2009 Nehalem Mac Pro w/Apple RAID MB845Z/A and ODD port Bootcamp

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by 10k300, Oct 10, 2010.

  1. 10k300 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2010
    #1
    Hello,

    I intend to purchase the MB845Z/A "Apple Mac Pro RAID Card" for use in my 2009 Mac Pro, and build out the following configuration:

    * 4 x 300GB 15K Hitachi SAS Hard Disks (RAID 5)
    -- For OS X

    * 1 x 500GB 7.2K Hitachi SATA Hard disk connected to 2nd ODD port
    -- For Windows 7 x64

    I have read many of the previous posts, many of which mentioned that the Apple RAID card, disables the ODD ports and/or makes them inoperable for Bootcamp purposes. This however was posted by gentlemen who had the 2008 series machine, which seems to have a completely different architecture in regards to RAID and interoperability with ODD ports - so it seems at least.

    Therefore, I would like to ask the simple question:

    If I purchase the Apple RAID Card, will it DISABLE and/or render the ODD ports unusable under BootCamp.

    On a side note, I am currently using the WDC WD1002FALS 1TB Black 64MB drives, 4 in RAID 10, (stripe of 2 mirror sets) with 64K stripe size. I am unsatisfied with the performance and IOPS capabilities of this logical drive. I need maximum 300-400GB disk space, and 4x300GB 15K SAS disks in RAID 5 will provide more than adequate IOPS for what I use the disks for.

    I will add however, that my first RAID in this system was with 4 x T7K500 Hitachi 500GB disks, in RAID 10, again software RAID - the performance of that configuration was so horrible that it didn't last the night - I immediately went down and purchased the fastest SATA hard disks (7.2K) that I could get, which I do suspect even today, is the WD1002FALS series.

    Most users will be satisfied with 4 x WDC WD1002FALS, I however was not.

    Best regards
    Vasili
     
  2. philipma1957, Oct 10, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2010

    philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #2
    I would not buy the hitachi hdds. I would look into western digital velociraptors

    5 year warranty the best in the business. do you know if you can boot with the apple card? also that apple card is not well liked on this site
     
  3. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    You say you need only 300 to 400GB of storage plus a dedicated drive for Windows, right?

    Since anyone here will confirm that the Apple RAID card is a piece of crap I suggest another, possibly better and cheaper route.

    Forget the RAID controller, get yourself two decent SSDs and create a software RAID 0. This partition is good for 500MB/s+ read and write and IOPS that aren't comparable to SAS drives.


    Considering the 660MB/s throughput limit of the ICH10 bridge, the additional Win7 drive will operate perfectly within spec.
     
  4. 10k300 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2010
    #4
    Hello and thank you for your replies,

    While I do realize many don't hold this card in high esteem, could you please say, if the 2009 machine - having installed the MacPro RAID card, will still be able to use the ODD ports for bootcamp.

    Regards to SSD, I don't trust non magnetic media - yet. With any type of hard disk, no matter what happens, you can send it in and pay a few thousand, and you'll get a sizeable portion of your data back. With an SSD if a diode blows, you lose everything. Generally speaking, I'm too "old school" to use SSD, at least right now. I AM thinking about it, but mostly for my MBP in an effort to conserve power and thereby extend battery life.

    But anyway back to the point:

    * 2009 Mac Pro
    * Installs RAID Apple Card
    * Will ODD ports be OVERRODE by the RAID card, or will they remain as separate SATA interfaces, thereby allowing bootcamp to operate via one of the 2

    Kind regards
    Vasili
     
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #5
    To answer your question, the ODD ports will be fine (issue was only present on the 2008 systems due to the firmware). :) You will lose the ability to use the SATA ports for the HDD bays however (data is re-routed from the ICH to the Apple RAID Pro over the traces used on the PCB).

    You'd be better off getting an Areca or ATTO SAS model (you can get a faster, more stable card for less money that works in multiple OS's, and they can boot into EFI once flashed), as the Apple RAID Pro really is a Pile Of Junk (it's slow, expensive, has battery problems, and only works with a single OS).

    As per Hitachi, their consumer disks are junk. The SAS disks are another story, so they'd be fine (though I prefer Toshiba, formerly Fujitsu). I tend to gravitate towards Western Digital for SATA disks.
     
  6. 10k300 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2010
    #6
    Hello and thank you again for your reply,

    I would only use the Hitachi Ultrastar 15K147 or 15K300 (SAS enterprise disks), I get them out of our "older" servers that are up for retirement, so it will be a no cost / no brainer for me to use them. I also do agree that Western Digital "Black" disks for SATA (RE3/RE4 for RAID too) are EXCELLENT - they're just not SAS 15K equivelants ;)

    We do have very good results using the RE3 and RE4 in medium duty servers, mostly Dell PowerEdge R710's, and I can definitely recommend such disks for again, medium duty systems. Heavy duty machines need 15K or 10K SAS disks.

    >> Hitachi, their consumer disks are junk.

    Yes, with one exception perhaps, the original 7K1000 which was manufactured in Thailand, before they shifted to the 7K1000.B/C which are subsequently built in China, with MUCH inferior quality

    >> You'd be better off getting an Areca or ATTO SAS model (you can get a faster, more stable card for less money that works in multiple OS's,

    The thing is, I want a complete turnkey solution, utilizing the backplane, I don't want to fiddle with cables and other internal magic/wizardry, I'm tired of that - I've been doing "wizardry" for _years_ with PC's, and I bought this very expensive machine recently to get away from the "cable mess". You can surely understand my point, and I do also understand yours that the Areca and/or 3Ware cards are faster and offer more functionality.

    The only reason I want RAID is for OSX, I could care less about Windows, it's only purpose is to play some games here and there, a single 7.2K SATA disk is more than adequate for me for such purposes.

    >>> s the Apple RAID Pro really is a Pile Of Junk (it's slow, expensive, has battery problems, and only works with a single OS).

    Is it slow? Now if it's SLOW, that's a whole other story, from what I gathered this is a rebranded LSI MegaRAID SAS card, which we use in Dell PowerEdge servers and it is VERY reliable. Maybe Apple's implementation is, sub-par...


    >> the ODD ports will be fine (issue was only present on the 2008 systems due to the firmware).

    Thank you. Therefore, on a 2009 Nehalem Mac Pro, installing the Apple RAID card, will not affect the normal SATA operation of the 2 x ODD ports.

    I guess now, I need to weigh things:

    * Get a fully turnkey solution by Apple RAID Card and have no cable mess, but have apparently sub-par performance

    OR

    * Use a 3rd party card, but have a cabling nightmare inside my machine.

    pff....

    I suspect there is no 3rd party card, that would use the existing backplane connectors.. decisions, decisions...
     
  7. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    Considering your statement about data recovery, I assume that you don't use proper backups, do you?
     
  8. 10k300 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2010
    #8
    I sure do:)

    and.... I looooveee rsync...

    My "backup" solution:

    [root@santorini ~]# df -h
    Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
    /dev/sda2 29G 4.2G 23G 16% /
    /dev/sda3 645G 275G 338G 45% /home
    /dev/sda1 99M 12M 83M 13% /boot
    tmpfs 1.5G 0 1.5G 0% /dev/shm
    /dev/sdc1 1.4T 1.1T 224G 83% /home/ds2
    /dev/sdb1 1.4T 1.2T 91G 94% /home/ds1
    [root@santorini ~]# uname -a
    Linux santorini.corp.axxxxxxet 2.6.18-128.el5 #1 SMP Wed Jan 21 10:41:14 EST 2009 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
    [root@santorini ~]#


    * Dell PowerEdge 830 / 2.8Ghz Intel / 4G / runs CentOS 5
    -- 2 x 750GB WDC RE3 RAID 1 w/LSI MegaRAID controller
    -- 2 x 1,5TB Seagate 7200.11 RAID 1

    /home/ds1/tm = time machine backups on 1,5TB mirror
    /home/ds1/backups = rsync backups of entire /users/* folder
    /home/ds2/tib = once in a while I backup the entire "Macintosh HD" with SuperDuper!

    annnnddd, for the REALLY important stuff, I use DVD's and backup once in a while

    annnnnnnddd the REALLY, REALLY important stuff, gets all of the above, plus ends up on the Xserve which is 2x320G RAID 1 + 1 x 320G TM

    soo.... yes.... I have backups ;)

    but... I do really like hearing hard disk clicking.. The silence of SSD would annoy me immeasurably
     
  9. All Taken macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    You know the power savings returned by using a SSD in a macbook pro are minimal to non-existent?

    The performance gains are truly fantastic, with a nice backup solution you would gain more speed via raid with a SSD setup.
     
  10. 10k300 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2010
    #10
    >> You know the power savings returned by using a SSD in a macbook pro are minimal to non-existent?

    I didn't know that!

    >> The performance gains are truly fantastic, with a nice backup solution you would gain more speed via raid with a SSD setup.

    I have seen videos on youtube of SSD Macbooks do things 100X faster than HD based, identical equipment. All this talk of SSD is going to lead to me buying one of these X25's...
     
  11. 10k300 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2010
    #11
    And... my Xserve backup solution ;)

    Code:
    [SIZE="1"]Last login: Mon Oct 11 13:20:50 on ttys004
    Supervisors-Nehalem:~ supervisor$ ssh 10.237.200.200
    Last login: Sun Oct 10 14:44:40 2010 from 10.237.188.202
    mykonos:~ supervisor$ df
    Filesystem    512-blocks      Used Available Capacity  Mounted on
    /dev/disk3     624880192 120228168 504140024    20%    /
    devfs                227       227         0   100%    /dev
    fdesc                  2         2         0   100%    /dev
    /dev/disk2s3   952262552 130624528 821638024    14%    /Volumes/vol2
    /dev/disk2s5    23986248     72504  23913744     1%    /Volumes/recovery
    map -hosts             0         0         0   100%    /net
    map auto_home          0         0         0   100%    /home
    map -fstab             0         0         0   100%    /Network/Servers
    mykonos:~ supervisor$ uname -a
    Darwin mykonos.euroisa.local 9.8.0 Darwin Kernel Version 9.8.0: Wed Jul 15 16:57:01 PDT 2009; root:xnu-1228.15.4~1/RELEASE_PPC Power Macintosh
    mykonos:~ supervisor$ w
    13:32  up 171 days, 17:55, 11 users, load averages: 0.01 0.07 0.08
    USER     TTY      FROM              LOGIN@  IDLE WHAT
    supervisor s001     10.237.188.202   Sun14   21:12 -bash
    marmaduke s002     10.237.223.39    13:04      20 bash
    marmaduke s003     10.237.223.39    13:04      20 bash
    marmaduke s004     10.237.223.39    13:04      20 bash
    marmaduke s005     10.237.223.39    13:04      20 bash
    marmaduke s006     10.237.223.39    13:04       4 ssh
    marmaduke s007     10.237.223.39    13:04      20 bash
    marmaduke s008     10.237.223.39    13:04      20 bash
    supervisor s009     10.237.188.202   13:32       - w
    mykonos:~ supervisor$ [/SIZE]
    
    Code:
     Hardware Overview:
    
          Model Name: Xserve G5
          Model Identifier: RackMac3,1
          Processor Name: PowerPC G5  (3.0)
          Processor Speed: 2 GHz
          Number Of CPUs: 1
          L2 Cache (per CPU): 512 KB
          Memory: 3 GB
          Bus Speed: 1 GHz
          Boot ROM Version: 5.1.7f1
          Serial Number (system): CK441H09PNJ
          Hardware UUID: 00000000-0000-1000-8000-000D939CC9AC
    
    bwhahhaha PowerPC lives on
     
  12. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #12
    I'm also pretty sure your configuration will work. I have a four port Areca RAID card working in my 2009 MacPro and run Windows from the second ODD port with an SSD. It is possible in legacy and AHCI mode.

    Wether it is sensible to use the Apple RAID card is another issue.

    Keep in mind that any RAID card will keep your system from going to sleep.
     
  13. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #13
    Even the Apple one?
     
  14. 10k300 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 10, 2010
    #14
    Let's take it back a step

    * MacPro 2009 / 4 x WD1002FAEX RAID 10 with Disk Utility Software RAID

    vs

    * Mac Pro 2009 / 4 x WD1002FAEX RAID 10 with Apple RAID Card

    Any significant differences in performance?
     
  15. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #15
    It is true for the Areca cards and I don't believe that the inferior product that Apple buys is better. Nanofrog explained to me that the firmware would be lost from memory when the machine cuts the power to the RAID card. Because that must not happen the RAID cards all prevent the sleep mode. AFAIK the Apple card will do this as well. Perhaps a user can confirm this.
     
  16. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #16

    Till a certain file size, the RAID controllers cache will certainly boost the performance.

    But still, a single SSD will be significantly faster than both arrays.
     
  17. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #17
    You'd still be better off with a 3rd party card and adapter kit in order to use the HDD bays (or go external if you prefer). It's really not that bad (kit is still clean).

    It's not just about performance and features, it's about stability (battery issue causes instability). Definitely not good. :(

    1. S-L-O-W (way under what you'd expect for that cost range; similar to $300 - 400 cards).
    2. Unstable

    LSI makes the card, but Apple developed the firmware and drivers (LSI doesn't offer EFI firmware or OS X drivers). It's really a shoddy piece of gear. I really can't stress that enough.

    So please do yourself a favor, and skip it. Don't even give it a whirl within the return period. Just go 3rd party from the start, and be done with it.

    Correct.

    No, there's not a single 3rd party card that can use the HDD connectors on the board, as the firmware in the Apple RAID Pro is what controlls the routing of the DATA signals over the PCB traces on the backplane board.

    But the cabling isn't the mess you're imagining (really well designed kit, so it's clean). So it's not that big a deal going 3rd party, and you've a better storage solution.

    OS X won't even try to sleep with a RAID card, but some versions of Windows will, and why you can't resume (firmware gets lost, so you have to reboot the system to initialize the card again).

    Sleep has actually worked for me with Windows 7. :eek:

    Yes.

    The cache should help, but as the card's already slow, it's not going to make the difference you'd hope for (capacity is fixed @ 512MB, as I'm used to the Areca's that use a DIMM slot for the cache, so they can be pushed to 4GB).
     
  18. 10k300 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 10, 2010
    #18
    Thank you for the detailed reply.

    I'm not going to buy the Apple card on the combined advice of the posters in this thread including yours.

    Thank you,
     
  19. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #19
    :cool: NP. :)

    So what will you need in a card (namely ports/capacity, as I presume boot capability will be desired; happens to be the case with Areca and ATTO, as both produce EFI firmware you can flash their cards with)?
     
  20. 10k300 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 10, 2010
    #20
    Hello

    I love this : http://www.maxupgrades.com/istore/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&product_id=189

    Thank you

    I am going to buy the 4 disk kit for my 2009, my intention is to run 4 of these:

    4 x Hitachi 15K600 600GB SAS
    (http://www.hitachigst.com/tech/techlib.nsf/techdocs/DAC6606EE8DDF5D7862576490028557B/$file/US15K600_DS_final.pdf)

    I want to run these 4 disks in RAID 5, internally, nothing external required nor will ever be required. Fast XOR is required as again, RAID 5 is parity bound and a fast CPU on the RAID card is _required_. Cache 1GB is enough.

    I really enjoyed using the LSI MegaRAID 320-2E back in the U320 days on workstations, was a very fast card with the 600Mhz Xscale proc, I'd like to get something of that caliber. Something with passive cooling is definitely more interesting to prevent noise.
     
  21. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #21
    LSI = not functional under OS X (BTW, the Apple RAID Pro is only using a 500MHz PPC)

    Do you want just 4 ports (I usually tend to go for 4x more than immediate need for future expansion)?
     
  22. 10k300 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2010
    #22
    >> (BTW, the Apple RAID Pro is only using a 500MHz PPC)

    Wow.

    We used to buy *(back in 2003) the IBM ServeRAID 4H, which was a very high performance RAID controller for U160 devices, and would hang 6 x 73G 10K off of it, and it was MARVELOUS, it used a 266Mhz G3 chip.

    Back in those days, a 266 PPC was AMAZING for a RAID card, remember that this was the period of the 80303 @ 100Mhz if you were lucky..

    So... fast forward 8 years, and we're at 500Mhz? With 3.0Gbps point to point links? Yes, I can see why the card is slow... lol

    >> Do you want just 4 ports (I usually tend to go for 4x more than immediate need for future expansion)?

    4 ports are OK, if I need more in the future I'll buy another RAID card, I don't want to hang external 'future' arrays off the same controller if I can help it. I just want a full featured card, that will be _reliable_ - I'm talking LSI SCSI reliability, not "reinstall once a month" reliability :)
     
  23. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #23
    Well, when you look at the fastest units out there, Intel's IOP SAS series are running at 1.2GHz, and the newer Marvell RoC (RAID on a Chip) based 6.0Gb/s SAS cards from Areca and ATTO are running at 800MHz (they're actually faster than the 1.2GHz part from Intel, regardless of port spec).

    The ARC-1212 would be the bare minimum then (specs).
     

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