How to Get a Boot SSD in a Mac Pro 3,1

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MacDann, Dec 19, 2015.

  1. MacDann macrumors 6502a

    MacDann

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
    Can see the end of the Earth from here
    #1
    I have a real conundrum and I am running into a wall:

    I have recently purchased a Mac Pro 3,1 with an Apple RAID card and four 15k SAS drives. I want to keep the RAID setup.

    I would like to add an SSD to speed the boot process and move the OS off the RAID.

    Since all four drive bays are taken up by the SAS drives, I looked at other options:

    Swap out an optical drive for an SSD. No joy there (more on this momentarily.)

    Add a PCIe card. Equally unsuccessful.

    I have both an Apricorn Solo X2 and a Sonnet eSATA PCIe card. Neither will provide a boot drive function. Apricorn says "maybe, but probably not." I have verified this, it won't boot from the card. The Sonnet eSATA card won't boot, period.

    Apparently, the 3,1 MP has a history of not playing nice with PCIe cards and booting from them.

    So on to approach #2, putting an SSD in place of an optical drive (I have two.)

    In a MP 3,1, the optical drives are ATA/IDE. OK, so I'll get a legacy IDE SSD.

    I got a legacy ATA/IDE drive from OWC. Every time I try to do a clean install of OS X or a Time Machine restore from my backups, it fails about 80% through the process. I even booted the machine into Target Disk mode and tried doing an install from another machine onto the SSD. No joy, it locked up too.

    So here I am with a Mac Pro I really like and a configuration I can't resolve. I am now asking if anyone has a constructive suggestion as to how I might accomplish adding an SSD to boot from short of using an external device, which, I might add, sort of negates the value of having an SSD...

    Thank you,

    MacDann
     
  2. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    #2
    Early Apricorn Velocity Solo cards had problems with MP 3,1 & booting. The later versions are fine. I have a Apricorn Velocity Duo in my MP 3,1 & have used various SSDs on the Duo & never had a problem booting from them. Currently I have 2x1TB EVO 850 in RAID0 booting OK.
     
  3. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #3
    You don't have to use the normal IDE connectors in the optical bay.
    You can run SATA cables, connected to the unused SATA ports, provided on the logic board.
    You can see the "ODD SATA" ports on the logic board if you remove the front fan assembly.
     
  4. MacDann thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MacDann

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
    Can see the end of the Earth from here
    #4
    nigelbb - thanks for that information. I have a Solo X2 card, which I thought was the latest version card. I'll have not look at their web site and see.

    DeltaMac - I've had the fans out in the past but never noticed any SATA ports on the logic board. Is there power available in the same area as well? If this is the case I'm all for that!

    Thanks to both of you!

    MacDann
     
  5. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #5
    Yes, If you have an Airport card installed, the location of the SATA ports (there's two) are about an inch or so in front of the Airport card location. There's 5 or 6 other cables connected in that same area. There's 2 power ports there, too. The SATA ports are labeled on the logic board "ODD SATA"
     
  6. drasl macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    #6
    The SATA ports are behind the gray (front) fan but you can probably see them if you look closely from a right angle.

    I have an ssd in the optical bay, and ran two sata cables to the optical bay, one is currently not in use.

    The SSD works fine on the SATA port, the exception being that bootcamp cant see the OSX drive on the Sata connection. Not a big deal to me, but something you should be aware of.

    You need the sata cable and an adaptor to use the power cables in the optical drive (molex).
    Both pretty cheap.

    http://www.newertech.com/downloads/nwtmpqxe32.pdf
     
  7. flehman macrumors regular

    flehman

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2015
    #7
    I used both approaches in my 3,1 successfully before replacing it with a 4,1->5,1. Apricorn PCIE Duo took a 2.5" SSD and booted without a hitch, and I ran a SATA cable from one of the ports being described to my optical bay to power a newer blu Ray drive. I recommend looking for a SATA cable with a 90 degree elbow where it plugs into the motherboard to help clear the fan assembly.
     
  8. MacDann thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MacDann

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
    Can see the end of the Earth from here
    #8
    Again, thanks to all who responded. This place never ceases to amaze me.

    I looked at some logic board images and see exactly where the SATA ports are on the logic board. Can't believe I didn't notice them recently when I had the fans out to install a new wifi card.

    Amazon Prime Next Day has an order for my cables, which will be here tomorrow. I already have a mounting bracket, as I had an OWC legacy SSD in the bay, which, I might add, wasn't working for reasons unknown.

    I don't run Windows, so that's not an issue. I just want to be able to boot off an SSD and not have to give up my SAS drives and RAID.

    MacDann
     
  9. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a

    OS6-OSX

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Location:
    California
    #9
    just a little late to the 3,1 event! I think an nMP user hid my invitation:D! As shown in the photo the red power is "snaked" up to the optical bay. Not unlike yourself I have the OWC bracket that is housing 2 SSDs.
    Spring Cleaning.JPG
     
  10. MacDann thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MacDann

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
    Can see the end of the Earth from here
    #10
    Working from my MP 3,1 booting off my SSD in the second drive bay!

    Thanks to all who helped out, and to Amazon's next day delivery, too!

    MacDann
     

Share This Page