Second RAID Card for Mac Pro early 2008

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Data-Base, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. Data-Base macrumors member

    Data-Base

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
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    Norway
    #1
    Hello,

    I have Apple's Raid Card in my Mac Pro early 2008, and I want to have a second RAID card and not replacing it,

    I bought 5.25" encloser where you can place 4x2.5" Disks in it (yes I will use SSDs)

    now I want a RAID Card with iPass (SFF-8087) connector that is compatible with Mac OSX and Windows (Support booting) to add it to my Mac Pro (in addition to the Apple RAID card) and has good performance

    any recommendation?



    cheers
     
  2. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #2
    There are three things to distinguish:

    • The Raid card firmware should be prepared to boot into EFI and not into BIOS in order to work good in a MacPro
    • An OS X volume should be bootable
    • A Windows volume should be bootable

    I'm currently not aware that all points can be done. I believe the Windows booting will not work with the other two conditions. Booting into EFI and booting OS X will be possible with Areca cards and there are cards in the 12XX series that have the iPass cable.
     
  3. Data-Base thread starter macrumors member

    Data-Base

    Joined:
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    #3
    Thanks for your quick reply :)

    the idea was to have the second RAID Card to install/boot OSX on it then use Boot camp to create the windows partition (windows 7 64Bit)

    is that possible?

    the other thing is to have it place in beside the already installed Apple RAID card

    is that possible?

    the first card (Apple Card) will be used to connect the 4 HDDs in RAID 5


    cheers
     
  4. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #4
    I'm not aware that there are fundamental problems to run two RAID cards in a MP3,1. Perhaps nanofrog is more knowledgeable about it. So I assume now that it can be done.

    With your first Raid card you will use all your HDD ports for a RAID5 mode that cannot be done in SW Raid. I assume that you will review the use of the raptors there and might want to switch to slower, large capacity data drives. You might want to review if you still want RAID5 and use all four drives.

    Your Areca 12xx would drive up to three of your four potential 2,5" drives that would fit in your 5,25" enclosure. These drives can be SSDs in Raid0 for OS X and apps. The Areca ports cannot be used to boot into Windows. You still have the problem that you would need one SATA port from the original ESB2 device of your chipset to boot Windows. As you have no HDD port it would have to be one of the ODD SATA ports. This can provide several challenges.

    The first problem would be the presence of the HDD Raid array. That would have to be removed temporarily. Then one of the HDD ports can be used to install or clone Windows to the SSD. Next that SSD would have to be set to AHCI mode by the appropriate procedure. After this you should be able to remove the SSD from the HDD port and fit the Raid array back.

    The second problem is a bit diffuse. We have reports here that you cannot set the MP3,1 ODD SATA ports to boot Windows. It is definitely possible with all other Mac Pros but there seem to be a problem with that particular model. It is unique by having firmware that enables OS X DVDs to boot from those ODD SATA ports. Nevertheless the ODD are still supplied with IDE/ATA interface. The Windows booting problem may stem from that unique ODD boot situation of the 2008 MP. The user Nadev35, who reported the problem contacted Apple and was informed that an EFI upgrade is imminent that should resolve the problem. I would suggest to wait a month if that upgrade is really forthcoming before you buy any hardware.
     
  5. Data-Base thread starter macrumors member

    Data-Base

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    #5
    you are right I was thinking to have 4x 2TB WD RE4 :)


    other thoughts if the dual cards will not work, I was thinking of getting ARC-1680i and have the setup done

    but again as you said the Windows booting issue


    right now I have the current setup:

    the Raid0 4x Raptors has the OSX 10.6 (Boot)

    also I got an iPass (SFF-8087) cable used it to connect the motherboard and a HDD then installed Windows 7, works (slow Disk) but works


    there is on the motherboard 2 SATA connectors I tried to use them for windows, they do not work, they work on mac but not for windows


    thanks again
     
  6. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #6
    Usually the ODD (Optical Disk Drive) SATA ports can also work with Windows if you set the AHCI mode, but on your machine there is a firmware glitch which needs fixing first.

    Perhaps you can temporarily use a SW Raid and only 3 disks. Then one of the HDD ports can be used for Windows with one of the old raptors.
     
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #7
    Apple's card only operates in the OS X environment, and can boot it. Leave/build the type 5 array on it.

    Yes.

    This one you leave the firmware as BIOS, and allow the BIOS emulation portion of the EFI firmware to take over during the boot process. Windows will load off the card. It will also work with Linux most likely (verify driver support, if you want this).

    You have more choices this way as well, and don't even have to use one that works under OS X. But you can get cards (Areca, ATTO, and Highpoint) that will still work in OS X via drivers (no booting, but can still see the card, and the drives if you wish).

    Now if you want to use it with SSD, pay attention to the slot used. I'll assume the Apple RAID card is in slot 4. (Slots 3 & 4 are Gen 1, 4x lane = 1GB/s max throughput). If you want more than 4x ports, you'd need to use Slot 2 in order to use all 8x PCIe lanes (to use the additional bandwidth the card is capable of). You've not indicated what's available or can be rearranged.

    I'd recommend going with more than 4 ports. Figure what you need now, and add at least 4 additional ports. It's much easier to add drives to an existing array for online expansion than have to replace the drives every time for increased capacity. A few users here have made this mistake. So go for an 8 port card at a minimum IMO.

    The ARC-1222 (8 port), or one of the ARC-1680 series for SAS cards. The ARC-1231ML is a SATA model, but is a 12 port card. All of these are good. If you only want a 4 port, go with the ARC-1210ML (SATA). All of these will allow you options for the future, as they can run BIOS or EFI (allows it to boot in OS X or Windows).

    Please note I've inquired on multiple occasions about the ability to mulitiple boot these cards in an MP, and never got an answer. So play it safe, and presume they'll only take one or the other, meaning boot is A or B, not both.

    Given there's been no confirmation on multi OS booting on an EFI machine (and I didn't test it), presume it will NOT work for what you want to do. A second card will be required to be sure of this capability.

    This is the absolute easiest way to do it, but it presumes you don't need a RAID card for Windows (no RAID, or software RAID will suffice). It's certainly less expensive, and saves a slot, so worth a shot IMO, as you're planning on getting the drives anyway. ;)

    As you already have the cable on the logic board to access those ports, you could run the SSD's in a stripe set this way, and create it under Windows. At least worth a test, if possible (Partition Table structures are different between OS X and Windows, and may not work in the end). The GUID structures are done differently it seems. I never tried it, so I can't be sure either way.
     
  8. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #8
    I have used an ARC-1210 in BIOS mode and would not recommend it. You cannot control how it boots properly because is will not integrate with EFI. So one of the consequences is that you cannot access the boot menue, neither can you boot Windows by any controlled procedure.

    Practically you have no choice but use the EFI part of the firmware which runs with OS X booting only. This is why Windows must boot from a Mac SATA port.
     
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #9
    I haven't used that particular model, but with any of them with BIOS remaining, the firmware is inaccessible in an EFI system. Settings have to be accessed via the Web Utility. This could mean some settings are inaccessible, such as the ability to shut the alarm off, as there are variances from card to card (web util is stored in the firmware, and has even changed over the different revisions). It's possible to have access or gain access, depending on the specific card and firmware version loaded.

    In your case, I'm not sure if you experienced difficulties with both systems or not (EFI32 vs. EFI64 mess). A reminder/elaboration could be helpful. ;)

    I didn't have any issues with an ARC-1260ix12, but I also had access to a PC if needed. The ARC-1231ML was never tested in the MP, as at that time, it didn't have the ability to run EFI at all, and I wasn't completely sure of what I was going to end up with. Had it been capable of booting EFI, I'd have skipped the ARC-1680ix12. But once I had it, I kept it. Now I use both, but on a PC.

    Data-Base: Though theres a couple of other brands listed, Highpoint is difficult to deal with (and the RR43xx models are the only ones to look at, as the rest are junk IMO). ATTO is a really good company, but costs more than the Areca's, and is missing a few features as well available on certain models (the ability to upgrade the cache for example).
     
  10. Data-Base thread starter macrumors member

    Data-Base

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
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    Norway
    #10
    thank you guys for the information :)

    that helps me allot to understand the case


    I have only ATI Graphic card and the Apple RAID on my Mac Pro

    so the final word is: there is no way to boot both windows (boot camp) and OSX from the same RAID Card



    cheers
     
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #11
    I don't know for sure with all cards and makes, as I didn't get a response on it from some companies, even with multiple attempts to do so.

    Highpoint = NO
    Areca = ??? (email, as they're based in Taiwan)
    ATTO Technologies = ??? (they you can call, as they've support offices in the US)

    So to be safe, presume NO, and you'd need separate cards to boot each OS.
     
  12. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #12
    I have tried to boot Windows on a Mac from a Raid0 array either software or card based for many weeks. I have worked intensively with nanofrog on that issue because he obviously is the resident expert.

    My conclusion after many weeks of trying is:

    There is no known card that will first boot into EFI properly and then boot Windows!

    The investigation is based on machines with EFI32 and EFI64. From there the conclusion is very simple. If you cannot have EFI and Windows it is equally impossible to have EFI, OS X and Windows booting properly.

    All the known cards also have the limitation that they support only one boot operating system at a given time. This is the second obstacle.

    The closest thing we have come to is the Areca modular firmware. The firmware has an EFI and a Bios module which can be exchanged. With the EFI module you can boot the card into Apple Mac machines. Unfortunately the following modules are only made for OS X. There is not module that would boot Windows. If they had such a module that works with the EFI module a clever programmer could use the rEFIt command interface to activate the right combinations of modules for booting into alternative systems.

    THis is why I would advise you to use a Mac SATA port for booting Windows. If Apple fix the firmware use one of the ODD SATA ports. As long as they don't you have no choice but use one of your four HDD ports.
     
  13. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #13
    Keep in mind, it's one specific model. There well could be differences as each card is different (card firmware), and the upper model lines might work (I'm not expecting it though). I just don't have proof as I've not tested or assisted with testing of other Areca cards in this scenario. And with brands not tested as well (namely ATTO).

    A test of one of the 1680 series would give enough information to be conclusive (bottom and top end models). But for now, I'll play it safe and say don't presume you can dual boot OS X and Windows on a Mac.
    As a general rule, this is actually FALSE. Think about the Itanium systems, which is what the EFI based cards were designed for to begin with. They'll boot Windows (typically server, but if that works, so would the client editions). Linux and other forms of UNIX also boot.

    It's the Mac aspect that's different, as the settings in the firmware aren't accessible, and apparently, aren't the the same as the Itanium systems. It seems to me that Apple's screwed up implementation of EFI is the likely culprit.

    One form of FIRMWARE, YES. But not necessarily limited to one OS. You can run UNIX and Windows from BIOS or even EFI on the Itanium systems. It's Macs that turn things upside down.

    See above. It seems to me the default settings in the Mac version of EFI aren't the same as the Itanium systems (which it does work), and fails.

    It's the easiest and least expensive way to go. And the OP's system should be able to handle SSD's, as it's an '08, not an '09. He even has the cable already.

    Using a 4x*2.5" backplane unit to fit the optical bay will hold all of the SSD's nicely, and isn't hard or expensive to locate either.

    The only reason for needing a second RAID card is:
    1. Not enough ports available
    2. Array levels desired that can't (or shouldn't) be run via a software implementation (5/6/50/60).
    3. The logic board ports can't handle the throughput (possible on the '09's only right now AFAIK).
     

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