View Full Version : Raid Set up for MacPro

04-05-2007, 05:50 AM
Hi Everyone,

I know there has been a lot of writing on this subject and I read each post with interest.

But now that I am about to finally upgrade from my old and faithful G4 to a MacPro, I would like to fine tune my set up options. My main use is Photoshop CS3 and Lightroom. I use SoftRaid 3.6

In my G4 I have enjoyed the benefits of separating OS and Users, but on the new MacPro I am leaning towards a different set up. Here are my first 2 questions:

1. Would it be overkill for the BUS of the MacPro to do this set up:
- Standard OS set up with boot + users + applications = 2x150GB raptors RAID 0
- Work disk x working images = 2x500GB Hitachi (or other brand) RAID 0
- Photoshop Scratch = 2x74GB Raptors RAID 0

2. if I set up two RAID 0 internally (in the 4 available trays) is it better to link 1 HD from BUS 1 and 1 HD from BUS 2 for each of the two RAIDs?

I know that testing is the only way to really know and that there are more than one good solution, but I would love to hear your suggestions and ideas. I can be flexible on the type of drive to use.

Thank you and I look forward to reading you.


04-05-2007, 08:10 AM
raid 0? I hope you have a good backup strategy.

04-05-2007, 08:25 AM
I use RAID 0 al the time. However, for your setup, the 10K Raptor as boot drive and then use your other three drives as needed.

All drives are independent, there is no shared bus for drives (SuperDrive, but that is IDE).

You can go to 6 internal drives easily and use native SATA ports, making it possible to put one 10K Raptor under the SuperDrive area and run 4 x 500GB drives if you want, or something else or some mix.

Best idea is to read through Boots Photoshop Guide and test utility, and the setups that he and kaye and others have posted.

The first thing concern is RAM - and backups.

Is this 'soon' or after CS3 and Leopard (summer)?

04-05-2007, 09:20 AM
I am building a MacPro system for a Photoshop hardware article. Well, I have it built, just need to write the article. In my 'ideal' system I picked some hardware to make things fly.

Before we can define the hardware though, we have to define 'ideal'. The biggest problem is that ideal is a point with an infinite variety of answers dependent on each user, particularly with Photoshop. The variables are infinite, the hardware and software configurations are virtually infinite. At least an uncountable number of variations. Every last Photoshop user works his photos differently, his photos are also different, his storage capacity, quantity and individual picture sizes is different. The number of pictures an hour that he works on is vastly different. The types of operations he performs on those pictures is infinitely variable.

The best that we can do is pick a target and hope it fits more users than it doesn't. And right from the beginning, we all need to accept that the logic used to build the system is probably valid, but that ANY user can find logic and supporting results to justify changing any or all of the setup. There is no perfect answer. None at all. There are wrong answers though. Which means it may be better to define what we don't want to do. Risking the data is probably first priority of what not to do.

Anyway, back to the system we built here. Pretty simple really. And the MacPro is just screaming to be setup this way.

Ram is Ram, put what you can. 8 Gig is probably a good common denominator for large file sizes today.


Drive 1 and Drive 2 are both partitioned similarly. We used 500 GB drive for these.

Drive 1 has a 100 GB partition (the outer fast partition) for the OS and a 400 GB partition used to backup drive 2.

Drive 2 is the reverse. It has a 400 GB partition(the outer fast one) for User data and **Applications** other than those installed by the OS installer. It has a second partition for a once a week backup of the OS drive. We use SyncronizeProX (www.qdea.com) for our backup utility. There are several other utilities that are good (CHronoSync, DejaVu, etc.)

**Any application that doesn't demand to be installed in the /Applications folder reside on drive 2

Drive 3 and 4 are 74 GB Raptors in a RAID0 for scratch.

For photo storage we then attach a Port Multiplier enclosure with a setup that keeps the data files on one set of drive(s) backed up to another. This is entirely dependent on how big the file storage capacity needs to be. It can be a 2 bay, drive 1 backed up top drive 2. Or it can be a pair of 8 bays, each in a RAID0, one backed up to the other.

Fast, simple, reliable as all get out. And redundant in all locations. Use the internal storage for best purpose. Use the external for all data.

Spreading the drive access up by using all the available channels all the time is the biggest enhancement you can make to a photoshop machine. Every internal drive will be actively working all the time, and doing only one thing at a time. Drive 1 running the OS, drive 2 running the application, drive 3 and 4 doing scratch and the external drive or RAID moving the photo data. All those are independent and with full 100% bus availability.


04-06-2007, 04:57 AM
Thank you so much Rick and TZ!

I didn't know you could fit more than 4 HD on the MacPro. And I didn't know each HD had its own BUS. Cool.

I am planning to buy CS3 as soon as it comes out. And I am pretty close to buying the MacPro too. I might just wait to see if 8 processors are worth it for Photoshop. So I might wait a month or two to read some tests and opinions and maybe wait for Leopard too so I do all installing one time. Of course RAM will be at least 8GB.

I had read Boots Photoshop Guide and benefit tremendously in my current G4 set up together with Rick's OS/Users separation. I can't wait for Boot to have a chance to update the guide for MacPro and CS3.

Regarding OS/User separation: I did it succesfully on my G4, but I was wondering if there are any updated guidelines to perform the same operation on a MacPro and eventually on Leopard.

Rick's simple and clear set up might be the way I end up going, since it is very similar to what I already use on my G4. But I am curios to hear from Boots since in his Photoshop Guide he seemed to have the best results from a RAID0 WD/SD.

Thank you for all your ideas and information. This is a great forum!



04-06-2007, 09:17 AM
You're welcome. Look forward to hearing how you set it up.

Personally, I wouldn't recommend putting hard drives in locations inside the MacPro that Apple didn't engineer. Never liked the practice, especially since the only irreplaceable part on your computer is the data. Risking overheated drives seems, well, risky. I am not all that sure that the 4 standard mounting brackets Apple gives you are all that cool running. The MacPro doesn't move much air, I would not be surprised if those drives run higher temps than we would ever allow in a Burly. Putting drives in nooks and corners where they get even less airflow doesn't seem all that wise to me.

When you move into the MacPro, the cool part of having already moved your Users is that you just carry USers over to the MacPro. The MacPro cannot use the system out of the POwerPC computer. It can use your Users Directory intact though. You literally can carry the drive from one computer to the next, go into NetInfoManager and redirect your user to that drive, and voila, you will have your user.


04-09-2007, 07:00 AM
When you move into the MacPro, the cool part of having already moved your Users is that you just carry USers over to the MacPro. The MacPro cannot use the system out of the POwerPC computer. It can use your Users Directory intact though. You literally can carry the drive from one computer to the next, go into NetInfoManager and redirect your user to that drive, and voila, you will have your user.


Thanks Rick,

What you say makes sense. I will stay away from more than 4 HD internally.

Cool that I can move the Users as they are. I assume I would need to copy them to a new HD formatted to work with the Intel MacPro.

Would I need to copy also all my current SATA back-up drives to Hard Disks formatted for Intel? Or is that necessary only for the OS HD?

Also, when copying all data from one HD to another is it best to use the drag and drop from the finder or other software like CCC or Restrospect?

Lastly, I have a 1 year old Raptor 74GB. If I buy another one now, would it still work well to pair a s a RAID or is it going to be an upgraded model not exactly identical to mine?



04-09-2007, 07:32 AM
SATA drives run pretty cool. And Hardware Monitor will tell you what they are. Google and MIT did a study on hard drive failures, looked at lots of stuff. Age and if a drive was using its spare blocks was more important.

It is harder to find the older 74GB drive which is what you would need. Or just go with the newer model. The 150s have dropped in price.

SuperDuper is one of the most reliable. There is a whole thread on Backups.

Even if you don't need or plan to boot from your backup (if you did you would have to reformat to GUID) it is still a good idea.

04-09-2007, 07:39 AM
Thanks TZ!

I will reformat to GUID.


04-09-2007, 09:33 AM

You can just move the drive over and set the UserIDs in NetInfoManager just like you did when you moved to the G5. All we do here when we move to a new computer is grab a copy of the User drive from the last computer we were on and put it in the new computer and point to it with NetInfoManager. We have to do this often as we all move from computer to computer all the time. You don't have to reformat if you don't want to. This worked perfectly moving to the MacPro.

Last time I did it, I attached a 3Ware SideCar RAID5 enclosure to the G5 I was currently on, formatted it and copied my User Directory to the 3Ware volume (I use SyncPro for that copy since it gets it right every time). Then I removed the 3Ware and installed in on the new MacPro. Pointed to it as my User directory and have been running there ever since.

As you already know, the hard part is making sure all the users have the Same User ID on each machine when you move the drive.


Alan Klement
04-09-2007, 08:53 PM
Drive 1 has a 100 GB partition (the outer fast partition) for the OS and a 400 GB partition used to backup drive 2.

ricks, how do I define a partition has an outer or inner partition?


04-10-2007, 07:44 AM
Partitions go from "Untitled 1.... n" is from outer to inner.