8 Replies Latest reply on Jun 13, 2014 7:29 AM by ECBowen

    Mac Pro System Optimization

    dsaguilar88

      I recently received the Mac Pro I ordered from Apple, and as of now it doesn't seem much faster or more efficient than the Macbook Pro I've been using for the last two years or so.

       

      Here are the specs I ordered for my Mac Pro:

      • 3.5GHz 6-core with 12MB of L3 cache
      • 32GB (4x8GB) of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC
      • 256GB PCIe-based flash storage
      • Dual AMD FirePro D500GPUs with 3GB of GDDR5 VRAM each

       

       

      The Macbook Pro I'd been using only had 16GB of RAM, but I had all my applications/OSX on an internal 240GB SSD, and had replaced my disc drive for a 7200rpm 750GB hard drive--to which I set my scratch disks and project files/occasionally stored assets.

      Most of the media I use is accessed on G-Technology EV drives via USB 3.0 or the Thunderbolt EV Dock.

       

      I'm not sure if it would be best to have a dedicated Thunderbolt EV drive connected for my scratch disks, project files, preview files, cache, etc...since I don't have the option of having two internal drives with the MacPro.

      Any recommendations on drive delegation and system settings would be greatly appreciated!

        • 1. Re: Mac Pro System Optimization
          Jim_Simon Level 8

          [Moved to Hardware forum.]

          • 2. Re: Mac Pro System Optimization
            ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

            I would suggest atleast a 2 Bay Thunderbolt Dock and definitely move the media, project, and preview files over to that. Raid 0 would give you the ideal performance but without redundancy. Make sure you keep your media and projects backed up.

             

            Eric

            ADK

            • 3. Re: Mac Pro System Optimization
              jasonvp Level 3

              dsaguilar88 wrote:

               

              I'm not sure if it would be best to have a dedicated Thunderbolt EV drive connected for my scratch disks, project files, preview files, cache, etc.

              I'm a big fan of the Promise Pegasus2 enclosures for the Mac Pro.  You can get them with drives already in them ($$!) or, you can get the 4-bay one empty and add your own.  I chose the latter: 2 of them loaded with Samsung SSDs.  Now, Promise has a small number of drives they officially test and support, so if you need something that is officially supported by them, you'll want to stick with their approved drives.  But any drives will work, including SSDs, because it's just a simple SATA3 enclosure.  (Don't let them try to tell you otherwise).

               

              My setup doesn't need to be replicated, but here's what I'm doing:

              - internal SSD with the OS and apps.

              - Enclosure 1:

                   - Bays 1 and 2: RAID0 volume of 1TB Samsung SSDs (2TB total) for the output and project files.

                   - Bays 3 and 4: RAID0 volume of 500GB Samsung SSDs (1TB total) for media and/or input files.

              - Enclosure 2:

                   - Bays 1 and 2: RAID0 volume of older 128GB OCZ (256GB total) for scratch space.

                   - Bays 3 and 4: empty for now

               

              I back up what I need to back up to my network storage, in case the RAID array fails for any reason.

              • 4. Re: Mac Pro System Optimization
                dsaguilar88 Level 1

                Thank you, Jason!

                 

                So would you say that not seeing the performance from the MacPro I expected is linked to drive delegation?

                I also notice that my online streaming playback is affected by exporting media from Premiere, as is playback via Quicktime, is that normal?

                I'm just not sure if I had too high of expectations for the MacPro given how much I spent, and the specs. Hoping it's just a matter of a couple workflow fixes!

                • 5. Re: Mac Pro System Optimization
                  jasonvp Level 3

                  dsaguilar88 wrote:

                   

                  So would you say that not seeing the performance from the MacPro I expected is linked to drive delegation?

                  It's unlikely to make a huge difference in Premiere performance.  It'll make some difference.  The internal SSD in the Mac Pro is wicked fast because it's entirely PCI-E based.  So separating storage out may or may not actually benefit you from a speed perspective.  I do it because I always classify the first drive in any Mac I own as: disposable.  Meaning, I don't want to put any real data on it because when Apple releases a new version of OS X (10.10, for instance), I always completely reformat that drive.  I don't do OS upgrades from major version to major version.  Because of that, it makes sense for me to have the important stuff broken out, even if I take a slight hit in I/O speed.

                   

                  Ultimately, it depends on what you're doing with Pr and the Mac in general.  I've found it quite a bit quicker in a lot of respects than my former, hyper-modified Mac Pro 5,1.  Pr is faster, Photoshop is faster, etc.

                  • 6. Re: Mac Pro System Optimization
                    ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                    Keep in mind whether the SSD has a sata controller or PCI-E based, the MLC and drive itself function under the same principles as all SSD's. That means the drive will slow down over time if data is constantly written and deleted from the drive due to how SSD's preserve the MLC cycle lifetime. The drive performance can be reset by long formatting or writing zeros to the drive which is easy to do if its a media or cache drive. However that is far more difficult on the OS drive. I would not suggest using the OS SSD for media workflow.


                    Eric

                    ADK

                    • 7. Re: Mac Pro System Optimization
                      jasonvp Level 3

                      ECBowen wrote:

                       

                      Keep in mind whether the SSD has a sata controller or PCI-E based, the MLC and drive itself function under the same principles as all SSD's. That means the drive will slow down over time if data is constantly written and deleted from the drive due to how SSD's preserve the MLC cycle lifetime. The drive performance can be reset by long formatting or writing zeros to the drive which is easy to do if its a media or cache drive. However that is far more difficult on the OS drive. I would not suggest using the OS SSD for media workflow.

                      With all due respect Eric: that's "old" SSD thinking versus modern SSD thinking.  Modern SSDs are no more at risk of "slowing down" than spinners are.  And, if the OP follows my suggestions, a reformat of the drive will happen annually anyway.  If he's concerned about that "slowing down" (he shouldn't be), then he can just force that format to be a long one.  Easy, peasy.

                      • 8. Re: Mac Pro System Optimization
                        ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                        That is not old thinking. The same processes they use to avoid the permanent erase write cycles are still being used. They have improved the efficiency of the firmware cleaning up the garbage from the drives and overwriting cells. However the slowdown still occurs. The time it takes to slow down is dependent on the manufacturer and efficiency of the firmware itself. We have tested this recently and this has not changed. It just takes longer to show.


                        Eric

                        ADK