Hardware RAID included on Intel 5000X chipset on Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by cajuncheese, Feb 15, 2007.

  1. cajuncheese macrumors newbie

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    #1
    I am a little puzzled about the status of hardware RAID solutions on the Mac. Doesn't the MacPro mobo, using the 5000X chipset, include support for hardware RAID?

    My desire for hardware RAID, aside from the technical issues and CPU overhead of software RAID, comes from wanting to use an array with both Windows and OS X.
     
  2. Rare macrumors member

    Rare

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    #2
    Few problems with using both OS's, first of all, Windows can't see other drives when you use it in bootcamp, second, when you format your drives to work in both they will have to be FAT32, which is about the slowest you can get.
     
  3. CaptainHaddock macrumors 6502

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    #3
    You can get HFS+ support in Windows with a third-party add-on, can't you? That might be an ideal route for shared OS X / Windows drives.
     
  4. janey macrumors 603

    janey

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    #4
    you can also get read/write NTFS support in OSX with MacFUSE (google..its a code.google.com link and its a project by amit singh..cant be arsed to find a link :p )

    to the op: go for nas, and also for an actual dedicated hardware setup. Then you don't have to worry about filesystem issues as much, and dedicated hardware raid cards and backups are probably much more reliable.
     
  5. slughead macrumors 68030

    slughead

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    #5
    The 5000x chipset typically includes hardware RAID support, you're right.

    However, Apple disabled this feature for reasons I don't begin to understand.

    I too am in the same boat. Unfortunately, I ended up using Apple's software RAID and using another hard drive for windows.

    Another possible solution is to use an external SATA controller that's compatible with both OS's... good luck finding one.

    Also, to boot off of a drive on windows that's on an offboard controller, you need to slipstream the drivers for the controller when you're installing windows (if the driver isn't included with windows already, which it never is).

    Good luck, guy!
     
  6. cajuncheese thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
    Enabling hardware RAID on the Mac Pro mobo

    Thanks for your answer. Does anyone have any idea of the mechanism whereby hardware RAID was disabled on the mobo? I.e. should there be a way to enable it again, if, for example, Leopard were to support the hardware RAID controller?
     
  7. simie macrumors 6502a

    simie

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    #7
  8. cajuncheese thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    It sounds like Apple used the S5000XVN SATA board, unless we want to believe that Apple produced the mobo themselves using the 5000X chipset. The specs on the S5000XVN SATA just sound so much like the Mac Pro, and to use an existing Intel board is the easier solution for Apple, so I'm guessing that it really is the VXN board with EFI support.

    Anyway, this board supports RAID 0, 1, and even 5 if you purchase the AXXRAKSW5 key to unlock that feature. Can anyone pronounce that?

    http://www.intel.com/design/servers/boards/s5000xvn/index.htm

    Unfortunately, I couldn't find any technical documentation for that board on Intel's web site, so I don't have any real idea how to activate (or deactivate) RAID.
     
  9. BlackMax macrumors 6502a

    BlackMax

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    #9

    Intel's 5000x chipset does not support HW RAID, but rather SW RAID.

    Here is a small excerpt from Intel's 5000x product brief found at the link below:


    Expanded I/O support with Intel® 6321ESB I/O
    controller hub

    The Intel 6321ESB I/O controller hub attaches directly to the
    MCH through the ESI interface and a x8 or x4 PCIe link. The
    Intel 6321ESB integrates

    • Six independent Serial ATA (SATA) controllers, each capable
      of up to 3.0 GB/second transfer rate.
    • Software-driven RAID 0,1,5 technology for the most
      demanding storage data transfers and storage security.


    http://www.intel.com/products/chipsets/5000x/product_brief.pdf
     
  10. cajuncheese thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    Can't you software RAID any two disks together in OS X, whether the IO controller likes it or not?
     
  11. simie macrumors 6502a

    simie

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    #11
    ftp://download.intel.com/support/motherboards/server/s5000xvn/sb/s5000xvn_tps_rev_10.pdf

    Page 27 Section 3.2.2.1

    This workstation board includes support for Intel Embedded Server Raid Technology 2, which provides three standard software RAID levels: etc...

    The Raid 5 with its activation key is still software RAID.

    Page 28 Section 3.2.2.2

    There is an Option Rom that contains a pre-OS user interface and allows Intel Server RAID Technology volume to be used as a boot disk as well as detect any faults on the RAID.
     
  12. cajuncheese thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    I think I get it now

    The documents say that the RAID is "software" and also that it is activated by loading an Intel-supplied pre-OS CD, which makes it sound a lot like loading a ROM BIOS into memory. Since this would occupy memory and require CPU time each time the code is executed, I guess it really is software RAID through and through. So I guess that if Apple wants to support hardware RAID, us Mac Pro owners would need to get a board.
     

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