phish's 6-core mac pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by flyingphish, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. flyingphish macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2010
    Hello. This is my first post and first mac pro and would like to thank the members for their time and effort in helping myself and others on this forum. i have learned much thru searching and now have some questions.

    I use LR3, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Final Cut. My data file consist of ~2tb of photos and video. I am an amateur photographer and want to build a strong rig that suits my purposes, with some future proofing thrown in for good measure. Please advise if I am heading in the right or wrong direction:

    I have on order a 2010 6 core mac pro. I plan to buy from OWC the following components:

    16gb ram 4X4gb
    120gb ssd - OSX boot
    3x2tb caviar black/green or re-4's in striped array - data
    1x1tb (stock drive) caviar black - dedicated windows7 boot

    my back-up is:

    on site - OWC Qx2 4-bay with 8tb in raid 5 giving me 6tb of storage with time machine handling backup.

    off site - drobo 4x1tb

    When i get my mac i plan to install like this:

    1. install ram
    2. install ssd in lower optical drive bay
    3. remove stock hard drive
    4. power up, install snow leopard onto ssd minus bloat
    5. power down, install all 4 hard drives, power back up and configure drives like this using disk utility:

    Drive/bay 1 - 1tb stock caviar - partition for 250gb scratch, the remainder for windows7

    Drives/bays 2,3,4 - 3x2tb caviars or re-4's in raid 0.

    My concerns:

    Can I get away with going non-enterprise hard drives. there seems to be a debate when running them in raid 0.

    i do want them quiet and everyone says the blacks are loud, the greens are quiet. this computer will be in my bedroom so not sure if itll be put to sleep or get shut down every nite. there is always the green enterprise drives?

    do i need a scratch? i am not in photoshop that often anymore since lightroom came out. mostly i am in LR3 converting raws, editing, printing or i am importing avchd video and learning final cut. these processes take the longest. rendering 1:1 previews in LR in real time is also important to me. 16gb of ram should suffice for my scratch no? is photoshop the only app that uses a scratch? I may not need a scratch who knows? i am scratching my head just trying to figure all of this out!

    As for windows7. I am a pilot and all of my aviation software is pc based. i also like to play Call of Duty, a lot.

    And, should i put windows7 on the 1tb drive or partition the ssd (80 osx/40 windows7) and put it there. i like the idea of having all windows related stuff on its own drive at bay 1 on the 1tb drive.

    next is figuring out how to install windows, do i need bootcamp or not. vmware. etc

    thats it for now, thank you in advance.

  2. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Do not trust your data to a RAID 0.

    If one disk fails, then all of the data is gone. Fix the array, and restore from backups. This may seem easy, but there's almost always the situation where there's been some time between the most recent data and when the last backup was made = additional time spent to re-perform the work (assuming you still have the necessary source materials).

    A stripe set (RAID 0) is fine if used exclusively for scratch space for your applications. But keep your primary data elsewhere; either on a single disk, or array that offers redundancy, such as 10 (OS X can do 0/1/10 only).

    Check out the RAID Wiki for further details on the levels. ;)

    Another major issue, is running a Windows disk; it won't work in the configuration you've listed (not as a separate disk or via Boot Camp). Once you create an array under Disk Utility, it makes a change to the system firmware that prevents Windows or Linux from booting.

    You'd have to get around that by using a separate controller, or skipping out on a RAID created under Disk Utility (separate RAID card = separate controller, and would work, as the Windows disk is attached to the ICH = SATA controller soldered on the backplane board; one with the slots on it).

    Check out what I posted here, as a How To for your situation. It give you the details as to how to mount the Windows disk in the empty optical bay along with the SSD (leaves all of the HDD bays open for other things - keep reading).

    Now lets get to a couple of options that would be a better solution in terms of data security. ;)

    Option 1:
    • SSD for boot (optical bay)
    • HDD bays 1 - 2 = 2x mechanical disks in a RAID 0 configuration (sratch space)
    • HDD bays 3 - 4 = Separate disks for primary data (i.e. use one to start, then add in a disk when you need more capacity = one less disk to buy immediately)
    • Separate Windows disk (same optical bay as the SSD, using the How To linked above). It leaves HDD bay #4 open for future capacity expansion.

    This is inexpensive, and gives you better protection for your primary data, as even a single disk is more reliable than a stripe set of 2x disks (one fails, all data is gone).

    Option 2:
    • SSD for boot (optical bay)
    • HDD bays 1 - 2 = 2x mechanical disks in a RAID 0 configuration (sratch space)
    • HDD bays 3 - 4 = 2x mechanical disks in a RAID 1 configuration (mirrors primary data to two separate disks; note if you make a mistake, it will be copied to both disks)
    • Separate Windows disk (same optical bay as the SSD, using the How To linked above)

    More paranoid approach to primary data, but still inexpensive as well.

    Option 3:
    • SSD for boot (optical bay)
    • HDD bays 1 - 4 = 4x mechanical disks in a RAID 10 configuration (data + scratch space)
    • Separate Windows disk (same optical bay as the SSD, using the How To linked above)

    This isn't horribly expensive, and offers you redundancy for your primary data. Speed of a 10 is ~ that of a 2x disk stripe set (RAID 0), but can take the failure of 2x disks before the data is shot. You just loose half of the total capacity of all the disks in the set (i.e. if you use 4x 2TGB disks, you're usable capacity is 4TB, not 8TB).

    Option 4:
    • SSD for boot (optical bay)
    • Proper RAID card running at least 4x disks in RAID 5
    • Separate Windows disk (same optical bay as the SSD, using the How To linked above)

    This one is more complicated and expensive, but offers better throughputs and capacity usage for the drive count (you should get the idea after reading the RAID wiki, particularly from the RAID levels). It also has other advantages, such as capacity increases over time as needed (has to do with port counts and external enclosures used),... If you're interested, I'll go into it further, but check out here to get a better idea of what's involved (costs too).

    But given you're an enthusiast user (from what you've posted), I think Option 1 is a better balance of need and budget (going by what you've posted for components in terms of budget). So lets call this first choice.

    Option 2 is a bit more paranoid, but with 2x backup systems you shouldn't really need to do this.

    Option 3 is a good alternative, but you loose half of the total disk capacity in the set (i.e. the compromise).

    Option 4 is more oriented for those earning a living with such a system (i.e. data is too critical to lose, or put in a substantial amount of time recovering from a failure).

    Is this a software implementation of RAID 5, such as using a Highpoint 2314?

    I'd need specific details to determine if it's a software implementation or not, as a fair few products actually are (cost is a big hint).

    If so, this will be disasterous with the configuration you've listed. :eek: The reason, is software implementations are not suited to parity based arrays due to the write hole issue (also in the RAID wiki page linked).

    If the primary data is on a redundant source, such as a level 10 (keep reading), then you can do this. If not, then avoid it like the plague.

    How is this configured?

    I ask, as the same as the above applies.

    If they're attached to the ICH (SATA controller that runs the HDD bays and optical bays), Yes.

    For a proper RAID card, NO. The primary difference that makes or breaks you, is the recovery timings, as they're different between consumer and enterprise disks (has to do with how the OS v. RAID card handles recovery). Read the TLER Wiki page (describes what's going on).

    That said, enterprise disks are meant to be abused (24/7/365 operation), so they have better specifications and sensors that prevent damage occuring to the platters. So it's not a bad idea (i.e. cheap insurance for critical data).

    I go for performance over noise, but I run WD Blacks (backups) and RAID Editions for primary data (SATA; as I also have SAS disks = Fujitsu, now sold off to Toshiba). They're not noisy (SATA), but they're all mounted with rubber isolation grommets (MP's have grommets like this as part of the trays, but do look a bit less substantial than what I use).

    The RE4-GP is meant for RAID (has timings set for a RAID card), but you can adjust them with the WDTLER utility (only works on the recent enterprise drives now; it's why they made the RE4-GP in the first place).

    Not sure if LR3 uses it or not, but it's not a bad thing to have for faster workflow if it does. Photoshop will definitely be improved with it.

    I'd suggest using a separate disk, and mounting it in the empty optical bay (see the above How To link I posted). ;)

    I know this is a lot of reading, but it should put you in the right direction. :)
  3. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    1:1 previews in LR are used only in Library mode
    standard previews are used in the Dev module

    16 gigs is good for most work if your files are bigger than 500 megs start looking at 24 megs or more ? more memory is always better in my book

    I spend time in LR and can say get some SSD for its cache (set in the catalog preferences) which is basically the same as camera raw cache which you can point to from bridge also

    your sliders will come in about %50 quicker over standard discs

    also note your cache and PS scratch are not related in the sense that your LR cache is just large files that are written once and then used to read from
    the size of the cache will depend on how large you want it and how you use LR ?
    if you use it for photo collection as much as processing files larger is going to be quicker with other files ? so its a personal choice

    these tests were with 5D files see chart below
    (the catalog had 5000 files 1000 in each folder) so a small catalog but again I noticed on a catalog of 30,000 files it acted the same ? so for testing was easier to work with smaller catalogs !

    and the idea was to see how quick the sliders would turn white in dev mode and allow me to continue working

    the reason I did the HD as a short stroked setup was that most people have this and its easy to replicate where my raid setup is not something most will have ?

    this was using LR RC 3.2 or whatever the latest is and SL latest boot in 64 bit

    notice the cache on the SSD is the biggest bump

    if you can swing your catalogs on a SSD you might find it faster if you do a lot of tagging or meta data stuff ? again my test was about the fastest way to go through dev mode and get client files out !!!

    as for the HDD questions they seem answered ?
    ditto the raid 0
    I know I only used enterprise drives when going on a controller or at least use the ones on the raid companies OK list ?
    for basic soft raid in the mac normal HDD are fine

    illustrator I have not used in years ? got out of design a long time ago and just deal with photos now ? so cant help ya their

    Attached Files:

  4. flyingphish thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2010
    I was hoping you two would chime in...

    Ok let me digest this. Thanks guys
  5. skiffx macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2008
    On top of what others have mentioned above, Id also suggest getting 2x8GB sticks if you cant afford 3 at the moment instead of saturating all 4 slots with 4x4gb that will be running in single channel mode. I personally ordered 4x4 from transintl at first and after it's been confirmed that Hex will take 8gb sticks, switched the order for 3x8GB...
    Again if you are strapped for cash, just get 2x8GB which will cost a little over 4x4 but leave room for the 3rd one so you can run in triple channel mode.

    As for hard drives, I dont think raid 0 is necessarily bad since you have raid 5 back up. If everything is setup properly and is automated thus taking you out of the equation ;), it should work just fine, especially if you want to utilize green drives (make them feel snappier). I dont have experience with green drives myself yet, however, I was the one that raised the raid 0 wd green topic earlier on the forum, as IM sensitive to noise. My researched showed me that unless you get the WD Green RE versions which are 100$ premium (same hardware just a different config file, which to me seems a little too steep of a premium to swallow), your other options are:
    a. Get the older version of the drives from newegg (EADS version. not the EARS) that you have a chance of modifying config file thus making them perform just like the RE version.
    b. Get the latest WD Green EARS model and hope that they will work fine in RAID but do you really want to replace them after a year or so...(WD tech confirmed that they are prone to failure in raid systems, and whether they are trying to push the RE line on you or not, why take that chance).
    c.Get other green drives from another manufacturer that are quiet. I looked into Seagate LP series, but seems like Seagates are more hated than other brands due to higher failure rates (and other brands fail frequently as well) Hitachi's are too loud so that was out for me. And we are left with Samsung EcoGreen F3 line which seem like a good choice, they are slightly louder than WD Greens but will perform well in raid, and generally people are happy with them. However, Samsung also announced that in early September the new EcoGreen F4 line is being launched (in a few weeks) and the drives are quieter and consume even less energy. So Im personally going to wait these 2-3 weeks to see some tests performed on these F4 series drives and get them for my raid 0 setup most likely.

    Hope this helps. :)
  6. johnnymg macrumors 65816


    Nov 16, 2008
    For the people who have the WD Blacks ............... any complaints?

    Thinking of using two for a RIAD 0 data drive (with additional backup ~~~~ :p)

    The reviews I've seen are generally favorable. Noise and power are of particular importance to me.

  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    It depends on how it's setup. If it's a software implementation, using it as a backup for primary data on a stripe set is a really bad idea, as it cannot handle the write hole issue associated with parity based arrays.

    RAID cards use an NVRAM solution to deal with this (hint: separate processor and cache are usually part of the product, though is harder to determine with an RoC <RAID on a Chip>). Assuming this is the implementation, then it would be fine.

    But there's plenty of solutions out there that are software based, yet claim they're RAID 5 capable (technically will do so, but if you discover a problem, the corrupted data is gone if it's not in another backup location). Unfortunately, this isnt usually discovered until it's too late (stripe set fails, and restoring data from the software RAID 5 reveals corrupt data). :eek:

    Not a good position to find yourself in. :(
  8. skiffx macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2008
    They are great drives but just slightly louder than some people like drives to be. If your mac isnt in your bedroom or a sound sensitive environment (studio) maybe the noise level will be quite acceptable actually.
    Also depends what purpose will they serve? If its just plain old storage of media, green drives in raid will do just fine, if some other work related reason (scratch drives, etc) then...
  9. flyingphish thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2010
    And skiff! Thanks for stopping by...been reading a lot of post from you and señor frog.

    Ok I think we are all on the same page. My set up is like option 2? instead of having 2 mirrored internal drives my external raid 5 enclosure, the hardware controlled OWC Qx2, is my mirrored drive.

    So instead of 4tb total I have 6tb. Why the need? Because avchd (blue ray) video is compressed and when ingested into iMovie or final cut it gets decompressed in a very big way.

    I want to have all my data on the internal 6tb raid 0 array. And I want the exact same data on the external raid 5 array via time machine daily or hourly backup.

    In option 2 I would do the same? All data of both? Frog you call the internal raid 0 array a scratch drive, would I not keep all data there or only the files I am working on...I am trying to figure out how LR3 would handle that...I think I can import to the scratch disk, edit, add keywords, metadata, then move to the mirrored array when done.

    That's my biggest question right now. All data on both or just working data on raid 0 and all data on raid 1 disk........

    The other problem with option 2 is that it gives me 4tb of work space but only 2tb of back up
  10. skiffx macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2008

    Are you saying that, for example, if I have 1 boot ssd, I load OSX on it, then I use bootcamp to install windows to have a working dual boot, then insert 2-3 drives and raid 0 them, windows will no longer work?
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Forget total capacities.

    I need to understand what you have for each backup system in place (i.e. x capacity for the RAID 5 on y product,...). Ultimately, I'm trying to understand the risk involved for data with the backup solution in place.

    Assuming it's a stable backup system (Oxford chipset is better than software, as it's an ARM based RAID on a Chip). But I want to make sure of what you've got before going further.

    So please be concise with the information. ;)

    As per the previous information, I didn't place any of the primary data on a stripe set. So stripe set = scratch ONLY.

    You can get away with using a stripe set for primary data, if you've a sufficient backup system (more than just a location for it, as the freqency of the backup process is as important). The reason is, if a failure occurs, you have to fix it all manually (replace the defective drive/s, create a new array, restore data from the backup, and re-perform work for any missing data; what happens between failure and the last backup process completed).

    It's a compromise usually assocated with low budgets, but please understand, that amount of work (namely the re-perform work on top of what you'd expect), is a royal PITA.

    Unfortunately, the answer is Yes. :(

    There has been one person that claimed that they did a reinstall of OS X IIRC, and got the Windows installation to boot again. But it seems risky (unstable), as an OS X Update could break it.

    So I prefer to go with a solution that solves the problem properly (nice and clean = no hacks to bother with), and it's not an expensive solution either. The "Better to be Safe than Sorry" school of thought. ;)
  12. skiffx macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2008
    Im actually looking to do a similar drive setup, 1 180gb ocz vertex 2 ssd to dual boot osx (120gb) + win7 (50gb will suffice for my needs) and 3x2tb drives in raid 0 for media storage. I also have a 7TB NAS backup in RAID 5, which will be converted to a 6TB RAID 6 to allow 2 disk failures, that will have a mirror backup of my raid array. Also will have an external enclosure connected to backup once again the most important of the data for extra redundancy.
  13. skiffx macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2008
    Ouch, Im actually taken aback a little...seems like such a silly issue to have in this day and age...

    I guess I can definitely try the sata card route as it is inexpensive.

    Edit: Also somebody found a way avoiding that by having 2 OSX installations, one working with raid, and another one is there just for windows to be able to boot.
  14. flyingphish thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2010
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Take a look here, as it has the ability to set the ports (2 port card you can configure to internal only, external only, or a 1+1 arrangement).

    Follow the How To in the previous links (also has the links for the necessary cables to get power and pass data through to the SSD).

    I think you found what I was reffering to. Some missing details there (system,...), but it's a hack. Not a great solution IMO for a system that you will depend on.

    This will be fine, as it's not a software implementation. You do need to have it on a UPS though.

    It appears that he has both the primary data and it's backup on striped sets. Not good, as both are at more risk than a single drive. His assertion there's no other recourse is false. It just takes more funds to get a proper solution, such as the external unit you've got from OWC.

    But because both the primary data location and backups are striped sets, it's not a good setup. There's no real getting around that fact. A simple change would work wonders (hardware RAID 5, or RAID 10 off of the eSATA controller would do wonders).

    Go with Option 1 or 2. Just keep in mind, that the mirror is limited to 2TB max. with current disk capacities.

    But I'd still say Option 1, as you've the OWC enclosure for a backup (safe enough), that you can use single disks for you primary data to allow for more capacity, or in a pinch, even run a pair in a stripe set if you want the performance increase.

    It all comes down to the backup solution allowing you to take on the additional risk as you're not a pro (can afford the time necessary for a recovery), and in the case of the OWC enclosure, it's acceptable for what you've listed.

    Also keep in mind, that the OWC enclosure needs to be attached to a UPS system as well as the MP and monitor.
  16. PenguinMac macrumors member

    May 21, 2010
    Thanks for these great answers & analysis! My 3 WD Black 2TB RAID 0 array is holding my home and collected classic movie media, all of which I have backed up on a Mini HTPC and 2 copies in a safe deposit box, so I don't feel it's a risk for me. I was about to install Windows 7 with Boot Camp, but your explanation of the problems has convinced me to use VMWare Fusion instead (I don't play games). I presume that would solve the Windows 7 problem with an OS X software-RAID 0 array present? I presume the virtual machine will just see the array as a large GUID drive, which Windows 7 supports?
  17. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    I might have misunderstood you, but I've got a very similar drive setup than the OP and it works like a charm.

    1 x SSD for OS X
    2 x 2TB RAID0 (software RAID via OS X)
    1 x 500GB for VM shared data
    1 x 500GB dedicated for Win7

    I never had a problem with that config, even though it changed a lot during the past year. Anyway, I always had a dedicated Windows drive.
    After the OS X install (which I did exactly one time the day I got the computer) I created the RAID set and installed Windows using the BC assistant. Since I swapped the first array of two 1 TB Blacks with the 2TB drives, I deleted that array, popped in the new drives and created a new one. Again, no problem with Windows whatsoever.

  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    It should, but I've not used it or investigated VM Fusion in depth (or Parallels for that matter).

    All of the information I've seen so far from other members indicated there were problems. It's a bit confusing in it's own right, as some details are missing from various posts (i.e. things like exact system <model and version of OS X>, or specific methodologies). Of those, I only recall the single post that indicated they got it working without any additional hardware (two separate copies of OS X; one pre and post the creation of the array IIRC). It's in MR somewhere....

    So with the available information, the separate controller seemed to be the one way to get a working Windows installation when Disk Utility is used to create a RAID (works under any of the Intel based MP's).

    If there's more to this, I'd appreciate it, as it could narrow it down for members (wondering if some models may not suffer this issue).
  19. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    Well the OS X software RAID is not accessible via Windows (are you referring to this issue?), but other than that I really don't see why this shouldn't work.

    My computer is a '09 Mac Pro with no additional controllers used for the internal drives. A SIL3132 is used for external drives but that doesn't matter, I guess.
    This setup worked from 10.6.0 (which was pre-installed on my machine) till now (10.6.4) and I don't see any reason for this to change.
  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    This isn't what I was reffering to, as the situation you describe here is expected.

    It seemed reasonable that a separate disk would have worked (Windows installation on it's own disk = separate from the array and OS X installation). As to the particulars (how many copies of OS X, order they were created,...) weren't clear. This lent to the confusion, and in looking for a solution that would work, I went with the separate controller method.

    Given what you describe, it's narrowed down what's going on.

    It seems that the change to the SATA controller isn't permanent, but gets performed as the GPT loads (occured when OS X was on the array or separate, but still pointed to the array). So your mention of an OS X installation that doesn't point to an array created by Disk Utility doesn't do this, and why it's working for you (GPT change isn't permanent as previously thought from available information). :D

    Good news in terms of the methodology (gives some users another option), as it's not the unstable hack that I thought it was (post that mentioned it before was poorly written and hard for me to understand the necessary details). A mimimal OS X installation shouldn't exceed say 50GB I'd think, so most of the disk can be partitioned by BC for the Windows installation, assuming there's an available port for the disk.

    There's also the expectation that this will be valid on all the Intel MP's, though confirmation would be best.

    For others that run short one SATA port (i.e. 4x HDD bays = RAID, empty optical bay used for an SSD boot disk, and the optical disk is left in), or those that don't want to waste the disk capacity for the shared BC method (prefer Windows only), then the SATA card method would take care of their needs. Fortunately, it's not expensive.
  21. lemonade-maker macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2009
    I don't agree with these two statements.

    First raid 0 works fine as a primary array. Nightly clones and hourly ( or more frequent) Time Machine backups negate the worry. You always have a recent clone to boot from and Time Machine works well.

    I boot Windows from a drive all the time. I am unable to use the Startup Disk PrefPane to do so but the option key at boot works fine.
  22. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I didn't say it wouldn't work, just not to trust it. It's based on availability, as someone that needs to rely on their data to be there as much as possible (i.e pro earning a living), usually doesn't have the time to invest in reparing a failed set (fix the array, restore data, and re-perform any work to regain lost data; that which was generated between the most recent backup and failure). This can be made even worse, depending on the backup system in place, such as using a software implemented RAID 5 (primary array and backup systems both have higher risks of data loss than that of a single disk). Not a good thing IMO.

    This is less the case with enthusiasts/hobbyists.

    This was based on previous information (from multiple users, but most wasn't well defined; system used, version of OS X, exact methods tried,...). Transporteur posted some information earlier today a couple of posts up, and my response just above your post. ;)

    Ultimately, it seems to clarify what's going on, barring any new information.

    If your installation methodology is different than Transporteur's, I'd like to dig deeper, as this is an issue that comes up often, and it would be good to have a clear answer. :)
  23. flyingphish thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2010
    ive been contemplating on whether or not to buy a raid card or do the FrogWindows7 quart-o-blood technique in order to have a pc on my mac.

    its seems as though there is a work around, or two.

    in the end i think ill go option 2 and not stress about capacity as drives are getting bigger. so its 2 drives in raid 0 for data and 2 drives in raid 1 as back up. ill still use the external enclosure as second back up.

    windows i will install i guess on my ssd...a partitioned section?
  24. mkush macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2010
    Western North Carolina
    This is my first post to a MacRumors forum (although I've been reading MR for years).

    I hope this isn't considered a "hijack" of the thread since it isn't directly replying to phish's question, but it is similar and I wanted to attract the attention of the experts already in the phish thread.

    I have a 6-core MP on the way. After reading nanofrog's recommendations in various threads, I decided to outfit it with an Areca ARC-1222 and 4x WD RE4 2TB drives (not green RE4-GP, regular RE4 more like black). I've ordered the kit from MaxUpgrades to allow the use of the four internal drive bays.

    I also plan to put in two 80GB Intel X25-M G2 SSDs, one to boot OS X, the other to boot Windows 7. I ordered the kit from TransIntl to allow nice mounting of the two SSDs in the lower optical bay. The kit also came with a PCIe card to connect the second of the two SSDs.

    I want to be able to access the ~6TB RAID-5 (data-only, no OS) array on the Areca from both OS X and Win 7. I plan to format it under Mac OS and use MacDrive in Windows to get access to it.

    Given the above, I have several questions which probably have already been answered, and if so sorry that I haven't found those answers yet.

    1. Anyone have any experience with the WD RE4 (non GP) 2TB drives? How about running off an Areca controller? Any issues or advice?

    2. Any issues regarding the plan to access the RAID-5 array from both OS X and Win 7 via MacDrive?

    3. Should the Areca controller be running in EFI or BIOS mode? Or doesn't it matter since I don't want to boot from it?

    4. Regarding the two OS SSDs... one I can hook to the lower optical SATA channel, the other will need to be hooked to the PCIe card that comes with the TransIntl kit. That card claims to be bootable (presumably that means for OS X, but maybe Win 7 too?). Should I hook the OS X drive to the card or the lower optical SATA channel?

    5. The converse of 4. Where should the Win 7 drive be connected, and are there any installation caveats to that (as in, drivers needed during installation, etc.)?

    Thanks in advance.

    One additional question came up in my mind. Something in me likes the fact that Atto is a US company and would offer easy access to English-speaking tech support. Also it looks like their cards are fanless and they seem to have NVRAM cache backup, which is great. Would the equivalent card to the Areca be the Atto ExpressSAS R608? Any experience with that anyone? Also, how does the user interface rate compared to Areca? Thanks again.
  25. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    I dont have real world experience with the 2TB RE4 ?
    I do have a 1222x and have the battery module for it ? nice card

    so other comments I will leave to those who have :)

    I do know I hear a lot of people using the two SATA and moving the optical out to a FW enclosure ?

    I know if it was me I would do this over another card for a single SSD ?
    I am on a 3,1 so I have the two ports and can keep my optical inside

    so you might want to get more info on this option of using both SATA from the optical and moving your DVD outboard ?

    just a thought and sounds like you are going to have a sweet setup

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