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SATA port 5 & 6 on 2008 Mac Pro - Boot?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by costabunny, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. macrumors Demi-Goddess



    I am trying to figure out if its possible to boot my (bootcamp) XP or Vista drive from the 5th or 6th SATA port on a Mac Pro (2008) ?

    MAC OS X sees it fine, yet neither windows XP nor Vista will see it (and it doesnt boot). I have even tried F6-ing the drivers for the 5400 chipset SATA (from a SuperMicro board) ?

    Any ideas? please please else I am stuck with no bootcamp when my RAID array comes along.... :( weep
  2. macrumors regular


    I hope you're getting the Caldigit RAID card otherwise you're SOL. NO, you can't boot Windows from drives connected to the extra two onboard SATA. The Apple RAID card also does NOT support Bootcamp. Sorry.
  3. macrumors G4

    I found this a little while back, and it might help you with the AHCI driver installation. ;) Not sure, it may be useless to you in that regard. :eek:

    This thread (different forum) may also help. Gives some detail on the subject (AHCI for a Mac Pro).
    Even with the AHCI drivers installed for windows, I'm not sure if you could boot from the ports. :( Somehow, I'm not that confident it will work.
    Have you already ordered the parts?
    If you describe what you have/ordered/ or the set-up you want to install, this would help immensely. :) There are possibilities. :D It may be as simple as a miniSAS to 4*SATA fanout cable, to a separate eSATA controller card (Syba 2 port PCIe x1).

    I've had to consider the same situation, as I need RAID, and have just recently completed the research/verification. (Long ordeal in the end). I need the RAID to operate in Vista 64 at a minimum, and prefer the possibility to work in OS X as well. ;) Yes, I wanted the impossible, but I found it. :p

    Details! (If this doesn't help). :D :p
  4. macrumors 65816


    not to threadjack or anything.

    however....i take it Windows will not see the two ports themselves?
    As I was interested in installing optical sata drives in my system.
  5. macrumors Demi-Goddess



    Thanks for the great suggestions guys. Yes I already resigned myself to not being able to use the Apple RAID for bootcamp :)( but ok thats the price of the Apple card).

    What I am setting up is 4 x 320 SATAII's in RAID5 (internal Bays 1 through 4). I want to put my other 320 (which has my Bootcamp and Unix partitions on it) in the spare 5 1/4 bay.

    Now from thinking on your suggestions it reminds me that the Apple Raid takes over the Mini-SAS connector so I could get the Mini-SAS - Sata FM cable and thus would be running the bootcamp drive from the first SATA controller (the original 1-4) - I think thats most likely the best scenario in the interim.

    I guess I could also get a Mac bootable SATA PCIe card and run it from there (but seems a waste if the above works and would be the final slot filled in my mac = more power drain/heat).

    I wanted to exhaust all avenues with the 5/6 controller though as it just seems a shame it cannot be booted from (which is daft seeing as its an integral component of the server chipset anyways).

    I found this Mini-SAS (they ship to Gibraltar and makes it a shade over £15 all in). I think I will get one and give it a go in case I am unable to rise to the challenge of booting from the 5/6 contoller.

    I'll let you know.....
  6. macrumors G4

    Out of the box, this is correct. :)
    If you install the AHCI drivers, windows will be able to see the ODD ports on the Mac Pro's logic board.
    Why did you choose that one? :confused:
    Perfect. Nice and cheap too. ;)
    Easy, and you can boot from any of the 4 SATA connectors.

    Here's an idea:
    Install the fan-out cable to the logic board. Locate 2 of the SATA connectors to the optical bays. One for the Windows boot drive, and the other is a reserve. (Second HDD as Max Upgrades sells a mounting kit for 2*3.5" HDDs in an optical bay. Or SATA optical. Hint: Blu ray, if you should ever need it). :p

    The final two could be used to an eSATA bracket. You would need to get 2*Female to eSATA Female Bridge Adapters. Not sure where to find them in the UK, as NewEgg doesn't ship internationally. :(
    Could be quite handy though. ;) There is a version of the centronics eSATA bracket (they make 2 port units) that doesn't use a slot, but you would have to mod the back of the case to use it. I only mention this, an you mention there is only one slot remaining. :eek:
    You could do it either, but the second one listed, would be easier I think.
    BTW, did I mention all this is all bootable? :D :p
    That's :apple:
    Not a bad find! :D
    I just wish all of the vendors I linked would ship internationally. :eek:

    Good Luck, and keep me posted. :)
  7. rtrt, Sep 16, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011

    macrumors 6502a

  8. macrumors 65816



    The PSU is completely capable of handling alot of input devices.

    The MP unit has the 4-sata bays + the 2-ODD Sata ports.

    the SCSI drives are attached to a raid controller card
  9. macrumors G4


    AppleNewton gave a nice answer. :)

    Here's a bit more info if you're interested. ;)
    4 ports on the logic board via an iPass connector (SFF-8087)
    2 ODD ports using standard SATA connectors
    6 ports total on a stock Mac Pro

    None of them support SAS. Costabunny is using Apple's RAID card, which does support SAS drives. SAS controllers can also handle SATA drives, and the cabling used can operate both drive interfaces.

    Apple happened to use a backplane set-up in its Mac Pro drive bays (SFF-8482; drive+power connector), so physically, they will accept either SAS or SATA drives. It just can't operate them unless the cable is disconnected from the logic board and attached to a SAS controller or a SAS RAID controller.

    Hope this clears things up. :)
  10. macrumors Demi-Goddess


    Yep - actually this has me thinking of getting a 5.25" bay - 4x2.5"SATA box (then I can put 4 2.5" drives in and have oodles of space should I need it (mmm a XP disk, a Vista64 disk, a Ubuntu disk and a OpenSolaris disk (with yummy zfs)).... :)

    but the e-sata is a great idea also :)

    Thanks froggy :)
  11. macrumors G4

    I've been interested in the possibility of using 2.5" drives myself. :D So I've been looking around.

    I have located 4*2.5" to 1*5.25" adapters. :D
    Addonics 2.5" Disk Array 4SA as an example. ;) They also ship internationally, and are only $65.00USD. :D
    Unfortunately, they are hot-swap, and require the front of the bay to be open. :(
    Damn :apple: :p

    It could work under certain conditions, but these may not work for you.
    • Mod the front of the case.
    • Buy a new case to transfer the Mac Pro's internals to that has more room.

    At this point, I'm considering the last option. A Lian Li most likely, and stuffing the Mac Pro internals in it. I think it may actually be cheaper for me than using the EnhanceBOX E8-MS.

    I'll keep looking, and post anything that looks like a purely internal 1-5.25" solution.

    Keep me posted, as it helps having others in the same boat. :p
    Thanks. :)
  12. rtrt, Sep 17, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011

    macrumors 6502a

  13. macrumors G4

    I've found this forum to be a great place to swap experience/research/stories.... :)
    RAID gets complicated. Fast. Order one wrong cable, and... :D :p
  14. macrumors Demi-Goddess


    The removable bay Idea is ok - its easy enough to slide the 5.25" chassis in and out of the mac pro when you need to change a disk - otherwise leave em in there. It doesnt bother me that they are swappable but I cant see them - no case mods for me :)
  15. macrumors G4

    I've been looking intently for a simple, invisible solution to no avail. :(

    The closest thing I could come up with added up to $205USD! :eek: That's just insane. :rolleyes:

    Other than what you're willing to do, the next real solution is to get a bigger case, and do a Mac Pro transplant. :p
    And I'm seriously thinking this may be required, not to mention cheaper than using external solutions. :D

    If Apple would only give us a proper case. :rolleyes: ;)
    More drive bays :apple: NOW! :p
  16. macrumors G4

    BTW, what 2.5" drives are you planning to use?
    Is it out of necessity of limited space?

    I've looked, but haven't exactly fallen in love with the performance-cost/GB issue. Or
  17. macrumors Demi-Goddess


    just a bunch of 2.5" 7200rpms - one for each OS XP, Vista, Debian and OpenSolaris


    (Mainly cos I is greedy ;) )
  18. macrumors G4

    ROFL! :D

    I've been looking myself, but skipped the 7200 RPM units so far. ;)
    The 10k and 15k SAS 2.5"ers are too little storage for way too much $$$. :eek:

    I've been trolling the enterprise units for the old research thing. :rolleyes: :p
    Me likes the Cheetah 15K.6. My greed is speed. [​IMG]
  19. macrumors Demi-Goddess


    Yes I have cheetah 15k SCSI's in my Dell poweredge - they are fast as hell, but bot do they irritate my ears (whiney little buggers!).

    the 15k SAS drives are nice if you like speed, but alas again they are noisy


    (and there are rumors of a 20krpm drive - holy cow!)

    My next upgrade will be SSD SLC units :)
  20. macrumors G4

    When I saw the 164MB/s sustained transfer rate for the 15K.6 Cheetah, I'd been had. :p
    Maybe I'll just use 8 of the smaller ones. :D

    The only 20K RPM unit I've heard any mention of, is another version of the
    Velociraptor. If they do it, it could give the current SAS drives a good run. ;)
    Hmm...500GB 20k Velociraptor...:D I must be daydreaming again...:rolleyes:
  21. macrumors 6502


    Good ones for boot drives--save the four slide trays for RAID.

    My long range plan is SSD for my boot and applications, and then RAID SSD for working drives, with a large number of TB drives for redundant external storage. The case on the left is an old G5 case modified to hold up to twenty (20) drives, ten (10) of these in hot swap trays. Theoretically it will hold 40TB of storage. It is served by a Sonnet four port card (last picture).

    I'm not sure if external storage to this extreme is really necessary with my latest mod shown below (second, third and fourth pictures), and the continuing growth of storage technology.

    So, the stock Mac Pro can hold 12 drives internally, which would be plenty, or 8 drives if you keep the optical (my choice). The way SSD drive growth is going, I don't see much need for external drives except perhaps for backup.

    Apple RAID: My feeling is the Apple RAID card is useless. It doesn't have enough throughput. I'm going with an Areca RAID controller--their fastest is a little more than Apples, but Areca charges extra for battery backup and extra memory. It can serve both internal and external drives. If I had one now it would expand my options nicely.

    Windoze: I don't see any point to using bootcamp for Windoze either. Solaris--yes. Linux--perhaps. Windows? I put it on and never use it. Would you drive a Yugo when you have a ZR1? No. In any event, if that is important to you, it is as simple as changing a few cables.

    Drives: The SSD drives are almost at the level of performance I'm looking for. I want something like the Nitro TB SSDs--due out later this year. I can fit as many as six SSD's in my Mac Pro--four (4) 3.5" and four (4) 2.5". So I'm thinking one for boot, one for applications, and 4-6 for SSD RAID 0. Or some similar variation--perhaps two (2) RAID 0 for boot, two (2) RAID 0 for apps, and four (4) for working data/scratch.

    This is probably in the wrong order, but I'm going to start out with an SSD drive for a boot drive (sata port 5, then one for Applications Sata port 6) stealing ports that used to serve external drives. I'm also looking into converting the IDE cable to Sata and putting a back up boot drive on it in the 2.5" drive cage. That would allow me to serve 3 2.5" drives without adding a hardware RAID controller immediately. Optionally, I am only using two (2) of the four (4) Sonnet ports. I could route cables from outside back into the case and instantly have all four (4) 2.5" drive bays attached. This is a little sloppy looking but it would be a good short term option--and the one I'll most likely take.

    Next for me is an Areca hardware RAID. My goal is just under 1200MB/sec in RAID 0, which the top end Areca card will approach--it should easily beat 1000MB/sec. Smoking performance? You bet. How many streams of High Def uncompressed video? I'll guess four streams. The only way to beat this would be to use one of the new Mac Pro's with the same setup.

    My idea for a working RAID will be four 500GB (or larger) 3.5" SSD's in harware RAID 0--these aren't being made yet. So for now, I'll get by with four TB drives in software RAID 0 and then hardware RAID 0...

    Externally, I have space for 20 sata drives using my four (4) Sonnet ports with port multipliers in the expansion box. No need for speed here. I have over 8TB capacity so far. I'm trying to slim down by purging as many unnecessary files as possible to reduce my dependency on storage space.


    Great minds think alike. Someone else talked about putting a cage of 2.5" drives in an optical bay.


    Someone else suggested it is not a big deal to slide this cage out to expose the drives. I would not modify the case.


    So the reason I found this thread is I'm replacing the cables that I ran externally. I originally bought these to add some external storage. I now have for external sata ports and would rather have these four 2.5" drives working.

    So I was looking around trying to decide what type of cables to get to replace my existing port 5 & 6 cables. And debating running my last two external cables inside the case to serve the last two 2.5" drives, or else wait on that and go for the RAID card next.


    Those extra Sata port are valuable. And one of these would be my first choice for an OS X boot drive. If you really want to boot windows, then I suggest you make the appropriate cable changes swapping drive bays 2 and 3 with 5 and 6, and run 1, 5, 6, & 4 in hardware RAID. Boot OS X off of 2, and Windows off of 3, unless alternatively, you chose to partition one of these.

    My advice is to keep independent disks for your different operating systems. With up to four (4) 2.5" drives run off Sata ports 1-4, and an Areca RAID controller serving the stock drive bays, and perhaps a few of the 2.5" drives--this would be a nice setup and all drives would be easy to swap if necessary.

    One more thing. I mentioned the second optical bay's IDE cable. It is possible you could boot windows off of this with the right adapter. I have only found one that might work. I haven't tried it yet, but it is not a bad idea, using up a less important port for a less important operating system. I'm fairly sure it will boot windoze, but I haven't tried it yet, and it won't be a priority for me to play with this idea.
  22. macrumors 6502


    I have an Intel 160GB SSD for boot and applications, and 4 Seagate TB drives in RAID 0 with two partitions, one scratch at 32GB/slice=128GB and the rest one big 3.5TB partition. I strongly recommend the Intel 160 for boot and applications. It is very fast. Xbench score was 285. The drive carraige works well for me with one exception.

    One must remove this drive bay to install a new drive--unless you want to butcher the front of your case. After the problems I've had, I might just do that--when my warranty runs out in 2011. I damaged one of the sata connectors--the top right connector under the yellow one--this one is most vulnerable when reinstalling. There are extra sata connectors for SAS drives. I will have to swap these which involves a little soldering. So be VERY careful removing and reinstalling this drive bay.

    I would recommend you sell the Apple RAID card, it is expensive, and will prove to be a choke point on your system, plus you don't have good compatabilty as you have found. Get something more fitting. I plan on getting the fastest Areca I can find, which will also allow me to access every drive on my expansion box as a giant RAID. My goal is 1GB/s transfer rates. Presently I have 360MB/s average transfer rates. Triple speed will be nice at some point.
  23. macrumors regular

    Do you know (maybe you tried it before), what the speed difference would be having OS X within the RAID0 of 4 disks instead of on the SSD?!
    Would be interesting for me to know. Thanks.
  24. macrumors demi-god


    Doubt it will help the folk's discussing multiple RAID configurations, but for others, here's a link to a pre-made slot backplane external SATA connector for ports 5 and 6 on certain Mac Pro's.

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer Technology/MPQXES2/

    I've got this installed on my 2006 2.66GHz Quad. My OS X boot drive is presently running off eSATA (port 5) and its of course just as fast as an internal drive.

    Correct in that they are not seen by Boot Camp (Windows) without driver modifications, not bootable into Boot Camp at all AFAIK. But my Boot Camp volume is on one of my internal drives, not my OS X boot drive. For me, this is better since I've outgrown my main OS X drive twice, so its easy to clone and replace, rather than also have to deal with a Boot Camp volume on the same drive.
  25. macrumors 6502


    you can get a Areca hybrid card to serve the same purpose.
    The only difference is cal digit card is only compatible with their system.
    Meaing, you have to pay a lot of more for the same thing.
    For example, you canget ProAvio or cine raid for much cheaper and Areca card is compatible with all mini sas or sata interface enclosures.

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