OWC has some big discount specials for NAB thru April 19 and while supplies last.
Here’s one that caught my eye in particular.
OWC has some big discount specials for NAB thru April 19 and while supplies last.
Here’s one that caught my eye in particular.
I stopped by at the OWC booth at NAB to see the OWC Jupiter system.
With up to 512TB of capacity and functioning as a NAS or SAN and with 10 gigabit connectivity (additional 10 Gbps cards can be installed for more bandwidth), the unit is a heavy duty rack-mount solution for those looking for massive storage for a workgroup. Redundant power supplies of course.
LAS VEGAS, NV - April 15, 2015 – Other World Computing (OWC), a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company, announced today that it will feature at its NAB 2015 Booth #SL13905 in Las Vegas, April 13-16, a range of outstanding and flexible solutions aimed at revolutionizing creative professional workflows.
The innovative solutions showcased at OWC’s NAB booth include:
Jupiter Callisto and Kore Unified Storage
OWC Jupiter Callisto and Korerack-mounted storage solutions offer the most flexible, compatible, and scalable high-performance storage systems for creative professionals working with HD, 2K, and 4K workflows. Connect via 10Gb/E and mini-SAS interfaces to unleash speeds up to 10Gb/s via Callisto and up to 48Gb/s with Kore.
Jupiter Callisto, available now and starting at $4,988 for a 16TB configuration, is a unified storage appliance that functions as both a NAS and SAN at the same time. Mac and Windows compatible, it offers storage management with IP-based remote management software. Whether building from the ground up or integrating into an existing system, Jupiter’s 8-bay 2U racks and 16-bay 3U racks provide installation flexibility with scalable ZFS architecture for the creation of an ideal professional workstation environment.
The power of the Jupiter Kore, available now and starting at $3,288 for a 16TB configuration, lies in its mini-SAS interface architecture, with the ability to run dual 24Gb/s direct mini-SAS cables to achieve speeds up to 48Gb/s. Users can get up to 64TB of storage in an 8-bay rack and up to 128TB of direct-attached or expansion storage capacity in a 16-bay rack. Callisto users can add up to three Jupiter Kore expander rack solutions for a total of 512TB of centralized storage. Need even more power? No problem. Simply add an external SAS switch and watch limitations on speed and power vanish.
The OWC Trust Advantage®
Over 25 years of product design and innovation
OWC tested for compatibility, speed, and reliability
Comprehensive step-by-step installation and support videos
24/7 award-winning, U.S.-based technical support
B&H Photo has the Apple 13.3" MacBook Pro Notebook Computer with Retina Display (Mid 2014) for $1249 ($250 off with free expedited shipping and Parallels Desktop 10 software).
In With the Coming of the Apple Watch, Digital Monitoring is the Next Big Thing, I suggested that Apple Watch would be a Really Big Deal.
Then I looked at what it meant to me as a serious cyclist. I’ve looked some more and I cannot find a single feature that does anything for my cycling needs. But it might incent “gotta do it” exercisers and that might end up being a public health benefit in a statistical way. More power to 'em and to Apple for that—applauded.
Then I looked some more (those hyper polished Apple videos), and while it’s all done with the usual Apple style and elegance, I was left wondering how I would possibly use one. Huh. Maybe a really good voice recorder with voice to text might itself be a worthwhile app for me at times, but to wear the watch for that seems a bit silly.
Now the Apple Watch is out—and sold out. Which is to be expected with a new and gorgeous product from the world’s most successful company of all time. I’ve enjoyed not wearing a watch for years now (though I have a quality self-winding classic), so I await something with 4X the battery life, self-charging by solar and motion, no dependency on an iPhone, a built-in camera and phone. Or a really compelling feature. I might have to wait a long time for that.
My teenagers aren’t interested in iWatch, and they tell me there isn’t much interest in iWatch among their high school friends, but I remain skeptical that it won’t be a hit with teenagers at some point—maybe some iWatch killer app that goes viral will ignite it. Perhaps the main issue is that it requires an iPhone to work well, and my kids attend a government school with a wide range of student backgrounds, and most kids there can’t afford an iPhone. But at least in Palo Alto, where even 8 year olds have iPhones, it ought to sell well to kids.
It will be very interesting to see how the iWatch market works out. New technology can disrupt unexpected areas of life, and I have a sense that the iWatch might well do that—health care perhaps, but maybe somewhere else too.
MPG reported on the about $249 Thunderbolt 2 Dock back late last year, followed up by a review of the OWC Thunderbolt Dock. Supply has caught up with demand and the dock is now in stock, so get it on the loading dock for you. :;
In use since then on the MPG MacBook Pro system, the OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock is the best docking option out there, particularly for port-challenged systems, like laptops, iMacs and MacMinis. It’s Thunderbolt 2, but will work with Thunderbolt v1 also.
On Macs with only two Thunderbolt ports, (MacBook Pro, iMac, MacMini), plugging in the dock uses one Thunderbolt port, but that leaves the other port on the Mac free as well as one port on the dock. So you still get two Thunderbolt ports plus the five USB3 ports and the others.
|Laptop alone||With Thunderbolt 2 Dock|
|USB 3 ports||2||7|
|USB 3 high power ports||2 of 2||4 of 7|
|Thunderbolt 2 ports||2||2|
|Firewire||with Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter
(uses Thunderbolt port)
|Gigabit ethernet||with Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter
(uses Thunderbolt port)
|HDMI||possible with adapter
(uses Thunderbolt port)
|Sound||varies||additional sound in and out|
|Digital camera card reader||SDXC reader built-in on some models||Attach a fast USB3 card reader|
High power ports are especially good for charging devices like the iPad, or powering certain USB3 devices (e.g. external SSDs) that pull more than the standard 0.9 amps on a standard USB3 port.
The Apple MacBook Pro hasn’t changed in any material way since late 2013, and that’s why MPG is still using that model—there is no meaningful difference vs the current model (hint: a used late 2013 MBP with AppleCare is still a terrific laptop).
MPG’s current recommendation for power users for a new laptop is the 15-inch 2.8 GHz model with 1TB SSD. Along with (for home/office use), the OWC Thunderbolt Dock plus keyboard and mouse (both wired) and separate 4K display.
Current trends in the Macbook / MacBook Pro line are iPad-wannabe laptops (a very rough analogy, but the new MacBook is of this genre), but not to more powerful high end units. All well and good, but it would be nice to see product line expansion in both slimness direction and power user direction. And possibly a hybrid model that is an iPadBook, so to speak—convergence.
Being optimistic that Apple might not abandon power users in all areas as seems to be the trend, what might arrive in the high-end revised model later this year?
Apple’s strategy seems to be to move down into the thin/light/portable areas. So it will be a nice surprise if some attention is given to the power user who want a laptop over a desktop.
Apple does seem to be regularly fixing the most egregious security bugs. The troublesome part is just how many bugs there are with which an attacker could have gained complete control over the system. But that’s the “game”: for every bug fixed, there are probably a dozen others to be found of similar risk. This isn’t like to change any time soon.
Of particular note are numerous bug fixes to PHP, a programming language used for web sites. Also, fixes to OpenSSL, code signing and WebKit.
Unless you use Capture One for processing your RAW files you may update, but the update shows some strange behavior that probably Phase One has to fix.
MPG: always risks to any update for some software.
For business reasons, MPG had been using Comcast 100 X 20 business class internet (100 megabit down, 20 megabit up). Burst speeds have been observed as high as ~120 megabits, or even ~180 megabits when Comcast was testing their 150 megabit service.
But it turns out that with the vast majority of sites, real speeds and latencies run a lot closer to a few megabits a second (e.g., hit a bunch of tabs, and sites take 5-10 seconds to load, even though the total bandwidth needed is trivial, since they are mostly text-based). A whole cornucopia of ways to go slower is involved, along with the hop-to-hop issues across the internet.
Testing speed to bandwidth testing sites is irrelevant; what matters is whether the sites and services one actually uses load appreciably faster with a faster internet service.
For at least a year, MPG noticed that real-world just-about-everything at 100 megabit was nowhere close to that speed. Plenty of latency on most sites. A site visit by a Comcast technician found all in order, and bandwidth testing to test sites all proved out to rated speed.
So the service was downgraded to 75 X 15 megabit (still business class), the expectation being no perceptible change in performance. Which has proven itself to be true: no detectable difference between 100 megabit and 75 megabit when using the internet over a wide variety of web sites.
But what about those big downloads? Shouldn’t 75 megabit be noticeably slower than 100 megabit?
Today’s OS X 10.10.3 update was a ~2.02 gigabyte download, or about 16.16 gigabits of data, providing a perfect opportunity for the best possible case in favor of a faster internet connection.
As the download began, burst speed exceeded 75 megabits for a short time, then settled down, bouncing around between 16 and 60 megabits. Average speed as seen in the graph (blue) shows that real download speed averaged somewhere around 21 megabits—a far cry from 75 and even farther from 100 megabits.
Timing the download portion of the 2.02 GB update on another system (Mac Pro) showed that it took 759 seconds for the download (16.16 gigabits of data), which equates to 21.3 megabits per second (on a 75 megabit business class connection). E.g., the same fast-then-slow behavior.
That combination of seeing initial burst speed exceed the rated speed, and then grossly under-perform seems suspicious at best (e.g., throttling by Comcast). To see it on just one system is one thing; to see the same consistent speed loss on two systems upgraded an hour apart is fishy. Comcast claims no throttling for business class, but these results seem to call that claim into doubt.
Repeating a similar test the next day with a big XCode download, speeds of around 24 Mbps were observed—1/3 of the rated link speed which tests out in excess of its claimed 75 X 15 as shown below. Which is the point: speed test sites are irrelevant to real world performance on most all sites most all of the time. The fact that sometimes full speed happens is all well and good, but it’s not a common occurence in my observations.
Comcast almost certainly gives high priority routing to sites like SpeedTest.net—it would be crazy not to make their service look its best. Sort of like camera lens manufacturers gaming the system with lens designs that test well for typical focusing distances.
Apple download servers are among the fastest and most robust available today.
Explanations for the underperformance might be found, but the point of this post is that it doesn’t matter what the explanation is: what could possibly be the point of paying for 100 megabit if 75 delivers less then 1/3 its claimed speed? This is why MPG downgraded to 75 megabit and seeing no difference, now has zero reservations about doing so.
Remember, this is a 75 megabit business-class link using the best Comcast Docsis router. According to MPG inquiries with Comcast technicians over the past few years (site visits), business class has traffic priority over consumer internet (true or not, MPG is uncertain). A regular consumer (non business) internet link would surely not perform better.
Isn’t it nice when behemoth companies with millions of diverse customers do not bother to test their customer portals?
As shown below, it was not possible to login (multiple attempts on multiple days), even with cookies set to “Always Allow”.
This from the same company that silently truncates passwords that are too long: that one took me quite a while to figure out why every new password I chose would fail when I tried to login again.
SoftRAID 5.0.7 has been released. Details further below.
SoftRAID requires Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later. Support for TRIM commands on SSDs requires 10.7.5 or later. SoftRAID requires a Mac which contains a Core 2 Duo or later processor. It will not work on early Intel Macs with Core Duo processors.
Working through backup and fault tolerance issues for a professional setup? MPG offers consulting on that and much more.
SoftRAID is included with the OWC Thunderbay 4 RAID-5 Edition.
MPG testing previously showed that RAID-4 can be faster than RAID-5, but MPG has not re-evaluted this finding with SoftRAID version 5.0.7. RAID-5 and RAID-4 offer the same fault tolerance (RAID-4 uses a dedicated parity drive and RAID-5 uses distributed parity).
If the Mac is running sluggishly with odd delays and pauses, think “low memory” and/or “runaway process” and particularly Apple Core Rot.
Here, the MPG Mac Pro has 64GB memory. Apple’s Spotlight (mds_stores process) is consuming 54GB of that memory and causing the virtual memory system to resort to compressed memory. The mds_stores process process is also using an entire CPU core (100% CPU usage of one core).
Everything was feeling sluggish, Apple Mail was not working properly, multi-second delays were seen doing normal things, etc: the system was essentially out of memory and this was causing severe performance issues.
The only fix was to reboot; this persisted for more than two hours before I diagnosed it (being somewhat distracted by phone calls and misc).
Found your post - I’m having the same problem, and your’s is the only mention of this specific issue that I’ve seen. But reboot doesn’t help.
In my case, the run-away mds_stores only seems to occur if Mail is opened.
MPG: the issue has some set of conditions necessary for it to occur on my system. It has not recurred as yet.
Apple’s Time Machine* is best used for relatively recent work, due to its hourly/daily/weekly snapshots—it’s not bootable and very slow to restore. MPG utilizes and likes Time Machine (recommended!), but recommends it in addition to full clone backups stored safely elsewhere (not with the machine being backed up).
Used with full backups, Time Machine doesn’t need a ton of space; here’s one trick to use it without having to have a Big Honkin Drive for All Your Stuff:
Time Machine keeps versions of files and deleted files, so sometimes the best thing to do with Time Machine is to make it forget everything it knows by erasing the Time Machine backup volume (via Disk Utility), so it can start over with a new baseline backup. It’s baffling why this simple feature is not just built into Time Machine (thus baffling its users!), because inevitably TM will run out of space.
As far as the Time Machine volume, a USB3 external drive will do, but the beauty of a 4-bay OWC Thunderbay 4 is that one of the drives can be dedicated for Time Machine use, leaving three other drives for additional purposes.
* Time Machine is the software; Time Capsule is an optional backup hardware device that MPG is lukewarm on.
(this is not an “April Fool’s” joke, especially the MacMini part!)
Just a quick update on my 2013 MacPro, I have just collected it from Apple repair and they said the SSD had definitely failed, the rest of the system
was intact and fault free.
Whilst it was away being repaired I bought a basic 2014 MacMini 2.6ghz to get me by (cheapest modern option to accommodate my OWC Thunderbay) as my old 2 GHz iMac was grinding to a halt with modern raw files.
I was surprised that the MacMini was not as slow as I was expecting—100 Raw Canon 5D Mark III files can be batched in around 9 min in CaptureOne Pro, however, it’s no match for my 6 core 2013 Mac which does the same job in 1min 15 sec!
I also, with your links and recommendation, bought a 240GB 6G OWC SSD along with a Mercury Elite Pro and I’m using that as a back up boot drive now for both the MacPro and MacMini rather than just fit the SSD into the MacMini. It now serves two machines with one drive and with it read/writing at a around 430mb/sec it has certainly made the MacMini twice as snappy! happy days!
All in all, it’s a big thank you to you and MPG for the superb no nonsense articles which have kept me going last week without any loss to any data along with your excellent consultation many years ago and following your MPG back up strategy blog.
MPG: always have a bootable clone backup.
MPG suggests the Mercury Elite Pro Mini USB3, preferably the SSD version, but HDD (hard drive) is fine too.
Note that OWC offers a replacement SSD for the 2013 Mac Pro with up to 2TB capacity (Apple offers at most 1TB).
Have an older Mac, say 3 years or older with hard drives? If those drives have been spinning much of the day for those years, their odds of failure are rising fast.
Particularly for older Mac Pro systems, having four “spinners” that have been in there for 3+ years means that the likelihood of a failure is an increasing concern (the same applies for external enclosures with drives). Drives used sporadically are probably at much lower risk, provided that the drives have not been spun up/down through many cycles (spin up is a higher stress demand on the drive).
If the drives are in a non fault-tolerant striped RAID-0, failure of just one drive means loss of the volume(s) for that RAID. And even if the RAID is fault-tolerant, e.g., a RAID-1 mirror or RAID-5, getting a matching replacement drive are slim, with new models now having quite different performance characteristics (generally much faster).
It’s not just failure; capacity and performance come to bear; see:
Several strategies come to mind:
MPG offers consulting for anyone approaching these or other issues, including partitioning, RAID, backup strategy, etc.
For modern Macs, MPG strongly recommends at least 4TB drives, even if that much capacity is deemed overkill; see the articles noted above on speed vs capacity.
As of mid 2015, the the drive of choice at MPG is the Hitachi HGST Deskstar 6TB NAS Hard Drive. The 5TB and 4TB Hitachi and Toshiba drives are also good choices. See hard drives at OWC (the OWC 90-day DOA guarantee is a big plus BTW).
Enclosure choice is a no-brainer: MPG has five OWC Thunderbay units for reasons discussed extensively in previous blog posts.
A new drive fails within 90 days? No fun at all. OWC will replace it with a new one.
Compare that to most vendor policies: send in the drive to the manufacturer, wait 4-6 weeks, get a refurbished (used) replacement.
As relevant if not more so here in 2015, anyone using any kind of Mac without an SSD should look at upgrade options that really boost performance. From 2013:
Here in 2015, SSD prices have declined very nicely vs 2013. The OWC Electra 6G series is wallet friendly at just $132 for 240GB, or $235 for a 480GB SSD. The OWC Extreme Pro series offers a bit more performance, but the night and day difference comes from upgrading the hard drive to an SSD.
Note that old-style laptops and MacMini models can accept dual internal drives (SSD or hard drive) via the OWC Data Doubler. If the goal is storage capacity, current model 2.5-inch hard drives offer up to 2TB capacity.
With Apple removing TRIM support in the latest OS X versions, the drives recommended above do not need TRIM and never have, which in part is why MPG has been recommending them for years.
MPG likes “set and forget” products which just keep working reliably—some SSDs will slow down as they fill up and become internally fragmented, and this may be not only a speed issue, but a NAND (flash memory) wear issue (longevity).
While I’d of course love to have a couple of 8TB Viper SSDs (or even one), the cost is commensurate with the outrageous performance, or so I’m expecting as soon as I can get one to test.
Meanwhile, hard drives (HDD) keep increasing their merit by delivering speeds over 200MB/sec, and capacities of 5TB, 6TB and now a whopping 8TB. The 8TB Ultrastar He8 hard drive offers 1/3 more capacity than 6TB but at about double the price. Still, 8TB drives should drop substantially in price fairly quickly as consumer (non enterprise) models appear.
MPG’s diglloyd swapped to 5TB drives for main storage in multiple OWC Thunderbay 4 units less than a year ago, but done today, it would now be the HGST 6.0 TB Deskstar NAS drive*. See the performance tests; it’s a 'killer' fast drive.
* For the 2009/2010 Mac Pro models, I’ve had two reports that at least some production batches might have warm restart issues (cold bootup is fine), e.g. do a restart and the drives won’t appear, but shut down and start up and they come up fine. I cannot confirm this as a general issue, but it is something to be aware of in those Macs when used *internally* (no reports of issues externally). Possibly it involves a certain production batch, etc—no way to be sure.
How to configure storage for backup, reliability and fault tolerance (everyone’s needs can vary) is a subject I often cover during consulting.
The best setup for any system is to:
(1) Utilize an SSD (“flash drive”) for the boot/system/apps volume and for any files that benefit from high performance, such as Adobe Lightroom catalogs, scratch space, video transcoding temp files, databases, etc.
(2) Utilize hard drives for main storage of large files: image files, video footage, music, etc. (But ).
While USB3 drives make good choices for single drives (e.g. for backup), a tangled pile of separate drives can lead lead to frustration and reliability issues of various kinds.
Instead, MPG strongly recommends investing in a high quality 4-bay unit like the OWC Thunderbay 4. Its 4 bays are eminently flexible, allowing drives to be used singly and/or in various RAID flavors, including RAID-5. Nearly all current Macs have Thunderbolt, a wonderful solution compared to past years.
For those desiring a smaller form factor and/or easy SSD support, there is the 4-by Thunderbay 4 Mini, which can be configured to use SSDs and/or HDDs. (2.5-inch drives).
* HDD = Hard Disk Drive Spinning magnetic media as compared with an SSD which uses memory chips, no moving parts.
Many users have chosen the iMac, but there have been obstacles to upgrading the internal drive, the main one being the need for custom thermal regulation, a problem which OWC has solved with their upgrade kit.
OWC has do-it-yourself videos and toolkits, or the iMac can be upgraded by a professional installer.
Unlike Prior Generations, Apple iMacs from late 2009 to current 2014 & later utilize digital reporting and even custom firmware for SMC drive temperature reporting.
OWC's Exclusive HDD Kits include our custom digital monitor that 'talks Apple SMC' and maintains proper temperature reporting and Apple Diagnostic compatibility allowing you to upgrade an existing 3.5" HDD with any 3.5" SATA HDD of your choice up to 6.0TB.
With certain models, an SSD can be added to the hard drive for dual internal drive operation (hard drive + SSD), which enables Apple’s 'Fusion' technology.
Add an OWC Solid State Drive (sold separately) to your hard drive only equipped iMac to experience faster booting, near instant application launches and data transfer speeds up to 559MB/s!
By engaging me in consulting, I can help in the following ways—
Hours are flexible, and I work with clients all over the world.
Apple is the most wildly successful company in history. Competition from Apple is a scary thing for any company in its chosen field of play, for good reason—Apple goes “all in” or doesn’t enter the market. In phones, no company makes money any more except Apple. Now the Apple iWatch is imminent. The Apple Car may be next.
Here’s a short but intriguing video (thanks to reader Martin D):
Apple computers sell for premium prices at high profit margins in a cutthroat industry. But OS X and computers as we know them are now being marginalized as Apple products; they just don’t have much impact to Apple’s bottom line. This simple fact explains the slowdown in both computer and OS X development in terms of breadth and depth (and quality of OS X).
Various recent security developments.
Apple has issued several security updates recently. Keep your Mac up to date with security updates.
For some of my programming needs (server side code and other stuff), I use the Java programming language*.
So it’s disturbing that Oracle now has started bundling crapware with the java SDK. MPG considers the way Oracle is doing this to be unethical. Apparently this was done for years with PCs, but now is doing it with Macs. Beware!!!
Don’t assume claimed privacy features actually work.
OWC has a new thumb drive about to debut. MPG tested a 240GB production copy, as shown below. Other capacities smaller and larger (480GB) will be available.
UPDATE: the OWC Thumb Drive is now available for purchase.
With those sorts of capacities, MPG ponders why iPhone and similar devices are stuck around 128GB in a much larger form factor, and why there is not some sort of secure pairing standard for storage extension. Because with up to 480GB in such a small device, it could make a nifty adjunct to any digital device needing overflow storage.
As shown, the OWC thumb drive offers very high read and write speed for compressible data (“Zeroes”). This is performance that even two years ago was considered excellent for a fast full-size SSD.
With incompressible data (artificial worst case scenario), performance is lower, but still remains as fast or faster than the fastest hard drive for reads (reads are much more common than writes). In short, this is a high performance device.
OWC indicates that the drive is smart in that it “thermal regulates” for reliability; thumb drives are not really designed for taking a beating as with this continous test. Still, there was no sign of any performance deviation using DiskTester fill-volume across the entire 240GB capacity (writes ~240GB, then read ~240GB with no pauses or breaks).
MPG will be field testing the OWC 240GB thumb drive on a photography trip shortly, more to follow.
Well worth a read.
A few simple rules: