Need Bootable E-sata Card. Any suggestions

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Executor, Sep 19, 2009.

  1. Executor macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2008
    #1
    I am in desperate need for a Bootable E-sata card for my 2008 and 2009 Mac Pros. It needs to be able boot Windows as well as OS X. However the priority is to boot Windows. Any help is appreciated and price is not a problem. Thanks
     
  2. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

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    Jan 5, 2008
  3. Executor thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 1, 2008
  4. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #4
    I would challenge that. OS X isn't the problem. The problem is Windows. I have tried Highpoint and Areca and both havn't so far fullfilled my expectations. My experience is based on EFI32 so it may not be 100% the same for your EFI64 machines, but Areca have categorically excluded Bootcamp functionality which leads me to believe they cannot do it.

    To my knowledge there isn't a SATA card that will work like an internal SATA port and boot both OS X and Windows. I have a rather expensive Areca 1210 which installs Windows if you leave out the OS X part of the firmware. Nevertheless it will not boot Windows properly as the internal SATA port would.

    I have to make the reservation that I have only used RAID0 mode there. So it may be possible in JBOD which this card also does, but I would seriously doubt it.

    My advise at this point would be using an internal port for Windows and possibly in AHCI mode to achieve best compatibility and performance. Use a good card like the Areca cards for OS X which they handle very well. Any internal port of a hot swap capable card can work as an eSATA if you hook it up with the right slot back plane. Delock makes a nice product which also hooks up an USB port and a 5V power supply with DIN connector for your external drive.
     
  5. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

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    Jan 5, 2008
    #5
    I should have clarified.

    As far as I'm aware, RAID controller cards can boot OS X but cards that just add straight eSATA functionality and lack RAID controlling abilities won't boot OS X in a target disk mode.
     
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #6
    It claims it does. :eek: :p I've no idea how well it would work though, and I'm not a big fan of Highpoint. I'd had so many issues in years past with their Fake RAID cards, I just quit using their products all together.

    The EFI64 machines seem to fare just fine with the Areca cards. Keep in mind though, it's EFI boot.bin was developed for Itanium, not Macs. It just happens to work, as it should. But the EFI64 models I think can work without being forced to flash the EFI Boot portion, as the BIOS emulation does work. This is what's done on that one to boot Windows on a Mac (or Linux). But to run OS X alone, the EFI layer is typically added to make sure it will boot OS X.

    The EFI32 seems to be the source of the issues, and I'd think leaving the ARCxxxxBOOT.bin would fail under the BIOS emulation layer in that machine.

    Worth a test, but it's a lot of work, it fails (say most, if not an entire day).

    Some RAID cards can boot OS X, but there's precious few. Areca and Atto are the primary ones, though Highpoint makes the RR43xx series which does as well (Areca is the ODM on it btw). I'd think that's the main reason why it works. :p

    The link above (Highpoint) is the only model of eSATA card that I've seen that indicates it can boot EFI (= Mac boot compatible). But I've not seen anyone that's tried it, so no idea how well it works (or doesn't). :p
     
  7. Executor thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 1, 2008
    #7
    Thank you for all the insightful comments. It seems then, that booting OS X from certain E-SATA cards is indeed possible, however expensive it may be. My Main concern right now is booting Windows using my Mac Pro. So will the Areca card allow me to boot a E-SATA drive and install windows on it?. All my systems are EFI64. And Yes I am well aware that I could install windows on one of the Drive Bays but that is just not possible. I need an external ESATA bootable connection. Which Model would you recommend? Thanks
     
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #8
    Yes, the Areca would work (specifically, take a look at the same model gugucom used; the ARC-1210), and use it with an eSATA bracket. It's a simple 4 port model, and uses standard SATA connectors, not internal MiniSAS. I think the cabling would be stable enough, but you have to be careful, and essentially test it yourself. The reason is unfortunately simple: cabling can become unstable when you start using port adapters (added contact resistance & introduction of noise). This is particularly notable with MiniSAS connections when used with SATA drives.

    You'd set the drive up as a Pass Through, btw, unless you do decide to RAID multiples. Possible later, if you choose. :)

    But I think the Highpoint would be all you need, assuming there's no problems with it. I'd look for reviews, including newegg, before buying anything. :D No port adapters of any kind would be needed. ;)
     
  9. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #9
    You may be lucky to install Windows on it but that dosn't mean you will be able to boot it then.

    I would recommend to pick a particular card model and put the question together with the spec of your Mac Pro to Areca Taiwan and mention that you want it to work in Bootcamp mode. I have been told by the importer that it is possible only to be told by Areca it isn't.

    My 1210 takes an install if I flash only three pieces of firmware. But then Windows will not boot. When I set it to four firmware files including the EFI firmware (for EFI32) it will also not boot Windows, only OS X.

    I have read in the readme for the latest EFI64 firmware file that it doen't support Bootcamp.
     
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #10
    Areca will NOT work with Boot Camp (OS installs sharing the same drive/s). The windows install must be on a separate drive/s than OS X. So long as you keep to this, it will work.

    That's probably the source of confusion (differing responses between Areca TW & the importer). ;)

    In your case, try dumping the EFI boot firmware for the ARC1210BOOT.BIN portion, and see if it will boot Windows. :) I may have made a bad assumption on the BIOS emulator on that particular system (EFI32; works on EFI64). You don't normally need it (EFI for Windows boot only), as only the BIOS emulator is used. Sorry about any confusion here. :eek:

    It would likely get really messy when you want it to control multiple boot arrays (separate drives) on a Mac (OS X + other/s). I hadn't tried it with both OS X and Windows boot arrays, as I expected problems, and didn't need it anyway, had I kept the machine.
     

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