View Full Version : Quad set up

02-28-2006, 09:46 AM
Although I have been using PS since it first appeared, I am completely baffled by RAID.

I make a living as a PS retoucher and artist and am about to upgrade my trusty Quicksilver to the Quad. I'll be buying 8gb Ram, two Eizo monitors, and the epson 2400 and 9800 printers.

What I most need help with is the hard drives. My files often exceed 2gb and I have many many layers. ALso, I am keeping the Quicksilver and original ACD to use for email and browser..hopefully freeing up processor power on the Quad for my PS work

I have thought about getting 2 500gb SATA drives for inside the machine...one for system, one for files, and use the 250gb hardrive that comes with the quad as a scratch disk. I also want to further experiment with Final Cut. And I have about 400 gb of older PS files I'd like to put on a hard drive...but have them available if need arises.

I also want to set up some kind of immediate back up system (in addition to using the new Iomega Revs for long term back up...I have retrospect backups going back 10 years taht I'd like to get off CDs and onto a hardrive for better longevity).

As much as I read about RAID, I cannnot understand it. In addition, I do not have tons of money to spend.., I am a freelancer who has about 2-5 thousand to spend on drives, external drives etc after buying the computer, printers, bigger camera etc.

Should I buy the RAID card that Apple offers or is this too much for a one person office? Do I go with daisy-chained Firewire drives? Or an external SATA drive bay..or scsi? I've read something about enabled SSC on the 500gb hard drives and their incompatibility w the Quad.

I'm happy to research, but will appreciate anyone who can simplify the issues for me since, as I said, although I have been working with large files for many years, I have more of a right brain than left and am at sea when I start to read technical articles.

Looking to purchase in two weeks. Many thanks.

02-28-2006, 10:14 AM
Should I buy the RAID card that Apple offers or is this too much for a one person office? Do I go with daisy-chained Firewire drives? Or an external SATA drive bay..or scsi? I've read something about enabled SSC on the 500gb hard drives and their incompatibility w the Quad.

Mark, you will notice a tremendous increase in horsepower when moving to the new Quad G5... it is night and day over a G4.

That said, there are many on this forum with more experience than I when it comes to RAID setups... But my 2cents says, buy a SATA 4 channel card (I think Sonnet is one of the only PCIe cards available), and a Burly SATA raid 4 bay tower. Let the Gurus store handle the 4 bay drive installation, so all you have is the PCIe installation, hook cables up and format.

OS X has built in Software raid, which is fine for most folks, as long as you do have backups of whatever data files are created. Dont get me wrong, RAID is pretty reliable, but Backups are still key.

There is a lot of information on the internet regarding RAID arrays, much of it is worthless information as well :). Its easy to setup and easy to understand once in place. I will say you have found the right place for a helping hand.. the experience in this forum is staggering.

Do NOT do Firewire... and unless you have SCSI experience, I would say you best stick with SATA. My only knowledge of the Apple RAID card is the FiberChannel version, way way overkill and will be another $5k to entry.

02-28-2006, 11:09 AM
Thansk for your help.
Are you recommending the 4 channel card/Burly as external solution while leaving the internal 250 in place as system drive?

If my files are on the Burly, do I have to back up all 4 drives onto a separate backup drive (I remember reading something about all drives losing info if just one does).

I also read something about using a low gb RAptor drive for the system and RAID for the files/scratch.

Anyway, Thanks for the start..I'll look into the items you mentioned...

02-28-2006, 07:18 PM
The Raptor 150GB (WD1500) really brings the Quad alive. I would suggest one internally as boot/Applications drive, and then a larger 4 or 500GB 16MB cache drive for Users and data (maybe Hitachi 7K500?).

For PS and FCP, I would second Rob's advice about an external SATA Burly, and would suggest a 4-drive unit.

Then populate the Burly with 150GB Raptors (WD1500) and use RAID "striping" (RAID0) to format the 4 drives together as one large (approximately) 550GB volume. This would give you an extremely fast Photoshop scratch disk...my guess, 275 MB p/s sustained reads and 350MB p/s sustained writes.

Since you work with large files in PS, you could also use such a scratch disk in "Work Disk/Scratch Disk" mode to gain even more speed. It makes a pretty significant difference- especially when working with larger image files- to have a super-fast "dedicated" Photoshop scratch disk volume.

This would also be a very effective solution for Final Cut Pro's scratch disk, capture disk, and render disk. Those sustained benchmarks would allow maximum flexibilty for video work- allowing you to work in High Definition formats as well as 'normal' DV. And the volume size would allow for large captures.

You'd use this 4-drive "striped" volume only for temporary storage. Don't use "striped" RAID arrays for long-term storage; they are too vulnerable to data loss. If one of the four drives has a problem, you lose the data on all four drives.

You can use Disk Utility's RAID0 ("striping") capability to format those drives, but for maximum speed and optimization for Photoshop and FCP, I would suggest using SoftRAID (http://www.softraid.com/) disk driver software for those drives.

For backup, I would suggest a hot-swap firewire 400 or firewire 800 drive unit. Then get additional drive trays and populate them with 3 to 500GB drives. And rotate backups, and back up your cds on the hard drives...Or maybe do a second external SATA box depending on how many external channels your SATA card can handle. then you could use the OEM 250GB drive that ships with the Quad (I would not use that drive as a PS scratch disk- it's pretty pokey...)

02-28-2006, 08:15 PM
many many thanks!....THAT makes sense to me and answers my most pressing concerns. excellent. excellent. excellent.

05-19-2006, 09:59 AM
One question about that setup. Using the 550gig raid as a scratch disk seems like a lot for a scratch disk. At the most wouldn't he use 100gigs for scratch?
Would it be a performance hit to partition and use the other part as a working drive?