Which MacPro Platform?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by HarryGP, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. HarryGP macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2010
    Hey Folks,

    I'm new to this Forumn and am only a semi-propeller head.......IE I could hang if we were discussing LAN Switching and WAN routing in detail, but I can only follow a detailed conversation about MAC's and Computing. So go easy on me. I have read a lot of these threads and have learned much more than I could of on Apples website.

    I'm a long time PC Guy who has made the decision to switch to MAC. I've done my Last System Restore due to a Windows Exploit. So please keep in mind I have a PC mentatility and approach to my new system design. And I like that kind of control. I've managed to squeez blood from a turnip with my 10 Year Old 3.2 Ghz Pentium 4 PC running Dual 160 Gig Raid 1 hdd's. However for a couple years now I've not had the disk space I've needed and lacked the funds for a much needed upgrade.

    I'd like to avoid the conversation drifting to the fact that an iMac i7 is a more appropriate platform form my computing needs. I probably agree with that statement, however I've made the decision to proceed with the MacPro Platform for several reasons...........Which are important to me.

    1.) Growth............I can upgrade a MacPro's innards allot more than an iMac and I'm looking for a machine that will last me more than 5 yrs.
    2.) Internal HDDs..........I'm bought into the fact that I want internal Hard Drives for both performance and for growing storage...I just don't like the idea of external hard drives.
    3.) Raid 1 - I like knowing I can restore a Hard Drive or cluster if I need to.
    4.) Memory Upgrades - Today I probably don't need much more than 8 Gig, but tomorrow I may need much more.
    5.) Processor Upgrades.........I really like that if I buy the right MacPro Platform I can migrate from 8-Core to 12-Core with the same platform, should I ever choose too..
    6.) Storage.........I think its awesome that I can grow to a 4TB Raid 1 System, or go larger in the future should I need to change things. Expandability to 8TB is hugely important too me.

    So it looks like before people feel comfortable responding to my real question to come; People want to know what I'm using this system for?

    Well nothing professional..........thats for sure. Short answer is Video Editing and Digital Photography editing in RAW format. Standard iMovie and iPhoto may be more than adequate, but I can see where I may want Final Cut Express and Aperature 3 in the future. Depends on the limitations of what iMovie and iPhoto present, and if I can live with them. Certainly nothing has ever pushed me into the need for professional video editing software in the past. I'm a Mac virgin, so I'll really have to wait an see there.

    I do a lot of personal filming today in Sony Digital Tape format, and soon in Sony (Perhaps) HD format. Obviously today on my old system editing times are reasonable, but rendering times are horrendous. I can edit in 30 minutes and then I might as well walk away for a few hours waiting for my work to render, in relatively low end formats. Certainly no longer acceptable to me.

    I alos want to start getting deeper into working with Digital Photography in RAW format, and work on Macro type close up shots of Bugs on Flowers and super blown up Dew Drops dripping off leaves. That kind of artsy fartsy stuff. Again all personal interest kind of stuff.

    Also throw in that I have converted all my music to iTunes and thrown away all DVD's. I want all my Movies, PodCasts, Music, Video Projects, and Photography on a highly scaleable, highly protected platform (Media Center). Hence the Raid 1 requirement. I have existing iPods and an Apple TV that I'll synch data too as well.

    Soooooooooo After all that. My Question keeping in mind I want a 5+ Yr platform.

    Should I go with a Quad / Hex Core System or the 8-Core Platform that can grow to 12 Core? I realize that today a Quad Core is probalby all I need, but I guess next year they could start banging out features in Final Cut Express that actually starts using the multi-Core. And in 5 Yrs perhaps everything will require multi-core systems. Also I think but am not proficient enough to understand if more Core's means faster rendering times for my Video projects? Or is a higher clocking rate better for rendering times? Lastly there is not much of a price difference between a single processor Hex Core MacPro Platform and a Dual Processor 8-Core configured MacPro. The Hex Core looks like pretty much higher 3.33 Ghz processors, where as the Octo-Core has the 2.4 Ghz processors. Will my Video Editing requirements EVER push me into the 8-Core / 12-Core platform, or is this reserved for Professional ONLY video environments.

    I want to make the right decision and I know there are some laughing already saying ...........then go with the iMac. But that aint happening.

    So............Hex Core or 8-Core???? That's my question.
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    I'd go quad or hex. (the hex in this case is faster than the 8-core however you slice it) You really won't need 12-core, which isn't necessary until you get into the really heavy stuff.
  3. gugucom macrumors 68020


    May 21, 2009
    Munich, Germany
    Even with Raid1 you still need backup, or you aren't protected against data loss. The Raid will not save you but backup will. Raid will only keep you operational in some cases which is why professionals use it to keep their business going. If you have the choice to use disk space for Raid1 or backup go with the backup.
  4. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    If you're impatient on the rendering, go for the Hex core model (faster than the Octo as mentioned, even though it's 2x fewer cores, as the clock speed and memory speed more than make up for it). Otherwise, stick with a Quad, and walk away (no idea how much time you spend doing what with your software).

    As per the RAID 1, why do you want that level?

    I ask, as that's usually for high availability (24/7 operation), not performance (particularly when implemented via a software implementation, which Disk Utility is, and I presume you plan to use in order to accomplish it).

    If you want some redundancy as well as performance (would benefit your described software usage), there are other levels (0 = performance only, 10 = redundancy + performance).

    But as also mentioned, no matter if you're using single disks or the most complex RAID configuration possible, you must have a proper backup system in place. Given the limited disk locations internally, you'd have to take that externally due to your capacity requirement. An eSATA card + PM enclosure does nicely, and doesn't cost a fortune (example card and enclosure).

    Disk Utility can do 0/1/10 on no more than 6x ports if you pull the optical drive, so you're limited there. Past that, you'd have to go with a non RAID HBA (still uses Disk Utility, but gives you more ports to increase speed and capacity) or a proper RAID card (can allow you RAID levels Disk Utility can't do such as 5/6/50/60 depending on the card, as well as additional ports). Sadly, in both cases, you'd probably have to get an external enclosure as well (multibay unit, not a bunch of singles lying all over the place = not a massive mess). But taking things externally on a MP isn't all that uncommon either. :rolleyes:
  5. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    a quad or hex will limit you to single-processor upgrades and 32GB RAM, unless you feel like swapping motherboards...but it might still be more cost-efficient to just sell your computer and buy a dual-processor. just FYI. unless you see yourself doing a lot of video editing or 3D rendering in the future, you probably won't need a dual-processor machine. most photoediting applications can't even use more than 4 cores. similar deal with RAM (dual-processor has 64GB max), though a little less predictable, since apps can use more memory far better than more cores.
  6. HarryGP thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2010
    Short answer is that I have it now and it works (For now). However it cuts my available Disk space in half. So I'm always willing to hear about other options. I must admit that I need to take some time and do a little more research on RAID options.

    What I know about RAID 1 is that it has worked well on my existing system. And any time Iv'e had to restore my system to a previous level, I've simply gone back to a specific restore point and all my System Software and Data has been there.

    With my initial MacPro config I really only need about a 2TB Hard Drive. I was going to buy the RAID Card and use a 2nd 2TB Hard Drive for backup. As I grow beyond that config, I was thinking I could add two 2TB Drives and have 4TB active and 4TB as Backup. As I move past that..........That was when I would look to External RAID Hardware options. I really don't think I'll grow beyond 4TB for a few years, but then again I never thought I'd use 160GB 10 Yrs ago.

    Again I'm completely open to suggestions with RAID Options. My Primary Concern is Saving my Data while easily restoring my system should I lose a Hard Drive.
  7. HarryGP thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2010

    Thats what I was thinking. I don't think what I'm doing (Personal HD Video Editing and RAW Photo Format Editing), and the Software I'd be using (Aperature 3 and Final Cut Express), would really even use beyond 6-Cores in the future, would it? I think today these software apps don't even support multicore threads?

    The only real issue I'm seeing with the Hex Core Platform is that its a Single Processor System. Which again I don't know that I'll ever need a Dual Processor MultiCore System. Either from a memory or 8/12 multicore standpoint.
  8. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    At this point, you certainly don't need a DP system, and by the time you would be thinking about that (which will be a while - the hex is ridiculous fast, and will only get faster as multithreading increases), you will be wanting a new machine anyhow, rather than trying to upgrade your CPUs.
  9. HarryGP thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2010
    I'm almost positive I agree. Just need the validation from others more knowledgable than I.
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I'd suggest starting with a thorough read of the RAID Wiki. Also keep in mind, that the MP is only capable of 0/1/10 as a base configuration, as other levels will require a proper RAID card to be done correctly (there are some cards that have software implementations of level 5, but they're not capable of handling it properly; has to do with the write hole issue, covered in the RAID Wiki, so read carefully).

    Once you consider your capacity and what you'll learn after understanding the levels, we'll be better able to help you I think (get you to narrow your focus enough that applicable equipment can be suggested). ;)

    Given your software usage, I do think a Hex is the biggest you need to go. Just keep enough funds about to cover any upgrades you need to install.

    BTW, the Apple RAID Pro is a pile of junk, so stay away from it. There are better cards out there (faster, more options, and cheaper in some cases; it all depends on the specifics).

    Hope this helps. :)
  11. HarryGP thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2010
    Yes it does help, the RAID advice from everyone else too.

    Luckily I just cornered a Server IT guy and got 1 Hour RAID Lesson to include White Board Session. So here's what I think I'm gonna do. I think I'll buy four 2TB enterprise hdd SATA Drives and run RAID 10, day 1. One SATA Drive from Apple and the other 3 from OWC. Same with the Memory.....I'll by the minimum from Apple and the rest from OWC. I'll use external Hard Drives for Data Backup and keep them in a Fire Safe (Recommendations welcome)? When I grow beyond a 4TB storage requirement then I'll back my data up. Wipe out my Raid config and stand up an 8 TB Striped Cluster within my MP and stand up and external 8TB RAID Cluster.

    You said the Internal RAID Card supports 0 / 1/ 10 RAID but is crap. Is this the general concensus? What RAID Controller do folks on this Thread recommend?

    Does Snow Leopard have a good Data Backup Utility (Time Capsule), or is their something else that folks recommend?
  12. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Is looking for a machine that will last 5+ years really a wise choice or practical?

    I've never really understood this buying behavior with computer technology that changes so fast. My personal philosophy is to buy a modest computer every 2-3 years. This way, the computer I own is in the sweet spot of meeting my needs a higher percentage of the time.

    Also, you can't just look at core count and CPU clock speed to determine if that will be a relevant computing platform for you in 5 years. What about I/O? Particularly with disk storage performance going through the roof and nearly doubling every year or two?

    For example, you could buy a 12 core beast today for $5K that might still be relevant in 5 years, but even that machine is likely to be god awful slow compared to anything being launched in 2015. Just look back to 2005... there wasn't even an Intel Mac Pro back then.

    SSD's alone promise to obsolete the 2010 Mac Pro's within the next year as their performance outstrips the SATA and ICH capabilties of current models. Sure you can cook up some kind of bootable PCIe solution, but even that would be temporary at best. Today's platform is just not going to be up to the disk storage performance coming down the pike. SSD's are already exposing serious bottlenecks that are going to get worse. Do you want those bottlenecks around your neck for 5 years?

    Alternatively, you could spend $2500 today and get a decent quad core (especially if you can get a refurbished one which are going for around $2100) that would more than meet your needs for the next couple of years. Then you could do the same thing in a couple of years time... probably picking up a better equipped 8 core with state-of-the art I/O (USB3, Light Peak, SATA3, HSDL, etc.) for the same money. And repeat as necessary.

    Oxymoron: future-proof computer. :p
  13. HarryGP thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2010

    Not really the topic of discussion here, but advise noted and already considered. Yes I think its reasonable to get 5+ years out of a platform provided my needs don't change.

    If they do.........I'll get another platform.
  14. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    The Apple RAID card is apparently junk. Nanofrog is the guru on that... if he says it's junk... it's junk! :).

    For RAID10, I would just use Disk Utility to set that up and let OSX manage it (no RAID card required). The CPU overhead is minimal.

    BTW, Have you considered an SSD for OS/Apps? An SSD is probably the single biggest upgrade you can make to a computer these days. You could install an SSD in the unused optical bay and still run your RAID10 array from the normal drive bays.
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    RAID 10 would be fine, as you get redundancy + performance increases over a single disk.

    What I'm not sure of, is what you mean by "One drive from Apple and the other 3 from OWC". If you mean to get a 2TB disk from Apple, I'd skip it, and get 4x identical 2TB disks from a 3rd party (OWC, newegg, ....; happens to be cheaper too).

    You can then use the OEM 1TB disk as either an OS/applications drive, backup, or a clone of say an SSD OS/applications drive. You've definitely options.

    As per an external backup solution, you can use singles if you wish, or go with an eSATA card that supports PM enclosures (enclosure example; much less clutter). You also have options such as JBOD (spanning) that allows multiple disks to be seen as a single volume if you wish (adds all the capacity of the drives used to create it, performance is that of a single drive).

    I'm not sure what you're getting at here.

    Do you mean an 8x stripe set (RAID 0) and some external configuration?

    Keep in mind that a stripe set though faster than a single disk, is also less reliable as any disk in the set goes, all the data is gone. You have to put in more work to get the system up and runnign again vs. a redundant array (i.e. fix the array, restore data from backups, and then re-perform work that was lost between the last backup and when the array died). That's the trade-off for the low cost. If you've a proper backup system in place and sufficient time, this will be an acceptable compromise. Up to you.

    You misunderstand.

    The board just has a SATA controller on it in the base model (ICH = I/O Controller Hub; contains the USB, Ethernet, and SATA ports used in the base system). It's what you may recognize as the SouthBridge chip in terms of terminology (most, and more likely every Intel based system has a version of one of these soldered on the board somewhere).

    Disk Utility uses the SATA controller within the ICH and software within OS X to create 0/1/10 arrays (uses system resources to handle the processing load). Other levels require a hardware solution in a Mac Pro (i.e. 5/6/50/60). So long as you stick to the levels available in Disk Utility, and don't have too many disks, you'd be fine with this. Nothing to buy except disks, so it's the least expensive way to go.

    The Apple RAID Pro = PCIe card that's a separate purchase or can be included as part of a CTO order. It's a true RAID card, as it has a separate processor ,cache, and better features than are available on software implementations (takes the load off of the system resources and does it within the card's hardware). Online expansion is one such feature, as when you need additional capacity, you don't have to wipe the array, add disks, create a new one, and restore. Instead, you add the disks to the existing array, and the card takes over from there = no need to do any data restoration, as it's not lost. ;) Much easier, and a massive time saver. :D

    If you actually need a proper hardware RAID card, there's far better choices than Apple's card which is expensive, slow, has problems, and only works with a single OS.

    Time Machine is fine, but there are other options (perhaps easier interface) to get the job done (i.e. easier to schedule the primary and incremental backups in a manner that won't burn through your capacity in a hurry).
  16. HarryGP thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2010
    I hadn't considered the SSD after seeing the huge price difference. Seems like a hard pill to swallow. But I hear they are SUPER Fast and less moving parts for failure. Is the performance really worth the price?

    How are folks depolying them, just as you refer; to run OS/ Apps? How small can you get away with to run OS / and still have room for Apps? I'm thinking Day 1 Snow Leopard and iWork / iLife bundle. The only additional Day 2 Apps I'm considering are Aperature 3 and Final Cut Express. Perhaps some utilities like Handbrake and Data Backup Tools for Mac. Would an SSD make sense over a standard 1TB SATA?
  17. HarryGP thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2010
    I'll follow this advise. But not sure if an SSD is worth the price over a 1TB SATA. I don't know how to order the MacPro from Apple Store without selecting atleast 1 Hard Drive. I'm assuming they load OSX and other software I order on this Disk as opposed to sending me the Software separately.

    I dont want to order more memory or Hard Drives from Apple than absolutely necessary, since they seem to charge so much. I want to order the minimum config with only Apple hardware that is best from Apple. The rest I will order from OWC or some other provider. It appears that the RAID Card also falls into this category.

    I'll have time to figure out what I migrate to after RAID 10, but I meant something like a RAID 50 design where the internal four 2TB Drives are Striped (RAID 0) and an external RAID Tower with a controller that supports RAID 0/5/10/50/60 where four 2TB Disks are Striped and the controller is running RAID 1 over both clusters. But I'll have plenty of time to figure that out. By then there may be different solutions. Or I will be better educated on what to migrate to.

    Day 1 I think the RAID 10 config with a RAID Controller Card meets my requirments and that should last me a long time.

    This is why I want a RAID Card. Any Recommendations on a better card?

    Any Recomendations?
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    The system will come with a 1TB disk (OEM 1TB). They won't sell a system without a drive, as it's not a working system.

    As per using it for either a boot disk or not, that's up to you. SSD's are faster than mechanical for random access (what the OS and applications tend to require rather than sustained sequential throughputs).

    If you leave the system on all the time, the boot times won't matter, but the SSD will load your applications faster than a mechanical disk or level 10 array (same performance as a 2x disk stripe set). Yes, this does mean you can use the array as your boot location as well (just in case there was any confusion on this). ;)

    I'm not sure what your budget or priorities are, so using an SSD is just an idea, not a necessity.

    I presumed this was the case given your described usage (paying for it yourself, and you're not a pro that needs a single source of contact in the event of a warranty claim on any hardware in the system). Lower cost, but more aggravation is the compromise in such cases.

    Pros need quick and easy, so they are more willing to pay extra for it when possible.

    50 = Create 2x level 5 arrays, then stripe both of those together. This results in a 5 + 0 configuration, aka 50.

    60 = Same process, but you create 2x level 6 arrays, then stripe them together.

    10 is also the same. Start with 2x level 1 arrays, then stripe the pair.

    Past the above descriptions, you've lost me. Internal stripe set (RAID 0), External stripe set (RAID 0), then running RAID 1????? :confused:

    Makes no sense at all.

    BTW, when you mention clusters and storage, I'm thinking multiple servers + SAN's (High Availability Cluster). Unless you've such gear, and are trying to add this as another node.

    But for the descriptions you've given so far, all you need is a DAS system (Direct Attached Storage).

    If you just want to run 4x disks in a level 10, you don't need a RAID card at all. The system is capable of running this out of the box without the need for any other hardware beyond drives.

    It will depend on exactly what you need (port count, levels it can run,...), but the two companies to look at are Areca and ATTO.

    As you're interested in long term value and in higher levels, I'd go for one of the ARC-1880 series or one of ATTO's R6xx models (both series' are 6.0Gb/s compliant).

    Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper are popular.
  19. chiefroastbeef macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2008
    Dallas, Texas/ Hong Kong
    I use Super Duper instead, and it has been wonderful to use. It does scheduled backups, and does the Smart Update (requires the paid version) that does incremental back ups while not taking up HD space like Time Machine does. I use Super Duper to back up my Mac Pro, Macbook Pro, and Air, I also use it to make bootable HD clones for when I swap boot drives. I've used Time Machine once and absolutely hated it. Super Duper is a savior.

    I've wanted the SSD, but lost interest since I don't really care about boot times or app boot up times (I leave my Mac Pro on or sleep it, I sleep my MBP even when I take it on planes instead of shutting down). The SSD does nothing in terms of performance for the apps I use the most.
  20. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    You can get a top performing 120GB drive for just over $200. As for whether the performance is worth it... it's a no brainer. As I said, it's the single biggest improvement you can make to the performance of your system.


    With this drive you can probably house your OS/Apps and even your home directory. Only your raw video and image files may need to be stored elsewhere.

    Another thing to consider... do you really need 4TB of HD storage? From what you posted so far, it doesn't sound like you are going to fill up that kind of storage any time soon, but there may be something I don't know, or missed? If you are like me and use your Mac Pro for hobby related video/image editing, you may want to consider a different approach.

    Here's another storage solution you might want to consider that will cost similarly...

    2x 120GB SSDs in RAID0 ($400) : OS/Apps/Working files
    1x 2TB Stock HD ($0) : Raw media, archived projects
    1x 2TB HD ($100) : Time machine backup of above

    With 240GB of SSD storage, you can house your OS/Apps and very likely your Aperture image library for 3-12 months of pictures, and even enough RAW HD footage for your active FCE project. This way, you are getting max performance from your media projects. Of course, the SSD's don't allow you to keep everything indefinitely on there, so you need to occasionally archive stuff to your 2TB HD. Once a video project is finished... zip up the contents of the project folder on the SSD and move it to the HD. Similarly, depending on how many images you shoot, periodically move your Aperture library to your HD and start a new one on your SSD's. Aperture is very good at managing multiple libraries. I have 240GB of SSD storage and after a year, my Aperture library of 7D RAW images is finally getting big enough (100GB) that I need to consider moving it off the SSD's and starting a new one.

    It requires a bit of moving media around periodically (once every major project or 6-12 months), but this way, you get the massive performance benefit of having your active media on SSD storage.
  21. HarryGP thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2010
    Okay between you and Nano it sounds like an SSD may be a good option for a BOOT Disk.
  22. HarryGP thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2010
    I thought RAID 10 is only scaleable to a max of four physical drives?

    Ultimately when I exceed the requirement for 4TB Storage on a RAID 10 configuration. I'd like to have the same Design with an 8 Drive scenario.

    IE..........Convert my four Internal drives to a single array. Stand up an external 8TB eSata Tower (2nd Array), with a RAID Card and have a similar configuration to RAID 10. I thought that pushed me into a RAID 50 configuration? If I can still do RAID 10 in this configuration then fantastic.

    Again I think I'll have PLENTY of time before I need to worry about my 2nd Generation RAID Design. But I like the feedback none the less.

    I think the main interest I have in an Actual RAID Card is not having to wipe out my data to add drives to an array or change RAID configurations in the future. especially If I can expand an existing RAID 10 configuration beyond 4 physical drives......Or move to a different RAID configuration. Not sure what is achievable and what is not.

    My second interest if I'm understanding correctly.......is that RAID cards improve performance when writing data to the drives and mirroring between the Drives. RAID Cards are much faster and less taxing on the system.

    If it's overkill until I migrate beyond a 4 Drive RAID 10 configuration then please let me know.

    Thks........I'll check them out.
  23. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    No, generally speaking it's not limited to 4x disks (not sure if they fixed a limit under Disk Utility, but I don't think so). But you do have to add disks in pairs though (must be an even number of disks).

    For example, you've 6x disks:
    Create 3x RAID 1's, then stripe them together.

    If you mean to have both internal and external disks in the same array, it's possible. But they'd need to be controlled by the same means.

    That is, if you'd either use Disk Utility + some simple controller card (non RAID), and let the system do the work, or use a proper RAID card, and all drives in the array would need to be attached to that.

    If you get into a proper RAID card, you've other solutions to 10 that can offer better performance as you scale up on disks, yet have the same level of redundancy (specifically level 6). Both 6 and 10 have a redundancy of 2 disks can fail and not lose your data (3rd disk goes, and you're toast).

    But what you've described, definitely is NOT a 50 configuration. You must have a proper RAID card as Disk Utility can't do level 5 arrays (50 = make 2x level 5 arrays, then stripe them together, hence 5 + 0 = 50).

    A proper RAID card offers you more options and performance than Disk Utility is capable of (I keep using proper, as there's something known as Fake RAID controllers, which are nothing more than a SATA controller + drivers).

    You'd be able to use Online Expansion (just add drives to an existing array), and it's easier to move from one system to another. But it's expensive compared to the software implementations. Even the drives are different, as you need to run enterprise disks due to the firmware timings (OS X handles recovery in software implementations, but proper RAID cards take over that function when used). Read up on the TLER wiki for further details. ;)

    Simply put, RAID cards and consumer drives don't play well together at all (not stable, if you can even get the array built at all).

    If you do go for a RAID card, you've other options (10 is nice, but it's not critical IMO, as you'll be at the system all the time = physical access, not a remote where someone has to get on-site in the event of a problem).

    So you can use a different level and eek out additional capacity and performance (i.e. use level 5 instead of 10). Redundancy = 1, but you get to use more capacity, and it's faster than 10. Nor do you have to add disks in even numbers (3x = minimum number of disks for level 5, but I wouldn't recommend going over 12 disks for any single array). Failure risks get too high, and I actually prefer to keep it around 8 members in an array.
  24. HarryGP thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2010
    Thanks for all the advice. I really appreciate it. Now let me price it all out :eek:
  25. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    :cool: NP. :)

    If you're looking at RAID cards and all the associated equipment, be prepared to wet yourself. :eek: :p

    Starting from scratch can exceed $3000USD without a lot of effort, but it can be done for less as well. It all depends on the specifics (port count, internal or external, and drive capacities used).

    Keep in mind that it can be cheaper to get more ports and the ability to install them (enclosures/mounts), than a smaller physical setup using large capacity drives (i.e. 1.5 or 2TB enterprise disks). 1TB disks are currently the "sweet spot" for enterprise disks.

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