Classic Mac Pro w/ M.2 and USB 3.0 pcie

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by wiski15b, Apr 20, 2016.

  1. wiski15b macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2016
    Hey there everyone,

    I was wondering if anyone could help me with some of my questions. I am looking to add m.2 drives to my 2009 Mac Pro (5,1 flash). I need some extremely fast read write times to work with RAW 4k RED footage. But at the same time I would like to have a USB 3 or 3.1 card to offload the data. Now I know if I set up raid 0 between slots 2 and 3 that will give me the best performance, but will that eat up all the bandwidth from slot 4 making it impractical for use with a USB 3 card? Ive read all the threads I can find about these topics but was looking for the most up to date info from people in the know. Any input would be great!

    Also, anyone using the Amfeltec Squid pcie x16 card?

  2. Squuiid macrumors 6502a

    Oct 31, 2006
    It sounds as though you're right up to date with your reading.
    Yes, 2x SM951 (AHCI version) on 2 Lycom cards would work and you'd use OS X's software RAID.
    Your point about bandwidth is a fair one but in real world use I doubt it would be an issue for you. I may be wrong, but I think you're unlikely to be importing footage while editing 4K.
    As for USB card, it's sounds like you're going to really hammer it with footage. I'd recommend a good, but more expensive card, the Sonnet Allegro Pro 3.0. It has individual controllers for each port and is very, very fast.
    USB 3.1 is not yet here for Mac Pros unfortunately.
    As for the Amfeltec Squid, if you can afford it, it will be a very good solution for you.
  3. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040


    Jul 4, 2015
    RED 4K footage in native RED codecs supposedly have bit rates around 230MB/s, hence RED still offers its SATA 2 based flash mags.

    USB 3 or eSATA is more than enough. 3.1 cards don't currently work properly in cMP.

    Regarding the bandwidth question, there will only be an impact to your Slot 2/3 RAID if your application is reading or writing to the Slot 4 USB solution at the same time. That really shouldn't be happening anyway because you should be either working entirely from external storage or entirely from internal storage (unless you don't mind having project files all over the place).

    Your idea practical solution would simply to get a SATA 3 card with dual internal SATA 3 ports and external eSATA ports. Set up dual SATA 3 SSDs as a RAID in any single slot. Use eSATA to ingest. You may not need USB 3 at all.

    Considering RED codec's data rate, there is plenty of bandwidth available using a SATA 3 RAID.

    You can even have three of these cards in your system for fast internal and external storage and three separate RAIDS.

    You won't be able to manage the software RAIDS with El Capitan's Disk Utility. The feature was removed. Yosemite is your limit.

    The m.2 solutions are fast but you have problems here:
    1. Lack of warranty on OEM drives
    2. Overheating controllers reported often
    3. Low storage space
    4. Expensive

    Here are some fast SATA 3 solutions to help:
  4. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    Another option for large, fast storage is to set up a NAS using fast drives and connect to it via 10GbE. I have an 8 drive array using notoriously slow drives and still manage approx 300MB/s writes and 800MB/s reads. I'm sure you can get much, much better speeds using faster drives or SSDs.

    I built my NAS for approx $400 (not including the cost of the drives) then spent less than $90 in parts to get 10GbE going. The $90 includes 10GbE cards for both the NAS and my Mac Pro.
  5. Squuiid, Apr 21, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016

    Squuiid macrumors 6502a

    Oct 31, 2006
    The feature was removed from the disk utility GUI but it can still be fully managed using terminal in El Capitan.

    diskutil appleRAID create stripe Storage JHFS+ JHFS+ disk* disk**
    diskutil appleRAID create mirror Storage JHFS+ JHFS+ disk* disk**

    Scroll down to appleRAID command on this list for more options:
    --- Post Merged, Apr 21, 2016 ---
    or for fast read write times to work with RAW 4k:
  6. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040


    Jul 4, 2015
    Hardly anyone works with RAW 4K. Redcode is sufficient for the edit. You work with RAW 4K data rates then m.2 drives don't have the space right now and their controllers overheat under that much strain. What is available to cMP in m.2 format? Mostly 512GB OEM drives with no manufacturer warranty. Not a good solution.

    But I and others said that already on number of sites, videos and forums. But we still get someone try to shovel their stuff in our faces.
  7. Squuiid macrumors 6502a

    Oct 31, 2006
  8. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan, Apr 21, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040


    Jul 4, 2015
    Digging up old quotes I no longer agree wth just makes you look ignorant if you suppose people don't learn or change.

    My previous position was made before news of overheating controllers were being reported and back when we hoped there would be more more AHCI drives being released.

    Good luck making space for all that RAW 4K on m.2 drives, especially now that the AHCI variants aren't going to see capacity increases
  9. wiski15b thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2016
    Thanks for all the feedback guys, I really appreciate it. FYI, I plan on storing all of my data on different drives WITH backups as I will be working with terabytes of data. The m.2 setup is strictly for editing and grading dailies (an edit drive). I will be doing some heavy grading in davinci resolve and editing in FCPX so the drives need to be quick and data will be constantly moved on and off the drives.

    Has anyone tried a 950 pro nvme (with the driver) on slot 2? From what I understand the only drives that seem to work well in slot 2 are the ssuAx and xp941 when paired in raid with slot 3. Is this correct?
  10. Synchro3 macrumors 65816


    Jan 12, 2014
    NVME drives like the Samsung 950 Pro will not work in the Mac Pro 4,1/5,1.

    Only AHCI drives like SM951 or the Apple SSUBX will work.
  11. wiski15b thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2016
    There is a driver available on macvidcards website created by jimj740. This driver allows nvme cards to work on classic Mac pros, but only as a storage drive, they will not work as boot drives. Which is fine because that's all I need. However, I'm still not sure if a pair of 950 pro's will work between slots 2 and 3 as it seems most cards do not produce the same results in slot 2. From what I understand, the ssuAx and xp941 are the only ones that have been tested to work in this setup.
  12. ActionableMango macrumors 604


    Sep 21, 2010
  13. wiski15b thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2016
  14. Obioban macrumors regular

    Oct 19, 2011
    So you're saying something like a 512 SM951 is a bad idea/will overheat?
  15. wiski15b thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2016
    Google "barefeats angelbird sm951" on their page they did temp tests with that setup. According to their tests, a pcie card with proper heatsink will keep temps in acceptable ranges.
  16. Obioban macrumors regular

    Oct 19, 2011
    so, basically, add your own heatsink? Is there a bolt on or... or what?
  17. wiski15b thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2016
    Some m.2 pcie cards come equipped with heat sinks. The angelbird is one but it's pricey. Not sure if the Lycom DT has one.

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