Advice on purchasing a new computer SSD's and Raid

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Zobec, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. Zobec macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Hello Mac Rumours this will be my first post, I have learned many things from this forum and I am grateful for all the help people have given in the past. In the next few months I will be looking to purchase a new computer.

    At the moment I use a G4 mac, mirror drive dual 1.25ghz 2 gig of ram for music production. I would say I am freelance music composer but at the moment it is just a serious hobby.
    With this new computer I am looking to get I also want to do 3D level design using hammer and possibly other 3D engines like the unreal engine and also use the 3D program Soft-Image to create 3D objects and in the end make my own levels and put my own music to the levels, in the end my own game but that is far away.

    I have a few questions though before I make a decision on this new computer.

    I understand that the Mac pros have 4 drive bays, the way I would like to configure this computer is.

    Drive bay 1- 1-2 Terabytes for - work in progress and recording audio in projects

    Drive bay 2- 4 SSD’s and may expand in future to 8x256 SSD using a raid card controller this will be for intensive orchestral sample library’s for streaming/reading

    Can I fit 4 SSD’s in a single bay? How many SSD’s can one fit in a single bay?

    Drive bay 3- 512 SSD for streaming more samples

    Drive bay 4-A Hard drive for 3D level design and finished work.

    Though perhaps for finished work I may use external hard drives.

    In the optical bay a 60-80 gig SSD for the operating system and the applications I use. I would like this separate from rest of the Mac. I seem to hear only good things about doing it this way. I guess when the time comes I will need to ask how to move the OS to the SSD but that can wait.

    Is this setup for the hard drives possible and sensible?

    If one constantly writes and re-writes on SSD's does this degrade the SSD? As I am streaming or reading from the drives I am not sure this concerns me as much but how much degradation will occur with constant writing to the drives?

    What raid card does one suggest there are so many I really am confused with all the options

    This thread at Mac Rumours gives some options

    I saw suggested somewhere that the Rocket RAID SATA III 6Gb/s. Though after reading what some customers have had happened and gone through with the drivers I am uncertain about this company

    What Raid Card does one suggest a Sata 3 at 6Gb/s for 4-8 SSDs that works on a mac pro?

    Some in the forum have suggested Areca the company but there seems to be so many, even from just that company and the cards are more expensive than the Rocket raid card like Areca card ARC-1880ix-12 PCIe 2.0 SAS Controller.

    Some help in finding the right raid card, there just seems to be so many I am not really sure which one is the right one for my needs I guess a Raid card with maximum read speeds on the SSD’s does this make sense?

    Advice is needed as I am new to raid cards I am new to raid in general let alone the SSD drives. I have heard one does not need a raid card in RAID 0 is this true? I am not sure about all the levels of RAID 0-6. For streaming I guess all the drives need to work as 1 but if one fails I would not want the rest of the drives to be destroyed. I am not sure what raid I would need as nothing will be saved on the drives, only the samples for reading.

    I am looking at the maker of Crucial SSD’s simply because of the read speeds not the write speeds.

    If I do set up a raid card with 4 or even 8 SSD’s the next step is an enclosure for them are there any suggestions for enclosures I have seen people suggest ICY DOCK enclosures or an OWC multi-mount.

    With the enclosures and 4 to 8-SSD’s linked to a raid card in drive bay 2 do I next need a tray to hold them in the bay or is the enclosure or mounts sufficient?

    I am also considering as an option in getting a Pcie sound card so with the graphics card a raid card and sound card I should have enough room as I understand there is 4 Pcie slots, is this correct?

    Lastly I have dual monitor screens set up with my G4 is it possible to use the dual link display from apple that I already own with the new mac pro to link 2 screens? I think the new mac pros use the Digital Visual Interface- DVI connection is the connection the same as the G4 screens?

    I don’t plan on using the computer for playing games and I would like it to last for a very long time as long as the G4 has lasted.

    I may have more questions if anyone can help thanks.

    Thank you and all the best.
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    I'll try to answer a couple of your questions. You can put one SSD or hard drive per drive bay, regardless of physical size, as there is one SATA connection per bay. Typically, an SSD is best used as a boot/apps drive, and normal HDDs are used for storing large files, etc. Replacing those HDDs with SSDs won't really gain you a whole lot typically, especially with streaming, as normal hard drives are plenty fast enough for that. From what I know, constantly writing and overwriting on SSDs will degrade them pretty fast as well.

    I hope that was of some help
  3. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    As you're currently an enthusiast, you're looking at way too much system right now.

    For music production, take a look at the following:
    • Optical bay 2 = Single SSD for Sample Libraries (relys on random access, which is what an SSD really excels at)
    • HDD bay 1 = OS/applications disk (mechanical will be fine; SSD is a luxury, though nice to have)
    • HDD bay 2 = Completed music projects (mechanical)
    • HDD bay 3 = Backup (mechanical)
    • HDD bay 4 = Mechanical disk for any additional software projects you get into (3D stuff) while learning

    As you become more proficient with your software (and hopefully are able to earn a living with your system), you can upgrade your system to fit that need when the time comes. But ATM, it's a waste of funds IMO.

    You won't need this at all; not now, not for what you've described in the near future either.

    A single SSD is fine for your sample libraries (striping increases sequential throughputs substantially, not random access).

    Optical bay, Yes.
    HDD bay, No.

    No need to worry about this now, as it's expensive and won't help you with audio work.

    Highpoint is the company that sells that product, and are absolutely horrible in terms of support. So you'd better know what you're doing with their products before you buy them (expect no support). Nor is it suited for what you're thinking about anyway.

    You'd be stuck with Areca or ATTO. Of the two, Areca is a better value. But again, you don't need one right now.

    Both the 5770 and 5870 use 2x Mini Display Ports and 1x Dual Link DVI port.
  4. Zobec thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Thanks for the responses I really appreciate it alust2013 and nanofrog, I guess I have over shot the mark here and have been caught up in the SSD wave sorry for that. I see a Raid card would be way over the top for my requirements, this is good news.

    My problem is that the Platinum orchestral library that I have is 190Gig in truth I rarely if ever I am able to use Platinum it is because the G4 system can hardly handle more than 5 or 6 instruments (if I am lucky)from the platinum library before it starts tripping over. I use the Gold library and I have had difficult times in the past with Gold when trying to run more than 24 instruments, when it begins to trip I use freeze and freeze is not a good way in trying to go about doing work.

    So 190gig for platinum and soon I am wanting to purchase Hollywood strings which is 310gig but I also own more libraries than this perhaps near a Terabyte of samples and I am planning to get more still.

    But with this new light of information provided by nanofrog, I will not be purchasing a raid card at the moment but I was hoping to put all the orchestral libraries together on one SSD and any other samples I would just put on a mechanical drive is this a sensible alternative? there are people on the Eastwest forum who are using SSD’s for samples and they seem to only say positives.

    But from what has been said and I am trying to understand that SSD’s don’t really help with streaming information but more for example make an instrument patch of information quicker to load into memory to be able to use. I think Ram for streaming is more important than the drives is this correct?

    I am not sure if I truly understand this but I am grateful alust2013 and nanofrog for putting me back on track and on focus with reality.

    • Optical bay 2 = Single SSD for Sample Libraries (relys on random access, which is what an SSD really excels at)
    • HDD bay 1 = OS/applications disk (mechanical will be fine; SSD is a luxury, though nice to have)
    • HDD bay 2 = Completed music projects (mechanical)
    • HDD bay 3 = Backup (mechanical)
    • HDD bay 4 = Mechanical disk for any additional software projects you get into (3D stuff) while learning

    I really like this setup, I have a question- is it better to have the samples on the SSD in the optical bay than to have the OS and applications in the optical bay does it make a difference? I thought that the applications and the OS would need a small drive something like 60gig. But I think you stated that it is possible to have more than 1 SSD in the optical bay. How many can one put in the optical bay? What are negatives and positives of trying to do this?

    I may go with just one SSD in bay 1 at the moment and SSD’s in the optical bay

    But what size should the SSD be in the optical bay? And is this recommend for where I want to place these orchestra samples?

    I may just get one 1-2 terabyte mechanical for work in progress and one for finished work .

    Is this sensible?

    I already have external drives that I use for streaming at the moment I just need to re-format them and these will become the backup drives.

    I am in my last year of doing my music performance/composition course so I can also get a student discount on the computer.

    Thanks again all your help alust2013 and nanofrog
    Best regards
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    You can get all of this on SSD's (or even one SSD, as there is a 1TB unit out there, though insanely expensive last I saw a street price).

    One way is to split the data up (single disk use), and place them externally in a Port Multiplier enclosure (4x bay kit) and attach it to the system via a 6.0Gb/s eSATA card that's PM compliant (comes with the enclosure linked). There's also an 8x bay version as well (here). You may need to use 2.5" to 3.5" adapters to get the SSD's to fit (here). Please note, this method works by drivers only, so you cannot place a boot disk in it.

    Based on 4x 240GB SSD's from OWC and the 4x bay enclosure, you get a solution of $2198USD. Close enough to the 1TB mark, and you can actually add disks as you need to scale up to that point (they currently offer 480GB versions as well, but they're more expensive in terms of cost/capacity).

    Internally is possible as well, but given the rarity of internal 6.0Gb/s cards, it's expensive (ATTO H608, which is $400USD). At this point, you might as well get the RAID card and create the stripe set (at least it will appear as a single logical volume to the system instead of a bunch of separate disks; worth the additional $143USD price difference IMO <keeping it at 8x ports>, and you have the potential for additional options later on due to the RAID functions).

    Keep in mind, there's also adapters/mounts for internal solutions as well. Some as high as $130USD (2x kits; one that allows the HDD bays to be used with RAID cards, another that allows 8x SSD's in a single optical bay).

    You can, but it will be slower. See above for a means to do it with SSD's on the cheap (well, cheap for SSD's anyway...). ;)

    One thing that's between SSD and 7200rpm SATA is 15k rpm SAS disks, but they're not exactly cheap either (cheaper than SSD in terms of cost/capacity, but you'd also need a SAS controller card to make it work; here).

    Disk capacities for this come in up to 600GB right now (example, though they also come in 300 and 450GB capacities). So 2x 600GB disks + controller ~+$1355USD.

    Disks need to get their information to RAM, so both are important (both are bottlenecks in their own ways; disk I/O is slow compared to the rest of the system, and RAM if the capacity is insufficient for the usage).

    From a technical POV, it won't make a difference.

    But it can from a financial one (cheaper to stuff an SSD in the empty optical bay than an HDD bay).

    There's a kit that can allow up to 8x SSD's in a single optical bay. But you have to have a port for each disk.

    By leaving it to one drive, you won't need to install a controller card to add ports.

    As per size of the SSD's, that you'll have to figure out based on capacity (personally, I'd think 120GB is sufficient for the OS/applications). For the Sample Libraries, if they're as big as you've mentioned, you will need to use multiples at some point.

    Mechanical is fine for completed files.
  6. Zobec thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Thanks again nanofrog for everything, I think I have to get things into perspective. There is a lot of options you have giving me here, from the external to the SATA 15k. I guess I am trying to get maximum efficiency from the libraries that I intend to use. Though I realize none of the SSD options at the moment are at all cheap.

    Hypothetically, if I am to go the SSD route which it seems to be the most expensive route, I would be keen on the internal option with the Raid card you mention, this also gives expandability for up to 8 drives which covers the future for my music needs. I think going this route allows one to build up slowly as SSD’s hopefully become cheaper.

    Before that I have a few questions if it is okay to ask. (I think these questions are the same but phrased differently it is just I need it to be clear)

    If I am to stuff the drives in the optical bay what will I need in addition to the Raid card, would this be adapters and mounts?

    What mounts, enclosures or adapters would one need if one is placing the Solid state drives in the optical bay?

    I also have to ask some questions about the card sorry for this I am a bit confused.

    What does it mean at the top of the page- host adapter, not RAID controller?
    Is this just another form of Raid or is this card something different?

    Is this card effectively making separate drives into 1 drive for streaming, though is that not what Raid is as well?

    Is there anything else that I would need to know regarding the card that you have suggested?

    It appears that the music libraries seem to get bigger and are somewhat huge I think the biggest one I know of is the full Vienna symphonic library cube at 550gig but that is extremely expensive. Though I guess if one can afford that they can afford as well the Hard drives for it. With something like that one would need straight away 3x256 SSD’s to fit just that one library.

    Thanks again for all the help and advice
    Best regards.
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Definitely. Storage and particularly RAID can get rather difficult, and quickly.

    15k RPM = SAS; not SATA. This may seem like splitting hairs, but I assure you it is not.

    You can connect a SATA disk to a SAS controller, and it will work. The reverse however, is not (SAS disks will not run on a SATA controller).

    I mention this, as if you make a mistake with it, you'll want to pull your hair out. :eek: :p

    So does the external solution for using SSD's. In either case, you only add SSD's as you actually need them (lower initial out of pocket costs).


    Here's the 8x SSD mount kit for the empty optical bay (can work with either the ATTO H608 or Areca ARC-1880i for example).

    HBA = Host Bus Adapter

    Now an HBA can be either a RAID or non-RAID card. So you must pay attention.

    In the case of the 2x 6.0Gb/s HBA's I linked:
    • ATTO H608 = non-RAID controller (it's a fast SAS controller, which can also run SATA disks)
    • ARC-1880i = proper RAID card (SAS as well), and can do things the H608 cannot, such as operate the RAID on it's own.
    You can use the H608 in either 0/1/10 configuration created under Disk Utility, but it uses system resources to do this (not horrible for a RAID 0). But the RAID card can handle 5/6/50/60 as well, and doesn't need system resources to do it (also has better recovery features and something called Online Expansion, which means you can add disks without data loss for redundant levels; RAID 0 is not redundant).

    Logical volume = what the system sees when you build an array (appears as one disk to the system, no matter how many are in the set).

    As per RAID, I think you should take the time to read the RAID wiki page and the links on the specific levels as well. ;)

    Hopefully this will give you a better idea as to what's going on, and solve some of your confusion.

    I've suggested 2x; one is a RAID card, the other just a fast SAS controller.

    They both work with OS X, and are made by well regarded companies. You will want to run a good UPS system on your system, and ideally, a Battery Backup Unit as well (attaches to the RAID card; not needed for the H608).
  8. Zobec thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Thanks I got confused the 15k disks are SAS, which is why I would need that SAS controller you mention, have I got that right?

    I recently have been looking at that wiki page and also looked at some videos on the various levels of Raid, level 0 or (0+1 or is that 1+0 but this requires more drives I think, not too sure on this). But level 0 seems to be the best option for my needs as it deals with just speed. Raid 1, 5, and 6 seem to be related to storage of some sort and as I am not storing work on the drives but rather utilising their read speeds these levels are not really going to offer me much. I will have backups of the libraries on other drives.

    My questions are though, if using level 0 I hear comes at a price of that it is possible for drives to fail more easily than otherwise, is this the case, is this true? What are ones experience with level 0 failing? In level 0 if one drive fails it seems all the drives fail, so if I have 4 drives and one goes all the information becomes corrupt but do the other 3 drives become unusable after that? I dread if this is correct. I would think that if one fails I can just reload the library again in a new drive and create the array again. Though level 5 and 6 and 1+0 are of this nature are they?

    What about SSD’s are they more reliable than mechanical drives? And are they more reliable when they are in Raid form?

    I also hear that level 0 is not a true Raid and is counted as simple calculations does this mean I do not need a Raid card for the drives? Software Raid is acceptable I think the Mac OSX has software Raid ready?

    If I do not need a Raid card then how do I connect 4-8 drives to the on board controller of the Mac? Is this why I would need a Raid card Just so I can connect multiple drives?

    Sorry for these question I just need to be clear on some things and I may still have more questions.

    It is kind of mind boggling all these drives and cards with levels it is like some game to these makers.

    Thanks again for all your advice
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Yes. :)

    Level 0: Has no redundancy at all. What this means is, if you loose a disk in the set, it's no longer functional, and the data stored on it is gone. You have to fix the problem, and restore the data from backups.​
    Other levels are redundant, which means there's the ability to retain data and functionality, though it's throughput is reduced (called degraded).

    0+1: Is when you create a pair of stripe sets (Level 0), then mirror them together (Level 1). It has both speed and redundancy of n = 2, but it's not as stable as 1+0 (if drives fail on both sides of the mirror the data on the array is lost).

    1+0: Is created in the reverse; that is, you make a pair of Mirrors, then Stripe them together. It has the advantage of all remaining active disks working in the event of a failure. You just cannot lose both disks in a mirror.

    5/6/50/60: You would need a RAID card for that, and isn't necessary for what you're doing with the library. It could be useful for your working data though (provides speed and redundancy for your working data).​
    OS X is capable of performing 0/1/10 on it's own (done via Disk Utility).

    So long as you have a proper backup system, and the time to perform the recovery, you'll be fine using a RAID 0 for what you're trying to do with it (less work than if you had working data stored on it).

    IF you're still confused, I'd go back and read the RAID wiki again (make sure to click the links for the levels listed; here's the page for nested levels, which 01, 10, 50 and 60 are - there's others too, but they would require a card as well, and are more than you need anyway).

    See above. ;)

    For reads, yes. Writes, no.

    In a RAID set, there's the same issues as with a mechanical set, but for reads, it should be more stable - that's the theory anyway due to the fact there's no moving parts (but keep in mind, that there's no long term data out for SSD's just yet; they're still too new to know for certain if it's going to hold true, or if the disks just won't hold up; single disk use or otherwise).

    RAID 0 is one of the "bastard children" of RAID, as there's no redundancy at all. JBOD is the other (sometimes referred to as Spanning or Concatenation; again, no redundancy).

    Pretty much.

    You can connect up to 6x disks to the system's SATA ports (ICH). But it also has a bandwidth limitation of ~660MB/s (mentioned before). This is a problem with simultaneous access and SSD's, as you'll throttle with just 3x of them these days (250MB/s or so is typical now).

    So you either need a non-RAID HBA (the ATTO H608 is such a card, and why I mentioned it previously) or a proper RAID card (Areca, such as the ARC-1880i, or ATTO R608, but ATTO is more expensive). As you can see, the H608 is the cheapest way to go, but it's also limited to what Disk Utility can do within OS X. The Areca is a proper RAID card, which does increase the price, and is equivalent to the ATTO R608, which is quite a bit more money. Then there's the adapter (8x SSD's in one optical bay) to contend with as well, to the tune of another $160USD. All in all, not cheap, and you've not even added the SSD's to the cost yet. :eek:

    So you've some thinking to do IMO. ;) :p

    It's not a game, it's just confusing. There's different levels for different things, and what gets worse, is software implementations using some proprietary means of accomplishing the task.

    The details are absolutely critical, and if you don't know what you're doing, you will make a mistake (i.e. get burnt financially).

    But also keep in mind, for what you're wanting to do, you do not need the speed past a single SSD. Hence the previous mention of using a Port Multiplier enclosure and a simple 6.0Gb/s eSATA card (just add disks, and JBOD them - single disk operation, and all the disks will appear as 1x disk to the system).
  10. Zobec thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Thanks nanofrog for all the advice in the previous posts, this is really a big help and I appreciate it. I have decided on the ARC-1880i card with the internal mount kit. Though the link you have provided does not put me through to the ARC- 1880i controller card. Could it be possible to find that card again on the website or another trusted website as I could not find the 8xport ARC-1880i there. Do you know why this would happen?

    I also have a few questions:

    Does the ARC-1880i have to use a specific make of SSD’s or will any make of SSD’s work ? As I intend to use Crucial SSD’s.

    Regarding the optical drive where the mount is suppose to be placed, I just need to be clear is there really enough room to fit 8 SSD’s in there with the mount?

    By one using the optical bay in this way, this leaves the original 4 HDD bays open for configuration, is this correct?

    Regarding monitors, as I understand the mac pro only provides one DVI output, is this due to the graphics card? So one needs to also purchase the mini display to DVI adapter to create a second DVI input for a dual display setup ,what is the difference between the DVI adapter and the dual-link DVI adapter? It says one can connect a 30 inch display with the dual-link DVI, so I assume you cannot connect a 30-inch screen with the standard DVI adapter, is that the only difference between the two? Do they both provide the option to run 2 monitor displays at the same time? As I would also like if possible to have a dual display setup.

    Thanks again all the best
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    It seems they removed the page (not sure why...).

    At any rate, it's available from other vendors (bit more $), such as newegg (here).

    Previously, they didn't carry it. But Provantage was cheaper anyway (call provantage, just in case they'll get them back in and listed on the site). They're a good company to deal with - never had any problems yet.

    They do need to use Enterprise grade HDD's, but from what I've seen, they'll work with consumer grade SSD's (Areca does not make an SSD Compatibility List yet - not all, many actually, don't even release an HDD Compatability List as Areca does <.pdf file>).

    BTW, the SSD's you're interested in will work (been done before from posts on another site - here).


    MaxUpgrades has created an 8x 2.5" SSD mounting kit that fits in a single optical drive bay (here).

    Yes. :D

    Depending on the card, Yes (newer cards are going Mini DisplayPort and only have a single DVI port).

    As per monitors, a Single Link DVI is only good to 1920x1200 (typically 24" max). 30" monitors require 2560x1600 (assumes DVI as the means you're going to connect it), which means you need a Dual Link DVI connection.

    Depending on your monitor size requirements, you will be able to run dual displays on a single graphics card (slowly is likely, given the memory). If your second monitor isn't that intensive in terms of requirements, you could opt for another card (doesn't require additional PSIG power cables, such as the GT120 - works in EFI64 based systems).

    BTW, I presume you still mean to get a newer MP (Intel based), and the exact model matters as to:
    1. What adapter kit is needed (for SSD's).
    2. What graphics cards can run in the system.
  12. Zobec thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Thanks again, I should mention that all I have said is for the august 2010 mac pro's. Sorry if I have not made that clear. I hope all that has been said regarding the raid controller card and mounts still applies to the mid 2010 mac?

    My current screens are 17inch apple monitors that I have had since I had the computer, so with the single DVI which enables up to 24inchs, so two 24inchs screens for work space is going to be a big plus.

    That is good news:) regarding the optical drive and the SSD mount. So the cables run from the mount across to the raid card?Can the card be placed in the next available Pcie slot?Or do I have to place it in a specific slot? Sorry for these kinds of questions.
  13. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    There are internal changes between the 2006 - 2008 and 2009/10 systems (exterior of the case is the same, but the internal metal parts changed to fit the new boards). Thus the mounts are a bit different.

    The MaxConnect for MP Optical Bay Kit for 2009/10 is here (not the 8x 2.5" disks versions). I'm under the impression you don't need this one, due to the # of 2.5" disks you'd like to run. But just in case, you have it. ;)

    There's only 1x page for the 8x 2.5" disks in an optical bay, but watch the P/N's carefully, as there are different versions used between the model split mentioned above (here). Make sure you order the right one.

    Yes, the cables that come with the card will be used to attach to the disks.

    As per the slot, use Slot 2, as the card is 8x lanes. If you run it in slot 3 or 4, you could throttle the array (granted, the card and the slots are PCIe Gen 2.0 = 500MB/s, but with 8x SSD's, particularly the C300's, you'll throttle on 4x lanes).

    For example, if the disks are actually capable of 300MB/s, and you're running 8x in a stripe set, then you'll generate 2.4GB/s. 4x lanes at 500MB/s each can only take 2GB/s. So you'd run slower than what the drives could actually achieve.

    Just thought I'd mention it, as you'd be disappointed if that were to happen. But also realize the specifics matter (disks used, and how many in the set).
  14. Zobec thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Hello again, I have a few new questions regarding the monitor/screens setup and SSD.

    SCREEN/MONITOR questions.

    The graphics cards on the august 2010 mac pro’s are the 5770/5870 cards they both have 2 x mini display ports and one dual DVI port okay.
    The screens/monitors I am thinking of are something like dell U2311 or the Samsung syncmaster SM2494HM.

    The Samsung has speakers I do not need the monitors with speakers. The Samsung screens have USB which I also have grown accustom to on the apple monitors I already own but reviews seem to say that the syncmaster screen is acceptable, I guess acceptable for my needs. If anyone has suggestions on screens in that price range and without speakers though please add.

    I was thinking I already own apple 17in monitors and I want to be able to use one of my 17in monitors in addition to the 2 DVI screens/monitors I intend to purchase. How can I connect 3 monitors to the 5770/5870 card?

    The apple monitors I own, connect using ADC which seems to stand for apple display connect. I also own the apple DVI to ADC adapter when I purchased the machine, one needed to, to be able to run dual screens on a G4 mac.

    How can I connect my apple 17in screen to the mini display port on the 5770/5870?

    Would I use the DVI to ADC adapter into the mini port DVI adapter? That would be 2 adapters for one screen this seems strange.

    I talked to apple sales today and they concluded that to run 3 screens/monitors that I would need to purchase two mini display port to dual link to DVI adapters is this correct? And again where does the 17in display I own fit into this 3 monitor setup?

    They also said that you cannot use the two mini display port 'single' to DVI to connect to 3 screens. I would have to use two mini display port dual link to DVI is the wording 'dual link' misleading why 2 connections for one screen, so for 2 screens that is 4 connections?

    SSDs question.

    "The MaxConnect for MP Optical Bay Kit for 2009/10 is here (not the 8x 2.5" disks versions). I'm under the impression you don't need this one, due to the # of 2.5" disks you'd like to run. But just in case, you have it".

    Yeah not that one but thanks for that option.

    "There's only 1x page for the 8x 2.5" disks in an optical bay, but watch the P/N's carefully, as there are different versions used between the model split mentioned above (here). Make sure you order the right one".

    Yeah this is the correct one, the optical bay where the 2x optical DVD drives should be. This is where I assume to place the 8x mount in one of the DVD drives :)

    The code or the P/n should be:
    MAX upgrades also do Raid cards what do you think of these cards?

    I found the areca 1880i card (I am hoping it is the same)for slightly a bit cheaper at

    And they state they also ship internationally which is something I would need.

    Thanks again for all your help
    All best.
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    To use the equipment you already have, Yes.

    You may only need single link, depending on the size of the monitors. But the premise is correct. MDP to DVI adapter per MDP port (which ever version you actually need). So 2x MDP to DVI adapters + the ADC to DVI you have to drive the existing monitor.

    Link has to do with available bandwidth to drive larger displays, not physical connectors being duplicated. Take a look at the DVI wiki, and see if this helps.

    You've lost me here...

    Dual Link is associated with monitors that can do 2560x1600 (typically a 30").

    This is what I'm thinking:
    • MDP #1 = Monitor 1
    • MDP #2 = Monitor 2
    • ADC to DVI = Existing monitor
    As per SL or DL, your monitor will determine that (but the 23/24" range can be handled by a SL version). I'd need to see/hear what you were told about DL to know if it's right or not.
    Yes, you install it in the empty optical bay.

    Yes, that's the right one.

    Get the Areca.

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