some pro spec clarifications (gfx, SSD)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by gjarold, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. gjarold macrumors regular

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    Nov 14, 2007
    #1
    Speccing out my first mac pro ... a few clarifications.

    I know I can't put a 4870 into the original mac pro, but can I put the 4870 into a 2008 mac pro ?

    If I want to drive 4 monitors @ 1920x1200, do I need 4x4870, or just two ?

    Finally, my plan is to purchase 4x Intel SSD, which I like very much in my other machines and create two raid-0 stripes using the standard mac pro raid card. Is there any flaw in this plan ? I just want to make sure I can put any arbitrary internal SATA drive onto that raid board.... it doesn't have to be a "special" apple-provided disk, does it ?

    What raid card is it, anyway, that they are rebranding ?

    Many thanks.
     
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #2
    The 4870 works in the 2008 Mac Pro.

    You cannot have two 4870. There are not enough power connectors and the power draw is too high.
     
  3. Bubba Satori Suspended

    Bubba Satori

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  4. gjarold thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    Ok, and a single 4870 can drive two monitors, yes ?

    Hmmm ... ok. Can I do one 4870 and one GT120 ? Does OSX handle mixed graphics boards like that easily ? Perhaps I should just get two gt120s and call it a day ...
     
  5. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #5
    I, personally am doing a Radeon 4870 and one GT 120, so it can be done.

    OS X has no trouble with mixed manufacturer cards.

    XP has no trouble, Windows 7 has no trouble, but if you're running Vista, you can't keep both cards in at once.

    My vote is for one of each, like I'm doing.
     
  6. gjarold thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    What do you drive with each card, respectively ? That is, do you have a "main" display that you do rendering/gaming on that uses the 4870, and the other uses the gt120 for more mundane GUI ?

    How many screens do you have attached to each board ?
     
  7. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #7
    Well, I don't yet, but that's what I'll be doing: one monitor per card.
     
  8. pprior macrumors 65816

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    #8
    Dude! That must absolutely kick. You have Two raid-0 stripes right now using intel SSD? Have you posted this in any other threads?

    Since there is no rotational latency, why not just do one giant Raid-0, Read speeds would be probably 600+mb/sec.
     
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #9
    The MP's built in RAID functions are software, not hardware. There's no card. It uses the system resources on the board for the processing. Which is why software RAID is inexpensive.

    It's just a driver.
     
  10. mason.kramer macrumors 6502

    mason.kramer

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    #10
    The amount of processing power required to operate a RAID is negligible in modern systems and will essentially never make a difference even for extremely high throughput situations involving intensive CPU utilization, like live video encoding, even slightly more complex setups like 5 and 3. Meanwhile, software raid has the huge advantage of being more flexible and easier to repair: If your raid card dies, you have to find another one exactly like it to get your RAID back online. In the bad old days, this meant buying a backup raid card for every raid card in your system. Meanwhile, if your OS dies, you simply reinstall it.

    Don't get a raid card, use the software.
     
  11. gjarold thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    Well, it's a toss-up.

    I can either do a 4-disk single stripe, as you say, or I can make two stripes and put the OS and common applications on the first stripe, and put all of my vmware VMs on the other one.

    A four disk stripe is certainly faster, but on the other hand it would be really nice to do something in a VM and know _with certainty_ that it is not competing with your apps for IO...

    Bear in mind I have not set this up yet - I am speccing this out ....
     
  12. gjarold thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    No, I am talking about the actual hardware RAID card that is an option when speccing a mac pro. $700 or so.

    - Can I attach any old drives I buy anywhere to this ?

    - I know it supports SAS, but I don't have to - I can use SATA, yes ?

    - what card is it they are rebranding ? Adaptec ? 3ware ?

    Thanks.
     
  13. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #13
    For a small quantity of drives, not needing unsupported array types, it's a less expensive way to go. Easier, meh.. depends.

    Just keep in mind, high availability wasn't the primary purpose of going software RAID. It was compromised in favor of cost. If something really hits the fan and the partition tables are shot, there's no backup. Hardware can offer this, if it's included (high end cards). Drives die far more often than the card, and spares are part and parcel for RAID if you aren't trying to cut corners. Unfortunately, the need for spares may be ignored in all but large enterprise environments due to the cost.
    Ahh.. OK.

    You'd need to look for an HDD Compatibility List from Apple on this card. SAS is technically backwards compatible, but has a tendency to be picky on SATA drives.

    I'm not sure on who makes it as it appears to be a new version, but the previous card reminded me of LSI, but not exactly rebranded. Customized variant seemed to be what happened, as LSI's retail cards don't support OS X. I would think the same maker is producing the new ones as well, and the same basic design with a few updates.
     
  14. gjarold thread starter macrumors regular

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    #14

    Hmm...

    Do you mean, check the HCL just to be safe and because that is a best practice ?

    Or do you mean, check the HCL because apple made the RAID card refuse to recognize drives that apple didn't sell me ?

    FWIW, I plan on using the (somewhat) de facto standard, which is the Intel SSDSA2MH080G1C5 ...
     
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #15
    Primarily #1, though #2 is a possibility. :p

    Most of the drives that have turned up issues are consumer models, not enterprise. But on ocassion, even an enterprise drive I thought would have worked, never made it. (Recent releases that I/we never got working correctly), later to find we tested it before the vendor, and they couldn't get it to pass either.

    In other cases, they made the list later, as either the drive's firmware was updated, or the card vendor released new firmware that allowed a drive/s to function properly. Once passed, it made it.

    Unfortunately, not every drive can be tested, and that's when it gets sticky. Absolute guinea pig mode, same as new, untested drives by the card vendor. The difference being that in one case, $$$ was spent on new drives, the other is for units already on hand. The time is spent either way. But spending the cash and dealing with RMA's is a pain.

    If I have a choice, I prefer not to start playing guinea pig when it comes to HDD's in RAID. For awhile at least. At some point, I'll either have enough drives around to make it tempting, or a new drive will come out I just can't say NO to. ;) :p

    If you're still in the planning stage, it's easier (fewer issues) to use a drive that made the list. ;)
     

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