eSATA card for 10.6 w/ 64-bit kernel

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by alphaod, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #1
    I checked the numerous threads and none of them mention this…

    I need a eSATA card that works on my '09 Mac Pro w/ 10.6 Server.
    Needs to have 2 ports or more; bootability is not important.

    What it must have:
    • OS X 10.6 64-bit kernel support.
    • Port multiplier capability on both ports (or at least 2).
    • Good reliability and performance.

    What I can also do is replace my existing RAID card (Areca ARC-1212) with another card that has eSATA on it along with the internal ports.

    Thanks!
     
  2. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #2
    There's one candidate I can think of: Highpoint's eSATA for Mac card ($229.00USD from OWC).

    It does what you want, even boots OS X. But it won't work with Windows (no drivers written).

    No such card exists (FakeRAID controllers will use eSATA ports, but not proper cards).

    That said, you can get an SFF-8087 to 4i*SATA cable, run it out the back of the computer (you can also get SFF-8088 to 4e*SATA as well, but harder to find - but Highpoint offers it <here>).

    You'd need a different card with additional ports of course, unless you no longer use the internal drives with the ARC-1212. :eek: But there is a problem. It won't work with a PM enclosure.

    So you'd be best to use the Highpoint card. ;)
     
  3. alphaod thread starter macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #4
    Chrissakes… these are expensive; anyone know if the Highpoint 622 with work? Or maybe the Highpoint 2302? I know these two are substantially cheaper (and easy to get because a local shop sells them… but has a poor return policy). Again I don't care for bootability.
     
  4. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #5
    Highpoint 622: = No go.
    NO OS X Support, even though it's supposed to (purchased and tested by another member, where it was discovered it does NOT work OTB under OS X, nor are there any drivers). :(

    Highpoint 2302: = ???
    OS X drivers
    Port Multiplier capable
    Firmware = BIOS, so it should actually work, but I don't know if the drivers have a 64 bit version for OS X. If it does, both 32 and 64 bit are in a single driver image (checked, there's only one file, and no indication one way or the other). But the other OS's supported, do have a 32/64 driver file (both in one), so there's a chance the OS X drivers do as well. I'll keep my fingers crossed. ;)

    I'd contact them on this to save having to return it though, just in case.
     
  5. alphaod thread starter macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #6
    I already did contact them about a few days ago, but they have yet to reply which is why I asked here.
     
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #7
    Hopefully, you'll get a repy Monday or Tuesday at the latest. :)
     
  7. alphaod thread starter macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #8
    Problem is… my opportunity to buy it at a good price ends tomorrow.
     
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #9
    Ouch. :( What kind of return policy is offered by the store?

    Given the others are 32/64 (single driver file), I'd think (hope) it's the same for OS X, but it would be nice to be sure as not to get a useless product and have to go through a return.
     
  9. alphaod thread starter macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #10
    Oh no the problem is I'm in New York right now, the local shop is here and has a good price; I'm going elsewhere for a few months tomorrow, so hence cannot return it if it is bad; I mean I can order from NewEgg and such, but it's all pricier. Plus I have to wait for shipping, and we New Yorkers have to pay tax and shipping (yes tax even though we're out of state).
     
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #11
    That's a tough one. I'd go with a means that it can be returned if need by though, so you don't get burnt for the whole thing if it doesn't work (figuring restocking fees + shipping fees will be incurred, but it's better than the whole thing IMO).

    The cheapest I found it, was here (~$130USD + $7.60S/H), but not taxes (restocking fee = 15% and the shipping is non-refundable + return shipping).

    Definitely a tough choice. I'd still think it can keep you from losing ~$95USD or so (taxes should be refundable). But getting it locally and selling it on eBay or Craig's List might be an option as well, as you've not indicated what you can get it for locally ($$), as it's theoretically possible it's too good to turn down.
     
  11. alphaod thread starter macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #12
    Thanks nanofrog

    Went by the store and they couldn't find their stock… not sure what happened, but nonetheless, I decided to just spend the extra dough on the Highpoint eSATA for Mac card… wouldn't be as much trouble and should work; plus I ordered from NewEgg and they are pretty good on returns.

    I just checked Apple.com and they actually have it cheaper than NewEgg; alas I've never ordered from Apple.com, so no idea if they're reputable or not. :)p)
     
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #13
    Vapor special maybe? :eek: :rolleyes: :p

    Nah. Not reputable at all. :eek: Just look at the '09 MP's... oh wait a minute... that's nothing to do with returns. :D :p
     
  13. alphaod thread starter macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #14
    After some research, I have made the conclusion that the Highpoint eSATA for Mac card is simply a crippled version of their 2314 card with 2 less ports; in fact just from the pictures, the Mac card even says 2314 on it; and on the website I can get the EFI boot rom as needed. That's not to mention the card is $40 cheaper.

    Will report back if it works or not.
     
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #15
    There could be a couple of small changes, notably the ROM chip (the 2314 may be too small to contain the EFI firmware on the eSATA for Mac card). Just to give you fair warning. ;)

    I wish you luck, and hope it works though, as I'm sure others would be interested in getting a 4 port bootable card. :D
     
  15. alphaod thread starter macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #16
    Okay, so I got the card yesterday… wanted to do a few updates.

    Installation was fluid and no kernel panics yet from the card… (*knock on wood*) The web utility is pretty straight forward to use and overrall it is a good card.

    In terms of firmware… I was able to easily select the 64-bit EFI rom for the eSATA for Mac card and flash it to the 2314 card without any issues; this should have enabled Mac-bootability since the original BIOS boot menu is no longer available (and it was a bit annoying). All functions still work however and and all 4 ports function; the beeper on the 2314 can be disable fortunately (or I would have 3 beepers every time I booted).

    I attempted to install Snow Leopard to an external eSATA HDD to test the boot functionality, but unfortunately after 3 tries, it keeps failing about 10 minutes into the installation regarding software manufacturer failure of some sort. Since the hardware between the Mac version of the card and the 2314 is identical, I fear this may mean the card is not bootable out-of-the-box due to outdated and poor drivers included with Snow Leopard (looking around for answers shows that the same issue is with the eSATA for Mac card); I have yet to try to install Snow Leopard on an internal drive with updated drivers and move it out as an external to see if it will work.

    Now the reason I bought the card was to connect my Drobo S to eSATA because it is a lot faster than Firewire 800. Unfortunately I have yet to figure out why my Drobo is not detected by the eSATA card; all my other eSATA HDDs connect without any issues. Drobo support of course gives me a canned response everytime saying I should buy the Sonnet card (which doesn't have 64-bit kernel drivers).

    I'll run a few more test cases and see if I can get the boot functionality working. If it does work, I would hate to return this card because it does not work with my Drobo.
     
  16. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #17
    They may be similar, but there may be some hardware difference that will make the difference as to whether or not the card will boot or not. The ROM chip certainly comes to mind, as that on the eSATA for Mac could be a larger capacity part. So you could have an incomplete flash, as the chip didn't store all of it.

    The drivers have nothing to do with boot. That's in the firmware. That's why the PC cards with OS X drivers will function once the OS is loaded, and may still be what's going on.

    The Drobo may not work with K64 and eSATA. I've a feeling they only developed it for K32.

    I hope you can get it sorted, but you decided to play guinea pig with this card. Ultimately, if the Drobo can't deal with K64 (I've not looked into this), none of the K64 compliant cards would work if K64 is loaded (which apparently is a deal-breaker for you).

    Is there a particular need for the Drobo vs. a PortMultiplier eSATA enclosure (i.e. network related)?

    I'm not quite sure what you're wanting to do with the Drobo on eSATA, so clarification might help (at least allow me to understand what you're doing, and there may be another connection methodology to get around K64 if it can't work in that environment).
     
  17. alphaod thread starter macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #18
    The flasher said flashed and verified, so I assume it's a full flash; when I go into the RAID webgui, it now shows the card as the eSATA for Mac card…

    I still have yet to test it, so I'll take your word for it.

    The Drobo does work in the 64-bit environment; again it works over Firewire 800; the Drobo Dashboard client was recently updated to the support the 64-bit kernel; according to Data Robotics, it should work.

    I want eSATA because I will be able to achiever 100+ MB/s R/W speeds. I plan to move my entire iTunes library onto my Drobo and then use my existing iTunes external as a Time Machine back up for my internal drives (which is just in RAID 5 right now, with no form of backup). eSATA will be able to offer me the performance I need while using the Drobo as a iTunes storage medium and as a general storage appliance. With Firewire 800, I'm stuck with around 45 MB/s in R/W which at the present is a bit lacking.

    So going back, the card should work, the Drobo works on the 64-bit kernel. The only requirement was a port-multiplier compatible card… they do have 2 listed a recommended, but unfortunately the first is the Sonnet Tech E2P, which does not have a 64-bit kernel drivers, and the latter is the Sans Digital HA-SAN-2ESPCIE2 which does have 64-bit drivers (as it's a Sil3132 chipset), but I get a lot of kernel panics because the drivers are crappy.
     
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #19
    I wasn't aware that Data Robotics had issued 64 bit drivers.

    Quite understandable, I just wasn't aware a Drobo now has 64 bit drivers. That's why I mentioned other connections (get around the card and driver bit so you can use the Drobo).

    You could try and locate drivers from SIL directly or other sources (since you have it, it's worth a shot). Or even try San's Digital's drivers with any other SIL3132 card you might have on hand.
     
  19. alphaod thread starter macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #20
    Thank you nanofrog

    I'm going to return the 2134 to Amazon and buy the Firmtek card instead. I told them the card doesn't work as expect, so they offered me a full refund.

    Wish me luck that the Firmtek card will work.
     
  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #21
    :cool: I do presume you're stuck with the shipping both ways though. Still, better than having to take the full hit (not getting into what you might be able to get on eBay or similar).

    Good luck on this one. :)
     
  21. rtrt, Feb 15, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
  22. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #23
    I'm in the US, and I've gotten the S/H refunded as well (both ways), but was for both Wrong Item sent and Damaged.

    I presume if it's advertised to do X, and doesn't, then that would qualify (I've not checked the description on Amazon's site US or UK for that item though).

    Generally speaking, I'm a bit jaded here in the US, as the retailer will lose out if they refund the S/H in such cases, as it's not their fault. So they pass the loss onto the buyer, as the manufacturer may not return such fees to the retailer or if they do, make them wait, then provide it as a credit towards a future order.
     
  23. alphaod thread starter macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #24
    Yeah I'm paying shipped back. The card does work, just not to my needs, so I don't want to make Amazon pay the $5 it takes to ship it back; I'm just content that they're not charging me restocking.

    As with the Firmtek card… card is great, but it won't detect my Drobo S; I'm not very happy right now about this; it works on my other enclosures very well (probably a bit better than the Highpoint card as I can do everything in 'Disk Utility'); anyways I called Data Robotics and they will send me a replacement Drobo, because I believe it's the Drobo that has a defective eSATA port as it's unlikely I have a few cards that don't work (especially if they are listed as compatible on their website!).
     
  24. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #25
    All in all, that's not too bad in the end. ;) It certainly could have been worse. :eek: :p

    I hope the replacement Drobo will solve the issue, as I'm sure you're at your wit's end by now. :rolleyes: ;)
     

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