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Old Jan 14, 2013, 07:00 PM   #1
vipgeorges
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SSD drives in Pegasus J4

Hi,

I need some information that I'm having a hard time finding online. Folks here are probably my best bet

I have a 2012 iMac, 1TB fusion, the rest is maxed out. I mainly do Lightroom + photoshop + iMovie - all with huge files.

I want to put my photos/videos on an external SSD. My assumptions is that an external SSD, connected via Thunderbolt will be much faster than the internal fusion drive, especially if the external SSDs are set up in Raid 0.

I got the Lacie Little Big Disk 512 SSD (Thunderbolt). The whining of the fan drove me crazy so I returned it. I didn't think of removing the fan as I just realized some have.

I'm about to order the Pegasus J4 instead. The information on the J4 is hard to come by but from what I've read it's pretty silent and the performance is great. I also like that it's expandable to 4 drives. I plan to get 2 x 256 SSDs and set them up in Raid 0 in the J4.

1/ Do you guys agree that this will increase speed substantially vs. the internal drive
2/ Do I need to get top tier SSDs (like OWC or Samsung 840 Pro) to make the best use of the J4 or whether, given that I'm going to set them up in Raid 0, I don't need to go overboard and get the best possible SSDs?
3/ Fan noise: can someone confirm that the J4 is more silent than the LBD?
4/ I know that the J4 has a user serviceable fan, which means that I can remove the fan if I find it too noisy. How safe is that given that I'm going to have SSDs in it?

Thanks!
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 07:05 PM   #2
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Just remember if one drive in a RAID 0 dies, you lose the data on all the drives, so have good backups.

It might be better to just use the fastest drives you can get and use one for photos, one for video, etc.

As for the fan, its a combination of the ambient environment and what heat is generated by all the components in the disk enclosure that will determine if removing the fan is reasonable.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 07:54 PM   #3
itsamacthing
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The Pegasus ships with desktop class drives

Hi, what most people don't realize is that the Pegasus has clearly stated in their documents that one should use Enterprise class drives in RAID configurations...yet they ship their solution with desktop drives. I contacted them about this and they had no comment.

I would never buy a Pegasus because of this waste of time and money. If the Pegasus shipped bare bones, I would buy it tmr.

You might want to check out Drobo's new thunderbolt offerings, there are two options there. They ship barebone, have options for SSD cache, and USB 3. They also seem to be getting some good reviews.

I'm going with the 3TB fusion (only because the 768 flash + 3TB HDD option is not avail), and thinking about external thunderbolt storage now for my Aperture, Virtual Machines, and Music library. A Drobo mini loaded with 4 240GB SSDs will give you around 680GB of super speed storage.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 09:36 PM   #4
vipgeorges
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Pegasus bare bones

@ itsamacthing: the Pegasus J4 is sold bare bones.
Take a look: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...pf_rd_i=507846

Regardless, my questions remain can be applied to Drobo...
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 10:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsamacthing View Post
I would never buy a Pegasus because of this waste of time and money. If the Pegasus shipped bare bones, I would buy it tmr.
So buy it tomorrow: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ure_Empty.html
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 10:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsamacthing View Post
I would never buy a Pegasus because of this waste of time and money. If the Pegasus shipped bare bones, I would buy it tmr.
So buy it tomorrow: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ure_Empty.html
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 01:29 AM   #7
itsamacthing
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I'm soooo sorry!!!! I thought you meant the Pegasus! I had no idea the J4 even existed till just now when I realized what a mistake I made....

Sorry!!!!!!!!

OK, going to buy it now...but wait! It's just software raid from OSX, not that exciting :/
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 10:39 AM   #8
vipgeorges
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Regardless...

The performance seems amazing from the few tests I've seen online. So to me it makes no difference that it's software Raid. I definitely don't need higher performance in the short/medium term.

I'm just trying to get some answers to the questions in the original post, because this stuff is crazy expensive...

Thanks!!
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 12:02 PM   #9
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You might check out this thread:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthre...1519473&page=2

Here is a performance post I made there regarding the J4:

I received my Thunderbolt Pegasus J4 and loaded it with 4 HGST Travelstar 1TB 7200rpm 2.5" hard disk drives. It is a really nice looking unit.

I found it wouldn't even see the drives without first loading the driver. Once the driver was loaded and rebooted, I used Disk Utility to create different RAID-0 arrays and tested them with BlackMagicDesign "DiskSpeedTest" with 4GB test option. I ran the test on a single disk, and 2-disk, 3-disk, and 4-disk RAID-0 configurations. I also ran the AJA test which produced similar results.

Results:
config ....... Write / Read MB/s
1 disk ....... 115 / 129
2 disk ....... 250 / 258
3 disk ....... 345 / 375
4 disk ....... 501 / 507

I like it!


Of course, running 4 hard disks in RAID-0 ... YOU WILL WANT TO KEEP A GOOD BACKUP STRATEGY!

-howard

...


I replaced one of the hard drives with a Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD:
840Pro ....... 316 / 524



I then created a "Fusion" drive in the Pegasus J4 using the 256GB SSD and one of the 1TB hard disks. I left the other 2 hard disks as a 2TB RAID-0 for now. It all seems to work great so far, although now it is a tough decision whether to leave it as a fast 1.25TB Fusion drive ... or a not-quite-so-fast 2TB RAID-0 using two drive bays. Speed vs. Capacity!

------

In reference to a question regarding disk drives:

No, it is not SSD, it is 7200rpm 1TB 2.5" laptop sized drives (4 drives RAID-0)

They are HGST Travelstar HTS721010A9E630 7K1000-1000 :
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._Internal.html

I purchased a kit with the Pegasus J4 and 4 boxed drives from B&H:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...rbolt_SSD.html

Looks like they raised the price ... I paid $725 for the kit on 1/7/13
Looks like the price of the disk drives has gone up a bunch!
EDIT: 1/31/12 ... now it is down to $708 (but out of stock currently)

Last edited by hfg; Jan 31, 2013 at 11:17 AM.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 12:25 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the work on testing the J4 hfg, its been helpful.

In a way I had high hopes for the J4 in that it accepted high density SSD but, stopping at 240-300GB compatibility seems a little strange to me. The performance is just right IMHO. Hopefully its a software thing and not the controllers.

That really leaves me with Drobo Mini but, I've not seen any tests performed with a full SSD complement of drives. I was hoping to use the J4 with Crucial's new M500 drives (4 of those would be close to 4TB) or perhaps with the just announce Foremay 2TB SSD drives (if they come in at a great price / performance). That second option would have yielded 8TB in the J4.

So, the Drobo mini is the only empty TB and cost effective enclosure at the moment that might be able to take either of those larger drive options. I say cost effective because blazing fast can be had with a Nestor TurboBox NA211TB (has 2 PCI-e slots) and 2 x Sonnet Tempo SSD Pro cards (allows for 2 SSD per card). This option would give you top performance and allow for the larger drives but the enclosure alone is a pretty penny.

At least I have time to wait it out and see what further developments may come out.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 12:32 PM   #11
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I am of the opinion that there isn't a limit cap on the SSDs that can be used in the J4, just that Promise Technology hasn't had the opportunity to actually test it in their labs. I see no reason that if it accepts a 1TB hard disk, that it also wouldn't accept a 1TB SSD (if they are ever affordable). There are a lot of SSD/HD drives out there and it would be very costly and time consuming ($$$) to actually test them all. I think the table which is on the Pegasus J4 web page is simply the handful of drives that they have actually tested, and they "officially" won't recommend any drives that they haven't actually taken to time to test themselves.

I am very happy with my J4 and the flexibility it offers me to mix and match hard drives and SSDs and be able to configure them as I wish.

My only minor gripe is that the J4 requires a driver for the Thunderbolt interface which will prevent OS X or Windows booting from the J4. However, there may be a future solution which will eliminate this.

As you can see from my RAID-0 test results, you can get top-notch SSD performance (500+ MB/s) with a 4TB, 4-drive RAID-0 array of inexpensive hard disk drives today at a pretty low cost. (4 ea. 1TB SSDs today would be $10,000 just for the drives at the current $2500 ea. price)



-howard

Last edited by hfg; Jan 15, 2013 at 12:42 PM.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 12:41 PM   #12
TigerClaw27
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hfg also mentioned in another thread that the J4 has a server raid class controller according to the manual:

Quote:
Originally Posted by hfg View Post
I haven't had a chance to disassemble my Pegasus J4, but I did notice this in the manual specifications:

Processors:
NXP ARM-based LPC1114 (system monitor and power management function)
LSI SAS 2004 with PowerPC 440 Core (PCIe to 4 port, SATA/SAS controller)


-howard
I haven't found much information on the chip itself, but there are PCIe RAID cards that use it, so it may do hardware RAID? I'm pretty sure I'll be picking one up once they support Windows.

-Mark
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 12:45 PM   #13
vipgeorges
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Noise

Hi Howard,

I've actually been following your thread for a while. It's really the best source of information that I've found on the J4.

What do you feel about the noise that the J4 generates? Is it mainly the fan that is generating the noise or the hard drives themselves?

Thanks
George
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 01:13 PM   #14
hfg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vipgeorges View Post
Hi Howard,

I've actually been following your thread for a while. It's really the best source of information that I've found on the J4.

What do you feel about the noise that the J4 generates? Is it mainly the fan that is generating the noise or the hard drives themselves?

Thanks
George
I really can't hear the J4 (currently with 3 hard disks and 1 SSD installed) at all unless I put my ear right next to it. The fan is running at 1874rpm right now and I am doing disk-intensive operation. I was going to put it under my desk where I used to keep my louder RAID backup drive, but now I really see no need other than space to not keep it right on my desktop.

-howard
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 01:17 PM   #15
vipgeorges
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I'm buying it...

Thank you!

Ok, so I'm just going to wait for my refund on the Lacie LBD and I'm getting the J4.

The next difficult decision is whether to put HDD or SSDs in there given the great performance of HDDs in Raid 0.

Cheers,
George
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 10:11 AM   #16
blamblam
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Problems with B&H kit Pegasus j4 help please!

I have the same set up from B&H but can't get my Mac Book Pro 8,2 to see it. I'm running 10.6.8. I get a blue power light, the blue thunderbolt light, but the drive icons on the j4 never light up. The disk utility can't see it either and yes, I have installed the Pegasus driver and used the Pegasus utility to verify I have the latest version of software and firmware.

I'm wondering if I have a bum j4 or there's a OS incompatibility. The compatibility docs from Pegasus and J&R say 10.6.8 should be ok.

Spent 2 hours on the phone with Pegasus tech support and got no real traction.

Any suggestions greatly appreciated.



Quote:
Originally Posted by hfg View Post
You might check out this thread:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthre...1519473&page=2

Here is a performance post I made there regarding the J4:

I received my Thunderbolt Pegasus J4 and loaded it with 4 HGST Travelstar 1TB 7200rpm 2.5" hard disk drives. It is a really nice looking unit.

I found it wouldn't even see the drives without first loading the driver. Once the driver was loaded and rebooted, I used Disk Utility to create different RAID-0 arrays and tested them with BlackMagicDesign "DiskSpeedTest" with 4GB test option. I ran the test on a single disk, and 2-disk, 3-disk, and 4-disk RAID-0 configurations. I also ran the AJA test which produced similar results.

Results:
config ....... Write / Read MB/s
1 disk ....... 115 / 129
2 disk ....... 250 / 258
3 disk ....... 345 / 375
4 disk ....... 501 / 507

I like it!


Of course, running 4 hard disks in RAID-0 ... YOU WILL WANT TO KEEP A GOOD BACKUP STRATEGY!

-howard

...


I replaced one of the hard drives with a Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD:
840Pro ....... 316 / 524



I then created a "Fusion" drive in the Pegasus J4 using the 256GB SSD and one of the 1TB hard disks. I left the other 2 hard disks as a 2TB RAID-0 for now. It all seems to work great so far, although now it is a tough decision whether to leave it as a fast 1.25TB Fusion drive ... or a not-quite-so-fast 2TB RAID-0 using two drive bays. Speed vs. Capacity!

------

In reference to a question regarding disk drives:

No, it is not SSD, it is 7200rpm 1TB 2.5" laptop sized drives (4 drives RAID-0)

They are HGST Travelstar HTS721010A9E630 7K1000-1000 :
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._Internal.html

I purchased a kit with the Pegasus J4 and 4 boxed drives from B&H:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...rbolt_SSD.html

Looks like they raised the price ... I paid $725 for the kit on 1/7/13
Looks like the price of the disk drives has gone up a bunch!
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 10:34 AM   #17
hfg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blamblam View Post
I have the same set up from B&H but can't get my Mac Book Pro 8,2 to see it. I'm running 10.6.8. I get a blue power light, the blue thunderbolt light, but the drive icons on the j4 never light up. The disk utility can't see it either and yes, I have installed the Pegasus driver and used the Pegasus utility to verify I have the latest version of software and firmware.

I'm wondering if I have a bum j4 or there's a OS incompatibility. The compatibility docs from Pegasus and J&R say 10.6.8 should be ok.

Spent 2 hours on the phone with Pegasus tech support and got no real traction.

Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
Does the "Pegasus J4 FW Updater" app show you the J4 System Status, Drive List, Version Info, and Enclosure Info?

Everything you have described sounds normal except that it doesn't sound like the driver is loading properly. The drive icon light don't come on until you actually log-in and the driver kicks in. Without the driver (Thunderbolt I assume), you can't see anything in the drive.

It seems some Thunderbolt devices are recognized natively by the Mac, and some require a driver (different chip set?). I would think Promise Tech. should be able to figure out how to put their driver into the EFI so that the J4 could be a boot disk as well. Hopefully, they are working on it.

My Pegasus J4 continues to work well and I am very happy with the configuration for my usage.

Good luck and report back your findings...


-howard
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 10:48 AM   #18
blamblam
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Problems with B&H kit Pegasus j4 help please! Thanks for response

Dear Howard,

Thanks SOOOOOOOOOOO much for getting back to me so quickly. The Pegasus J4 FW Updater does NOT show that information. The only option it offers is check for update. And when I do that, it returns this message:

Promise Utility/firmware is currently the newest version available.

I think you must be talking about the devices function which is greyed out. Correct?

Not sure what you mean by "log in"? Are you talking about a system handshake function? I suspect you may be right that the driver just isn't kicking in. Wonder if there could be a conflict with the Drobo software I'm running. I'll try shutting that off and whatever else I can think of. The Drobo software has nothing to do with the Thunderbolt port, however, since it runs off the ethernet port as iSCSI.

I will keep you posted if I solve this. Again thanks for your help.

Keith

Quote:
Originally Posted by hfg View Post
Does the "Pegasus J4 FW Updater" app show you the J4 System Status, Drive List, Version Info, and Enclosure Info?

Everything you have described sounds normal except that it doesn't sound like the driver is loading properly. The drive icon light don't come on until you actually log-in and the driver kicks in. Without the driver (Thunderbolt I assume), you can't see anything in the drive.

It seems some Thunderbolt devices are recognized natively by the Mac, and some require a driver (different chip set?). I would think Promise Tech. should be able to figure out how to put their driver into the EFI so that the J4 could be a boot disk as well. Hopefully, they are working on it.

My Pegasus J4 continues to work well and I am very happy with the configuration for my usage.

Good luck and report back your findings...


-howard
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 10:55 AM   #19
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This is what I see with the Pegasus J4 FW Updater:
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 11:03 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blamblam View Post
Dear Howard,

Thanks SOOOOOOOOOOO much for getting back to me so quickly. The Pegasus J4 FW Updater does NOT show that information. The only option it offers is check for update. And when I do that, it returns this message:

Promise Utility/firmware is currently the newest version available.

I think you must be talking about the devices function which is greyed out. Correct?

Not sure what you mean by "log in"? Are you talking about a system handshake function? I suspect you may be right that the driver just isn't kicking in. Wonder if there could be a conflict with the Drobo software I'm running. I'll try shutting that off and whatever else I can think of. The Drobo software has nothing to do with the Thunderbolt port, however, since it runs off the ethernet port as iSCSI.

I will keep you posted if I solve this. Again thanks for your help.

Keith
The driver is in your personal OS X startup files, so the drive icons don't go active until you login to your OS X account. I need to see if I can move the driver to the system startup so all users can access it without installing the drivers for each user.

I also have Drobo drivers running (Drobo FS) on my system, although I am not running the Drobo at this time, just haven't removed the software yet.

I looked at my process list and didn't see anything resembling a J4 driver, although the Updater does show up. I'm not sure where you can see installed drivers.

-howard

Just to be sure ... you did re-boot your computer after installing the driver for the J4?

Last edited by hfg; Jan 31, 2013 at 11:15 AM.
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 11:27 AM   #21
blamblam
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Problems with B&H kit Pegasus j4 help please! Thanks for response

Quote:
Originally Posted by hfg View Post
The driver is in your personal OS X startup files, so the drive icons don't go active until you login to your OS X account. I need to see if I can move the driver to the system startup so all users can access it without installing the drivers for each user.

I also have Drobo drivers running (Drobo FS) on my system, although I am not running the Drobo at this time, just haven't removed the software yet.

I looked at my process list and didn't see anything resembling a J4 driver, although the Updater does show up. I'm not sure where you can see installed drivers.

-howard

Just to be sure ... you did re-boot your computer after installing the driver for the J4?
I did reboot, but from what you're telling me, if I go to the accounts icon in the system preferences, I should see a listing for the Pegasus driver in the start up items list? There is definitely NOT one there. I removed the Drobo from the list (will have to reinstall later). I'll reinstall the Pegasus driver again. Do you know what file name I should be looking for?

Thanks again,

KEith
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 11:41 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blamblam View Post
I did reboot, but from what you're telling me, if I go to the accounts icon in the system preferences, I should see a listing for the Pegasus driver in the start up items list? There is definitely NOT one there. I removed the Drobo from the list (will have to reinstall later). I'll reinstall the Pegasus driver again. Do you know what file name I should be looking for?

Thanks again,

KEith
I don't know as much as I would like about driver installations in OS X.

The J4 driver doesn't show up in the Activity Monitor or in the user LoginItems.

I do see it in "About My Mac" under "Thunderbolt" hardware and under "Software Extensions" as shown below:
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 12:09 PM   #23
blamblam
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Problems with B&H kit Pegasus j4 help please! Thanks for response

Quote:
Originally Posted by hfg View Post
I don't know as much as I would like about driver installations in OS X.

The J4 driver doesn't show up in the Activity Monitor or in the user LoginItems.

I do see it in "About My Mac" under "Thunderbolt" hardware and under "Software Extensions" as shown below:
Thanks again. BTW: What version of OSX are you running? I'm running 10.6.8 and that may be the problem. I looked at your extremely helpful profile grabs and compared them with mine; I did not see the promise driver under software on my computer. Maybe I can get an older version of the thing, or maybe I have to update my OS.

Meantime, what OS are you running?

Last edited by blamblam; Jan 31, 2013 at 12:17 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 12:12 PM   #24
n-i-k-k-o
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There is another option.......

Mercury Accelsior PCIe SSD with Hardware RAID in the OWC Mercury Helios PCIe Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis for Thunderbolt.

Read all about it here: http://macperformanceguide.com/Revie...Accelsior.html and here: http://macperformanceguide.com/Revie...ry-Helios.html

I bought a LaCie LBD 1T SSD RAID0 for my Aperture library already but if I hadn't I'd be looking at this setup.

Nikko
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 12:22 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blamblam View Post
Thanks again. BTW: What version of OSX are you running? I'm running 10.6.8 and that may be the problem. I looked at your extremely helpful profile grabs and compared them with mine; I did not see the promise driver under software on my computer. Maybe I can get an older version of the thing, or maybe I have to update my OS.

Meantime, what OS are you running?
I am running OS X 10.6.8+ (the slightly newer build which comes with all 2012 iMac and Mac Mini computers).

They "claim" that the Pegasus J4 is compatible with 10.6.8-to-current. I don't know why the driver isn't loading for you. You might try repairing permissions and re-installing the driver. Or do the "reset PRAM and reset SMC" dance that is the first thing AppleCare always seems to recommend.

-howard
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