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Old February 12th, 2008, 03:45 AM   #1
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Hard drives for new Mac Pro

OK, my new Mac Pro is scheduled to arrive in 2 days, and I'm still up in the air as to which hard drives to stick in it. I need to make a decision FAST! HELP!!!!!!!!!

I'm not going to be setting up a RAID system to begin with. I'm new at this video editing thing, and thought I'd first get my feet wet with just a couple extra drives (to add to the stock 320G drive that comes with the rig). Currently debating between adding two 750 G Samsung spinpoints (the economical choice, $149 each), or a couple 1TB Hitachi Ultrastars (the reliability choice $320 each).

Having a hard time deciding if the extra money required to purchase the Ultrastars is justified by what I'll be using them for, now, or possibly in the future. So what do you think. Are the 2 drives I mentioned reasonable options to consider? Would you suggest others? Is holding off on a RAID set up until I get some experience, and see what my needs really will be a reasonable decision at this point. Any feedback/suggestions/alternative ideas would be oh SO greatly appreciated.

Just so you have an idea of what I'll be doing with this setup: I'll initially be filming and editing a series of up to ten 1.5 hour long sports instructional DVD's. Hoping once this first endeavor is done, new projects will follow.

Been pulling my hair out over this and have to make my decision in the next day or so. Thank you in advance folks.
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Old February 12th, 2008, 05:35 AM   #2
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If you're not against cheap speed, you could try what I did. I purchased a 300GB ATA drive and stuck it in the spare space where a second DVD drive could go. I made this my startup/applications drive.

This left me with four spare SATA bays inside - which let to me do combinations of even numbers of drives for RAID. For instance, two 250 GB drives totally 500GBs (and twice the speed). Or, since I have four of the same drives, 4x250GB drives in RAID - 4x the speed.

RAID was a piece of cake. Really.

250GB drives are cheap - sounds like you're willing to afford to go bigger, so 4 of the same drive is the best bet.

I've done some very big projects with a 2x250GB drive as RAID, and then 2 spare 250GB drives avaliable - one as scratch, and one as quickbackups.

I've done some heavy 1080P ProRes projects with this setup and I trust it (while still actively backing up manually). Worked very well as a setup for me, and since it's a total of 1TB, not hard to backup. (I have a corresponding 1TB of external storage for a 1:1 ratio backup of all my files). I feel safer being able to have as much storage outside of my comp as inside - for backup purposes.

I really recommend moving yourstarup drive to IDE in the spare bay - makes drive swapping from then on a piece of cake!

I probably don't need to say this, but backup everything, frequently, regardless. RAID just doubles this need, just in case.

Have fun! The Mac Pro is a deam machine.
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Old February 12th, 2008, 08:31 AM   #3
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Janis,
I was in the same boat trying to figure out how to setup my drives. Here is what I decided on. I am a stickler for backing things up all the time, and Leopard has a great program called Time Machine which takes care of this easily to backup just the changed files.

-Stock 320 GB drive for Applications (backed up to a 320GB firewire drive)
-2-500GB Seagate Drives in RAID-0 configuration (Daily backups to an external 1 TB drive)
-320 GB Seagate Drive for music library, and other frequently used assets (also backed up to a 320 GB drive)

I have a whole other system of redundant drives for my footage and project archive but that is how I am taking care of my MacPro. Hope that helps.

BE
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Old February 12th, 2008, 09:25 AM   #4
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I jumped over to Mac about a year or so ago and wanted to know the same thing as you. I researched and researched and unless you are doing ProRes or uncompressed HD you might not really need RAID at all. In fact, many people (myself included) go the following route.

Drive 1: 250GB Mac OS & Apps and Final Cut Project Files --NO MEDIA -- SATA bay #1
Drive 2: 500GB Capture Drive - SATA Bay #2
Drive 3: 500GB Render/Export Drive & Cache - SATA Bay #3
Drive 4: 500GB Media Drive (stock music, graphics, etc) - SATA Bay #4

Plus a handful of external drives for backups and archiving. This way each drive has its own job to do and one drive (or array) isn't jumping all over the platter looking for the files. The music plays off of one drive, the graphics from a different drive, rendered portions of your sequence play from one drive, and the captured footage from yet a different drive. Remember that RAID (as far as I know) doesn't make the seek times any faster, just how fast it plays the file once it gets to it--throughput. However, if you need to playback gigantic HD (uncompressed or ProRes) files, then you'll need RAID. Otherwise for HDV and DVCproHD, this setup has been pretty snappy and easy for me.

When you get Final Cut (as I learned on Lynda.com training site) create a folder called "Final Cut Pro Documents" on each drive and set your Scratch Disks to point to the appropriate drives and Final Cut will automatically create folders for each project you work on. Save your projects to the Mac drive and you'll now have 3 drives all doing their own thing and you won't be placing everything on the fate of one drive array.

p.s. This setup also works well from a work-flow perspective. As you gather assets they start off on the capture drive. As you edit your project and render sequences into final movies they go the render drive. Once the project is done and the check has cleared, the files go out to the archive drive. If a single drive fails there is at least a chance you'll have a shot at rebuilding the project. Also, as the capture drive fills, many times you'll be done with those files and they'll have been consolidated into final movies and you'll be able to clear the captured media.
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Old February 12th, 2008, 04:10 PM   #5
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In the same boat!

Hey guys,

I just ordered my Mac Pro and in the same boat as Janis in terms of selecting drive type and configuration.

Benjamin, Initially When I heard about time machine, I was going to take the route you mentioned. But then I was told that backing up a 1TB of scartch disk to an external drive using time machine will take pretty long time and therefore might not be a practical solution considering backups are made everyday. I'm interested in knowing how is it working out for you? How long does it take you to backup a 1TB date to an enternal drive?

Jeff, the set up you have seems logical. Can you explain little more on your back up procedure. Also what brand and model of 500GB drives are you using?
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Old February 12th, 2008, 04:43 PM   #6
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Christopher, Benjamin and Jeff, thank you very much for the very helpful feedback. That's just what I was looking for.

Christopher, I like your idea of placing the startup/apps drive in second DVD bay,,, opening a 4th drive bay to allow for two pairs. Is it much of a job installing that drive in the DVD bay? Seems I saw some pics of the procedure somewhere, and it involved a bit of disassembly. And, are you doing RAID 0+1? Is that the best option for what I'm doing when I decide to go the RAID route? My reading so far indicates it is.

Benjamin, I'm a fan of backup too. I ordered a Time Capsule to work with Time Machine. My concern with that is if wireless transfer speed will be able to keep up with the work I'll be doing, or if it might gum things up. Figured if it becomes an issue I can just wire it to the Computer,,, it is an option with the Time Capsule. I also plan to do manual backups to an external, in addition to Time Machine.

Jeff, I really like your setup, and the assigning of individual tasks to individual drives. Seems very sensible. I think I'm going to go this route for the time being, leaving a RAID configuration an available option down the road. And I've been told creating partitions within individual drives can provide even additional layers of security and efficient functionality. I placed my order moments ago. I went with three 750g Samsung Spinpoints. The 750's were only $50 more than the 500g's, yet offered a 32 cache and 250 extra gigs of future proofing. Going to set them up similar to your set up, Jeff.
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Old February 12th, 2008, 05:52 PM   #7
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Ram, My backup procedure isn't much of a procedure at the moment I'm afraid. I've been busy and not doing a great job at backing up. I usually work on small projects that are about 6 to 7 minutes in length. I render these out to what I call "master" files and then stick them on an external drive for safe keeping. I also keep them on my "export" drive until I start to run low on space, then the oldest get deleted. Of course I still have copies of those files on my external drive. I also copy project files to the external drives too and keep nothing on my Mac HD. Additionally, I set Final Cut to autosave to my render drive so I have another project file on a different disk if something were to happen to my Mac HD.

Worst case scenario, my Mac HD drive fails. I'd buy a new drive and install the OS and FCP and run updates. Since I have copies of my project files on a different drive and since there is no media on my system drive, I technically wouldn't lose too much. Heck, I could go buy a new computer and just swap drives and install FCP if it was really an emergency. It would suck to rebuild the system if I was under the gun...hence why I need to start backing up.

Oh, I have 2 500GB Samsungs (not sure model#) and 1 Seagate.
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Old February 12th, 2008, 08:47 PM   #8
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RAM, I just got the MacPro yesterday and all my drives and other stuff arrive tomorrow, so I haven't gotten to play yet, but my assumption was that with Time Machine it just backs up what has been changed that day. Initially it would take a while to backup (or everytime I start a new job with a lot of assets) but beyond that it should just backup changed files. This is my assumption as I have not used it yet, but it would seem silly if it backed up the whole thing every day. I had been using Synk prior which worked in the way I described.
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Old February 13th, 2008, 07:43 AM   #9
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Benjamin, thanks for the reply.

If that's the case, then time machine is a great tool, even for a video application backup. No need to have some what complicated Raid 1, Raid 5 setup. I will definatley reconsider time machine as my backup tool. Thanks for the info.
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Old February 13th, 2008, 09:03 AM   #10
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Ram, I will let you know when I get it all up and running. If Time Machine does not do what I think it would do I will continue to use a program like Synk.
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Old February 13th, 2008, 09:09 AM   #11
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http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/timemachine.html

It says Time Machine will just back up changed files after the initial backup. For my setup I will have 3 Time Machine settings to 3 backup drives. 1 for my system drive, 1 for my 1TB RAIDed drives, and 1 for my library drive.
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Old February 13th, 2008, 08:39 PM   #12
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Benjamin, thanks for the info.

Keep us posted with your findings. I can't wait to get my hands on my Mac Pro.

One thing I noticed in your drive set up is that you don't have a dedicated output drive. To which drive are you planning on putting your rendered files?

Also, does anyone know how much of a space a 1-hour self-contanined Qucik time movie export from FCP takes? I'm trying to decide if it is feasible to archieve my finished projects as a Quick time movie. Right now in in my PC/Premiere set up I'm only archieving it in DVDs as AVI files takes lot of space.
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Old February 16th, 2008, 12:47 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janis Williams View Post
Christopher, Benjamin and Jeff, thank you very much for the very helpful feedback. That's just what I was looking for.

Christopher, I like your idea of placing the startup/apps drive in second DVD bay,,, opening a 4th drive bay to allow for two pairs. Is it much of a job installing that drive in the DVD bay? Seems I saw some pics of the procedure somewhere, and it involved a bit of disassembly. And, are you doing RAID 0+1? Is that the best option for what I'm doing when I decide to go the RAID route? My reading so far indicates it is.

It was very easy.. the only issue I have is thay I had no mount for the drive. Others would cringe, but I backup all the time, and as I saw it, it was only my OS and Apps on the IDE drive.

It's easy - open the side of the Mac Pro, slide out the fixture that holds the DVD drive, place the IDE hard disk in the second slot (I put mine on top of a piece of foam with a electric static shock proof sheet), connected the spare IDE connector to the drive and spare power and slid it back in. Voila - the formatted the drive with Disk Utility.

For my SATA drives with RAID it's just a "Striped RAID Set" as Disk Utility calls it.

Oh, and I've done 3 SATA drives in RAID as well, worked fine. Those 750GBs sound great! Good luck!
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Old June 5th, 2008, 11:50 AM   #14
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Thank you.

I was searching for Mac Pro setups and stumbled across this jem of knowledge. Thank you for posting your hardrive setups.

I just purchased a Mac Pro yesterday and was looking for configurations before I ordered my ram and hardrives. This post has saved me money and a lot of headache down the road I would imagine.

I went with Jeff’s hardrive setup. I bought the Mac Pro(2.8) with the 320 and a 500 already installed. I just ordered my 2 extra hardrives(500gb Seagates) and 4gb of ram from OWS. They will arrive tomorrow.

Once again thank you for the information.
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