Selecting RAID controller for my needs

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by gugucom, Aug 7, 2009.

  1. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #1
    I tried to build a striped software array of three 64 GB Supertalent SSDs and partition them for dual booting with OS X/Vista64. The project failed at the point where I had to stripe 2 or 3 Bootcamp volumes with the Vista disk management tool. Vista let me only stripe complete drives but not volumes on a GPT drive. This project was very important for me because with 3 SSDs I would run Vista and OS X very fast (600 MB/s) and have 2 SATA ports left for mass data (movies essentially). I was planning to fit a further array of two 2TB WD Greens for that. Luckily I experimented first with HDDs to find the limits and avoided to buy the third SDD in vain.

    I have now decided to alternatively buy 2 x 80 GB Intel 2nd Gen SSDs which will run my OS X. The Supertalents will be used for Vista. I have also bought an Addonix internal enclosure for the 2nd ODD bay.

    [​IMG]

    The main problem at this point is a lack of SATA ports. I have 6 in my Mac Pro. I have one ODD which needs SATA so the 4 SSDs leave me with just 1 SATA port for mass data storage. To alleviate the problem I'm looking at the Highpoint RocketRaid 2642 controller.

    [​IMG]

    http://www.highpoint-tech.com/USA/rr2642.htm

    The idea is to put the Vista RAID0 array on the 2642 controller to free up the Mac HDD Sata ports for the 2TB drives. The eSATA ports will be used to strip unused movies from the storage array and keep them on loose HDDs.

    I will be paying 140€ for the 2642. My question at this point is wether I have selected the right controler in terms of capabilities and price.Is there an alternative which would be cheaper? It is rather expensive I feel.
     
  2. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #2
    It should work. Both ports used for the Vista stripe will be handled by one controller (RR2642) and it has BIOS boot support. :)
     
  3. gugucom thread starter macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #3
    So I'm right that there is no cheaper OS X supported controller which would do this?
     
  4. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #4
    I'm not sure if there's a cheaper one or not that is:
    1. 4x lane PCIe (you can't use the 1x units and have more than 2 ports active).
    2. BIOS boot support as well as drivers

    You could look though. Perhaps something from Sonnet, or NitroAV?
     
  5. gugucom thread starter macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #5
    It looks pretty reasonable. I read in another thread that the 26xx series do not boot OS X. :mad: That would not be so nice. I will not need it immediately but it would have been a nice reserve capability.
     
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #6
    I figured you were aware of that, but as you're wanting to use it to boot Vista, it really doesn't matter. You can still install the OS X drivers and access the files that way if you wish (via MacDrive or similar).

    Is there something else I need to be aware of? Or is it just the fact it doesn't boot OS X that's bothering you (principle)?

    I can understand the later quite well ;), but it will work for what you described in the first post (boot Vista). :D
     
  7. gugucom thread starter macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #7
    I will rely on Winclone for backing Vista up on HFS+ HDD or SSDs via OS X. That should not be a problem though.
     
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #8
    :cool: I hadn't noticed it was capable of that. :)
     
  9. gugucom thread starter macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #9
    I'm stuck with the soft RAID for Vista which seems to be a dead end. Now I need to make up my mind to exchange the Intel SSDs from 2x80 to 1x160 GB or buy the RAID controller. It irritates me that I can use the eSATA ports only in Vista mode. Or do I have understood somthing wrong?

    Booting obviously isn't possible from both Vista and OS X. But perhaps it is possible to use the eSATA ports when I'm booted into OS X. I'm not clear if that is possible. Actually if I can write to the NTFS disks under OS X I shoukld be able to use the eSATA.

    Any comments, nanofrog?
     
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #10
    eSATA; Did you run an eSATA bracket off the ODD_SATA ports, or is a card?

    IIRC, there's been others who've managed separate arrays for independent OS's. :confused: Something may have just gone wrong. What ports are you using?
     
  11. gugucom thread starter macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #11
    I have opened a thread for my SW installation effort.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=763905

    So I have not yet purchased the 2642 hybrid card with the 2 internal and 2 eSATA ports. I wanted to try first if I can do it with software only.

    I have exclusively used the 4 HDD ports which are in AHCI mode when my Vista-64 runs. Obviously whatever mode they have under VISTA installation DVD I have no clue, but would guess it will be legacy.
     
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #12
    :cool: I'll give that a read. :)

    How have you come to the conclusion you can't use the eSATA ports (since no eSATA bracket attached to the ODD_SATA ports)? :confused:

    As I understand it, the EFI loads as Legacy, so AHCI has to be enabled to completely load Vista.

    Beyond that, I'm lost in your description. Can you elaborate?
     
  13. gugucom thread starter macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #13
    My comment about the eSATA ports did not relate to the current hardware but speculatively to the setup with the Rocketraid 2642 which I will need to buy if the SW only version will not run. Would I be able to make the eSATA ports work under OS X although I would not be able to boot from them?

    For convenience I will copy the other post here.

    You see that I have actually loaded the floppy Inf files at installation. It did not make a difference.
     
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #14
    You should be able to get what you want up and running off the ICH in the chipset.

    But if you have to use the RR2642, it does have BIOS boot support. So it actually can boot Vista, just not OS X (no EFI support). OS X support is driver only, but you'd be able to see an attached disk once OS X boots (and you've presumably installed the drivers). ;)
     
  15. gugucom thread starter macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #15
    Ok, that brings me nearer to a decision. I believe that I have exhausted my options for getting the SW solution to work. It seems once again that original Mac users are screwed again when it comes to Windows features. The EFI seems to make it impossible to have the Vista installer recognize the array at installation. Funny thing is that the installer is prepared to read drivers from the installed array but it will not install Vista there. It drove me nearly mad last night.

    Some more questions about the SAS connectors of the 2642:

    What kind of cables do I need?

    Will the SSDs be suitable to a SAS controller without giving trouble?
     
  16. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #16
    Did you try to install Vista to one drive, then create the array under Windows?

    Apple's EFI isn't completely standard. It's a modified version of v.1.10 to make the system proprietary (locks OS X to their systems).

    Cable wise, it's just SATA or eSATA cables. The same cable works on both drives (same connector & pin outs). No problem there. ;)

    As for SAS with SSD, generally, it's been a problem. :( That said, I checked the Compatibility List, and they've PASSED the X-25E (X25-E SSDSA2SH032G w/ firmware rev. 8790) for the Intel drives. I'd recommend contacting Highpoint by email, and inquire about the particular model you have. In a lot of cases, the list is short, as they've only a small selection of drives to test. The problem is, when you use a disk that's not been added, you run the risk of it not working correctly (guinea pig mode err... beta tester).

    I find testing and subsequent passing the E variant odd though, as the M variants are far more likely to be the models users wish to run.
     
  17. gugucom thread starter macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #17
    I havn't actually tried that. But it doesnt sound very sensible. In my understanding and experience with the Windows data carrier management it deletes everything on the first carrier when you try to stripe it.

    Anyway, I'll give it a try.
     
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #18
    Given the EFI's settings, this seems the better way to go, though it will take longer.

    Hope it goes well, and good luck. :)

    I look forward to seeing the results, and want to see a "YES! It worked", so no slacking. :p
     
  19. gugucom thread starter macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #19
    It's rather sad. Now I get an error message saying: "Windows has not found a volume that fullfills the installation criteria"

    I have formatted NTFS and selected primary, active partition. The formatted drives are recognized but Vista insists they are crap.

    I googled the error message and found a German Win forum where a guy said that formatting in XP SP2 will suppress this error which is something to do with BIOS!!! So off I am for my historic install disks.
     
  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #20
    Out of curiosity, are you trying to do this manually, or are you entering the wizard (under Administrative Tools .... Disk Management)?
     
  21. gugucom thread starter macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #21
    I'm using disk management.

    Next problem is the good old HAL.dll error when installing XP without bootcamping it. I'll have to refit the OS X array to fix this.
     
  22. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #22
    Was the NTFS formatting done in Windows, or some other means (such as Winclone or other util under OS X)?

    Just trying to get some details, so please bear with me. I'm not sure of exactly what/why yet, and the details will help me understand what you've done, and maybe give me an idea or two. :)
     
  23. gugucom thread starter macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #23
    No, everything was done in Windows from an installed version of Vista 64 with disk management.

    I'm now bootcamping the installation and have advanced to the point where Vista 64 is installing on one SSD. Files are expanding (32%)....

    It appears that you have to stick to Apple's ways to get things done on this Mac. I'm fairly sure Bootcamp used GPT where Windows used MBR partition table. I noticed the typical 200 MB EFI pasrtition on the SSD. Re fomatting with NTFS wasn't even required because that seems to have been automated with Vista.
     
  24. gugucom thread starter macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #24
    I now got a full install of Vista. I have just adjusted the sceen rsolution and went directly to disk management. My two NTFS disks are there. The one with the Vista installation has an EFI partition and the other one not. I cannot stripe the installed disk as I have suspected. I'm going ahead and install Apple drivers but it will be mostly useless exercise.
     
  25. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #25
    :cool:

    I'd think Windows will use MBR on a single disk installation (don't recall being able to change the setting anywhere), but the stripe should be converted to GPT (as you're using a 64bit version). I don't know if this is going to cause problems.
     

Share This Page