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Movies and Video For people making movies and editing video with their Mac.

SSD vs WD Velociraptor?


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Cableaddict

 
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I'm sure this has been discussed to death, but then technology keeps changing.

I have a new Mac pro 6-core, FCP-X, and am about to install a 6GB/sec esata PCIe card into it.
This one, FWIW: Sonnet Technologies TSATA6-PRO-E4 Tempo SATA Pro 4... in stock at OWC

I can't afford to use SSD for everything, so like most folks I planned on getting a good, small SSD for "current editing" and a fast SATA drive for storage / less important session.

- But I'm looking at the specs of the 1 TB Western Digital velociraptor, and it's fairly impressive. It's 6 GB/sec with an independantly- tested avg read throughput of 164 MB/s
---------------------

The obvious question is, will an SSD give significantly better render times, or are there other bottlenecks which would make the SSD basically a waste of money?

If there is indeed a significant difference, then my next question is: Is it worth getting a PCIe SSD, or is a regular type already faster than the other bottlenecks?

Are there any benchmarks out there?

-thanks
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harryb2448

 
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When I was using Mac Pros, did precisely what you are considering. Used SSD from OWC in Bay 1 as the boot drive, and a Velociraptor in Bay 2 with a cloned backup and Windows 7 running on BootCamp. With an SSD you can expect about sixteen second boot times and immediate responses to your tasks.

The only thing I would add is sufficient memory. Ran my Mac Pros with 16GB for Photoshop and Corel graphics.

Why would you use a 6GB PCI-E card? As the Mac Pro 6 core would be that fast anyway and nothing beats the drives installed in the Mac Pro bays for speed.

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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Cableaddict

 
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Thanks Harry, but I'm not talking about using an SSD boot drive. That won't improve rendering time, unless I'm missing something.

I'm talking about a small SSD drive for editing, vs just using the velociraptor.

-------------

"Why would you use a 6GB PCI-E card? As the Mac Pro 6 core would be that fast anyway and nothing beats the drives installed in the Mac Pro bays for speed."

1: I use the internal drives for other things. (Digital audio.) Plus, they are not NEARLY as fast as a velociraptor. If you meant to say that no external bus will be as fast as the Mac's internal connections, then that's a different story, but all of my internal bays (including the second optical bay) will be filled with other drives. (mostly SSD, to save heat) My video drives HAVE to be external, unless I get that small PCIe SSD.

2: I use primarily external drives for most things, so they are only running / generating heat when I am actually using them. Video editing is an extremely small part of my workflow.

3: I doubt I need a 6GB/sec card, since I'm not using raid-0 or raid-5, but the newest drives are 6 GB rated so what the heck? Plus, the difference in price between a good 3 GB card and a good 6 GB card is only $80, and the new card has a newer chipset & a driver written specifically for Mtn Lion. - I am guessing, but the newest card might still be more efficient / faster even at slower speeds, if you know what I mean. (or maybe more reliable) Maybe it communicates bette with the current SB chip, or maybe it works better with a 64 bit OS, I dunno .....
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Cableaddict

 
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BTW, I recently posted a separate query about am.

Do you think 12 GB is "enough?" That is, 24 or even 48 would not give enough of a cost/performance boost? (I am not a video pro.) If you have a chance and could post your opinion in that other thread, I would be grateful.
How much ram, really?

THANKS !
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harryb2448

 
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My preference has always been for 16GB, in a Mac Pro 8x2GB and curreent iMac 4x4GB

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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Cableaddict

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harryb2448 View Post
My preference has always been for 16GB, in a Mac Pro 8x2GB and curreent iMac 4x4GB
Interesting.

Every tech I've spoken with says that running three modules with a triple memory system is actually faster than 4 modules, even though that might have more total GB. The memory manager in these cpu's is specifically designed to be most efficient when addressing three modules. I was told this by an Apple tech, a Mushkin tech, and an OWC tech.

That's why all modern Intel Mobos have either 6 or 12 ram slots. Apple is, for some unknown reason, using outdated mobos. - Even the guys at OWC say this, and are puzzled by it.

But heck, I dunno.

Do you have any specific info that would contradict this?

And regardless, do you think that for the "average" user, 12 GB could end up being frustratingly low?
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Cableaddict

 
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Does anyone have an answer to my original question?

I badly need to order a couple of new drives, and money's tight. Surely someone has tried both?
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microsnook

 
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I would definitely consider an SSD for a boot drive. The programs launch almost right as you click them. An external SSD would be limited to the connection you provide it. Wouldn't you be limited to the FIREWIRE 800? Those speeds would at best be like 90mb/s so the SSD would be worthless even at 6GB/s. If you just get an external drive that has FIREWIRE 800 or Thunderbolt(not sure mac pro has that*) then a regular HDD would be sufficient, especially a mini RAID0 set up!
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Lightcraftsman

 
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The card you linked in the OP and one of these

eSATA RAID READY Storage Solutions up to 6.0TB Plug & Play OWC Mercury Elite Pro

would be a cost-effective solution.

Add a 3GB/s SSD boot drive and you'll be happy. Paying extra for the 6GB/s SSD won't make any difference in the current Mac Pro as the internal SATA bus is only 3GB/s.

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iggibar

 
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A well maintained SSD, one that hasn't been cluttered with random files, and been cleaned by taking care of those junk files, will always out perform an HDD, no matter what the PEAK speeds of an HDD can be. SSD specs vary GREATLY. Each SSD will do a certain task better. I would go to media forums and ask around there about what those users setup is in regards to performance oriented setups.

If money is really that tight, then this issue should be a non-issue.

What I would tinker with is running 2(or more) Velociraptors, in Raid0, in the stock hdd locations. I'm a fan of Raid0...it's fun

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” Marcus Aurelius
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Cableaddict

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightcraftsman View Post
The card you linked in the OP and one of these

eSATA RAID READY Storage Solutions up to 6.0TB Plug & Play OWC Mercury Elite Pro

would be a cost-effective solution.
Not quite, but that's a very nice enclosure for the money!
Here's why not: It's not a raid enclosure (just raid capable, meaning it recognizes the "port multiplier" protocol, and the card I linked is also not raid capable. - It's just a very good eSata card that is also PM capable.

If I were to go with raid, and I am certainly considering it, I'd want a self-contained TRUE raid enclosure. There are several reasons for this. For one, I happen to need at least 4 free "regular" eSata ports, for general backup drives, and I only have ONE available PCIe slot.

Second, the cheaper raid solutions (both card & enclosure) are not "true" self-contained raid. (There's a name for this, but I forget.) basically, they all use some chip, and this necessitates a proprietary raid format for each unit. If your card or enclosure dies, you might not be able to access your data for a while. If no replacement hardware is available, you could LOSE that data. Don;t believe me? Ask Atto. Ask Adaptec. Ask an Apple tech. They all said the same thing!

I also don't want to do a software raid-0 or raid-5, as this taxes the cpu a bit.

So then you get to this point: If I have to buy an expensive raid card or external raid enclosure, plus a couple of Black caviars or velociraptors, AND I have to buy 2X the size drives I need so they will operate at maximum speed (they drop off drastically when 60% full) would it not be cheaper to just use a single, external SSD?

Ughh, my head ......
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Cableaddict

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightcraftsman View Post
Paying extra for the 6GB/s SSD won't make any difference in the current Mac Pro as the internal SATA bus is only 3GB/s.
Woah! I just checked with OWC, and it seems this is true. (thanks!)

- Although I find it rather puzzling: Why does a PCIe sata III card have to go through the internal Sata II controller? I guess maybe it still has to route through the southbridge? It's extra puzzling because a PCIe SSD card does NOT have this Sata II limitation. (Of this I am sure.)

Well, anyway, maybe now I'll save $100 and get a 3G card instead. That's a tough call, as I might get a new Mac by the end of next year, and those WILL be Sata II capable. Why switch to expensive thunderbolt enclosures if I don't have to?

Man, my head hurts .......


(thanks, all, for the responses)
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Cableaddict

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iggibar View Post
A well maintained SSD, one that hasn't been cluttered with random files, and been cleaned by taking care of those junk files, will always out perform an HDD, no matter what the PEAK speeds of an HDD can be. .
Of course, but very often a system will have various bottlenecks, rendering "the fastest" this or that unnecessary. For instance, did you know that drive speed has almost no bearing on Photoshop performance? Hard to believe, but true.
With Protools (Digital audio) you can do about 60-70 tracks on a single 7200 rpm Sata drive. Switching to the world's fastest SSD will give ZERO performance increase.

I'm looking for such info regarding FCPX.

One new thing I realized, though to partially answer my own original question, is that the 1 TB Velociraptor is probably a bad investment. The reason is that I need to store a lot of data. I looked at the real-world throughput of an almost-full 1 TB Velociraptor to a 3TB Hitachi tat's around 1/3 full, and the throughput was virtually the same! So, I may go that way, temporarily, then some dirt-cheap drives for backup. I could always raid the 3 TB with another late, if needed.

- This also points to another good reason to consider SSD: The throughput stays the same no matter how full, and you can safely use at least 80% of the capacity, vs maybe 50% of a sata drive. - Not to mention reliability. All the 3TB Sata drives seem very prone to failure.


Quote:
Originally Posted by iggibar View Post
I would go to media forums and ask around there about what those users setup is in regards to performance oriented setups.

Well, that's exactly what this thread is for! (g)

It's tough. Most pros are too busy getting the job done to take time for careful benchmarking. making slow progress, though.......
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Cableaddict

 
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HEY, WAIT A MINUTE:

I decided to do a little more checking on that 6G issue. According to the following Bare Feats test, a PCIe eSata card does NOT go through the Mac's Sata II controller, and is NOT limited to 3G:

6Gb/s SSDs on the Mac Pro

They're getting 526 MB/sec, from an external SSD, using a 6Gb eSata card.

The eSata card is giving much better performance than you can hope for from the Mac Pro's internal Sata II bus.

I then went to the Sonnet website, where they CLEARLY state that their eSata card allows full Sata III (6Gb) speed on a Mac Pro.

Lightcraftsman, it seems you were wrong (good news for me) but don't feel bad, as the OWC tech i spoke with thought the same thing.
This is very confusing stuff.
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Cableaddict

 
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FWIW, THIS MAY BE MY NEW PLAN:

I was going to eventually get a 240 GB Accelsior PCIe SSD card, for my primary video / Photoshop editing. These will do ~ 762 MB/sec.

The problem I have is that I only have two free PCIe slots (A Magma Chassis host card goes into the third) and I need at least four independent eSata ports right now for my (slow) backup drives. So the Accelsior would take up my last slot.

I will have at least 2 other SSD drives inside the Mac, for other I-O intensive data like Protools audio and Sampler libraries. The problem there is that they would be limited to the Mac's Sata II buses, and might even have to share a single one if I need a second internal optical drive.

So it just hit me:

I will still get an eSata card with 4 external ports, used solely for backup via my 2 dual docking bays, and using the OS X software raid-1. (This is what I am doing now, except with USB 2.0)

However, instead of the PCIe SSD card, why not get a raid PCIe card that has both internal & external ports? Atto makes one that has 4 of each, 6 Gb capable, for $400. With this card I could eventually have FOUR fast internal SSD's, instead of one ultra fast and three crippled ones. Additionally, I'd have a raid card, in case I need to go raid externally, and I can then use one of those inexpensive enclosures mentioned above.

And finally, since the eSata card would only be used for backup, with four individual cables, (one for each drive) I don' need PM support or 6 Gb speed. A $50 card will do just fine.


The only two downsides I can see are -

1: My main video drive would "only" be around 550 MB/sec, instead of 762. This probably would not bother me, though who knows?

2: I have to find out if this card has "true" non-proprietary raid. However, as I may never need the raid capability this might be moot.


Any thoughts on this?
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