SSD if data on NAS (gigabit)? Waste of money?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by CavemanMike, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. CavemanMike macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2013
    I switched from win8 to macbook pro retina 2 months ago and love it.

    Now I want to switch my partner who is a blogger, uses photoshop elements, and surfs. He typically keeps a gazillion things open at once and never reboots. (bad user).

    This is what I spec'd out:
    2.3GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    16GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x8GB
    256GB Solid State Drive
    Apple USB SuperDrive
    Apple Magic Mouse
    AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac mini - Auto-enroll
    Accessory Kit

    He presently has 2 TB of photos on his current win 7 (four year old quad core AMD pc). It's a slow and terrible pc, maybe just from winrot.

    Since I just got a synology DS214 NAS, I was thinking of having him access his photos over gigabit (wired).

    Questions about that:

    1) Do you think having his "data" be across gigabit will be worse than his current setup - old pc with local storage? Should I just get him an external 4TB USB 3 drive for his data, and maybe sync that to the NAS for backup?

    2) Does it make sense to get the solid state drive for his OS if all his data is across gigabit? He never reboots and if the apps are loaded into memory (how much OS disk access will there be)?

    3) I love the SSD in my new retina MBP and I think not having a spinning hard drive would make his rig be more reliable.

    The geeky IT guy in me doesn't want to buy something that's about to be phased out. However, after spec'ing out the mac mini, it seems plenty powerful for his needs.

    All thoughts and comments would be welcome.

  2. iizmoo macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2014
    SSD make launching apps and working in them snappy, without them even my 2 years old mini used to freeze during application launches.

    Storage access is not significantly different because HDD real life random access speed just suck. Don't have too many files in one folder and you'll be fine. Try to organize photos in a well structured tree. The big upgrade there is if youre willing to drop the $ for an SSD storage array, then connection bus speed might matter. ;)

    This is a mac, not windows, I reboot my server once every quarter (and only because software updates requires it).

    If you can wait a bit, the new Mini should have some worthwhile upgrades.
  3. CavemanMike thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2013
    Buy or wait?

    I reading that 2013/2014 with great interest, trying to decide if I should wait for a new mini.

    However, after spec'ing out the current mini, it seems plenty powerful.

    In fact, it's faster than my new retina 2013 macbook pro (which seems so much faster than my 4 year old win8 upgraded pc) - of course the ssd in my mbp probably contributes in a big way.

  4. resotek macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2013
    Get the SSD unless it blows your budget. You will never regret it.
  5. COrocket macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    No one really knows when the new ones will come out, you could possibly be waiting months. So if the current one meets your needs, then I would get it. With SSD's they are very fast machines. I'd strongly recommend using the NAS/USB3 external solution you mentioned so you have some sort of backup.

    Also, you may have seen this in other threads - but you can save quite a bit of money upgrading the RAM yourself instead of ordering it from Apple.
  6. CavemanMike thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2013
    Primary Data USB3 or on NAS?

    Either way, I'm going to backup the data.

    As to memory, I just check crucial and it looks like 16 gigs for $170 vs. the $300 from apple. But then I'd end up with 4 gigs of memory that I can't use (since I think there's only 2 slots) - that would just annoy me.

    While at crucial, it looks like a 480 gig SSD can be had for $325 vs. the $200 for the 256 gig SSD from apple.

    I think I'll probably go everything from apple since I will be getting apple care: I do want to be able to walk in and get support for 100% , and not have finger pointing.

  7. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2013
  8. crenz macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2003
    Shanghai, China
    I have my iPhoto and iTunes library on a Synology NAS, and frankly speaking I find the performance leaves a lot to be desired. While the raw data transfer rate is definitely not bad (better than USB2), accessing a database with lots of files is really slow over the network connection, and not a great experience.

    I also don't like the problems iTunes and iPhoto run into if you put your laptop to sleep - if they access the library before OS X reconnects the network drive, you sometimes end up having to force-close them.

    I plan to get a Mac Mini with 1-2 TB SSD storage capacity in a few months time. For your friend, I'd probably recommend the external USB3 route, and then use the Synology for the time machine backup.
  9. CavemanMike thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2013
    Thank you Crenz:

    Thank you Crenz: that makes a ton of sense.

    I was experimenting with a 5 gig folder of photos on the DS214 NAS and I agree, the performance was not great.

    With my locally attached USB WD Mybook, I can get 128 MB/sec.

    With my macbook pro over wifi AC I get 45 MB/sec, which is around what I get from a hard wired gigabit PC to the DS214 Synology NAS.

    Your point about the mac falling asleep (which is likely a bigger problem on my macbook pro is compelling.

    Thanks for helping me decide on a direction.

  10. mvmanolov, Jan 21, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014

    mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2013
    the fact that you are only getting 45MB over wired is an indication that your network is not working to its full potential! please read through the guide i posted above. on my Lan i get full 100MB/s

    keep in mid that the AEBS has a relatively limited throughput bandwidth. closer to the 45MB/s where as a gigabit switch will give you the full 100MB/s. whys and how is really nicely explain in the link i posted... good luck.

    the sleep issue is resolved easily by selecting in the energy preferences pane the "wake on Lan" chekbox...
  11. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    Waste of Money on NAS

    Personally I think SSD is a waste of money on a NAS unless you are using workloads that have lots of random I/O and not much throughput. You are limited to around 80MB/s with gigabit ethernet a NAS won't give you loads of throughput.

    I've got a Synology DS412+ NAS(4 x 4TB HDD) connected via Gig-E and it's good for backups and storing office type docs and as a photo archive. I also have a Promise Pegasus 2 R4 that I use for photos and VM's. It's much faster than the NAS for sequential I/O, so photo editing is great. It's also not too bad for VM's either but not as good as SSD.

    Your friend might get away with using a NAS, but a smaller thunderbolt array - Western Digital, Lacie, etc might be a better solution for him
  12. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2013
    agreed the only really way to benefit from the SSD speeds on a NAS from a networking point of view is to buy a 10G switch and run cat 6 cables. Like:

    and while $1k is relatively cheap for this it still is a crap ton of $$$ so... TB raid 0 will do the trick nicely in terms of speed as long as you have another backup :D
  13. Schnort macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2013
    An SSD on a NAS is the perfect choice for hosting your music; not for data throughput, but to avoid the spinup time of rotating media.

    And the point of SSD isn't the raw throughput (they're not that much higher than rotating media), but to remove the random access time. If you're doing stuff that truly benefits from SSD because of reduced random access time, it's going to lose that benefit because the random access time improvements will be lost in the network turnaround latency.
  14. Fonz4, Jan 21, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014

    Fonz4 macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2012
    My findings

    I went from a win7 pc to the Mac mini when the 2012 came out, and moved my photo library to a network share. No real issues.

    I'm running the Mac Mini connected via wired network to a HP Micro Server that holds all my photos and documents etc. The micro server is basically running as file server similar to a NAS. This is on the mid i7 with the fusion drive, although I installed my own ram maxing it to 16gb, you should be able to save a bit by adding the extra memory in the Mac Mini yourself.

    I have 1.5tb of photos that all sit on the Micro Server. I use Adobe Lightroom for my photo catalog, Lightroom and the catalog file are on the Mac Mini but the actual photos are on the Micro Server. I found it slow moving between photos if the catalog was also on the Micro Server. The catalog file contains all metadata and develop edits so does vary in size but mine is a few gigs.

    I haven't found any issues running in this way. Lightroom is configured to import photos from a connected camera into the catalog and put the raw file on the network drive. I've not tried this with iPhoto, or Photoshop elements, but assume elements uses the same catalog file for photo storing. I do use full blown Photoshop intermittently.

    I did make sure that the Mac and the Micro Server where connected to a gigabit switch rather than a router (my router had only 100mb ports for the wired connections at the time), connected the switch to the router for net access then disabled wifi on the Mac.

    As for music I'm running iTunes on the Micro Server and use home sharing. Some NAS's also support running as an iTunes server.

    I have an applescript firing at startup to mount my network shares. I didn't like the way if added as start up items for the user a finder window appears for each share, and for some reason I couldn't suppress it.

    The SSD in the Mac Mini is nice to have.
  15. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    I thought about this route too, but had some spare cash so went for the thunderbolt array. The main reason for me was to have a backup of the photos on the NAS. If the Thunderbolt array dies I can always get the photos back from the NAS.
  16. Fonz4 macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2012
    Yeah, could have done that but, I had the MicroServer left over from my Windows days. Filled it with 5 drives. 1 for OS and the other 4 drives in Raid 5. Then connected some external drives to this for backup. Just this worked out cheaper and was more flexible in my case.

    Been looking at offsite storage recently. Seem to be a couple of reasonably priced cloud solutions.
  17. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    The micro servers are pretty good value. I've got one from when I was doing my VMware stuff, but ran out of talent when trying to set it up as a NAS with all the other apps I need. I don't have much free time so I just bought the Synology instead.

    Amazon aren't too bad for cloud storage. I only backup a couple of GB though so it costs next to nothing. Just my important stuff. I've yet to find anything good for lots of data though - at the end of the day managed storage costs money.
  18. iizmoo macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2014
    45 MB/s on NAS sound about right. The issue here isn't the bus, but the protocol, both AFP and SMB for the most part are just really really terrible. SMB is slowly trying to change the way things work in SMB3, but still pretty bad.

    The USB/Firewire/TB external stuffs are direct attach and you're not piping stuffs over several layer of protocols, that's why it's generally a lot faster.
  19. CavemanMike thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2013

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