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Author Topic: Mac Pro vs iMac for large PS files  (Read 2993 times)
jonathan.lipkin
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« on: June 15, 2012, 03:29:17 PM »
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Ok, so it seems the rumor sites are predicting a new iMac in a few months, and a new Mac Pro in about a year (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/06/13/imac-update-might-be-coming-sooner-rather-than-later/). I need to do something now.

I work mostly in Lightroom for 5D mkii captures and in Phocus and PS for Hasselblad H3Dii 39 captures, sometime with layered Hasselblad files up to 3G. My current configuration is a mid-2009 Mac Pro 8x2.8Ghz processors with 14G memory, files stored externally on eSATA RAID 5. When the 2013 MPs come out, I'll upgrade, but need a solution in the short term to: 1. Increase storage capacity (as discussed in another thread) 2. Slightly boost processing capacity. My MP runs just a bit slow. 3. Increase drive access speed, both for LR (seems to read thumbnails on the fly) and for PS saves and opens.

So my options are:
1. Increase memory on current MP to 24G, get another eSATA enclosure and perhaps run this one at RAID 0, then wait for the 2013 MP. Geekbench score is 8319 for this machine.
2. Get a fast iMac with 16G memory and a Thunderbolt RAID, upgrade to the 2013 MP if needed. Geekbench is 14900 for this machine.

I'd love to try a Hackintosh, but just don't think it's the right system for me - I don't have access to the resources to keep it up and running.

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Schewe
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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2012, 05:26:08 PM »
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If you are talking Photoshop CS6 then ram will be the biggest help. The 16 gig on an iMac would be limiting. I would suggest 32 gigs. I would also look into a beefy vid card now that CS6 has more GPU functions and a RAID 0 will be a lot faster than 5. I'm running a Burly Systems (macgurus.com) 6 drive stripped array for storage which is really fast. I'm thinking about replacing my internal drives that are 15K SAS drives on a Mac RAID card with SSDs. Yes, it would be nice to get the faster CPU/Cores/better and faster ram that were mention for the Mac Pro rumors which didn't happen :~(

But Photoshop has three main bottlenecks, CPU speed/cores, disk I/O and ram...you can improve your current system in two of those three areas...
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tived
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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2012, 07:46:46 PM »
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i'll second Jeff here.

and i would like to add, that the whole external storage thingy is great for back up and store secondary jobs, but they are not a work solution, as in this is not where you working storage should be, it should be on your system.

Replace your system disks with SSD's get the biggest and fastest you can, they can also be used in your MP 2013 system if it comes. Get two SSD's, run one as OS/APP disk and one as your temp disk for PS and other applications that needs it, atleast 120GB and the OS SSD Disk atleast 256GB. with your two remaining slots, add enterprise class disk drives, such as WD RE4 or Seagate Contellation or Hitachi (i can't remember the the model). Run them in RAID-1 so you have two sets of your data, plus you are backing up to your External storage. If you have really good backup precedures then you could push it and make them a RAID-0.  And or as discussed in some recent threads, get the OWC bracket to add another two drive bays for SSD's and have 6 drives in your box. Only having 4 sata ports plus the Optical ports is a real limiting factor IMHO for the MACPRO.

Ofcourse add more ram, probably up to 32GB as i doubt you can take this ram with you to your "Macpro 2013", as the ram game could change by then.

what I have described above is what I impliment in local photogs Macpro's and to them its a good improvement - its not great, because as Jeff says, its only a 2 out of 3 option, and increasing the CPU speed is also signifigant.

All the best

Henrik

PS: iMac is not for serious photographers ;-) that what you give your kids because they look nice. :-) hehehe
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Schewe
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2012, 08:35:58 PM »
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and i would like to add, that the whole external storage thingy is great for back up and store secondary jobs, but they are not a work solution, as in this is not where you working storage should be, it should be on your system.

Not sure what you mean here...if by external storage you mean USB or Firewire, I agree...but if the external storage if 6 striped drives connected to the Mac Pro via an eSata card, then I disagree. The Mac Pro is limited to 4 drive bays which even with 3TB drives is too small. So, you have to put the drives externally. Connecting via eSata to a host card or a hardware raid card will be as fast as any internal connection.
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jonathan.lipkin
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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2012, 10:50:17 PM »
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Thanks. So I think I'll bite the bullet and get a 32G RAM upgrade and an additional eSATA enclosure. I like the redundancy of RAID 5. Is there much of a performance difference between 5 and 0? My backup is fairly solid - hourly mirroring for 'live' data (most recent 500g) to a drive which gets rotated offsite, burn originals and derivatives to DVD, archived data stored onsite and additional offsite copy.

PS, what source do you prefer for RAM? I've been using transintl.com, and like them quite a bit.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 10:54:13 PM by jonathan.lipkin » Logged
tived
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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2012, 10:58:39 PM »
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Jeff,

You are correct, with eSata, the difference is removed, and an External unit can perform to the specs of the eSata which is almost of not equal to the internal sata performance, I say almost because not all esata controller cards are equal.

and in particular with a multi-drive RAID array with some sort of striping (Raid-0) or in a combination of RAID 5/6 or 50/60.

What sort of performance are you getting Jeff with your setup (eSata)?

Henrik
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tived
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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2012, 11:09:39 PM »
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Thanks. So I think I'll bite the bullet and get a 32G RAM upgrade and an additional eSATA enclosure. I like the redundancy of RAID 5. Is there much of a performance difference between 5 and 0? My backup is fairly solid - hourly mirroring for 'live' data (most recent 500g) to a drive which gets rotated offsite, burn originals and derivatives to DVD, archived data stored onsite and additional offsite copy.

PS, what source do you prefer for RAM? I've been using transintl.com, and like them quite a bit.

Hi Jonathan,

have a look at some of these guides, though they talk about PC, the same applies for MAC
http://www.petri.co.il/raid-levels-comparison-guide.htm

http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/perf/raid/levels/comp-c.html

RAID-0 is the fastest, and becomes faster with the number of disks you add, but NO redundancy - great for temp space or data that you are backing up elsewhere!

RAID-5, is a great compromise of speed and redundancy, but ensure that the controller is carrying the load, not your CPU's such as in the case of Soft-RAID, like the one offered by your OS (be it OSX or Windoze).
If its true hardware raid you will see very good performance. So just check before you buy a unit first - you can almost always tell by the $$$ tag ;-) Hardware RAID is much more expensive

32GB of ram is easily archived in your Macpro, RAM is really really cheap, and I will almost eat my hat and say, you do not necessary have to buy Mac, ram just compatible ram, and you could probably save yourself quite a bit, but do buy quality ram, Crucial, Corsair, Micron, Samsung and Kingston are all good brands.

Let us know if you need more help

Henrik

PS: I am not familiar with that supplier (I am in Australia) but if you have dealt with them before and they have supplied you the goods are a good price - keep dealing with them ;-)
« Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 11:12:52 PM by tived » Logged
Schewe
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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2012, 11:10:10 PM »
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What sort of performance are you getting Jeff with your setup (eSata)?

Read/Write is around 400MBs/sec...I actually talked to the guys at MacGurus.com today and I could get better performance if I went to an 8 drive enclosure and a hardware based RAID...which I might be forced to do to last until next year as my current drives are 3 years old and it's time to replace them. Even though I got enterprise level Hitachi 2 TB drives, past 3 years they must be considered "old drives" not young drives...the odds are that sometime this year, one will fail and with a RAID 0 that means all 5 other drives are, well toasted too..
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tived
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2012, 11:16:51 PM »
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Read/Write is around 400MBs/sec...I actually talked to the guys at MacGurus.com today and I could get better performance if I went to an 8 drive enclosure and a hardware based RAID...which I might be forced to do to last until next year as my current drives are 3 years old and it's time to replace them. Even though I got enterprise level Hitachi 2 TB drives, past 3 years they must be considered "old drives" not young drives...the odds are that sometime this year, one will fail and with a RAID 0 that means all 5 other drives are, well toasted too..

Totally agree with you Jeff on the replacement of the Enterprise drives, use 5 years warrenty but replace at or around 3 years of duty.

400 mb/sec is not bad at all, yes it can be improved, but its miles ahead of NAS and Firewire, USB 2/3

Now, should you have a crash with your RAID-0, and you just didn't get around to save everything, then give www.RUNTIME.ORG a chance to recover, I have used their software and their service and recoved RAID-0's before!! So not all is lost :-)

thanks for sharing

Henrik
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Schewe
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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2012, 01:13:48 AM »
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Now, should you have a crash with your RAID-0, and you just didn't get around to save everything...

Well, I didn't tell the whole story now did I...while my main working drive is a 6 drive, 2 TB array zero setup, I have a duplicate 6 drive raid zero set up that is backed up to every nite...and I have a 3rd backup nighty to a Micronet raid 5 system (5x 3TB drives in a raid 5 setup) that gets a backup every nite from the second raid 0 setup. So, I actually have 2 raid zeros backed to the other and a raid 5 that also gets backed up every nite...so my system is 3x redundant...backed up nightly. I gave up on Drobos...
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tived
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« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2012, 09:08:10 PM »
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Hi Jeff,

that is an awesome setup :-) but it also should be a good indication to the rest of us, just how much is being put into guarding the Digital Assets, we work with daily.

I did a setup for a lady last year or so, where we do 2x back of all RAW files, on two different brand disks, a copy to the work station on a RAID-1, and then it gets backup to a sloooooooooooow Drobo, but she got cunned into buying one of these by one of the local Photog dealers. On top of that we do two backups of the WorkInProgress, which also reside on the Drobo and the RAID-1, these two backups are also stored remotely, and is done at the end of every day. These are all done with Craddles, and hard drives - a cheap backup solution, but never the less a backup that has worked and have saved her lots of money in the past year or so while this has been in effect.
Its not quite as elaborate as yours Jeff, but when the girls in the office follows the direction we always have 5 copies of a job, now this may be pushing it, but two of them are to ensure that the disks don't suddenly fail, as I think from memory the DeathStar IBM drives did several years ago...all just went like a time bumb.

In the main system and on the Drobo, I installed WD RE4 2TB, which at the time was the most reliable drives and with 5 yr warrenty, a compromise between cost, volume and speed. Medium cost level, high volume and medium level speed. I think it was the top tier, 7200rpm drives at the time, and only surpassed by the 15k in speed, but a signifigent decress in volume size too.

Thanks very much for sharing, its an impressive setup you got, one that we should all aspire to archive, if we want to protect our assets in a professionel enviroment.

Henrik

Well, I didn't tell the whole story now did I...while my main working drive is a 6 drive, 2 TB array zero setup, I have a duplicate 6 drive raid zero set up that is backed up to every nite...and I have a 3rd backup nighty to a Micronet raid 5 system (5x 3TB drives in a raid 5 setup) that gets a backup every nite from the second raid 0 setup. So, I actually have 2 raid zeros backed to the other and a raid 5 that also gets backed up every nite...so my system is 3x redundant...backed up nightly. I gave up on Drobos...
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jonathan.lipkin
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« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2012, 09:15:32 PM »
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Question about the number of drives in a RAID 0: as far as I can tell, if a single drive in the RAID fails, the entire contents are lost. So, by increasing the number of drives, you increase the possibility of failure. So a RAID 0 using four drives would be less likely to fail than one using six drives. Let's take an arbitrary risk of failure during the three year lifespan of a drive - say one percent. If you have a single drive, there is only a one percent chance it will fail in its lifespan. For a four-drive RAID 0, the chance is 4% (someone please check my probability math here - I did not do well in statistics in college). If you increase the number of drives to six, you increase the probability of failure to 6%, correct?

So, why use a six drive raid instead of a four drive raid. Is it simply to get more capacity or are there performance issues?
« Last Edit: June 16, 2012, 09:24:59 PM by jonathan.lipkin » Logged
tived
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« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2012, 09:42:11 PM »
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Hi Jonathan,

Today, its possible to recover RAID-0, it will require knowledge and in most cases external help. I have a RAID-5 here which failed a while ago, where one disk failed, I replaced it with a similar disk, same brand and size. The Unit failed to rebuild with the new disk. I have 6 TB of data sitting on my desk that I now need external professional help to recover. It most like can be recovered, I am currently waiting for it to be resolved.

RAID-0 should only be used if you have a good backup plan, such as what Jeff has, where he will only loose what was produced that day, unless the backup is performed incrementally during the day. Or if you are using the disks for temp space in which case if you loose it, its no big deal.

So before going further, then yes, the more drives the higher the probability is for failure in RAID-0. I and many use RAID-0 for speed, and are prepared for the loss of data, by having copies of the work elsewhere as well. I do acknowledge, that this can sometime be a bit of a problem unless you have a large setup like Jeff has.

Do have a read through the links below

Probability of failure in RAID
Much have been written on the topic and here is some
http://www.servethehome.com/raid-reliability-failure-anthology-part-1-primer/
http://evadman.blogspot.com.au/2010/08/raid-array-failure-probabilities.html
read the comments as well in the last one plus this http://lwn.net/Articles/237924/
Henrik
« Last Edit: June 16, 2012, 09:49:53 PM by tived » Logged
tived
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« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2012, 09:52:38 PM »
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this one here is interesting too, not sure how accurate it is but never the less a fun little excersice
http://www.raid-failure.com/Default.aspx

Henrik
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