Home Forums Software InstaDMG building a speedy build station

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    I have a rare opportunity to spec out a machine specifically for running InstaDMG builds.
    So, a MacPro.
    But which parts do I beef up to get the best performance?
    Is the speed most affected by disk I/O?
    Available ram?
    SOme arcane combination of the three that hits the sweet spot between cost and function?

    My current specs are a a quad core with 4gb of ram, a 640gb drive for OS, a terabyte drive for storage and 2 striped 320gb 10k rpm velociraptor drives for the build section.
    (those drives are actually pretty cheap, and are, as far as I can tell, the best/cheapest upgrade I can get).

    Is this the right route?


    My feeling is that disk IO is far and away the most important factor. If you watch a build it does not especially spike the processor or memory, and no matter how much memory you get you are not going to be able to fit the whole target disk into memory at one time, so IO is still going to be the limiting factor.

    Now I will note that I have never been able to test on RAID. I am trying to get ahold of a couple of extra drive sleds for my main computer, and so that might change in the next month or so. I have heard that non-HFS volume can cause problems.


    I think i will set up a nice stripe set on a system I have here…. Give it a whirl and see what happens.
    Then again, if I was truly crazy I could go for an 8 core with 16gb of ram…. that’s enough for my image 😀


    One of my test build stations uses a 3 disk raid 0 for the builds. I’m not convinced that using a raid 0 is all that useful. Now that using the -t option for redirecting temp files is working again I plan on testing with 2 disks. Splitting the temp files and rest of the data between separate disks. If speed is a real concern get one of those 15K rpm 300GB SAS disks. I highly recommend getting applecare on the system. We have seen a high rate of failure with those on Xserve systems. Looks like you also need the raid card option for the mac pro as well.



    A ramdisk would be golden… 32GB of ram opens possibilities. Or SSD of course.

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