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Mac Pro storage solutions for freelancer

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Andrew Migliori
Mac Pro storage solutions for freelancer
on Dec 27, 2013 at 3:09:42 am

Hi,

My partner and I are starting a freelance video production company essentially run out of my basement and we are using my Mac Pro 2012 (5,1) as our NLE machine. My current configuration is that I'm running the system off an SSD in Bay 1, and I have a 2 TB HDD for media storage, which is now becoming adorably puny! That leaves Bay 3 and 4 open as well as all other internal PCI slots outside of the graphics card. We've been starting to shoot some 2k which is the highest res we would ever shoot, but we often use 1080p from a dslr. Two shoots with a 2k camera already filled up about 1 TB so I'm in need of storage, fast! We also dabble in Resolve with the 2k footage and it has become a bit of a slog without the speed of a RAID solution.

So that brings me to what I'm looking for:
- What will allow for the fastest connection--setting up a RAID system between the internal SATA bays or an external enclosure?
- If an enclosure, what type of connection would allow for good video editing speed? Is it cost effective to upgrade my Mac Pro to USB 3 or Thunderbolt, or can I set something up with the PCI slots that is fast enough?

I've been hearing so many conflicting things on connection speeds and enclosures vs internal systems so I'd really love to help set the record straight for a more freelance setup than a big production house. I've learned a lot over the years about computers but the last bit that escapes me is storage solutions (especially PCI possibilities). Thanks a bunch for your help!

Andrew


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Mac Pro storage solutions for freelancer
on Dec 27, 2013 at 3:48:03 am

[Andrew Migliori] "What will allow for the fastest connection--setting up a RAID system between the internal SATA bays or an external enclosure?"

It can be the same depending on the link and the number of drives.

Internally is by far the cheapest and can be fairly fast in RAID0.

Doing it externally will let you have more drives, faster speeds, better responsiveness, far better reliability, various degrees of portability, etc. - at a price.

[Andrew Migliori] "If an enclosure, what type of connection would allow for good video editing speed?"

MiniSAS in your case.

[Andrew Migliori] " Is it cost effective to upgrade my Mac Pro to USB 3 or Thunderbolt..."

Not sure you can upgrade it to Thunderbolt - don't think so.

USB 3.0 is thus far relatively slow, and only recently there started to appear some options with decent speeds (Areca 5026)

[Andrew Migliori] "can I set something up with the PCI slots that is fast enough?"

How fast is "fast enough"? :)

-- Alex Gerulaitis | Systems Engineer | DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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Andrew Migliori
Re: Mac Pro storage solutions for freelancer
on Dec 30, 2013 at 5:58:02 am

Hey Alex, thanks for the quick reply!

Since we'll be going through a lot of projects, maybe an internal RAID0 would work out fine, and just swap out new drives per project?

I see that Thunderbolt and USB are a dead end!

[Alex Gerulaitis] "How fast is "fast enough"? :)"

Haha, I actually am not entirely sure WHAT to ask about PCI slots. I have heard that they can be expanded and utilized for storage solutions but I have nooooo idea what's out there and how it works. In this case I guess it would be relative speeds between an internal RAID0 with the hard drive bays vs whatever the heck is possible with PCI slots.

Any clarification is greatly appreciated!

Andrew


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Mac Pro storage solutions for freelancer
on Dec 30, 2013 at 7:20:42 pm

[Andrew Migliori] "Since we'll be going through a lot of projects, maybe an internal RAID0 would work out fine, and just swap out new drives per project?"

Swapping internal drives can be iffy - but not impossible. External drives are better suited for that.

PCIe (PCI Express) slots can indeed be expanded (Thunderbolt is actually one such technology) yet outside of Thunderbolt it's rarely used for less than a dozen of drives for high speed applications.

What I would do in your case is look at it from the opposite direction: how fast is fast enough? ... and go from there. Maybe a USB 3.0 or eSATA external box with four drives will be fast enough ($250-800), maybe a MiniSAS - with four or eight or even more - or maybe you will be fine with three internal drives in RAID0.


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Andrew Migliori
Re: Mac Pro storage solutions for freelancer
on Dec 30, 2013 at 8:12:52 pm

Out of curiosity, do Mac Pros come with MiniSAS technology or is that something I need to expand via PCI slot? Is there some kind of SAS controller card or is there a component inside that I've missed?

Thanks!


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Mac Pro storage solutions for freelancer
on Dec 30, 2013 at 8:18:03 pm

MiniSAS is an add-on card you'd need to install. ATTO R680 and Areca ARC-1882x are the two most popular MiniSAS RAID cards for the Mac Pro. If you don't need RAID, such a card is called an HBA (rather than a RAID controller), and it's quite a bit cheaper. ATTO H680, for instance.


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Andrew Migliori
Re: Mac Pro storage solutions for freelancer
on Dec 30, 2013 at 8:23:06 pm

Thanks so much, this has been a huuuuuge help!


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