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ftonelli
10-20-2006, 12:00 PM
Hi MacGurus,

I finally decided to retire my faithful G4 Dual 1.25Ghz and buy a MacPro.

In the past several months, thanks to you, I had achieved some improvements by adding two SATA drives and separating Users from the OS.
But I need more speed.

I am a photographer and work with 22Mpix files, normally with several adjustment layers, which brings them to about 350MB when closed and 900MB when opened.
I have my OS on a 70GB Raptor 10,000RPM and my user folder on a 250GB Hitachi 7200RPM. Scratch for CS2 is pointed back at the OS disk (the Raptor).
I keep the images I currently work on in the Hitachi user disk.

It takes FOREVER to open and to save.

So I am going with a MacPro and try to make things work better.

Needless to say, I am trying to maximize the performance with the smartes investment of money. Here is my idea for your review and suggestions:

- Buy a MacPro Quad 2.66Ghz Intel Xeon = $2499

- Add two 2Gb modules of RAM to take it to 5GB = $ 985

- Transfer my Raptor and my Hitachi from my G4 and keep them set as they are (Raptor = OS, Hitachi = Users)

- Keep the 250 HD that comes with the MacPro for internal back-ups and as a maintenance start up disk.
(For now I archive my work on two LaCie 500GB FW800. As soon as I can I will switch to SATA enclosures.)

- Set up an external RAID 0 with two MacGurus Hitachi 250 7200 in a SATA tower to use only for images I currently work on in Photoshop CS2 to minimize opening and save time.

- Set up a second RAID 0 with two MacGurus Hitachi 250 7200 in a SATA tower to use as a Photoshop scratch disk only.

Cost of the two RAID 0 + 4 Bay PM Enclosure = $ 819

- Maybe get the ATI Radeon X1900 XT 512MB (2 x dual-link DVI) [Add $250] for the MacPro, instead of the NVIDIA GeForce GT 256MB. But I am not sure if this is a good idea.

Does anyone have experience with the benefit of such a set up?

I know that the MacPro does not run CS2 as fast as a Quad G5, but I am sure it will be an improvement from my G4 and in a few months I will upgrade to CS3 and get a second speed burst.

I am looking for your advice especially on the RAID, scratch disk, work HD, Users, OS set up. I know that there are many ways to set this up and want to make sure I do it in the most efficient way for my needs (Photoshop)

Thank you and I am looking forward to your replies.

Best,

Francesco Tonelli
www.francescotonelli.com

rwm
10-20-2006, 12:36 PM
There are several mods/members around here that can help better than me but in the FAQ's there is a lot of great info on all of your computer setup needs, best photoshop setup = RAM/Drives, the new MacPro's... Take a look here (http://www.macgurus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22544) and here (http://www.macgurus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18533) until someone helps you out. I am not up on pshop or the newer MacPro's ;) Feel free to add any questions as they come up. - Randy
_________________

PS: Another place to look is in the IntelMac forum.
Mac Pro - 1st Iimpression (http://www.macgurus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22511) - I think this was just the public version and basis for the FAQ entry.

TZ
10-20-2006, 12:37 PM
I just added an update to the Mac Pro FAQ. You should use the "Today's Active Threads" if you want to see what's new since last visit or such.

I would go with 300GB drives for RAID. And make sure they support RAID. Larger drive = higher density.

No need for X1900 XT for CS2 and plain graphics.

FW800 works pretty well and you can get 70MB/sec with one of the new Barracuda 7200.10 drives (perpendicular, 250, 320GB or larger). I even picked up Aaxeon FW800 PCIe while waiting for SATA.

Check link to Barefeats. Mac Pro w/ 10.4.8 gives G5 an even heat, depending on file size etc. I use to think CS2 required more RAM but that seems to be changing.

Use external for backups. Use your limited four drive bays for boot and RAID.

I would opt for 150GB Raptor boot drive if you think the 74GB model is small or crowded (and the newer versions have 16MB cache, NCQ etc).

ricks
10-20-2006, 04:06 PM
When you move your boot drive over you will have to also give it a new OS. The Intel Macs take a different version than the G5 Macs. No big deal, especially now that you have your OS separated from your Users! Moving the Users over to a new system on a new computer is just linking 'you' in NetInfoManager.

Doesn't matter much whether you put data external or internal or RAID external or internal. Speeds will be the same. Only time I would recommend a RAID stay internal is with scratch. In that case put all your data and backups on an external Port Multiplier enclosure setup and leave the scratch RAID on the internal ports. They will get best speed for scratch with lowest latency if not attached via a port multiplier.

Port multiplier is best external setup because it is so expandable.

Rick

ftonelli
10-21-2006, 07:16 AM
Thank you RWM, TZ and Rich for your replies.

I am reading and have been reading the other threads and learned a lot from them.

But what I actually am trying to figure out is the best way to solve my main bottleneck which is Opening and Saving large photoshop files.

Of course I can test with Photoshop Test different configurations of HD and RAID, but I was hoping to get some advice before I buy a bunch of drives.

Example: I could RAID 0 many things:
- OS
- Users
- CS2 Scratch
- Maybe even create a seprate RAID 0 set up to store only files I am currently working on with CS2

But considering I cannot afford to RAID 0 4 drives for each of the above, I was hoping to get help in ubderstanding which one or which ones would have the most impact in my situation.

Another example:

I could do a 2 drive RAID 0 for CS2 Scratch + a 2 Drive RAID 0 to store only files I am currently working on with CS2

OR

I could do a 3 drive RAID 0 for to store only files I am currently working on with CS2 and keep CS2 Scratch on 1 fast Raptor.

As you know the combinations are many. Not to mention RAID 0 the Boot drive or the Users.

Can you help me understand what would make more sense?

Thank you,

Francesco

TZ
10-21-2006, 09:03 AM
There will never be a single best answer. I can say that you really can't "go wrong." I am sure you'll be happy with your setup. I have been upgrading much more and quicker than I intended. It has taken me a month to get the system configured best: 3 drive RAID and 10K Raptor boot drive. The three drive RAID actually has two partitions on each drive, half the drive for fast active stripe, and the slower half used for backup and archive and those 10-50GB files.

I would hang out and search the Apple Mac Pro discussions too to get a fell and see what others are using. Get some ideas. I keep moving files and disk drives around. Sort of like moving furniture around every saturday. After two years in this house, I think I have it the way I like it best. But I keep 'tweaking' things.

There is one forum member here working with Quad G5 (and outgrowing that it seems) that is not satisfied with performance of 6 x 15K drive RAID for scratch along with 10GB RAM for opening and saving and working on files.

Someone could just throw 4 500GB drives in Mac Pro, RAID it all into one volume as a solution. Ideal might be 150GB 10K Raptor boot drive and 3 500GB drives in RAID.

Take your two drives, OEM 250 and 250GB you have, and RAID. Boot from Raptor (you have to reformat so justs do a clean install and ujpdate). That leaves you one free drive bay. I'd get either another 250GB, or 500GB. I was able to get 175MB/sec from 3-drive RAID using 160GB models (OEM 7200.9 Seagate 8MB cache and 2 WD RE16 160s).

That gives you a 3-drive RAID, Raptor boot drive, and your LaCie's to get you started.

Memory. What I learned yesterday, was just confirmation that as I add memory to Mac Pro, applications and the system use more. When I had 1GB it generally used 800MB or less and 500MB on startup. Now, with 4GB it uses more than 1GB booted.

The first thing about CS2 and Tiger seems to be that OS X will cache and use memory FIRST before using scratch IF you have MORE than CS2 wants or can use. You need a minimum of 4GB RAM, which you already know, and maybe 6-8GB FIRST.

There are PCIe SATA controllers only gradually coming online for the Mac Pro to offer external support for RAID from FirmTek, Sonnet, and some new ones being tested that look promising and good, but new to me.

Even long-time support from ATTO is having to adjust to changes underway. The G5 and Tiger imposed some addressing fixes and problems and limited address space to 4GB. That is gone and is causing problems for everyone. (Sort of like what happened when OS 7 brought VM to Mac and everything broke.)

Leopard support will take time, Mac Pro and 10.4.8 is right now. And moving target(s).

There is nothing wrong with FW800 on Mac Pro. As long as the LaCie works, fine. Might even want a FW800 PCIe later ($109). No reason as long as they continue to work to use - though I like to know that my backups are duplicated and safe.

Would be nice to have a four channel SATA PCIe and drive enclosure later.

The Mac Pro really is a dream. Fast and quiet. Before, I could not be backing up while I worked, let alone that and opening 50 web pages and other work --- at once. The one thing that does "take time" is when copying 50GB file, or anything large. Which is why I have a couple RAIDs (backed up 3x). In part to test. FW800 drives are all in their own metal case, Oxford 912 or 924 (924 offers SATA and FW800).

I use to use 160GB drives, cheap and large enough. Now I am focusing on 320GB models. And turn the 160's into RAIDs.

Boots
10-21-2006, 10:41 AM
Francesco, once you give Photoshop enough RAM, the biggest bottleneck thereafter is hard drive performance.

The fastest overall performance- especially with larger files like yours- occurs with a really fast startup disk like the 10k Raptor coupled with a really fast scratch disk like a 4 x 15k SCSI drive RAID0 stripe volume.

A 2 or 4-drive SATA striped scratch disk also will substantially improve performance. Even a single standard volume SATA drive used only for scratch or only as a work disk/scratch disk will improve operations.

In any event, try to avoid setting the startup disk as the scratch disk.

You can also use a fast scratch disk as a "work disk" by opening and saving your images files to and from it- as well as using it as the primary scratch disk.
You'll get faster Open & Save performance that way. But if you plan to store stuff on a striped volume, back it up frequently to a standard volume.

And don't forget to activate Photoshop's Bigger Tiles plugin after installing more than 1GB RAM.
The Tiger 10.4.8 update has improved Photoshop performance also.
These two items will make a positive difference too. :)

RAID0 on a boot volume will not do much for you unless you store all your image files on it too. Better to send /Users to a second drive and/or stick your image files on a separate drive from system and scratch...

But by all means, test your configurations with a standard test like mine (PshopTest) or RetouchArtists. Don't rely on disk-testing software; use a real-world Photoshop test.

TZ
10-21-2006, 10:55 AM
I regularly hear people asking for a free benchtest for disk drives, this one seems to be fit that bill.

AJA KONA System Test (Version 2)
A Macintosh utility for measuring system performance with AJA KONA Video Capture cards. The application includes disk drive speed tests and Macintosh video data copy (DMA) speeds. The disk speed tests differ from standard disk I/O performance applications in that they specifically test the system under conditions typically encountered with video capture, playback and editing.

Note: most of the disk performance tests are generic and don't require an AJA KONA Video Capture card. The DMA performance tests do require a KONA card and AJA KONA Driver software to operate. The DMA tests are not compatible with AJA Io products.
http://www.aja.com/html/support_kona2_swd.html
__________________

Right now, SCSI or even SAS aren't much of an option, and 10K Raptors will be cost effective (once someone ships a reliable Mac Pro PCIe host adapter).

The above test utility gave 175MB/sec for both r/w's from 3-drive RAID, which is about what QBX/ZB Speedtools reported (and is 1/3 full, stripe of outer 50%). Which pales when stacked up against the 8-12 drive RAID using SCSI and Raptor drives :D

Boots
10-21-2006, 11:18 AM
Right now, SCSI or even SAS aren't much of an option, and 10K Raptors will be cost effective (once someone ships a reliable Mac Pro PCIe host adapter).


The 4GB RAM limit with the UL5D is a temporary problem and one enterprising chap has even modified the Mac Pro's internal SATA to 15k SAS. (http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=3341260&#3341260)

With 125MB p/s SCSI/SAS drives available today, this is a viable option for those seeking the absolute highest Photoshop performance.

TZ
10-21-2006, 11:50 AM
I have been watching that thread on trying to stuff SAS drives. ;)


My RAID controller is an LSI Logic SAS controller and LSI doesn't seem to understand that the MacPro uses EFI instead of BIOS.

I think I'm going to have to contact Intel, because I get the impression that if I call Apple they're not going to support any Windows or Bootcamp issues (despite that I think this is a result of a flaw in BootCamp)

Back to the drawing board.
Does anybody have any suggestions?

If I ever get it working, this computer will absolutely SCREAM.

Also, the reviews on SR forum with the latest Cheetah 15K.5 are "disappointing."

I thought kaye's 4 x 150GB Raptor array vs Atlas 15K II made the cost vs performance case in favor of 10K Raptors at this point. Too many problems getting 3+ drives on one channel of the UL5D.

I would love SAS and SCSI to still attract users, but that guy was trying for an internal solution, which I don't advocate, and is hugely excessive mod to a fine case.

Boots
10-21-2006, 03:29 PM
True enough that SCSI these days demands work, research, testing in un-charted waters. Payoff is potentially large-margin performance increase over the fastest SATA.

We don't have nearly enough first hand evidence or experience of 6 x 15k (3 drives per channel) on the UL5- that problem he had may be specific to the Atlas 15k II or perhaps it's something else...Has anybody rigged 6 x Seagate or 6 x Fuji stripe with the UL5? I can't find anything easily on it..

The fact that he did the mod- got those 15k SAS drives working, pretty good achievement.
I wished I had tryed out those Fujitsu MAU3147 for my Burly. That's one screaming desktop drive, blow the draws off the Raptor/Atlas.

My dream is 2 x fast SCSI/SAS internal for system and Users, then 4 x same external for scratch... and now I'm salivating over the Fujitsu MAU3147's successor, the MAX3147: "Provides maximum internal data-transfer rates of 147MB/s. Here's hoping wishing it has the same single-user optimization as it's predecessor....

TZ
10-22-2006, 07:04 AM
I could buy two Raptors to each 15K.4 Cheetah. But if you want SAS; if you want 32GB RAM, then the Xserve is for you! There are some nice reviews out on how easy it is to assemble and put together.

Memory options: Crucial (http://www.crucial.com/store/mpartspecs.asp?mtbpoid=C3B40D9EA5CA7304)

• Up to 32GB RAM via 512MB, 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB FB-DIMMs

Expansion card options:

• Fibre Channel PCI Express
• Dual-Channel Ultra320 SCSI PCI-X
• Dual-Channel Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express
• ATI Radeon X1300 with 256MB SDRAM and dual-link DVI

• 15,000-rpm SAS drives: 73GB with 16MB cache, 300GB with 16MB cache

three hot-swap hard drive bays.
Choose 15,000-rpm SAS drives for the highest performance available today.

PCIe AND PCI-X?!

PCI Express expansion
Two open PCI Express slots, each x8 wide, provide independent throughput of up to 2GB/s each. One slot can even be configured as PCI-X for compatibility with existing expansion cards.

Xserve (http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore.woa/wo/0.RSLID?mco=AE304267&nclm=XserveNotifyMe)
http://www.apple.com/xserve/specs.html

Cost of SCSI array w/ 6 15K drives, cables, controller: $2500
Or you could buy 10 Raptors (74GB) plus controllers (2).

I still doubt ATTO can handle even three Cheetahs per channel. If it was an "Atlas 15K II only" issue, they have some design flaws me thinks. In which case, you should probably get the Apple FC card anyway, cost and better support.

Boots
10-22-2006, 01:10 PM
Interesting idea TZ- I didn't realize they had gone Intel with the Xserve. :)

-----

As far as the Photoshop scratch disk is concerned- I think the testing has shown a 4 to 6-drive striped volume is about the limit for PS acceleration.

Even after a 4-drive stripe, the returns fall off steeply and a 6-drive stripe adds to the gains only marginally. An 8 or 12-drive stripe- while demonstrating impressive disk scores- doesn't add any real-world Photoshop acceleration.

But faster startup disks and/or Users drives or image file drives can also increase the gains.
For instance a pair of striped Raptors as a Startup disk instead of a single standard volume Raptor Startup disk coupled with a 4-drive striped SCSI scratch disk will yield modestly faster PS performance- especially when larger image files are in use.

In the same context, the combo of a standard volume Raptor Startup disk and the 4-drive striped scratch disk allows faster PS performance than the combo of a standard volume 7200rpm Startup disk and the same scratch disk; a certain amount of System and Users disk activity occurs with Photoshop regardless of where the image file is located so making those drives as fast as possible helps. This is particularly evident with larger image files which tend to generate page swapping even with large amounts of installed RAM.

This is why I'd like to see 15k internal startup disks/Users disk in a direct interface like SAS without the limitations of having to go through a pci controller card. As you point out, the Xserve could function in that regard, but I'd rather see this as a BTO in the Mac Pro.

----

I don't know as if 4 x Raptor scratch is ideal or better than 4 x Cheetah or Atlas; the Read speed falls off dramatically which is just as critical in PS scratch disk performance as Write speed. My understanding is SCSI features and better-balanced I/O still make a Cheetah or Atlas a faster and better performer overall.

TZ
10-22-2006, 02:22 PM
Boots,

A couple reviews have come out already, but it isn't available to order (yet, suppose to be "October" ie, any day now). Xeon Server (http://www.macgurus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22355)

Any rough feedback or estimates to draw from? Table or spreadsheet?

500MB RAW file with 2GB RAM and 4-drive RAID (200MB/sec say)
vs.
Same file with 4/6/8GB RAM and RAID?

I had an idea that there was a point of "diminishing returns." What I find hard to believe is how many (Mac Pro) owners are of the school "2GB is enough" or that having an "extra" 4GB (ie, 5-6GB installed) won't help.

If they don't see pageouts, then it doesn't need more memory. And "free" = not used, which isn't true.

If the OS + CS2 needs/uses 3.5-4.5GB RAM, then the question would be:

Does the addition of RAM or scratch RAID benefit the most?

Obviously I weigh in on RAM first, and I really like higher rpm drive with deeper I/O queue and excellent random access characteristics.

Or is sequential more important or not?

I really liked those 15K boot drives, even if they are/were slower than the current 10K Raptors.

Even though my three 7.2K drive RAID shows 175MB/sec r/w in multiple tests through a good range of zones and tracks, it just ain't the same. However, the noise of more Raptors might drive me crazy (they can have high-pitched "hum" at times).

The Single-user performance in the review of the 15K.5 leads me to wonder if - and the drive is still too new to find everywhere, let alone in SAS format - whether it is ready, or wait 6 months. The Maxtor 15K II will be EOL and gone next month.

no SAS version yet... The 15k.5 performance out side of STR is pretty underwhelming. I guess it would be for streaming video but other then that it looks just slow.

SAS cables? (http://forums.storagereview.net/index.php?showtopic=23605&hl=)
Seagate Cheetah X15.5 review (http://www.storagereview.com/articles/200609/ST3300655LW_1.html)

Some LSI/ATTO results (http://forums.storagereview.net/index.php?showtopic=23323&pid=235320&st=0&#)

unclemac
10-22-2006, 10:31 PM
Worked on exaclty one SAS box so far: Sun X4100. It is a 24/7 web server running Winders 2003 Server R2 (not my idea!). Did not bench anything, but with several veteran IT types touching it, our overall impression at drive quickness was: Wow!

Just two 2.5" Fugitsu 10K drives mirrored on the on-board LSI controller. "Feels" quicker than 10K SCSI U320 in several other similar servers. The cable is one of those thin (optical??), fitted, semi-rigid ribbon cables you would see in a laptop. Just googled for SAS cables and was totally confused by all the options available.

Looking forward to them in the new Xserves.

Boots
10-23-2006, 09:31 AM
Any rough feedback or estimates to draw from? Table or spreadsheet?

This Photoshop testing is a tough and elusive subject, so many variables to account for.

I found for instance, the scratch data caching-in-RAM feature of CS2 causes inconsistent results with PshopTest2 as currently 'programmed' with more than 4GB RAM installed. To get consistent results, I had to insert a 10-15 second pause between each test step to allow the system to fully optimize the scratch data before proceeding to the next step. This shaves 20% off a test score!

It's either that or averaging results over 4 or more test runs. But I wanted to get the almost precise repeatability in results prior to installing more than 4GB RAM or using CS instead of CS2.

Then there's the OS vm 'bug' or 32bit 4GB address limitation problem which affects Photoshop by slowing it down when more than 4GB RAM is installed. The improvement we see with the 10.4.8 system update appears to address other issues, not this one. Adobe's "Disable VM Buffering.plugin" effectively disables the caching of scratch data in RAM but does not eliminate the system's vm 'problem' for Photoshop:

PhopTest2* with 4GB RAM installed, scratch on Startup, 512MB testfile: 65s
PhopTest2* with 16GB RAM installed, scratch on Startup, 512MB testfile: 75s

Yet, it is clear when working larger files, larger amounts of installed RAM make a big positive difference, and therefore makes Photoshop 'faster' in that context:

PhopTest2* with 4GB RAM installed, scratch on Startup, 1536MB testfile: 485s
PhopTest2* with 12GB RAM installed, scratch on Startup, 1536MB testfile: 300s

What about Startup drives? It's clear the faster the better. Here are some results from an earlier comparison where no 'caching' pause has been inserted between test steps:

WD740 Raptor 8MB cache, PhopTest2 with 4.5GB RAM installed, scratch on Startup, 512MB testfile: 127s
WD1500 Raptor 16MB cache, PhopTest2 with 4.5GB RAM installed, Scratch on Startup, 512MB testfile: 105s

This comparison shows a really fast scratch disk has little effect with smaller test files:

150GB Raptor Startup, PshopTest2*, 4GB RAM, 4 x Atlas RAID0 scratch disk, 512MB test file: 63s
150GB Raptor Startup PshopTest2*, 4GB RAM, Raptor Startup disk as scratch disk, 512MB test file: 65s

But when working larger files it makes a big difference:

150GB Raptor Startup, PshopTest2*, 4GB RAM, 4 x Atlas RAID0 scratch disk, 1536MB test file: 267s
150GB Raptor Startup PshopTest2*, 4GB RAM, Raptor Startup disk as scratch disk, 1536MB test file: 485s

Bring the installed RAM up to 12GB and you can see the scratch data caching adds dramatically to the gains of the fast scratch disk:

150GB Raptor Startup, PshopTest2*, 4GB RAM, 4 x Atlas RAID0 scratch disk, 1536MB test file: 267s
150GB Raptor Startup, PshopTest2*, 12GB RAM, 4 x Atlas RAID0 scratch disk, 1536MB test file: 193s

The RAM-caching of scratch data has an even more pronounced effect on larger test files with a large amount of installed RAM:

150GB Raptor Startup, PshopTest2*, 4GB RAM, 4 x Atlas RAID0 scratch disk, 3GB test file: 1010s
150GB Raptor Startup, PshopTest2*, 16GB RAM, 4 x Atlas RAID0 scratch disk, 3GB test file: 474s

*'caching' pause inserted in test steps

So in a very real sense, the user has some choices which they can make based somewhat on their workflow:

For PPC and Tiger, If they work smaller files only with minimal or default History setting, use a fast Startup disk and a separate "Image file" or "Users" disk. Leave the scratch on the Startup drive, put the image on the second drive. Bringing the RAM to 4GB will probably be best; no fast or separate scratch disk really needed:

PshopTest2, 4.5GB installed RAM, 74GB Raptor 8MB cache Startup drive and 250GB WD2500JS Caviar SE on internal mobo SATA, image on Raptor, scratch on Caviar SE, 512MB test file: 126s
PshopTest2, 4.5GB installed RAM, 74GB Raptor 8MB cache Startup drive and 250GB WD2500JS Caviar SE on internal mobo SATA, image and scratch on Caviar SE, 512MB test file: 126s
PshopTest2, 4.5GB installed RAM, 74GB Raptor 8MB cache Startup drive and 250GB WD2500JS Caviar SE on internal mobo SATA, scratch on Raptor, image on Caviar SE, 512MB test file: 123s


For Intel and Rosetta, I have no test data but it sounds as though 6GB installed RAM would be ideal currently for CS2 and smaller file work.

For larger file work, a faster scratch disk- probably your 4 x Raptor 16MB cache RAID0 (more efficient and cost effective than 4 x 15k SCSI), coupled with a standard fast Startup volume and 8+GB RAM. My tests show with PPC, 8-12GB RAM is the sweet spot; after that the gains fall off dramatically.


I had an idea that there was a point of "diminishing returns." What I find hard to believe is how many (Mac Pro) owners are of the school "2GB is enough" or that having an "extra" 4GB (ie, 5-6GB installed) won't help.

If they don't see pageouts, then it doesn't need more memory. And "free" = not used, which isn't true.

Ideally you give CS2 at least the max it can handle which is 4GB, and then some.


If the OS + CS2 needs/uses 3.5-4.5GB RAM, then the question would be: Does the addition of RAM or scratch RAID benefit the most?
Obviously I weigh in on RAM first, and I really like higher rpm drive with deeper I/O queue and excellent random access characteristics.


I'm with you on that- RAM first, then give yourself a faster Startup disk. For big-file work the fast scratch disk makes a big difference. It runs Photoshop filters and operations quicker and saves files quicker, and if you use it as a Work Disk in addition to Scratch disk, it opens files quicker.


Or is sequential more important or not?

I don't know. For me, the many variables of drive I/O are difficult to understand and interpret as to their effect on actual performance. Another reason to use an actual Photoshop test to make comparisons.

I too was dissapointed to see the so-so SR results with the 15k.5. When I looked more closely at the comparisons, I wondered why I hadn't taken a more serious look at purchasing the Fujitsu MAU3147 in the first place. It seems to best the Atlas 15k II in every respect.

Yesterday I started looking at SAS cables, backplanes, converters etc. Like you say Unc, very confusing indeed! I still have no clue how that fellow actually did his mod on the Mac Pro. But they say SAS will become much more prevalent in the next few years..

ftonelli
10-23-2006, 11:50 AM
Wow! Guys, thank you for the great replies.

I found especially usefule the comparisons on Boots' last post.

I am thinking about postponing the purchase of the MacPro and invest some money on a RAID 0 and fast HD system.

I might start with a 4Bay Port Multiplier Enclosure ($408) + a hostcard ($ ??? not sure which one I need) to connect it to my G4 Dual 1.25Ghz.
Plus buy a second Raptor 74GB ($213) , a second Hitachi 250GB ($105) and 2 Hitachi 500GB ($ 265 x 2).

Then I will keep my OS on the current Raptor 74GB
Mount the second Raptor 74GB inside the G4 instead of the Hitachi 250GB and set it as a dedicated Scratch Disk as Rich suggested.
Then mount the 2 Hitachi 250GB inside the Enclosure and set them as RAID 0 for my User and work files.
Keep the two Hitachi 500GB as my new back up, since my two LaCie FW800 500GB are full.

OR

I could buy two Raptors 150 instead of a second Hitachi 250GB, keep my users in my current Hitachi 250GB, and set up the two new Raptors 150 as Scratch and work files.

Will I need any additional hardware or software to set up the RAID?

In any case, I hope to get an improvement in opening and saving my files and once I have enough money for a MacPro and all the needed RAM, I'll still be able to use and expand the investement above.

Thanks for all the info and I will keep reading your posts and the links to barefeats to learn more and more.

Ciao,

Francesco

TZ
10-23-2006, 01:01 PM
I would only caution that you keep in mind the Mac Pro is 250% faster than a tricked out "Jazzbo" G4 MDD 1.42DP.
http://db.xbench.com/merge.xhtml?doc1=197730&doc2=196495

Boots
10-23-2006, 03:18 PM
Ditto what TZ says.

And compare my G5 Quad results with Kaye's Dual G5 2.7 results as well. (http://www.macgurus.com/forums/showpost.php?p=95774&postcount=52)

Unfortunately, we have no comparable PshopTest2 results with G4's. But suffice to say you won't even get in the same ball park as the G5's and Mac Pro- even with massive RAID0, fast drives, and max RAM.

All things considered, the Mac Pro would put you in a much better position now and for the future.