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View Full Version : Fast system drive for CS2 on G5 2.7 and scratch/work disk question



Nick Brown
06-23-2005, 04:04 PM
Hi

I just purchased an external 4 drive Raid 0 set up for use as my CS2 scratch disk, (Rick, thanks for your help!) What is the fastest internal drive for the system to use. I know the Raptors 10k are fast but has anything surpassed them now? Some back ground info, the Raid 0 is 4 Hitachi 160GB (latest ones), I'll be running 6.5gb of ram and processing 16bit Nikon D2x files in lots of up to 1000 at a time.

Secondly, with the stock drive in the G5 (once I have a faster system disk) should I use this for a temporary user data processing disk or would I see faster speed using the external scratch disk just for processing the files. My images are stored on an external RAID 1 set up with hot swap off site back up.

Cheers.

Nick

kaye
06-24-2005, 09:08 AM
Hi Nick,

Welcome to the MacGurus Forums. I am not a CS2 guru by any stretch, Boots and Nicolas are and they will be along. I only use Pshop CS2 lightly but have been testing up to very large files with my G5 to assist Boots in gaining more info about Pshop CS2, Tiger 10.4.1, and SCSI RAIDs.

A little info about the Raptors since I have both the 74GB and 36GB versions in a SATA Burly. The 74GB is a much better drive to me, the 36GB was sort of a beta first try. There are also rumors that there will be coming a Raptor at about 2x the capacity of the 74. Not facts but rumors. My main boot drive is a Maxtor MaXLine III 7B300S0 300GB Serial ATA 7200RPM Hard Drive w/16MB Buffer. Not as fast as the 74 Raptor but close. And much greater capacity and I like it. My OEM SATA drive which I use as a backup boot drive is a WD Caviar SE SATA 250GB 7200RPM w/8MB buffer.

What card are you running for your SATA Burly? What PCI-X slot? And if a 100MHz slot, what other card are you running in a 100MHz slot if any?

The main Gurus will be along. k

Boots
06-24-2005, 09:47 AM
Nick, the Seagate Barracuda 300GB 7200.8 is a slightly faster performer than the 74GB WD740 Raptor.
You could put the System, Apps, Users on that- then use the stock OEM drive as a backup.
You could open your Pshop file from the mirrored array, or drag a copy on to an empty first partition of the stock OEM drive for faster performance, opening it and working it from there, or for even faster performance, drag a copy onto the empty striped Pshop scratch volume and work it from there.

rguising
06-24-2005, 01:09 PM
Nick, the Seagate Barracuda 300GB 7200.8 is a slightly faster performer than the 74GB WD740 Raptor.



Boots, I am not sure I agree with you... the 74 Raptor is still not bested by the best 7200 SATA drives. The OS and Application should be on the Raptor. Users / Data could be placed on the 7200.8. Maybe I misunderstood what you typed.

http://www.storagereview.com/php/benchmark/compare_rtg_2001.php?typeID=10&testbedID=3&osID=4&raidconfigID=1&numDrives=1&devID_0=259&devID_1=265&devID_2=280&devCnt=3

http://www.barefeats.com/hard48.html

EDIT: well after reading all the Barefeats info, I guess its near a wash. I do have both a Raptor 74gb and a 7200.8, and the Raptor 'feels' much faster than booting on the 7200.8. I think the random access just makes it a better OS disk.

Either is a great drive!

TZ
06-24-2005, 02:14 PM
Tests that get into file I/O patterns with different environments, more like you would find on PC reviews or StorageReview, are more helpful. Random I/O, lower times for seeks, are more important for a boot disk usually, and OS X. Boot up time is not. And I don't think sequential I/O for either reads or writes makes any difference. Even duplicating a folder. But being able to do 3 or 4 things at once, having a deeper queue depth, yes.

I think if someone had the choice of 15K drive and anything else, they'd go with the 15K. I find it much much smoother and really makes a difference. If cost isn't a factor, and if you have the other necessary parts. The Atlas 15K II is not just rated for 96MB/sec, that is what you can expect from it, and only $199 now for 36GB, which isn't bad unless you need to burn DVDs and have 32GB of free space on the boot volume, it would be 'smarter' if DVD burning used the home account on another drive. And definitely helps to go with that method.

I had hoped to buy a G5, until I found Apple went from 6 drive bays (MDD) down to three. Which is one reason why I am hoping the the "G6 Macintel" will correct this oversight.

Nick Brown
06-24-2005, 02:23 PM
Thanks for all the input everyone.

Kaye,..the card is the Seritek 1VE4 external purchased from this site as to which PCI-X Slot, I haven't set it up yet, is there a best one to use?

Boots,.. so if I use a RAID 1 on the internal 2 disks (one stock and one Seagate) are you saying this would be slower than using the scratch disk for temporary image processing? In other words what you are recommending is to RAID 1 the internal 2 disks just for backup of the OS and system (main one being the Seagate) and use the external RAID 0 scratch for where I put images to be worked on?

Thanks again.

Boots
06-24-2005, 04:17 PM
Hi rguising,
About the Barracuda 7200.8- I shouldd have said that using my PshopTest, the 'cuda actually performs slightly better. It has a more even I/O pattern than the Raptor, and though certain test steps are performed more quickly by the Raptor, the overall results are faster with the 'cuda...

Hi Nick,


so if I use a RAID 1 on the internal 2 disks (one stock and one Seagate) are you saying this would be slower than using the scratch disk for temporary image processing? In other words what you are recommending is to RAID 1 the internal 2 disks just for backup of the OS and system (main one being the Seagate) and use the external RAID 0 scratch for where I put images to be worked on?

I would not mirror the soon-to-be two internal drives.

If you get a Raptor, use it as the primary boot drive with System, Apps, Users; then use the OEM drive as a backup.

If you get a 300GB 'cuda or a 300GB MaXLine III (also a top performer),
use it as the primary boot drive with System, Apps, Users; use the OEM drive as a backup.

When working a Photoshop file, either open it and save it to and from the..


My images are stored on an external RAID 1 set up with hot swap off site back up.

...or

copy the file to be worked on/save the new file to- and work on it from the:

the external RAID0 dedicated Hitachi scratch disk.
Then copy that file back to the:
"external RAID 1 set up with hot swap"

The RAID0 should be faster than the external RAID1 setup though for this, but you could use PshopTest to test both if it seems close.

I would not use the RAID0 for anything beyond temporary storage. Nor would I mix RAID0 and standard volumes on that Hitachi array.

kaye
06-24-2005, 08:51 PM
Nick,

PCI SLOT-4, the 133MHz slot and the slot furthest from the Graphics card AGP slot (PCI SLOT-1) would yield the fastest performance for the Seritek/1VE4. The other two slots are 100MHz slots. k

Nick Brown
06-25-2005, 09:33 AM
Thanks so much everyone for all your advise, this is very helpful with me trying to figure eveything out as I've never set up anything like this before.

Boot,..I just wanted to understand why you think it is a bad idea to mirror (Raid 1) the 2 internal drives if I use the external scratch for the work disk too. Is it because if there was a virus/data corruption it would mirror on both disks? So, you feel having the second disk as a more manual type of back up (software based) would be more sensible like with Carbon Copy or somthing like that?

Is it worth looking at an SCSI drive for the OS/system or is it one of those things that is a fair amount of work/expense for a little increase over say the Seagate ATA's. I had a look through the SCSI forum but couldn't see any general overview, probably just missed it. I'm looking for a fast system but need it to be stable and easy to work with.

Finally is there anything else I should look at to increase speed/efficiency, so I've got the fast external scratch disk, lots of RAM, will get a faster system drive, have I got it covered?

Thanks again everyone

TZ
06-25-2005, 10:01 AM
The Photoshop Guide and tests etc. are your best references.

I consider the boot drive to be a 'backup once" and forget. It is disposable.

If you don't have $500 worth of SCSI controller, cable, terminator and don't want the hassle of trying to route that stuff inside - best left to external, and you already have your four channel SATA.

If I was going to use SCSI, it would be for RAID for PS, and it might be possible to incorperate an extenal 15K boot drive. Or even a stripped boot/scratch drive. Even the Atlas 10K V 74GB would work and outperform the Raptor or Seagate, IF someone was already familiar and invested in SCSI or was willing to go that route.

Access times (http://www6.tomshardware.com/storage/20050523/hitachi-deskstar-07.html) All in all, the Samsung drive gets our nod if you're only looking for an upgrade to increase your storage space. If the new drive is also intended to house your operating system, we suggest the new Hitachi drive instead. Raptor, T7K250, Cuda 7200.8, DiamondMax 10 (http://www.hardcoreware.net/reviews/review-277-1.htm)
Comparison random I/O performance (http://www.hardcoreware.net/reviews/review-277-4.htm) which would be more indicative of an OS X boot drive and help in a scratch RAID setup.


NCQ helps, but well, for now, nothing can really touch the 10k RPM of the Raptor. We see the Seagate here again at the back of the pack.

Western Digital

No surprises here, in terms of raw transfer speed, the 10k spindle speeds of the Raptor makes it untouchable especially as the drive gets full. The next closest drive in this comparison, the Maxtor, could only muster 45 MB/s vs the 52 MB/s of the Raptor. With a 10k spindle speed, nothing can touch the Raptor.

Final Scores

Raptor - 90%
Hitachi - 86%
Seagate - 91%
Maxtor - 85%

Raptor: Insanely fast performance
Seagate, Raptor: Awesome 5 year warranties
Hitachi: Solid performance
Seagate: Awesome price per GB

Hitachi, Maxtor: Only 3 year warranty
Seagate: Slow seek times, slowest performance of the bunch
Raptor: Cost per GB considerably higher
Conclusions (http://www.hardcoreware.net/reviews/review-277-7.htm)
I've never used a 300-400GB drive but I would still look at the 10K Raptor, of which there are dozens of tests, reviews and benchmarks, one in particular looked at the latest SATA offerings, and Raptor was/is still edging out anything else. In the Storage Reference, or in the SATA Storage forum is a link.

$180-220 today will buy a great drive. A bunch of 250GB 16MB cache SATA would be cheaper and provide a lot of fast storage. I don't know how four 160GB drives would fair as scratch.

Why not mirror? for the reason you sited, and you could put one drive to better use for media or backup. I would never put /Users on the boot drive though.

Boots
06-26-2005, 07:22 AM
Boot,..I just wanted to understand why you think it is a bad idea to mirror (Raid 1) the 2 internal drives if I use the external scratch for the work disk too. Is it because if there was a virus/data corruption it would mirror on both disks? So, you feel having the second disk as a more manual type of back up (software based) would be more sensible like with Carbon Copy or somthing like that?

Is it worth looking at an SCSI drive for the OS/system or is it one of those things that is a fair amount of work/expense for a little increase over say the Seagate ATA's. I had a look through the SCSI forum but couldn't see any general overview, probably just missed it. I'm looking for a fast system but need it to be stable and easy to work with.


Hi Nick,
When you mirror two different model drives, you get the transfer rates of the slower of the two drives. That's the first problem. The second one is you lose the storage capacity of the second drive. The third problem is you get slower write speed transfers, and slower read speed transfers if you don't use SoftRAID for striped-read mirrors- than just using the single drive in a standard format. The fourth problem is any data damage or corruption is instantly copied to the second hard drive in the mirror; the only times the mirror really benefits is if you have an actual mechanical maalfunction of one of the two drives in the mirror- or in practical day to day use, one of the mirrored drives is a hot-swappable backup that's pulled and rotated periodically with a third hot-swappable backup drive.
Other than that, it would be a complete waste of a 7200.8 'cuda.

As TZ has pointed out, my advice didn't include separating and moving Users to /Volumes/other internal SATA drive/Users. This certainly can be faster for overall performance than maintaining Users in the default position of /. However, it requires work to learn how to do it and maintain it and troubleshoot it, and it complicates backup routines. So when one goes that route, they are taking on additional complexity for not necessarily that much gain in performance- particularly if the drive used for Users is slower than the startup drive.
So sometimes I say- "just keep Users at /- it'll make life easier and with fast G5s, you're really not losing much.
It should be pointed out that one important benefit of moving Users to the second drive is the safety net of isolating it from system files, making re-installing a new system easier to do without disturbing your User data. That certainly is an important benefit....

As a philosophy and practical day to day regimen, it is good and sensible to maintain multiple backups. You've got the mirrored external hot-swap. Great. An additional internal on-line standard volume backup is good too- just in case any problems wwith the mirrored hot-swap. It is not a waste of space.
I maintain 3 full backups at all times. My data is very valuable to me. One off-site off-line unplugged, one on-site off-line, one on-line un-mounted. Plus backup cds...
I actually use three different backup/cloning/syncing software titles for different specific purposes.

In my book it is a better overall strategy to keep things as simple as possible for ease of maintenance, updating, backing up. Even if you sacrifice a tiny little bit of speed to do so..

Nick Brown
06-26-2005, 10:08 AM
I think I'm nearly there... Thanks everyone for your patience as I know this must seem like really basic stuff to you all :) Is 'Users' just another name for user date like photos/documents/old email or does it have other stuff too? Boots,.. you mentioned that having users on another disk other than the normal system disk can be tricky to backup and maintain etc, can you expand a little on that for me.

It might be helpful to give you all a little more background. I don't need to keep any permanent photos/documents etc on the G5 internal disks. I feel secure and happy (as much as you can) with my external storage set up. I have in a Weibetech RT5, for every photo, 2 sets of disks in RAID 1, this covers mechanical failure of one disk. I have an external hotswap disk in a media fireproof safe which I rotate once a week or with a new job, this covers most data corruption and viruses and a localised disaster to the mac such as a lightning strike etc. I then have 2 offsite slow burned Matsui DVD's of the original RAW images and converted JPEGs which I re-burn every 3 years. My lab has a copy of the photos and then they have their own backup solutions which no doubt are much more robust than mine. Until the photos get to the lab I have a copy on a portable photo storage drive and quite a lot of compact flash cards so that most times I don't delete the original images off the cards until the lab has them up online and backed up with their system. I do keep a separate copy on the C drive until the lab has them on their system although this is probably not needed and me just being a bit paranoid. Each year I create about 1/2 Terrabyte of new images so internal systems wouldn't really cope with that volume. As additional drives are used up on the RT5 I keep the 3 copies of hard drive in different locations.

So, if I'm correct in assuming 'Users' is just personal data then I think I might get 2 Seagate 7200 drives for the internal. 1 for system and apps and one as a temporary processing place for images as I move them through the workflow of RAW conversion and adjustment through photoshop. I''d create a second partition on the 2nd drive to have a place for backing up the main system/OS drive. However, I might be missunderstanding the whole users thingy? The reason I'm looking at the Seagate for the 2nd drive is because I'm assuming it will be a bit faster than the stock if I use it for temporary data storage whilst I'm processiong the images.

With this setup I can then do comparitive testing to see where the fastest place is for placing the images through processing, either on the 2nd internal, on the external scratch or keeping them on the external firewire.

Thanks again everyone, once I've got this sorted I'm onto the next chapter of finding the best way to network a PC to the new G5.

Nick

Boots
06-26-2005, 03:39 PM
... is 'Users' just another name for user date like photos/documents/old email or does it have other stuff too? Boots,.. you mentioned that having users on another disk other than the normal system disk can be tricky to backup and maintain etc, can you expand a little on that for me.

The Users folder is a specific directory on the / level of your startup disk. The slash "/" means "this file or folder is located on the "top" level of your hard drive's directory- alongside and at the same level as Applications, Library, and System.

The Users folder- normally located at /, contains specific user "home" folders which are labeled with the chosen username. Most of the time, there will be only a single user "home" folder (sub-folder) inside of the parent Users folder. However, some people prefer to share their computers but protect their own privacy and safeguard their own documents and settings- so they may have multiple users (multiple "home" folders) inside of Users. The location of the user's "home" folder is designated by the tilde: "~". So if I want to talk about something in the currently-logged in user's Library folder, I descibe it as located at ~/Library.

In a default installation of OSX, inside of each (username) "home" folder are specific sub-folders:

~/Desktop
~/Documents
~/Library
~/Movies
~/Music
~/Pictures
~/Public
~/Sites

By default, all one's documents, email, photos, and music files are stored in these folders; but of course one can save their documents to different locations if they choose. I take it you have everything but your photos stored in these folders.

In OSX, unlike other top-level directories such as Applications, Library, and System- the Users folder (/Users) can be re-located to a different location, usually a second physical hard drive, or perhaps to a second volume ("partition") on the same hard drive. Or even to a separate networked computer.

There are several methods for relocating a (username) "home" folder from inside /Users to another volume. When it is moved to another volume, it can be described as now residing at /Volumes/another_hard_drive_partition/Users/(user's home folder).

When /Users is moved to /Volumes/another_hard_drive_partition/Users, it makes sense to back it up to another volume all-together. Then how and where do you back up your startup volume? Now you have two separate volumes to back up in some form or fashion. Add to this mix, that you keep your photos on a separate array all together. So the number of volumes to maintain grows quickly, and the backing up routine now gets complicated quickly.

This is why I advocate a simple as possible setup.

If I had your current equipment and planned purchase budget, I'd put the startup disk, and all current photos and user files on an internal 300GB 'cuda, leave Users on it- a standard installation- and back up the whole shebang to another internal 300GB 'cuda (or just use the stock OEM drive that came with the G5), then use the Hitachi array as a Photoshop scratch disk only, and off-load images for archiving from the primary internal onto the external mirrored SATA array. Use CarbonCopyCloner to update the internal backup drive. Then as you say, either burn backup dvds of the images and/or keep adding additional drives to the mirrored hotswap backup set....

For what little you would lose in speed by keeping everything on one primary internal drive, you gain big-time in a much easier to maintain and orderly comprehensive system configuration.

You could then- if you wanted too- gain some Photoshop speed back by using the "Work Disk/Scratch Disk Method" with your 600GB Hitachi RAID0 striped scratch disk volume.

TZ
06-27-2005, 05:01 AM
A good review of current SATA drives ANANDTECH (http://www.anandtech.com/printarticle.aspx?i=2454)

One of the most useful reviews I've read.

Nick Brown
06-27-2005, 04:57 PM
Sounds good, I'll get the 2 Seagate drives and keep system and users on one and back up to the other, I like simplicity too. Should I Partition the drive so that the system has the faster part?

Finally, should I look at a better graphics card to speed up performance? i don't need to run a 30 inch screen but will be running dual screens, Eizo CG210 is the main screen.

Nick

ricks
06-28-2005, 04:14 PM
When it comes to partitions, usually fewer is faster. Partitions are great as long as you are not actively using more than one during your work. That second partition doesn't cost performance as long as it isn't being used.

But.. (always a but) if you are actively using both partitions during your Photoshop labors you are putting in the worst feature of a hard drive into your performance, head travel. By having your data on other ends of your platter you force the heads to travel a lot, and the mechanical speed of your heads is very very slow. The slowest part of a computer generally.

I look at it like having your cows in one pasture or two. (sorry, I am a cowboy at heart) If you have to work on all the cows all the day long then it would not pay to have to go through a gate all day long to be able to ride up to half your herd, might as well leave the critters in one field.

If however you don't have to work half the herd until evening when you head home then having half the herd in another pasture makes your job easier since you don't have to sort through that part of the herd all day. And since you don't have to go through the gate and travel from one part of the herd to the other you don't waste any time.

Again, my apologies for the analogies. There are spur marks all over my desk top after writing this :D

Rick