Help Me Find a Suitable SSD for Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Mathazzar, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. Mathazzar macrumors newbie

    Mathazzar

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    Location:
    Toronto
    #1
    Hi all,

    New around the forums, so hello first of all.

    I'm coming to you with a question about how to best upgrade my Mac Pro to take advantage of the magic of SSDs. It's a 2008 Mac Pro (Harpertown generation) and I've got all the SATA slots filled up with HDDs that I'd rather leave as they are.

    I'm a composer and I work with vast sample libraries, and splitting them across multiple drives is the best solution for optimal streaming performance. I may need to add an SSD into the rig in the near future though, and I'm hearing that models now exist that plug into PCI slots instead of SATA ones (which would be terrific since it removes the SATA bottleneck and lets me keep my existing drives in place).

    If such a thing would be possible, can anyone recommend some of the better options out there and/or give me some feedback on how they perform in terms of speed and reliability vs. SATA-based SSDs? Will they work with my Mac Pro?

    I would need to fit a total of ~460GB of data, so I assume I'll probably need two of these rather than one (or else risk exploding my bank account).

    Anyway, so that's the basic situation...if you've got some insight to share, I would love to hear it. :)

    Thank you!
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    There are PCIe SSDs but none of them currently supports OS X AFAIK. I think your best option is an eSATA PCIe card and use the SSD(s) externally. eSATA is as fast as internal SATA.
     
  3. AlexMaximus macrumors 6502

    AlexMaximus

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    Location:
    A400M Base
    #3
    Sounds like space is your real problem..

    From your post, I assume (you think) you have a space problem which is the reason to look for other options, since you want to keep the 4 HDs in place.

    To give you more options, there are actually great possibilities available to solve your problem. Since Apple put two more hidden SATA ports on the motherboard, you can easily add two more drives to your system with third party solutions:

    In case you have one DVD bay left:

    http://www.transintl.com/store/procaddy.cfm

    In case you would be willing to move one existing HD to the optiby solution above, you could use two SSD drives in one standard HD bay and having RAID: (2006-2008 MP only)

    http://www.transintl.com/store/category.cfm?Category=2746&RequestTimeOut=500

    On top of that, you can also piggyback a drive with this solution:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/owcpages/multimount/

    In case you have no DVD bay left:

    http://www.transintl.com/store/category.cfm?Category=2799&RequestTimeOut=500

    That should do it for now. Check it out, maybe there is a solution you like and let us know.
     
  4. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #4
    Not always. Overhead with cheap chipsets should be looked at. My last eSATA card was SATAII and never got over 2Mb/s. Of course I did not spend very much for the card.
     
  5. Mathazzar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mathazzar

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    Location:
    Toronto
    #5
    That is terrifically helpful, thank you Alex!

    I'm liking the look of that last option (I don't have a free DVD bay). Any more thoughts on an eSATA solution as a potential alternative? I have no problem keeping the drive(s) external so long as there's no performance hit.
     
  6. AlexMaximus macrumors 6502

    AlexMaximus

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    Location:
    A400M Base
    #6
    its a slot philosophy..

    Back in the PowerMag G4 days I made real good experience with the boys from sonnet. They do Mac only products and they really work very well.

    If you need two external ports only, check out this one. Since it has the new 6G interface it should be fast as well:

    http://www.sonnettech.com/product/temposataiii6gbpcie.html

    If you don't need the 6G interface, but need an advanced bandwith from the slot side of it (8-line PCI Express) you could have a look at this one here. It has 4 ports and is faster then most cheap solutions out there - but a bit more expensive:

    http://www.stardom.com.tw/SJ20_x8.html

    They have also nice enclosures:

    http://www.stardom.com.tw/sohotank_st2_appliance.html

    Since USB 3 is on the table now as well, you also want to check out this card here:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/CalDigit/U3HOSTADPTR/

    Happy choosing !
     
  7. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #7
    The only issue is that some, if not most, eSATA PCIe cards do not support OS X booting. The Sonnet card doesn't at least. However, to not make that an issue, OP could move one of the HDs to an eSATA enclosure and put the SSD in an internal bay.
     
  8. AlexMaximus macrumors 6502

    AlexMaximus

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    Location:
    A400M Base

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