PCI SATA Cards - What is the state of compatibility?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by hansolo669, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2009
    #1
    So I have a rather nice MDD G4. Its running 10.4 server, and does a pretty great job of housing my files. Currently it has 4x 80gb HDD's in raid, and a 40gb boot disk, I want to "kick it up a notch" and seriously upgrade the storage capacity, from about 320gb to somewhere around 4tb.

    I don't need the SATA card to be bootable, thats what the 40gb IDE drive is for, but I would prefer to know how much to budget before going all in for this project.

    Sonnet makes this SATA card that definitely will work, however I would need two.

    On the other hand there are a number of these Vantec and similar PC oriented cards that have enough SATA ports for my needs.

    So would I be able to use a PC SATA card in my MDD just to give it (non-bootable) access to SATA drives?
     
  2. Swampus, Oct 6, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2013

    macrumors 6502

    Swampus

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    #2
    Yes, you can use some generic cards. Some can even be flashed and made bootable. Not sure about the specific chipset in your link, though. The ones that I most often see mentioned are the SIL3112 and 3512. I've never personally done this. I got my Firmtek card before it became widely known that this was possible. Do an advanced search limited to posts (not threads) made by 666sheep and use the search terms SATA, (comma) PCI.

    Just curious, though, why do you need more than two ports? It seems like the easiest configuration for 4TB of storage would be two 2TB drives? I've had my MDD set up that way for years. I've got a 1TB SATA boot drive on the ATA100 (with adapter) and two 2TB storage drives on my SATA card. One of my 2TB drives is in the rear caddy along with my boot drive. Having that rear bay blocked will force more air through the cooling fins on the CPU. I have my other 2TB drive in the lower optical bay. Try to avoid using that middle HDD caddy if you can. Filling that with drives will impede airflow.

    Also, if that 40gb IDE is still the OEM drive, I'd just go ahead and replace that now too. Even if you're not worried about performance, just get another cheap IDE. I think OWC still has some older models that are new in box for $35 or so. Edit: Not anymore, apparently. Except for "used pulls", their cheapest is now $80 for a 250GB WD PATA. You'd do better with an SATA and adapter.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Ahh 666sheep, I always wondered what his particular claim to fame was. Good to know.


    Mainly because I'm crazy. Also I like haveing four drives in the MDD... chalk it up to impractical nerd fun.

    Oh fear not, I have a pretty good collection of IDE disks ;) its definitely not the original.
     
  4. macrumors 6502

    Swampus

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    #4
    Well, I'm sure that he is known for more than SATA cards. I just happened to remember that he has made several posts about the various chipsets in these cards. He is also known to be trustworthy (he doesn't just make stuff up).

    I like the card in your link. Two internal and two external ports (or four internal ports) would be handy on the same card at that price. I guess it's just a question of whether or not the Sil3114 will work. Curious, I searched Apple's forums. In this thread, Japamac (another trustworthy name) advised against the Sil3114. However, that was more than three years ago. Would he give the same advice today? I don't know.

    The title of this thread will attract 666sheep's attention next time he signs in. Hopefully, he will know the answer if no one else steps up before then.
     
  5. macrumors 6502a

    hwojtek

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    #5
    sil3512 all the way, flashed with the respective firmware from http://www.wiebetech.com/ (just find a card that has the same number of ports intl/extnl and force a flash, it works from OS X).
    I had a PCI 2-port SATA in a G4 and now happily run a PCI-E 2-port SATA in a G5. Never tried the 4-port one, as the G4 was decommissioned and I do not have a Mac with a regular PCI any more, although it should work as well. One of the issues I can see is that four SATA hard drives may tax the power supply to death.
     
  6. macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #6
    Sil3114 is a no-go in OS X.
    Cheapest option to get 4 sata ports wold be 2 Sil3112/3512 2-port cards and flash them with wiebetech firmware. These controllers are 2 port only AFAIK.
    4 port PCI ones are all based on 3114 (last digit means port config).

    There are also 4 port PCI-X cards based on Sil3124 chip which work in OS X.
    User CoxOrange has one in his G4 IIRC.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 5, 2009
    #7
    Interesting, So I would just grab a firmware from wiebetech for a card with a two port controller? Do the number of external/internal ports matter(or does it just add to the port count?)? Would the firmware come with a flash utility, or?
     
  8. macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #8
    All is on their website. You can flash it on a Mac. I've used my Sawtooth. 3112/3512 - 2 ports total, 31x4 - 4 ports total.
     
  9. macrumors 65816

    SmurfBoxMasta

    #9
    Just an FYI....

    I upgraded a QS years ago from IDE to SATA, including the Boot drive, and 3 other drives, using a Firmtek 4port card neveranottaproblemo.......

    It was like a night & day difference in every aspect from booting to file copying to read & writing speeds......the cpu upgrade was probably the only other thing that gave me a bigger performance boost.....
     
  10. macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #10
    Yep, this is one based on Sil3124 (PCI-X).
     
  11. macrumors 6502

    Swampus

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    #11
    How is this set up now if you don't mind my asking? I guess you have one of the RAID slices in an optical bay on the ATA33? Or do you have an ATA card?
     
  12. hansolo669, Oct 8, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013

    thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    Heh, The boot drive is sitting in the optical bay. The four RAID slices then live in the lower, dedicated, HDD bays.

    I for one, enjoy the sound of all those drives whirring to life on boot.

    /edit, woopsie was that not for me? Ah well
     
  13. macrumors 65816

    SmurfBoxMasta

    #13
    Swampus,

    It was a long time ago when I had that machine, but I had 2 Raptors for OS X & apps + backups, and 2 other bigger (500gb IIRC) drives for images, music, PS scratch disks etc.....

    And yes, I had one drive in the optical bay space, but it was also connected to the SATA card and the 4th hdd was in an external case with the SATA cable running out the back thru one of the PCI slots.......
     
  14. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    #14
    I have a 4-port PCI-X "windows"-card with Silicon Image Chipset 3124 (and the SIL Mac drivers) in my G4 AGP. While I am satisfied with it's throughput, I lately dicovered, that from time to time, if I am copying data in the background and watching a DV-file in the Finder Preview window or QT, it can happen that the sound looses completely for some time or gets several hick-ups and the movie looks like played in 1,5x speed. I guess it is just the data being copied that is handled preferential by the BUS and so the sound is dropped or delayed. Maybe a MDD with its 166MHz can do that better.
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    Swampus

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    #15
    :) I hope you're not disappointed if your new SATA drives turn out to be quieter than your IDE drives. I can barely hear my 4TB of internal storage (5TB including the boot drive).

    It must be pretty slow having your boot drive on the ATA33? I guess it doesn't matter much if you're just using it as a server, though.
     
  16. macrumors 6502

    Swampus

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    #16
    I just did an eBay search for Sil3124 and sure enough there are some reasonably priced four port options available from reputable sellers claiming Mac compatibility. Thanks, 666sheep and Cox Orange for clarifying.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 5, 2009
    #17
    Surprisingly the boot times aren't too bad. They key point is the throughput from the rest of the disks, which is pretty good.

    Nice! Time to add that to my ebay hunt list.
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    Swampus

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    #18
    I guess we have opposite preferences here. I like a high performance boot drive, but don't care much about the speed of my storage drives. If the performance of this RAID matters to you, then you may wish to consider getting a couple of SATA adapters and dividing your four drives between the SATA card and the ATA100. This should give you significantly better performance than putting all four drives on the card. Multiple drives can saturate a single bus pretty quickly.
     
  19. Cox Orange, Oct 10, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014

    macrumors 68000

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    #19
    Now that I had time, to find the information, I'd like to add, there are some more compatible chipsets.

    A guy called flyproductions has done some testing and reported that in cubeuser.de forums.
    For pictures browse these threads http://www.cubeuser.de/showthread.php?t=1495&page=2 and http://cubeuser.de/showthread.php?t=1456


    Chipset: JMicron363 or JMB 363
    - not bootable
    - SATA-II (PCI and PCIe cards available, one being from Digitus)
    - sleep not told
    - with SIL3132

    Card: Digitus DS-30103, with JMicron 363:
    - has kext under 10.5.6 PPC (no driver needed)
    - 10.4 available driver from Silicon Image and Digitus (reason 10.4 did not have AHCI drivers, but 10.5 has)
    - supports deep-sleep
    - not bootable
    - SIL3132
    - SATA-II

    Card: Areca ARC-1200:
    - no sleep
    - not bootable
    - you have to search for the older Mac-Software for this RAID controller over google, do not use the updated (12.08) one from ARECA, it doesn't work.

    SilverStone EC05 SATA III with Marvell 88SE9130 Chip
    - PCIe only for SATA-III (up to 15MB/s faster read, but SATA-I write speeds, slower write than Digitus)
    - not bootable

    SIL3132 card with Firmtek firmware flashed to it:
    find a card that has the same layout like the one shown here
    http://deepapple.com/forum/index.php?topic=44676.0 (DeLock 70137)
    - flasher runs under Mac and is available from Firmtek
    - use Firmware of this card http://www.firmtek.com/seritek/seritek-2se2-e/
    - requires flashing
    - requires resoldering
    - partly bootable

    Thanks to flyproductions.


    Edit:
    also compatible (with RAID capabilities)
    HighPoint RocketRAID 2210 PCI-X SATA II (3.0Gb/s) Controller Card
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...rds-_-HighPoint+Technologies++Inc.-_-16115033
     
  20. macrumors 6502

    Swampus

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    #20
    Heh. I wonder what is meant by the phrase "partly bootable."

    Cox, I assume that you sleep with your Sil3124 card? Or are there sleep issues with that one too?

    Thanks for the links. Some of this thread should be added to the sticky.
     
  21. macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #21
    Yeah, flyproductions is the man. He always provides trustworthy info. Thanks Cox for bringing it here.
     
  22. Cox Orange, Oct 11, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013

    macrumors 68000

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    #22
    - "partly bootable", he did not elaborate on that. He just said that it was "partly bootable" but he would not recommend doing the conversion to someone else, because of the hazzle with the resoldering and that the effort put into would in no means fit the outcome, when you have other cards that work out of the box, though not bootable.
    - Oh dare you, I do not sleep with PC components ;) I only hug them :D But yes it supports deep sleep, though I have say sleep only works, when you select it from the main menu (not via the energy settings), I mean the drives will be paused, but you still hear the fans. After deep sleep (complete spin down of Mac), it wakes up normally, takes about 3 seconds, though.
    Yes, indeed! :) *nodding*


    SOME additional observations (I will complete these tomorrow):

    Sonnet 2port SATA-PCI Card 32bit (Firmtek Seritek 1s2):
    * issues with WD25EZRX (others not tested), under 10.5.8:
    - Drive is unresponsive (opening folders takes seconds) on "PC"-SIL3124 no problem
    - if you select "Info" in disk utility, disk utility will give you the spinning beach ball forever (esc+alt+appel key say: "disk utility does not react"), closing disk utility hardly and after that shutting the Mac down, the Mac will blend out the menu and you will be left with the desktop background and nothing happens.
    - Disk Tool Pro hangs up while trying to gather disk information.
    --- EDIT: do not know, what I have done the first time. I tested it again and now, disk utility can access the "info" data. Hm, strange.
    Edit2: shutting down also takes longer with the WD25EZRX, also after deep-sleep, if you open the WD and want to see the folders, you will have to wait some 5-10 seconds, wait till the beach ball disappears, do not force-quit Finder.
    Edit3: everytime I use Disk Tool Pro with the WD attached and DiskTool Hangs up, and I close it via the menu, the Mac will afterwards not shut down.
    * bootable
    * supports deep sleep (though I had to disable sleep, to let iMovie and Toast end its tasks properly/completely, otherwise those would freeze after wake up, while other applications will still be accessable)
    * additional information on card:
    SeriTek/1s2 v. 5.3.1b1,
    recognized as device-type ata,
    ROM (firmware) 5.3.1.1s2

    Macally XRack SUA100-E Rev1.1 (2 internal SATA, internal 1 ATA-133, 1 eSATA. Only 2 SATA ports can be used at a time, selection via jumpers):
    - recognized as "device type scsi"
    - limited variety of drive sis supported
    - deep sleep
    - minimum OS 10.2 or OS 9
    - bootable
    - supports reading complete SMART-data(!), of course only for the few drives supports (for sk-3500 external enclosures connected via eSATA, it will show only the general status of a drive, but you will be able to use more HDD models externally, that are not supported on the internal SATA-port)
    - the additional IDE-133 Bus can see every SATA-Drive (so far) via adapter and read the SMART data there, too.
    - Chipset:
    small chip "Winbond W49V002AP
    240883401
    4166FSA"
    big chip "VIA VT6421L
    0502CD TAIWAN
    2IA2008841"
    - drivers already present in 10.4/10.5
    - manufacturer-ID: 0x1106
    - device-ID: 0x3249
    - subsystem-manufacturer-ID: 0xcc97
    - subsystem-ID: 0xaa01
    - Version-ID: 0x0050
     
  23. macrumors 6502

    Swampus

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    #23
    LOL! Yeah, I guess that was poor phrasing on my part!

    Bummer. My Green drives perform splendidly on either the 1S2 or adapter, but they're much older models. They're the EADS models.
     
  24. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    #24
    Well, that's one part. I guess it could also be because of the 2,5TB or AF (but the EADS had AF, too, right?).
     
  25. macrumors 6502

    Swampus

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    #25
    No, I think it was the EARS line that introduced the 4k sectors. I have one of these stuck in a FW enclosure. I had ordered another EADS, but the seller had sold out and probably thought they were doing me a favor by substituting the newer model. I remember testing it as an internal drive and being unimpressed. IIRC, about 60% as fast my EADS drives. I didn't experience anything like what you're describing, though. It was just slower--Gave about the same performance as the OEM IDE drive did before it was replaced. Still okay as a storage drive, though.

    I actually have a 1.5TB EADS model as a boot drive in the MDD that serves as our living room entertainment hub. Unlike the the 2TB versions of the same model, the 1.5TB will spin up to 7200rpm if needed. It performs surprisingly well.
     

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