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Old March 30th, 2012, 12:26 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Austin, TX
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RAID and SSD options for Mac Pro

Hi, I've been researching this for a while here and wasn't finding the exact info I was looking for - and also I know things change as new products come up - so I figured I'd start over and describe what I'm looking for.

I have a quad core Intel Mac Pro with an Intel 2.66 processor and maxed out on RAM. I currently have two 2 TB Hitachi Deskstars installed and no RAID system. I run the FCP suite and will probably switch to Adobe products as well this year. From what I understand, for performance and backup issues I should probably install an SSD as a boot disk and a RAID system. I believe this will require buying two more Hitachis and an SSD drive? Is this correct and does anyone have any recommendations about what to buy and also how to set this system up? This is a home office environment. Performance is obviously very important, but cost is not irrelevant, so looking for the best bang for my buck basically.

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Old March 31st, 2012, 02:59 AM   #2
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Re: RAID and SSD options for Mac Pro

An SSD for your system disk is purely optional for running any NLE software. Aside from rather fast program boots nothing is substantially different while you edit in FCP or any Adobe video products aside from possibly After Effects. Programs that utilize scratch disks, Photoshop for example, will see a performance boost when working with large images with an SSD, but in general for video, speed gains are found in the CPU processors, the video board and the drives the video files live on. A RAID for example. However these days a single SATA drive has plenty of speed for standard HD editing. Especially now that mastering directly to tape is becoming a thing of the past.

I would skip the expensive SSD and only consider a RAID if you plan to do bandwidth heavy tasks like multi cam editing or are looking for reliable automated backup options (RAID 1 or 5). Consider a better video board for your MacPro if it has the stock board. I recently upgraded the stock board in my MacPro and that really boosted FCPX and AfterEffects.
William Hohauser - New York City
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Old March 31st, 2012, 11:44 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
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Re: RAID and SSD options for Mac Pro

I run a similar system, except have a raid 1 on 2x 1tb drives and recently purchased an SSD.

The SSD cost me an arm and a leg, but is amazingly quick. I have the main OS on this, cuts down the time opening apps and running system tasks in the background. I keep all my video media on the Raid, as protection - my mac travels a lot.

There are many different options, most of which are six of one and half a dozen of another.... If your OS and media are on the same drive the first thing I'd recommend is putting your OS on another drive. I have the SSD for that. I would also recommend raid 5 over raid 1 and a raid 5 or 1 over a raid 0. Have a look into External raids, the apple raid card vs software raid and things like that.

I'm halfway there with my rig, but here's what I'm doing:
512gb Cruticial M4 SSD for OS X
Raid 1 1tb (2x 1tb drives) internal software raid - stock, music, caches, etc.
Raid 5 8tb (4x 2tb drives) external hardware raid eSata - projects, media, videos, masters
Raid 1 2tb (2x 2tb drives) external hardware raid FW800 - Archive, Time Machine, Backups

With your current system and what you were asking you might need to buy, you can raid 1 your 2x 2tb drives without needing any additional hardware, OS X has a built in raid utility - albeit not as good as a hardware raid I have not had any issues with it so far.
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