HDD Help

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ncc1701d, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. ncc1701d macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2008
    I'm after superior performance and wanted to get 4 x WD 2TB RE4 for a Raid 0 set up as I was told this is the best performance I can get. I'm standing here in the computer shop and they say they don't have any RE4 (or will they ever be available in Hong Kong), only the RE4-GP. So, considering I'm after performance, should I get the Caviar Black 2TB or the RE4-GP?

    (for use in a '09 4.1 MacPro, apple raid card and 8GB ram, all apple standard).


    They've let me use the internet to search some results and between the Caviar Black and Green, the black seems to win hands down. I don't think they are testing in a raid configuration, but suspect the difference between the Caviar Black and RE4-GP would be similar. I'll wait a bit wander around the shops and see if anyone here has any suggestions... Thanks again!
  2. yezza macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2008
  3. ncc1701d thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2008
    Thanks. I've decided not to rush this and see how long it will be before the RE4's are available where I live. If not, then unless it's really not recommended, I guess I'll have to get the Caviar Blacks. The review I saw was between the Cav black and the Cav Green and not the RE4 / RE4-GP, but I suspect the values will be the same..

  4. ncc1701d thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2008
    That review and a few others are showing it's pretty good. It will be interesting to see what difference there is between the RE4 and RE4-GP... It's hard to imagine the performance gains between the RE4 and RE4-GP being as drastic as they are between the Cav Green and Cav Black.
  5. Varmann macrumors member

    Jan 3, 2010
    I found this review as well, comparing the RE4 with a Cav Black, not very well written, though.
    The big question is of course how a raid setup would compare.
  6. ncc1701d thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2008
    Hi Varmann! Thanks for that find. I'm trying to locate one between the Cav Black and the RE4-GP. I think that the Cav Black & Green are consumer level HDD's, while the RE4 and R4-Gp are enterprise (Server / Raid) level. The choice I've got (if I wanted to buy immediatley) is either Cav Black or RE4-GP.

    There seems to be comparisons for all combinations except the one I want :eek: (of course - isn't that always the way :rolleyes: :))

    There's no word from anyone where I live on when or even if the straight up RE4 will become available.

    looking around at more reviews, the RE4-GP in Raid 0 seems to cr@p all over the Caviar Green and even the single drive without raid.
  7. ncc1701d thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2008
    Looking at the 'tweaktown' review, and thanks to nanofrog for showing me the AJA system test, it looks as though the performance of my current set up (4 x 1TB hitachi drives in Raid 0) gets very similar results as the 2 x 2TB RE4-GP in Raid 0. I don't know if the RE4-GP performance would improve with an extra 2 drives in Raid 0 though.

    If that's the case, then I guess I can expect similar performance if I got the RE4-Gp's. Would be very nice to know what sort of figures would come from a raid 0 cav black and raid 0 re4.
  8. ncc1701d thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2008
    According to WD Singapore, the RE4's are in a shortage worldwide... He said he'd contact me when new stock was on the way out.

    Failing these coming out in the nearish future, what's better; 4 x 2TB RE4-GP's in Raid 0 or 4 x 2TB blacks in raid 0?
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I know I mentioned this before, but as you plan to attach them to the Apple RAID card, it's likely to be a problem, and why I mentioned you require the RE4.

    It's possible to use Caviar Blacks, after you modify the recovery timing settings in the firmware (default = 0,0, and it needs to be 7,0) via the TLER utility (you can find it floating around the internet). The reason, is it's a SAS card, and they're picky = typically will NOT work with consumer drives (due to the timings).

    But even after modifying consumer WD drives, they're still not as trustworthy, as they're missing the additional sensors that keep them from damaging themselves.

    There are cases where they still won't work as well. Unfortunately, it tends to be firmware, and Apple doesn't offer an HDD Compatibility List of any kind. Even the RE4's are at a slight risk here.

    Please understand I'm not trying to scare you, just let you know what's possible, as all the above situations have happened.

    Getting this done on a Mac isn't a small feat either. You'd need a USB floppy or possibly be able to use the Ultimate Boot CD (add the TLER util; I've not tried this, so it's only a suggestion). Connect the drives to the logic board, not the card to do this. You should also run a SMART test and surface scan on each drive before placing them on the card to make sure there's nothing wrong/suspect about them.
  10. ncc1701d thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2008
    Thanks nf! ok.. I'll wait for the RE4's. :) In all my searching for info on the RE4's I came across one site saying the RE4-GP had firmware problems. Maybe there is a problem with the re4's? You'd think they'd be pumping these babies out!

    Are there other options? Does anyone know what apple are using in their 2TB drives for the MP '09?
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I'll have to look into it. They may not have even shipped any, as I've not seen one yet. But keep in mind, that they take longer to get out than the consumer models.

    So it should improve. When however, I'm not sure of, as these have gone later than usual IMO.
  12. ncc1701d thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2008
    I just spoke to apple support. They said I can buy the 2TB models directly from the online store here in Hong kong. They wouldn't tell me the drive type they use (said they didn't know / weren't told). But, as we all know, they're not being shy about the price. USD $505 per drive :eek:
  13. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008

    I'd try to locate a few somewhere else in Asia, such as Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia,... when they become available (WD had a large aluminum substrate manufacturing facility in Malaysia <Sarawak>, but sold it in May of last year to Hitachi Global Storage, but the Johor facility is still running). Worst case, you could try to get them from the US (add here, but no stock, and they don't ship internationally anyway, as I did check for you; US only :().

    I can't find the WD2003FYYS anywhere in the US either, so that lends me to think there's been some sort of delay (OEM validation, which is almost certainly firmware related rather than hardware, as the Blacks are already shipping). Even the "Where to Buy" button on WD's site doesn't show anything. :rolleyes: :(

    So it seems you're going to have to wait, or go with smaller drives if you need something now (can no longer wait for an unknown release date).
  14. ncc1701d thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2008
    Yeah, as I mentioned, I will pick up from Singapore or Penang when they are available. They are places I can return the drive to fairly easily under warranty if I need to. There's finally some on ebay (england), but warranty is the issue if I get them... (also ebay USA, but they don't seem to ship os. What is it with that??!!)

    But, if I can find out what drive apple are using, I might be able to source that somewhere here iso the WD.
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I searched eBay UK, and there aren't any listings for the RE4's (used the drive #). RE4-GP's are available there, unless that's what you meant. :confused:

    I understand the desire to get them from a local source if you can return them physically. Here, it's usually done by RMA and shipped. Stores here don't want to be in the return business, and will only take it if defective within 15 to 30 days of purchase. After that, it's direct through the manufacturer (RMA + ship it back).

    Some US locations will ship internationally, so you have to check with each supplier you might be interested in here. Most don't however, and I'm not sure as to all the reasons why. I figure it's too much hassle to most, but it may also be financial.

    At any rate, you either have to wait for the RE4's to ship (and hit a store near enough to home), or go with the Caviar Blacks and mod the TLER values with the utility.

    BTW, I think Apple uses WD lately, but I can't be positive, as they tend to go for the lowest bidder which means drive suppliers can change without notice.
  16. ncc1701d thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2008
    Much cheaper than the USA ebay too - only 180 squids.


    Yeah... but I'm happy to pay, just pass the cost on to me. One in the US got back to me and will ship 4 to me for USD $82, so that's an option. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320479973382#ht_4307wt_938

    But, the UK option is by far cheaper. They are USD $100 cheaper PER DRIVE and only USD $23 for shipping! The scary thing is they are USD $200 per drive cheaper than Apple!! :eek:
  17. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    So you are willing to accept the RE4-GP to get something now?

    They're a bit slower, but should be fine otherwise. At least you wouldn't need to muck about with the TLER values, and it has the additional sensors.

    Do what you have to, as I'd be looking for low cost as well, so long as it's truly new, and the exact model number. ;)

    I really think that most just don't want to deal with the additional hassle involved with international shipping (some, if not even many, companies may even be too small to have a constant international volume). It's just a guess, but makes sense to me.
  18. ncc1701d thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2008

    According to the link, that's not the GP. I also double checked with the seller, who wrote back saying that the model number is the WD2003FYYS, that's the straight up RE4. Please confirm before I spend heaps of cash! To be honest it does look to good to be true, but he confirms the model number :eek: Both links are to the RE4's but one is 180 pounds (295USD) and the other is USD 396! (two different sellers).
  19. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    The Model Number is correct for the RE4. It's just hard to beleive, as you can't even get them from WD. :confused:

    Even the price is a bit too good to beleive, as that's about what the 2TB Caviar Blacks are going for (example in US from a company I use and trust).

    Provantage now has the RE4's up (In Stock), here. Almost $400USD per.

    The seller's feedback numbers are high, and the % is good. I could see it if they had been purchased and there were problems (i.e. earliest firmware, and unstable). But it's listed as New, so I'm really not sure. :confused:

    I'd hate to see you lose a good deal, but hate it even worse if you get ripped off. I'm going to have to leave this one to your judgement. Maybe see if you can set up a video conference (maybe photos with a requested hand signal, object,...), and have the seller show you the drive, and make sure the anti-static bags are sealed, and you can read the Model Numbers of the drives through it to prove:
    1. New, which means sealed to me
    2. Correct Model Numbers

    Worst case, you can deal with WD for the latest firmware if you've a problem. Not an absolute certainty that newer firmware will solve the issues (or it's even available yet), but that's the risk with any drive on a card with no HDD Compatibility List or a drive that's not listed at all if there is such a list.
  20. ncc1701d thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2008
    Yeah - I know! I can't believe it either! It would seem to good to be true...

    Someone else has bought 2 of the drives that were available, maybe I can wait to see what feedback they give and annoy them to see if it's the real deal :eek:

    I will also get onto the guy I'm in contact with at WD, just to find out more about this firmware issue you mention. I know there was an issue with eh GP's, but IO hadn't heard anything about the RE4's.

    Are hard drive firmware upgrades a simple matter? Do they wipe the drive, can they be done under OSX?
  21. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Good idea to wait on the feedback.

    As per the firmware, it's only a possibility. I don't know for sure, but it's happened before. Get a drive model and it doesn't work out, as either there was no HDD Compatibility list, or it wasn't on it (i.e. early firmware is a big culprit on the later with major name drives, such as WD or Seagate).

    On a PC, the firmware update's are fairly simple. Not so much on a Mac. I've found that a USB floppy is indespensible, and are cheap, so worth getting one IMO. You could also try the Ultimate Boot CD, and add in the firmware tools and ROM file. I've not tried it though, but it should work. A re-writable version would be handy to keep from tossing disks when the need arises. BTW, use the logic board or a SATA/eSATA card when using a SAS based RAID card.
  22. ncc1701d thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2008
    haha! Damn, I have no idea what your'e talking about ;) :D That's all waaaay above my skill level :eek:

    If they don't work in my mac pro, I should be able to use them as storage in my drobo :confused:
  23. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    You'd need to check with drobo's site, and see if they've a HDD compatibility list. They should, but it's a good idea to check first. ;)

    The previous post was to give you an idea as to what can go wrong, as it's far more complicated with hardware RAID, since the card performs all the functions on it's own (no reliance on the system to do the work, and the recovery methods are different). That's why the timings in the firmware matter, and you have to have enterprise drives for the 7,0 (in seconds) rather than the 0,0 (aka stand alone mode) timings in consumer models.

    In simple terms, firmware really matters for both the card and the drives, as the logic board has nothing to do with RAID functions. To help get systems up and running quickly, good card makers usually produce the hardware compatibility lists (covers HDD's and motherboards/systems that were tested).
  24. ncc1701d thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2008
    I guess the worse case scenario is that they don't work (or they don't work at the transfer speeds they are supposed to), so I just take them to WD in Singapore under the international warranty. They should then be able to replace or update the firmware for me. I guess...?!

    Will it be a simple case of running "AJA System test" to make sure everything is working as it should after I install and set up - or will they just not work at all?
  25. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    If you can get a DOS image to boot, and the right firmware, you can flash them yourself. Worst case, you'd need to use a PC. But the USB floppy will allow you to do this on a MP, and it's really cheap. BTW, connect them to the logic board to do this, not the RAID card.

    I'm not used to being able to take it into a store and have them flash it for me under warranty support. Here, it's email contact, and try to get them to give a link to a new version (depends on if it's available).

    There's multiple possibilities.
    1. Won't work at all
    2. Unstable (works, quits, ... - they're called drop-outs)
    3. Runs slow

    Keep in mind, the above is a possibility, not an absolute. There's a chance they'll work flawlessly from day one (no firmware flash required). The fact they're enterprise models will help immensely in this regard.

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