Installing drive array in 2010 Mac Pro DVD drive area

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Running with Scissors, May 11, 2016.

  1. Running with Scissors, May 11, 2016
    Last edited: May 11, 2016

    Running with Scissors macrumors newbie

    Running with Scissors

    Apr 18, 2016
    I had an idea to install a couple of SATA III cards in my Mac Pro, then run SATA cables up to the DVD drive mounting area and mount 4 SSD drives and configure in a RAID 0 array, to get a huge amount of throughput (I figure about 1.2-1.5GB/sec) for a video editing system (I'd still keep at least one drive on the native SATA controller for booting and software installation). Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to get cables to there. I can reuse the two cables intended for the removable media drives, but I'll still need two more (I can split the power connectors - SSD drives don't use much power). Everywhere I've looked, tolerances are too tight to run anything thicker than a superthin wire with no connectors through there, at least not without cutting the chassis, which I'd like to avoid. Yes, I could get eSATA cards instead, and use external drives, but that lacks finesse.

    Anyone ever do this?

    ETA: Figured it out. The opening for the original SATA cables is a lot larger than I originally thought. If you push the mesh-wrapped cable towards the rear of the case, there's enough room to run a couple of SATA cables with connectors.

    Still curious if anyone's done it before, though.
  2. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    If you're trying to get a huge amount of throughput, then SATA is holding you back anyway and you'd probably want something like this:

    But to answer your question about cable routing anyway, it depends on which MP you have.

    I am only familiar with the 2010, and there is an existing square hole there with cables already running through it. It's probably big enough for a SATA data cable head to go through, but I don't know about four of them. You have to remove the optical bay and the plate behind it. It looks like so (see on the left):


    I don't know about earlier MP models, but I assume there has to be something similar for the IDE or SATA cables to get down to the backplane.
  3. Running with Scissors thread starter macrumors newbie

    Running with Scissors

    Apr 18, 2016
    The 2010 is the one I have (See the subject), I discovered there was room after removing the aluminum plate at the back of the drive bay.

    I'm already aware of the devices you linked to, but I'm thinking with my method, I can get comparable performance at about 1/3 the price (based on current prices of 120 GB SSDs). SATA III is capable of 600 MB/sec per channel, but I believe the 4xPCIe channels limits me to about 800MB/sec per slot (SATA controllers with more than 4 PCIe channels are ridiculously expensive).

    Thanks for your response.
  4. Draeconis macrumors 6502a

    May 6, 2008
    It's 800Mbps if you put it in slot 1 or 2, in slot 3 or 4 you'd get roughly 1,500Mbps. If you're using that Amfeltec adapter, it'll treat that single 16x slot as 4 4x slots, meaning you could get up to just under 6Gbps (check barefeats for benchmarks).
  5. h9826790 macrumors G5


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    Unless you want to take 4x large size SSD in RAID 0 (e.g. 4x 850evo total 8T SSD), otherwise, install a PCIe SSD with adaptor make much more sense.

    For small SSD, e.g. 4x120G, the STAT 3 card is relatively expensive. And the cable is hard to manage, and if any one of the SSD / cable goes wrong, the RAID array will be failed. And the speed still limiting (compare to PCIe SSD).

    On the other hard. A cheap PCIe adaptor + more expensive 480G PCIe SSD should not cost you much much more. But no need to manage any cable, a single SSD can achieve ~1500MB/s. No RAID required, TRIM available, and it's bootable.
    --- Post Merged, May 12, 2016 ---
    However, I am assuming you are not going for some really cheap unknown brand SSD, if you go for that, 4x small size SSD may be really much cheaper. I just get one for $30. Perfect for Windows gaming. If it fail, I just buy another one. Nothing really important in there anyway. And so far, it works very well. Can't complain for just $30.
    --- Post Merged, May 12, 2016 ---
    Anyway, unless you keep the door open, the cable hold is behind the optical bay as the picture showed by ActionalbleMango.

    I doubt if the hole is big enough to put 4x SATA cable there. If one of your HDD bay is empty, may be leave all SSD at there is easier. Just a tape can do the job well.

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4 May 11, 2016