Raid Cards

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by 3runjosh, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. 3runjosh macrumors member

    Dec 7, 2008
    Hey I'm new to raid cards actually I just discovered sort of what they do today and was wondering as a graphic designer working with the 40-300mb files and going on to do video work next year when I buy the 2009 MP would it be wise to get a raid card? If so how do they work and what do I need to do with it to get the best out of it or best experience.

  2. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    The biggest benefit you'd get from a raid card would be if you connect it to a SAN to get access to massive storage across a fibre backbone but you are looking at very serious money to do that. If all you want is increased storage space, then you can get 8 disk e-sata enclosures complete with an e-sata card for less than $500 (you need to put disks in it though which obviously adds to the cost).
    Basically, rather than saying I think I want a raid card, but what can I do with it, you are better off defining what you are trying to achieve and then get help on deciding the best way to meet your requirements.
  3. m1stake macrumors 68000

    Jan 17, 2008
  4. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    When you go fibre in a SAN, you need an HBA, not an array controller. The controllers on the SAN do the legwork for RAID and present the LUNs back to the host over fibre.
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Back to the OP, what exactly do you need?
    Capacity, speed, number of drives, drive interface (SATA or SAS), are you willing to use an external enclosure or stay internal,...?

    The answers would help a lot. ;)
  6. swissmacuser macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2008

    I am using a Mac Pro with an internal Apple Raid Card and am very happy. The main advantage of the Apple Raid Card is: you buy it, choose 2-4 hard drives and everything works without hassle and programming. I am a real enduser. I dont care about programming, but I know how to install programs and work with the Apple RAID program (included in Mac OS X).

    For the Raid I used hard drives that the company claimes to work well in RAIDS. And indeed the ones I have, worked well so far:
    4x500 MB Western Digital Caviar RE2 SATA II, 24/7, WD5001ABYS, SATA-300 NCQ 1.0 MTBF. What does that mean? RE2 = Raid edition 2
    This is a RAID drive which is supposed to work 24/7 and to be more reliable than a regular standard hard drive.

    I am using the Apple Raid card in a RAID 0 with these 4 internal and 1 external hard drive (firewire800) and Time Machine for 1 year now and everything works fine.

    When I installed them for the first time the battery cable inside the mac pro was not yet connected (probably a safety feature) and the apple raid card battery/accu needed about 3 days for complete loading.

    Now the reading is blazingly fast (for my purposes): find below the XBench 1.3 readings:
    Disk Test 286.60
    Sequential 242.57
    Uncached Write 322.23 197.85 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 386.29 218.57 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 114.65 33.55 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 481.75 242.13 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 350.15
    Uncached Write 464.24 49.15 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 344.73 110.36 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 371.89 2.64 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 271.76 50.43 MB/sec [256K blocks]

    Anyone else with ideas for RAID cards or the the apple raid card?
    Are there possibilities to optimize it?
  7. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    RAID controllers in your computer have absolutely zip to do with connectivity to a SAN.

    edit: poop, belvdr already said that.
  8. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007

    I think your lost, confused or need to learn a little more about different types of interfaces.... :rolleyes:
  9. NightSailor macrumors 6502


    Feb 24, 2008
    Get the RAID Card and four SAS Drives

    For video work, get the RAID card and four SAS drives.

    I also recommend you buy a kit to put another drive like a 1 TB Seagate in your second optical bay for a boot drive and applications disk.

    You will also need some external storage. A four port eSata card (using software Raid) going into port multipliers feeding an external software raid array would work well.

    I'm building up to this slowly myself. I hope to have 25 TB online by next year.

    You can buy the Raid card separately.

    To install the extra drive kit internally in the drive bay, is a serious job as most of the internals have to be taken apart. I have some pictures I can post if you want to know how to do that. basically, you have to attach two eSata connectors to the motherboard, and doing this requires a couple of hours worth of careful dis-assembly (if you haven't done it before). If you have done it, it can be done in about 30 minutes.

    Popping in the eSata card in the Mac Pro takes just a minute. With the video card, RAID card, and four port eSata card, that leave one last empty slot for other uses.

    Another fellow mentioned fiberchannel. I think that is a waste of money. If you want to network your files, you have two GB LAN connectors, and that should be fast enough for most uses.

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