Need more drives!

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by sboerup, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. sboerup macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2009
    I'm continually upgrading my drives to larger drives. While in the time being that is fine, but my disk space usage is also increasing. Rather than replacing my 2TB drives in a year for 4TB drives (or whatever size they may be), I'd love to add more drives.

    Right now I have my 'backup' drives in an 8-bay SansDigital eSATA cage. This is fine for backups, but for simplicity and drive speed sake, I'd love to just add more drives to my machine. I'm using up all 5 available SATA ports on my 2010 MP. I don't use the Optical drive much, so got to thinking: what about putting my optical drive into an external firewire/USB housing and plug it in when I need to use it. This would free up one extra drive port, which would suffice for the next 2 years or so.

    So, are they are good external casing's that will allow me to use my current MP SATA optical drive? Is this method bootable, what pitfalls might I run into? Thanks in advance.
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    OWC Multi-Mount lets you have two 3.5" HDs in ODD slot. Not sure about the boot thing but I think it will work (I remember some people having SSDs in ODD slot as boot drives).

    Here is USB 2.0 enclosure for the ODD.

    BTW, 3TB HDs are out so if you're after capacity, take a look at them
  3. sboerup thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2009
    Space isn't the problem, it's the extra SATA port I'd need. Thanks for the link on the USB2 enclosure, looks like what I'm looking for.

    Will call and ask them if it's bootable, but I don't think USB is bootable . . . is it?
  4. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    your 8 bay sans should be reaching speeds that a single HDD can handle ?

    not sure the card you are using ? but firmtek makes a nice 4 port PM card you can get another case and go that route ?

    or get 4 5 bay cases and get plenty of speed using a raid 10 setup or something else ?

    if its more pure storage I would say check your 8 bay sans case speed using AJA and compare it with your internals ? then maybe go that route with a decent PM card like the one from OWC in case your stock card is not doing it for you ? my PM stuff gets about 150 MB/s
    picked up two of the OWC ones that are 6g but have not tested them yet for speed ?
  5. sboerup thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2009
    I get about 80MB/s with current tests. Not slow, but I only use it for backing up my main internal drives.

    I'd like to keep them internal for simplicity's sake. Bought the USB case above, $40 after shipping and should be exactly what I need.
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    You can boot from USB. :) If you go this route, you'll have 1x backplane cable (data + power) per optical bay, so you can run a total of 6x disks internally without the need for adding a card for SATA ports or finding a means of powering drives.

    Assuming you leave the ODD internal however, read on:

    As per a SATA port, what system are you using?
    I ask, as there have been issues before with SATA/eSATA cards on some systems, that turned out to be related to the model and firmware revision.

    But assuming there's no issues, you can get a non-bootable SATA card on the cheap (SIL3132 card with configurable ports), and use OS X drivers to get it working (found here). There are other cards that could be used, but they're usually eSATA (messy cabling). Sonnet would be a good company to look at as well, but they are more expensive (both this brand and the SIL3132 card linked are 3.0Gb/s compliant; I don't recall in internal 6.0Gb/s version with internal SATA ports - all are eSATA so far I've seen).

    Another thing to consider, is power for the extra SATA disk without loosing the data signal from whichever ODD backplane cable you use (still allows it to work with a disk + get power to another). You can read here for a how-to.

    Hope this helps. :)
  7. sboerup thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2009
    Thanks for the replies everyone.

    I knew that USB was bootable, but wasn't sure if an ODD would be bootable as I've never tried it. OWC said that if your machine supports booting from USB then you'll be good.

    Bought the external case.

    Another SATA drive will go inside the ODD using the ODD SATA power/data cable. I'll be good for quite a while now.

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