MP 1,1-5,1 SSD options when PCIe slots are full

ptr22

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 19, 2013
26
1
Hi,

I'm currently in the process of upgrading my 4,1 dual to 5,1 with 2x 5690 CPUs, RAM etc. I've already read a lot here and tried to search for it better but can please someone confirm or recommend a solution?

As far as I understand, the fastest speeds would come through the PCIe slots with NVMe. Unfortunately, all PCIe slots filled with cards I need for other things (2xDSP, sound + USB 3.0). That leaves me with the option to use either a drive bay or the bottom optical bay, which are slower. As far as I understood the speed should be equal on both though (SATA 2), is that correct? Is it still worth upgrading to an SSD at all then, and buy an older one or a newer SATA3? I'm looking to upgrade a boot drive for High Sierra or Sierra (?), audio drive and would like to do some video editing (HD not 4k yet).

Any ideas and, if possible, recommendations on SATA2 drives if that's the outcome?

Thanks for your help!
 

MarkC426

macrumors 65816
May 14, 2008
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Definitely get ssd drives, you won’t be disappointed.
Samsung evo/pro drives are used by lots on the forums.
Just buy the latest model, even though it’s sata 3, it will run at sata 2 in drive bays, but still much faster than hdd. I doubt you could even get a sata 2 ssd.
You will have to enable trim, through terminal command.

You will need an owc ssd drive sled (or similar), available from amazon.
 
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vertical smile

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I'm not sure what OS you are using, but I have a software RAID0 as my boot drive using two SSDs on my Mac Pro 1,1.

I forget the read/write speeds, I will test it and post.
 
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tsialex

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Jun 13, 2016
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All six MP5,1 native SATA ports, 4 on the backplane and 2 in the ODD bay are SATA2 and have the same speed.

You can use any SATA3 SSD except some Samsung QVO drives, these are incompatible at the firmware level, for the moment. Samsung 850/860 EVO and 850/860 Pro work nicely.
 
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ptr22

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 19, 2013
26
1
Thanks everyone, that's great! I'm currently on Mountain Lion but will install High Sierra once all upgrades are done. I'll open another thread regarding the GPU but have a feeling confirmation will be similar.

Thanks again!!
 

vertical smile

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On my Mac Pro 1,1, the boot drive of two SSDs in a RAID0 has read speeds of 497.8 MBps and Write speeds of 441.4 MBps.
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
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On my Mac Pro 1,1, the boot drive of two SSDs in a RAID0 has read speeds of 497.8 MBps and Write speeds of 441.4 MBps.
The cMP has a shared throughput limit between the drive bays, so there is a ceiling to how far you can get with RAIDing. I don't recall off the top of my head, but my guess is that's likely the ceiling. The ceiling is lower than what two SATA2 SSDs should be able to deliver IIRC.
 

vertical smile

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Sep 23, 2014
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The cMP has a shared throughput limit between the drive bays, so there is a ceiling to how far you can get with RAIDing. I don't recall off the top of my head, but my guess is that's likely the ceiling. The ceiling is lower than what two SATA2 SSDs should be able to deliver IIRC.
Interesting.

It isn't like those speeds are slow for SATAII though. I can't remember exact numbers for a single SSD on my MP, but I think it was less than 300MBps, IIRC.

I remember seeing a post, I can't remember if it was on the MR forum, but someone was able to get 600MBps on a three-drive SSD RAID0 in a Mac Pro 1,1.

I think if the OP was looking to get a faster Read/Write by using the drive bays, two SSDs in a RAID0 would be a good way to go.
 

vertical smile

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I search a found a LowEndMac artlcal about SSD RAID0 in the cMP.

Here:
https://lowendmac.com/2018/4x-raid0-sata-ssd-array-as-boot-drive-in-2007-mac-pro/

I am not sure if it is the one I am referring to earlier as this guy tests a single HDD, single SSD, 2 HDD in RAID0, 2 SSD RAID0., and a 4 SSD RAID0. Skipping the three drive RAID0.

But the results are interesting:
(Slowest): 3 TB WD Green 5400 RPM hard drive, SATA II. All Mac Pros shipped standard with either a 5400 RPM or 7200 RPM hard drive. This is what you get: 92 MB/sec. writes and 94 MB/sec. reads.
Sluggish): Two 7200 RPM hard drives in RAID 0. This is a tad bit better than a single hard drive.....: 189 MB/sec. writes and 198 MB/sec. reads.
(Fast): Single SSD. Not the fastest, but we’re starting to get somewhere........
239 MB/sec. writes (80% of SATA II maximum) are 2.6x as fast as the 5400 RPM drive, 1.26x as fast as the 7200 RPM RAID 0 array. 253 MB/sec. reads (83% of SATA II maximum) are 2.68x as fast as the 5400 RPM drive, 1.28x as fast as the 7200 RPM RAID 0 array.

(Faster): Two SSDs via SATA II in RAID 0..........
463 MB/sec. writes are 54% faster than a single SATA II connection and 77% as fast as the top throughput of SATA III. 492 MB/sec. reads are 64% faster than a single SATA II connection and 82% as fast as SATA III supports. Writes and reads are both 94% faster than with a single SSD.
(Very, Very Fast): Four SSDs in RAID 0 via SATA II...........
Writes are 607 MB/sec., just a bit beyond the SATA III specification and 31% faster than the two SSD array. Reads are 549 MB/sec., 91.5% of the SATA III maximum and 11.7% faster than the two SSD array.
The author goes into a bunch more detail, might be worth checking out.

I personally think that a two SSD RAID0 would be nice considering it is a huge improvement over a single on the MP.
 

ptr22

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 19, 2013
26
1
Would that work with once of those mounts OWC offers, where you can connect two SSDs to one (thinking optical drive bay) or does that still need two entire drive bay slots?
 

vertical smile

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Sep 23, 2014
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Would that work with once of those mounts OWC offers, where you can connect two SSDs to one (thinking optical drive bay) or does that still need two entire drive bay slots?
Do you mean two SATA drives on one SATA port? AFAIK, this isn't possible on Mac. Probably not possible at all.

If you mean using the two SATA ports from the disk drives, then that would be okay. Or, one from the drive bay port and one from the disk drive port would work.

If freeing up SATA ports is an issue, then just one SSD would probably be best for your situation You would still have a boot drive that is a lot faster than the HDD it came with.

If you can spare two, maybe give the RAID0 a shot. I have been running RAID0s in my MP for years, and I only had a problem once when a HDD crashed.
 

ptr22

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 19, 2013
26
1
Thanks, I think I'll have to go with the one SSD option. Great forum, appreciate the quick help!
 

mattspace

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Jun 5, 2013
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Would that work with once of those mounts OWC offers, where you can connect two SSDs to one (thinking optical drive bay) or does that still need two entire drive bay slots?
I'm assembling one of those as I type. The 2 x 2.5 -> 3.5, then 3.5 -> 5" unit sits in the lower optical bay, so you can unplug the cable from your optical drive, but leave it installed, then put both SSDs into the mount in the lower bay.
 

ptr22

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 19, 2013
26
1
I'm assembling one of those as I type. The 2 x 2.5 -> 3.5, then 3.5 -> 5" unit sits in the lower optical bay, so you can unplug the cable from your optical drive, but leave it installed, then put both SSDs into the mount in the lower bay.
@mattspace Thank you! If I understand that correctly, that means I'd lose the optical drive functionality of the top drive, right? (unfortunately, I still need that from time to time but could potentially go external with that) Thanks!!

what are DSP pci cards?
@orph I have two UAD-2 DSP acceleration cards that can calculate audio plugins. They are a main tool for my work and, unfortunately, not native. Thanks!
 
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h9826790

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Apr 3, 2014
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You can simply connect a SATA SSD to the optical SATA port.
Optical bay SSD.jpg

No adaptor or any PCIe card required.

Sequential performance of course won't as good as SATA 3. But random performance shouldn't be affected.

Even sequential performance can be very important on media editing workflow, but for OS operation, random performance usually way more important. It's the low latency of the SSD improve system responsiveness, not the sequential speed.
 

ptr22

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 19, 2013
26
1
You can simply connect a SATA SSD to the optical SATA port. No adaptor or any PCIe card required.
@h9826790 Ah fantastic, thank you! Is that SSD literally just laying there?! On the top optical cable or does the bottom reach there too? Thank you!
 

AlexMaximus

macrumors 6502a
Aug 15, 2006
914
281
A400M Base
Hi,

I'm currently in the process of upgrading my 4,1 dual to 5,1 with 2x 5690 CPUs, RAM etc. I've already read a lot here and tried to search for it better but can please someone confirm or recommend a solution?

As far as I understand, the fastest speeds would come through the PCIe slots with NVMe. Unfortunately, all PCIe slots filled with cards I need for other things (2xDSP, sound + USB 3.0). That leaves me with the option to use either a drive bay or the bottom optical bay, which are slower. As far as I understood the speed should be equal on both though (SATA 2), is that correct? Is it still worth upgrading to an SSD at all then, and buy an older one or a newer SATA3? I'm looking to upgrade a boot drive for High Sierra or Sierra (?), audio drive and would like to do some video editing (HD not 4k yet).

Any ideas and, if possible, recommendations on SATA2 drives if that's the outcome?

Thanks for your help!

You could use this box here:


It gives you more PCI slots on your 5.1
 

mattspace

macrumors 65816
Jun 5, 2013
1,429
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Australia
@mattspace Thank you! If I understand that correctly, that means I'd lose the optical drive functionality of the top drive, right? (unfortunately, I still need that from time to time but could potentially go external with that) Thanks!!
Yup, you lose the optical, but the drives in Mac Pros are pretty old tech anyway. And yeah, you can have the SSD sitting in the bay unsupported, I just went with the OWC one because i was installing two, and it was neater.
 
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AlexMaximus

macrumors 6502a
Aug 15, 2006
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Given that one would have pcie & sata slots spare; I wonder if sth. like this would work too (esp. RAID 0) ?:

6Gbps PCI express PCI-E to 2 Port SATA 3.0 Expansion Controller card adapter AB

https://www.ebay.de/itm/6Gbps-PCI-e...727069?hash=item2ab3c60b1d:g:HyMAAOSw5dlaO2Kz

Anyone?
I have this Caldigit USB 3.1 + SATA PCIe card in my 5.1 that has exactly those internal SATA ports on the back. I am sure it works on cards that have the Apple blessing. Not sure about that card you mentioned. I have not tried those ports in my machine because I don't have any use of it and no free slot. Everything is filled to the max in my case..


https://www.amazon.de/CalDigit-fasta-6gu3-Pro-eSATA-3-0-Combo-Karte/dp/B00IFHXIAY
 
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kohlson

macrumors 68020
Apr 23, 2010
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You may want to consider some "out of the box" thinking. Use the SATA ports from the optical bay, as suggested above. But now on those very rare occasions that I need optical, I do that through an external USB3 LG drive. As well, consider buying consolidating existing HDDs onto larger ones.

You will notice a very real improvement with an SATA SSD as your boot/apps drive. This is cheap and easy. Every one should do this. This is due to access latency essentially approaching zero - doesn't matter if SATA 2 or 3.

There's more to SSDs improving app throughput, but it can get very specific, and so ymmv.
- An inexpensive PCIe card (under $20) and a $50-$100 (500-1000GB) M.2 NVMe SSD can achieve r/w speeds of 1500MBps.
- A more expensive PCIe card can gang up M.2 SSDs to achieve speeds in the neighborhood of 4000+ MBps.

Keep in mind that SSDs are characterized by many things beyond capacity, including IOPS, durability (TBW), and how many GBs can be written before slow down (buffer/cache size). These are the answers to the question: Why should I pay so much more for Samsung?
 

DPUser

macrumors 6502a
Jan 17, 2012
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Rancho Bohemia, California
You may want to consider some "out of the box" thinking. Use the SATA ports from the optical bay, as suggested above. But now on those very rare occasions that I need optical, I do that through an external USB3 LG drive.
That's essentially what I do, too. In my case, an OWC Firewire case with LG BluRay drive sits on my studio desk, much handier than one would be in the remote machine room with my Mac Pro. Both of the Mac's optical SATA/Power ports are available for SSDs.

Unless you plan on moving your Mac Pro around a lot, there is no need to fasten SSDs to the optical bay. If you're worried, a bit of double-sided foam tape will hold the drives in place nicely.
[doublepost=1565394747][/doublepost]
You may want to consider some "out of the box" thinking. Use the SATA ports from the optical bay, as suggested above. But now on those very rare occasions that I need optical, I do that through an external USB3 LG drive.
That's essentially what I do, too. In my case, an OWC Firewire case with LG BluRay drive sits on my studio desk, much handier than one would be in the remote machine room with my Mac Pro. Both of the Mac's optical SATA/Power ports are available for SSDs.

Unless you plan on moving your Mac Pro around a lot, there is no need to fasten SSDs to the optical bay. If you're worried, a bit of double-sided foam tape will hold the drives in place nicely.
 
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haralds

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Jan 3, 2014
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Keep it simple. Use an unused optical slot or one of the std bays. The difference in performance of newer cards will not be worth it. You will not notice, unless you go for NVMe.
 
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