Confused About Esata

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by prairiefire, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. prairiefire macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    #1
    I have a current model 2.66 Quad.

    I have some external drives that have esata ports. Some have FW800, but one, does not.

    Here are a few questions I'd like help with:

    1. Is esata faster than FW800?

    2. I've done research that indicates that esata does not daisy chain in the same way that FW does. That I'll need a separate port for each esata drive I want hooked up at the same time.

    3. There are no esata ports on my MacPro. So, I have to add them. Here's where I'm really confused:

    a. It appears that on my model, there are no "spare" ports inside the computer from which I can hook up a port in an expansion slot. It appears that the option to do that requires that I disconnect the cable that would go to the second optical drive. Is that right? So, if I use that connection I'll lose the ability to use a second optical? (OWC sells a 2 port expansion and extension cable, but on my computer it says to take one of the ports off. Actually, one of the drives came with an expansion slot thing and cable but the cable was not long enough to reach the front of my Mac. Are there "extension" cords for esata cables? I've looked and cannot find one.)

    b. What about using expansion cards? Do they have the ability to create more than one port? If so, where do they connect, if not the optical port?

    I really appreciate the willingness of people around here to patiently answer questions like these. Trust me, I've tried to find the answers on my own but I've not found answers in which I have confidence.
     
  2. lemonade-maker macrumors 6502

    lemonade-maker

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
  3. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #3
    1. Yes.

    2. Yes. eSATA CANNOT be daisy chained. You can however use something called a Port Multiplier with an external enclosure. It allows a max of 5 disks to be used on a single eSATA port. It's also inexpensive, but the throughputs are limited to a max of 250MB/s (depending on the specifications of the PM chip used in the enclosure, as some are slower).

    3. Correct. No eSATA on MP's, no matter which model. But you can use a PCIe based eSATA card (example), which can be obtianed inexpensively if you use a 2 port card (4 port models are quite a bit more $$$).
     
  4. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #4
    3.a You can unplug the "B" cable for the second optical drive and use a standard SATA cable of approximately 60 cm length to connect to an eSATA bracket in the PCIe bay. Keep in mind that the total length of the SATA and eSATA cables are restricted. You also need to consider that this solution is neither hot plug nor hot swap capable. Using an inexpensive eSATA card as nanofrog suggests should be the best solution.
     
  5. prairiefire thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    #5
    Using the Card solution seems best but

    Not sure how to install them.

    I know where they go. Duh!

    But, where do they pick up the sata feed? I take it they don't cable to the B port. And, figure they pick it up with the things coming off the side of the card. Are there slots? And, are they universal and there for every card slot? My bottom slot is taken up a Radeon 4870.

    Thanks for the help.

    sjh
     
  6. prairiefire thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    #6
    Answering my own question.

    Found a video on how to do it and it does not look tough.

    http://eshop.macsales.com/installvideos/macpro_2009_pci_m/

    I'm still a little confused about the 2 port card. Am I understanding correctly that not both ports are the same speed and that by running two drives at the same time I slow both down?

    And, there is a wild difference in price between an eBay card and the LaCie or the one that OWC sells. Other than warranty and a known manufacturer, what should I look at?

    Thanks.

    sjh
     
  7. lemonade-maker macrumors 6502

    lemonade-maker

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    #7
    The LaCie board is a siliconimage 3132 chip (si3132). There is no reason to spend more for the same chip. Both ports work at full speed.
     
  8. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #8
    The eSATA cards obviously use the PCIe bus to create the additional eSATA ports. This is very different from a dump bracket solution that would use the "B" ODD port. You can use pretty much every free slot for this.
     
  9. prairiefire thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    #9
    Sorry, yet another question -- Snow Leopard Compatability

    I notice some cards say they are not Snow Leopard compatible.

    Is that an issue and how do I make sure I get one that is?

    Is the LaCie discussed here compatible? Good price and I trust those here who are using it.

    Thanks.

    sjh
     
  10. lemonade-maker macrumors 6502

    lemonade-maker

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    #10
    I use the LaCie card with 10.6.2. Works well.
     
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #11
    I'm not sure of all the models you've been looking at, but the 2 port SIL3132 based cards will work with SL (even if the card maker doesn't list OS X compatibility). For that specific chip, Silicon Image created the drivers (here).

    The card can be had really inexpensively too (here). :)
     
  12. bkspero macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    #12
    Can the Lacie drivers be used with these SIL3132 cards from eBay? That would give me some peace of mind.
     
  13. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #13
    They're probably the same (identical to the ones SIL provided to them), but it's possible LaCie made some minor changes too. It's worth a shot, as they could provide additional features. :)
     
  14. lemonade-maker macrumors 6502

    lemonade-maker

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    #14
    I use the driver from siliconimage not LaCie. The drivers are the same. Almost any si3132 card should be fine.
     
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #15
    I'm curious if LaCie may have gotten some of the RAID features (or JBOD) in the initial SIL drivers, as those are basic (non-RAID). :confused:
     
  16. justit macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    #16
    eSATA is nice if you must stay external.

    You've got empty internal bays right? If so it might be easier for you to open your external drives and place the drives internally as that will give you the fastest speeds, without the need to buy a card.
     
  17. MrLatte23 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    #17
    Really... no extra ports?

    There should be two internal SATA ports inside your Mac Pro, I'm using the two with the extender cable in my 2006 currently. Odd that they're not there. There are online instructions for the NewerTech eSATA Extender cable that show where they are, maybe you're looking in the wrong place.

    They work well, but I hear they won't support Port Multipliers. They're tucked away pretty good.
     
  18. maghemi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne Australia
    #18
    They're spare in the 2006 model because the DVD drives are IDE based units. However in the 2008/09 models the DVD drives are Sata based, hence at least one of those ports are taken up by the drives already.
     

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