Best PCI-e card(s) for MP 2009 and 2 SSD's?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by dmylrea, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. dmylrea macrumors 68020

    dmylrea

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    #1
    I have a couple Intel 520 480GB SSD's that are left over from a server project and I want to use these in my Mac Pro (2009 w/5,1 firmware).

    I'm looking for the least expensive option to get the maximum speed from these two SSD's.

    Currently, I see this:

    1) 2 x Apricorn Velocity Solo X2 -- If I use TWO of these cards, each with one mounted SSD, would I be able to get full speed from both SSD's, thereby giving me close to the 1100Mbs (550Mbps x 2) in a Raid 0 or 1??

    2) Tempo SSD PRO PLUS -- This one card with two SSD's mounted to the card would max out the card at it's rated 960Mbps?

    If option #1 works, then it would be the cheapest, since $89 per card is cheaper than one Tempo SSD PRO PLUS.

    OR, are there other options to use my Intel 520's? Drueling over the XP941's but those are $$$, and these 520's, being project leftovers, carry no additional cost.

    Thanks!
     
  2. ilandmac macrumors member

    ilandmac

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2012
    Location:
    Remote island
    #2
    I went with the Sonnet Tempo twin SSD Card,
    and installed twin Samsung 500 G drives.

    Very reliable, although it's a tight fit with the fan.

    iland mac
     
  3. dmylrea thread starter macrumors 68020

    dmylrea

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    #3
    Do you know, of the 4 PCI-e slots, 1/2 are x16 and 3/4 are x4. But I read somewhere that to get the best speed from two cards, you have to use a special combination of two slots. It was like 3/4 use the same channel or something, I forget. I want to maximize throughput to/from the two Apricorn cards (I went with those and they arrived today).

    Thanks.
     
  4. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #4
    Don't think the 4,1 has this special combination limitation.
     
  5. handheldgames macrumors 6502a

    handheldgames

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    #5
    This should clarify. It's the 4,1 5,1 platform PCIe configuration diagram from Apple's tech docs.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. dmylrea thread starter macrumors 68020

    dmylrea

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    #6
    @handheldgames -- so I'm assuming it's best to put a card in slot 2 and one in slot 3? Seems if I put them in 3 and 4, then that might not be best since they both go through a "switch"?
     
  7. dmylrea thread starter macrumors 68020

    dmylrea

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    #7
    Just to update, I installed two Apricorn Velocity Solo X2 cards in slots 2 and 3, each card equipped with a 480GB Intel 520 SSD.

    I booted to my existing boot drive on the Apple RAID card (2 SSD's in bay 1 and 2) and used Disk Utility to create a software RAID 0 of the two Intel 520's.

    Wanting to clone my boot drive to the new Intel520 RAID, I booted with my Mavericks USB stick and ran Disk Utility. No matter what I did, I was unable to restore/clone the boot drive to the new Intel520 RAID volume. Kept getting error 32 "broken pipes" error. After trying almost everything, I gave up and installed a fresh Mavericks on the new RAID, booted from it successfully :) and during the initial setup, chose to transfer my info and chose the original RAID drive. After some time, it rebooted, and all my stuff was there!

    I removed the RAID card, the SSD's from bay 1 and 2, and after a PRAM reset to fix a problem with the PCI-E fan running full blast when the RAID card is absent, I'm up and running on a new superfast RAID.

    I ran the Blackmagic Disk Benchmark on the new RAID volume when it was first created (empty) and was getting about 950MB/s read and 460MB/s write. I was a bit surprised by the write speed as I saw the specs of the 520 showed write speeds close to 500MB/s so my reads and writes should be much closer together. Ideas??? Possible some write cache is turned off on the 520's?
     
  8. Synchro3 macrumors 65816

    Synchro3

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2014
    #8
    I installed a Caldigit FASTA-6GU3 Pro (two internal SATA 6G, two external eSATA 6G with MiniSwap ES http://www.firmtek.com/seritek/miniswap-es/ ), all bootable, and drives show up when I option-boot. This is important for me for Boot Camp drives. http://www.caldigit.com/FASTA-6GU3pro/ Additionally, it has two USB 3.0 ports (not bootable).

    I get the power for the two internal SSD's attached to the Caldigit FASTA-6GU3 from internal SATA port 4: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=18855446#post18855446

    Unfortunately, the Sonnet Tempo SSD (Pro) cards blocks showing drives with option boot, if Mac Pro Firmware is 5,1: http://www.sonnettech.com/support/kb/kb.php?cat=457&expand=_b733_a2_b731_b760&action=b731#b731 Therefore i uninstalled it after updating the firmware of my Mac Pro from 4,1 to 5,1.
     
  9. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #9
    I apologize if I have already suggested this to you previously ...

    You might try removing the SSDs from the Tempo Pro card and replace the bare card in the PCIe slot. Then perform a PRAM reset (I let it cycle for 3 chimes before releasing). Then replace the SSDs and check to see if your option-key boot-manager is again working. You could even temporarily put your boot SSD in a backplane tray and verify that the option-key reset does display the boot-manager screen. Might not hurt to even boot it fully and shut it down just for good measure before restoring the SSDs back to the Tempo Pro card.

    I discovered back when mine wasn't working, that either the bare card or one with non-bootable SSDs mounted did, in fact, show the boot-manager working properly. Only when the card contained a bootable SSD did it refuse to work correctly. After many upgrades and reset cycles, my Tempo Pro SSD card is showing the Option-Key Boot Manager with bootable OS X SSDs on it currently.



    Good luck...
    -howard
     
  10. Synchro3 macrumors 65816

    Synchro3

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2014
    #10
    @ hfg

    Thank you for the advice. I will try this. :)
     
  11. h9826790, Sep 8, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014

    h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #11
    Regarding the boot manager issue. My boot manager suddenly works again after I install my USB 3.0 PCIe card (Orico PME-4U).

    However, it only shows the partitions that not on the Tempo card. It's already good enough for me to boot into the backup HDD or the Windows partition. It's because the default bootable SSD on the Tempo card still work flawlessly, and the only time I need the boot manager is when I don't want to boot from that SSD.

    I am not sure if that's related to the way that I install my card (I link these 2 cards together because I power my PME-4U by the Tempo card). May be the power connection make the Tempo card determine that there is a non bootable device installed on it, and partially recover the boot manager.

    Anyway, I am too lazy to remove the SSD and perform the bare card PRAM reset now. May be try that later if I really want to fix this issue completely and report further.
     
  12. fredr500 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    #12
    How do you power the SSDs? I have 4 3.5" drives and added a 2 port SATA III card but the only power I've found is in the optical bay. And that power is in a molded plug with the data so it appears I have to lose one of those drives and use a power splitter.

    Other options? Thanks.
     
  13. handheldgames macrumors 6502a

    handheldgames

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    #13
    All slots work well. Just be careful in slot #2 not to cover the air intake for any video card.


    Well... I don't use my DVD-Drive ever, so I pulled it from my cMP.

    With that in mind, the easiest way I found to add 2 drives in the DVD bay was to unplug the 2 DVD Bay SATA data cables from the front of there cMP motherboard, plugging them into 2 SATA extension cables that connect to the PCIe sata card. To make everything look as clean as possible, I route them under the PCIE fan housing.

    I also spliced in a standard molex connector on the DVD-Bay power line to extend power to a USB 3.0 controller.
     
  14. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #14
    The Tempo card can provide power to the SSD via the SATA III port, so no extra power required. In fact, the Tempo card is powerful enough to drive a normal 2.5" HDD. Of course, there is no point to do that, but in case I need to recover some data from a 2.5" HDD, that will be very handy.
     

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