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FAST FLASH STORAGE SOLUTIONS
For The Mac Pro 2009-2012
Originally posted Thursday, September 5th, 2013, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Tweaked September 12th with cost table and SeriTek/Q6G with two SSDs.
The STORAGE section of the 2013 Mac Pro page states, "Most flash storage systems connect via SATA buses designed for slower spinning hard drives. But we designed the new Mac Pro around new PCI Express-based flash controller technology to deliver the fastest solid-state drives available standard in a desktop computer. So booting up, launching apps, even opening massive files happens in, well, a flash." There is a graphic on that page showing the new Mac Pro's flash storage rated at 1250MB/s.
Are there storage solutions for the existing Mac Pro tower that can compete with this? After all, many of you may choose to stick with your 2009 - 2012 Mac Pro. The short answer? Yes! The rest of this page gives a longer answer.
LARGE SEQUENTIAL TRANSFERS
We used AJA System Test to test file level, large sequential transfer speed using a 16GB test document. Compare these results with the 1250MB/s advertised transfer rate of the 2013 Mac Pro's flash storage.
LEGEND OF GRAPHS
ARC 1882*4 = ARECA ARC-1882i SAS host adapter connected to four internal 6Gbps SSDs striped (RAID 0) and mounted internally using the TransIntl Double Decker kits.
ExpSAS R644*4 = ATTO ExpressSAS R644 connected to four internal 6Gbps SSDs striped (RAID 0) and mounted internally using the TransIntl Double Decker kits.
Tempo Pro*4 = Sonnet Technologies Tempo SATA Pro 6G PCIe 4-Port Host Adapter connected to four external 6Gbps SSDs striped (RAID 0)
Accelsior*2 = two striped OWC Mercury Accelsior_E2s, each with dual 6Gbps solid state storage blades
Tempo SSD Pro*2 = Sonnet Technologies Tempo SSD Pro with two 6Gbps SSDs striped (RAID 0) mounted on the card
SeriTek/Q6G*2 = FirmTek SeriTek/Q6G connected to two external two 6Gbps SSDs striped (RAID 0) were placed in a FirmTek miniSwap/ES enclosure.
Accelsior = one OWC Mercury Accelsior_E2 with dual 6Gbps solid state storage blades
Test Mule was a 2010 Mac Pro hex-core 3.33GHz. TransIntl Synchronous SwiftData 6Gbps SSDs were used with the ARC 1882i and ExpressSAS R644. All other adapters were tested with the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6Gbps SSDs -- with the exception of the Accelsior which uses blade flash storage. All SSDs had SandForce/LSI based enterprise controllers. Every product featured here can be used to boot OS X.
SMALL RANDOM TRANSFERS
We use the Standard Random test in QuickBench as a predictor of how well the device performs connected to a boot volume (or used with an application that does multiple small random transfers).
Though ATTO says they are working on it, I don't recommend using the ExpressSAS R644 or R608 with the current firmware to drive an OS X boot volume due to its very slow small random WRITE speed.
COUNT THE COST
When you count the cost of the adapter, SSDs, and mounting hardware (enclosures or internal mounting sleds, cables), a complete 1TB fast flash PCIe storage solution will cost you anywhere from $1290 to $2231 (USD). You may already own part(s) of the solution but the table below shows the cost breakdown of each element of the solutions we tested. If you see a blank, it's because that element is either included or not needed.
If you choose to stick with your existing 2009 - 2012 Mac Pro tower, there are flash storage options to employ that will extend its life. But if you change your mind and buy the 2013 Mac Pro, you can always move all of these storage devices to a Thunderbolt 2.0 Expansion Box which, theoretically, should provide the same transfer speeds. (When such boxes are available, we will test them on the 2012 Mac Pro to confirm that assertion.)
Feedback or comments? Contact me
, mad scientist.
Also, you can follow me on Twitter @barefeats
WHERE TO BUY SONNET TECHNOLOGIES PCIE ADAPTERS
Order the Tempo SATA Pro 6G PCIe 4-Port or Tempo SSD Pro direct from Sonnet Technologies Store. Or order from Other World Computing.
WHERE TO BUY THE OWC ACCELSIOR_E2
Order from the OWC online store.
WHERE TO BUY FIRMTEK ADAPTERS and ENCLOSURES
Order the SeriTek/Q6G and miniSwap/ES direct from the FirmTek online store.
WHERE TO BUY DoubleDecker dual drive internal sled kit
Order from Trans International with or without the ATTO R608 host adapter
WHERE TO BUY 6Gbps SOLID STATE DRIVES
- Choose from six brands of SSDs at Trans International
- Order the Mercury Extreme Pro 6Gbps SSDs from OWC
- Order Samsung, Intel, and Crucial SSDs from MaxUpgrades
- Order the Samsung 840 Pro SSDs from Amazon or NewEgg
- Order the Crest SSD for Mac with TRIM support from Angelbird direct.
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copyright 2013 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"