SSD set up possibilities for non techy ??

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Reality4711, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. Reality4711 macrumors 6502


    Aug 8, 2009
    Hello everyone, 'Complements of the Season' to you all.

    MacPro 2006-2008 Octo.

    Is this setup doable, worth the cash and damned fast to use?

    Boot drive - 2x80Gb Intel SSD raid 0 (some people seem to be having trouble with this?)
    Scratch - 2x32Gb Intel SSD raid 0
    Working Library - 2x160Gb Intel SSD raid 0

    Data back up via two external HD arrays, one on Time Machine the other as direct back up for data library and archive.

    I have no raid card and am using the raid settings in Disc Utility.

    All comments very very welcome.

    Thank You.:):):)
  2. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I'm not sure what you're doing, but am guessing it's video/graphics work until you indicate otherwise.

    SSD is fine for OS and applications. I'd stick to mechanical for scratch/working data/project data though (and you can put it all on the same array). It's cheaper, and actually faster for large files (sequential access, particularly writes).

    It's a bit generic, but that's all I can really do atm, as there's nothing else to work with. ;)
  3. disconap macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2005
    Portland, OR
    Seconded. You'll see a slight benefit in scratch and a speed increase in copying things to storage, but overall identical or slower performance working with video files, when for the same money you can get a ton more space (and for scratch, that may make a huge difference) and even put together a redundant storage solution.

    The 2X80 system drive is a good call though. Better yet, if you already have traditional hdds for the scratch and storage, pool all the money and buy a higher grade, larger capacity system drive or two...
  4. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Here we go again.... :p

    I believe... there is no performance benefit to going with a mechanical array... only a cost benefit. IMHO, you can easily build a solid state storage solution that will outperform any mechanical drive setup... it will just cost more.

    Given that cost doesn't appear to be much of an issue and storage requirements are relatively modest, the ideal solution is to use a couple of Intel SSD's in RAID0 for your OS/Apps and then get a couple of high capacity OCZ Vertex or other Indilinx based SSD's for your media storage which have extremely strong sequential read/write speeds. That would blow the doors off of even a 4 drive mechanical array.

    You could put the scratch on either the Intel or OCZ array... I can't imagine you would notice a difference either way. There's certainly no need for a separate scratch volume when using SSD's as they don't suffer from the random access latency that plagues mechanical drives which was the whole motivation for a separate scratch volume back in the old days. If you have budget for more SSD's than I would add them to the two main arrays rather than create a separate scratch array. Just keep in mind that 3 SSDs per array is going to max out the ICH.

    Another option to consider if you have money growing on a tree in your back yard is a PCIe RAID card to run your SSD arrays on. :D

    OP, you are correct about G2 Intel drives having issue with 10.6.2, so you could either track down some G1 drives or stick with 10.6.1 until the issue gets addressed.
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I responded in the other thread, but it will depend on the specific SSD (i.e. sequential writes are anywhere from 70 - 220MB/s IIRC), and the one that stands out to me for such use, is the 1TB Colossus (super fast sequential write + high capacity). Also keep in mind, I've assisted users with 12TB arrays for video/grahpics work, and am accustomed to large capacity really being on the large side for a single user system.

    Unfortunately, I checked Amazon yesterday on the 1TB Colossus, and they're priced just under $4300USD. :eek: :eek:

    Now keep in mind, that I try to figure in a balance of price/performance. It's just the way I have to think, as budgets are never truly unlimited. If there's a real need, then the buget will get pushed to the correct level to acommodate specific setups, but not without a serious need to do so.

    So for now, that means mechanical = best-bang-for-the-funds. ;)

    I don't see it that way, but I'm thinking of at least 4TB for the large array. If it can be done with less, maybe it's a bit more plausible, but it still doesn't hold the value.

    You could get a faster system that way though, as say 4x drives (even small capacity models that can do 200+MB/s for sequential writes, can only be touched by SAS - Cheetah 15K.7's). They're not as expensive though, and still offer better value IMO.

    Now if said SSD array were meant for random access (i.e. a database as well as OS or apps type usage), it may make more sense. I'd need specifics on the usage.

    It's always the usage specifics anyway. :rolleyes: ;)

    No there isn't. Enough RAM will mitigate the need anyway, no matter the disk tech used.

    Given the write cycle issues with SSD, users would need to be really careful to make sure they've adequate unused space if they do want to run the scratch of it, or run the risk of premature death. If say it's a single 80GB used for the OS and apps, I'd put it on the mechanical, if used.

    Yep. If someone is really going to use SSD's for the graphics files, I'd think they'd be better off with a RAID card for both this reason (can exceed the 660MB/s ICH10R limit), and the ability to have additional ports for expansion later.

    See above. ;)

    Given the issues with 10.6.2, I'd think 10.6.1 would be the better choice no matter if on the logic board (SSD or mechanical) or for RAID cards, as there's been problems there too (major stability problems = high drop-out frequency). :(
  6. Reality4711 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Aug 8, 2009
    Return of OP.

    Thank you all for the info..
    To be more precise as requested.

    I work almost entirely with CS4 Photoshop/Bridge and Corel Painter 11.

    Fundamentally my efficiency ratings have been dropping below 95% of late and the odd spinner is starting to appear. Boot times and app. changes also seem to drag.

    No specific figures for you to see ( I am a user not a tech guy-my mac is my tool).

    Basically I am trying to offset my increased file sizes (work demands them) with some noticeable speed improvement given a budget of £2000 max..

    As noted long term storage is not the problem as my projects are ultimately offloaded to the client on completion-and my data is the only required security problem so I use three backup HD configs one in raid 1 and two in raid 0 for archive.

    As an additional question (sorry) would 32Gb of Ram and booting only in 64bit be a more cost affective step up along with HD improvements ( 1Tb scratch)and 2x1Tb raid for working data?

    As before ALL recommendations would be very welcome especially if I can get a general concensus (hard I know - but I can hope) ;-) ;-)
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    SSD would help with the OS and apps, so that's going to give an improvement there, as that relys on random access. One or two in a stripe set is up to you (I'm not sure what you're capacity needs are here). But assuming a single would be a 160GB Intel G2 vs. 2x 80GB G2's by intel, the cost difference is ~$100USD from the prices I've seen here in the US for the last few days. The stripe set would be faster, so that might be worth $100 to you. I'd expect that to be worse in the UK though. ( has the 80GB G2's for $179GBP + VAT each, and the 160GB model goes for $346GBP + VAT and shipping on both of course).

    To get the SSD's to boot, and make sure there's no bandwidth issues on the ICH9 in the unit (it in fact does appear the earlier MP's do have the ~660MB/s limit, maybe worse the further you go back in year, seen in the ICH10R used in the '09's). The ARC-1210 is a simple 4 port SATA based RAID card (PCIe) that will work, and it does boot in EFI once flashed.

    Physically speaking, they can be stuffed in the empty optical bay, and isn't expensive. Here's an inexpensive mount, but I'm not sure where to find it in the UK. You'd also need a simple Molex to 2x SATA power cable adapter. Cheap and easy there too. :)

    Now assuming you can deal with 4x drives in a stripe on the logic board in terms of capacity (say 4x 1TB drives; I'd recommend enterprise models). Say the WD RE3 versions, here ( $122.20GBP (VAT included in this figure).

    This adds up to just over $1150GBP (including VAT, but not shipping).

    You can put the balance into RAM if needed, as I don't know what the current capacity is. ;)

    At any rate, you should see a notable improvement IMO. :) And within budget, even with additional RAM, so long as you don't get carried away. :D :p

    Hope this helps. :)
  8. Reality4711 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Aug 8, 2009
    Thank yous

    Thank you all for the help. Big shout out for the 'Nanofrog'!:):)
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    NP. :)

    It should make you one extremely happy camper. :D

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