Q: Use a Caldigit Raid Card for a fresh install of Leopard?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by StanD, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. StanD macrumors member

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    Raleigh, NC
    #1
    Hi there,

    I'm new to the forum and to the Mac world. Like many others here I recently made the switch. Coming from a UNIX background and having been a DIY PC person for the past 10+ years. The Mac Pro has Very impressive server-grade components and excellent build quality.

    The video card is another deal, but I will bide my time until we see a Nvidia/ATI EFI card released that is possibly up to par with their PC counterparts. But that's not my question :) I can use a gaming rig or a second video card to get around it!

    Here's my dilemma:

    I will soon be receiving a Caldigit Raid Card + Boot camp cable and would like to do a fresh re-install of Leopard. I ideally would like to use 2x WD Velociraptors for my boot (Raid 0) and have another 2x 1TB drives for my data (Raid 1).

    My problem is that according to the Caldigit tech support people that I have spoken to is that this is basically impossible and that you cannot do a fresh install with this card. You can only clone an existing system to the drives and do it that way.

    They stated there is no way to load drivers form the Leopard boot DVD and that only Apple's Raid card would work. Of course, being new to the whole Mac thing I wanted to post here and ask the collective intelligence that is all of you for options.

    I'd like to think that this is possible, but if not then I guess I will do it their way.

    It's such a pity the Apple card is capped at 320Mb/sec and more expensive (by around $150+).

    Thanks in advance,


    - Stan
     
  2. Virtuoso macrumors regular

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    Feb 21, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #2
    True I'm afraid - as far as I know there's no equivalent to the 'press F6 to load drivers' routine on the PC.

    You need to first install the CalDigit drivers and software and then clone your drive to an external firewire drive. Then boot from that external drive (hold down the option key when you boot the machine), create your RAID array (and optionally slices) and then clone the firewire drive back again to your RAID. Remember to reset your startup disk in System Preferences to your RAID before you reboot.

    As a side note, why did you decide on a RAID0 and RAID1 configuration. Wouldn't you rather have RAID5? The Caldigit card has great performance in RAID5.
     
  3. StanD thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    Virtuoso,

    Thank you very much for taking the time to reply! It is as I feared but it's unavoidable I guess. In regards to RAID0 vs. RAID5, that was more for discussion during the post. I had planned on messing with RAID5 and see what the perf. hit would be like. Is it really that good? Having said that, RAID5 would make a happier Stan to be sure :)

    My next question is this:

    I have never used these cloning tools (CCC or SD!) and am wondering if I use a general external Firewire disk I have sitting around (which is around 100GB) and my internal array is going to be made up of lets say, 2 or 3 Velociraptors. When I create the RAID array I can partition it like normal (for those of us who do that) and then when it comes time to clone back to the RAID set from the Firewire disk can I just clone back to one partition or the likes?

    I sure hope that made sense and apologize if it did not.

    The gist of the question is that my source disk will be much smaller then the target. Will that post a problem? As well, the target may have a different partition layout.

    Again, thanks for all your help.


    - Stan
     
  4. Virtuoso macrumors regular

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    Feb 21, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #4
    I get around 260MB/s for both read and write in a 4 drive RAID 5 array using 750Gb Western Digital RE2 drives. You'll probably do quite a bit better than that with Velociraptors.

    If you're just doing a one-off clone of your system drive, you don't actually need either of the 3rd party utilities. You can do everything you need from within OS X Disk Utility.

    Make sure you have installed the Caldigit drivers and software before you continue.

    [​IMG]

    The external drive has to be firewire if you're going to boot from it. Mine is a 1TB drive partitioned into one section for Time Machine and general file storage and another section which is just large enough to hold a bootable copy of my system drive.

    Click the Restore tab, drag your System Disk into the Source field, drag the partition you want to boot from on your external drive into the Destination field and hit 'Restore'. A bootable clone of your system drive will be created on your external drive. Set your startup disk in System Preferences to this partition and shut your Mac down. Install your RAID drives and then boot your Mac - it should boot from the firewire drive now.

    You can now set up your RAID. This is how I have mine configured, but you may want to do things differently.

    The RAID array is first created using Caldigit's RAID Shield utility. This will take a few hours so you may want to leave it running overnight. Using the 'Option' button in RAID Shield, I then created two slices - one 320Gb slice for the System and one 1.7Gb slice for data, assigning each slice its own LUN number. These slices will now appear to OS X as physical SCSI disks.

    Back in Disk Utility, create a partition on each slice using the GUID Partition Map option and Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format. Then just do the reverse of what you did earlier - click the Restore tab and drag your Firewire boot partition to the Source field and the boot partition of your RAID into the Destination field and hit 'Restore'. Once it's done, set your startup disk to the RAID and reboot. Enjoy the speed! :cool:

    (SD and CCC are useful if you want to do incremental backups on an ongoing basis as they only copy any new or modified files, which can take a lot less time than a full backup).
     

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  5. StanD thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    Wow,

    Thank you for the amazing response. This is exactly the info I needed and as it turns out will be easier then I had thought.

    I will be receiving my parts this coming weekend and will follow-up here once again with my performance numbers and the results of my cloning. Knowing that you can restore partitions through Disk Utility makes it A LOT easier.

    OK so since you seem to have lots of good answers :) How about Bootcamp with the Caldigit? How does one accomplish that? The card I ordered from Safe Harbor comes with the Bootcamp cable.

    I'm also still wondering about when/if we will see a more modern video card upgrade. I'd like to obsolete my gaming rig and/or merge it with my Mac Pro. It has a GTX 280. Every other part of my new Mac Pro is superior (E8500 vs. 2x Xeon 5400, 4GB RAM vs. 10GB etc.), it is just that the 8800GT is a bit ... lacking in the gaming department. I do realize the inherit differences of OGL vs. DirectX and it seems the nature of the OS X drivers lend themselves to better throughput and graphics handling. The fact still remains though that the card is lacking in the "Power" department.

    Again, may thanks. Getting responses like the above makes me very glad I made the switch. Very insightful and well written.

    What a refreshing experience.


    - Stan
     
  6. viking396 macrumors member

    viking396

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    #6
    Stan,

    I'm going the same route, one other thing you need to insure is you buy the "correct" velociraptors. The standard 300gig ones don't have the right mounting for our drive bays. The correct drives can be found at OWC but unfortunately they cost 50 bucks more than the standard drives. I was going to buy 2 at a cost of $279.00 each, they would have had to go back!

    As OWC puts it:
    OWC NOTE: This WD VelociRaptor is designed with a 3.5-inch backplane ready mounting bracket - perfect for any Mac Pro, or PowerMac G5 system!
    The drive is located here: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Western Digital/WD3000HLFS/
     
  7. StanD thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #7
    Hey there,

    Thanks for the tip. I already have 2x Velociraptors and as such have already bought the MaxUpgrades sleds for them. The new ones I ordered are the "proper" ones. Namely they are the WD3000HLFS model.

    You can get them much cheaper at NewEgg then OWC, check this out:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136322

    They have the HLFS drive for $269! :) This is the model with the correct backplane connectors!

    Enjoy,


    - Stan
     
  8. viking396 macrumors member

    viking396

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    #8
    Stan,

    You da man! Thanks! I like OWC because they are local, but if they are going to be this much more then they don't deserve the business. I'm going to call and see if they'll price match.
     
  9. Virtuoso macrumors regular

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    Feb 21, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #9
    Can't comment on that I'm afraid. I did originally buy the Caldigit card because it would leave my options open to run Bootcamp, but having got everything on the Mac Pro set up nicely, I don't want to spoil it by installing Vista. ;)

    If you do go down the Bootcamp route though, you can just stick your 280GTX in the Mac Pro. It won't work in OS X, but should work fine in Windows.
     
  10. StanD thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 15, 2008
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    Raleigh, NC
    #10
    Hmmm,

    Do you think the Mac Pro would have the power rails for this? With a 8800 GT and a 280GTX in the system you'd need some pretty beefy rails. As far as I know from the specs you need ~225ish (?) for the 280 alone (I think!).

    In regards to Bootcamp, since I started the thread I will follow-up here when I am up and running and will let you know for sure!

    Hopefully this info will prove useful to the next person with these questions ... who uses Search :)


    - Stan
     
  11. Virtuoso macrumors regular

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    Seattle
    #11
    I think the PSU is 1000W so there's plenty of juice. You'll need to get another power cable for the GFX card though.
     
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #12
    Do you mean hardware installation or partition & setup?

    For hardware, you have two basic options.
    1. Use the cable, and attach it to the CalDigit card and the iPass connector on the logic board. Wastes the SATA ports on the logic board though. :(

    2. Use the CalDigit for the array, and the iPass connector for the OS drives. This way can give you additional options. :) Personally, I prefer to do things this way, so if an OS drive fails, it has no effect on the array at all. Also, booting from the array is slower. You have to wait for the card to initialize, eliminating the speed gain from the achievable drive speed. :eek: :(

    Sorry it's not more specific, but I don't know the details of your intended installation. :eek:
     
  13. viking396 macrumors member

    viking396

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    #13
    I built a 386 machine that booted into Windows For Workgroups 3.11 in 9 seconds, does this mean the speed I have in my Mac Pro is elminated because it takes longer to boot? This logic is flawed, waitng for an array to initialize is well worth the speed increase the array provides.
     
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #14
    The machine you built was a PC. I was talking about a Mac Pro. :p
    It comes down to BIOS vs. EFI for a true RAID card. Software or "fake" RAID don't suffer from this, as the system does the processing. (They don't use the firmware). There have been a review or two that even mention this issue, and it's not card manufacturer specific. :eek: :)
     
  15. StanD thread starter macrumors member

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    Raleigh, NC
    #15
    Hey there,

    Thanks for the follow-up, but (of course) this has now resulted in more questions :)

    First off, are you saying that if I attach the Caldigit Bootcamp iPass cable back to the board that I will lose the ability to use SATA ports 5 & 6 on the board? Huh? That would be bad considering I have replaced my Superdrive with a SATA burner :)

    What I want is to be able to boot from the Caldigit array, notwithstanding the comments about init times be as they may. Is this still possible? I want to boot from the RAID card and be able to do Bootcamp from either a slice of the array (doubtful) or on a separate drive (more likely). What parts would I need above and beyond what I have? Do I need a MaxUpgrades iPass to SATA cable or something?

    In regards to the 280GTX comment above, yes the Mac Pro has a 1.2 KW PSU but I believe the ports on the board only allow ~300 TOTAL watts. Having a 8800 GT and a 280GTX on the board at the same time would tax it, no? Has anyone successfully done this? I'd sure like to do it this way if at all possible!

    Lots of questions, and I appreciate you folks offering up answers.

    Thanks!


    - Stan
     
  16. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #16
    :cool: No problem, that's what the forum is for. :p
    No. Your ODD_SATA ports would be unaffected. :) You lose SATA ports 1 through 4, which are used by the iPass connector when you attach the Boot Camp cable (iPass to iPass). This is what allows the CalDigit to boot, though it must be a JBOD drive.

    I don't like this setup, as it reduces the size of the array. To me, this is the enemy to speed. You know, the other reason for having a proper RAID card to begin with. ;) :p
    For the first part, Yes, you can boot from the CalDigit, so long as you install the Boot Camp cable (iPass to iPass) between the logic board and the CalDigit card. Sorry, for some stupid reason, I was thinking CalDigit included the cable needed. :eek: How stupid of me. :p

    The trick is, you won't be able to boot from the array. The drive, and it must be in Bay 1 IIRC, must be setup as JBOD. The remaining 3 drives can be used in an array as you see fit.
    The last time I looked at the specs, the PSU can only deliver 980W, not 1.2kW. :( However, it will run them. :) Just make sure to use the correct cabling. You need a 6 pin PCIe power cable that connects to the logic board. The 8 pin PCIe cable can be taken from the unused 4 pin Molex 12V power cable (empty optical bay). This wouldn't be a problem, as you haven't indicated you're trying to run an additional drive or two from this connector. ;)
    Your welcome. :)
     
  17. Virtuoso macrumors regular

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    Seattle
    #17
    It would be ideal if you could install a hard drive in the second optical bay connected to one of the spare SATA ports (5/6) and then use that for Windows. The problem is, you need to install some AHCI drivers during the Windows installation routine (via a memory stick) to enable the o/s to see these extra ports.

    There is a thread on here with links to some Intel drivers but I couldn't get them to work with Vista Ultimate 64 bit on my system.
     
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #18
    Or use a separate fan out cable from the logic board. No AHCI drivers to deal with. ;)
     
  19. StanD thread starter macrumors member

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    Raleigh, NC
    #19
    Nano,

    Can you link a fan out iPass-to-SATA cable from Provantage that you've used to do this? After reading everything here and thinking on it a bit, I am going to mount a drive in the lower optical bay and use the fan out cable for Bootcamp :)

    Is there anything else I need be to aware of?

    As well I will follow-up soon on the GTX280 hookup as I have ordered the proper power cable for the 6-pin PCIe. Will run the 8-pin off the optical molex.

    Thanks in advance,


    - Stan
     
  20. Virtuoso macrumors regular

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    Seattle
    #20
    Funny you should ask that - I cracked and ordered this one this afternoon so I could do exactly that. I've got another 1TB WD Caviar Black drive coming too, which I'll stick in the spare optical bay and partition for Bootcamp.
     
  21. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #21
    Here's a 19.69"/50 cm iPass fan-out for $21.50 including shipping. ;)
    It also has a sideband connector, but you won't need it. Bundle it up out of the way with a zip tie or something.
     
  22. StanD thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 15, 2008
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    Raleigh, NC
    #22
    Virt / nano,

    Thanks a lot for both of your replies. I just purchased the one from Ebay as then I get to make use of the 30% cashback :)

    Now to wait for all of this to arrive and then put it together and post a follow-up.

    Thanks again,


    - Stan
     
  23. aaronmac1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    #23
    Caldigit clarification

    Hello all,


    I came across this posting today and it has been very helpful. I have a question that I am unclear on, Please excuse my ignorance.


    How do you set up the Caldigit RAID so it is the array only and you have a stand alone drive for the OS/ What cables do I need and what needs connected to what so that I can achieve this? I agree that waiting for the RAID to initialize on startup is driving me a little crazy. I have four internal drives only. Is this possible? If so I would appreciate a short guide in how to do so.

    Many thanks.
     
  24. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #24
    This is fairly easy. :)

    Disconnect the iPass cable end from the logic board, and connect to the CalDigit. (I'll assume you've already done this though). ;)

    Get an iPass fan-out cable (or this one by Virtuoso), and connect it to the logic board, and one of the SATA ends to the OS drive. Physically mount the drive in the empty optical bay (easiest location).

    The OS drive will boot from the SATA controller on the logic board, and the array gets another drive available. You may want to acquire a 5th HDD, to allow for a 4 drive array. :)

    Hope this helps, and good luck. :)
     

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