Mac Pro RAID Card

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by NYCPilot, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. NYCPilot macrumors newbie

    Sep 28, 2008
    Hi All,

    I am looking to purchase a RAID card for my Mac Pro. I want it to be an internal RAID solution, which leaves CalDigit and Apple's cards as far as I can tell.

    I know the CalDigit card is faster, and supports Windows, but every OS X update, I would risk breaking the card support, right?

    Would you recommend the Apple or CalDigit?

    Also, my plan is to have 4 drives in my Mac Pro. 1 320 GB drive as the boot/applications drive, and then 3 1.5TB drives as my RAID 5 array. Just curious, does anyone know if the Apple or CalDigit card supports the 1.5TB drives?

    Thanks for the help.

    Also, is there any reason I wouldn't want to make a 4 drive array with 4 1.5 TB Hard drives, then create two partitions on it, one for OS/Apps, the other for storage? I was thinking of doing that as well
  2. scottydawg macrumors 6502


    Jan 22, 2008
    Sacramento, CA
    I have an Apple RAID card and it has worked well for me so far. If your using a 4 disc set up I suggest putting OS X and applications on one disk, it will be easier for updates and changes, then you can RAID the other 3 how you want or in my case I set OS X on the first Disc, set a RAID 0 for disc 2 and 3 for data and left disc 4 as a scratch disc. Seems to be working very well.
  3. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    FYI: Remember, the Apple RAID Card also doubles as a SAS controller, should you wanna choose high performance 'Serial Attached SCSI' instead of the standard SATA. Don't get confused, they're two very different systems. Also, the Apple version offer's battery backed-up cache but from what I've read, there is an bug.

    HighPoint Technologies also offer RAID cards for MacPro,
    they offer support for internal and external drives.
  4. NYCPilot thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 28, 2008
    I had looked into Highpoint, but I dont want to rewire my computer, I want the RAID card to have an "iPass" (mini-SAS) connector to take the internal drives, like the Apple and CalDigit one.

    I also don't need the performance of SAS. I am using this more as a storage array.
  5. viking396 macrumors member


    Sep 26, 2008
    Running a 3 drive RAID5 array makes no sense, if you're going to use RAID5, which isn't a bad idea then go 4 drives so you can afford one to die and the system keeps running. You'll be running in a degraded state but you'd be running until you replace the failed drive. Better than going a 2 drive RAID1 or 3 drive RAID5 solution anyday.
  6. NYCPilot thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 28, 2008
    You do understand RAID 5 with 3 drives is just as fault tolerant as a 4 drive array, right? 3 drive RAID 5 can withstand a drive failure and run in a degraded state until you replace the failed drive, just like a 4 drive array.

    RAID 6 (which the apple card does not support) can handle a two drive failure, but at the cost of losing 2 drives worth of storage in the array.
  7. Trip.Tucker Guest

    Mar 13, 2008
    Unfortunately, there are a lot of posters on MacRumors who have a limited understanding of RAID (among a lot of other topics). Best to filter those posts out and hope that the more knowledgeable provide a correct answer.
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Neither! :eek:

    Take a look at Accusys. They are the OEM for CalDigit. As you only want to run a 4 drive array, they also have a model that is perfect for you needs. $220 to $240USD cheaper too! :eek: You can find it at newegg for $280USD.
    A better solution would be use the 320GB as the OS drive, mounted in the empty optical bay. Run it from the drive controller on the logic board. You will need a cable to do this. The other 3 unused SATA ends offer future possibilities too, such as an eSATA bracket (2 port) and a spare for the optical drive. These ports would also be recognized by windows if you ever use Boot Camp. :)

    That would leave you all 4 of the drive bays for the RAID 5 array. Using the 4th drive would allow it to run faster, give additional storage space, as well as the redundancy you're looking for.
    You could partition the drives for multiple arrays if you wish.

    I would not recommend one being a boot/OS drive though.
    • RAID takes longer to boot, as the card must initialize first.
    • Separation of the OS drive from the data array is a smarter idea. In case of a failure, it can be repaired without data loss. It can even make the OS drive repair/replacement much faster and easier. ;)

    Hope this helps. :)
  9. Trip.Tucker Guest

    Mar 13, 2008
    Good job nanofrog, nice post. Good to see accurate and wise information being put forth ;)
  10. NYCPilot thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 28, 2008
    Thank you very much for the thorough response. I will definitely give the Accusys cards a good look. Have you used them in the past? Have they performed well for you?

    I would want a battery backup, and see that the kit is ACS-1162, but cannot find it anywhere. Any ideas on that? I would really like a battery backup since the power where I live is kind of flaky when it rains, and an event killing my RAID array would be a sad day.

    Also, I was thinking of mounting a hard drive in my optical bay. Do you have any suggestions on brackets? I know there are OEMs making ones specifically for the Mac Pro, so I was wondering if you had experience with any.

    Thanks a lot.
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I haven't used it. :(
    But it has good specs, the customer reviews are good (the one issue I saw was corrected with a firmware update), and if you look at the specs, they are the same as the CalDigit. So it seems, this is what Accusys modified (# of ports) to meet CalDigit's specifications. :)

    If the CalDigit would suit your needs, this should do so as well. :D Just in a version with fewer ports, and saving you a considerable bit of cash. :eek:
    I would send an e-mail to Accusys. They can tell you where it's available, I should think, if not sell you one directly.

    However, you would likely be better off using a decent UPS. Say a 1500VA unit. It filters power fluctuations, and is better than just using a RAID card battery. If possible, you could use both, as this is as close to ideal as possible.

    If one or the other, go for the UPS. You can find them for about $200-250USD. Well worth the money involved. :)
    Given their weight, it may be better to buy locally as shipping may be more than the sales tax. :p
    Any 5.25" to 3.5" adapter (single drive) would work. :) If you were thinking of the multiple HDD mounts from MaxUpgrades, it won't be needed unless you plan to place 2 drives per optical bay.
  12. NYCPilot thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 28, 2008
    Thank you for all the help nanofrog. Any suggestions on UPS's? Is APC still generally considered the golden standard, and which model would you suggest?

    Also, how do you know Accusys is the OEM for CalDigit? I hadn't seen that anywhere.

    Looking at newegg, I found two different items with similar modem numbers: ACS-61000-4 and ACS-61000-4H. Any ideas on the differences, I really don't see anything other than active/passive cooling, and don't see much online about the 4H.

    Thanks again for all the help.
  13. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I still like APC. They have a few variations, but if you get one that uses RS232 (serial port) for management/control functions, you would need to aquire an RS232 card. I have found one for a Mac, BTW. Otherwise, go for another method of connection. USB or even Ethernet. USB would be easier if you don't have a hub with an open port.

    APC (Ethernet) APC BACK-UPS RS 1500VA LCD 120V
    APC (UPS) Back-UPS RS 1500VA

    Other brands may work just as well, but I haven't any experience with them. :eek: I believe these may be more likely to have a model or two using RS232 communication.
    Hint: Make a serious comparison between the two. Specifications and photos (the passive model in particular). ;) :p
    I'd go for the passive version.
    1. No fan, so less to break.
    2. It seems to provide adequate cooling in a Mac Pro. :)
    3. Cheaper. Twenty bucks is twenty bucks. Consider it free shipping. :p
  14. NYCPilot thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 28, 2008
    So I was doing some thinking. What are the reasons against using a 4 drive RAID 5 array, and creating two volumes, a 300 GB Bootable System Volume, and a Data Volume where I would store the Data.

    Would this not increase my system performance? I dont reboot often, so the spinup and initialization of the RAID array is inconsequential to me. I do see variable opinions on whether or not to do this, I would like to maximize storage space and performance.

    I do not want to mount a drive in the optical bay yet, so my two choices are a 4x1.5TB RAID 5 array, with a 300 GB system volume, and the rest of the space used as a data volume; or a 320 GB Boot Disk, and a 3x1.5TB RAID 5 array all used as a data volume.

    Any ideas and advice would be greatly appreciated.
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Well, if you will only use 4 drives, and speed is obviously a concern, I'd say go with a 4 drive RAID 5. Partition it into two volumes, and use the smallest for the OS as you described.

    Usually, I prefer to separate the OS from the array drives, or use a completely separate array (independent drives from data drives), as it offers a little more safety. This is from the standpoint that the data is far more important than the OS or apps, as they can be reloaded from original media much easier and faster than data, even with current backups. ;)

    But as speed is an apparent sore spot, I'd avoid the 320GB OS drive and 3 drive RAID 5. It does offer a little greater safety, but it has a cost in speed.

    If at all possible, I'd get the 5th drive for a separate OS disk, and the 4 drive array. Not sure why you don't want to use the empty optical bay. Very easy to do from a physical standpoint. ;)

    Any particular reason for keeping the optical bay empty you're willing to share? :confused:

    Also, for RAID, do yourself a giant favor and buy enterprise grade drives. They are more expensive, but well worth it. Consumer drives will die. The 320GB drive that came with the system is a consumer model. :(
    It would be just fine for an OS drive though. ;)

    I hope this helps. :)
  16. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007

    Kinda like this, huh? Four 1TB ES2 drives for the Raid 5
    and one installed where the second optical drive would go, used solely for the OS!
  17. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Exactly! :D :p

    BTW, SATA or SAS versions?
  18. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    I went with SATA cause they were cheaper and available!!! :D
    Though, within two months I already had a swap out of the entire set,
    cause there was a problem. Thankfully for free!

    ... now, I wish i gone with SAS!!
    But that's experience for you :(

    Next time.... I'll know better!
  19. dollystereo macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2004
    I was in the same debate as you and I opted for this:
    I got 4 Seagate 1tb drives(not ES)
    I got Hight point 2314 external SATA card (200USD)
    Firmtek 5 bay sata port multiplier enclosure (A beauty back plate enclosure)
    working just with one sata cable, like a baby.
    As I wanted more security, I setup 2 RAID 1 (1Tb each), i still have room for one sparse drive.
  20. johnsonvideo macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2009
    My cable arrived

    Well, my cable arrived to connect to my 320 GB SATA drive and to my motherboard on my MAC PRO, but I don't understand how to connect it.

    Figured it out. Edited post.

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