View Full Version : Simple Apple G5 Quad Core 2.5 GHz set up

jann lipka
11-12-2005, 11:43 PM
I have one ordered Apple G5 Quad Core 2.5 GHz
with 8Gig RAm ( non ECC ) on its way to me.

It comes with one original SATA 250Gig disk .

I want to get another SATA internal drive .

I was thinking about 500 Gig .

I would like to partition those disks like this :

250Gig = 80 Gig system +170 Gig Storage Backup /on latest files only /
500 Gig = 90 Gig Scratch +330 Gig Storage + 80Gig System backup

Five partitions all together .
I'm on similar setup right now ( Dual G5 2 Gig ) and quite happy with it .

My Questions are :

Does it sound reasonable ( partitions ) ?
What brand / size for second SATA Drive ?
( I guess I could live with 400Gig on second drive too )

I work with PS files in sizes 100 - 600 MB .
( layered PSDs)

Regards from Sweden , and thanks for a great forum .

jann lipka
11-16-2005, 10:56 PM
I'm bit worried with TZ choosing Maxtor 300 G as the only one not causing
any problems .
IS 500 G Hitachi7K500 out of the question ?
I liked the speed of it .

I know it is fairly new but

Maxtor 300 G is too small
I need at least 400 G .

11-17-2005, 12:18 AM
Unlike TZ I refuse to even carry Maxtor drives. They have caused more grief for Mac users than all other drives combined. Combined with the batch that zipzoom sold that failed like flies last year, well, I just can't in any conscience recommend them with all the support and all the developers that concur they can be poison.

On Jann's partition plan:

I am a minimalist. Working drives off of partitions brings to the forefront the slowest component in a computer, which is the mechanical ability of a hard drive head to move from one part of a disk to another (over and over). I do not believe in using partitions during any single application process. There is no problem using partitions to backup data to since that is not actively used during disk intensive tasks. But using one partition for data and another for scratch will be far slower than just leaving scratch with the OS and moving data to a separate unpartitioned drive.

Scratch access is much better left with the OS and application since they all make small accesses during photo processing. Mixing scratch with any other purpose on a non dedicated scratch drive will be slower.

Plan your partitions so only one at a time is used by any application. Just keeping the heads in one part of the drive will increase performance and extend drive longevity.

If you move scratch in my opinion the only way it pays is if the destination is both fast and dedicated to only scratch. In some cases a monstrous fast SCSI RAID has the capability to do work file and scratch and still make gains, but in any other storage media less speedy you will have poor results.

Scratch space is going to play a far smaller factor in the new G5s with the huge memory capacities. It is going to be very interesting to test Photoshop with a larger RAM allocation.


11-17-2005, 06:49 AM
There are some good old timers that I know that have been in the business for years and years, work and help out in service, and see tons of Hitachi drives come in with problems. And I've had my fair share, just had a 7K250 160GB die on me after 18 months.

Yup. Maxtor had a problem with DM7-9, and tripped up on some DM10s. There are problems with 400GB WD drives, one model is for RAID only, and should not even be considered for use in non-RAID environments.

Maxtor drives - reliable or not? (http://forums.storagereview.net/index.php?showtopic=20685&hl=) StorageReview forum.

Tons of users think the world of the performance of the DM10 300s for boot drives, but maybe it stinks in RAIDs. The Maxtor is not the only one not causing problems. There is the T7k250, the WD Raptor, the Hitachi 7K500 and 400 - but not the 7200.9s for now.

There is always your $800 300GB SCSI drive of course - rock solid and fast, or 74GB $185, about the same price as Raptor but faster by 20%.

Apple G5 Discussion - How's your Quad G5 Doing? (http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=231727&tstart=0)

jann lipka
11-17-2005, 10:53 PM
Now I'm a bit confused:
Quote from MAcGurus PS acceleration doc:
"advanced users who have implemented a separate two or four-drive striped RAID array for PhotoshopÕs scratch disk, an additional speed boost is obtained by saving the image file to disk at the same volume location used for the scratch disk. This is commonly known as the "work disk/scratch disk" method."
As I see it disk acces in PS would look like that .

application/ system - frequent access
Scratch - frequent access.
Storage - not so frequent access ( every 20 minutes ) ,
and not at the same time as scratch.
( saving only?! )

My experience says also that putting scratch/ storage partions on the same,
non system/ application "second " internal SATA disc makes a " relatively " speedy box.
I've been on that setup with my G5 2x2G for a couple of years and still get quite good results in some PS speed tests .
Frankly , with only two drives I would'nt even dream of putting scratch partition on the same unit as system .
As for the brand I still feel 500Gig 7K500 sounds OK .
Because of its speed.
I would also consider some 400G but don't see any contenders.
What comes close looks like 7K400 - I would buy it if it is much safer then 7K500.

In my life I had 2 IBM / Hitachi ( 80 G ) failures and 1 Maxtor crash ( most recent one ) .

11-18-2005, 05:35 AM
We mention using the boot drive for scratch, but never ever to partition the boot drive.

Also, since that was written, Tiger and CS2 have made the need for 4-drive RAID, while still desireable, less important than having 4-8GB memory installed.

And, yes, it is all relative. Some people want to have an external SATA/SCSI RAID scratch.

jann lipka
11-18-2005, 06:18 AM
OK , now I'm completely confused .
So if I have 8 Gig RAM , CS2 and TIGER .
and 2 disks , say 250 WD ( original ) SATA
and second MAxtor 300Gig .
How should I place

1. boot/ aplication
2. Storage/working documents
3. scratch

I thought partitioning for smaller pieces was a good way to get empty scratch disk for example .
I've been doing this since my G4 .

I want a SATA array , but there is no good PCI-e cards so I'll wait until january/ feb.

11-18-2005, 09:37 AM
Drive 1 -- Boot + Scratch

Drive 2 -- Data Files

Fast and simple. The drives at their best.

If at some point you add a third drive or RAID only then would separating scratch make a huge difference. If scratch has to share a drive it shares with the OS better than the data. The OS makes small accesses during Photoshop processing, the data files make huge constant accesses and can least take being shared out.


jann lipka
11-19-2005, 12:21 AM
So making smaller partition ( keeping an empty scratch partition from the same dive as OS ) will not improve any performance ?

One large disk with OS on it and assigned also to scratch works better ?
Sounds revolutionary to me ...

Is there any good size of making smaller partitions ?

jann lipka
11-19-2005, 12:31 AM
I can assure you that the absolutely first scratch disc advice on most PS forums is:
put it on second drive, ( NOT BOOT / APlications )

Oposite advice would mean a lot of stir ...
A quote from Adobes CS 2 doc:

Setting scratch disks:

'''A scratch disk in Photoshop is similar to virtual memory in Mac OS. For the best performance, you should set the primary scratch disk to a defragmented hard drive that is not running the OS, and that has plenty of unused space and fast read/write speeds '''

For me Adobe advice would lead me toward my solution with 70 Gb
EMPTY - not fragmented partition .

11-19-2005, 07:10 AM

I have to disagree with much of what is being suggested/recommended here particularly 10.4.x when large amounts of ram are available.

Scratch space is going to play a far smaller factor in the new G5s with the huge memory capacities. It is going to be very interesting to test Photoshop with a larger RAM allocation.

My primary Photoshop box is a dual G5 2.5 with 8GB of ram. I configure Photoshop CS2 to use the Bigger Tile plug-in (Plug-ins/Adobe Photoshop Only/Extensions/Bigger Tiles/Bigger Tiles.plugin). Activating this plug-in will result in a very substantial improvement with larger images that don't contain large number of layers. Without it being activated you can add around 1 minute 30 seconds to any timing quoted below.

All of my tests confirm that Photoshop CS2 will still benefit from the scratch disk being placed on a different physical disk from the OS/application. With 8 GB on board I've run the performance test Action on 200MB images. It's not a complicated Action but it does stress the hardware, forcing use of the processor and hits the scratch hard. Typically this Action will complete in around 2 minutes (i.e. within a second or two) when the scratch is set to a second internal SATA drive or a FW800 external drive. The same Action takes in excess of 2 minutes 40 seconds to complete when the scratch is set to the boot /application disk. Both internal disks are identical 300GB Maxtor Maxline III's 300GB, so we can discount any thoughts that the second disk has an advantage in terms of speed or capacity. The external FW800 is a 600GB LaCie d2 Big Disk Extreme.

Taking the test a bit further and allocating 2 of my 8GB as a Ram Disk such as Esperance DV (see http://www.mparrot.net/index.php?page=freewares&lang=en) for the primary scratch with the other drives as spillover is faster still at 1 min 40 seconds. I dare say that a 3 or 4 disk RAID 0 array would be a lot faster still. If the Ram Disk is used as scratch with the boot disk as spillover then the same Action takes about 1 minute 55 to complete.

When completed my images will be in excess of 1.3GB flat (i.e. all layers flattened) and the scratch is in the order of 9.5GB. Obviously images of this size may not be norm for many of your readers but the results do seem to contradict your theory that large amounts of ram may negate the need for a second disk for scratch.

So far as the scratch being a large empty partition dedicated for this purpose...I've noticed only marginal improvements. So unless you have bucket loads of hard disk space to spare, it isn't nearly as important as keeping the scratch off the boot disk.

Also, whilst it's easy to see the benefits of the RamDisk in the scenario described above I'm still not convinced that it's the best and/or safest approach in all situations. I'd be interested to read other peoples views on this.

11-19-2005, 08:57 AM
Couple of thoughts:

I think the original tests were done with Raptor 10K boot drive.
This thread began and is focused on "What can I do for now with Quad-G5 until I can get a PCI Express card or adapter, to hook up my PCI-X controller?"

The D2 is two ATA drives in FW case using a built in Oxford 912 RAID style bridge that offers results faster than most ATA/SATA drives.

And yes, RAM disks use to rule but some tests in the past (early days of OS X I'm sure) weren't conclusive, no one had 4GB+ to play with, and RAM disks were basically disk images which still would get written to the drive.

With the Quad, you can have 8-16GB RAM.

We are always asking and looking for more input, experience from others, so we can widen and have more options and feedback, which helps everyone. A couple moderators tried to create a synthetic benchmark test program to help guage over-all tests and performance, and is always being re-evaluated and updated.

One member setup three controllers, two UL4D and one Serial, with a 12-drive RAID, nearly 800MB/sec. And of course, that plus Quad cpu and 16GB memory should be an "interesting" workstation. But ATTO won't have their UL5D (PCIe) out for months.


11-19-2005, 09:23 AM

We have to have a little context here. We were discussing the setup for a user with only 2 drives. Not a setup with a 4 drive scratch array. There is a place and many benefits from fast scratch devices, no argument. But a 2 drive setup will benefit most from the data being separated than from scratch being separated from the OS and data. Putting the data and the scratch on the same disk will benefit less and partitioning that drive will add to the overhead. Adding more memory is more important than any partition scheme with 2 drives.

The biggest problem in general here is that user's setups and the way Photoshop is applied by each individual is infinite in variations. There is absolutely nothing I can say that applies to everyone. Any possible configuration we advise will have someone to knock it because their setup works better (for them anyway)

So many of the answers on how to configure hardware properly depend on so many little things like what size photos, what types of processes are run on them, how many history files, hardware resources available. Impossible to generalize and no one rule is going to work for everyone.


jann lipka
11-19-2005, 11:53 AM
I think a Quad with 8 Gig and double internal SATA sounds like a typical starting point for a working photographer ,
so I was curious how to set it up in most efficient way PS - wise.

Obviously it should be quite easy to verify which scratch disc placement gives the best perfomance ,

I'm trying to figure out if TZ s answer means that placing scratch space on non OS drive is not bad after all ?

Is my setup ( below ) completely stupid? ,
If so How could it be improved ?

Internal SATA 250Gig - 2 oartitions
= 80 Gig system +170 Gig Storage Backup /on latest files only /

Internal SATA 250Gig 500 Gig - 3 partitions
= 90 Gig Scratch +330 Gig Storage + 80Gig System backup

Ian do you partition your 300 Gig internal drives ?

I'm fond of partitions because I can always be sure that i
keep my scratch space large and empty ,
and what I also like is ability to cross
backup - in case I need a fast recovery .
( I have also Retrospect backup to external FW )
So even if partitioning gives me a small speed lost I would probably like to keep it like that ( let say 5% slower ), with speed lost of 10 % I would reconsider this .

Obviously I have a bunch of FW drives , as " secondary scratch "
I use those for file storage - for older documents .

11-19-2005, 01:52 PM
Rick & TZ,

This thread began and is focused on "What can I do for now with Quad-G5 until I can get a PCI Express card or adapter, to hook up my PCI-X controller?"

Sorry, but you've lost me because I don't see any such question or reference in post 1.

We were discussing the setup for a user with only 2 drives. Not a setup with a 4 drive scratch array.

Nor was I. To be clear, I don't have a 4 disk array...I have two internal Maxtor Maxline III's at 300GB plus the LaCie FW800 external. The results I quoted are for a single disk being used for the Photoshop scratch. To simplify what I wrote above these are the results:

1. Boot/Application/User folder + image data + Scratch on primary internal 300GB SATA disk = 2 min 45 seconds give or take a second or two.

2. Boot/Application/User folder + image data on primary internal 300GB SATA with Scratch on the second internal 300GB SATA = 2 mins occasionally a few seconds more.

3. Boot/Application on primary internal 300GB SATA with Scratch on the second internal 300GB SATA also same disk is used for my image data = 2 mins occasionally a few seconds more.

4. Boot/Application/User folder + my image data on primary internal 300GB SATA on second internal 300GB SATA with Scratch on the external FW800 600GB = 2 mins occasionally a few seconds less.

5. Boot/Application on primary internal 300GB SATA, my image data on second internal 300GB SATA with Scratch on the external FW800 600GB = 2 mins occasionally a few second less.

In the above example it's very clear that even with 8GB available Photoshop will still benefit from the scratch not being placed on the same disk as the boot/application. The actual location of the image data appears to make little difference. My own preference is to keep my working images within the User folder on the boot disk with all my "first line" back ups on the second internal drive. This second internal drive is also my preferred location for the scratch disk. I don't partition my disks because I've not seen any real need (performance wise) for doing so since Photoshop 4. The FW800 disk is used for longer term storage and connected to other systems as and when required.

I think there is merit in reading the article Jan directed you to because you appear not to fully appreciate how Photoshop/OS are using ram above 4GB. It is NOT intended as scratch, nor is it directly addressable by Photoshop. This ram, which is under the control of the OS is being used as a scratch buffer, which means that the data may/will be written to disk. However, if/when it gets written to disk will depend upon the amount of available "buffer" ram and the size of the scratch required.

Obviously with smaller images there is potential for the scratch data to be kept in ram but generally you'll find the hard disk eventually comes into play. Even taking a Canon 1DsMKII image as an example of a smaller file I can still hit the scratch disk pretty hard. It's actually possible to analyse ram and disk usage during such tests, and analysis shows that once "free ram" falls below about 4.5GB the data gets written out to disk. Also, in my earlier post I mentioned the Bigger Tiles plug-in and the fact that it can significantly speed up working within Photoshop. However, I did not mention that it uses much more of the available ram in doing so. So the faster the disk in such a scenario, the better. With 16GB of ram we might manage to avoid hitting the scratch disk for a while longer, but Jan is already working on making 16GB look small ;-)

Any possible configuration we advise will have someone to knock it because their setup works better (for them anyway)

I'm certainly not trying to knock anyone. I am, however, trying to demonstrate that placing the Photoshop scratch disk on the same disk as the OS/Application is NOT the best place.

Impossible to generalize and no one rule is going to work for everyone.

True, but generalisations that contradict accepted Photoshop wisdom as provided by Adobe and other sources with a similar focus only leads to confusion. Hopefully I haven't added to it.


11-19-2005, 02:53 PM
The name of the thread - Quad G5 Setup - a PCIe only system. My guess, once there are more Quad users (a number have gotten or have them on order) is well begin to see what four cpus and 8-16GB will mean. I don't recommend it.

We WANT people to use external SATA or SCSI for scratch - eventually. None of our testing was done to recommend that, but we did do a number of tests using the boot drive for scratch (copy the data file, and record times). CS and maybe CS2 performs differently IF you have the data file on the scratch disk; and then back it up as needed while you work to save changes, to another drive. - but I am not proficient in using PS.

We also have some articles on PShop, FAQ, links to other FAQs, and some test results and timiing benchmarks.

For most all of us, we keep the OS/Apps on a boot drive, nothing else; and /users on 2nd drive. The home directory is used a lot for some files and cache as well. None of us are fans of FireWire except for backup. The Quad might temporarily force some to look to FW as a temporary solution in some cases.

There are some threads in this forum, and in the FAQ & help, as well as index in the below link.

11-19-2005, 03:45 PM

The name of the thread - Quad G5 Setup - a PCIe only system

The actual thread title is : Simple Apple G5 Quad Core 2.5 GHz set up (I copy and pasted it just to be sure).

We also have some articles on PShop, FAQ, links to other FAQs, and some test results and timiing benchmarks.

I know, I've read them. Also, I've been a registered member of the forum since July 2003 ;-) If I hadn't been asked to comment on this particular subject I wouldn't have broke my duck (zero post count).

CS and maybe CS2 performs differently

Yep, they're different.