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Storage options for new Mac Pro
Old 8th January 2020
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Storage options for new Mac Pro

Hi all,

As more of us upgrade to the new Mac Pro, I thought it might be helpful to have a thread that focuses on storage options for these new computers. I am not terribly knowledgeable about some of the new storage approaches, but I will share what little I know.

I already own a bunch of 2.5" SATA SSD's (Samsung Evo 860, for instance) that are currently installed in my 2012 cheese grater Mac Pro. One option I have found to use these with the 2019 Mac Pro is this:

https://smile.amazon.com/OWC-Accelsi...8458643&sr=8-1

Is there a better option? One that might be faster speed transfer, for instance?

On the higher end, there is this option:

https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/ssd/owc-accelsior-4m2

Anyway, let's start up the dialogue on this. Jump in if you have any good ideas!
Old 8th January 2020
  #2
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
That’s what I got. The cheaper $47 one. I bought two. They arrive tomorrow. I’ll report back.
Old 8th January 2020
  #3
Gear Nut
 

This other thread provides a wealth of info on SSDs & NVMe compatibility: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads...-ahci.2146725/
Old 8th January 2020
  #4
Lives for gear
 

SATA is a much slower protocol for SSDs in 2020. NVMe is the way to go to get higher read/write speeds. Both use PCIe to connect to the motherboard.

The SSD form factor used for NVMe is called M.2, like the Samsung 970 EVO Plus.

You would use an M.2 NVMe to PCIe adapter like this one from StarTech. M.2 SATA drives are also available now, but again have slower read/write speeds.

The 970 EVO is capable of up to 3.5 GB/s read and 3.3 GB/s write with PCIe, faster than the Mac Pro's internal storage.

There are also dual and quad M.2 NVMe to PCIe adapters, which can allow you to run RAID configurations and really have some fun (Others here know a lot more about this than I).

EDIT: Looks like Samsung unveiled the 980 PRO M.2 NVMe SSD at CES. It supports PCIe 4 which will give us 6.5 GB/s read, and 5 GB/s write

https://www.anandtech.com/show/15352...-an-appearance
Old 8th January 2020
  #5
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattyJoe View Post
EDIT: Looks like Samsung unveiled the 980 PRO M.2 NVMe SSD at CES. It supports PCIe 4 which will give us 6.5 GB/s read, and 5 GB/s write

https://www.anandtech.com/show/15352...-an-appearance
It won't give you those speeds in the new Mac Pro - we only have PCIe 3 slots.
Old 8th January 2020
  #6
Gear Nut
 

I went with the Highpoint SSD7101A-1 card, which has 4 M.2 NMVe slots. There will be an updated version of this card soon that will allow you to disable the fan in their web gui. Personally, I removed the fan from the board and also removed the end plate from the heatsink shroud, which allows the Mac Pro's airflow to freely flow through the card's interior. Temps on the drives are the same with or without the fan.

For drives I went with the Sabrent Rocket 2TB, which are TLC chips similar to the Samsung EVO line. As MattyJoe mentioned, companies are now starting to ship PCIe 4 capable NVMe, but that is unnecessary in the Mac Pro. One of the 4 Sabrent 2TB drives I purchased failed almost immediately, but the replacement and the other 3 have been solid. I don't run these in any RAID config (just JBOD), but in aggregate I see >10GB/s for both read and write. I'm pretty happy with this setup.
Old 8th January 2020
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyborgssc View Post
I went with the Highpoint SSD7101A-1 card, which has 4 M.2 NMVe slots. There will be an updated version of this card soon that will allow you to disable the fan in their web gui. Personally, I removed the fan from the board and also removed the end plate from the heatsink shroud, which allows the Mac Pro's airflow to freely flow through the card's interior. Temps on the drives are the same with or without the fan.

For drives I went with the Sabrent Rocket 2TB, which are TLC chips similar to the Samsung EVO line. As MattyJoe mentioned, companies are now starting to ship PCIe 4 capable NVMe, but that is unnecessary in the Mac Pro. One of the 4 Sabrent 2TB drives I purchased failed almost immediately, but the replacement and the other 3 have been solid. I don't run these in any RAID config (just JBOD), but in aggregate I see >10GB/s for both read and write. I'm pretty happy with this setup.
After doing way to much research we are going with two high point 7101a’s. You can run them in a cross sync mode and they advertise 22-24gb/s. We have been talking with high point and some of these things are fairly new so we will report back what we actually get. We will also be using a high point 7110 controller as a bootable raid drive to see how this performs against the stock 4tb raid set up that we have in the machine from Apple.

Nvme is without question the fastest and really only option if you want to get these upper end speeds. All of the raid cards use that format. We have chosen the Samsung Evo 970 plus and are seeing 3300mb/s read and write on a single drive. Sabrent also makes fast drives in higher capacities but it’s unclear who makes them. Sabrent seems to just rebrand tech from what I can see but it’s a bit unclear.

Samsung has been the ssd performance/reliability leader since they came out basically and they are the ones who invent the tech advancements for this and ram. I would advise sticking with the Samsung drives as there is no price savings going with another brand usually. Just shop the drives and you can get pretty good deals. We paid 350.00/drive for 2tb evo 970 plus on average.

Sonnet has a 4x nvme card and so does amfeltec. We are going to be reaching out to amfeltec to see if any of their cards are bootable for macOS.

We are also leaving off the shroud and disabling the fans as cyborg suggested allowing the awesome cooling of the macpro to do the work without additional noise. It was our understanding that the current 7101a has the ability to disable the fan.

The Highpoint 7101a cards are the only ones that allow you to sync two cards so we are curious how this works in reality. Finally got our last shipment of 970’s so will be doing a bunch of work on this this weekend.

The new 980’s are faster at 5-6k read write so it will be interesting to see what those can do with the next gen controller cards. My guess is pci4 raid cards are 2 years out. Will definitely keep an eye on them and if the Mac Pro is able to support pcie4 when the chips are available we will definitely embrace the evolution.

These new 980 drives are said to only be available up to 1tb so they are not helpful if you want larger storage arrays.

With two 7101a’s running 8 2tb evo 970 plus drives you will have just over 15tb or storage at 20gb/s. That’s pretty ridiculous

It’s imparitive you have a automated backup to a nas drive using these crazy set ups becuase you only need to loose 1 drive in 8 and you lose the entire array. Not a big deal if you are smart about backing up which is essential to our work anyway as if you lose your sessions that’s really unfun

That said if we can get 20gb’s read write that’s pretty silly fast so 40gb/s would be cool but at some point instant is instant
Old 8th January 2020
  #8
Gear Nut
 

I see the logic in recommending Samsung drives - they have earned their reputation. However, if you're only storing samples on these drives, or backing up project files nightly to other media, the price difference from the Sabrent is not worth it to me. The Sabrent are $250/2TB. For that price difference buying 4 of them, you can buy an extra one and swap it in if you have a failure. Both companies offer a 5 year warranty and similar TBW specs. For sample drives TBW is unimportant since you write your samples once and then just read them after that.
Old 8th January 2020
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyborgssc View Post
I see the logic in recommending Samsung drives - they have earned their reputation. However, if you're only storing samples on these drives, or backing up project files nightly to other media, the price difference from the Sabrent is not worth it to me. The Sabrent are $250/2TB. For that price difference buying 4 of them, you can buy an extra one and swap it in if you have a failure. Both companies offer a 5 year warranty and similar TBW specs. For sample drives TBW is unimportant since you write your samples once and then just read them after that.
I didn’t realize that I looked at the 4tb when it was suggested and it was close to the same price as the Samsung.

I agree even if you shop diligently you’ll be paying about 100 more for the Samsung 2tb. That price on the sabrent is really good! And if your just sucking down samples the read speed is what matters so it’s a great option to save some cash. If your also doing video work or using the array as your session drive it seems the extra speed of the Samsung would be worth the price premium long term.
Old 8th January 2020
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Wow, lots of REALLY good info on this thread already. Thanks for you guys sharing the knowledge! Super helpful to me.

In my 2012 Mac Pro, I have several SATA SSD Drives, so I'm going to have to investigate whether I should buy OWC SATA PCIe adaptors or if I should sell all my SSD's and invest in NMVe or whatever it's called. $$$ will enter into my decision. We don't really do video, so I'm not sure if we need super speed. ProTools runs on old school hard drives just fine (VI's perhaps not so much).

Anyway, keep the knowledge flowing and thank you all for contributing.
Old 9th January 2020
  #11
Lives for gear
 

In checking out the NVMe SSD's, there seems to be quite a bit of difference in price. Samsung 860, 870, 970, Sabrent, Corsair, Silicon Power, etc etc.

Is there really much difference between all these or do you all simply go by price and company reputation?

Same thing with Adapter cards. I see the High Point for like $380 which holds 4 SSDs, but I also see single adapters for $25. Aside from taking up only 1 slot for 4 SSD's, is the High Point that much better than going with 4 of the $25 units?

Thanks in advance for any info...
Old 9th January 2020
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyborgssc View Post
I went with the Highpoint SSD7101A-1 card, which has 4 M.2 NMVe slots. There will be an updated version of this card soon that will allow you to disable the fan in their web gui. Personally, I removed the fan from the board and also removed the end plate from the heatsink shroud, which allows the Mac Pro's airflow to freely flow through the card's interior. Temps on the drives are the same with or without the fan.

For drives I went with the Sabrent Rocket 2TB, which are TLC chips similar to the Samsung EVO line. As MattyJoe mentioned, companies are now starting to ship PCIe 4 capable NVMe, but that is unnecessary in the Mac Pro. One of the 4 Sabrent 2TB drives I purchased failed almost immediately, but the replacement and the other 3 have been solid. I don't run these in any RAID config (just JBOD), but in aggregate I see >10GB/s for both read and write. I'm pretty happy with this setup.
You can buy a heatsink for the PLA chip, probbaly worth it just in cae, the fan is noisy as hell!, but the Mac Pro cooling should help
Old 9th January 2020
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Resonater View Post
In checking out the NVMe SSD's, there seems to be quite a bit of difference in price. Samsung 860, 870, 970, Sabrent, Corsair, Silicon Power, etc etc.

Is there really much difference between all these or do you all simply go by price and company reputation?

Same thing with Adapter cards. I see the High Point for like $380 which holds 4 SSDs, but I also see single adapters for $25. Aside from taking up only 1 slot for 4 SSD's, is the High Point that much better than going with 4 of the $25 units?

Thanks in advance for any info...
yes there's a big difference, for example on the Samsungs the Pros don't drop in speed when the drive is getting full the Evos do.

There are some good comparisons online, you can feed whatever combop you want in there and compare (this is for the PCIe x 4 Sabrent which wont get those speeds on the Mac PRo, but it would be interesting for testing

https://ssd.userbenchmark.com/Compar...97261vsm844208
Old 9th January 2020
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyborgssc View Post
It won't give you those speeds in the new Mac Pro - we only have PCIe 3 slots.
This is true, but soon. And there’s been some evidence (I.e. the iFixit teardown) that the current PCIe lanes could support PCIe 4 once Intel makes a chip that supports it. This hasn’t been fully confirmed though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Resonater View Post
Is there really much difference between all these or do you all simply go by price and company reputation?
The Samsung 970 EVO is generally agreed upon to be the fastest and most reliable out there. It’s money well spent, imo. Samsung has been killing the storage game lately.
Old 9th January 2020
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Resonater View Post
In checking out the NVMe SSD's, there seems to be quite a bit of difference in price. Samsung 860, 870, 970, Sabrent, Corsair, Silicon Power, etc etc.

Is there really much difference between all these or do you all simply go by price and company reputation?

Same thing with Adapter cards. I see the High Point for like $380 which holds 4 SSDs, but I also see single adapters for $25. Aside from taking up only 1 slot for 4 SSD's, is the High Point that much better than going with 4 of the $25 units?

Thanks in advance for any info...
All ssds are not the same the 8 series Samsung’s or any ssd in the 2.5 inch format are SATA ssds. These run MUCH slower (500 mb/s vs 3300/MB’s )because of the bandwidth limitations of how they connect (SATA) vs nvme to your system.

Samsung have been the top rated ssds by pretty much the entire industry for a long time. This is because of performance and reliability both are things you want in a hard drive. The 970 evo plus is currently the fastest 2tb nvme available in the consumer world. You can get pretty fast 4tb drives but they are more expensive per tb 225/tb in a 4tb drive vs 170/tb in a 2tb.

Don’t skimp to save a little on your drives. Better spend the time shopping to get the best deal. You will have them a really long time and the extra 100.00 per drive on a Samsung vs not Samsung is money well spent. if you look at all the people who test these drives and their performance there is a lot of respect for Samsung’s quality and performance. It’s not to say other drives are bad it’s just there is likely 30x more Samsung’s sold vs any other brand so there is more data available on them.

Different applications the $25 card will let you do one nvme m.2 drive where the high point let’s you do 4 in several different raid configurations. You can chose if you want raid 0, 1 or 10

With the high point in raid 0 you are reading and writing to all 4 drives at the same time using maximum bandwidth. You should see 10-12 gbs or around 4x what a single drive can do which is very fast

Study up on raid types so you see what each one does. Short version is if you want performance do raid 0 and make sure you have a good backup plan to a nas or similar external device. Synology nas units come in many flavors and are a great option for backing up any machines you might have. They are slower but you can run raid 5 which means you can loose multiple drives before you risk losing your data. Storage is much slower and much cheaper. But for back ups you don’t care as they can run while you sleep and still don’t take to long. Synology makes it really easy to do offsite backup as well so you can put a nas at your house to back up your studio.

It takes a little study to figure out what’s what but I have dug deep on finding the fastest storage made for this new Mac Pro and the Highpoint cards in cross sync mode (using 8 drives across 2 together in raid 0) are it. Sonnet makes a decent card - it’s and older card, these guys I think have the fastest single card I have seen https://amfeltec.com/pci-express-gen...e-ssd-modules/. There are many more cheaper options that will do one or two drives. You really can’t go wrong if you just want to add one or two nvme They should all work fine
Old 9th January 2020
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Glad @ thestarfire found this topic. I've seen him post lots of great info on storage.
Old 9th January 2020
  #17
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Yes, yes...thanks for the great info, Starfire (and Matty, too!). I've already learned a ton.

Just to get started, I've ordered a single Sabrent 1TB NVMe and a basic dual adapter. Once I get the feel of this new technology, I will most likely sell off my SATA SSD's and then invest in more (and perhaps Sam 970) NVMe and perhaps even a High Point RAID adapter or something similar.

Anyone else want to jump in on the thread? Lots of good info!
Old 9th January 2020
  #18
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https://www.anandtech.com/show/15310...-card-hyper-m2

New Quad M.2 PCIe 4 card revealed at CES by Asus. This thing will be blazing.

Right now not applicable to the Mac Pro because of Intel’s continued inability to make a CPU that supports PCIe 4. But solutions such as these will be available eventually (maybe once Apple switches to AMD ).
Old 9th January 2020
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thestarfire View Post
That said if we can get 20gb’s read write that’s pretty silly fast so 40gb/s would be cool but at some point instant is instant
This. The Samsung 970 EVO 1TB is spec'd for "up to 3400MB/s" read and "up to 2500 MB/s" throughput. A second of 24-bit 196khz audio weighs in at about .55MB, so even if you only get half the specified bandwidth you're getting almost 3100 mono tracks of read throughput and almost 2300 tracks of write.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thestarfire View Post
It’s imparitive you have a automated backup to a nas drive using these crazy set ups becuase you only need to loose 1 drive in 8 and you lose the entire array. Not a big deal if you are smart about backing up which is essential to our work anyway as if you lose your sessions that’s really unfun
Also this. If you're going to set up RAID, make sure you understand what you're doing. If you're doing RAID striping without mirroring and you lose a drive, you lose it all. Plus the read/write performance characteristics are different among different RAID levels.

If a file is important, it should be backed up.

With regards to adapter cards, if you need to add NVMe slots to your machine, you don't need to get fancy with the card. An m.2 slot is effectively a compact version of PCI-e slot. If you look at an adapter card for PCI-e to m.2, there are literally 0 chips on that adapter . I've used very cheap cards to add NVMe slots to servers with good results.

Last edited by BarkerStreet; 9th January 2020 at 10:43 PM.. Reason: Added more info..
Old 10th January 2020
  #20
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Switchcraft's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
That’s what I got. The cheaper $47 one. I bought two. They arrive tomorrow. I’ll report back.
How are those cards working?
Old 10th January 2020
  #21
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Switchcraft View Post
How are those cards working?
I only JUST installed them. They seem to be working great. I pilfered the SSDs from my older MP. I thought they were 1TB. I was happy to find out they were each 2TB.

Is there a preference for which slots to put them in? Sorry, I haven’t read this thread. I don’t know if that’s been discussed.
Old 10th January 2020
  #22
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
I only JUST installed them. They seem to be working great. I pilfered the SSDs from my older MP. I thought they were 1TB. I was happy to find out they were each 2TB.

Is there a preference for which slots to put them in? Sorry, I haven’t read this thread. I don’t know if that’s been discussed.
Any slot will do but you are best suited to not use your x16 slots unless you need them. X16 slots have the highest bandwidth and should be reserved for raid cards or gpu’s. X8 are next fastest and then the x4.

The inexpensive cards are great if you just want to add a drive. Your basically just adapting the format of the drive to the motherboard.
Old 10th January 2020
  #23
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyborgssc View Post
I went with the Highpoint SSD7101A-1 card, which has 4 M.2 NMVe slots. There will be an updated version of this card soon that will allow you to disable the fan in their web gui. Personally, I removed the fan from the board and also removed the end plate from the heatsink shroud, which allows the Mac Pro's airflow to freely flow through the card's interior. Temps on the drives are the same with or without the fan.

For drives I went with the Sabrent Rocket 2TB, which are TLC chips similar to the Samsung EVO line. As MattyJoe mentioned, companies are now starting to ship PCIe 4 capable NVMe, but that is unnecessary in the Mac Pro. One of the 4 Sabrent 2TB drives I purchased failed almost immediately, but the replacement and the other 3 have been solid. I don't run these in any RAID config (just JBOD), but in aggregate I see >10GB/s for both read and write. I'm pretty happy with this setup.
Isn't this the card that already allows disabling the fan (the -1)? I think I've read about it somewhere.
Old 10th January 2020
  #24
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kraft View Post
Isn't this the card that already allows disabling the fan (the -1)? I think I've read about it somewhere.
Not the version available in the reseller channels when I purchased it. I would have to ship the card to them in order to have the software fan disable feature enabled. There's no need when it's so easy to unplug and remove the fan from the card.
Old 13th January 2020
  #25
Gear Nut
 

FYI. Video of installation and speed test of 6x4TB Sabrent nvme in an Amfeltec PCIe carrier board.
https://youtu.be/QJBWPu0Qt9I
Old 14th January 2020
  #26
Lives for gear
 

OK, unboxed the Mac Pro, got it up and running. All looks good.

My first problem. I bought a simple M.2 adapter card: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

However, this particular adapter doesn't seem like it fits properly. We didn't want to force anything, but I don't think the adapter fits the Mac Pro. Just to compare, I tried an OWC board used for a SATA SSD, and it slid in just fine with no effort.

SO, I'm now trying to find a NVMe to PCIe adaptor that works perfectly well with Mac Pro 2019.

If anyone has suggestions, please let me know!
Old 18th January 2020
  #27
Here for the gear
 

Currently configuring my new mac pro.
For storage, I'm considering going with the High Point 7101 loaded with 8T of 970 EVO plus cards.

I'm concerned about running all my data on a RAID 0 drive, but don't really want to do external backup. To keep things simple, I'd like to do a scheduled internal backup. I'm considering two options:

A) Configure the mac with an 8TB drive from Apple and back up to a partition of the boot drive.

B) Order an 8TB U.2 drive (i.e. Intel 8TB DC P4510 Internal SSD) pop it in a PCIE adapter and mirror to that automatically

I've read that the U.2 drives are less likely to fail. Any thoughts?
Old 20th January 2020
  #28
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by objectgroup View Post
Currently configuring my new mac pro.
For storage, I'm considering going with the High Point 7101 loaded with 8T of 970 EVO plus cards.

I'm concerned about running all my data on a RAID 0 drive, but don't really want to do external backup. To keep things simple, I'd like to do a scheduled internal backup. I'm considering two options:

A) Configure the mac with an 8TB drive from Apple and back up to a partition of the boot drive.

B) Order an 8TB U.2 drive (i.e. Intel 8TB DC P4510 Internal SSD) pop it in a PCIE adapter and mirror to that automatically

I've read that the U.2 drives are less likely to fail. Any thoughts?
Well it’s one drive vs 4 so statistically safer a synology nas is a nice option not sure why your against external you can place nas anywhere on the network. You can get a 24tb fs1018 plus drives for about what that 8tb Apple upgrade would cost
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by objectgroup View Post
I'm concerned about running all my data on a RAID 0 drive, but don't really want to do external backup. To keep things simple, I'd like to do a scheduled internal backup.
Don't rely on backups to the same physical drive. In the case of a disk failure you're going to be hosed. RAID will buy you something in the sense that a single disk failure won't cause data loss, but in the case of damage to the computer, spilled coffee, fire, etc you gain nothing by backing up to an internal drive in the same box.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #30
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
I'm waiting for another solution. I have 3 of those cheap cards for my SSDs.
https://www.amazon.com/OWC-Accelsior...8-1&pldnSite=1
They're working fine, but that leaves me with only 3 PCIe slots left. The Pagasus option if too expensive to just hold cards inside MP. Is there going to be a cheaper 3rd party option. Apologies for not reading carefully.
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