View Full Version : MacPro Ultimate Raid Setup

09-08-2008, 12:58 PM
After being stuck with 3-year old MBP for quite a while, I realized that it no longer satisfies my Photoshop and Final Cut needs, forcing me to order MacPro. After reading all of the tutorials on your website I have a couple of questions on the most efficient utilization of the system. I have ordered a raid card from Apple, and waiting to order 4 Velociraptors-2 once they become available and here are a couple of questions I have:

1. Is it better to set it up as 2 separate stripped raids with two hard drives each, or 1 stripped raid with 4 hard drives.
2. What will be the best way to arrange user directory, user files, application folder:
a. Just utilizing the four available slots with raid setup?
b. Install a separate 5th Velociraptor for the user directory and startup, considering that raid-0 is not advantageous (I may be wrong)? While keeping apps on the stripped raid?
c. Install a separate ssd for the start-up, user directory and apps? Or a stripped array of two ssd’s?
3. No external scratch disk are planned in the nearest future, only external back up.

The stripped raids will be backed up to external array, so it is not of a problem and the overall system performance is of primary concern. I am looking for the best performance considering the 6 ports available within Mac Pro, without using any external scratch disks.

Thank you for your time and attention.

09-08-2008, 03:07 PM
Welcome to the forums. Great place to hang out.

Sorry to say I would skip the Apple RAID card. It is especially costly and not especially fast. The only possible setup that gains from a hardware RAID setup is to operate a RAID5 or other parity RAID which requires a lot of processing. RAID0 requires almost none and is actually faster in software than in any hardware RAID I have ever tested. Well, many of the high end hardware RAID cards will get pretty much the same performance from a RAID0 as software. Makes it hard to justify the cost of the hardware RAID card. And the overhead from the software RAID is about equal to the overhead from the typical hardware RAID utility, which runs all the time that the RAID is running. So system overhead is also a push.
My preferred power setup for Photoshop is:

Drive 1 and 2 contain OS, Applications and user data as well as cross backups of each.

Drive 3 and 4 are a RAID0 for scratch disk. I use a pair of 74GB Raptors for that.

All my data is external in a pair of matching RAID0 arrays, one backed up to the other.

Are there other ways that will work as fast or faster? You bet. Every photo guy uses his computer different and has different data storage needs, file sizes and chosen editing procedures. There is almost an unlimited number of variables here. Variety being the spice of life, I love hearing new setups, which I can then try and measure. I can only measure against my own set of operating variable though.

It is impossible to find "One right answer/setup that works for everyone"

We are all pretty open minded around here. We will all gladly discuss how to get more speed until all hours of the night :^)