Hardware RAID with BootCamp booting

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Spacedust, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. Spacedust macrumors 6502a

    May 24, 2009
    What are the benefits of Hardware RAID ?

    What cards I can use in Mac Pro ? Apple original and Caldigit only ?

    Is there any card that allow to boot from RAID in BootCamp ?
  2. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    • Improved stability (drastically in some cases, depending on the level used)
    • Additional RAID Levels (i.e. parity arrays aren't available under Disk Utility)
    • Faster Throughputs are possible with the same setup vs. Apple's RAID Pro
    • Additional OS support
    • Additional Drives can be used with some cards (i.e. 8/12/16/24 port cards vs. Apple's RAID Pro card).
    • Improved Recovery
    • Can be Transferred much easier from one system to another

    Avoid either of these cards like the Plague. Seriously. Both are JUNK.

    You'd be better off with Areca or ATTO (multiple OS support, can boot either EFI or BIOS, though the card can only contain one at a time, so never dual boot in a MP between OS X and Windows/Linux).

    Unfortunately, to give you more information than this, there's details needed:
    • RAID level desired
    • Internal, External, or mixed (both) configuration; all are possible
    • Number of disks
    • Throughput Requirements (if not sure, a detailed explaination of what you're doing can be used to figure this out)

    CalDigit claims their cards can, but I wouldn't recommend it.

    The easiest thing to do, is use a separate disk for Windows (no need for Boot Camp in this case). Basically, the RAID is used for OS X (I presume it's intended for OS X, and boot at that). Note that this is a separate controller from the SATA ports on the logic board (ICH in the chipset). So just attach the Windows disk to the logic board (get an internal SFF-8087 to 4i*SATA cable, and hook it to one of the SATA ends). This way the Windows disk will boot. ;)

    Windows will NOT work from the ODD_SATA ports on the board in a 2008 MP.

    If you want a RAID for both OS X and Windows, then I'd need details as well for each.

    One solution is to setup a RAID for OS X via Disk Utility, and use a separate card for Windows. This is the cheapest way to go, but depending on specifics, may be impossible/impractical (i.e. need a parity array <5/6> for OS X).
  3. Spacedust thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 24, 2009
    Thanks nanofrog !

    I currently have Kingston SSD 40 GB for Windows 7 and three 500 GB HDD's in RAID 0 under Mac OS X.

    I would like to make an SSD RAID 0 on Windows. Maybe there is a possiblity to put two 2,5" drives in one bay.

    In future I will probably remove all HDD's and put all SSD's in my Mac Pro.

    Can you post which Areca models are compatible with Mac Pro ?
  4. strausd macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    Maybe something like this?
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    You can install the SSD's to the empty optical bay via a DIY solution or ready made unit. A DIY solution would be the metal plate off of an old optical drive that you drill some holes in to mount 2x SSD's (it's been done before). Ready made solutions would be:
    MaxUpgrades [you'd need to email them and see if they'd ship, but this is also the more expensive solution]
    Scythe Rafter (3x 2.5" in a 5.25" bay) [they do ship internationally]

    As per the Windows set, is this in addition to that used for OS X?
    If this is the case, does it need to be bootable?

    There's a fair few actually, and I need details.

    I'm assuming you want a RAID 0 for OS X (which you can leave on the ICH as it is), and use a separate RAID card for a separate RAID 0 for Windows.

    The cheapest way to go (assuming you only want to run 2x SSD's), is the ARC-1210. Place the SSD's for it in the empty optical bay, and connect them to the card via SATA cables (need power of course via a Molex to 2x SATA power cable, which should be easy to find near you). But it's the cheapest and easiest solution for this type of setup, and will function (Boots into Windows BTW). Also, if you do go this route, leave the firmware as BIOS. Intel 80GB G2 SSD's are known to work with this card (RAID cards can be picky with drives, especially consumer models, as the recovery timings in the drive firmware aren't correct for RAID).
    Consumer = 0,0 (read, write; in seconds)
    Enterprise = 0,7 (which is suited to RAID)

    If you want to do something else, more information (details) is required. RAID setups are very detailed, and the littlest omission can be catastrophic.

    That's a Port Multiplier chip that attaches 2x disks to a single SATA port on the ICH SATA controller in the chipset.

    It's OK for mechanical, but not fast enough for SSD's (200MB/s throughput limit). For full speed with SSD's, they each need a SATA port.
  6. Spacedust thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 24, 2009
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    There's options that can make it work.
    1. Move one of the optical disks to an external enclosure.
    2. Use one of the mounting systems you located (I'd go for the DX4 by TransIntl, as it leaves your PCIe slots open).
    3. Take the SSD's externally (case would need 1x eSATA port per SSD, so a 2bay enclosure would need 2x ports on the back), in conjunction with a different RAID card and cable (Highpoint RocketRAID 4311 and an SFF-8088 to 4e*SATA Fanout cable + enclosure). The additional cost is about the same as the DX4 mount, but it's a bit better solution (read on).

    What you might note about solution #3, is it's a faster card. What that means is, you could actually attach 4x SSD's to it in a stripe set configuration. Highpoint's not known for great support, but it's easier to get the Windows end than OS X (particularly the EFI firmware), as this card is actually ODM'ed by Areca for Highpoint (based off of the ARC-1212, but with an external port rather than an internal).

    If you chose to go this route, and a 4bay enclosure, then you'd want a different cable (1 meter SFF-8088 to SFF-8088) and enclosure type (SAS connector on the back).

    A few notes:
    • Do not exceed 1.0 meter for total cable length
    • Links are more for model numbers and photographic references (there's other products that will work, but they'd have to be an exact match in terms of connections), as I'm not sure what will actually be available to you (i.e. newegg won't ship to Europe).
  8. Spacedust thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 24, 2009
    I found out that DX4 is not for me, because I got Accelero S1 cooler installed which take more space than normal graphics card.
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Then you'd be best to go with option #3 (Highpoint 4311 + external enclosure).

    If you're not confident about RAID, let me know, as there's better companies for this (similar cards). The downside is, they're more expensive (i.e. ATTO or Areca). It can also be done with an internal port card (i.e. Areca), but you'd need to run the cable through an open PCIe slot (this is the cheaper way to go, given their offerings, such as the ARC-1212). ~$360USD typically + cable cost + enclosure.

    In terms of Support, ATTO has really good support (English = primary language, phone is excellent, and email is fairly quick, usually same or next day response), and uses a utility to access the card's functions.

    Areca uses a browser to access the settings (so does Highpoint), and they also know what they're doing (both they and ATTO actually design their own gear), but email responses take a couple of days, and English isn't their primary language, as they're based in Taiwan (not a chance they speak Polish IMO).

    Both can be called as well, but it might be too pricey to obtain support that way, and presume you'd stick with the email method.

    Food for thought. ;)

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