Raid Card help, crewed mac pro- caldigit

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by TK2K, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. TK2K macrumors 6502

    TK2K

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2006
    #1
    Hey,
    So long story short apple has decided to crew my 2008 mac pro for a new 2009! Which is pretty awesome, except for one small (big) problem. I have a 4 drive raid 5 array off of the Caldigit raid card... however the new system does not have an ipass cable, correct? Meaning I can't connect my raid card..

    So here's my problem, I already dropped a bunch of money on this raid card, but I really need a raid 5 array for what I do, any suggestions?
     
  2. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #2
    The change to the '09 actually hurts you. :eek: :rolleyes:

    You're understanding is correct that the cable is gone in the '09's, and the drive data is now transfered via the unused PCIe traces in slot 4 to the drive connectors, now soldered directly to the board.

    No matter the card, you'd have to make some changes from what you had if you take the '09 model.
    1. Attempt to stuff the drives in the optical bays, and relocate the ODD externally. Then attach the drives to the card with an iPass (MiniSAS*4i cable). You'd also need to mod some 3rd party cables (backplane extenders + 2 SATA power per extender to make a Y) for power. (One of these cable mods per ODD Backplane connection, so 2 total).

    2. Get '08 drive sleds, as they're shorter than those in the system, and appear to give adequate clearance for cables. Again, you'd have to get 3rd party cables (MiniSAS*4i (1) + backplane extenders (4) modded with SATA power (4)). You'd loose the drive connectors on the board, unless you can attach right angle SATA cables for some future use. Provided you can find the room for the drives. :eek: :p

    3. Go external.

    4. Contact Apple, and change the replacement back to an '08 model. Perhaps with a CPU clock upgrade. ;)

    1 and 2 aren't that easy, and are likely going to be a PITA, even if you're handy with a soldering iron.

    3 is quite doable, but expensive. But I'll assume you already knew that one. :p

    4 would be the easiest and least expensive, provided you can get Apple to comply.

    Let me know what you can/want to do, and good luck.
     
  3. TK2K thread starter macrumors 6502

    TK2K

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2006
    #3
    Well here's what i'm thinking, the problem is I don't own enough to back up all my 3TB exteranlly, so i'd need to buy new drives for that anyway.. I'm thinking maybe i bite the bullet and get the 09 raid card? i've heard they're a lot better than the previous ones.

    I'd prefer not to go external, seeing as i need to haul this back and forth each year for college... but maybe

    also, apple won't downgrade me, there's a bug in the 08 model with it not giving enough power to the USB bus, which is the reason they're crewing mine.
     
  4. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #4
    As far as the 3TB; is that the actual data amount, or the max capacity of the current array?

    I ask, as you don't have to have the same amount of space. Not a bad idea mind you, but you only need capacity enough to handle the current data.

    As for the '09 RAID Pro, another member has one, and isn't happy with it at all. From the data he's posted, it's a dog. So it's not worth it. Especially if you consider the cost ($700USD :eek:). :(
    Go external if you have to get the '09, or try to cram it in the ODD bays. At least an external optical drive isn't much to deal with. ;)

    Personally, I'd go for the ODD bay option. If you use 2.5" disks, you can get more in there. Eight for sure. I can walk you through the cable mods. (All 3rd party cables, so no hacking of the original cabling. Good for warranty reasons). :D

    Would an external powered USB hub(s) be an option?

    Far cheaper and easier, considering the alternative. Granted, Apple should have sorted this out before the system ever shipped, but given the '09's internals, it's more difficult, and likely expensive.
     
  5. TK2K thread starter macrumors 6502

    TK2K

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2006
    #5
    I've got 2.7TB of actual data :(
    Maybe i'll look into external... then I can use the 4 internal bays for other things... Still

    Thanks for the suggestions
     
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #6
    Hmm... Yeah, then you do need that much backup storage.

    Have you decided to stick with the '08 or go for the '09? Or unsure ATM?
    There is a lot to consider here, given your specific circumstances.
     
  7. TK2K thread starter macrumors 6502

    TK2K

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2006
    #7
    They won't let me request an 08 instead of an 09, also i'll just run into the same power issues with the machine...

    Alright, so if i'm going external I'll just keep my current raid card, but i need some sort of enclosure then.
     
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #8
    This is why I mentioned the use of an external powered USB hub. I was actually thinking you still have your '08. :eek:

    I'd try out the hub idea if you do still have it. ;)

    Assuming you're truly stuck with the '09, and transfer the CalDigit, you're also going to be stuck with using the HDElement from CalDigit, as they locked the two together. :mad: No choice I'm afraid, and one of the reasons CalDigit pissed me off. That, and the fact the array wasn't stable using their crap enclosure and drives (Hitachi). :(

    If at all possible, switch to another card. :eek: I or other members can help direct you to a good one that fits your needs, and would alow you to use the enclosures of your choice. ;) Cheaper too. :D
     
  9. TK2K thread starter macrumors 6502

    TK2K

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2006
    #9
    Would it still be even though i'd have to buy new drives in order to transfer my stuff? lol the cheapest sounds best
     
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #10
    The hub idea is the absolute cheapest I can think of ATM. But expansion is still limited to the HDElement.

    It's hard to say between a new card + choice of enclosure(s) vs. card in possession + HDElement(s). You'd have to do the math. But there's other things to consider. Stability and recovery.

    Stability comes into play, particularly as you can't select the drives that come in the HDElement, which are consumer grade (Hitachi last I know of). Going with a different enclosure, you can select the drives. Enterprise drives are better suited to RAID, and have a better Unrecoverable Bit Error rate than their consumer counterparts. The error recovery timings are also different.

    As for reliability, the CalDigit doesn't have a copy of the Partition Tables stored, so recovery is harder. The use of consumer drives also makes for issues, particularly with error recovery (drop out). Other cards that do this, can recover arrays that couldn't be otherwise. Important for time savings, and data recovery if you're actually running a RAID without a backup.

    Another card is also capable of faster throughput (much in fact), as well as more drives, depending on how far you want to go.
     
  11. TK2K thread starter macrumors 6502

    TK2K

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2006
    #11
    To be honest speed isn't my biggest concern, it's data redundancy without a 1:1 loss in storage space. I'll do some math and see, thanks for your help though
     
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #12
    Another RAID card would be the better way to go. Most of the decent ones, are designed for both speed and redundancy, so they have extra features, such as extra flash for Partition Table storage, etc. They really do go hand in hand. I can't stress this enough, as the CalDigit has too many compromises intended to cheapen it out. Detrimentally so.

    As for capacity, you're going to have to use an external solution anyway I think, unless you replace the internal drives with 2TB models (WD20EADS for example).

    The math is important, but if you can swing it, dump the CalDigit. Keeping it may cost you more than you'd think in the long run. Either in HDElements, or or possibly data recovery in a worst case scenario (array goes, and no backup).
     
  13. TK2K thread starter macrumors 6502

    TK2K

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2006
    #13
    I'm correct in thinkin the caldigit raid 5 is not transferable to another card, right? The thing is no matter what I want to do other than going fully external, i'd have to buy new drives and new raid card... damn.
     
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #14
    You'd likely loose the data, as another card may not be able to read the partition tables on the drives. In this situation, backup first, then attach the drives to the new card, and setup the array of your choice. Then reinstall data. If it was an identical card, you can just swap them out. It can usually work for different cards, as long as it's the same interface, and made by the same vendor. (There are exceptions. HighPoint's products for example, as the ODM's are different for their lines IIRC).

    It might be in your best interest to get away from using consumer drives, as they can be problematic (dropouts due to TLER settings). In the case of WD drives, the TLER Utility can be found, which would allow you to change them. Unfortunately however, I've not located the utility for other drive makers. :(

    Even then, consumer units still have their limits (Mean Time Between Failure, and Unrecoverable Bit Error rates). Perhaps not as much of an issue, where the array isn't under constant access. Certainly fine for backup disks or arrays.
     
  15. TK2K thread starter macrumors 6502

    TK2K

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2006
    #15
    It sucks that their crewing of my mac pro is actually going to cost me money :(

    Alright, thanks for all the help and advice on this, I'll try to figure something out
     
  16. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #16
    Sorry about that, but it's Apple for you. :eek: :p

    Good luck getting all this sorted. :)
     

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