View Full Version : Configuration for speed for 2009 Mac Pro

thomas mcconville
05-10-2009, 11:09 PM
Hey my Mac friends, well Ive finally decided to lay to rest my loyal Powermac G4 Quicksilver 2002, Im a Pro Photog, so my newer higher resolution cameras have layed waste to this G4 and its useless now for processing files from these cameras.
Im buying the Nahelem Mac Pro 2.26 Ghz.
My main deal is Photoshop, working with files from 30MB to 3 GB, so optimization of the computer will be based on that.

Ive been reading up on the fastest boot drives, best harddrive configurations ect ect, but am still a little unsure about it all, so of course I come here to the Pro's for advice (love ya Ricks).
So with the little knowledge I have on the matter, let me explain the configuration I tentatively have for this Mac Pro.

1#Was thinking of using a single Velociraptor 300GB for boot drive (would 2 raptor 300gb in raid 0 be better, or something else even?).

2#Was thinking maybe using also 2 Raptor 300gb's in raid 0 for scratch disc (that would fill the Mac Pro bays up.

3#I already have a Burly 5 bay sata PM box, which I'm going to use with the Mac Pro, was thinking of using one Raptor 300gb or a Seagate 1TB 7200.12 for working files, the other 4 drives are for backing up and archiving permanent files. (is a Sata drive in a burly box as fast as an internal sata drive in the Mac Pro?).

4# I plan on getting 16GB of ram.

What do you think?:confused:

05-11-2009, 07:38 AM
allow me to start...

1 One raptor = good but Raid0 = bad (in this application) See the OS uses many hundreds of small file transfers (maybe thousands) and that is exactly what a raid0 does NOT do very well. Raid0 is made for sustained throughput not many itty bitty transfers and using a raid0 sometimes/usually actually decreases performance on the boot drive. One fast drive is better.

2 Raid0 scratch disc is very good (or so I am told as I am not a photoshop person at all) Raid0 is not very safe for data so a scratch disc where no data is being stored but HIGH speed is needed is the perfect application of raid0

3 The Seagates are very fast these days and the Raptors are very small (in comparison) use your space as you see fit but Raptors are a premium price and in an external storage in your situation a Seagate BIG drive might be more cost effective. Also I have never heard anyone complain that their storage drive was too big.

4 sweet!

05-11-2009, 09:18 AM
Velociraptors may look good to an IT guy who has to write a check each month for power and air conditioning on a couple thousand hard drives, but for us desktop users the gains are as close to non existent as you can get. Those high priced Velociraptors are made with 2.5 inch hard drives in them. They cost a lot per GB, give only stingy returns on the dollar in performance gains, and save near enough nothing in electricity when only a couple of them are installed.

Stick with the more traditional 3.5 inch drives. Their performance is at least close in all important measurable performance to the Velociraptors. The cost per GB has never been better. And their large size make using their inner slower tracks for backup.

I set up my MacPro with the OS on drive 1, the Users stuff on drive 2, each backed up to the other. Then I use the other 2 slots for scratch and or bootcamp. I had a 2 drive scratch array there for quite a while, worked well, then I had need for a bootcamp drive so I broke the RAID and put XP on one of the drives.

My personal list of the things that I have found speeds up Photoshop is this, placed in what I consider the order that gives best improvement:

1) separate the database to its own drive

2) speed up the database with RAID

3) a separate scratch disk

4) speed up the scratch with a RAID

The list is only relating to storage. Things like more RAM and faster computer are obvious, and both easier and harder to judge. WHatever computer you have, storage acceleration works.

Whether or not you need to add more RAM is EASILY determined by watching Activity Monitor and seeing how often you fill up all the RAM you already have. No hurry on having the ultimate amount of RAM installed, it is easy and relatively inexpensive to add more later.

Congrats on the new speed demon. Like going from a steam powered car to a Ferrari. You have some fun ahead of you!