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Using 1x 2TB NVME or 2x 1TB NVME, that's the question

Hey everyone,

I’m currently in the midst of a VFX workstation build and I’m still not 100% decided with what kind of NVME option I should go with.

I could go with 2x 1TB Samsung 980 Pro (MZ-V8P1T0BW) or with 1x 2TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus (MZ-V7S2T0).

Is it with the current config worth buying the 980 Pro or should I save the money and invest in the 970 EVO Plus?

The board is equipped with the following M.2 slots:

  • 2 x Hyper M.2 Sockets (M2_1 and M2_2), support M Key type 2260/2280 M.2 PCI Express module up to Gen4x4 (64 Gb/s)

  • 1 x Hyper M.2 Socket (M2_3), supports M Key type 2230/2242/2260/2280/22110 M.2 SATA3 6.0 Gb/s module and M.2 PCI

CPU:
AMD | Threadripper 3960x

Motherboard:
ASRock | TRX40 Creator

Memory:
256GB G.Skill Ripjaws V 3200MHz CL16 (F4-3200C16Q2-256GVK)

Power Supply:
be quiet | Dark Power Pro 11 | 1200W

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Well if you want to go with 2 drives you’ll also think of how you’re going to address them. Do you want to see them as separate drives? Do you want to see them as one drive? And if as only one, how are you going to do it? Hardware-RAID? Storage Spaces? Other software solutions?
Depending how you do it you’ll have different performance characteristics. A RAID (in whatever form) can net you more throughput then a single drive. If you can really use it depends on the usecase though.

What kind of demand is that on the SSDs? Do you need iops or more bandwith then 1 drive can provide? Why not 2 970 evos as a compromise between price and perf, have you looked at used Enterprise DC drives ?

There is not really a choice in my mind.
2 drives is better than 1 drive.
Because if 1 drive dies you lose only half your data and not everything.

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Agree

Not agree, if he wants to go raid0.
Also planning to fail is failing to plan. If that’s supposed to be workstation I definetly recommend going with raid1/mirror

Only scenario where I would consider non redundant storage is probably some games, scratch disks, cache, etc.

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980 is pcie 4.0 vs 3.0 for 970 also evo plus is a bit different in design so if you saturate the cache you will get different performance.

My guess is he doesn’t plan on raid since he is considering a single drive.

I’m talking purely mechanically. If you have a single drive and it does - all your data will be gone. Having 2 drives means you will lose only the data on that drive…
That’s all there is to my thinking.
From that point forward speed and what not is a completely different matter entirely…

What do you really need from the extra storage you want to buy? More speed (RAID 0)? Redundant storage (RAID 1)? Just some more space (JBOD)?

All the answers so far are very thought out and meaningful, but I think you should be more clear on what’s the purpose of those drives (beside the obvious need of more storage space) so that we can be more focused on the answers.

Depends on how you raid the drives could end up being lose 1 lose both

Only really write if you don’t have a trash file system, as even in mirror you can read off both still.

Sure. I just gave a very cut and dry explaination of my questions trying not be condescending.

Unfortunately Windows is stuck with NT(rash)FS so there’s not much to do on that front, if he’s using Windows. On Linux there’s all sorts of FS to choose from, but even ext4 would be good to handle a RAID0. And it’s even possible to use reliable software RAID, a whole world of possibilities once more.

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wasnt trying to be that way to you if you took it that way, was just elaborating on raid to make sure OP is aware. Never bothered on NTFS as I have never need more perf then 1 drive (Rust/SSD/NVME) on a desktop, I only ever messed with raid on bulk storage.

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What software? What storage is used for ingest, which storage for output?

Bruh, get an Adata XGP SX8200 Pro (Wendell reviewed them). I got one (albeit a 256gb one), it’s awesome. Basically neck-in-neck with the 970 Pro. The higher capacity, the more performance, but not as much as running 2x (or more) in RAID 0.

If you are on a budget and don’t mind having more slots occupied, go with whatever option is cheaper. If you want performance, get 2 drives. If you want just raw storage, get only one (you never know if you will want to upgrade in the future and have no slots left). If you want performance, maybe run Linux and make RAID 0 on them, then make a Windows VM with GPU passthrough for it. If your projects are important, still go with the above, but make RAID 1 (and as always, RAID is not backup, always backup your data).

Well, good talk :slight_smile: But I think that without further input from OP, only 100% correct answer to original

is Yes. :wink:

Wow, thanks for the replies guys. This will be a longer post and I hope that I can answer your questions so far :wink:

If I would go with two drives I would probably configure them as RAID 0, as those drives are just meant for daily data access.

I would constantly access the data (image sequences/video files) stored on the drives and edit them in the compositing software “Nuke”.
To my knowledge the software favours iops.

One of the reasons why I looked at the Evos was, that so far the performance difference between them and the 980 Pro is at the current moment not that different. So that might be an option too.
I haven’t looked at Enterprise DC drives and will check it out.

I 100% agree with you there. I would have an external RAID 5 system where I backup the data daily.

The software I would mainly use would be “Nuke” from The Foundry. It’s a node based compositing program. Basically Photoshop for moving images. I would use a mix of video files as well as image sequences (mostly tiffs, pngs & exrs).

I either receive external hard drives or the client sends me the data via FTP/WeTransfer/etc & transfer them to the SSDs.
I would export the finished product onto the same drives and then I send them via FTP/WeTransfer to the client.

I haven’t heard about them and will check them out.

That’s an interesting take. I was thinking about running a dual boot with CentOS & Windows but using a Windows VM might be an option too. I was planning to run a Mac OS VM with High Sierra on CentOS.

I would also use a Crucial M500 960 GB SSD as my dedicated OS drive, so the NVMEs are just Project drives.

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When doing a KVM set up, passing through an NVME drive is the best possible way to do it.

This allows your kernel to directly passthrough the card, avoiding having to write to a virtual hard disk that resides on the host OS.

Doing an NVME pass through solved most of my audio crackling issues on my rig due to latency issues when i was on most of my KVM adventures.

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2 drives then and 2 more for redundancy.

Better speed better safety. Threadrippper has more PCI lanes than sense. Start with the 2 drives and build it out over time.

As a general rule for storage or ram I always go the higher single option if you can afford it. That way if you need to replace it later you can add to it rather than replace it all. There is no real valid approach. Worth mentioning the 2 980 preos have much better endurance though in terms of write cycles.

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Single if you’re backing up elsewhere; or mirror if it’s critical that you don’t lose it or lose edits.

I need to read up regarding the ups and downs of KVMs and also I’m curious about the stability with heavy image processing as Nuke just loves RAM as well as clock speed.