SSD or HDD RAID Setup for Mac Pro 2008?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by CFoss, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. CFoss macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2011
    tl;dr version: Would you suggest a single large SSD, or a RAID setup? With RAID, would you suggest a internal or external setup? Finally, with RAID, do you need anything in addition to run it, other than a PCI-Express eSATA card for an external setup?

    After the recommendations of people of this forum, I have decided to stick with my Mac Pro (early 2008), even with the outdated CPU architecture. So, I think it's time I gave my Mac Pro a bit of an upgrade in the HDD/SDD department. Right now, I am using the following setup (full specs are in my signature):

    Internal Drives:
    HDD Bay #1: 750GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s; 7200 rpm; 16MB cache (System + Media Drive)
    HDD Bay #2: 1TB Serial ATA 3Gb/s; 7200 rpm; 32MB cache (Sample Instrument Drive)
    HDD Bay #3: N/A
    HDD Bay #4: N/A

    External Drives:
    1TB HDD USB (Time Machine Backup for HDD Bay #1)

    Now, not only am I running out space for all three drives, but I would like to improve the speed of my sample drive. That, and I need to backup the Sample Instrument Drive sometime soon. While a Solid State Drive would be a great improvement for the System, they're pretty expensive at the moment, and nowhere near the size I need for the Sample Drive... so I was considering getting a RAID setup for the Sample Drive. Would you go with an internal or external RAID setup?

    For internal, I could perhaps use the 1TB HDD all ready in use as one of the HDDs, and purchase an additional internal HDD. Then, I can back that up with an external HDD, and have the last bay fitted with a small SSD for the System... I have no idea if that would work or not. Does the Mac Pro 2008 even have an internal RAID controller?

    Alternatively, I could go with external... I could purchase the following combo from OWC:

    Which leaves room for a SSD, and perhaps one more HDD for media that doesn't need backed up (eg Steam games, etc). Does the OWC combo card include a RAID controller? I'm not even too sure what a RAID controller is to be honest.

    Phew! Sorry for the long thread. Congratulations if you read it all: I just have a lot of options, and am not sure how to go about it all.
  2. lbeck macrumors 6502


    Dec 5, 2009
    I know SSD's are still a little pricey but you would see the best performance gains from getting a SSD for your boot drive. Your mac pro will feel and will be so much faster. You don't need a large size for boot/apps.
  3. CFoss thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2011
    Shouldn't I go with the model I posted? They're faster for the same price. Also, I live in Canada: doesn't work for me. Finally, it lacks eSATA. I need the HDDs to be as fast as possible. With Firewire and USB, I might as well stick to my current setup.
  4. bamf macrumors 6502

    Feb 14, 2008
    I've got a 2008 as well, and here is what I've done:

    Intel X25-M G2 160GB + 1TB drive in the second optical bay (both in a Silverstone FP55)

    2 x 2TB Hitachi Coolspin drives in RAID 1 for general redundant storage

    1 x 1 TB drive for Time Machine (only backing up the boot drive and a few other things with TM)

    1 x 1 TB drive for video storage/scratch

    Now you could put an SSD in the optical bay, and 2 hard drives in a RAID 0 which would give you a great boot/apps solution as well as better speed for your sample drive.
  5. CFoss, Jul 9, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2011

    CFoss thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2011
    Something I've kinda noticed... are all SSDs 2.5"? I suppose I'll have to purchase a 2.5" to 3.5" bay? Any recommendations on what mounting bay to get?
  6. philipma1957, Jul 9, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2011

    philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    my unit does not lack esata. If I mention gear I have owned and tested it. the owc piece I told you is fast. I reviewed it. I also have reviewed the one you pick. I ahve a handy link for the owc 2 bay review on this site.

    If you want to see it with my mac pro i can take a photo for you. take the time to see the scores on those links your unit uses the same chip as my unit it will not be any faster.

    it will be bigger so if you want bigger in size get yours.
    it will be louder so if you want a quiet raid get mine.
    I have had the fans fail on your unit they are also loud.
    I don't pick gear I don't use or at least tested.
    one more thing the drives I told you for the small owc can be found in places other then newegg.

    owc has an adapter for ssds
  7. lbeck macrumors 6502


    Dec 5, 2009
    I vote for getting an internal SSD for boot. I have a OWC 2.5 SSD just sitting in the optical bay, no holder required. There are no moving parts so it can just lay there. I plan on getting an OWC holder for the optical bay one day but I didn't want to spend the money now. Many people have done this, it causes no issues.

    I'm telling you, getting a SSD for boot/apps will make it seem like you have a brand new mac.
  8. bamf macrumors 6502

    Feb 14, 2008
    I can second this. I can't imagine not having the OS/apps on an SSD now after moving to an SSD.
  9. CFoss thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2011
    I am okay with purchasing a mount... but am unsure what mount to get. From what I can tell, the only option I have with putting a SSD into my Mac Pro is via the Optical Drive with the Multi-Mount... and I have no idea which one to get. Does it replace both drives? I like having at least one optical drive if possible. Also, from what I can tell, the description of the mounts seem to imply multiple drives can be connected to the Mac Pro... how is this possible with one SATA cable?
  10. lbeck, Jul 9, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2011

    lbeck macrumors 6502


    Dec 5, 2009
    You can get this multi-mount for one of the optical bays. World Computing/MM35T25/

    Your mac pro has two optical bays, most likely the top one has the optical drive and e lower one is empty. Stick the SSD in the empty bay. Both power and SATA cable is already there ready to go. At least it was for my 2010. Maybe check to be sure the 2008 is the same way.

    It's possible to put more than one SSD in an optical bay. But there is onle one SATA connector so you have to use a power y splitter for juice, and then a RAID card for the extra data connection. I've seen people here that have put three SSD in the lower optical bay. Pretty sweet.

    Edit: actually I think u need this one for your 2008 MP
  11. CFoss thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2011
    I do have an optical drive in the second bay. If I take it out, would I be able to use it externally? And what RAID card would you suggest then?

    How would this work as an alternative?
  12. bamf macrumors 6502

    Feb 14, 2008
    You can put 2 sata drives under your SuperDrive on a 2008. Look at the Silverstone FP55 as a mount too. Cheaper than the OWC mount and you can mount a 3.5" and 2 2.2" drives on it (although there are only 2 sata port on the logic board to plug into).

    You need a molex to dual sata power splitter though.

    I did this yesterday in my 2008, so it's fresh in my mind. ;)
  13. CFoss thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2011
    Won't a splitter half the performance?
  14. bamf macrumors 6502

    Feb 14, 2008
    It's for power only. Each drive has it's own sata port on the logic board that runs at sata II speed.
  15. bamf macrumors 6502

    Feb 14, 2008
    This is the cabling you need to get 2 drives into the optical bay area.

    I had cables, so I ended up using the FP55 mount.
  16. lbeck macrumors 6502


    Dec 5, 2009
    Your MP has 6 SATA connectors on it, 4 in the regular bays and 2 in the optical bays. I suggest putting your second optical drive outside the mac pro, you can get a cheap enclosure for it and connect it via FireWire, no RAID card would be needed for that.

    The only time you'd need a RAID card is if you want more than six SATA connections, or you want faster sata3 connections, or you want to use a more advanced RAID like RAID 5.

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