Dynamic Hot-Plug with MacPro's additional sata ports?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by toke lahti, May 22, 2007.

  1. toke lahti macrumors 68000

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    Apr 23, 2007
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    Helsinki, Finland
    #1
    http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/feedback/Mac_Pro_Ext_SATA_Case_Kit.html
    had an interesting comment at the bottom of the replies:
    "From the Intel 631xESB/632xESB I/O Controller Hub data sheet:
    Dynamic Hot-Plug (for example, surprise removal) is not supported by the SATA host controller. However, using the PCS register configuration bits and power management flows, a device can be powered down by software, and the port can then be powered off, allowing removal and insertion of a new device.
    ...the SATA controller does support AHCI mode, which enables hot plugging...
    But it does not support AHCI if the PATA port is used as in the Mac Pro. And without AHCI there is no way to do hot plugging.
    Using a SATA DVD drive may not mean AHCI is used automatically. The controller has to be switched from IDE to AHCI mode. Maybe the Mac Pro does it on startup or some EFI specialist can finds out how to do that."

    Anybody having additional info on this?

    Since MP does not have eSata and none of the pci-e cards support booting, this would be very interesting...
     
  2. slughead macrumors 68040

    slughead

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    #2
    It says that the port can be powered down for safe removal of the drive without panic, but I seriously doubt you could then plug another drive back in and expect it to mount. It's a dangerous thing to do, and I'm sure you'll see a lot of kernel panics before you figure it out.
     
  3. slughead macrumors 68040

    slughead

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    Apr 28, 2004
    #3
    Actually, there's a 2 port controller card from firmtek that supports booting.
     
  4. toke lahti thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #4
    Not with mac pro, only with power mac...
     
  5. iSavant macrumors regular

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    Location:
    Colorado
    #5
    I caught this at MacNN today... new eSata PCIe card for G5 and Mac Pro:

    http://www.norcotek.com/item_detail.php?categoryid=8&modelno=norco-4629#

    As a new Mac Pro owner, I'm looking for any info on how I can best use the two sata ports on the motherboard for eSata without adding a PCIe card. Any lessons learned from you bleeding edge trail blazers is much appreciated :)
     
  6. toke lahti thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #6
    That's already reviewed:
    http://www.amug.org/amug-web/html/amug/reviews/articles/norco/4629/
    Problem seems to be that with motherboard's connectors you can get this:
    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer Technology/MPQXES2/
    but can't get hot-plug and none of the pci-e eSata cards support booting or SMART. There's also one cheap raid5 card, but that doesn't support eject from Finder:
    http://www.amug.org/amug-web/html/amug/reviews/articles/highpoint/2314/

    Quite hard to decide should I buy anything now...
     
  7. slughead macrumors 68040

    slughead

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    #7
    From amug.org:

    So it would appear that PCIe controller cards work with Mac Pro and G5s... or at least this one.

    BTW, this model also relays SMART data

    review here:
    http://www.amug.org/amug-web/html/amug/reviews/articles/firmtek/2se2e/

    this review doesn't say it, but another review states this works with the mac pro

    EDIT: "Cannot boot a Mac Pro."

    nevermind.

    Edit2:

    Wait, this 2 port one still works with mac pro and still sends SMART data, it just doesn't boot.
     
  8. toke lahti thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #8
    Yep,
    that firmtek's card can submit SMART, but can't boot.
    I should have written "SMART and boot".

    So there are 4 things that would be nice:
    1) boot
    2) SMART
    3) hot-plug
    4) raid 5 (or even raid-z2 !)

    Motherboard's connectors can 1 & 2,
    Firmtek can 2 & 3,
    Highpoint can 3 & 4,

    so I'm waiting for solution that can do at least 3 out of 4.
    Unbelievable that this is so hard for manufacturers and Apple...
    eSata is this decade's replacement for old fw & usb with external hdd's.
    Hope Apple understands this and show some news at WWDC!

    Any tests on lacie's esata cards?
     
  9. slughead macrumors 68040

    slughead

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    #9
    About the FirmTek Card (from the bearfeats guy):

    On May 23, 2007, at 6:14 AM, Slughead wrote:
    I was wondering: does this card pass SMART information to disk utility?

    Also, is it bootable on the Mac Pro?

     
  10. Blogger macrumors 6502

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    Local
    #10
    I have the Seritak/2SE2-E card, and it works fine with passing SMART data, but is not bootable on my Mac Pro (at least not with the current firmware). It is recognized by XP on the Mac Pro as well. No big beal, I have four other drives that do boot, and use it solely for backups. It will mount and unmount drives quite happily from the Finder. I'm looking forward to a good software control solution for the extra SATA ports though.

    If I had to guess, I'd say that we'll probably have to wait for the next incarnation of the Mac Pro with built-in external SATA ports for bootability.

    I bought the Seritek card because the Firewire on the Mac Pro is a bit flaky, especially if you use a Firewire audio interface.
     
  11. slughead macrumors 68040

    slughead

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    #11
    I just bought the NORCO-4629 and am going to test it over the next few days (forgot to buy cables, woops!).

    I'll keep ya'll posted if anything interesting happens
     
  12. toke lahti thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Apr 23, 2007
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    Helsinki, Finland
    #12
    My next upgrade next year will be MBP and after that some camera equipment, so I'm stuck with my MP for about 3-5 years. Too bad that Apple comes so late with new things like esata these days...

    But thanks both Slughead & Blogger for your info. I'd still like to hear experience about LaCie's esata cards.
     
  13. toke lahti thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #13
    And btw, the MP's hardware has hot-plug support, so we might get it with Leopard...
     
  14. slughead macrumors 68040

    slughead

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    #14
    Something interesting:

    I'm still waiting on those stupid cables I ordered to get the NORCO-46[whatever] working..

    I hooked up the hard drives I bought to a 2 port firmtek card hooked up to a G4.

    3 of the drives were Seagate 7200.9, but one was a 7200.10. The 7200.10 did NOT have "SMART", according to Disk Utility. Obviously that's a load of crap, so I downloaded a 3rd party SMART reporter from http://www.versiontracker.com (do a search).

    The 3rd party program was able to read the SMART status even though Disk Utility couldn't. (all 4 reported good, btw)

    It's possible that some of these controller cards are merely tripping up Disk Utility and that they really DO have SMART support.

    As soon as I get those cables to get the NORCO working, I'ma test that for sure. The NORCO card looks to be the cheapest 4 port card out there and it supports up to 20 drives with hardware RAID (I think it does 0,1, and 5.. also, to do more than 4 drives you need to buy 1 or more port mulitpliers)!

    I wont get the cables till the 31st, but I'll report back for sure.
     
  15. toke lahti thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #15
    If somebody had that Highpoint's card and could check if SMART data can be viewed with SMARTreporter?
     
  16. slughead macrumors 68040

    slughead

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    Apr 28, 2004
    #16
    I got the Norco Card working last night.

    INCREDIBLY fast with 4 drives in a RAID-0.

    Unfortunately, not even 3rd party SMART reporters can get any info about drives through the NORCO card.

    Also, the drives are detected by OS X as SCSI ... there's nothing apparently wrong with that, just thought it was interesting.

    Considering how cheap this card was and that, with 4 port multipliers, it can get up to 20 hard drives, I'm happy. I'm sure someone will find a way of getting SMART info eventually.
     

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