best Raid card for Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by jasleinstein, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. jasleinstein macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2008
    I want to use my Mac Pro as a file server. Ideally I'd use the internal bays 1 to 4 and the optical bays using Max upgrades rack to have 4 drives there for a total of 8.
    I am happy to re route the cables to connect the controller to the four internal drive bays.

    I looked into Caldigit but after a phone call to them they told me they would only support hard drives they sold to connect to their raid controllers. Maybe I miss-understood them?
    I bought a 3ware 9650SE-8LPML, only to find that I have to use beta software to get that to work.
    Yes I could run,native OSX software raid but this is an environment I cannot lose data. If a drive goes bad I need a system that will tell me which drive is bad.
    Any suggestions?


  2. ekwipt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2008
  3. barefeats macrumors 65816


    Jul 6, 2000
    HighPoint has made some recent improvements to their RocketRAID series. I've been playing with the RR4320 which supports up to 8 drives at speeds up to 1200MB/s.

    I've used with four 15K.6 Seagate Cheetah SAS drives and got 650MB/s in a RAID 0 set for both read and write.

    You can also use it with SATA drives which it sounds like you plan to do.

    How do you plan to do 8 drives when you only have 6 SATA ports inside the Mac Pro?

    Do you plan to use RAID 5 or 6?
  4. jasleinstein thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2008
    I am a photographer. I need three copies of my work. Right now I can fit the critical images on a 3 TB image. I was hoping to use five 1TB Seagate drives as a raid five config to give me a little under 4TB of storage. The use 3 1.5 TB Seagate (yes I know they have quality issues right now so I have a fourth copy) as a raid 0 config.
    The dissadvatage of the ARC cards, I'd have to re-wire the internal four drives to run SATA cables. The cool thing about the Caldigit card is you unplug the mini-sas connector from the motherbord and connect it to the calldigit and the internal drives are on the card. The problem is it only supports four drives. Exteranlly it has three mini-sas connectors for cabinets, but you have to buy the case and drives from caldigit.
    The Caldigit HD Element case with 1TB is $1399. ! TB Seagate drives sell for $100. The 4TB is $3800.

    I don't know If I would use raid 5 or 6 at this time. If you have eight drives how do you have them configured?
  5. scottydawg macrumors 6502


    Jan 22, 2008
    Sacramento, CA
  6. noushy macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2008
    Detroit, MI
    Raid Card

    The caldigit raid card works with any internal hard drives, but only their HDelement unit for external. It is a decently constructed card with good performance, but now there are better cards coming. Basically all of the higher end cards use an intel raid processor, and some sort of sata/sas bridge chip like a marvell chip. That is what highpoint, caldigit, accusys all do. I have had no problems with a 4tb internal raid using the caldigit card, and in fact just added the battery memory backup for the cache. I think if you look around (especially at the MUG sites like AMUG) you can find lots of reviews with a variety of cards. Some of the highpoint cards are a great bang for the buck, but they do not support sleep mode in the mac pro. The areca cards are fast, and work, just do some homework and you can find something that will make you happy. I would probably not purchase another caldigit card (because of the incompatibility with 3rd party external chassis) but otherwise it fits and was well made for the mac pro. There are companies that make internal extension cables so you can use all sorts of 3rd party raid cards, check out some of the reviews on barefeats.

  7. jasleinstein thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2008
    Thanks Noushy and scottydawg,

    I also bought the caldigit card thinking I could out smart it and use third party drives or cases. So it's going to be returned.

    I will look at the Sonnet card as well.
    I didn't do a great job looking over the Areca site and may have overlooked some choices.
    I will check out the MUG sites. I have gotten so good info from AMUG before.

    I'll post my progress as this goes on.

  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Keep in mind, that the ARC-12xx SAS and ARC-1680 SAS controllers don't like SATA drives very well. Even with the newest BETA revision of firmware. If you're running SAS drives, these cards scream. :D

    I've been working on this for over a month now with another forum member, and Areca's HDD Compatibility list for SATA drives is very lean. Consumer drives won't work with the SAS versions. If you have the ability to edit the TLER values (with a PC and floppy), you can make some of the non listed WD drives work. The WD Caviar GP's will work after editing.

    So if you go that route, use the Seagate ES.2 series drives, with the correct firmware revision (AN05). Areca has a link to the firmware listed (FAQ IIRC).

    I've found that their controllers are quite good, and if you don't need to go with SAS, try looking at the ARC-1231ML. It works in a Mac (not bootable though), and it's a little less expensive. ~$657 USD, and has 12 ports. (It's the smallest in this family).

    Hope this helps. This is a detail I didn't know about originally, and it's turned out to be a major PITA, though solvable.

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