SSD X25-M or OCZ Vertex ? What about scratch ?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by aponsin, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. aponsin macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    #1
    Ok... I don't have a mac pro yet.
    I am a heavy photoshop user and I want a really snappy machine !

    My initial thinking to build it that way:

    System disk X25-m 80g (possiblity the 160g to dual boot windows for gaming... but d.mn the 160g is expensive)

    Having a set of Velociraptor in software RAID 0 with 2 partition, one scratch disk (~60G) and the rest as my storage for RAWs and photo edits.

    Finally a fourth disk, like a standard 1gb 7.2k to use as time machine back up / additional storage.

    Would anything be wrong with that setup ? (I have heard that it ain't really good to share the scratch disk with another partition ? But I feel that I need to store my large edited images (I have some 1gb file for panoramas...) so I want those to be opened fast...

    But looking at the new OCZ vertex, that comes with higher space for a more moderate price (compared to the IBM), I may built the system some other way...

    a OCZ 120G to dual boot osx and win
    another one OCZ 60G as a scratch disk
    Still the 1GB for time machine..

    But then I still don't know what to do really to store my raws and edits... I need some decent space... probably ~ 500gb and I'd like it to be fast but I'd like to be fast.. but I am not sure I need it that much...

    Could I use one of the "available" sata port in the optical bay to put the scratch ssd disk ? Leaving availble 2 sata slot for a software raid 0 of 2 300g velociraptor ?

    How would compare the SSD vs RAID 0 velociraptor for the scratch disk ?

    And I've read that the OCZ Vertex is slightly below the X25-M in read but trumps it on write ?? Any real life feedback in a Mac pro ? Any stuttering issues encountered with the Vertex ?

    Thanks for the feedbacks :)

    Alex
     
  2. Nautigar macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    #2
    I have been am using an OCZ Vertex 120G in my new MacPro for two weeks now, without a single issue. Applications usually start after one "hop".

    No stuttering issues.

    I am using the free SATA port in the second optical drive bay.

    Hope this helps, although I just answered some of your questions :)
     
  3. aponsin thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    #3
    Thanks Nautigar, it's only one answer, but probably the most important one :)
    And on top of that your answer makes me happy :)

    Alex
     
  4. Boneoh macrumors 6502

    Boneoh

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Location:
    So. Cal.
    #4
    My setup is close to what you are aiming for.

    09 MacPro 2.26, 16gb ram

    OS and applications are on a Intel X25-M 80 gb
    User files are on 3 x VelociRaptor 300 gb in RAID 0 stripe.

    I am very happy with the performance. Here are some links to the benchmarks, hope this helps you with your decision. :)

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=7255329&highlight=Disktester#post7255329

    http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/116989

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=7261725&highlight=stress+test#post7261725
     
  5. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #5
    Do we know if scratch writes are largely random or sequential? This makes a big difference in my opinion as to what SSD and/or how you partition things up.

    My thoughts are that you should buy as much SSD as possible, and buy more smaller drives and run them in RAID0 rather than fewer larger drives. e.g. Dual X25-M 80G drives would be much better than a single 160G drive.

    Also, (I believe but would love to have this validated) that the old-school practice of putting the scratch on a separate volume from the Apps/OS was to reduce latency caused by the drive head having to seek all over the drive... if that's true, then SSD's eliminate this. You can probably gain significantly by putting the scratch on the SSD volume since latency and drive head movement are a non-issue.

    The key difference between Intel and OCZ SSD's is that the Intel's are optimized for random writes while the OCZ's are optimized for sequential writes... hence my question at the top. I'm going with the Intel's because I believe (rightly or wrongly) that random write performance is more important.

    While I haven't got my drives yet, I'm hoping that I can do everything from my pair of Intel SSD's in RAID0 and only use my large 1TB drive for archiving completed projects. I'm hopeful that the SSD's can manage my OS/Apps, current project, and scratch requirements... if so, things should absolutely rock! I need to do more analysis of my storage requirements before I decide on the SSD capacity I need to make this happen, but I'm hopeful a pair of 80GB drives (approx 150GB total) would be sufficient for day-to-day work.

    Cheers! :)
     
  6. aponsin thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 28, 2009
  7. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #7
    Is still the case that these devices are only good for X number of writes/reads and then those cells are dead and gone forever?
     
  8. Pressure macrumors 68040

    Pressure

    Joined:
    May 30, 2006
    Location:
    Denmark
    #8
    Indeed-y but current Solid State Drives have a longer Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) than ordinary, mechanical ones to begin with.

    In other words, it should be a non-issue.
     
  9. Nautigar macrumors regular

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    Oct 4, 2007
  10. HHarm macrumors regular

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    Mar 4, 2009
    #12
    What's the adapter to use to house a 2.5 inch SSD inside a 09 MP HD bay?
     
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #13
    I wouldn't equate MTBF with the UBE of the cells. You'd get high MTBF with reads, not writes. Write leveling techniques and potentially additional capacity for bypassing dead cells (similar to a remap of a bad sector) helps, but in the end, the write cycle limits of the cell can't be ignored.

    For an OS or Application drive, primarily read use, SSD would be fine. You'd get the speed, with far fewer writes to potentially kill the cells, and eventually the entire drive. :D
     
  12. Boneoh macrumors 6502

    Boneoh

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Location:
    So. Cal.
    #14
    here is the part number from newegg.com:

    17-994-064 HD ACC ICY DOCK MB882SP-1S-1B R $19.99
     
  13. Boneoh macrumors 6502

    Boneoh

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Location:
    So. Cal.
    #15
    This article has more detailed info about SSDs, controllers, performance, etc.

    Pressure posted this a while back, very interesting and thorough.

    http://anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3531&p=1
     
  14. aibo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Southern California
    #16
    Because it's pointless and serves no purpose except to trick mac users into paying a premium for an identical product.
     
  15. adrianr macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    #17
    Wait a minute....!

    :D
     
  16. vga4life macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    #18
    What the other posters said - don't use a rotating disc (even a RAID0 set of them) for scratch when SSDs are available.

    3 fast SSDs (intel or indilinx controller, preferably intel) in RAID0, an internal large (1TB+) drive for bulk nearline storage, and external FW800 drives for backups/offsite storage) would be my choice if I needed such a rig today.
     
  17. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #19
    I recall the article, but couldn't recall who posted it. :eek: :eek:
    Thanks for the link. :)

    There's a lot going on yet, and I'm still waiting for more long term data. Particularly on lifespan as I tend to torture drives in RAID. :D (I'm too leary ATM to stick them in a hardware RAID array). To me, it still seems premature, as this and other articles IIRC seem to support in areas that are important to me.

    Still, I do think SSD in it's current form, would be usefull for fast Random Access needs on a drive primarily read, and only a single drive can be used.

    To me, the cost/capacity ratio is still too steep as well. :rolleyes: :(
     
  18. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #20
    +1 :D
     
  19. sboerup macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    #21
    I got my OCZ Vertex 120gb and copied over my boot drive. So far its fast, really fast. Noticeably faster than my 2x6400aaks RAID0. That was drawing 210mb/s read/write speeds.

    The OCZ setup fine, but you do need a PC to flash it to the new 1.1 firmware update that came out on Tuesday.

    Why the heck would you want a scratch SSD when you can make a RAM Disk? Buy more Ram, its much more cost effective than a SSD and 20x faster still. I've got 16gb of RAM and use a 2GB scratch for FF and CS4. 6.5gb/s read and writes . . . thats fast.
     
  20. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #22
    Is 2GB enough for scratch?
     
  21. aponsin thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 28, 2009
    #23
    Well, for once because I am planning on buying a quad... and getting 16gb in a quad is freaking damn expensive, more that an SSD for scratch...
    And then also because reading the barefeats benchmarks and the diggloyd site it seems that RAM drive for scratch is actually not that much better than an good RAID Stripe...
    And finally because my personal use of photoshop I handle really large images (1gb files - not all the time obviously) and that 2gb scratch or even 8gb if I could manage that is no where near enough...

    Alex
     
  22. sboerup macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    #24
    Well, if you need scratch space that is 8GB or larger (if you are working on 1GB files, you will need atleast that for 1 file), then a Ram Disk isn't the best option.

    I don't know how they tested a RamDisk, but I get insane read/write speads from my RamDisk, insane.
     
  23. aponsin thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    #25
    I understand. Thank for the advice. The one though I don't understand - this is something I read, therefore I am not 100% about it - is that I though photoshop even though cannot use more 3gb of Ram for the process, is able to utilize all the RAM left to put stuff in memory before needing to use the scratch disk.

    So if you are actually using a RAM scratch disk, you are effectively reducing the amount of RAM left for photoshop to use before needing the RAM disk, making it all a moo point? Or am I missing something here ?

    Thanks,

    Alex
     

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