Are Areca RAID cards bootcamp bootable??

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by flinstone, Jan 31, 2008.

  1. flinstone macrumors member

    Apr 14, 2005
    I hear that the Apple RAID card is not Boot camp bootable/compatible.
    And I know that the Areca hardware RAID cards are OS-X bootable (Leopard).
    I like to know if you can boot Boot camp/Windowszz with those card's.
  2. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I had the same question, so I sent an e-mail to Areca. It's supposed to, but as of yesterday, (5/5/08), I got the following response:

    1. our controller have EFI BIOS support, so boot up Mac OS from our
    controller is possible.
    2. we had got some boot camp related issue reports with Quad Core Mac Pro
    machine, but we don't sure it is machine problem or not, so currently you
    can't use boot camp with our controller on this machine now.

    The above, tells the tale at the moment, and no idea when or if they will correct it. I hope so.

    There is another card that claims this capability, but isn't out quite yet. Look for the threads on CalDigit. Nice specs, if they manage to pull it off completely. Lets hope for the best.

    P.S. Pay close attention to the fact that you will need a separate OS drive.

    Good Luck,
  3. Fuji2008 macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2008
    Do you have any update on this?
    (I replied also in the other thread)
    I am trying to run linux (any kind of flavor is fine) with an ARECA RAID card on MacPro (latest quad core xeon x2 ).
    Thirsty for more info...
  4. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    See answer in (RAID)Two quick Q and New Product--CalDigit thread! :D
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Hi Fuji2008:

    I've still been checking on the RAID card situation, and just got an e-mail response from Areca about the ARC-1680 series. It's a bit cryptic, but it may help.

    Dear Sir,

    i am sorry, we had found one FAQ for bootcamp which said it supports boot up
    from internal drive only.
    so you will not able to use it with any external storage devices.

    Best Regards,

    Kevin Wang

    Areca Technology Tech-support Division
    Tel : 886-2-87974060 Ext. 223
    Fax : 886-2-87975970

    Hope this helps.
    David. (nanofrog)
  6. Fuji2008 macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2008
    Hi David,

    Thanks for a heads-up.
    I forgot to report here, but I have already bought an ARC-1680 card and am quite happy with it by far.

    In my case, I wanted to run Linux with a decent RAID controller (RAID5/6), not windows as in your case.
    But in terms of using bootcamp to run windows and Linux (well, I have to be careful when using this term bootcamp, but I mean, apparently, Apple implemented a legacy-BIOS compatibility component in EFI firmware, so that we can run Linux and Windows), we are in the same boat, I think.

    As Kevin (the support guy) said, even though I spent (wasted) a long time getting Linux to boot from the RAID card, I found it would not work (I tried rEFIt, efi tools in linux, etc, to synchronize GPT and EFI tables, but none of them I tried worked unfortunately).
    The thing is, Linux installs fine, but it won't boot. Seems like GRUB does not know where it should jump. So something must have been messed up during the boot time, even though GPT and EFI tables appear to be in sync.

    Now, I will tell you what I did and why I am happy now :)
    I have installed Linux on a SATA drive and hooked it up via a SATA-to-miniSAS cable into the logic board.
    The four internal-bay drives are connected to the RAID card.
    So, I am using the SATA drive as a boot disk and the four internal SAS drives as RAIDed DATA drives.
    Since I installed the SATA drive into one of the optical bays using a 3.5''-to-5'' drive mounting-kit, everything is beautifully packed in my macpro.

    I am not sure if you would want to take the same route as I did for windows, but I can tell you at this point that it is the best solution I have ever found.

  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Hi Fuji2008:

    So using a separate boot drive for Linux solves your issues. Cool.

    Are you booting OS X off the RAID then?
    Does the external port issue affect you at all?

    I ask, as I'm still investigating my options. I also have the need for multiple OS's, including Linux. I figured if any card that can solve the BootCamp issues for one, would be applicable for all. BootCamp is BootCamp, so it shouldn't care about the actual OS.

    I'm still trying to sort it all.

    I knew that a separate OS drive was required for BootCamp for the CalDigit, so no surprises there.

    CalDigit just posted the "Getting Started Manual". Some questions have been answered, but others have been raised. I was hoping to free up the miniSAS connector (SATA controller on logic board), as you have, but it may not be possible with the CalDigit card. I'm waiting on an answer to that question.

    I'll keep my fingers crossed, but the situation is starting to look a bit grim.

    Any info you could share would truly be appreciated.

    Thank you,
  8. Fuji2008 macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2008
    I have completely deleted MacOSX and am running only Linux now.
    But I tried booting MacOSX off from the RAID at one time and it did boot, although it is a bit tricky to do that. If you are interested, I can write how to, but I am on the road now, so only if anybody is interested I will describe how-to later.

    So Yes, you can boot MacOSX from the RAID.

    I am not sure what you are referring to as "the external port issue", but I did not attach anything to the internal mini-SAS connector at that time.
    I had only 4 internal-bay drives connected to the RAID card and installed 10.5.3 on them (RAID6).

    I do not know if we can eventually boot Windows or Linux off from the RAID card I have in future.
    But it seems unlikely at this point. And I am not patient enough to spend another week or two :).

    I am satisfied with the RAID6 performance in Linux now. It is stable, fast, and does what I want to do.

    I must say CalDigit is attractive only for the price now.
    As far as I understand, the configuration would be almost the same as my solution, since we have to use one disk as JBOD, and only use three drives for RAID in CalDigit case (correct me if I am wrong).
    My solution (one SATA in the optical bay + 4 SAS RAIDed) is a bit better (by one SAS being added to the RAID array), but I have not tried Windows case yet.

    HTH. I would be able to write more later.

  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Cool. A How-To would be nice. :D

    I wasn't even aware of the "external port" bit until I received the e-mail I posted. The way I understood the wording, was that everything was fine for an internal drive array, but not an external one.

    I'm a little confused by your wording though. Is your RAID array attached internally, or externally?

    The ability to boot Windows from the RAID is what I'd really like to be able to do. I have a program that has to run in Windows, and it's a resource hog. So I figured booting and loading the app from the RAID would keep my impatient streak in check. :p

    I know Fusion may be possible, but I don't want to find myself having to rely on it, and discover a stability issue. (There's more to this particular program that makes things complicated).

    I'm glad. This seemed like a very important issue for you.

    The cost issue on the CalDigit is definitely attractive. I know the separate OS drive is required for Boot Camp, and had the strong impression this would be a likely compromise.

    Assuming the above, the set-up I was hoping for, seemed straight forward to me. Attach 4 drives in RAID 5 internally. This would free up the previously used drive controller on the logic board. I could then use it with an additional iPass cable to attach the OS drive, mounted under the SuperDrive. This would give me 3 unused SATA connectors. One for a future Blu Ray, and the other two for eSATA using an extender/adapter. Seemed like a nice solution, but now I'm not so sure this would be possible with the CalDigit. Waiting for an answer on this.

    I thought this was the case for most other cards as well. By chance is this the case for the ARC-1680?

    All of this headache is because I've been trying to switch over. The lack of available hardware and definitive knowledge has caused me to continually postpone things. I started the research for this late 2007! The switch was truly motivated when I discovered that the Mac Pro was ~$1100-1300 cheaper than a PC equivalent.

    I appreciate your patience.

    Thank you.

  10. Fuji2008 macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2008
    David, I am still traveling, so only a quick note.

    I connected the drives to the internal port of the card, not the external one.
    Sorry for the confusion, but I was also confused by the support guy's message you received. I would not worry too much, since you are going to connect your drives to the internal port, right?

    Yes, this is exactly my setting. This is possible with ARC-1680.

    Note that we can also use two (hidden) SATA ports on the logic board possibly for BluRay in future. So with the setting above, we have 3+2 unused SATA ports.
    A caveat is that you cannot boot from these two SATA ports on the logic board. If it did, I would not have had to buy a miniSAS-to-SATA fan-out cable...

  11. Fuji2008 macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2008
    Reading again what I wrote previously, I believe the following wording might have got you confused...

    "I am not sure what you are referring to as "the external port issue", but I did not attach anything to the internal mini-SAS connector at that time."

    I meant that I did not attach anything to the internal mini-SAS *controller* on the logic board. I had four drives connected to the internal port of the RAID card.

  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Thanks for the clarification. The freed drive controller on the logic board is nice! I shouldn't need to buy an additional SATA controller then. :cool:
  13. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Not a problem. I appreciate your willingness to help. ;)

    Yeah, I must have read it 10 times, thinking somehow it would make sense.

    I'll attach internally to begin with. The external ports interested me for future expansion. Would save having to buy a new card. It may make it easier to expand an existing array too. Easy is nice. Especially with RAID. :D

    From what I've managed to find in other threads, is the ODD ports are usable in OS X. (Not bootable of course). Apparently, they can be used in Windows too with a hack. I don't know if works on both 32/64 bit versions, or 32 bit only. I need Vista Ultimate 64 bit to access the memory on the system.

    Its the details that are running me ragged. :(

    Sorry for the inverted posts by the way. :eek:

  14. Fuji2008 macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2008
    Yup. Easy is good. Speaking of easy, ARC-1680 has an ethernet port that runs built-in web-server, and you can configure everything through this web GUI. I found it a big plus over the other cards, esp. in case anything got wrong with the boot OS volume, this would save me a lot of time.

    I did not know if the ODD ports are usable only in OSX (or not).
    I've also bought this eSATA kit to go with the ODD ports, but I have not tried attaching anything to them in Linux. Maybe this is something I should try when I get back.

    I was not aware of the hack to make them work under Windows, but to me, it seems these should work in both 32- and 64-bit versions, if they work at all.
    I am running 64-bit Linux so lets see if they work in my setting.

    I totally understand it. I've crawled the web for a long time to collect detailed information I need and run into your post :).
    I was actually glad to find somebody in the same boat ;).
    MacPro is a great intel-server in terms of cost-performance and would make a lot of sense to run Windows and Linux on it with RAID arrays.

    Unfortunately, I do not have/need Windows Vista:), so I am afraid how much my post is helping you.
    But if you are going with my setting as you summarized two posts ago,

    "Attach 4 drives in RAID 5 internally. This would free up the previously used drive controller on the logic board. I could then use it with an additional iPass cable to attach the OS drive, mounted under the SuperDrive. This would give me 3 unused SATA connectors. One for a future Blu Ray, and the other two for eSATA using an extender/adapter",

    then CalDigit and ARC-1680 may not make a huge difference except for the price (and the space for an optional BBU, if one cares).
    Yes, the price is a very important factor, I know :).
    Another thing to note is that ARC-1680 is FAST. Although their support reply is sometimes cryptic (as you know already), they did a good job in terms of performance. My ARC-1680 has 1.2GHz CPU in it, and RAID5/6 seems a breeze for this card.

    However, as the title of this thread says, booting from bootcamp drive is our goal, then CalDigit may be the solution.
    I am interested in what they can provide at the end of this month :).

  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    So you did attach the boot disk to the ARC-1680.

    How is it attached might I ask? JBOD?

    I knew about the Ethernet port, but due to previous info, came to the "scratch that one" on the ARC cards. It would really be nice though.

    By the way, which version of the ARC-1680 are you using? I've been looking at the 1680LP and 1680ix8 variants. (I liked the 512MB on the ...ix8). I can't help the "Scotty we need more speed..." idea. :p

    I would think that if a hack would work in Windows, it could be replicated in Linux. I think the hack info is posted somewhere in MacRumors.

    The eSATA part you linked is what I need, but with female ends that can accept the SATA ends off an iPass cable. Or find a female - female adapter to use with it. No puns! :eek:

    Hmmm, sounds familiar... :D

    It helps considerably. Especially in the physical implementation. I had assumed that the drive controller on the logic board would be freed with either the ARC, or CalDigit. I now know it is a fact. Phildog33 answered the CalDigit's installation in a different thread.

    And Linux is still an interest anyway. Even if I didn't use it for anything serious, it would still be nice to play with! ;) FrankenMac comes to mind. :eek:

    The BBU option is a plus, but not really a substitute for a proper UPS. Both combined can't prevent all power related disasters. Fried PSU or regulator in the middle of a multiple write comes to mind. :eek: :(

    Less expensive is always nice! :)
    But speed is always better!:D

    And Boot Camp poses the biggest issue for us. Fortunately, you solved it for your specific needs. I just have to work out a couple of details yet, but I think I'm in the home stretch. Finally! :eek:

    I've sent another e-mail to Areca, and hope to have a response sometime next week.

    Out of curiosity, I asked if it was possible to boot directly from the array into Windows, using Boot Camp of course. A couple of other questions too, including one for clarification on the external port thing.

    It looks like either card will work at this point, but if I discover I can actually boot off the array using Boot Camp, "We have a winner...". Otherwise...

    A contingency plan for speed on a boot drive is forming. Its called Velociraptor!:D Oh wait... lets stripe 'em, and open the can of worms again! :p

  16. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Hi Fuji2008:

    I just recieved a reply from Areca.

    Here is the response:
    Dear Sir,

    as previous reply, the boot camp don't support external device boot up.
    it means you can't boot up from our controller when boot camp installed, no matter the system is windows or osx.

    Best Regards,

    Kevin Wang

    Again, cryptic. So it I now need to try to interpret this.

    What do you think?

    I guess I could forgo the OS X and use Vista exclusively, but I really didn't want to do that. OS X is one of the attractive reasons for the switch. ;)

    Hmmm... Here we go again! :p
  17. Fuji2008 macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2008
    I was able to boot MacOSX off the RAID5 and RAID6 (look at my previous post). It is a bit tricky to do that. You need to update firmware of the RAID card and MacPro EFI as well, first. Then you connect another Mac (intel) in "target disk mode" to the MacPro via a firewire cable. Boot the MacPro from the disk of the other Mac, install the RAID card driver, and copy everything from the disk to the RAID using Disk Utility. After copy is done, shutdown both, disconnect the other Mac and reboot the MacPro.
    This way, I could boot MacOSX off RAID5/6.
    As I said before, there may be detail that I haven't described here...
    But go figure, here is just a sketch of what I have done :)

    Indeed is it nice to have.

    I've got myself 1680-ix16, and now I am considering buying another.
    This one is upgradable to 2GB memory which is sold for $50 or so.
    It runs 1.2GHz XScale so IOP is pretty high.
    I am not sure if ix8 can be upgraded with more memory though.

    Right, maybe I should get one of those. Have you seen the one with female ends?

    Glad to hear that. I think the controller on the logic board will be freed with any other card, but you now know that it is the case with ARC for sure :).

    I am pondering now. Do I really want to boot off RAID?
    It is sometimes good to have a separate OS disk and data ones, since booting off RAID is always somewhat a tricky business.

    Good move! But I have tried booting Linux off RAID and it did not work.
    I think they need to debug some glitches.

    Cool. I was not aware of this drive, 10000rpm is sweet.
    Although, to me, boot disk does not have to be fast, but data ones must,
    if this beast is super fast and inexpensive (and more importantly won't generate heat and smoke), I may go for one :D.
  18. Fuji2008 macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2008
    Oops, forgot to reply to another post :)

    If you have another Mac like Macbook Pro, you do not need to have MacOSX on MacPro. You can always boot it with MacOSX installed on the Macbook Pro, if you have a firewire cable (look at my previous post).

    Now, on the cryptic message from the support, I am not sure what he wanted to say, but it seems "we cannot yet boot Linux nor Windows (bootcamp OS) off RAID, but you can boot MacOSX (no bootcamp). At least the latter is what I've verified myself...

  19. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I won't be able to do something this way, unless it could be done on a PC. No Mac yet. The switching thing... ;)

    A clean install maybe? Smells like an experiment in the works! ;)

    It's a nice card. It definitely has speed potential over the 1680LP. Faster processor, and the all important upgradeable memory. :D

    I have to reexamine the models for best fit. :eek:

    I haven't looked for it yet. Worst case, I can make the female-female adapter if need be.

    I had figured this to be the case, but then confusion set in after reading the posted CalDigit manual. It turns out the concern was put to rest. It has the same physical set-up we've discussed. :cool:

    I'm pondering the same issue, and am hoping to locate any decent card that can do so. So far, I can find cards that will do this in a single OS system. Boot Camp complicates matters somewhat. I'll re-read the e-mail replies from Areca to see if booting off the array with Boot Camp is actually possible. ;)

    My only reason for even thinking about it is switching back and forth. The software program I need to use is absolutely huge. It's a couple of integrated suites and additional add-ons. Very large resource requirement, so I really need to load quickly.

    I'll likely have to compromise. See next. Place app on RAID. I just like options! :D

    For the CalDigit, a separate OS disk must be used. You can attach it to the controller, but as JBOD, not as the array. So I will likely mount an OS drive under the optical drive using the controller on the logic board in order to boot in Windows.

    I've even stumbled on a product that allows you to place two 3.5" HDD's in a single optical drive location. (A grand total of 8 drives can be achieved if the optical drive is removed). :eek:

    And this is what I'm expecting too.

    It just released, so its going for $300. No discounts seen yet online. Patience may pay off, but may take far too long. I expect it will be very popular.

  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    That was my interpretation as well. Pure OS X, Windows, or Linux and everything is fine.

    Boot Camp still needs a little work maybe? :eek:
    Switching sucks! ;) :D

  21. Beliyaal macrumors member

    Feb 14, 2008
    I have a ARC1680 and my experience with Windows on it is:

    * Booting Windows from it does NOT work, no matter what.
    * Booting OSX works.
    * A 4 drive raid-0 of 4 SSD:s is slower than running off the internal ports with software raid.
    * It has serious performance problems when the cache fills up with random writes. Reads will degrade to above 1000 ms response times while it's writing cached data. Changing cache mode to write through fixes this, but still slower than software raid off internal SATA controller.

    Everything would be good if apple supported UEFI, which is it doesn't. Apple only supports EFI 1.2. If 2.1 was supported you would be able to boot Vista x64 SP1 directly through EFI without bootcamp emulation layer.
  22. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Unfortunately, I've come to realize this. :(

    Another member has acquired a CalDigit RAID card, and has confirmed it works with Boot Camp. You just have to use a separate OS drive. :cool:

    And the price...:D

    Thanks Beliyaal

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