esata/sata raid card

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by superfula, Jun 15, 2008.

  1. superfula macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2002
    I've been looking around for a card that can do RAID 5 with esata ports and at least three internal sata ports. My goal is to RAID three internal drives with a couple external. So far all I have found is a card that has two and two. Has anyone come across such a card? If not, I'm open to other suggestions.

    I'm using a current setup to house my movies and music, but it will soon max out what I have. RAID 5 and a couple esata ports will give me the flexibility to add drives down the road
  2. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    What kind of mac? Mac Pro?

    the only one that does internal drives in the Mac Pro is Apple's card, which is totally overpriced.

    I'd advise having the whole thing outside the case.
  3. superfula thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2002
    Yeah it's a Mac Pro.

    I've found several cards that have sata ports for internal drives and several for esata, but it's rare to find cards with both.

    I thought about all outside the case, but I'd rather not blow another $400 just for external cases. If that's my only choice, I don't know if it's worth it to me.
  4. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    how were you planning on securing the drives within the case?
  5. superfula thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2002
    Physically, no different than anyone else. However I'll unplug the cables from the board and run them to the card.
  6. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
  7. superfula thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2002
    Yeah it is. There are solutions that convert and extend the cables.
  8. hayduke macrumors 65816


    Mar 8, 2005
    is a state of mind.
    Why not just RAID all the internal drives? You can also mount an internal drive in the second DVD bay if you need to, for a total of 5 internal drives. Then buy a second card for eSATA with external drives if you need additional space? I only suggest this because you make it sound as if you won't be using all of the internal drives in the RAID, and I can't think of a reason to mix internal and external unless you want >5 drives in the RAID.
  9. superfula thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2002
    Thanks for the help. It's appreciated.

    I am not only looking for a solution that works now, but something that is expandable, thus the internal/external thought. Perhaps I could start with an internal solution like you mention and add the second card later on for a second (external) set of drives. I was hoping to have all drives under one 'array', but that may not be possible unless I buy a pricey CalDigit raid card.

    The boot drive would not be part of the RAID, but by adding one (or two) extra internals, that would be quite enough to last awhile. I've seen products that allow you to house up to 8 internal drives....6 with an optical drive.
  10. 330toSRT8 macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Here's one that does 4 internal and 12 external:
    It's supposed to be out soon and sounds good. I'll wait for some reviews first.
  11. superfula thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2002
    Yeah I saw that and it did look interesting. I didn't think it was out yet but I've run across two places selling it for between $500 and $550.
  12. 330toSRT8 macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2008
    There's another thread on the topic and it doesn't sound promising:
  13. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    IIRC the OSX RAID software will do RAID 1 and RAID 0 but not RAID 5

    When looking for a card, you have to distinguish between those that offer eSATA /SATA ports, and those that actually support RAID in hardware.

    The Caldigit card has been rumored for a long time, IDK if a working card is actually shipping yet - they have missed many announced dates.

    The HighPoint RocketRAID cards are another possibility
  14. superfula thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2002
    Yikes, thanks for that. The $500+ price-tag curbed my interest as well.

    I've had to dig around for the specs on some nice cards, only to find they only do RAID 0 or 1.

    I'll check out the HighPoint cards, thanks.
  15. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    The problem I think you'll find is that if you disconnect all the internal drives, you'll have a hard time booting. Also, I don't think you have the option of only having 3/4 of the internal HDs on the 3rd party controller--it's all or nothing. Take a look at the service manual.


    I found a max upgrades adapter that allows you to divert any controller into the Mac pro internal drives (choose the appropriate one):

    Okay, so now all you have to do is find a bootable card. Well here's the one I found:

    It does 0, 1, 5, 6, and 50. Overkill but it's bootable, which is hard to find.

    You can run 1 miniSAS to an external enclosure, and fold one back into the case through an empty PCIe slot, to your max upgrades adapter, to the internal drives.. it'll look like hell but it'll work

    There may be other bootable cards out there, but the only ones I've seen are the Rocketraid 3522 and the Apple card.

    It's expensive to do what you're doing, but it'll still be less than what you get with Apple's RAID, plus you can do more hard drives.
  16. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    Oh, if you do end up replacing all the internal mac drives, realize that the hidden SATA ports on the mac pro DO boot (*** OS X ONLY ***).

    So you could have another hard drive in the optical bay as your boot drive.
  17. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Hi Slughead:

    Have you found any other cards that may fit the bill?

    I've been looking for a hybrid RAID5 that is bootable, and can be used with Boot Camp.

    So far, I've come up with the following cards:

    ATTO ExpressSAS R348 (can operate 8 drives, selectable) $810
    Areca ARC-1680 series (multiple configs) also pricey
    CalDigitRAID card (plenty available in other threads) $550
    RocketRAID 3540 (4 drives internal, 16 drives total) $unknown
    RocketRAID 3520 (8 drives internal) $430
    RocketRAID 3510 (4 drives internal) $310

    Some of them fall short somewhere, others I don't have as much info as I would like. The Boot Camp issue is proving a real challenge.


Share This Page