looking for raid controller

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by loungecorps, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. loungecorps macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2010
    Hello everyone, I have been searching for a good raid controller with ports for both internal & external drives. Does this exist on the mac side?
  2. philipma1957, Nov 18, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2010

    philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    yes what is your price range and do you want it to be bootable?

    this is a top of the line model below:


    I am not an expert on raid cards nanofrog a member here know much more than i do.

    here is what i have it is low cost it does not boot.


    I use it with this


    and this


    Attached Files:

  3. loungecorps thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2010
  4. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    build is okay. I have two I thought it was a bargain so when it went on sale a got the second one.

    if you go to newegg. I did a long review of it. that was for the first one i purchased. the second one was better then the first one. in both models i either replaced or tweaked the fans.

    since the review i grabbed a second one and now am using the 4 port firmtek sata card. the second one the trays were not stuck. the power supply fan was much quieter then the first. I only added a rubber gasket and nylon screws.

    this is my review from newegg:

    Rosewill rsv-s8 great with 2 mods.
    Pros: Good price works well but 2 mods are a must.

    Cons: You must switch out fans. the large 120mm fan has an ugly blue light and is loud. newegg carries the noctua nf-s12b flx fan comes with a lot of adapters you need to switch the stock fan to this fan. the power supply fan is loud newegg carries the noctua nf-r8-1800 fan. once this set of fans are swapped out the case becomes quiet. cost around 40 bucks to do this mod.

    other cons came well packed, but the drives shifted and were very very very hard to remove. once removed correct setup was easy.

    one more con in order to change the fan on the power supply you have to open the power supply which voids the warranty. for someone like myself fine no problem. I have a house full of tools and have done this small precise work since 1975.

    If you just want to plug and play this may not be what you want. If you can tweak this is a good deal.

    Other Thoughts: since the case is esata short cables work better. if you can do 20 inch vs 1 meter it will run with more stability. I run this with (5) 1.5tb wd caviar black from newegg and (3) 2.0tb wd re4 hdds from newegg.
    I run as Jbod. I can partition each hdd into 16 sections so this can look like 120 plus hdds to the macPro i run this with.

    I used a 2 esata pcie card from newer technology. I get reads and writes over 100mb/s stable and quiet. if you know how to use this case one set of 4 hdds can be routed via one esata connection to one computer and one set of 4 hdd can be routed via the second esata connection to a second computer. this is a nice feature for some users

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you?
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Keep in mind, the card used with that particular enclosure uses software based RAID. So do not use it for a level 5 array, as it cannot deal with the write hole issue associated with parity based arrays (requires a hardware solution). Nor is it bootable for OS X.

    So it comes down to: What exactly do you need?
    • Bootable under OS X?
    • How many disks?
    • How much throughput?
    • Will you be running it with multiple OS's?

    There could be more information needed, but the answers to these would at least give an idea as to where to start. ;)
  6. loungecorps thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2010
    I don't need it to be bootable.
    a few of my regular clients are going HD, which means i'm going HD. I need speed. I think I could get away with only 4 or 5 disks. and yes I do use multiple OS's.
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Speed is primarily a function of the number of disks used in the array (regardless of the level used). Past that, the card is also important, but you can't make the same disk count go faster than they're capable of running in the chosen configuration. So the more disks you use, the faster the throughput.

    As a bare minimum, I'd recommend going with an 8 port card (say an ARC-1880i, as it's a 6.0Gb/s compliant card, which will allow you some headroom for future drives, such as SSD's that are faster than 3.0Gb/s can handle - manufacturer's link for detailed specs). To get 4x of the ports external, you'd need to use a special cable and run it out of a PCI bracket, but it will do the job (cable).

    To use the internal HDD bays, you'd need this kit for a 2009/10 system.

    External enclosure (model depends on the number of disks you need externally):

    As per multiple OS's, Areca (maker of the card linked), has drivers for OS X, Windows, and Linux. It will even boot EFI if you flash it.
  8. loungecorps thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2010
    Thanks nanofrog. I had been looking at other solutions but what you showed me is alot cheaper. The raid card looks like it will suit me for awhile. and i'm definitely going with an 8-bay enclosure.:)
  9. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    I use the tr8x along with some others here very nice case for the money :)
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    The ARC-1880i doesn't have sufficient ports to utilize the TR8X fully (8x ports total, 4x internal and 4x internal will leave 4x bays unusable without additional ports).

    You can solve this by getting the ARC-1880ix12 (12 port version, and the cache is on a DIMM slot, which can be upgraded to a larger capacity; nice feature, and not available on ATTO's products).

    If you wish to stick with the ARC-1880i, go with the TR4X (4 bay unit; just a smaller version of the TR8X).​

    Please note that the Sans Digital enclosures must have a 1:1 port to disk ratio, as there's no SAS expander in it. SAS expanders can allow you to run up to 128 disks, but they're sharing ports (just like a PM chip does with SATA disks; BTW, SAS expanders will work with SATA disks just like the card). But the also increase costs and complexity for a small system.

    You also need to use enterprise grade HDD's to prevent stability problems (has to do with recovery timings; search out other RAID threads for more detail).

    For disks, take a look at the HDD Compatability List on Areca's Support Site (.pdf file), as it can save you all kinds of headaches by getting drives that may not work (and have to deal with RMA's and time lost).

    The 1TB capacity disks are the "sweet spot" for capacity, cost and speed, so I'd recommend the WD RE3 1TB (will work with these cards).
  11. khollister macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    OK - I'm confused. The 1880i is listed as an 8 port card. It has a single external SAS SFF-8088 connector. Even the 24 port card only has a single external SAS connector. THe SansDigital case only has a pair of SAS connectors. Looking at the spec sheet for the Areca cards, it is not at all clear how the port limitations are implemented. It would appear that an internal SFF-8087 connector is provided for every 4 internal ports the card supports, but except for the 1880x (which appears to be external only with 2 SF-8088 connectors), every card has a single external SAS connector.

    I'm obviously having a senior moment :)
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    That's not an SFF-8088 on the ARC-1880i, but an Ethernet port (for email notification, remote access, and NTP use). SAS/SATA connections = 2x SFF-8087 only.

    The ARC-1880ix12/16/24 models do have 1x SFF-8088, which share ports with an internal connector (also has an Ethernet port). So I usually don't mention this to avoid confusion (easiest to leave the external port alone IMO, especially if all ports on the card are going to be used).

    There is a cable (SFF-8087 - SFF-8088 cable) to get an internal port to an external enclosure (here; linked a couple of posts up). I'm accustomed to most using SATA disks, so I only link the 1.0m version to avoid stability problems (also occurs with adapters) due to the low voltage spec of SATA (400 - 600mV).

    Longer cables and adapters for SAS is another story, as it runs at 20V. I usually only mention this if I know SAS disks will be used.
  13. khollister, Nov 20, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2010

    khollister macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    The data sheet for the 1880 series clearly lists 2 x SFF-8088 connectors for the 1800x. You can see the two SAS connectors as well as the ethernet connector in the photo of the card in the data sheet. Seems that would be the card to use if you didn't need additional internal drives.

    I am also confused on the -12/16/14 cards. The data sheet seems to imply they are 8 port external, but only have a single SFF-8088 connector. I though SAS was 4 ports to a 8088 unless expanders were used? Most of the 8 bay cases state you have to use both SAS connectors for 8 drives.

    And I meant 1880ix, not i - you are obviously right about it not having any external ports.

    UPDATE: I think I understand the data sheet wording. It says "8/12/16/24 internal ports and/or 4/8 external" With the exception of the 1880x (and the 1880i), all of the ports are connectorized on 8087's internally, with a single 8088 to share 4 ports externally. The 1880x is the only card in the line with 8 external ports and no internals, hence the "or" in the description. I got it now.
  14. khollister macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    Now what I'm confused about is how Lloyd ran a 6 disk array with the 6 port ATTO card on a single SAS connection? I'm pretty sure that is what he said he was doing on a post on his blog a couple weeks ago. I need to go look.

    Unless the case was an expander (it was some $1400 sexy thing, in typical Lloyd fashion).
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I've not seen it, but a SAS expander is the only thing that makes any sense off the top of my head.

    I'll pull up his site, and take a look....

    EDIT: The enclosure = iStoragePro SAS Enclosure, and it is a SAS Expander equipped unit.
    Separate review.

    Expensive little bugger (~$1600USD empty).

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