Creative Communities of the World Forums

The peer to peer support community for media production professionals.

Forums Storage & Archiving Mac Pro: Optimal scratch / data disk setup

  • Mac Pro: Optimal scratch / data disk setup

  • Tommy Rudman

    March 13, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Hey all,

    I’ve recently been running out of space and seen a huge decline in speed on my Mac Pro.

    I use the computer for video editing, audio production, 3d and After Effects rendering.

    My Mac Pro currently has, internally:

    1 x 1TB HDD
    1 x 500GB HDD

    I also have a 1TB external HDD which I have used for backing up in the past.

    What I now want is to get a Solid state scratch disk (or 2), as well as more backup space, but I’m unsure as to the optimal way to go about managing my data storage capacities.

    Here is my idea so far:

    Buy 2 X 250GB Solid state drives, put them in my Mac Pro configured to RAID 0. Use this as a scratch disk to store Media cache, renders, etc.

    buy 1 x 1TB HDD and 1 x 500GB HDD, configuring two 500GB HDDs to RAID 0 and then combining that RAID 0 with 1TB HDD in a RAID 1 configuration.

    This would leave me with 500GB of solid state scratch disk space, 1TB of hard disk storage for archiving long-term (backed up over 2 x 500gb raid 0 disks), and 1TB of space left over for my normal computer usage; applications, etc.

    Any thoughts on this setup idea? I’m having trouble nailing a customised and optimised set up for my needs

    Thank you for your time.

  • Bob Zelin

    March 14, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    Tommy –
    you need a big RAID array. End of story. There are countless companies that advertise right here on Creative Cow, that offer the exact drive array that you need, that will work wonderfully with your Mac Pro. so you can get 8TB, 16 TB, 32 TB, 64 TB, 96 TB, and these can be expandable systems. The only thing on your 1TB boot drive should be your software programs. If you want an SSD (I am assuming that this is an older Mac Pro from before 2012) – get an Other World Computing Mount Pro ($19 dollars) which is a sled for your Mac Pro, and a 480 Gig SSD, and just use that for your software programs. Keep all your media on a big external drive array. There are SO MANY COMPANIES that sell these, and they are bombarding you RIGHT NOW on the banner ads in these Cow forums. Crack open that wallet, and get rid of your aggravation.

    Bob Zelin

    Bob Zelin
    Rescue 1, Inc.

  • Tommy Rudman

    March 14, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    Bob –

    Thanks for your reply, which has certainly moved me forward in the decision-making process, but yet leaves me still a little confused–

    You say at first that I should use my 1TB boot HDD to house my software programs, but then go on to suggest that I buy 1 x 480GB SSD to house them on instead. Are you telling me that SDD, if used at all, is valuable primarily as a boot drive?

    What about a scratch disk? Is that not the best use of an SDD? Can the boot disk also act as a scratch disk?

    And is there any reason why you’d suggest 1 x 480GB SDD over 2 x 250GB SDDs in a Raid 0 configuration for this particular job? Isn’t the latter around 2x faster in its read/write capabilities?

    Are you suggesting that I buy an external Raid array and connect it to my Mac Pro using a PCI Raid controller?

    So many questions, forgive me if the answers are relatively self-evident!

    From what I gather from your post, you suggest:

    1 x 480GB SSD for boot / software (and scratch disk?) use
    External RAID array of HDDs for storage.

    Would this provide me with not only a clean, empty and fast scratch/boot disk from which to operate day-to-day as well as reliable long-term storage?

    Thanks again.

  • Bob Zelin

    March 16, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Oh My God Tommy –
    you can insult me all you want, but I have to respond –

    here is a 480G SSD drive. You use this as your BOOT drive in your Mac Pro with all your software – and NO MEDIA –

    this is $342.50. You get a 480 gig SSD with the Mount Pro sled to put in your Mac Pro. Is that too much money ?

    Now for your storage inside your Mac Pro –

    here is a $170 dollar FOUR Terabyte SATA drive for your scatch disk for all your media. Are you telling me that this is too expensive ?
    If I am wrong, then why don’t you go our at buy THREE of these drives, stripe them together inside the Mac Pro with Apple Disk Utility and you will now have TWELVE TERABYTES of scratch disk space available to you, for the grand total of $510, and you are done.

    Now, you may come back to me and say “do you think I am made out of money ?” – my only response to you is – “exactly how much do you charge your clients for your services”. How much is one visit to the doctor ?

    And if you want to save money on this – forget the SSD – just use this as your boot drive for your Mac Pro –

    so you just saved over $200. I think that 65 dollars is a pretty fair price for a 1TB boot drive to hold all of your software programs.

    Bob Zelin

    Bob Zelin
    Rescue 1, Inc.

  • Simon Blackledge

    March 17, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Pretty much what Bob said

    SSD 1 – OS X Only
    HD for media or get an external raid.

    Here’s the part that will speed stuff up – a lot.

    Install this –

    Point any apps that Cache at this. i.e. > AE / FCPX / Nuke/ Resolve etc…

    Create a folder on it also called /CACHE/AE /CACHE/FCPX etc.. and point the apps to those folders

    Create a folder on it also called /RENDERS and ALWAYS render to this.
    Once renders are complete copy them to you MEDIA drive to the req location.

    Or even set chronosync up to sync hourly from A>B

    Never have anything on an OS drive apart from OS/APPS
    Never render to the same disk be it SSD or HD that also has media on your reading.


  • Tommy Rudman

    March 19, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Bob –

    Far be it from me to insult you – I’m largely uninitiated in all of this so I’m still learning something new every day!

    It seems both you and Simon agree that a 480GB SSD for booting is a good idea. So I will invest in this. Simon then links to a relatively expensive but extremely powerful-looking PCi SSD that seems to be a great investment for a scratch disk.

    so that comes to a 480GB SSD for booting and a 480GB SSD for use as a scratch disk.

    my question then becomes: where does my media storage go?

    I have an old computer that I was considering buying HDDs for and converting into a NAS hub. Would this not be smarter than just sticking a bunch of HDDs in the Mac Pro itself? I could move my current 1TB HDD from the Mac Pro into the old computer and buy some new HDDs and set up some kind of RAID in there.

    So: could I store my media on a separate ‘NAS’ device plugged in to an eSATA port on the PCi SSD? I understand that NAS is network-assisted storage, but is there not a benefit in connecting it directly to the PCi SSD? How else would it connect?

  • Simon Blackledge

    March 25, 2015 at 11:34 am

    NO – NAS – Network Attached Storage – So you attach over network -( not sata ) Which will be 1Gig = MAX 100MBs

    To slow to pull media off if your trying to get best speeds. Fine maybe depending on unit to pull a single Prores stream. But come render time you want to feed your machine the media as fast as possible.

    You have an old computer your going to put all your source media on. So when that dies as it’s old… what are you gong to do ?

    You could just get a 4bay Esata raid for media. Raid5 and make sure you have a backup of all media – maybe on the NAS you intend to build as a failover?

  • Herb Sevush

    April 2, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Why the higher speed SSD for the cache? I have the same drives but setup the other way around – The high-speed PCI SSD for the boot drive and the regular SSD for the cache. What’s the advantage the other way around – not doubting you, just genuinely curious.

    Herb Sevush
    Zebra Productions
    nothin’ attached to nothin’
    “Deciding the spine is the process of editing” F. Bieberkopf

Viewing 1 - 8 of 8 posts

Log in to reply.

We use anonymous cookies to give you the best experience we can. Our Privacy policy | GDPR Policy