eSATA RAID options for TowerRAID TR8M6G

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by fhturner, May 27, 2016.

  1. fhturner macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    #1
    So, apparently, Sans Digital is dropping the inclusion of the RocketRAID 642L RAID card w/ their TowerRAID 6G products. I've tried to get a TR8M6G twice now for a client, but they've swapped out the 642L for a RR622. HighPoint does not have drivers or WebGUI for the RR622 for anything beyond Mac OS X 10.9, and this client system is running 10.11. So they're shipping a product that is non-functional for someone running the current OS. Not to mention the RR622 is x1 only, and performs poorly next to a 642L.

    I got to looking around for a standalone RR642L, but then wondered if that's the best option in this price range or if I should widen my search. NewerTech/OWC has this:

    https://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer Technology/MXPCIE6GRS4E/

    which seems interesting, but upon closer inspection it is a Marvell 9235-based RAID card just like the RR642L, and its WebGUI looks quite familiar (hint: it's Highpoint's, just w/ NewerTech branding). The file naming scheme for the driver download also looks like Highpoint's.

    So, this is just a rebranded Highpoint card w/ Marvell 9235, it would appear. That got me wondering if other 9235 options would work also. This Syba card is 9235-based, for 1/3 the cost:

    http://www.amazon.com/IO-Crest-eSATA-Components-SI-PEX40063/dp/B00AZ9T2SW

    But my question is: if the chipset is the same, are the cards generally interchangeable? Or are there sufficient differences in firmware or other circuitry on the card that each needs vendor-specific drivers?

    More directly: could I install the Highpoint driver and WebGUI and use it w/ any 9235-based card for a RAID5 setup?

    Thx,
    Fred
     
  2. FireWire2 macrumors 6502

    FireWire2

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    Oct 12, 2008
    #2
    If the solution that Sans Digital offered is good, they would not EOL it. Are you sure that you want to use such?
    To answer your direct question: No, the firmware is make all the different
     
  3. fhturner thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Good point, so no, I'm not sure I want to use it. But the RR642L would at least work, whereas the RR622 they're throwing in the box will not. Any recommendations on a RAID5-capable alternative in a similar price/performance range? FWIW, for this project I've borrowed a RR642L from my own TR4M6G, and I've gotten 450-550MB/s with only 4 x 4TB drives in the TR8M6G enclosure. So I was pretty happy w/ that.

    Okay, thanks.
     
  4. fhturner thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    Anybody have thoughts on an alternative to the RocketRAID 642L in the same price range?
     
  5. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #5
    I've replaced RR64xL with https://www.neweggbusiness.com/product/product.aspx?item=9b-16-118-139

    Not in the same price range, but you pay for something that works. (You also need two cables at $75 each, and another $150 for the battery if you want RAID-5.)
     
  6. fhturner thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    LOL, thanks, but that's not even in the same price zip co— er, continent! :D I started off w/ a MiniSAS RAID recommendation for this client solution originally, and had to back off to lower rent eSATA RAID instead to get the overall project cost down. It actually seems to be working fine w/ my borrowed RR642L, so if Sans hadn't bait-and-switched me down to RR622, I'd be fine.
     
  7. FireWire2 macrumors 6502

    FireWire2

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    #7
    What is the budget for the RAID, transfer speed around 250M/s?
     
  8. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #8
    Read or write speed?

    Read is easy. If you want 250 MB/s for RAID-5 write, budget around $1K for a hardware RAID controller with a big battery-backed cache.
     
  9. FireWire2 macrumors 6502

    FireWire2

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    #9
    Really - i got read/write in a range 225~250MB/s 5x drives raid 5 with less than $100.00 controller :)
     
  10. fhturner thread starter macrumors regular

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    Nov 7, 2007
    #10
    Exactly. I've already got this TowerRAID TR8M6G in hand. The entire enclosure + RAID card is under $400. The only problem is that instead of shipping a RocketRAID 642L like they have been, Sans Digital is now throwing in RR622s until they have no more part numbers that include a RAID card (they're doing away w/ the HighPoint controllers). And that 622 does not work w/ 10.11, as support stopped at 10.9 from HighPoint. So, I'm borrowing my own 642L card to get this RAID set up initially.

    With RR642L and two 4TB Seagate NAS drives in the bottom half of the enclosure and two 4TB NAS drives in the top half, using 2 eSATA cables, I'm already hitting 450MB/s w/ RAID5. Since the RR642L is available @ Newegg for $100, I'd say the budget is $100 with target performance of at least 400MB/s w/ 4 drives.

    Perhaps the RR642L is the only suitable Mac option in that range... It just would be nice if Sans Digital weren't swapping that out for the 622, which won't work. They told me to deal w/ Amazon where the enclosure came from, but I think I'll try to be more of a squeaky wheel to get the right card now.

    Thx,
    Fred
     
  11. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #11
    What happens if you pull the power cord while writing?
     
  12. fhturner thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    The world ends. Obviously.
     
  13. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #13
    At least your data ends. With the $1K controller your data would be safe.
     
  14. FireWire2, Jun 2, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016

    FireWire2 macrumors 6502

    FireWire2

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    #14
    Nothing happen :) done that while it read / write several times, power back up, my data is there is continue use it as nothing happen. Let me video my raid box so you can see.

    Guys sometime you look at things in a simple way, it'll be simple
     
  15. fhturner thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15
    Yes, I understand the risks if I don't have the thousand dollar controller. But somehow, some way, some people in the past have managed to get by w/o the most expensive option out there. The client doesn't want a $1K controller. I'm asking about other options that aren't $1K. We'll just have to somehow make do w/ a crappy non-battery card and daily backups.
     
  16. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #16
    That's a very reasonable approach - accepting that you're taking a risk for performance, and mitigating the risk with backups.
     
  17. fhturner thread starter macrumors regular

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    #17
    LOL, I agree...I just need to figure out what to do to compensate for Sans Digital substituting the RR622 for the 642L! :)
     
  18. FireWire2 macrumors 6502

    FireWire2

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    #18
    Let me show you the SPM393 raid controller can do - you need to send me a beer after this
     
  19. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #19
    Interesting - but are there any disk cabinets with that controller built in?

    It's a bit DIY for me. Interesting features, but sell me a 5 drive hot plug disk cabinet with it as the controller.

    And please, let it support a cache battery!
     
  20. fhturner thread starter macrumors regular

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    Nov 7, 2007
    #20
    Yeah, a bit too DIY for me also. Plus, I already have the eSATA TowerRAID enclosure. Not sure where I'd mount this SPM393 or how I'd attach it to the TowerRAID, since all of its ports are internal SATA. Looks cool otherwise tho...
     
  21. fhturner thread starter macrumors regular

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    #21
    Well, to update the thread, I was able to get SANS Digital to send me a RocketRAID 642L like what was initially supposed to be in the product box. But I'm still curious about what entry-level RAID5 PCIe cards might be good options for these eSATA RAID enclosures in the future. Any other suggestions?

    Thx,
    Fred
     
  22. msh macrumors regular

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    SoCal
    #22
    Why bother with hardware raid when you can use OpenZFS? All you need is a PCIe eSata card with port multiplication (I use a Firmtek 4 port card). I have been using that very same Sans Digital 8 bay tower for a few years now with ZFS and the Firmtek card with OS X (now El Capitan) and it performs superbly; I have even pulled the power plug on it while writing to test it; no data loss; not ever. Cost? TowerRaid box + $200 Firmtek card.
     
  23. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #23
    What are your read and write speeds with OpenZFS ?
     
  24. sn1p3r845, Jul 29, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2016

    sn1p3r845 macrumors regular

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    Vancouver, BC
    #24
    I know this doesn't really help, but my 8 bay TowerRAID with the Areca 1880 has been amazing to me for the past ~5 years. In RAID5 I get 900MB/s read and write.
     
  25. msh macrumors regular

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    SoCal
    #25
    Per AJA Test (disk whack 1 GB file):

    106.2 MB/s write
    4083.2 MB/s read

    This is from a 4 x 4 TB mirrored pair Zpool inside '09 MacPro; Sata II speeds of course. Writes not so good, but reads are. Good enough for my uses and cheap.
     

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