PCIe card to upgrade all internal HD bays (Mac Pro 5.1)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by AndreeOnline, Nov 1, 2014.

  1. AndreeOnline macrumors 6502

    AndreeOnline

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    #1
    Hi,

    Can someone please recommend me a proven PCIe card to upgrade the internal HD bays of my Mac Pro 5.1 (Yosemite)?

    So far I have an Accelsior E2 from OWC, a R9 280X 3GB and a USB3 card.

    Since I've made these upgrades already, I looking to prolong life of computer with all 6Gbps internal drives.

    Anyone with hands on experience?

    I know of Google, but in this case I'm looking for a favour from someone knowledgeable. Thank you.
     
  2. repentix macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 26, 2013
    #2
    Having Sata 3 on HDD's doesn't trigger a large increase in performance (HDD's max out at about 150 MB/s). The only time it would make sense adding Sata 3 to the bays is when you have got SSD's in there which you have not, you have got a PCIe SSD. But hey it's your choice and your money.
     
  3. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #3
    I know of no way to increase the SATA speed of the 3.5" bays to SATA II speeds. The only way to achieve SATA II speeds in a cMP is with a PCIe card. You may get somewhat faster speeds from drives in the 3.5" bays by using SSDs, but you won't be getting SATA II speeds. You can also try a Hybrid 3.5" SSHD drive, and see if that speeds things up. I believe Seagate is the only manufacturer of 3.5" SSHD drives.

    Lou
     
  4. AndreeOnline thread starter macrumors 6502

    AndreeOnline

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    #4
    Interesting answers... :rolleyes:

    From the top then:

    I boot off of a PCIe blade. That remains my boot drive.

    Now I was looking for a recommendation for a proven Mac Pro solution where by adding an additional PCIe card (RAID card), I will upgrade to SATA III (make that 3! with 6Gbps), so that I can max out, as far as possible, up to 4 additional SSDs. Either as stand alone, or as RAID-0, what ever combination I prefer.

    Obviously, it's not a problem to find these RAID cards, but maybe someone here has already tried it and found a card that has no boot/sleep issues or stuff like that and without major bottlenecks, if possible (concerning multi drive performance).
     
  5. CASLondon macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2011
    #5
    Are you looking to build an internal raid? Areca make great raid cards

    Have a look at

    http://www.transintl.com/pro-cable-for-mac-pro2009-2010.html

    http://www.maxupgrades.com/istore/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&product_ID=189&ParentCat=420

    http://www.maxupgrades.com/istore/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&product_ID=413&ParentCat=420

    I just noticed you are talking about SSDs. You can pack them in one of the optical drive slots at that connectivity, up to 4xSSD

    http://www.maxupgrades.com/istore/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&product_ID=365&ParentCat=420

    Have a browse through both these companies websites, you should find something that works for you. Also, do a search in this forum for "Areca raid", somewhere there were raid card recommendations.
     
  6. AndreeOnline thread starter macrumors 6502

    AndreeOnline

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    #6
    Thanks, I'll have a look.

    Like you say, it's not a problem to find cards. But in my experience the actual performance/compatibility can vary a lot when it comes to Mac Pro.

    The USB3 card I've got is a good example. Mine works as expected, but there are many cards that people buy and then have all kinds of issues.

    I was assuming that between all the Mac Pro owners here, I can't possibly be the only one looking to upgrade the 4(!) 3Gbps bays to 6Gbps? And I can't be the first. Looking for hands on experience.

    But I'll follow your links and check them out. Thanks!
     
  7. Synchro3 macrumors 65816

    Synchro3

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    Jan 12, 2014
  8. AndreeOnline thread starter macrumors 6502

    AndreeOnline

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    #8
    No, that can be done with the 09-12 Mac Pros as well. It's just that the article is old.

    But that is the solution I'm looking for, but updated with 2014 information. Judging by the lack of responses though, it seems we have a status quo.

    At this time, it seems that the best solution is to use a DoubleDecker adaptor to fit 2x2 SSDs in the optical bays and hook them up to a internal RAID MiniSAS card, like Barefeats does it. I was hoping cheaper cards had become available.

    Then I'll just use the normal HDD bays for backup, iTunes and non-speed critical media.

    (I never intended to upgrade the actual BAYS to SATA III, only the disks that reside there, via internal PCIe card)
     
  9. Ludacrisvp macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    #9
  10. m4v3r1ck macrumors 68020

    m4v3r1ck

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #10
    Apricorn Velocity DUO X2 (PCIe)

    I can highly recommend the PCIe card Apricorn Velocity DUO X2 for RAID0 data/scratch or OS or dual boot - OS & Win8 - at $149.

    My MacRumors thread: Apricorn Velocity DUO X2

    Appricorn Website: desktop-ssd-hdd-upgrade-kits/vel-duox2.html

    Good luck, Cheers
     
  11. theitsage macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
    #11
    Can you provide us links/references to products that convert the 4 internal bays to SATA III for 4,1 and 5,1? This is what I originally planned on doing as well.

    At the moment, I'm using 2 Syba PCIe RAID cards (due to 2x PCIe speed capping data transfer at around 700MB/s) to run 4 SSDs in a RAID 0. The 4 SSDs are arranged and held together with foil tape to fit the space of 1 internal bay (Bay 4). I use another SSD for Windows in Bay 3 via an Icy Dock. The setup is working good and boots both OS X 10.10 and Windows 10TP. Overall, it behaves exactly like the internal connection as far as usability goes at a much faster rate of speed. Very affordable too at $40 a pop.

    Mounting the SSDs in the second optical bay is a possibility. My struggle with that was running the SATA cables to the PCIe ports. I was able to fit 4 individual SATA cables through the very small gap where the original SATA cable loom going to the optical drive space is. You would need 10-inch cables to reach the PCIe ports. It was not ideal and I opted to going a different route.

    ----------

    This is a great solution to keep everything nice and clean with little effort. Keep in mind that 2x PCIe will limit data speed to 700MB/s in RAID 0.
     
  12. Loa macrumors 65816

    Loa

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    Québec
    #12
    No, it cannot. The SATA2 ports on the 2009+ MPs are connected directly to the board. So there isn't any mini-sas connector that you could switch and connect to a SATA3 PCIe card.

    You can use a PCIe SATA3 card and place your drives anywhere else in the Mac Pro, but you won't be able to upgrade the bays' ports themselves to SATA3, like you could in the earlier Mac Pros.

    Loa
     
  13. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    Poland
    #13
    It can, but not directly.
    CASLondon 1st link is the only one solution which I'm aware of.
     
  14. theitsage macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
    #14
    I read up on the MaxConnect RAID Connectivity solution and technically it's not directly converting all the backplane ports to SATA III. There's a small adapter that draws power for the hard drive and a data piece to connect the drive to the mini SAS cable. One can hack something up to the same effect but not as elegant.
     
  15. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #15
    Guess what I meant by "not directly"...:rolleyes:
     
  16. theitsage macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 28, 2005
    #16
    Often times, marketing language confuses one's interpretation. In this very instance, the main objective was to convert all internal SATA backplane ports to SATA III with plug-n-play usability. It's possible in older Mac Pros (1,1 to 3,1) because they use a mini SAS cable for the backplane ports that one can connect it directly to a SATA III PCIe card.

    This is not the case with Mac Pro 4,1 and 5,1. You countered Loa's statement and I agreed to disagree by elaborating how it's not directly converting the backplane SATA ports to SATA III.
     
  17. m4v3r1ck macrumors 68020

    m4v3r1ck

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    #17
    Correct! Thanks for that additional info.

    You have 2 x Syba SI-PEX40057 SATA III - 4 x SSD RAID 0 W:1250MB/s R:1350MB/s in your signature. Are those the bootable OSX/Win SSD's or data/scratch disks?

    Great speeds btw! :cool:
     
  18. theitsage, Nov 2, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014

    theitsage macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
    #18
    Yes, the SYBA card boots OS X 10.9, 10.10 and Windows 7, 8, 10TP (I personally tested them). I set my Mac Pro to boot OS X by default. Holding down OPTION key during boot up allows me to see the hard drives and boot Windows, just like the internal ports. No sleep issue at all.

    Hardware RAID and Fusion Drive creation is possible through a web interface in Windows. The limitation with hardware RAID is that all drives within an array have to connect to the same card (data speed cap issue). Therefore, I use software RAID under OS X to make use of both cards.
     
  19. that salad macrumors newbie

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    Oct 29, 2014
    #19
  20. AndreeOnline thread starter macrumors 6502

    AndreeOnline

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    Zürich
    #20
    I apologize for the confusion, but I never meant to upgrade the BAYS themselves (as I write at the end of that post above), but only find a way for the disks THERE to go faster by ways of a PCIe Mini Sas directly to the drives.

    I looked at the old article too quickly and saw they used a PCIe card and didn't read all of it. Would have been awesome to upgrade the actual bays with the normal sleds plugging straight into SATA III.

    But I hadn't through things through regarding how to hook them up. I don't want to open everything up. I am now going for a simpler solution with 2x2 SSDs in the optical bays.

    I'm currently thinking about the Areca ARC 1214-4i card. It's PCI 2.0 x8 with a single Mini SAS taking 4 drives. It's $300.

    Barefeats tests its 8 drive bigger brother, the 1882, with good speeds (1700 MB/s sequential and about 700MB/s small random).
     
  21. MacVidCards Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #21
    Now you've got me thinking.....

    Wouldn't it be cool to put SATA 3 and USB 3 into a cMP in such a way that it was invisible from outside? (i.e., 4 drives in the bays running at SATA 3 and all external USB plugs running at USB3?)

    May require some surgery, but it would be rather awesome.
     
  22. AndreeOnline thread starter macrumors 6502

    AndreeOnline

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    #22
    That is definitely the goal.

    But I will settle for 4 RAID 0 SSDs in the two optical bays via Mini SAS to a PCIe card and then use the normal SATA II HDD bays for non speed sensitive data: Time Machine, Torrents, iTunes, Photo+Video STORAGE for media not currently in projects.

    And then maybe 500 MBx4 totalling 2TB of fast media (project) storage.

    My system+apps is already on an Accessior E2 500MB blade.
     
  23. ShawnF, Nov 3, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2014

    ShawnF macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 10, 2014
    #23
    I actually went the 2 x SSD in optical bay route. Was afraid at first but it turned out to be pretty easy. I had already bought an Addonics 4 x msata SSD adapter for my Mac Pro.

    Addonics Quad mSATA PCIe SSD - $55

    I have 2 x Crucial msata running in RAID 0 configuration for my FCPX scratch disk. Was planning to add more but the prices of msata (I was eyeing the 500GB EVOs) were not coming down to the levels that I wanted. Plus I already have an Crucial MX100 and Samsung 840 SSD running in the Mac Pro at SATA2 speeds.

    So I bought the optical bay adapter from Maxupgrades:

    MaxConnect 2x 2.5 inch SSD/HDD Drives for Mac Pro [2009/2010/2011/2012] - $64

    I used the supplied SATA cables and connected my 2.5inch Crucial MX100 and Samsung 840 SSDs in the optical bay directly to my Addonics quad mSATA using 2 little mSATA to SATA adapters that I also bought from Addonics:

    [​IMG]

    mSATA - SATA converter - $24 (2 pieces at $12 each)

    I'm getting close to 500MBs read and write now for my 2.5inch SSDs in the optical bay.
     
  24. that salad macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2014
    #24
    Agreed.

    Or you could activate god mode like this chap and build your own custom boards:

    http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?scm...756&pvid=97c7ad30-323a-4777-a24e-b0b896393ea1

    ...for a hackintosh but 10/10 for effort
     
  25. colorspace macrumors 6502

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    #25

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