Mac XP: rest of stuff arrives

Just now, the rest of the parts arrived, that is four 500 Gb drives and 4 x 2 Gb RAM, all from OWC. I was a bit impatient and forgot to snap pictures of it before putting it into the box. But you all know how hard drives and RAM looks, right? Except this particular RAM has a lot of black fins on it (see earlier pictures).

Anyway, I took out the 2 Gb RAM that was in the machine and replaced it with 4 modules of 2 Gb each. I’ve read somewhere that memory access is the fastest on these machines if you have 4 modules. Maybe there is a 64 bit wide bus for each module and the computer has a 256 bit wide memory bus? Actually, I don’t know, but it didn’t seem worth slowing down the memory bus for just a meagre extra 2 Gb, so out they went. My next Mac Pro (yeah, right) can then get these for a 4 Gb start in life.

I also took out the single 320 Gb drive that was in the machine when it arrived from Apple. Put in 4 x 500 Gb Seagates instead. All the drives had a jumper in place limiting them to a transfer speed of 1.5 Gb/sec. I seem to remember the Mac Pro can handle 3 Gb/sec so I took them out. Fiddly in the extreme, had to use a knife to get them out.

Started up the machine, but discovered I couldn’t open the optical drives with the classic Mac keyboard, no reaction as I hit the eject button. (I’d taken the new keyboard and used it for the iMac.) Had to switch to the new keyboard and then I could open the drive to get the install DVD in there.

When installing, you have to select “Disk utility” first and format the drives. Time to figure out how to divvy up these drives. My first inclination is to use two of the drives like “regular drives” and save the last two drives for Time Machine. Yes, I do run regular backups through Retrospect to an external NAS, but still, Time Machine is really nice and useful. TM on the iMac sucks too much computing and disk power, however, so I’m hoping this isn’t the case on the Pro. Especially if it can use two internal 3 Gb/s drives, it ought not to get in my way, even though I’m running several Windows instances under Parallels (every change in those gigantic virtual machine files trigger a backup of the whole file, maybe 5-10 Gb at a time. Heavy. I’m not too sure this is a good idea.)

Right now, the Pro is migrating from my iMac using the Time Machine backup on an external 500 Gb Lacie Porsche. It still has another hour to run. Interesting factoid: the little Lacie Porsche makes more noise than the entire Mac Pro under it. Fascinating.