MP09: How to make a bootable 6 HDD + SSD rig - lowcost with Highpoint 620

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by seisend, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. seisend, Apr 12, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012

    seisend macrumors 6502a

    seisend

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    Switzerland, ZG
    #1
    Hello,

    I just ordered a Vertex 3 120GB for my Mac Pro with a Highpoint Rocket 620 Sata III PCI-E Card with two internal SATA ports.

    I'm using a Vertex 3 120GB in my MacBook Pro 2011 already with no problems.

    I read on the internet that the Highpoint Rocket 620 card is supported under OS X 10.6, but no information about booting, etc. .

    Does anyone have any experience with this / using the same card? Will this work for booting into Mac OS 10.6 with my Vertex 3?

    http://www.highpoint-tech.com/USA_new/series_r600.htm

    THank you very much.

    **** SOLVED ****

    Here is what I did:

    How to make a bootable 6 HDD + SSD rig:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPDReYS5JR0

    What we know:

    - Highpoint Rocket 620 works in a Mac Pro 09 (4.1) - Chipset 9123
    - Not working with Mac Pro 08 (3.1) ??? (Read in this thread below)
    - BOOTABLE : Boots into OS X (tested with 10.6) -> No drivers needed.
    - Read/Write speed is not SATA III like, but faster than SATA II.
    - Boots into Windows? Not tested yet. But I'd say it works.

    IMPORTANT UPDATE !

    User "funkahdafi" reports that the Rocket 620 is not bootable with the newer 9125 chipset under OS 10.7.X in Mac Pro 4,1.

    Update 2:

     
  2. sakaguchinet macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    Location:
    Siegburg, Germany
    #2
    Hello,

    I also ordered a Vertex3 for my 8core 2.26MP. I am planning to run it over the SATA2 controller. How much of the SATA3 performance you can get through SATA2?

    Are you sure the Rocket 620 is OSX compatible? I would also be very interested in.
     
  3. weckart macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    #3
    You can get up to SATA 2 levels of performance. It is like plugging a USB 3 hard drive into a USB 2 port and expecting any more than USB 2 speeds. It ain't going to happen.
     
  4. seisend thread starter macrumors 6502a

    seisend

    Joined:
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    #4
    SATA III:

    Max Read : 550 MB's
    Max Write : 500 MB's

    SATA II:

    Max Read : 280 MB's
    Max Write : 260 MB's

    http://www.ocztechnology.com/res/manuals/OCZ_Vertex3_Product_sheet_3.pdf
     
  5. sakaguchinet macrumors newbie

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    #5
    That are theoretical values. What are the real values with the macpro?
     
  6. nanofrog, Apr 12, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011

    nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #6
    No. It's driver support only.

    The only bootable 2 port eSATA card they make is this one, and it's 3.0Gb/s, not 6.0Gb/s. Their 4 port 6.0Gb/s model will also boot EFI64 (here). ATTO makes a bootable 6.0Gb/s non-RAID HBA, but it's a lot more money ($400USD).

    Those are real values (they vary a bit there and there due to the drives and actual SATA controller, but not that drasically).

    Theoretical values (convert 3.0 and 6.0Gb/s to MB/s), you get:
    • SATA III = 750MB/s
    • SATA II = 375MB/s
     
  7. xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    #7
    You mean 2 port, and external only right? I wish there was at least one alternative to ATTO for internal sata 3 bootable. I keep hoping the more drives that are released, the more some 3rd parties might try to sell to mac users. I suspect the 2011-12 MP will be out before this happens though.
     
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #8
    Yes. Both of the Highpoint cards are eSATA, so if you use either one, you'll have to run a cable through a PCI bracket to get it internal if you want it there instead of the drive hanging out back. The other alternative, is an external enclosure for the drive (definitely cleaner).

    As far as disks (SSD's), they should work whether or not they're marketed towards Mac owners or not (SATA x spec is SATA x spec). Keep in mind, that Macs are not the only systems that use EFI/UEFI firmware (some other vendors have also migrated already, but have kept it quiet, and Itanium for example, can't run on BIOS at all; the Itanium processors are what EFI was originally created for).
     
  9. xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    #9
    By the way, is there any difference between a sata 2 cable and a sata 3 rated cable?
     
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #10
    Ideally NO, as they're designed to use the same spec and materials (wire and connectors).

    But it is possible a poorly made cable could cause some loss of speed due to noise (poor/marginal quality materials or manufactured too fast, which can cause things like the connectors don't form properly in the injection molding process).

    There is a newer cable and connector spec for portable devices (laptop drive connectors and cables) which has tighter specifications/tolerances, but these aren't used in the Mac Pro.

    So if the cable is of dodgy quality or you've solid proof there's a problem with a particular drive (i.e. have identical models, and one is running noticably slower), you could swap a pair of cables to test if that's the issue.
     
  11. ppayne macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    #11
    So does it boot?

    Sad that no one posted a follow up. Can the HighPoint Rocket 620 be used to normally boot SSDs with a Mac Pro? There is *no* useful information on the Internet about this, only that the card is "supported out of the box for Mac" (which could mean non-booting).
     
  12. seisend thread starter macrumors 6502a

    seisend

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    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    Switzerland, ZG
    #12
    I received the Rocket 620 last week and installed it in my Mac Pro. As nanofrog mentioned, it won't boot. I will try anyway and report back because I am naive. ;-) I didn't test the card yet. So I don't know for sure if it works at all !

    I didn't receive the vertex 3 and the sata power cables yet. Also I will install other harddrives in the second optibay. I will place three harddrives there. 2 HDD's and one SSD. I will post some pictures, etc. to show how I did it.

    So stay tuned
     
  13. Another1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Location:
    Germany
    #13
    Are you sure it supports SATA 6GB/s? All documents only says SAS 6GB/s and SATA II (3GB/s), nothing about SATA III.

    Its max. 600MB/s or 300MB/s because of 8b10b transfer where 8 data bits are transported within 10 bits. And here are some real world values for the Vertex3:

    64KB blocks read (min/max): 211/336MB/s
    64KB blocks write (min/max): 257/380MB/s
    128KB blocks write/read (max): 234/529MB/s

    from german computermagazine c't
     
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #14
    It uses a single controller (SAS controllers can handle SATA disks; the reverse is not possible however).

    There is a proviso in ATTO's printed language, which has to do with the PCIe lane specification it's used in (requires PCIe 2.0 for 6.0Gb/s compliance - SAS or SATA).

    From ATTO's 6.0Gb/s non-RAID page:

    Theoretical max values for bandwidth don't take any overhead into account (encoding schemes, protocol, latency,...).

    But I realize you're point, and the 8b/10b encoding is a significant reason that the real world throughput doesn't meet the bandwidth (followed by latency in the case of SATA).

    I look at it this way;
    Total possible bandwidth is 6.0Gb/s = 750MB/s.
    1. Subtract the the 8b/10b encoding overhead and it reduces to 600MB/s
    2. Real world is 550 - 540MB/s, which the difference (~50 to 60MB/s) is the losses due to latency.

    Total loss of 200 - 210MB/s or so (= about a 27 - 28% loss).​
     
  15. Another1 macrumors newbie

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    Apr 4, 2011
    Location:
    Germany
    #15
    I know SAS-Controller can handle SATA as well, but the specs only say: SAS 2.0, SAS, SATA II, SATA. SAS 2.0 means 6GB/s (SAS = 3GB/s) but no words about SATA III. Does anyone have one of these ATTO-controllers in use?
     
  16. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #16
    I went back and looked at the Tech Sheet, and I think I see where you're getting this information (stated the same way you're indicating).

    It's built off of a Marvell 88SE9485 (non-RAID version; RAID version = 88SE9480), which is 6.0Gb/s compliant (means SAS or SATA @ 6.0Gb/s). They'd be laughed out of business otherwise. As this is governed by the chip, it's incorrect. (Take a look here, and read carefully; simplest page that shows you what I'm talking about, namely "Native SATA 3/6 Gb/s interface support" and the details next to the part number I've listed). Those that are 3.0Gb/s compliant only, are older parts.

    BTW, I found the H608 for ~$100 cheaper at provantage.com (here).
     
  17. xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

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    Aug 6, 2007
    #17
    I've had the H608 and it does boot OSX and it does run sata 3 drives (albiet noticeably slower than a native windows sata 3 "on motherboard" controller) I am planning to get another one and try it again with a vertex 3 I just received. I have not see another acceptable OSX bootable solution quite frankly.

    Nano,, good price find on the ATTO.
     
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #18
    • What system board, particularly the controller make, did you test on a PC?
    • Also, could you remind me of the MP you have (also wondering about the PCIe lane specification in your machine - slot used can matter as well, as the 2008 had both PCIe 1.0 and 2.0 lanes <1&2 = 2.0 @ 16x lanes, 3&4 = 1.0 @4x lanes>)?
    I'm accustomed to the RAID versions (i.e. R608 would be the RAID version), and they run with SATA 6.0Gb/s just fine when placed in a PCIe 2.0 slot of 8x lanes or more.

    Assuming there's no other obvious issues (i.e. PCIe lane spec & lane count), I'm wondering if the drivers you used for the non-RAID version didn't have the kinks worked out (expect this to be more likely), or worse, they've gimped it for some strange reason (perhaps why it's worded the way it is - But I've never seen any of Marvell's 6.0Gb/s controllers do this due to such an obvious design flaw).
     
  19. Another1 macrumors newbie

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    #19
    Thanks. I think the specs of ATTO are a little bit imprecise.
     
  20. xgman, Apr 19, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2011

    xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

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    #20

    I am comparing the "Mac" side benches as compared to PC benches not on a 2010 Mac Pro (see sig) I'm just going by average reported tested PC benches that I had seen on the drive I tested in general, as compared to what I saw. Not even in the same ballpark, but yes faster than sata 2 mostly, but this was on a cruddy corsair sata 3 drive I no longer have. The vertex 3's should be way faster. I have no specific knowledge of why a sata card in a 16x slot on a 2010 mac pro would be less capable than a new model PC motherboard sata 3 implementation, but that was my impression. I did not bench any sata 3 drives in windows since my ssd was osx boot only.

    Also, I think I remember reading somewhere that the max capable throughput on this implementation on a mac pro was somehow limited in bandwidth anyway?
     
  21. xgman, Apr 19, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2011

    xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    #21
    nano, I'm confused, are you saying that the PMC-Sierra’s new PM8001 Tachyon® SPC 8x6G 8-port SAS/SATA controller on the ATTO H608 is using a Marvell 9485 chip? Is that a more recent or older marvel sata 3 chipset?

    Atto says: "All of our 6Gb cards use a PMC chipset. The 6Gb RAID cards use a Marvell RAID chip (we use our own stack). "
     
  22. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #22
    No.

    I've not seen any information as to PMC at all. What I have seen, is the Marvell controller (9480) in the RAID versions, and from a systems POV, that's the way the designers would go to save time due to predictable behavior and share design and components as much as possible. This all simplifies to lower costs, and should also provide consistent product quality (they serve the enterprise market, so a screw-up can have a major impact on their future earnings).

    Switching to another make of controller wouldn't seem the best way to go, unless there was a technical issue that didn't exist in the RAID version, or if there's a drastic cost difference.

    Where are you finding this?

    I ask, as I don't see it on the web page for the H6xx series or on the Tech Sheet. :confused:
     
  23. xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

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    #23
    That was their email response to me.
     
  24. ppayne, May 2, 2011
    Last edited: May 2, 2011

    ppayne macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    #24
    Trying some stuff

    Well, I purchased a Highpoint 620 SATA III card and connected it to my Mac. I have to say, I liked the Mac Pro case before but now find it to be frustratingly rigid, since everything I want to do (string a cable up to the optical bay, get power from somewhere convenient etc) are impossible or nearly impossible.

    What I think I'll want to do, since this card won't allow the Mac to boot (this is right, yes?), is move the card and SSD to a Filemaker server I am running. The trouble here is, I need it to run in a Leopard 10.5.8 install since Filemaker Server 9 isn't compatible with Snow Leopard and I'd like to avoid upgrading if it's not necessary (Filemaker Server is expensive). Does anyone have an idea if the card might work with 10.5.8 or if I can find the driver and move it over to the Leopard install?
     
  25. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #25
    It will not boot.

    As per the drivers, I didn't see one way or the other on Highpoint's site, so you may need to call them or send off an email.
     

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