about them on this forum. Other than the OS, what else would I put on this small, fast drive? Also, technically, whe the MacPro arrives, is it simple to swap the drives about and put in a new one? Do I have to do anything clever?

    So if I had that, and the 750GB, what would be a good solution for backing up? Should I just buy some external drives and stick them in the back? I don't really understand RAID in is various forms, but I've hard of daisychaining them together. How does this work?

    I don't want to spend an enormous amount but know that my data is priceless, so with money in mind, what do you suggest as a good Hard Drive set up for my uses?

    Thanks so much for reading this far, sorry if I've rambled! ;)
  2. justG macrumors member


    Apr 9, 2007
    Orlando, FL, US
    Apple's HDD and RAM prices are ridiculously marked up, and unlike some other components, are easily bought/added after the initial purchase. I would suggest getting it with the stock options, and shopping at Fry's, Newegg, or OWC to add RAM/HDD. With what you save on not buying that stuff from Apple, you can get more of it; and when it comes to storage and RAM, there's really no such thing as too much (or even enough, really).

    Hope that helps.
  3. Jebaloo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2006
    Thanks for your reply. So, you suggest I get it with the stock 250GB drive?

    May I ask (as a newbie), what do I do, physically, when the computer arrives and I've got my third party HD ready to stick in?

    Basic queston I know, but my question revolves around, 'what happens to the OS' sort of thing? Do I have to reinstall it on the new disk etc...
  4. Jebaloo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2006
    Another question actually, RE: non-apple RAM.

    I've heard somewhere that these non-apple RAM over-heat more. Is this true? If so, how can I fix this? Or, do I not bother, will it not really matter?
  5. peletrane macrumors member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Chicago, IL
    I'm waiting for my new Mac Pro to arrive, and I did a custom order. I swapped out the original 250 GB HD and had Apple put in a 750 GB edition. At $300, the price differential wasn't terrible. However, the other 3 bays I left blank for now, knowing that I can easily order from 3Ps a much cheaper rates.

    I kept the stock RAM and am now in the process of ordering 4GB of additonal 3P RAM at a much smaller rate than I would have paid had I gotten it from Apple.
  6. Jebaloo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2006
    Hi, I'm just wondering if anyone else has any advice for me. Cheers!
  7. justG macrumors member


    Apr 9, 2007
    Orlando, FL, US
    I would, yes. I got the 500GB, and.. it's not that I regret it, it's just that I could've saved myself a few bucks if I'd known what a simple matter it would be to add storage later.
    I was wondering the same thing, and when my hard drive arrived, I took a deep breath and got started. Here's what I did:

    1. Shut down/power off Mac.
    2. Remove hard drive from box/anti-static bag thingy.
    3. Lift lever on back of Mac Pro and remove side door.
    4. Pull out drive bay. (No latches or anything, just pull it out.)
    5. Introduce drive to bay (trust me, it's really obvious what to do).
    6. Push bay back in (again, really obvious which direction and whatnot).
    7. Replace side door.
    8. Lower lever to lock.
    9. Start Mac.

    The first thing you'll notice is that, well, there's no new drive to be found. That's because it needs to be initialised (that's Mac lingo for formatted). So you launch Disk Utility (it's like the Disk Manager in Windows, it's where you go to handle your hard drive-related stuff), and you'll see the drive listed. You mount it, format it, and you're done. The usual format scheme is Mac OS Extended (Journaled), which will enable Spotlight to index the drive. If you don't care about finding data on it with Spotlight, you can leave off the Journaled bit.

    Hardware installation took me about five minutes, mounting + formatting and getting to where I could use it took probably another 3-5 minutes, depending on boot time and the size of the drive. It was ridiculously simple.
    Oh, well, that depends on whether you're using it as additional storage or a startup disk. If it's additional storage, then no, you won't be installing the OS on it, you'll just format it and use it, like you would in Windows. I just re-read your initial message and realised that you never said you were switching, just that you're getting a Mac Pro; so if you're not actually switching from Windows, please ignore all the parallels I've drawn to make the transition easier. =)

    Also, you asked about which hard drive. Internal drive, SATA, 250-750GB, you're basically dealing with 3 major manufacturers: Maxtor, Seagate, and Western Digital. There's no real best of breed here, they're all pretty much the same. Ask me and I'll tell you that I've had Maxtors fail on me and will never buy a Maxtor again. Ask someone else and they'll tell you the exact same thing about WD or Seagate. (Seagate and Maxtor are the same company now, but I think they've still got the two distinct brands.) I'd just keep an eye out for a good deal on one of them with a 5-yr warranty. The stock HDD that comes in the Mac Pro is a Seagate, but I got a good deal on a Western Digital, so I got that and couldn't be happier. Unlike RAM, which frequently works best when it's all the same, there's no problem with mixing and matching hard drives.
    I don't believe that's true. Mac Pro RAM is really specific, and authorised sellers of it have to meet Apple's specs for the heat sink thingy. My advice would be to stick with reliable brands like Crucial, unless you're buying from OWC or some other trusted Mac retailer. I don't think I've ever heard a negative thing said about OWC. Their products and service seem to be unanimously praised, so I wouldn't hesitate to get their "house brand" RAM.

    Hope that helps.
  8. Jebaloo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2006
    Gosh, Thank you so much for such a full response justG! i just need to digest it all now - very kind of you.

    I think basically what i'll do is go for all stock specs, and then work it up through the Third Party route, since there don't seem to be any downsides to this route - waranty-wise etc...

    If I could push for one more answer... it's about the Hard Drives with the faster rpm's tha I've heard about. The Raptor, 150G 10000 ones.

    You can see what i'll be using this machine for, so do you think it would be worthwhile to get one of these drives as my scratch disk? I can afford it as long as it's a worthwhile buy.

    If I did do this, when I received the MacPro, would I have to swap the order of the disks around, and put the fast one in the first slot and then install OSX on it. Does anyone know if this is pretty simple stuff? I'm sure I can work it out - probably!

    Thanks so much, really helpful advice.
  9. justG macrumors member


    Apr 9, 2007
    Orlando, FL, US
    Sure thing, happy to help.
    For multimedia applications, a faster drive with a larger buffer thingy is always good, I think. Only thing is, I don't know the first thing about those drives and if they're compatible with the Mac Pro or need anything extra to work properly. Hopefully someone else can help you out with that (or you might try a Google search for "raptor mac pro" and see if that turns up anything useful).
    Photoshop lets you specify which drive(s) to use as a scratch disk. If the other applications you use also let you do that, then I guess you wouldn't need to make the faster drive your primary drive and install the OS on it; however, I also guess that making the fastest drive the startup disk makes the most sense...? I dunno, someone with more experience in multimedia production could probably provide a better response.
    If you do end up swapping the disks, then yes, OS X installation is really simple. If you end up investing in something like SuperDuper! when you devise your backup strategy (highly recommended, both a strategy and SuperDuper!), then this process is even simpler; instead of spending 30-45 minutes installing the OS and downloading/installing updates, you'll just clone your startup disk to the new drive and boot to it, a process that'll take you < 15-20 minutes.

    Hope that helps.
  10. Jebaloo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2006
    Thanks again, I'll check out SuperDuper, and will do myself some proper research into the Raptor compatability.

    Very kind help. This forum should have some sort of feedback star system like eBay, I'd give you five ;)

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