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Old Jan 16, 2013, 04:53 AM   #1
itsamacthing
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Promise J4 + 500GB SSD?

I read the drive compatibility list and it does not list anything beyond 256GB, but have any of you tried to load one up with a 500GB SSD? Howard??
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 08:33 AM   #2
bonedaddio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsamacthing View Post
I read the drive compatibility list and it does not list anything beyond 256GB, but have any of you tried to load one up with a 500GB SSD? Howard??
Hi all, sent my J4 back. I'll get another one as soon as they sort out the drivers, firmware whatever. It's a great hardware setup, but not quite ready to play with my 2012 iMac. I did install the latest drivers from the Promise website.

YMMV, but although the J4 showed up in option boot with my MacBook Pro via Thunderbolt and worked with Samsung 840 and Crucial M4 256 Gb SSDs, the J4 DID NOT show up in option boot on my new 2012 iMac, and the Samsung 840 supposedly doesn't work with the J4. Once the iMac was booted on the internal HDD, the Samsung showed up on the desktop and was accessible in Mac OSX ML. The J4 DOES NOT work or show up in bootcamp or Windows 7 at this time. According to Promise Tech Support, a driver will be forthcoming, when is unknown.

So, in reply to the OP, it wouldn't matter to me right now if it DID work with the larger SSDs, as it didn't work correctly with my iMac. Again, YMMV.
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 11:40 AM   #3
hfg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsamacthing View Post
I read the drive compatibility list and it does not list anything beyond 256GB, but have any of you tried to load one up with a 500GB SSD? Howard??
I take the "compatibility list" to indicate the drives Promise Technology has actually bought and tested and does not indicate that drives not on the list won't work! Since large SSD drives are expensive, they may not have wanted to devote the resources (time and money) to test them.

Keep in mind, it is just a simple SATA-III interface and Thunderbolt interface. Others have commented than the SATA controller chip is one of the best available. There is nothing magic these days with a SATA controller, and I would wager that if it supports 1TB hard disks, it would also support 1TB SSDs. I have not put my 512GB SSDs in the J4 because they are in use elsewhere at the moment.

I currently have my J4 configured as a 1.25TB "Fusion" drive with a 256GB SSD (Samsung 840 Pro) and one of the 1TB hard disks. The other pair of 1TB drives are set up as a 2TB RAID-0. This combination suits my workflow needs perfectly along with the internal 768GB SSD.

I think the driver issue is with the Thunderbolt interface. I don't know how other Thunderbolt enclosures support this, unless they use a chip that Apple supports natively in the EFI, so that the driver is available at boot before the external data starts loading. I have had trouble with other Thunderbolt enclosures as well, especially with external Windows booting, only the Seagate GoFlex has worked for me booting Windows, but it is advertised as being Windows and Mac compatible. The LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt does boot OS X and gives full access to 2 internal drives, but it also isn't supported in Windows and I am unable to install Windows to a single formatted drive within the LaCie. I finally avoided the whole external Windows issue here by simply installing on a partition on my internal SSD.

I am still pretty impressed with the Pegasus J4 here ...


-howard
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 05:41 PM   #4
pschneider
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Originally Posted by hfg View Post
I take the "compatibility list" to indicate the drives Promise Technology has actually bought and tested and does not indicate that drives not on the list won't work! Since large SSD drives are expensive, they may not have wanted to devote the resources (time and money) to test them.
The only potential technical issue that I could imagine is the higher power consumption of 512 GB drives (e.g. the Samsung 830 uses up to 6W of power). This was a problem with the Seagate adapter, but the J4 has a well-dimensioned power supply...

As of this moment I am testing a J4 with two Samsung 830 (512GB) SSDs and two 1 TB rotating drives, and I will hook up another one with a quartet of 830 (512GB) SSDs tomorrow to see how it fares.

Sequential speeds between the MacMini and one Samsung 830 in the J4 are up to 350MB/sec for writing and 524MB/sec for reading (>32MB Transfer size).

I will later try and fill the drive and do an integrity test.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hfg View Post
Keep in mind, it is just a simple SATA-III interface and Thunderbolt interface.
Actually, it is a SAS controller which is also compatible with SATA-III. Check the System Profiler: the attached drives are listed in the SAS section, not SATA. This could be somewhat problematic since I don't know if the OS (and other tools) have access to S.M.A.R.T. information and to the fact if a LUN is an SSD or a rotational drive (and adjust themselves accordingly).

Quote:
Originally Posted by hfg View Post
I think the driver issue is with the Thunderbolt interface. I don't know how other Thunderbolt enclosures support this, unless they use a chip that Apple supports natively in the EFI, so that the driver is available at boot before the external data starts loading.
Actually, an EFI boot driver can be embedded in the controller firmware, which is how a MacPro boots from drives attached to a supported SAS PCI express host bus adapter. After all, the "E" in "Firmware Interface" is supposed to mean "Extensible"...

Since Thunderbolt is (basically) a PCI express extension cable, this method should also work for the J4 - if correctly implemented. I requested support from Promise about the lack of boot capability of the J4 in connection with the MacMini (Late 2012) I am testing. They stated that the J4 is bootable and I should complain to Apple. When I told them I wasn't sure if Apple alone was to blame (mentioning the EFI boot rom), they promised to look at the boot problem again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hfg View Post
I am still pretty impressed with the Pegasus J4 here ...
-howard
Me too. It would just be really nice if I could put the boot drive in the J4, too. This way, I could use a spare MacMini as a "cold standby" and if one of my MacMini server breaks down due to a hardware failure, I could change over the J4 Thunderbolt cable to the spare and be up and running again in an instant.
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 06:37 PM   #5
bonedaddio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pschneider View Post
Since Thunderbolt is (basically) a PCI express extension cable, this method should also work for the J4 - if correctly implemented. I requested support from Promise about the lack of boot capability of the J4 in connection with the MacMini (Late 2012) I am testing. They stated that the J4 is bootable and I should complain to Apple. When I told them I wasn't sure if Apple alone was to blame (mentioning the EFI boot rom), they promised to look at the boot problem again.

Me too. It would just be really nice if I could put the boot drive in the J4, too. This way, I could use a spare MacMini as a "cold standby" and if one of my MacMini server breaks down due to a hardware failure, I could change over the J4 Thunderbolt cable to the spare and be up and running again in an instant.
Guys, I too really like the J4... just needs a little more work, I hope! I'll definitely buy another. It was even quiet!!

I don't know if you all caught this, but my MacBookPro could work fine with the J4 on boot, even with a Samsung 840 256Mb SSD in it. I posted TESTING for it. The J4 did NOT boot with the new late 2012 iMac; holding the option key didn't work, and the Sammy SSD didn't show up. Once booted, it showed on the desktop.

I'm using a Backup Plus Desktop adapter, which shows up and works everywhere, Mac and Win7.
Just sayin...
Les
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 07:39 PM   #6
hfg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pschneider View Post
The only potential technical issue that I could imagine is the higher power consumption of 512 GB drives (e.g. the Samsung 830 uses up to 6W of power). This was a problem with the Seagate adapter, but the J4 has a well-dimensioned power supply...

As of this moment I am testing a J4 with two Samsung 830 (512GB) SSDs and two 1 TB rotating drives, and I will hook up another one with a quartet of 830 (512GB) SSDs tomorrow to see how it fares.

Sequential speeds between the MacMini and one Samsung 830 in the J4 are up to 350MB/sec for writing and 524MB/sec for reading (>32MB Transfer size).

I will later try and fill the drive and do an integrity test.



Actually, it is a SAS controller which is also compatible with SATA-III. Check the System Profiler: the attached drives are listed in the SAS section, not SATA. This could be somewhat problematic since I don't know if the OS (and other tools) have access to S.M.A.R.T. information and to the fact if a LUN is an SSD or a rotational drive (and adjust themselves accordingly).



Actually, an EFI boot driver can be embedded in the controller firmware, which is how a MacPro boots from drives attached to a supported SAS PCI express host bus adapter. After all, the "E" in "Firmware Interface" is supposed to mean "Extensible"...

Since Thunderbolt is (basically) a PCI express extension cable, this method should also work for the J4 - if correctly implemented. I requested support from Promise about the lack of boot capability of the J4 in connection with the MacMini (Late 2012) I am testing. They stated that the J4 is bootable and I should complain to Apple. When I told them I wasn't sure if Apple alone was to blame (mentioning the EFI boot rom), they promised to look at the boot problem again.



Me too. It would just be really nice if I could put the boot drive in the J4, too. This way, I could use a spare MacMini as a "cold standby" and if one of my MacMini server breaks down due to a hardware failure, I could change over the J4 Thunderbolt cable to the spare and be up and running again in an instant.

Wow ... that is a lot of SSD storage you have there! Are you going to RAID-0 4 of them together?? I would like to see if that can saturate the Thunderbolt bus.

I doubt there is a power concern with the J4 although I know other posters continue to worry about the bus powered Thunderbolt enclosures, even though Thunderbolt is specced to provide 10w of power to bus devices.

Is it possible that the chip set in the J4 may have been supported by the MacBook Pro (see bonedaddio's comment) EFI, but the support is not included in the default EFI in the 2012 iMacs? I should try plugging my J4 into my MacBook Pro or Mac Mini and see what the boot situation there is.

My system continues to perform well with a 1.25GB "Fusion" drive of archive documents and "slow" data along with a 2TB RAID-0 Time Machine backup on a pair of hard disks (fast 1st tier backup ... followed by slower NAS backup).


Hopefully Promise or Apple will fix the EFI problem for OS X, and maybe even for Windows. Although it seems that not many Thunderbolt drives support Windows booting, although the Seagate GoFlex did work for me (unlike the LaCie LBD and J4). I am thinking of getting a second one to put on my Mac Mini Server once I stabilize my plan for that system.

Keep us informed on your experiences with the J4 ... I for one am very interested!


-howard
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Old Jan 18, 2013, 12:53 AM   #7
itsamacthing
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pschneider View Post
The only potential technical issue that I could imagine is the higher power consumption of 512 GB drives (e.g. the Samsung 830 uses up to 6W of power). This was a problem with the Seagate adapter, but the J4 has a well-dimensioned power supply...

As of this moment I am testing a J4 with two Samsung 830 (512GB) SSDs and two 1 TB rotating drives, and I will hook up another one with a quartet of 830 (512GB) SSDs tomorrow to see how it fares.

Sequential speeds between the MacMini and one Samsung 830 in the J4 are up to 350MB/sec for writing and 524MB/sec for reading (>32MB Transfer size).

I will later try and fill the drive and do an integrity test.
So you are successfully using a 512GB SSD in the J4? The 840 Pro uses 1W of power http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820147194

Sounds like Promise should test this and make it official so they can open that market
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Old Jan 18, 2013, 10:17 AM   #8
hfg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsamacthing View Post
So you are successfully using a 512GB SSD in the J4? The 840 Pro uses 1W of power http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820147194

Sounds like Promise should test this and make it official so they can open that market
According to Samsung, the 512GB 840 Pro uses 0.15W of power.
The HGST 1TB hard disk uses 1.8W avg (4.5W start up)

Power
Power Consumption (W) .15W
Voltage 5V 5%

http://www.samsung.com/us/computer/m...7PD512BW-specs

Crucial M4 512GB SSDs are also rated at 0.28W - Active, and <0.1W Idle.
http://www.crucial.com/pdf/Tech_spec...-11_online.pdf

-howard

Last edited by hfg; Jan 18, 2013 at 10:40 AM.
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 11:43 AM   #9
elee20
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Nice work!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bonedaddio View Post
Guys, I too really like the J4... just needs a little more work, I hope! I'll definitely buy another. It was even quiet!!

I don't know if you all caught this, but my MacBookPro could work fine with the J4 on boot, even with a Samsung 840 256Mb SSD in it. I posted TESTING for it. The J4 did NOT boot with the new late 2012 iMac; holding the option key didn't work, and the Sammy SSD didn't show up. Once booted, it showed on the desktop.

I'm using a Backup Plus Desktop adapter, which shows up and works everywhere, Mac and Win7.
Just sayin...
Les
"Backup Plus Desktop adapter + Samsung 840 500GB" running OSX and bootcamp would be my choice too!
It's like the only option that works like a charm

Seems like all other option fails for the new iMac..
Even the owc ssd for MBPr
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