Teach me about internal hard drives *please*

amin

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 17, 2003
977
9
Boston, MA
I have been reading about hard drives all over the place, and I still don't know enough to set up my Mac Pro optimally for home video and photography work. Here are a some questions I have. If you can answer even one, please reply.

1) I have read several posts by people who are using a fast drive as a boot disk. I was thinking of getting a Raptor for this purpose. If I make my fastest drive in the Mac Pro a boot drive, won't everything else (like my Applications and Home folders) automatically go there as well?

2) If I do dedicate a fast drive as a boot drive, can it also serve as a scratch disk, or will this significantly degrade performance?

3) I know the Mac Pro currently doesn't support hardware RAID internally, but can I buy an external FW800 hardware RAID 0 enclosure? Would this give me significant performance gains (as a scratch disk) compared to a single internal fast drive or two software striped internal fast drives?

4) How much difference does 8MB vs 16MB cache make?

Currently I have a 320GB 7,200 rpm WD drive with 16MB cache as my boot/storage drive and a 250GB 7,200 rpm WD drive with 8MB cache as my Windows drive (Boot Camp). The latter came with the Mac Pro. I am planning to buy a couple smaller, faster drives or an external FW 800 enclosure and am not sure how best to go about it. No specific budget, but less is more :).

EDIT - If anyone knows good places/forums for me to read more about specifically this sort of thing, point me in the right direction!

EDIT2 - Anyone out there?
 

Danksi

macrumors 68000
Oct 3, 2005
1,554
0
Nelson, BC. Canada
amin said:
I have been reading about hard drives all over the place, and I still don't know enough to set up my Mac Pro optimally for home video and photography work. Here are a some questions I have. If you can answer even one, please reply.
This is how I'm setting my Mac Pro up at the moment. I'm doing SD video and some basic photo work.

System/Applications - Std. 160Gb 8Mb Drive
Docs/Media - 250Gb 8Mb (out of my G-Tech-Q ext. drive)
Video capture/scratch - 500Gb 16Mb

Backups (mostly of media drive) - 300Gb 8Mb IDE drive & USB2.0 ext. enc.
 

spinne1

macrumors 6502a
amin said:
I have been reading about hard drives all over the place, and I still don't know enough to set up my Mac Pro optimally for home video and photography work. Here are a some questions I have. If you can answer even one, please reply.

1) I have read several posts by people who are using a fast drive as a boot disk. I was thinking of getting a Raptor for this purpose. If I make my fastest drive in the Mac Pro a boot drive, won't everything else (like my Applications and Home folders) automatically go there as well?
Yes

amin said:
2) If I do dedicate a fast drive as a boot drive, can it also serve as a scratch disk, or will this significantly degrade performance?
Ideally, your scratch disk would be separate. Your performance would still be fine either way on a Mac Pro (especially if you are not using Rosetta with your apps). How aggressive will you be in your picture crunching work? Unless you are very fast, I doubt you need any sort of raid or ultra-fast drive.


amin said:
3) I know the Mac Pro currently doesn't support hardware RAID internally, but can I buy an external FW800 hardware RAID 0 enclosure? Would this give me significant performance gains (as a scratch disk) compared to a single internal fast drive or two software striped internal fast drives?
Yes, you can buy external FW800 raid enclosures for OS X (google for "FW800 raid os x"). As to your second question, I don't know. If you do have an external raid, you will still need a large enough drive to serve as a backup (an additional external or internal for example).

amin said:
4) How much difference does 8MB vs 16MB cache make?
About 8mb I imagine ;)
But seriously, the people on this forum seem to think it will make almost no difference:
http://forums.macnn.com/58/imac-emac-and-mac-mini/304136/hd-performance-16mb-vs-8mb/

amin said:
Currently I have a 320GB 7,200 rpm WD drive with 16MB cache as my boot/storage drive and a 250GB 7,200 rpm WD drive with 8MB cache as my Windows drive (Boot Camp). The latter came with the Mac Pro. I am planning to buy a couple smaller, faster drives or an external FW 800 enclosure and am not sure how best to go about it. No specific budget, but less is more :).
How best or how cheapest? The cheapest way is to buy brand new drives off ebay and put them inside the Mac Pro (can it hold 4 drives?). The fastest way is to either buy 10,000 rpm fast drives or use a striped raid.

Once again, however, I would USE the system as is for a time to get a feel for whether any of this is necessary. Other than needing drives for backup (which you do), you may find the performance as is completely satisfactory.
 

Mitthrawnuruodo

Moderator emeritus
Mar 10, 2004
13,798
168
Bergen, Norway
amin said:
If I make my fastest drive in the Mac Pro a boot drive, won't everything else (like my Applications and Home folders) automatically go there as well?
Yes, but you can set your home folder (of each separate user) to a different location with NetInfo Manager.

Just do a backup first. I had my home folder on a separate partition when I moved to OS X (*nix influence), but I only messed with that on a clean install, not a filled home folder...
 

amin

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 17, 2003
977
9
Boston, MA
Thank you all for the great advice. Spinne1, I know your advice about waiting and using is prudent, but this is the first truly high-end computer, and I want to see it really cook :rolleyes: !