Thinking about some upgrades.... (gugucom, please read)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by 2002cbr600f4i, Aug 22, 2009.

  1. 2002cbr600f4i macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    #1
    Ok, so I've had my 2009 4 Core Pro since April and I love it. However, with Snow Leopard and Windows 7 coming out in the next several weeks, I'm thinking about making some upgrades, and wanted some input....

    Current config:
    2009 1P (4core) Mac Pro.
    8 GB RAM
    4870 + 2600XT video cards (both apple)
    stock 640GB WD drive
    2 300 GB Seagate 7200.10's (might be .9's I forget, they came from my old PC)
    150 GB Raptor (not velociraptor) - also from my old rig.

    Leopard is on the 640 drive. I also have one of the 300's set up as a scratch video drive. W7 RC is on the Raptor, and the other 300 GB is set up for games.



    First off - Blue-Ray burner drive to REPLACE the current Superdrive. Any recommendations on a good one that will work well under both OSX+W7? It also MUST be bootable. (And, yes, I realize I won't be able to play BR movies under OSX, this is mostly for creating BR Movies, and for data archiving.) Oh, bonus points if it isn't RipLocked.

    Second, I know gugucom had a long thread on this, so I'd particularly like his input - (I just checked and noticed you're still having issues.. sorry bro!)

    a) did the 4 bay addonics drive bay adaptor fit ok for you in your 2009 Pro?
    b) I haven't opened up the 5.25" drive bay area. Is there a 4 prong old style Molex power in that area, or do I need to get power from somewhere else to run that addonics bay?
    c) how much louder do the 2 small fans on the addonics make things?
    d) what did you end up doing for controller/RAID card?

    I'm looking for a 4 port+ card that is bootable in both W7 + OSX. Initially, I'll probably only put a single SSD in there, but I want the option to be able to go up to 4 in the future and raid them together.

    Also, I don't necessarily need it to be a RAID card. A normal 4 port SATA card would probably serve my purposes fine. Never been a huge fan of RAID and all the setup headaches associated with it. But if there's a good RAID card that will let me run single drive and later switch to RAID that would be good.

    (For now, I might just use the single SATA port in the bay already and forgo on the card since I'll be running single drive anyhow...)

    Third - SSD drives. Have we gotten any sort of word back yet on whether Snow Leop is going to support TRIM? Which drives have people had good luck with (other than the WAYYYY overpriced Intel's) ? I was looking at the Patriot Torqx and Torqx M28 lines, but they just came out with a new KOI lineup that is supposedly designed specifically for Macs. They're so new though that nobody has a review on them yet, and Newegg doesn't even carry them yet. My biggest issue is I don't really have a PC anymore to use for installing replacement firmware, so I need something that works well out of the box or that has Mac firmware update tools (since I assume these can't be done on Windows using bootcamp??)

    I'm looking for something in the 128 MB range (for now).

    Thanks for the input guys!

    Oh, and what do you guys think about this card?

    Highpoint RocketRaid 4310
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816115063

    Can it boot both OSX + Win 7? And I'm kinda stumped as to how I attach SAS to SATA. I've never dealt with SAS before...
     
  2. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #2
    The RR43xx series won't be able to boot more than one OS, as you have to use a different firmware revision that's EFI to boot in OS X. The chip can't hold both.

    You'd need to look at it's parent, the Areca ARC-1680 series (they developed & manufacture the RR43xx from these for Highpoint). It will boot both OS's you want, and if you ever do use the RAID functionality, it's one of the best cards out there. It's also the fastest. But if you're not going to use RAID, then it's not worth it.

    Please note, with any SAS based RAID card, they're beyond picky with SATA drives due to the recovery timings set in the drive firmware. So consumer drives won't work (too unstable, and they constantly drop out). You'd need to go with enterprise SATA models, and always check the Hardware Compatibility List for verified drives. In the case of either the Highpoint or Areca's, you'd want to look at the WD RE3 series.

    The Areca's not hard to deal with, and so long as you choose the correct drives for it, you won't have issues. I actually have far fewer issues with proper hardware RAID cards than software, and especially FakeRAID.

    As far as attachment, SAS = SATA for cabling. Some of the other ends are a lttle different, as they're able to carry 4 ports on one cable (SFF-8087 = internal, SFF-8088 = external, both are also called MiniSAS 4i & 4e respectively).

    Any true RAID card can run each drive in single disk operation, and it's called Pass Through Mode. Rather easy actually. :D
     
  3. Abidubi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal
    #3
    Well I don't know what your uses are, but I myself just did a little upgrade.

    Originally my 2.93 Quad had:
    - 3GB RAM
    - 1 640GB WD Blue (came with the computer) with OSX on top and W7 BETA on the bottom
    - 1 300GB HD with the larger files from my old G5

    I from newegg I bought 2 X 640GB WD Caviar Blacks, a 1.5TB Samsung Spinpoint F2 5200RPM and 6GB of iRam. All that for $475CAD including customs, taxes and shipping.

    My setup is now:
    - 6GB RAM
    - 2 X 640 Blacks in software RAID 0 with OSX on the top 128GB partition and user + everything else on the remaining 1.04TB partition.
    - 640GB Blue with W7 RC on the whole drive
    - 1.5TB Spinpoint as a time machine backup of the RAIDed Blacks

    The 300GB is going back into my G5 before I ship it off.

    OSX is nice and snappy. Never waiting on the HD anymore with the grinding sound you get when the HD is seeking all over the place. I've got more than enough storage for my needs. The OS will never slow down since it is confined to the top 10% of the drive (plus the applications folder so all that stuff will always be fast).

    As far as SSDs are concerned, I don't think I'll ever get one for OSX since this raid is very fast and the pros of going to 1 SSD is very low... plus 128GB SSDs are like $300CAD. However, I might get a 32 or 64GB SSD for windows if I can figure out how to separate the OS from the rest and only have the OS on the SSD. I would buy one of the mounting solutions for the 2nd optical drive and stick it in there with the free SATA cable.

    My next most likely upgrade though would be a 285GTX. But at $550CAD thats pretty steep.

    For W7 my scores went from (Max is 7.9):
    7.5 CPU
    5.5 RAM
    6.8 GPU
    6.8 GPU
    5.9 HD

    to

    7.5 CPU
    7.5 RAM
    6.8 GPU
    6.8 GPU
    5.9 HD

    I'm a little surprised the HD stayed at 5.9 considering it went from the last 50% of the disk to the top 10%. Also I went from a 32-bit version to 64-bit version, so I actually went from 2GB to 6GB.
     
  4. 2002cbr600f4i thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #5
    The intitial post covered quite a few topics, so can you clarify what you're still lacking/desire info on?
     
  6. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #6
    For the 2009 machine a replacement of the SATA superdrive for a LG SATA Blu-Ray burner should work fine. It did not work for my 2006 MP because it can't boot from there. It needs PATA to boot in my machine.

    The Addonix in the 2nd ODD bay requires just one molex power plug like a DVD. You will allready have that ready to plug in there. I had it on low fan setting and it wasn't audible. Some mechanical aspects of the 2,5" sled locks were less than admirable. Really flimsy stuff. You can live with it if you do not change the drives often.

    Booting Windows from my Highpoint RR2642 was not really feasible. The card had Bios support but did not show up in EFI. You need a card that is explicitly supporting Windows in EFI or Bootcamp. Dunno if such a thing exists. If it does it is probably too expensive for a sensible person. I would recommend to go with a single larger SSD if you want SSD boot in Windows.

    Getting an array set up on the RR card needed Intel SSDs. It did not work with my Supertalents which I tried first. So Intel is very much recommended.
     
  7. 2002cbr600f4i thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    #7
    Exactly what I covered in the post:

    1) Recommendation on a good SATA Blue-Ray burner to replace the superdrive, that is both bootable, and doesn't have RipLock.

    2) what people thought of that addonics bay, and a recommendation on a SATA/RAID controller that would work for booting both OSX and Windows 7 under bootcamp.

    3) SSD recommendations (other than Intel which is insanely overpriced...)

    Ah, I hadn't noticed that you had an '06 model. Hmm.. I haven't opened up the '09. Does it have the old style Molex power for the 2nd ODD or the newer SATA power connector?
     
  8. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #8
    The 2nd Gen Intels have come down nicely in price.

    I would not know about the 09 model connectors. You may have to adapt something.
     
  9. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #9
    A cheap non booting SATA card would be the 2 port LaCie PCIe.
     
  10. Shake 'n' Bake macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Albany
    #10
    I don't have a Mac Pro to verify, but I'm 99% certain the second ODD bay has a SATA power connector.
     
  11. 2002cbr600f4i thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    #11
    I'd need it to be a booting one...
     
  12. 2002cbr600f4i thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    #12
    Yeah, I just checked an unboxing set of photos online and saw that it's a SATA power connector...

    Well, that pretty much screws the Addonics bay idea...

    Looks like I'll just be getting a single drive to put in there. Maybe I'll go with a single 256GB rather than try to wedge 2 (or 4) 128GB ones, and just partition it for both OSX + Win7.
     
  13. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #13
    Off hand, I'm not sure of one that's going to boot both OS's properly. That's why I didn't post on one previously. The LG I would have thought would, apparently doesn't, according to gugucom's experience (different thread). :(

    Take a look at the Areca ARC-1212 (4 port internal model). It can boot both EFI and BIOS based OS's (so Windows and OS X). Please note, it's a SAS model (the only ones that can boot multiple OS's), and they're picky about SATA drives. They usually require enterprise models, so check the Hardware Compatibility List BEFORE you buy drives. Areca's tested out some SSD's on their cards, and I know the Intels work. Not so sure with others, so do yourself a favor, check the list.

    As it's an '09 model, and assuming you want the drives internal, you'd need one of these ($165USD version that has 4x drive to SFF-88087 cable), as the '09 uses traces on the logic board to move data (eliminated the cable used in the '06 - '08 models).

    External is also possible, even with an internal port card, but the enclosure would be more expensive than the backplane adapter kit linked above.

    As it controls the drives, you should be able to establish multiple arrays on the same drives, say one per OS. Personally, I wouldn't recommend this, as one of them will end up on the inner tracks, and cost you performance wise.

    If your Windows throughput requirements aren't great, just use a single, separate drive. No Boot Camp required when installed to it's own drive (no need to partition the OS X drive). Just install Windows, load the AHCI drivers, and then install the windows drivers from the BC disk.

    You might want to take a look at the OCZ Vertex series, though they're not exactly the least expensive models either. Fast SSD's still rather expensive.

    It uses a backplane connector = SATA power + data.
     
  14. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #14
    [​IMG]

    This would sort out the problem.
     
  15. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #15
    My case was different because my 2006 will seek IDE for booting. I'm 99% sure exchanging the 2009 SATA Superdrive against an LG Blu-Ray writer will be painless. My SATA Blu-Ray ROM was recognized nicely and I can use it to play and burn DVDs but it isn't triggered for booting, which the 2009 SATA drive is.

    The real problem with the plan of having a bunch of 80 GB 2,5" SSDs in the optical bay is the lack of affordable EFI booting cards. No sane person would pay 500$ + to be able to boot in EFI. Plus the added complications of these cards being even more picky about the drives.
     
  16. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #16
    I know one of the advantages to EFI/UEFI firmware, is the ability to adjust firmware settings via a utility in the OS (the slot configuration util would be handy as well). IIRC, this is possible in Disk Utility, but what I'm not sure of, if it extends to switching the Optical Drive between SATA/IDE (boot setting). I would think that was planned, and hopefully implemented, given the set of ODD_SATA ports on the logic board in the '06 - '08 models.

    Can you check on this?
    Might be handy if that's the case. ;)

    It seems the EFI firmware is a hinderance ATM, as it's not well supported. Apple's version is proprietary as well, and may cause additional problems as well. Unfortunately, I think this will continue to be the case until the push for UEFI occurs. So far, I've seen one article on an experimental board by MSI. :(

    Windows is already capable of booting off EFI/UEFI firmware, so it's the hardware side causing the issues (backwards compatibility). I don't have the impression they want to develop both BIOS and UEFI firmware for each board out there (say the P45 boards and newer for example).
     
  17. 2002cbr600f4i thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    #17
    Hmm, dunno if there's enough room in that bay for the addonics + one of those, but could be worth a try... Moot point though until I can find a booting controller card.
     
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #18
    Where are you getting the Molex power from ('09's only have SATA power)? :confused:

    As per a card, the only thing I know of for sure that will boot both OS X and Windows is a proper RAID card. :( Perhaps further research will produce a simple SATA/eSATA card, but I'm not confident (it's hard to do, and not inexpensive). :(
     
  19. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #19
    Space isn't the problem and there is no different between SATA and IDE voltages. So adapters take care of that. As I have already agreed, the lack of affordable EFI booting controllers is the problem.

    You don't want to think whatever you want to boot (Windows, OS X, Linux) they should simply show up in the boot menue.
     
  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #20
    2002cbr600f4i has an '09 MP, so the Molex to SATA power adapter isn't needed for the optical bay. It's a backplane drive connector that contains both data and power (SFF-8482). :)
     
  21. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #21
    This is not a Molex to SATA adapter. It is a SATA to Molex adapter which is needed to run a Molex device (Addonix enclosure) with a SATA power supply.

    As we have said several times the power isn't the problem. The problem is the lack of affordable SATA cards. Something that is Mac compatible should simply show up in the EFI as bootable option. The card firmware should not try to boot by itself but simply act as an extension to EFI. So additional SATA ports can be used under EFI to boot OS X or Bootcamp as required. The card manufacturers are making it too complicated.

    EDIT1: I have spoken with the general importer of Areca cards in Germany and they asure me that the ARC1200 and ARC1210 are compatible with EFI. The 1200 is available at 135€ and the 1210 at 249€ in Germany. I have called my supplier of the HPT RR2642 and asked for a RMA. If someone has a positive experience with the ARC 1200 or 1210 please post it here.
     
  22. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #22
    Oops. :eek: Stupid M/F ends are easily confused, especially when glanced too quickly. :p

    I understand the lack of cards, but it's not BIOS that's the issue (card makers), but the fact the EFI firmware is proprietary (adapted off EFI 1.10, but not completely compliant either). Many RAID card makers have run into issues with it. :(

    I've not used either of those models, but have with others, and can tell you it will work. This is not based on an assumption, but the fact that those cards are EFI Boot Compatible, and all of their cards use the same firmware (v. 1.47). :D

    As I've worked with the ARC-1680ix12 under a Mac, which worked, you won't have a problem with booting it.

    The ARC-1200 however, is only PCIe x1, so it's limited to 250MB/s. Fine for a pair of mechanical drives, but not the best choice with SSD. You'd be far better off with the ARC-1210, as it's an x8 lane model. :)
     
  23. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #23
    So you can confirm that a pair of SSDs with SW Raid0 on them would be shown as bootable if I shift them from the Mac Pro HDD ports to the 1200 ports?


    The 1210 is 100€ more unfortunately. I will have to think about it.
     
  24. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #24
    I checked the Hardware Compatibility List, and not one SSD's on it. However, they have gotten Intel G1's to work on the ARC-1231ML and ARC-1680 series.

    Take a look at this (Intel SSD's on the ARC-1231ML performance data).

    But I would highly recommend placing an email to Areca to be sure (specific drive P/N), as assumptions can be hazardous (unstable). For example, I had expected the WD RE3's to work with the ARC-1680ix12, as the RE2's functioned well. Unfortunately, my timing was off, as it was a few months later before WD developed a firmware revision that allowed them to operate successfully (stable). RAID vendors and drive vendors do work together, and can take time to get the firmware sorted.

    I understand. ;) Rather pricey just to run a pair of SSD's (stripe set) in windows.

    If you do go this route, you might want to consider placing all the SSD's on it, as the additional cache could help with writes by a small bit, and it would reduce the load on the system CPU (not much, but it can give you a few cycles back).
     

Share This Page