OS X & Boot Camp on SSD Mac Pro Early 2008

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by oz1, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. oz1 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    #1
    This has probably been asked before but I am getting conflicting messages when I search the various forums so I'd appreciate some advice from the experts.

    I am thinking about installing a 256 GB OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD as a boot drive on my Early 2008 Octocore Mac Pro.

    My current setup has OS X on HD0 and a Boot camp partition on HD3. The Boot camp partition contains two WIN 7 installations (one x86 & the other x64). I usually select the OS I want using Refit at boot time.

    What I would like to do is install the SSD as the OS X boot drive (replacing the current HD0) & then add a boot camp partition to the SSD (which I will resize using iPartition to make it large enough to hold the two WIN 7 OS's).

    Questions:

    1. Will this work? I am hearing some negative things about SSDs & Boot camp.

    2. Do I have to enable AHCI on the Boot camp OS's? If so how.

    3. How do I go about flashing the SSD firmware if necessary? I hear that I need to be in WIN to do this but I also need AHCI enabled.

    4. Any other advice about doing this before I shell out big $.

    5. I could use two smaller SSDs (one for each OS) but I don't really want to lose two disk bays.

    Many thanks
     
  2. FluJunkie macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    #2
    OWC sells a kit that lets you mount 2 x 2.5 inch drives in the spare optical drive bay on your Mac Pro. As they'd be different OS's, them sharing cables and the like wouldn't generate too much of a performance hit I presume, though I can't guarantee that.
     
  3. oz1 thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 11, 2009
    #3
    Thanks for the info. However, I don't think this would be an optimal solution as the optical drive bay in the 2008 MP has Parallel rather than SATA connectors.

    At the moment I'm looking at one of the IcyDock trays for Bay 1
     
  4. NoManIsland macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    #4
    I actually have that OWC mounting solution in my MP, with 1 SSD (I'm adding another soon) in my lower optical bay (I have a 2008). There are two free SATA ports on the 2008 motherboard, just behind the front fan assembly. The OWC kit comes in a flavour designed for the 2008, which includes the cables and a nice colour instruction manual on how to access the ODD SATA ports and route the cables. Be forewarned, though, I had trouble routing the cables they provide because they butt up against the fans, so you may need to buy ultra-low profile SATA cables to re-insert the fan assembly flush (I managed to make them work). This saves you getting a controller card and also means you still have all four bays for HDDs. :)
     
  5. pondie84 macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 28, 2008
    #5
    Any chance you (or anyone else) could provide me a link to that kit? I've been looking but not sure which one to buy.
     
  6. oz1 thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 11, 2009
    #6
    Unfortunately using the two extra ODD_Sata ports is not a solution for me as WIN under Boot camp cannot access them.

    BTW, I have found these useful for mounting additional HDDs in the optical bay:
    http://www.transintl.com/store/category.cfm?category=2790
     
  7. NoManIsland macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    #7
    This is the one I used. It is designed for two 2.5" drives, but they also have them for one 3.5" and one 2.5", or for one 3.5" on its own. The kit I linked comes with the parts necessary to do any of those combinations, but cheaper kits are available for the two other configurations.
     
  8. pondie84 macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 28, 2008
    #8
    Thank you both. Does it matter that both of these say 2006-2008? I have a 2010 model (or will have one shortly).
     
  9. NoManIsland macrumors regular

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    Feb 17, 2010
    #9
    Neither mounting solution will work in a 2010. The 2009 and 2010 both have SATA optical drives, and therefore no extra "ODD SATA" (ODD = optical disk drive) ports on the motherboard for you to attach to. There is one SATA connection already in the lower optical bay, designed for use with the drive that would reside there, but to have more than one drive in the lower optical bay will require that you purchase a PCIe SATA controller and route the cables up from there. You can still use the OWC mounting assembly in that setup, just choose the version that doesn't come with cables to save yourself some funds. Similarly the Pro Caddy can hold your drives, but you will still need to get a controller card to provide the extra ports.
     
  10. NoManIsland macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    #10
    Yes, however you can still use one of the ODD SATA ports routed into the lower optical bay to run your OSX boot disk and save yourself a bay. OSX will boot fine off of an ODD SATA port, and I would strongly recommend having OSX and Windows on different SSDs - partitioning one will be a nightmare. :eek:
     
  11. oz1 thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 11, 2009
    #11
    Thanks to all for the various suggestions.

    That's a good idea & I'll look into it a bit more. However, I'd be interested to know why you feel that partitioning would be so difficult. I would be using iPartition.
     
  12. oz1, Jan 18, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011

    oz1 thread starter macrumors member

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  13. elvisizer macrumors 6502

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    May 29, 2003
    Location:
    San Jose
    #13
    FYI- I had success last night installing and booting windows from a revodrive x2 on my mac (early 2008 mac pro with the PC BIOS in AHCI mode). I did have to put the bootsector and bootloader on a regular SATA drive so that REFIT would see a windows boot device and kick the mac into BIOS mode. Once it's in BIOS mode, though, the windows bootloader sees the windows installation on the revodrive and boot successfully.
     
  14. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #14
    1. Yes, I use an SSD with Boot Camp Win7x64.

    2. I did not. I took one look at the thread here about AHCI and deemed the process to be too involved and risky for my taste.

    5. That's what I did (use two SSDs). One for each OS. It's cleaner that way, safer when partitioning/formatting, and if an SSD fails I still have a working OS until I get the lost one back up. If you go with one SSD and have a failure, you are going to lose all three OS installs!
     
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #15
    In order to use 1x SSD for both OS X and Windows, it will need to be connected to one of the SATA ports located for the HDD trays, as the ODD_SATA ports will only boot OS X (Windows and Linux installations won't).

    You could install the disk in the empty optical bay and runa SATA cable to one of the HDD bays to get it on the correct port for boot purposes, but it's easier to use an Icy Dock adapter (2.5" to 3.5" adapter that fits the HDD tray).

    You don't have to get AHCI working in order for the Windows installation to work, but if want to go ahead and do it, you can after Windows is installed (read on).

    How To:
    1. Launch Windows.
    2. Make sure you exit all Windows-based programs.
    3. Click Start, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.
    4. If you receive the User Account Control dialog box, click Continue.
    5. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
    6. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESystemCurrentControlSetServicesMsahci
    7. In the right pane, right-click Start in the Name column, and then click Modify.
    8. In the Value data box, type 0, and then click OK.
    9. On the File menu, click Exit to close Registry Editor.
    10. Restart the computer.
     
  16. oz1 thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 11, 2009
    #16
    Thanks for all the suggestions.

    I have the SSD & an Icydock on order but no stock available for a week so I won't be setting up for a few days. However, I'll post back on what I eventually do.

    I thought long & hard about whether to go for a two SSD setup but eventually decided to go for the one SSD option. However, I'll be keeping clones of each OS on the machine so restoration is simpler in the event of a crash. Also, I'll keep the original HDDs with the OS's as spares so a crash is quick to fix.

    I think I have AHCI running having applied Nanofrog's registry fix altho' not sure how I can test that.
     
  17. rtrt, Jan 23, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
  18. elvisizer macrumors 6502

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    May 29, 2003
    Location:
    San Jose
    #18
    he's almost correct. he listed the windows portion of the procedure, but you also have to modify the MBR of your boot drive using a script under os x. it's pretty painless, i've done this for every bootcamp installation i've done on my mac pro.
    here's the link to the instructions and script
     
  19. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #19
    Missed that part, as I had separate disks in my head (ActionableMango's setup). IIRC, the boot sector mod is only needed if you're using Boot Camp to partition a single disk.
     
  20. elvisizer macrumors 6502

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    May 29, 2003
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    San Jose
    #20
    nope- every installation i've done was onto a dedicated windows boot drive. if you don't use the script (or modify the MBR in some other way), you will bluescreen on boot.
     
  21. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #21
    I don't recall that happening in the 2008 I had.

    At any rate, 2009/10 systems have AHCI enabled in the firmware, so those should be easier to do (more akin to a PC, without the need to set it in the firmware).

    Software RAID under OS X makes a mess of things as well.
     
  22. elvisizer macrumors 6502

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    May 29, 2003
    Location:
    San Jose
    #22
    trust me, it's true. i've re-done windows on this 2008 machine many times now, just reinstalled 7 onto an OCZ Revodrive X2 (which is bootable in the mac pro, btw- i was extremely pleased and surprised) last weekend. script was required to enable AHCI successfully.
     
  23. oz1 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    #23
    I was reading Gugucom's tutorial on enabling AHCI in the early 2008 MP

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=760482&highlight=gugucom

    In it I found this comment:

    Can anybody please confirm that this is still necessary?
     
  24. oz1 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    #24
    I ran the script without disconnecting the IDE drive. It works fine & I can see drives on the ODD_SATA ports on both WIN 7 x86 & x64.
     

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