Need PCI-e card to attach 6-8 hard drives

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by sgunes, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. sgunes, Aug 10, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2013

    macrumors member

    May 25, 2009
    I am looking to attach 6-8 additional hard drives with a PCI-e HBA (Host Bus Adapter). I am not interested in any external solutions.
    I do not need RAID. I do not need to boot from it.

    Would the ATTO ExpressSAS H608 be the best bang for the buck solution?
    I can use it in OSX and Windows.

    I found it online for $302 at Provantage.

    Anything else that comes close to function and price?
  2. macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I'm using a very affordable HighPoint card in my system...

    It's cheap ($150), doesn't require drivers, performs well, and has no issues.
    It requires these cables which are not included.
    I assume it would work in both Windows and OS X although I only use it in OS X.

    Full write-up on my use of it here...
  3. sgunes, Aug 10, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2013

    thread starter macrumors member

    May 25, 2009
    I did not see in your write-up if you are on 10.7 or 10.8. I know some HPT adapters worked with older OSX versions only.

    Reading the 8 1-star reviews on amazon and 11 on newegg (23%) does not install any confidence in the HPT product.
    Has yours been running reliably?

    The HPT 2720SGL is not mentioned on the Highpoint MAC site.

    I assume that it is a legacy product without ongoing support.

    On a related note: do the SFF-8087 to SATA forward breakout cables come in SATA II and SATA III versions? I have not seen that mentioned on amazon or newegg but wouldn't a SATA II (3 Gb/s) cable bottle-neck my Vertex 4 or a pair of Kingston HyperX SSD's?

    I found a discussion on Hardforum about that:

    Edit: after reading some more on the ATTO site it seems that the maximum speed per port is 6Gb/s for SAS and 3 Gb/s for SATA as it does not mention SATA III at all. Under specifications: SAS, SATA, SATA II. That means that it would bottleneck a newer generation SSD.

    "8 internal ports in a low-profile form factor
    x8 PCIe 2.0 host connection
    9.6GB/s throughput in full duplex-mode
    SAS, SATA, SATA II connectivity
    Advanced Data Streaming (ADS™) Technology
    Support for up to 1024 end devices
    User-friendly GUI based configuration utility".
  4. macrumors member

    Jan 21, 2006
    This one worded for me on my hackintosh right out of the box (and I use it for my boot drive), no driver's needed. It should work the same on a Mac Pro. It has 4 ports, so for $107.94 to $138 you can get 8 SATA III ports.

    HighPoint Rocket 640L Lite Version 4-Port PCI-Express 2.0 x4 SATA 6Gb/s RAID Controller
    New $69.00 & FREE Shipping or Used $53.97 & FREE Shipping
  5. macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I'm not the only one using the 2720SGL in a Mac Pro here. I got the recommendation from another member. He also had no problems. Hack users are also using this card (and its bootable In a Hack).

    I'm running the latest OS X.

    It does not bottleneck my SSDs as you can see from my write up. It's one of the few SATA3 cards with a x8 bus interface which will be critical with more than a few SSDs. The cables are fully capable of SATA3 speeds whether they are rated for it or not (Although I didn't know there were special SATA3 cables - are you sure that's not just marketing BS?).

    Highpoint support is notoriously bad so I wouldn't recommend them if you expect to need support. However for a cheap DIY card that performs, I could not find better bang for the buck.
  6. thread starter macrumors member

    May 25, 2009
    Thanks for all the input.

    I have the Highpoint 2640x4 HBA which I tried to install in my main rig.
    Some people got it to work with various highpoint.kexts. I tried multiple PCI-E slots and it would throw all kinds of errors, booting hangups including making my mouse and keyboard not work (cannot explain it either).
    I installed it in my Gigabyte Lifehacker and even in Windows it does not work reliably and I am getting BSODs.
    So I already have a non-supported HPT card sitting around.

    I am afraid to spend $160 on a HPT card that may not work with 10.9.
    With the much more expensive but OSX supporting ATTO there is a chance that they will have drivers for OS updates.

    Everything else in my SR-2 works like a charm without any problems.

    Anybody here who does have the ATTO 608 and has good experience with it?
  7. macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2008
    Atto and Areca seem to be the cards to get with OSX, in terms of continued driver support.

    I used to use a Highpoint, however since they started getting the drivers included in the OSX image then there Internal Card support for OSX has been terrible.

    Also used 3ware in the past but wouldn't bother again as they also seem to drop support.
  8. thread starter macrumors member

    May 25, 2009
    Thanks for the feedback. I will go with the ATTO 608.
  9. macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
  10. thread starter macrumors member

    May 25, 2009
    I hope it affects only the R6XX cards as the simple H6XX models do not have to do all the parity calculations like the built-in RAID controller on the R models.

    I ordered my ATTO 608 this morning. It will be placed in a well-ventilated case (Lian-Li PC-80) with 3 front 140mm intake fans and top and rear exhaust fans.

    If I get any overheating issues, I will let everyone here know about it.

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