MP 1,1-5,1 Setting Up a SoftRAID on OWC 1.0TB Accelsior 4M2?

choreo

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 10, 2008
425
161
Midland, TX
I have a 2012 MacPro 5,1 currently running High Sierra. I am getting ready to upgrade to a Sapphire Radeon RX580 Video Card and Mojave.

Once I work any bugs out, I am looking at this as a possible Boot Drive solution:

This unit says it comes with SoftRAID, but I am a bit confused since I have never set-up a RAID configuration before. How would you set up this card "by itself" to use SoftRAID? Would I not need multiple drives to make that work?
 

AlexMaximus

macrumors 6502a
Aug 15, 2006
912
278
A400M Base
I have a 2012 MacPro 5,1 currently running High Sierra. I am getting ready to upgrade to a Sapphire Radeon RX580 Video Card and Mojave.

Once I work any bugs out, I am looking at this as a possible Boot Drive solution:

This unit says it comes with SoftRAID, but I am a bit confused since I have never set-up a RAID configuration before. How would you set up this card "by itself" to use SoftRAID? Would I not need multiple drives to make that work?
It sounds like a great idea. However, there are some minor questions you need to ask yourself first.
#1 The speed of boot SSD's are limited through the type of PCIe slot you use. If you want max speed possible in the 5.1 it would be best to use slot #1 or #2. Any other slot is slower. Since slot #2 is right above your GPU, it usually blocks airflow for cooling, hence most max-ssd setups are configured to have the boot SSD in slot #1 and the GPU in slot #3. This way you sacrifice one slot to have max speeds. You need to be aware of this, otherwise, you invest in costly upgrades and be restricted on the somewhat slow slot limit. (Your Raid feature would be non-functional)
#2 The softRaid is a OWC owned software product (as long as I know), this means there is no hardware raid chip on the board that otherwise would take the workload off the CPU chip. To be honest, I would not choose that as a good solution.
The best alternative with higher speeds is the Highpoint 7102 card, followed by the I/O crest dual card for NVMe blades in slot #1.

Have a look at this master blog to get a good overview of the available solutions for PCIe adapter cards and the experience of most forum members.


Attached below you see my setup with the sacrificed empty slot for max SSD speed in slot #1. Regardless of your PCIe adapter card of choice, this is how it would look like if speed is of the essence.

IMG_1323.jpeg
 

jbarley

macrumors 68040
Jul 1, 2006
3,874
1,735
Vancouver Island
This unit says it comes with SoftRAID, but I am a bit confused since I have never set-up a RAID configuration before. How would you set up this card "by itself" to use SoftRAID? Would I not need multiple drives to make that work?
Check the photos in the link you supplied, that card already has 4 blade ssd's.

Screen Shot 2020-02-11 at 7.14.09 AM.png

Sure glad I purchased my OWC Accelsior 4M2 in January before they almost doubled the price. :eek:
Screen Shot 2020-02-11 at 8.33.04 AM.png
 
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startergo

macrumors 68020
Sep 20, 2018
2,226
895
Does somebody know how to copy an existing drive to the 1+0 softraid drive?
 

startergo

macrumors 68020
Sep 20, 2018
2,226
895
CarbonCopyCloner can do that very nicely
I wouldn't be asking if it was working. This is what I get:
1581461403774.png

- - Post merged: - -

If I try erasing As APFS I get this:
1581461737423.png
 
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jbarley

macrumors 68040
Jul 1, 2006
3,874
1,735
Vancouver Island
Sorry, I assumed you already had a working SoftRaid volume.
Maybe try reading the SoftRaid documentation, especially the part where it says...
"SoftRaid does not support creating, modifying or converting APFS volumes."
 
Last edited:

tsialex

macrumors 604
Jun 13, 2016
7,665
8,373
Brazil
I am looking at this as a possible Boot Drive solution:

This unit says it comes with SoftRAID, but I am a bit confused since I have never set-up a RAID configuration before. How would you set up this card "by itself" to use SoftRAID? Would I not need multiple drives to make that work?
Mojave and Catalina don't support bootable software RAID volumes, Apple ended bootable RAID support with 10.13.6 and HFS+.

The usual workaround is to use one blade for installing Mojave and create an array with the other three.
 

startergo

macrumors 68020
Sep 20, 2018
2,226
895
Sorry, I assumed you already had a working SoftRaid volume.
Maybe try reading the SoftRaid documentation, especially the part where it says...
"SoftRaid does not support creating, modifying or converting APFS volumes."
First of all their site is so convoluted in respect to manuals and features and there are so much contradiction:
Softraid 5.8.1 Supports Catalina (per their site notes). Catalina does not use HFS+ natively so this statement alone does not make any sense:
Please note that SoftRAID 5.8.1 is required for macOS 10.15, Catalina
Second this statement :
"SoftRAID 6.0 will be fully compatible with APFS disks and volumes. You'll be able to create and manage APFS volumes and SoftRAID 6.0 will also offer extra functionality to allow you to further manipulate APFS volumes. At the same time you'll still get all SoftRAID's great existing functionality, whether you're working with APFS or HFS formatted disks. If you are interested in finding out more about SoftRAID 6.0 beta please contact support@softraid.com."

How can you say 5.8.1 supports Catalina knowing that Catalina uses APFS and your software does not support APFS?
- - Post merged: - -

Apple ended bootable RAID support with 10.13.6 and HFS+.
Wouldn't OC help using RAID?
 

AlexMaximus

macrumors 6502a
Aug 15, 2006
912
278
A400M Base
Mojave and Catalina don't support bootable software RAID volumes, Apple ended bootable RAID support with 10.13.6 and HFS+.

The usual workaround is to use one blade for installing Mojave and create an array with the other three.
Those headaches are exactly the reason why I would avoid this OWC card at all costs.
 

Schismz

macrumors regular
Sep 4, 2010
198
76
I used OWC extensively from the 90s to early 2010s, and was quite happy with their products. I also used SoftRAID prior to switching to APFS. OWC used to sell hardware-based RAID, at some point I don't know what happened, whether OWC acquired SoftRAID or did a JV with them, but in my personal subjective opinion OWC's engineering has gone from excellent -- if over-priced, but simple for most Mac users -- to mediocre at best.

I still have many of their drives, enclosures, etc, but have no plans to ever buy anything substantial from them moving forward. The last product I purchased was their latest Thuderbolt 3 dock for an iMac Pro. It's... mediocre, and kinda, sorta, mostly works a lot of the time, as long as you don't actually load up the ports. Is it adequate? Yes. Does it function according to the marketed specs? No. CalDigit is much better, but has its own problems for some people.

(Google above or read Amazon / BH Photo reviews and find many endless threads on same topic.)

Lloyd at MacPerformanceGuide is a big champion of OWC because he has a business relationship with them and their products, but here's his rant on SoftRAID and Catalina experiences:


I've been using Sonnet for about as long as OWC. For me, personally, I'd rate their hardware as phenomenal and their engineering as consistently excellent.

I would never buy this thing:


I got this:


Had I gone with something else, it would've been a Highpoint or Amfeltec card. I'm on a 2019 Mac Pro, so your choice may be slightly different with the old school Cheesegrater. I was running a Highpoint card in 2010 Cheesegrater.

With external RAID enclosures I've had no problems with the Pegasus R6, on the flipside I never install the drivers, I just plug it in. Installing the Promise Utility seems to produce its own series of issues when combined with Catalina and Adobe apps at present.

...

You milage may vary. OWC isn't terrible, they have various bits and pieces that are really handy. But they're basically one-stop-shopping for people who don't know anything except they want to upgrade their Mac.

384GB RAM from OWC: $2.3K. Actual RAM is Hynix, Micron, Samsung or whatever they could order in bulk cheaply that month, with an OWC sticker on it. https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/2933R3M384/

384GB RAM from memory.net: I paid $1.5K -- seems to have climbed to $1.7K

My point with above is- why do you want to donate an extra $800 to OWC to receive their sticker over random 3rd party RAM? Answer: because you don't know any better. Which is a good summary of their entire product line and business model (in my opinion as of 2020).
 
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