To RAID or not to RAID in Mac Pro 2009

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by heved, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. heved macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #1
    I'm using a Mac Pro 2009 2.66Ghz 8 core with two 400GB OCZ enterprise grade SSDs in bays 1 and 2, and two WD Caviar Black 2TB drives in bays 3 and 4, plus a 4TB Hitachi Deskstar drive in one of the optical bays. I'm doing work with Final Cut Pro X and Pro Tools 9 (which I need to find out if ProTools works with RAID well). How would you RAID or not RAID these five drives if you had this set up? Initially I was going to RAID 0 the two SSDs as boot drive (800GB) to give me 500MB/sec reads and writes (Mac Pro 2009 has SATA II), RAID 0 the two HDDs for media storage (4TB) (not sure what speed benefit I'll get there with SATA II and HDDs in RAID 0), and then use the 4TB HDD as backup for all of my data (with Super Duper on a nightly schedule)

    But after doing some research about RAID and FCPro editing maybe I should go without RAID and use one SSD as boot drive, one SSD as current FCPro X project data drive, and the two HDDs as media storage either RAID 0 or separate partitions. If anyone knows the speed benifit I'd get in RAID 0 on HDDs with Mac Pro 2009 that has SATA II please inform. Since I'll be backing up nightly to the 4TB drive I can afford to take the RAID 0 reliability chance if the speed boost is significant. Thoughts?

    Mac Pro 8 core 2.66GHz (2009)
    24GB RAM
    ATI 5870 Graphics
    (2) OCZ Deneva 400GB SSD's
    (2) WD Caviar Black 2TB HDD's
    (1) Hitachi Deskstar 4TB HDD
     
  2. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #2
    In my 2009 Mac Pro, two WD RE-4 2TB HDDs in RAID 0 give read/writes of 215MB/second from slots 2 & 3. My Crucial M4 gives 230MB/sec write, 266MB/sec reads from slot 1, and 281MB/sec write, 456MB/sec reads from my Areca card. I also have that same 4TB 5K4000 Hitachi Deskstar in slot 4, which gets 129MB/sec read/write.

    I did three WD RE-4 2TB drives in RAID 0 for a long time, getting 330MB/sec read/writes on that volume, and backing the files up nightly on externals as you are considering. It worked very well. Then I needed more space and speed, and went with a dedicated 8-bay tower. It's obviously much, much better. :)
     
  3. heved thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #3
    Thanks! I think I'll go with RAID 0 for my two WD 2TB drives in bay 3 and 4 like you had success with. But the question just remains should I RAID 0 my SSD's as my boot drive in bay 1 and 2 to get closer to 500MB/sec reads and writes? Or should I use them as individual drives, one as boot and one as work drive for Final Cut Pro or Pro Tools projects?
     
  4. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #4
    I think boot volumes in RAID are a bad idea and unnecessary. Once you boot and open apps, the speed is mostly wasted.

    I'd use one SSD for boot, the other for FCP X project data and maybe exports, too. The 4TB as backup is perfect for your 2x2TB RAID 0 media volume.
     
  5. heved thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #5
    Hmmm. So if I want those SATA III speeds with SDD's maybe I should get a PCI Adapter to put my SSDs on to get 500MB/sec speeds on each of the drives individually. There are only one or two SATA III adapter cards for Mac Pro 2009s that are bootable I believe.

    OR!!! I could buy one more 400GB SSD drive to use as standalone boot drive and use my other two with RAID 0 for FCP X project data. I'd have my screaming fast project data 800GB (SSDs in RAID 0) partition at 500MB/sec (bay 2 & 3), my 400GB SSD boot drive at 250MB/sec (bay 1), I'd buy a 3TB HDD as media storage (bay 4), and my 4TB Deskstar HDD for backups (optical bay). I'd sell or return my unopened WD 2TB HDD's. Hmmmmmm...
     
  6. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #6
    The PCI adapter is something to consider, but I don't have one to share any personal experience.

    The problem with the 3TB HDD for media is that it will be the weakest link in that case. It would be interesting to see your real-world results if you were to try both the first setup I mentioned in post #4, and in your latest configuration ideas.
     
  7. heved thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #7
    Yup! Probably gonna go with your suggestion in post #4 because I just heard that Pro Tools (which I use just as much as FCP X) doesn't work with RAID. So my boot drive at around 250MB/sec, my working project/session drive at around 250MB/sec, my 2x2TB RAID 0 media volume at around 215MB/sec, and my backup drive at around 130MB/sec.

    But I'm still curious if there's an issue with using my boot drive as my working projects drive if I was indeed going to use my SSD's in RAID 0 as boot volume. Would Final Cut Pro X flip out if I was working on the boot drive?
     
  8. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #8
    I don't know, but it's not ideal regardless of whether it works or not. Back everything up and try it! So long as you have backups, there's no harm in experiments.
     
  9. heved, Oct 26, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2012

    heved thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #9
    It's not ideal because FCP X prefers separate work drive than boot drive? If not, why isn't it ideal? I should mention that my SSD's are enterprise grade OCZ Deneva 2 (R series) drives, built to last and run 24/7 in server farms :) If dependability makes RAID 0 boot volumes not ideal then those should help yeah?
     
  10. Loa macrumors 65816

    Loa

    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    Québec
    #10
    Hello,

    I second Wonderspark's recommendation of using RAIDs on your Mac.

    As for the PCIe card for sata 3 SSD speeds, I have one. The boot time went from 53 seconds (sata 2 SSD on sata 2 port) to 39 seconds (sata 3 SSD on sata 3 port), so quite an impressive increase. Yet for day to day usage, I would not have noticed it if someone had switched my SSD to a sata 3 SSD behind my back.

    I'm only using a 15$ PCIe sata3 card, and more expensive cards would give me even more speed. But I think the gap between HD and SSDs (for boot drive) is much, much larger than between sata2 and sata3 SSDs (again, for boot volume).

    Loa
     
  11. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #11
    I believe that you will get better results from the application files on the boot drive, and the work files on a separate drive, despite the speed of the drive(s). I could be wrong, but the thinking behind this is that the data can move freely from volume to volume in one direction rather than fighting over reads and writes from the same volume. When you have one volume with the program, one with media files, one with scratch and one with exports, the data can be read or written to each volume exclusively. If all the volumes are about equal in speed, it stands to reason that everything will flow at maximum speed.
     
  12. heved thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #12

    Very interesting! I wonder how my 24GBs of RAM will be used by FCP X though. If that much RAM helps to reduce the need for say the separate scratch volume?

    I also have to think about the added convenience of having larger partitions to organize data on. Maybe I'll only RAID the HDDs to boost their speed closer to the SSDs and I'll have 3 volumes with similar access rates like you suggest: boot, work, media volumes.
     
  13. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #13
    Well, I have 32GB of RAM and I still have a scratch volume. It could be overkill, but I have used up to 29GB of RAM when running Premiere, After Effects, Mocha, Photoshop and other things like the internet and such.

    I'm using mostly Adobe CS5.5 and CS6, as I haven't really been able to appreciate FCP X yet. Avid and FCP 7 made sense, and I've been using Adobe since the 1990s, so it is a lot harder for me to transition away from what I know so well. I keep saying that when I'm not busy on rush jobs for clients, I'll take the time to learn FCP X, but that time has never materialized yet... not that I'm complaining, because money is good! :p

    I *did* just get a 2012 MacBook Pro, and it's my understanding that FCP X was written for weaker systems like that, so perhaps on my next vacation, I'll finally spend some time with it. ANYway, I bet FCP X will eat up as much RAM as you feed it, and since RAM is so cheap today, it makes sense to have at least 32GB in a Mac Pro. I know it works a lot differently, again they had laptops with one or two drives in mind when they made it, so maybe it just works no matter how weak or strong the system is.
     
  14. heved thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #14
    Coolness. Yeah, I've been running FCP X on my MacBook Pro 2007 2.4 Intel core duo with only 4GB RAM and project files on a FW800 drive. It's pretty sluggish but I've been able to finish several 6 camera angle live music video projects :)

    I bought 24GB RAM instead of 32 because the specs for Mac Pro 2009 says the RAM works best when configured in 3s. Bought three 4GB chips for the first processor and three chips for the 2nd processor. All 6 were only $145 so at some point I may try putting in 6 8GB chips.
     
  15. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #15
    The triple-channel RAM thing is technically true, but on such a small scale that it's barely measurable in reality.
     
  16. heved thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #16
    One other thing. When we are talking about a 500MB/sec SSD in Raid 0 vs 250MB/sec without RAID doesn't that cancel out the separate volumes for different tasks benefit to some degree? If the 500MB/sec volume was handling operating system, application and scratch disk space wouldn't that be better than putting boot drive on a 250MB/sec volume and scratch files on a separate 250MB/sec volume?

    So many variables it's hard to guess these things
     
  17. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #17
    I think spreading the load over more disks is better than one large volume, and I'm especially against running the operating system on the same volume as working files. I know laptop users are used to doing this, but they're also used to sluggish performance, and they have limited options.
     
  18. heved, Oct 26, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2012

    heved thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #18
    Indeed. Ok, this MBPro user is gonna get used to Mac Pro life now :)
     
  19. heved, Oct 26, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2012

    heved thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #19
    What if I did this? (because I had my heart set on getting 500MB/sec speeds for my open project data volume) I use one SSD 400GB as boot drive, 2 SSD's in RAID 0 800GB as current project data volume, and a 3TB drive as storage for after I'm finished working on a project. Yes the 3TB drive would be slow at 115MB/sec but it would just be used to store projects when done working on them and when I need to make room on the 800GB current projects volume. I'd use the boot drive to run application and OS and the RAID 0 volume for the project data and scratch data. I guess I'd export to that drive too or the boot drive?

    The alternative is to only use two SSD's, not in RAID, as separate volumes for boot and project data (only 250MB/sec though) and put the two HDD's in RAID 0 to get closer to 215MB/sec speeds out of it as a 3rd volume for scratch disk. What would you do? And which volume would you use for scratch disk? I'd only have three volumes working separately at 215+MB/sec speeds.
     
  20. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #20
    I think that's fine, if you can work within only 800GB. You could put the boot SSD in the optical bay, two SSDs in RAID in 1&2, and two HDDs in RAID in 3&4, then use the 4TB externally for backups. I have a Voyager Q dock for external bare drives. They're cheap, and if you have an eSATA / USB 3.0 card, you can take advantage of those with it, too.
     
  21. Phrygian macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2011
    #21
    how are you calculating boot times... my crucial m4 in a 2008 MP seems to boot to the login screen in under 10 seconds... and maybe another 5 seconds after input of my password at best.... and its not taking advantage of sata 3 from sled one.
     
  22. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #22
    I just wrote this in another thread, but it might be useful here as well:

    I no longer have a 1,1 Mac Pro, having upgraded in 2008 to a 3,1 Mac Pro which is also showing its age compared to the 2009+ models. Perhaps my experience might help you.

    However, in an attempt to keep it current enough to continue using it, I did upgrade the video and switched to SSD drives. I was very pleased with the perceived performance boost realized by simply swapping a SSD for my boot HD ... but, of course, I wanted more.

    With the known speed constraint of the SATA II interfaces in all Mac Pros, I looked for PCIe SATA III solutions for driving my SSD and also purchased a Crucial M4 6G drive. I found there were problems with booting from PCIe with the 2008 Mac Pro, but there were some boards which claimed to have solved that issue. After trying several, I settled on a Velocity SOLO x2 which initially did not boot due to a conflict with another eSATA card I had for my external RAID-5 backup drive, but I have since removed that eSATA card and use the second SATA port on the x2 card for that function. It now boots (although there is a small delay due to it being consider an "external" disk), and is really quite fast, showing speeds of 260 MB/s write and 506 MB/s read.

    I also tried something simpler ... using the 2 spare motherboard SATA ports, I mounted a pair of matched smaller 3G SSD drives from OWC on a bracket in the optical bay and configured them as RAID-0 for more speed. I am seeing 307 MB/s write and 311 MB/s read from that array, and of course no booting issues at all. You could also use the sled bays for this if available (mine are occupied with a SSD Windows boot disk, a pair of 1TB hard disks in RAID-0 for OS X data, and the original 500 GB hard disk for Windows NTFS data.

    The above speeds were using the BlackMagicDesign "DiskSpeedTest" program.

    I also measured with the AJA System Test (4 GB, and 1920x1080 10 bit parameter settings) with the following results:

    PCI SATA III with M4 SSD: 260 MB/s write, 506 MB/s read (same as above!)
    RAID-0 SATA II with OWC: 496 MB/s write, 505 MB/s write (wow .... much faster!)

    These are both popular speed tests as seen on these forums, and there may be some algorithm sensitivity to the internal SSD controllers which accounts for the differences. I am currently running with the RAID-0 configuration.

    Anyway ... that's my story!

    Good luck with your upgrade and report back your results.


    -howard

    PS: if you elect to use RAID-0 for speed, it is good practice to have a reasonable backup system running.
     
  23. Loa, Oct 27, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2012

    Loa macrumors 65816

    Loa

    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    Québec
    #23
    Hello,

    From button press to fully loaded Finder and menu bar, including all the little apps that live up there. Calling anything less than that "boot time" is false advertising... :) (Oh, and I also log in manually, which adds about 2 seconds to the time.)

    I also have roughly 16TB of data spread over 10 drives, in and out of my Mac Pro. That probably affects my boot time, so that's why I posted the before/after times, because my 39 seconds on sata3 is still a 25% improvement!

    Loa
     
  24. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #24
    Just for fun, I'm going to time myself from power button, through login screen, to all apps loaded in menu bar.

    Stand by...

    ----------

    My system took 28 seconds to get grey Apple logo, 44 seconds to reach login screen, and after typing it in, 59 seconds for all my stuff to load in the menu bar... the last of which to complete being Hardware Monitor.

    Neat!
     
  25. heved thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #25
    Brilliant!! Ok so I'll get the CalDigit FASTA-6GU3 card ($139 OWC: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/CalDigit/FASTA6GU3/ ) and the Voyager Q dock!!

    So I'll have bay 1 SSD 400GB boot drive (250MB/sec), bay 2 SSD 400GB (250MB/sec), bay 3 & 4 two 2TB HDDs in RAID 0 (215MB/sec) and the voyager q dock with another SSD 256GB (500+MB/sec). How would you allocate these drives for optimal performance with final cut pro x? 1 SSD boot drive, 1 SSD project data, 1 SSD scratch disk, 2 HDD in Raid 0 as export volume??
     

Share This Page