DIY for early '08 Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by drrich2, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. drrich2 macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2005
    Hi. Got an old early '08 2.8 GHz 'Penryn' octocore MacPro with 10 gig RAM, nVidia 8800 series video card (which was an upgrade option purchased with it), and a 1 terabyte HD. I've added a 2'nd terabyte HD and a 1.5 terabyte HD in a couple of other drive bays.

    General home user. iPhoto library is very bloated; bit over 100 gig.s, I'd say. primary 1 terabyte HD is a bit over 90% full, but still some free space. OS is Mountain Lion.

    Runs pretty well, but occasional app. freezes, once in awhile need a cold boot, can be a little slow to get things done at times...

    Did a little online checking. Looks like I could in theory get a 240 gig SSD from OWC, somehow pair it up with the old 1.5 terabyte drive by using step-by-step instructions via Terminal per a MacWorld Article (which I know almost nothing about), use some sort of software (Migration Assistant? Carbon Copy Cloner?) to move things from the 1 terabyte drive to the new Fusion drive afterward, somehow set it has the boot drive, then good to go, faster boot ups & much faster general performance. But I might need some sort of adapter kit to make the SSD fit i the HD bay.

    Is that all accurate? Anything else I need? I'm not a skilled techie, so instructions need to by pretty basic for me.

    Thanks in advance, guys.

  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I'm not versed on the fusion drive bit, but the rest sounds good. I have an SSD in my Xeon MP and love it. I bought the icy dock adaptor, easy to handle. GL
  3. ChrisMan287 macrumors 6502


    Nov 18, 2012
  4. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    The Fusion Drive bit is correct, you can do it DIY, provided you're setting it up via some form of OS X 10.8.2 or newer (be it another volume with OS X 10.8.2 installed or via a bootable OS X 10.8.2 install drive/disc). It literally is two lines of terminal code.

    As for the adapter bit; it's really a matter of finding one that works with the drive brackets as those are what keep your drives in place. I wouldn't put it past OWC to carry something like that given that they live to serve people doing DIY Mac upgrades.

    The other guy is right though, you should free up space on that 1TB drive or clone it to a larger drive and just use the larger drive. With a Mac Pro you have the freedom to do things like this.
  5. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    For mounting SSDs in the drive trays, using an IcyDock enclosure is about as easy as it gets and they are only about $15.

    I have two identical "systems" in my 2008 MacPro for comparison testing.

    I have been running a pair of OWC 240GB SSD in RAID-0 mounted in the optical bay and connected to the SATA ports on the motherboard for boot/apps, and a separate 512GB SSD in a tray for my photo library.

    I recently configured a Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD on a Velocity Solo x2 PCIe card (SATA-III) and joined it with a 3TB hard disk as a "Fusion" drive.

    Both work very well and I haven't yet decided which to settle on.

    I also have a 120GB OWC SSD in a tray for booting Windows (BootCamp).

  6. Raytrace macrumors member

    Apr 2, 2010
    If you act within an hour and 50 minutes from right now, you can get a Samsung 840 series 250Gb SSD for $150 from Newegg!
  7. Middleman-77 macrumors member

    Nov 29, 2012
    I have a Penryn '08 Mac Pro also, but it is literally on its last legs. The FW800 ports don't work on one, and both Ethernet ports are fried, so have to use a USB Ethernet adapter to do the trick.

    We've fitted two Areca cards to the system - one to run a 4 x 2.5" RAID5 setup for the main drive, and another to run a 12TB external raidset for our storage.

    The system stalls from time to time nowadays so it's probably going to have to have the base motherboard replaced. But that isn't going to be cheap (somewhere south of $900-1000 for replacement). With that sort of price for a 4-year old machine, especially when the 2012 MacMini performance IS MUCH MUCH BETTER THAN the MP (getting 12900+ on Geekbench) - it makes you think if the next MP is worth it. So we're thinking of maybe holding off on an MP and using a MacMini instead until a better situation develops.

    Obviously a MacMini doesn't accommodate the various PCI cards or brute stability and power of a MP but faced with not much choice on faster interfaces and chips, it'll have to do. Luckily there's Thunderbolt out now, so it should give us decent options for storage.

    That said, I've tried Fusion Drive on a smaller MacMini - and it seems pretty good. It doesn't beat the Areca RAIDs obviously (which hit 400MB/s and 700MB/s respectively in BlackMagic compared to the 180-200MB/s from an SSD) but it'll do for now. All you need to do is a) backup your current system via cloning with SuperDuper (much better than Time Machine) and b) make sure you upgrade to the latest ML 10.8.2 and then, install OSX onto your SSD, with the empty formatted HD placed in the system too.

    When it's installed onto the Mac, your ML installation on the Mac should create a Recovery Partition and working OSX. What you do is from there rebooting into the Recovery Partition with Command + R, then using Terminal you format and create the Fusion Drive from within the Terminal before exiting Terminal and checking the drive with Disk Utility. There are guides which show you to type 'diskutil cs create "FUSION" disk0 disk1' to start the drive creation - this is definitely a NO NO. You need to use 'diskutil cs create "FUSION" disk0s2 disk1s2' because on a Mac setup you DON'T WANT TO WIPE OUT THE EFI/RECOVERY PARTITION BECAUSE ITS WHERE THE FUSION DRIVE HEADER DATA KEY IS HELD. Also my method allows you to reboot into the recovery partition if there's any problems later on. You must realise your drive is 'encrypted' using FileVault when it is formatted for CoreStorage use ie. Fusion Drive.

    There's obviously the other commands to complete the Fusion Drive volume (which can be found online), and then after the volume has been created and formatted in Journaled HFS+, you just run the OSX installer from within. Simply reboot the system, migrate data etc., and it will be running Fusion Drive...

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