View Full Version : 4 x 500GB Drives in a Mac Pro

07-28-2007, 08:14 AM
Hello Gurus.

I found this forum while searching for suggestions on setting up a striped RAID in a Mac Pro for an increase in performance. I have read a lot about hard drives being the performance bottle neck in today's Macs. I have read a lot of threads here and there are some great ideas but many contrasting views.

In a couple of months I will be upgrading from my G5 to a Mac Pro. I have already purchased 4 x MaXLine Pro 500Gb drives for it. I am looking for suggestions on how to set these up. I am looking to increase Photoshop performance. The file size I am working on is generally 50MB up to a maximum of 500MB. I already have a 250GB and 300GB external drives for backup (which I do regularly) plus what ever drive ships in the new Mac. In my G5 I have all my photos and video on a second internal drive.

I have read posts by ricks about his setup with 100GB and 400GB partitions on two internal drives, backed up to each other. I think this is a very clever idea. Is this the best way for me to go? How would I set up the other two drives? How would I be best to set up Photoshop scratch?

Any help is greatly appreciated. I look forward to your replies.


07-28-2007, 08:39 AM

Welcome. Have you looked in the Graphics Studio and read the Photoshop Acceleration Guide? (http://www.macgurus.com/forums/%3C?php%20echo%20'http://homepage.mac.com/boots911/.Public/PhotoshopAccelerationBasics2.3.pdf)

I like the 10K Raptor 150GB as boot drive. And use the OEM drive as backup. I then use two drive RAID for user data, the home directory and all media files.

You could stripe 3-4 drives (such as the four you have) and make it "everything" - your boot drive and scratch and data, and backup constantly.

I would wait 12 weeks before ordering any Mac Pro. Maybe for Leopard at this point in time. You don't need the Radeon X1900, but nice to have, and yet the Apple Store (not BTO but Displays -> graphics cards) is showing "7-10 week delay" on the Radeon.

There are almost endless number of ways, and no one single 'right way' - and if you are like me, will change and try other setups over time. But for the last year, I have been using Western Digital Enterprise drives. (Use to be Hitachi only).

On the G5, you only have two internal SATA drives, and also, a dedicated boot partition doesn't need to or want 500GB, so making use of the drive that way helps. And we tend to favor keeping the boot volume as just the OS and applications, and keep user data files on another drive.

The MaxLine Pro runs warmer than most. They are march 2006 builds. And they are loud. The Mac Pro is very quiet machine. My one Maxline sounds like an old (early 90s) era or beyond SCSI mechanism. I bought it just to see and because it was dirt cheap (they now go for US$99).

You could put the 4 500GB drives in external and use that for scratch. A 4x controller to drive 4-drives directly or with Port Multiplier even.

An enterprising person can even put 6 SATA drives in a Mac Pro.
Lots of possibilities. (http://www.macgurus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22544)

07-29-2007, 11:25 PM
Hi TZ. Thanks for your reply.

I have read the Photoshop Acceleration Guide. I'll have to have a look in the Graphics Studio and see what I can find. For me, the Raptors are just too much $ for what you get. How ever I set this up, it will be using the 4 drives I already have.

Thanks again.

07-30-2007, 10:01 AM
I personally don't use Raptors because of the cost versus gains. Nice little gain, but paying that much for a 'nice little gain' is counter towards raising kids and paying electric and food bills. ANd counter to my sense of frugality.

So, I like using 500 GB Hitachi drives and RAID where appropriate. I don't consider the OS or my applications and Users drives to be appropriate, so they stay on single drives, separate, but single. And get backed up.

I don't mind at all using a pair of 7200 RPM drives in a RAID for scratch and work disks or for a high speed data disk as long as I have a decent backup. Just don't try using partitions, if you work from 2 different partitions you will get a major slowdown. The heads traveling from one area of the drives to another is the slowest thing on a computer. Making a system where the heads have to travel all the time is a quick way to go slower.


07-30-2007, 11:26 AM
Where I use or suggesting using partitions, they are "dead weight files" so more of a way to insure the boot partition is using the outer 1/3.

I have tried all kinds of setups with Raptor, Raptor RAID, 500GB drive, RAID 500GB.

I've also seen heavy power users that just find nothing compares to Raptor and is a small price for good low latency drive. And nothing else would keep up and feed data, access or write with the same level of performance.

500GB drives though are getting below $150 lately, and more 750GB drives headed to $199 level. But then, if you look, so is the 150GB Raptor. Which really is probably perfect size. Even at 85% full I can't tell that it is any slower than when 15% used.

08-04-2007, 09:48 PM
Well, I've now read heaps more of the stuff on here and I'm more confused than I was to start with. I guess I'll just have to figure it out for myself and do some tests.

I think I'll just stripe all four drives together and see how that goes...