PCIe SSD in Mac Pro? Will be available soon

Neodym

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Jul 5, 2002
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But the real question is: Will it blend? errrrr... i meant, will it boot under OSX? Compatibility is one thing, but it would be interesting to know whether it will boot as well.

Apart from this unfortunately it is only PCIe 2.0 x1, which means older MacPro's are out and the speed is limited to 500MB/s, so i won't set my hopes too high....

Thanks for sharing the information nevertheless!
 

Hellhammer

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Dec 10, 2008
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But the real question is: Will it blend? errrrr... i meant, will it boot under OSX? Compatibility is one thing, but it would be interesting to know whether it will boot as well.
I think there is a chance it will because OCZ isn't claiming OS X support in VeloDrive or RevoDrive, yet they still work as secondary drives with OS X as far as I know.
 

elvisizer

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May 29, 2003
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it could just mean that OCZ has decided to include a mac driver in the product- the revo support on os x is down to the fact that silicon image has a reference driver for the controller on the revo, and it happens to work (mostly) under os x. They could have just had a driver for os x built and included with the product this time- whether it will include boot support isn't indicated yet.
 

thekev

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Aug 5, 2010
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But the real question is: Will it blend? errrrr... i meant, will it boot under OSX? Compatibility is one thing, but it would be interesting to know whether it will boot as well.

Apart from this unfortunately it is only PCIe 2.0 x1, which means older MacPro's are out and the speed is limited to 500MB/s, so i won't set my hopes too high....

Thanks for sharing the information nevertheless!
You know... PCIe 3.0 will probably be out this year. Even a one lane setup there could be excellent. In the longer term this could lead to some amazing storage performance. I just wish the SSDs we have today existed during the time when so many applications were still written in 32 bit form. They would have been insanely helpful a few years ago even with SATA bus limitations.


yeah, putting that behind a 1 lane pci-e interface was a strange decision . . . .
When it gets to a one lane PCIe 3, it won't look as bad. Most of the PCIe SSDs seem to be marketed towards servers, but this isn't a bad direction anyway.
 

deconstruct60

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Mar 10, 2009
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it could just mean that OCZ has decided to include a mac driver in the product-
Since drivers are loaded downstream of the boot process (they are kept on the storage media), that is unlikely. It would have to be part of the EFI firmware/bootstrapping code to resolve the boot problem. By the time the OS starts to load up drivers it is already running.
 

Neodym

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Jul 5, 2002
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You know... PCIe 3.0 will probably be out this year. Even a one lane setup there could be excellent.
A PCIe 2.x device sitting in a PCIe 3.x slot will still only reach 2.x speed (which is 500 MB/s for PCIe 2.x x1), so at least this product won't benefit from PCIe 3.x becoming available.
 

thekev

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A PCIe 2.x device sitting in a PCIe 3.x slot will still only reach 2.x speed (which is 500 MB/s for PCIe 2.x x1), so at least this product won't benefit from PCIe 3.x becoming available.
That isn't what I meant. I meant that if we're seeing that form factor, we could potentially see PCIe 3.0 cards in the near future. 500MB/s is still not bad, and it's still a way to get more drives in a mac pro :).
 

deconstruct60

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Mar 10, 2009
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yeah, putting that behind a 1 lane pci-e interface was a strange decision . . . .
Although the marketing material crows about dumping SAS and SATA protocols I think there be a tie in with SATA Express

http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/storage/display/20110810123627_SATA_IO_Develops_Specification_for_PCI_Express_Solid_State_Drives.html

The proposal is for 1x and 2x connectors. These fit into that. Similarly a 20 PCI-e lane Core i7 doesn't have many lanes to throw at a SSD card once the GPU has soaked up 16. If the SSD connector took 4 that would be it.

SATA/SAS have overhead but if you dump them what are you going to replace it with? To some extent going to have to reinvent at least part of the wheel. ( How does drive tell you something went wrong? Going to read and write data to 'words' at individual PCI-e addresses? )

I suspect this is going to be like situations where folks complain about TCP's overhead , venture out to use UDP, and then discover need to add back in 1/4 - 1/2 of what TCP was providing them once have to deal with issues that pop up under non testcase, "controlled laboratory" usage.

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That isn't what I meant. I meant that if we're seeing that form factor, we could potentially see PCIe 3.0 cards in the near future. 500MB/s is still not bad, and it's still a way to get more drives in a mac pro :).
There are pictures of two form factors attached to the story. The classic Mac Pro PCI-e form factor most likely would use the PCI-e switch approach outlined in the diagram. The embedded SSD will use the smaller square shape in the pictures. Same building block for both.
 

elvisizer

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Since drivers are loaded downstream of the boot process (they are kept on the storage media), that is unlikely. It would have to be part of the EFI firmware/bootstrapping code to resolve the boot problem. By the time the OS starts to load up drivers it is already running.
you totally misunderstood me- i meant that the claim of support for osx could just mean they'll include a driver. on a disc. in the box. :D
I'll be surprised if it's bootable.

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and now that i've actually read more of the article, I noticed that they're talking about putting an array of these controllers on a card behind a pci-e switch. so products based on it will be scalable from at least 1x to 16x

z-drive r5 announcement coverage on storage review as well, some good info there . . .
 
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deconstruct60

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Mar 10, 2009
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and now that i've actually read more of the article, I noticed that they're talking about putting an array of these controllers on a card behind a pci-e switch. so products based on it will be scalable from at least 1x to 16x

z-drive r5 announcement coverage on storage review as well, some good info there . . .
The only quirk of hiding/expanding behind a switch is that 8 modules would appear as 8 "drives". However, since there needs to be some custom software driver front end to this thing ( no SAS/SATA protocols) it could run some "smart front end" (w/software RAID 0 ) makes it look like one or more logical drives to the OS. In that case, it would be even more doubtful that it would boot.

If they end up porting the software smarts to Mac OS X as well as Linux/Windows that will be nice. However, I could also see a "not quite as smart front end" that just drives a module showing up for the Max OS X market.
 

bljwk1999

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Jan 12, 2012
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Velocity Solo - Mac Edition for Mac Pro®

I just ordered one to put in a 2009 mac pro..... Not working as of yet...... waiting on a response from apricorn support.
 

seer

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Oct 3, 2007
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you totally misunderstood me- i meant that the claim of support for osx could just mean they'll include a driver. on a disc. in the box. :D
I'll be surprised if it's bootable.
Its very bootable (as long as you get the Mac version!) - I just installed in my box and am booted on it now :) However I have Win7 in a bootcamp partition which doesn't see it yet, hopefully I can work around that, otherwise my Win partition will be on old spinning drive :)
 

elvisizer

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May 29, 2003
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Its very bootable (as long as you get the Mac version!) - I just installed in my box and am booted on it now :) However I have Win7 in a bootcamp partition which doesn't see it yet, hopefully I can work around that, otherwise my Win partition will be on old spinning drive :)
that's great that it is bootable.
so, first of all, where you buy it? i can't find it anywhere.
how much storage did you get on it? how fast is it?
 

seer

macrumors member
Oct 3, 2007
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that's great that it is bootable.
so, first of all, where you buy it? i can't find it anywhere.
how much storage did you get on it? how fast is it?
I guess that depends on where you live? I got it from expansys in sweden. I also saw it available on amazon in the uk and germany...

As for storage capacity... i think there is no öimit on how big an ssd you can add to it. Its also possible to attach two ssd's to it - one physicall on the pci card and another via cables if you wish
 

elvisizer

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May 29, 2003
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wait-- are you talking about the velocity solo or the ocz zdrive r5? sounds like you're talking about the solo.

bljwk1999 posted in the wrong thread and now it's getting confusing. :)

i was talking about the r5 in my posts here.