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JohnMC
Sep 6, 2006, 04:01 PM
I was hoping that someone could shine some light on this subject for me. I would like to know two things:

1) How are the HDD and Combo/SuperDrive connected to the Motherboard and are those connections accessible?

2) This is a question regarding SATA. Is SATA similar to IDE in the fact that you can connect two devices to one IDE port on a motherboard? So could I plug two HDDs into one SATA port?

My reason for asking is I would like to mod a Mac Mini and add two SATA ports to the top of the Mac for pluging in Exturnal SATA HDD's and turning the Mac Mini into a server.

Any insight would be great. Thanks, JohnMC.



Makosuke
Sep 6, 2006, 04:15 PM
1) How are the HDD and Combo/SuperDrive connected to the Motherboard and are those connections accessible?These takeapart photos might answer your question better than a description:

http://www.applefritter.com/Mac_Mini_Take_Apart_Guide

But basically, the HD plugs directly into a little mini-backplane that in turn plugs into a slot on the motherboard. You could probably get/make an adapter for the connector to plug in a cable, but you can't just plug it into the motherboard.

The Optical is, I assume a stock laptop-style IDE optical (nobody's even making SATA optical drives yet, are they?), but it too plugs into a backplane.


2) This is a question regarding SATA. Is SATA similar to IDE in the fact that you can connect two devices to one IDE port on a motherboard? So could I plug two HDDs into one SATA port?No.

There are sort-of-exceptions to this with SATA II, but so far as this situation goes, no--one port per device. No master/slave business with SATA.

You'd probably do best to just use the Firewire port to run it as a server; yes, that's "only" 40MB/s, but even gigabit ethernet doesn't usually hit that kind of throughput in the real world. Using the FW port lets you do all kinds of stuff with external RAID boxes or whatever.

JohnMC
Sep 6, 2006, 07:28 PM
Ok, thanks for the info. Now I guess I have one more question.

I have done some searching on google and found some SATA hubs (1-port to 5-ports) Here is a link.

http://www.cooldrives.com/cosapomubrso.html

I am guessing that these are only compatible with SATA II and not SATA I. So my question is, does the mac mini run on SATA I or II and would these boxes be compatible with a mac mini?
Thanks, JohnMC


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PowerBook G5's will NOT be unveiled next Tuesday, but I have Steve Jobs (may he live forever!) word that they will be for sale the following Tuesday.

Makosuke
Sep 6, 2006, 11:54 PM
I'm fairly certain the answer is no. My MPB, which probably has the same chipset, uses the "Intel ICH7-M AHCI", which appears to be Intel's 82801GBM. According to the specs for that chipset it has two ports available (though I assume Apple only has one wired), and doesn't appear to support any of the advanced features of SATA-II--they're just basic 1.5Gbit ports since it's a mobile chipset.

I could be mistaken, and you're welcome to download Intel's 700 page datasheet to see if you can figure out in more detail what it supports:

http://www.intel.com/design/chipsets/datashts/307013.htm

Also, here's their table of chipset features:

http://www.intel.com/support/chipsets/imsm/sb/CS-022304.htm

JohnMC
Sep 7, 2006, 02:37 PM
Ok, Thanks. I guess I'm outa luck! :)

BTW, How do you find what SATA chipset is in a computer. Does SATA have its own or is it really the FSB that controls the SATA interface?

JohnMC

Makosuke
Sep 7, 2006, 10:16 PM
BTW, How do you find what SATA chipset is in a computer. Does SATA have its own or is it really the FSB that controls the SATA interface?System Profiler lists the vendor and product of the SATA bus. I believe the controller is part of a broader multi-function Intel chipset (I believe the spec sheet said something to the effect of 2 SATA channels and one Master/Slave IDE channel, which would allow two drives and an optical, basically).

The ATA bus, interestingly, doesn't list anything about the controller--just tells you what's plugged into it. I assume it's the same Intel integrated chipset, though.

JohnMC
Sep 8, 2006, 04:38 PM
OK, Thanks.

JohnMC