New Mac Pro Raid Card Questions

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by billgates99, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. billgates99 macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2010
    I was hoping to order the new Mac Pro and get a Raid controller with a couple of SSDs. I was disappointed to see that the SSDs are not "compatible" with this RAID card. I have two Intel X18-M G2's in my laptop and in Raid0 the transfer speeds are around 500-550MB/sec sequential read, 300-350MB/sec sequential write. It seems to make a huge impact on performance when working with large files.

    I have a couple of questions about the Mac Pro raid card that Apple provides:

    (1) If I want to run OSX on an SSD and fill up the other drives with a few 7200RPM drives in Raid0, will I need to buy an aftermarket Raid card?

    (2) Or would it be cheaper to configure my MacPro with Raid card and 7200RPM drives and get the SSD separately?

    (3) Will the Mac Pro Raid card still work properly even if the primary boot drive (the SSD) is added later?

    (4) I understand that to run a Raid with SSD requires a special controller, but is there something else about the MacPro raid card that prevents any use of an SSD in one of the drive bays after the raid is set up?
  2. Icaras macrumors 603


    Mar 18, 2008
    California, United States
    I never thought Bill Gates would ever fancy getting a Mac Pro :p
  3. billgates99 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2010

    Shhh! it's a secret (don't tell Steve) ;)
  4. Vylen macrumors 65816

    Jun 3, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Steve Jobs or Steve Ballmer?

    Jobs wouldn't have a problem with it but Ballmer would probably throw at least a chair at you.
  5. sparkie7 macrumors 68020


    Oct 17, 2008
    From 's site:

    Ready to RAID
    For data protection and enhanced SATA hard drive performance, add the Mac Pro RAID Card with 512MB of RAID cache, a 72-hour cache-protecting battery, and hardware RAID levels 0, 1, 5, and 0+1.2 A cableless connection and intuitive Apple software make it a snap to install this optional card. It’s the perfect solution for workgroup servers, video pros working with high-bit-rate assets, or anyone who wants to protect critical data.

    Even without a RAID card, Mac OS X lets you stripe two, three, or all four drives — either solid-state or hard drives — in a RAID 0 array to increase performance and create a massive volume for tasks such as video editing; or create a RAID 1 mirror to protect digital media assets from a drive failure.
  6. billgates99 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2010
    Thanks very much for clarifying, Sparkie! It seems I completely misunderstood this part of the order page.

    Now excuse me while I try to avoid Ballmer's flying chair.
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    First off, the Apple RAID Pro card is a Pile Of Junk. It's slow, expensive, and only works in a single OS. They also have battery problems.

    It will depend on what you do. It's technically possible, but the ICH (SATA controller = 6x SATA ports; 4x = HDD bays, 2x = optical bays), has a fixed limit of ~660MB/s.

    If the OS X drive (single SSD) can run a sustained throughput of say 250MB/s, that leaves a max of 410MB/s for the remaining 3x HDD bays and both optical drives. Now lets say you use 3x mechanical drives that can do 110MB/s in the remaining HDD bays. That leaves 80MB/s, which is sufficient for a DVD burner, and leave the empty optical bay alone (or only use it sparingly if somethings attached). Keep in mind, this is simultaneous access (all disks accessed at the same time = worst case scenario in terms of bandwidth consumption).

    If you were to say make a stripe set of 2x SSD's (stripe set = RAID 0), that's 500MB/s+ (reads, as you'd need to plan off of the fastest throughputs to prevent throttling), which leaves little band remaining for other disks. In such a case, you'd need a separate card of some sort (RAID or SATA controller). For SSD's, it would be a good idea to go for a 6.0Gb/s compliant card, as some current SSD drives are pushing the limit of 3.0Gb/s (~275MB/s is the real world throughput capable on SATA 3.0Gb/s; double it for SATA 6.0Gb/s). The faster spec would allow you to easily upgrade in the future. But you can use current SSD's on 3.0Gb/s cards if there's budget limitations. You can get 6.0Gb/s cards (ATTO Technologies) in both non-RAID and RAID models (3.0Gb/s, and there's more choices, such as Areca's products).

    Without any further details, it's hard to say whether or not this will be an issue for you.

    See above.

    I wouldn't recommend using this card. If you need one, there's other solutions out there that are faster, cheaper, work in multiple OS's, and have better recovery options.

    If you do, you'd need to run the SSD off of the empty optical bay, as the Apple RAID Pro card takes over all 4x HDD ports. As their SSD won't work on the card, it won't be usable on any of those 4x ports.

    Special controller? :confused: Not sure what you're getting at here.

    Other RAID cards do work with SSD's. Apple's doesn't work with the one they sell, and probably have difficulties with most out there (RAID cards work differently, particularly with recovery than the onboard ICH controller).

    As per the SSD in an HDD bay when using the Apple RAID Pro, see above.

    To help any further, we'd need additional information:
    • Are you going to use 1x or 2x SSD's for the OS?
    • Will they be the same SSD/s in the laptop or different models?
    • Will you be working with other OS's?
    • How many mechanical drives?
    • Will the mechanical drives also be in RAID?
    • What are you doing with the system (better idea of throughput requirements)?
    • What will your future capacity requirements be over time?

    Also keep in mind, RAID or not, you will need a proper backup solution, and a UPS is advisable without a RAID. A UPS really becomes a requirement if you do run a RAID (and a card battery combined with it is a good idea too).

    Hope what's here helps. :)

Share This Page