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Reader Feedback on Mac Pro Setup and more

Great feedback, makes the writing satisfying.

Hi, Mr. Chambers,

My deepest thanks for your Mac Performance Guide site; it allowed me to set up a system that is customized for my needs and makes my photographic workflow very fast and accurate. I ended up going over my budget for a new system, but what I got is going to serve me well for years to come and is not a "dead end" solution.

I had a 2007 Mac Mini that I'd max'ed out with 2GB of RAM and a Newer Technology 750GB ministack, along with an Apple 23" Cinema HD display and a Spyder3 elite calibration system. Once I started shooting over 500 images per shoot, this system's limitations became painfully obvious.

I put together a single 2.8GHz Nehalem Mac Pro with 12GB of RAM, a 240GB OWC SSD boot drive, along with 4 @ Hitachi deskstar 7K2000 in the drive bays, and a NEC 3090-BK-SV monitor. I added a Newer Technology Voyager Q for easy backup for offsite storage. The folks at OWC are just amazing: great products at very reasonable prices and (best of all) excellent customer service.

Your most excellent site gave me the information I needed to make decisions about where best to put my money. I think that I read every single article that touched on the Mac Pro. Some of them I read more than once. You got me thinking about getting an SSD boot disk, which I most definitely would *not* have done based on Apple's very expensive and limited SSD option. This system boots in about 23 seconds and applications launch instantaneously. I can blast through images and make very fast decisions about what's good and merits further review. The NEC 3090 monitor is amazing. Without your site's information, I probably would have wound up with the (discontinued) Apple 30" display. That would have been fine, but the NEC is just awesome (and is largely responsible for the system coming in over-budget).

Thanks so much for sharing this great information... if I need consulting, I know where to go!

-David G

DIGLLOYD: thanks (everyone) for using my site links to buy when the time comes.


... and:

One other serious advantage of the MacBook Pro is Firewire Disk Mode.

Thanks, great comparison, I love my new 13" MacBook Pro (with OWC Mercury Pro RE SSD *and* 1TB internal HDD in the SuperDrive slot... thanks OWC!)

— Brad C


... and:

First and foremost, thank you for your article about the "OWC 6GB/8GB Memory Kit for MacBook Pro".

The article was very helpful. I currently have a Nov 2008 Macbook Pro Unibody with 2GB and I am contemplating whether to upgrade to 4 GB or 6GB. I read your article however it is still not clear to me whether my Macbook Pro will retain the same battery time after upgrading to 6GB or will the battery drain faster due to the high memory usage? I know OWC and others claim that power consumption is not impacted however I was going to stick with the 4GB upgrade if my current 5 hour battery time will be impacted.

Can you please provide feedback whether or not upgrading to 6GB will drain the battery faster?

Thank you very much in advance for your time and assistance. Have a good rest of the weekend. — K K

DIGLLOYD: I am aware of no significant loss of battery life by using 6GB of memory instead of 4GB. And if memory needs increase beyond the available memory, the increased disk activity (virtual memory) will certainly reduce battery life and bring things to a standstill.



Just wondering if you are working on a piece about the new MBA (13"?) for a
photographer? Thanks for your work. — JM Antoine

DIGLLOYD: I hope to have a MacBook Air for testing in a week or two.


and a miasmic note from a reader with a sense of entitlement:

You don't do a lot for your credibility with terms like bastardized, crap and silly.

I have a 13" MacBook Pro (which has one of those "bastardized screen[s] that doubles as a mirror") as well as a Mac Pro. I figure I'm a knowledgeable user who sometimes needs lots of horsepower, yet I find the 11" MacBook Air an attractive idea. It could replace the MacBook for my needs.

I once had a high regard for your web site, but I find the opinions increasingly strident and narrow. I also dislike the increasing commercial thrust.

— Roy S

DIGLLOYD: Mac OS X has a built in dictionary that is easy to use. I replaced "crap" with a more descriptive term, that is a reasonable suggestion.



Two quick questions, I purchased and downloaded your tools suite to test my new memory and hard drives. I ran DiskTester on my Mac Pro's internal RAID of 3 Western Digital Black drives, just purchased from OWC on your recommendation. After about 95 hours of testing,

DiskTester reported a single I/O error. This error was also registered in SoftRaid. Since then, I've run the drives for an additional 250 hours, and ran disk tester for another 50 hours of that time. No subsequent errors have been reported.

Do you think the drive should be returned because of that single error? How should I report it to OWC, since the SMART status says everything is ok? I have the results from DiskTester saved, as well as a screen grab from SoftRaid.

Second question - do you have any thoughts about the new MacBook Airs and their solid state memory? Will they suffer the same issues as other third party SSDs?

DIGLLOYD: This was internal, so not a cabling error then. I would swap the drive, as I/O errors are very odd for an internal drive. Though they could be explained away by other reasons, there’s no way way to say. It could indicate a drive with excessive bad blocks. In general, I do prefer to use the enterprise-grade drives (RE4) in general for a 3-way or 4-way stripe, though I also skip my own advice at times for cost reasons.
MacBook Air SSD: I don’t know, SSD designs change constantly. Unlikely to be an issue given the horsepower of the machine and limited usage scenarios.



Thanks very much for your help and your time. Thanks for putting so much info available to us. Being a subscriber to your site is really great. — Renato L



Thanks for a great project. I already reconditioned one ssd-drive with MemoryTester, with great performance gains. — Mikkel H

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