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MacPro update question (advice)
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Doc HM
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Jul 30, 2016, 08:00 AM
 
Got a clients 2012 MacPro and they want to bump everything up on it. It was a BTO 12 core so it's got some heft to it still.
We are bumping the RAM to 32GB so that's taken care of.
Will be running 10.11.6
They want storage with a capital S. Thought 1 was to stick 4 4TB drives in it and RAID them together to create a single disk with their NAS drive doing backup duties. However 4TB hdd's are not that fast. So, do we split the drives.

Am undecided between the simple big option above or...
An SSD for boot and apps and a separate RAIDed disk with the other 3 bays, or a fusion drive style setup with an SSD in bay 1 fused with a 3TB disk in bay 2 and 3 and 4 joined for separate storage, which is a bit more complex to manage day to day.

What do people here think.
The boot/apps SSD would certainly make it "snappy"

The user is a photographer so the main storage requirement is for large (very) image files that are generally not used that often but need to be stored locally, ie not on removable disks and coped when needed.

??
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reader50
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Jul 30, 2016, 11:24 AM
 
I bought Toshiba 5TB drives for storage during my last upgrade. 7200 RPM, and among the lower prices per TB. BlackMagic speed test benched them 200-220 MB/s at the beginning of the drives, presumably giving 100-110 MB/s at the end (not tested).

If they did a boot SSD + 3 HDs in RAID 0, I'd expect sustained transfer rates above 300 MB/s. With most of the storage volume above 400.

newegg puts the 5TB ones around $160 and the 6TB ones around $200 today.
( Last edited by reader50; Jul 30, 2016 at 11:49 AM. )
     
P
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Jul 30, 2016, 12:47 PM
 
IMO, an SSD for boot and apps and then the other drives in a single array - JBOD or RAID0. You can put the SSD in the second optical slot and use all four "drawers" for 3.5" HDDs. Note that Apple in their wisdom removed the GUI for making RAID arrays in El Cap, but it can still be done from the terminal.

There are a few other weird ways to achieve the same thing, but SSDs are cheap enough these days that it makes no sense to go with anything else.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Aug 1, 2016, 09:08 PM
 
If you want it fast, use one of those PCI SSDs from OWC. I've installed one in just that Mac Pro and it sings nicely. Not cheap for the 1TB option but a nice piece of kit.

I assume you are aware that the Apple RAID card (if thats what you are using) doesn't officially support non-Apple drives? They tend to complain a lot too. I haven't had one lose data yet but they are always flagging errors and rebuilding themselves, even with the supported Apple drives.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
P
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Aug 2, 2016, 04:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
I assume you are aware that the Apple RAID card (if thats what you are using) doesn't officially support non-Apple drives? They tend to complain a lot too. I haven't had one lose data yet but they are always flagging errors and rebuilding themselves, even with the supported Apple drives.
Did not know that, but the RAID card is only required for RAID 5. If he only wants RAID 0 (or 1), that can be done in software.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Doc HM  (op)
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Aug 2, 2016, 08:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Did not know that, but the RAID card is only required for RAID 5. If he only wants RAID 0 (or 1), that can be done in software.
Either RAID 0 or JBOD. RAID would be faster and since all the disks are same size I guess that makes most sense.

Have always found Apple's RAID card to be more trouble than it's worth.
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Mike Wuerthele
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Aug 2, 2016, 12:41 PM
 
DocHM, there are PCI-E cards that will substitute for the SAS connector that the MP has on the motherboard, giving the SATA backplane SATA-3 speeds instead of SATA-2. Not bootable, but very, very fast.

That, coupled with a striped RAID of some sort is your ticket.

Upgrade Your Mac Pro’s Internal Bays to SATA 3.0 | Other World Computing Blog
     
Doc HM  (op)
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Aug 2, 2016, 04:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
DocHM, there are PCI-E cards that will substitute for the SAS connector that the MP has on the motherboard, giving the SATA backplane SATA-3 speeds instead of SATA-2. Not bootable, but very, very fast.

That, coupled with a striped RAID of some sort is your ticket.

Upgrade Your Mac Pro’s Internal Bays to SATA 3.0 | Other World Computing Blog
Nice. But for 2006-0 MP's. Client has a 2012 model.

Will see if anything similar is out there
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reader50
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Aug 2, 2016, 04:41 PM
 
Interesting link, I hadn't been aware of it.

Beware that it covers upgrading a 1,1 through 3,1 while Doc is working on a 5,1 MP. The upgrade can be done, but not entirely through the backplane - read the comments there about 1/4 of the way down. "Charles" gives the plan and parts list for doing this on a MP 2009 or later.

You have to replace the sleds with adapter versions that take power from the backplane, but allow room for a 90º SATA data cable, which is then routed to the card. Since you're using standard internal SATA cables (not SAS any more), you can choose any SATA card with enough internal ports. Especially, you can get one that's bootable.
     
P
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Aug 2, 2016, 06:21 PM
 
If the plan is to stay on HDDs, there is little gain in upgrading the SATA connectors for them. PCIe SSD, but if you can't boot from it, that idea is pretty much dead to begin with.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
reader50
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Aug 2, 2016, 07:15 PM
 
P found the obvious. HDs have yet to saturate a SATA-II 3Gbps link. Specs for the biggest drives (all 7200 RPM):

HGST Ultrastar He10: 237 MB/s (249 MB/s base 10)
Seagate Barracuda Pro 10TB: 220 MB/s (base 10)
WD Gold 10TB: 249 MB/s (base 10)

Since SATA-II can do 275 MB/s, current HDs cannot benefit.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Aug 3, 2016, 07:38 AM
 
For some reason, I missed the 5,1 part.
     
Doc HM  (op)
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Aug 3, 2016, 11:40 AM
 
So

Am going to put a 256GB SSD in the second optical bay and boot from that and then RAID 0 4x 3TB drives in the main bays for the bulk storage. 12TB seems a good enough amount.

Ditto 12TB in the Netgear Ready NAS for backup and to act as a temp store of scans from his other iMac which runs his Nikon scanner which needs 10.4.11 at the newest OS.

Sounds like a plan
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Doc HM  (op)
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Aug 3, 2016, 11:43 AM
 
Fitted a 4TB SSD to a customers 2013 MacPro yesterday. That was fun. It's fast as well!
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reader50
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Aug 3, 2016, 04:04 PM
 
Did you already have the 3TB drives on hand? 2x 6TB would give the same result, and 5-8TB drives have the best price-per-TB lately.

During my last HD upgrade, I paid a little more for bigger drives to minimize my drive count. The noise factor - fewer drives meant lower background noise.
     
OreoCookie
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Aug 3, 2016, 10:08 PM
 
I second reader's recommendation. That will also give you the option to upgrade storage in the future.
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Doc HM  (op)
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Aug 13, 2016, 02:05 PM
 
went with a 256GB SSD in optical bay2 and 3x6TB drives configured as RAID0 in bays 1 to 3 with bay 4 left for future purposes.
Lifted RAM from 8GB to 32GB

TBH it seems pretty darn fast now. RAIDing the drives rather than having a simpler JBOD config means it reads and writes his photo files pretty swiftly

Time machine backup of the SSD and the RAID drives to a 12TB Netgear NAS box.

Should last a few years.
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