View Full Version : Raptor for Quad now or later?

06-02-2006, 11:05 AM
Thanks to the advice given on this forum, I just bought the refurbished G5 Quad which came with 1 GB of RAM and 1 250 GB Harddrive.

I just transferred data from my 1 Ghz G4 laptop (512 GB RAM), an Iomega external HD, and a LaCie Portable HD. The new QuadÕs only HD has now been filled with 200GB of data. I plan to change my current mess of image files into the well-organized system as laid out in Peter KroghÕs ŅThe Dam Book.Ó IÕll be shooting many more RAW files this summer and want to have my system ready to go.

IÕd like to start by adding 4 sticks of 1 GB of RAM.
IÕm thinking of putting the Western Digital 74 GB Raptor in the extra drive bay of my G5 to hold my applications only and act as the PS scratchdisk. IÕll use my 2 Iomega 250GB HDs as offsite archives. Then IÕll get a SATA enclosure with 2 250 GB Hitchachi Hds Š one to backup working files, and one to take on new live and local files that have already been archived. When my library of images grows and I need more drives online, I can just turn my SATA enclosure into an offsite archive and get a new bigger enclosure for the online work.

Or would I be wiser to just hold off on the Raptor and just get a Hitachi 400 GB in the G5 for now Š wait for my library to build up and get more drives later?

Thanks in advance,


06-02-2006, 11:51 AM
I am glad to see you have the Quad and up and running!

200GB is right up there as you never want to have less than 15-20% free space. My thinking is to put it in a dual-bay SATA enclosure NOW and put in a boot drive Raptor (74GB or if that is too small 150GB, and leave applications on boot drive) and then 320-500GB 2nd drive.

The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers (O'Reilly Digital Studio)

Mixing apps and scratch is not the greatest, but if you look, the PShop Acceleration Guide has been updated and is now in pdf format only.

It could be next week or two months before the 74GB Raptor sports 16MB cache etc.

06-05-2006, 10:19 AM
Thanks to TZ for the advice. I took a look at the PS Accelerator article and will try to put some of those ideas into action on my system.
And I see that you found the link for The Dam Book --- the advice in that book is absolutely fantastic.

So youre advising that I make the Raptor my startup disk so itll hold the OS and the applications. But I read on the PS Accelerator guide that:

A Dedicated –Scratch Disk volume should always be the first volume. The primary startup volume should never be on a hard drive containing a dedicated scratch disk volume. But then in the Scratch Disk Guidelines section, they recommended to keep the scratch disk on the startup disk for a 2-drive system.
But the other Multi-drive system advice was for RAID users. Ill be multi-drive, but without RAID. Im a little confused.

Would that mean that my OS shouldnt be on the same disk as my PS scratch? Im new to all this computer stuff, so I apologize for being a bit slowÄ but youre saying that Id be putting the OS AND all the applications on my Raptor and then telling PS in the preferences to make the scratch disk my 2nd drive (which would be a 400 GB Hitachi that Ill be buying?) And would I partition the 2nd drive... the 1st outer volume (maybe 100GB?) for PS scratch, and the 2nd volume for image files?

Then Iźd also move my original 250GB Harddrive and a new 250 Hitachi in the 2 bay SATA enclosure which would hold more image files and backups of the unarchived working files.

On the memory front, it seems that more than 4GB of RAM actually slows performance on smaller files, so perhaps I should get 2 1GB sticks and 2 512MB sticks for a total of 4GB (I already have 2 512 MB sticks in the G5.) (Rather than buying 4 sticks of 1 GB ram which would bump me up to 5 GB of RAM)

Thanks again for your time and valuable advice-


06-05-2006, 11:54 AM
On the memory front, it seems that more than 4GB of RAM actually slows performance on smaller files, I know little to nothing about G5's and Quad's. But never heard of a MAC that did not like lots of RAM.

06-05-2006, 12:05 PM
RAID setup requires four drive setup as a minumum usually.

If you can't have the optimum then you go with what works. That is why it has different options, and why there is a PShop Benchmark Test 2 to experiment with.

I wanted to add that your current single 250GB drive is "over full" for a startup drive and could result in damage to the directory and corruption or loss of data. Gotta unload some files to FW backup or archive - something.


The WD 150GB makes a fine fast drive, for OS/Apps, for boot drive + PS scratch if you must.

7200 drives don't. Although the larger drives like 500GB and 750GB are fast.

Don't know how big or small to make your scratch volume, but it should be 4x larger than the largest file(s) you would have on it at any given time I think.

Are you sure that the small files and larger installed RAM information is correct and current to Tiger? I can't see that happening actually - maybe it was true in the past -? Someone else?

Memory will always be used first before the system will use or touch scratch disk.

I would not "waste" a RAM slot with 512MB. Question is how to get from "A" to "Z" where you want to be in easy and $$$ steps on RAM, disk drives, backups, and RAID.

Do one thing, do it to the best possible.

Some people find and have good backup habits, and boot from RAID and use that, and have all their files etc on other drives. There are a dozen ways to cut and dice and come out with a system that works for you.

PS Benchmark Test2 and pdf Guide (http://www.macgurus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20218)

06-05-2006, 02:12 PM
Bethany is correct about the negative effects of installing more than 4GB of RAM for small file sizes. From the latest Pshop pdf file only linked on the home forum page http://homepage.mac.com/boots911/.Public/PhotoshopAccelerationBasics2.3.pdf :

"Currently as of Mac OS10.4.6- when more than 4GB RAM is installed in a G5, Photoshop CS2 performance suffers when working with smaller image files- particularly when the Startup Disk is used as the primary scratch disk. This is a system software issue in Mac OS 10.x which interferes with the optimized virtual memory routines of Photoshop CS2. Adobe has a partial fix for this problem in the form of a free downloadable plugin. However, this plugin disables the RAM-caching of scratch disk data capability of Photoshop CS2. Use the plugin with smaller image files in machines with more than 4GB of installed RAM; disable it when working with large image files with more than 4GB of installed RAM."

However, if working on even a small file size in both Pshop CS2 and ImageReady CS2 or running another app simultaneously like Illustrator CS2 or iTunes, I would want as much for Pshop as I could get. Or for those times when working with a larger file size where having more RAM would really reduce the time. k

06-05-2006, 02:41 PM
Thanks, Kaye

06-06-2006, 07:21 AM
Thanks for your thoughts-

Ok. So OS and apps go on the raptor. Would it be better to put the PS scratch disk on the raptor with the os and apps or to put it on the Hitachi? Or maybe this is one of those things I'd just need to figure out---



06-06-2006, 07:38 AM
... when more than 4GB RAM is installed in a G5, Photoshop CS2 performance suffers when working with smaller image files- particularly when the Startup Disk is used as the primary scratch disk. This is a system software issue in Mac OS 10.x which interferes with the optimized virtual memory routines of Photoshop CS2.

IF you have 4GB or less, use the 150GB Raptor. It is the fastest SATA drive available and would have the space.

I am of the "hands-on" school that has to try things to understand how they work.

If you know that 100GB would be large enough for scratch, or your project work, and you have the space to spare on, say, 500GB Hitachi, then you could create a partition and try the other drive, but you don't want to have to re-partition etc later on. A lot of work, and it is important to have those backup sets (two to be safe) at all times.

I know you said "400GB" but I would think bigger. Your 250GB only holds ~200GB of data at most and is full now.

You could put a 30GB "emergency" OS on your 2nd drive which is helpful to have as backup and such.

Could partition 500GB to have some for inactive files and archive and 300GB for active projects?

500GB drive, once formatted, and subtracting 15% is about 420GB ;-(

Just came across this:

four Hitachi 400GB vs 500GB RAID (http://www.maxupgrades.com/istore/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=141)

06-06-2006, 08:28 AM
Bethany- if you use a 150GB Raptor as the Startup, it might be if you work with small image files and you maintain that hard drive at more than 50% free space and un-partitioned- you may have faster performance telling Photoshop the use the Raptor as it's "First" scratch disk. Then use the second slower 7200rpm drive to store your images and open and save them from the second drive. Or even move Users alltogether to that second drive....

However, most of the time and especially when working with larger image files and generous History- always use a second fast drive or striped disk array as the "First" scratch disk.

What I actually wrote:
"A dedicated "Scratch Disk" volume should always be the "first" volume (outer partition) on a hard drive or disk array with multiple volumes. The primary Startup volume should never be on a hard drive containing a dedicated "Scratch volume"."

In other words, if you use a second drive as the scratch disk, and you partition it into two volumes to use it partially as storage- use the first (outer) volume as the scratch disk, not the second (inner) volume. Likewise, if you use a fast multiple-drive striped array as scratch and as a 'work disk' (Work Disk/Scratch Disk Method), don't partition it into separate volumes- leave it as one big volume.

Also in other words, if you do decide to use a hard drive as the Startup which will contain the OS- and as a scratch disk (because you don't have a faster drive available for scratch), don't make separate partitions on it for Startup and scratch- leave it as one big volume.

You can test these arrangements yourself using PshopTest (http://www.macgurus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20218).


About this memory thing when installing more than 4GB in a G5.

My understanding (which may not be entirely correct!): This is an Apple problem and actually affects the entire system and all applications- not just Photoshop. It has to do with the away the OS handles and updates virtual memory caches. That part of the code in the kernel cannot effectively or efficiently deal with larger amounts of installed RAM, and needs a re-write from the bottom up. It's a complex problem and who knows whether it will be solved anytime soon.

Basically, it affects Photoshop by causing brief unnecessary periodic pauses during a variety of operations- effectively 'hanging' Photoshop and preventing the user from working for short periods of time.

For absolute best performance with smaller image files- it isn't enough to simply use Adobe's plugin fix to disable the RAM-caching of scratch disk data; one really has to remove the extra RAM from the machine.

Having said that- you will still gain tremendous benefit with 8-12GB (or more) installed RAM when working with larger image files. The positive effect of the RAM-caching of scratch disk data far outweighs the negative effects.

06-06-2006, 04:15 PM
WD, Maxtor, Hitachi and Seagate 500GB models (http://forums.storagereview.net/index.php?showtopic=22728&pid=229957&st=0&#entry229957)

SR Performance Comparison (http://www.storagereview.com/php/benchmark/suite_v4.php?typeID=10&testbedID=4&osID=6&raidconfigID=1&numDrives=1&devID_0=297&devID_1=296&devID_2=316&devID_3=315&devID_4=317&devID_5=318&devID_6=295&devID_7=294&devID_8=320&devID_9=319&devCnt=10)

I have played around with booting and using 7.2K (ATA) along with 10 and 15K (SCSI) drives. There is no comparison using 15K. My data volume is a two-drive RAID of 10K drives (I needed more than one drive's capacity).

The RAID has never almost never failed in over three years (but has been rebuilt with newer versions of OS and SoftRAID from time to time).

The combination of a fast boot drive along with dedicated and fast 2nd (volume) means everything happens smooth and fast in all areas. I am also able to keep a number of non-apple applications that don't require using an installer and going to /Applications on the "data raid" rather than boot drive (iLife added about 10GB to boot drive, too).

Taking the 'best of class' I came up with Atlas 15K II and 10K V vs Raptor vs 500GB SATA (http://www.storagereview.com/php/benchmark/suite_v4.php?typeID=10&testbedID=4&osID=6&raidconfigID=1&numDrives=1&devID_0=309&devID_1=297&devID_2=306&devID_3=279&devID_4=264&devID_5=288&devID_6=317&devCnt=7)

The 500GB RE2 from WD looks very promising 400GB version of WD Caviar RE2 reviewed (http://www.storagereview.com/articles/200510/WD4000YR_1.html)
(the review of the new 500GB version isn't on SR but might be on other sites)

I hope that helps!

06-07-2006, 02:01 PM
TZ, Boots, and Kaye ? YouĶre the best ? thanks for your opinions.

Ok ? I hope IĶm ready to finally make some purchases. HereĶs the plan:

1. Get the 150GB Raptor ($330) ? put it in the G5 ? Keep only the OS and Apps here. Direct PS to use this as scratch disk but NOT partition.
2. Get a Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 500 GB SATA 16 MB cache ($345) and put it in the G5 in lower bay. Put Users here. Put image files here.
3. Get a 2 bay Sata Case kit. Fill with original 250 GB Hard drive and another new Hitachi 400 GB drive. Keep more image files, back-ups of working files here.
4. Get a Firmtek hostcard (or whichever one is the right one) and hopefully figure out why the heck I need it.
5. Use my 2 ? Iomega Hard drives as off-site archival back-ups.
6. Install 2 more sticks of 1 GB ram and 2 sticks of 512MB ram into G5 bringing me to 4 GB ram.

What do the gurus think? Shall I go ahead and do it?

06-07-2006, 03:01 PM
I think you've nailed what to do.

Only question would be which model 500GB drive (I think production of 7200.9 500GB may be gone thankfully, replaced by an improved 7200.10 model).

Sonnet's PCIe card (not sure if FirmTek's SeriTek is ready for PCIe) and Sonnet's firmware seems good. Not sure if they are bootable, but you aren't looking for that, and you can always use an el cheapo FW800/400 if needed for an emergency.

I didn't realize there were problems with virtual memory in OS X affecting Adobe or smaller files, hopefully that will be corrected or worked around. (There is a way to boot a computer and "disable" some of the physical memory so only 4GB or something was 'seen' and addressable. Geek-style fix.)

Remember, if you need 100 widgets, tomorrow you'll want 200 ;-) and if you have 400GB you only get to 'use' 80% of that or ~320GB, so keep that in mind. People are already installing monster 750GB drives in their systems.

You will not be disappointed in the performance of that Raptor - and it must be a joy to have a Quad to use and see what it (and you) can do with it.

07-12-2006, 07:13 PM
Hey guys,

I need to replace my original harddrive with the new raptor.
I'll also be putting in a Hitachi in the second bay, then I'll put the original drive and another Hitachi in my new external box.

I'm wondering how I should order things so that the computer knows how to start up.

I'm new at this, but here are my thoughts:

I should first add the new Hitachi to the second bay of the computer... format it in disk utility and copy the OS and applications here.

Turn off the computer again and take out the original HD to replace it with the new Raptor... format it in disk utility and copy the OS/apps from my new Hitachi.

Then go ahead and put the other drives in the external box ... format, and copy what I need to.

Do I need to do anything special when I take out the original drive?
Will the computer know how to start up automatically from the Hitachi in the second bay?

Thanks in advance! (I can't believe that it's taken me so long to get going on this...
PS- I LOVE my new G5!)

07-13-2006, 04:35 AM
Your system will or may reboot, or it may not know where.

I would be ready to use OPTION key on reboot, and/or Tiger DVD inserted and boot off that, where you can check things out and reset startup drive pref.

When swapping drives on G5s, sometimes the new drive won't even show up. But that is cured by booting into Open Firmware and a reset of nvram from there is all it takes (can happen with new RAM also).

The system somehow gets confused and doesn't register the changes without forcing nvram to rescan for devices.

Depending on your external setup, I would just as likely pull your drives out, put in the new drives, and boot from Tiger DVD and then clone using Disk Utility Restore.

- might be less trouble and fewer trips into and out of the G5, and may not be as much trouble. You don't even need to be able to boot from the old drives in external cases (or if the controller isn't bootable, not a problem either).

Q: What is the external setup? PCIe controller and enclosure?

07-13-2006, 07:31 AM
You rock for helping me out with this TZ - thanks!-- So, the bummer is that I have actually left my homebase for the summer and have just set up my computer in another location. The original Tiger DVD is buried in boxes at homebase. Will it do the trick for me to copy the OSX and Users folders from the original HD to a blank DVD and then use that? I wish I understood the lingo when you said, "booting into Open Firmware and a reset of nvram." Does open firmware mean the Tiger DVD? Nvram I can't even guess.
External setup will have Sonnot Tempo serial ata e4p host card for a 2 bay external box. Is that your question?
And I'll actually be adding new ram too, I'll probably have questions on that too... but for now I'm just hoping to have the computer boot with all of the new disks.

07-13-2006, 07:51 AM
Why not order a new Tiger DVD (10.4.6!) then.

As long as your files are accessible on the original drive, you are fine.

And yes, RAM will be helpful.

DVDs are too small to hold what you want but nice to have, too.

There is a "FAQ Book' waiting to be read, links to Apple docs and more.

07-13-2006, 08:47 AM
Another thing to consider assuming the Quad drive bays are like my G5 dual, is that in order to remove the drive in the upper bay, the drive in the lower bay must be removed first. Reason is that the guide rails for the upper bay first allow you to pull the drive part way straight out and then slide downward and out the rest of the way at about a 30 degree angle as I recall.

Once you get the lower drive out you can see the upper guide rails and how they allow the drive to slide downward to clear the top of the case. Actually getting the upper drive to start that downward travel took some jiggling of the drive for me. k