Transintl Pro Caddy 2 + 2 X25-M SSD's (with Pics)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by whatisthe, May 8, 2009.

  1. whatisthe macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Location:
    CT
    #1
    [ Hardware: 2008 Mac Pro 2.8 GHz Octo, 2 80gb Intel X25-M SSD's, Transintl Pro Caddy 2 ]

    [ Note: Sorry for the poor colors in the pictures, I had a fluorescent light filter on my camera and the room was lit by incandescent lights, I was too lazy to remove it :p ]

    I've always been interested in SSD's, and have been waiting for the performance and price to get to the right points. I finally decided to take the plunge once the firmware update for the X25-M's was released.

    The only problem was I didn't have the space to put them in my computer. All 4 bays are filled with necessary HD's, with the only option being to install them in the 5.25" bay.

    I didn't want to go with MaxUpgrades because their product is quite expensive and even more expensive with the 2.5" adapter. I decided I would give Transintl a go with the Pro Caddy 2 even though there is barely any info about it on the web.

    It was pretty expensive for some machined sheet metal + screws + cables, coming in at $97 after shipping, but I would rather have paid this than simply sit the SSD's in the bay or secure them with duct tape.

    It shipped a day after I placed the order and was well packed. It came with the Pro Caddy 2 unit, 2 right-angle to flat sata cables, a molex to dual sata power connectors adaptor, a cd with installation instructions in pdf format, and a small bag with various screws for installation.

    The Pro Caddy 2 is actually an entire optical bay replacement, which I didn't realize until it arrived. It consists of a frame that slides in the Mac Pro and a flat mount for the hard drives that screws onto the frame.

    Top of Mount:
    [​IMG]

    Bottom of Mount:
    [​IMG]

    5.25" Bay Frame:
    [​IMG]

    The first thing I did was disassemble my mac pro. The instructions were fairly detailed through each step, indicating which screws to remove and including small pictures.

    In order to wire the cables, it is necessary to remove hard drives, pci/video cards, the cpu cover, 5.25" bay frame, and the front fan assembly. This wasn't too difficult, there were just a couple not so easy to reach screws and the power connectors on the optical drives were hard to grip to remove.

    Next came wiring sata cables. The instructions were not very detailed here, and there was very little room to fit the sata connectors through the small opening in the back of the optical bay to motherboard. I found the best way to do this was to try and wiggle my finger through the hole to clear a small path, then try to fit the connector through this path. After this you simply connect the straight sata connectors to the motherboard, and leave the right-angle connectors in the bay for later use. Connecting the power adaptor was easy to, just plug it in to the existing molex connector in the bay.

    Wiring Sata + Power Cables:
    [​IMG]

    After this it's time to install the hard drives on the mount. For 2.5" hard drives, there are only three mounting holes on the plate. It was slightly troublesome to figure out which screws worked with the 2.5" hard drives since all the assorted screws were in one bag.

    Two 80gb X25-M's mounted on plate:
    Top: [​IMG] Bottom: [​IMG]

    Next came installing the mounting plate into the new bay frame. The plate screws in on the bottom, so it was necessary to hold the plate against the frame and keep the holes aligned while trying to screw it in.

    Bottom of frame with mounting plate mounted:
    [​IMG]

    SSD's mounted on plate in frame:
    [​IMG]

    Here is a comparison shot of the new 5.25" bay frame on top of the old 5.25" bay frame. The new frame is certaintly less appealing, with no smooth curves or nice finish. It is also a bit flimsier, but once the optical drive was installed it felt solid.

    Comparison Shot:
    [​IMG]

    After installing the mounting plate it was time to install the optical drive. This was very simple, removing it from the old frame and using the same screws to secure it to the new frame.

    Frame with SSD's and optical drive:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Now it was time to install this into the mac pro. The instructions weren't very detailed on how to wire it but I figured it out. The sata and power ports on the drives were right up against the mount so the connectors had to be slightly forced in. This could have been remedied by slightly alleviating the drives off the mount but the connectors seemed not to be flexing too much so I left them as they were.
    It was necessary to slide the frame as far as possible into the slot in the mac pro in order to get the latch on the back to close. The frame does not have the nice curved extension that the apple frame does which explains why it's necessary for it to be further in the slot.

    Installed and Wired:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Reassembling the computer wasn't detailed in the instructions, with them saying follow the disassembly instructions backwards. Getting the fan assembly screw back in was difficult but I managed to do it after a few minutes.

    After everything was back together I proceeded to update the firmware. The firmware update cd would not recognize the presence of the drives no matter what I tried, so I had to remove drives from the computer and place them in an hp computer. This updated the firmware drives flawlessly and I reinstalled them back in the mac pro. If anyone is planning on installing these drives in there mac pros, I suggest you try to upgrade the firmware first before installing them in the Pro Caddy 2. It was a pain to remove and reinstall them and I wasted about an hour meddling around.

    I booted from my old OSX partition and created a RAID0 array of the two drives using disk utility. Then I installed a fresh copy of OSX on them, and booted into that. I won't go into detail about their performance as its already well documented on this forum, but man they fly. Applications open nearly instantly, boot up time is much shorter from the logon screen to loaded desktop. I am very happy with this investment. :)


    Conclusion:
    The Pro Caddy 2 by Transintl is a solid option for installing two drives in the optical bay. It is a bit expensive but comparably priced to other solutions available. Installing two SSD's in RAID0 and using them for a boot drive will most likely take your breath away if you've never booted off a raid array or SSD before :D.

    Any questions?
     
  2. mattcube64 macrumors 65816

    mattcube64

    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Missouri
    #2
    Wow! Thanks for the impressions and pics!

    I'd love to get a SSD drive for booting and just my most used apps. Honestly, just a 64GB drive would do.... but I don't wanna pay more than about 150 bucks.

    Would you mind posting a video of you booting up the computer? I'm sure it's ridiculously fast, lol.
     
  3. whatisthe thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Location:
    CT
    #3
    Sure, I'll have to dig out a video camera. It doesn't seem much faster up to the logon screen, but once you login the desktop + all programs initially launching load ridiculously fast.
     
  4. ekwipt macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    #4
    Any worries about heat straight into the metal of the enclosure? I don't really like the desing but it's a great idea, boot times please! :eek:
     
  5. whatisthe thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Location:
    CT
    #5
    Here's a boot video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vz1AXJYbqic


    It took about 23 seconds to get to the login screen, 2 seconds to type in the password, and 4 seconds to load the desktop. That's 29 seconds total, which isn't ridiculously fast, but with plenty of software installed and peripherals/drives connected it isn't half bad.


    I might be worried if I was using mechanical drives, but the SSD's run cool. I would be more concerned about air flow than having the heat transfer into the enclosure, since it's sort of like a giant heat sink.
     
  6. Abidubi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal
    #6
    Quick question. Would the fact that the 2009 MPs use SATA optical drives mean that I would be able to skip the rewiring step? Is there a splitter to get 2 SATA connecters out of the 1 remaining?

    By the looks of it you could easily fit 4 SSDs in that space. I just hope someone designs a mounting solution for that. Only thing that bugs me though is aren't you really limited by having several drives using the same connector?

    4 64GB SSDs for a 256GB raid 0 boot volume would be great. Then I could keep a regular 1TB 2 disk raid 0 for my user file and heftier applications, a 1TB time-machine backup, and a 300GB HD for windows. All that in the same system would be cool.
     
  7. Abidubi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal
    #7
    Seems like 6 seconds after the diagnostic/warmup, then about 3 seconds to the desktop.
     
  8. twoodcc macrumors P6

    twoodcc

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Location:
    Right side of wrong
    #8
    thanks for the in-depth post :)

    wow, makes me want to at least setup a raid 0, and someday SSD.
     
  9. whatisthe thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Location:
    CT
    #9
    I think there are products that use a port multiplier to use the single sata connection. MaxUpgrades makes a mount for 2 2.5" drives for the 09 MP but I think they make you rewire the optical drive.

    You could definitely fit 4 SSD's, technically you don't really need a mount for them. You could just stick them in the slot and perhaps tape them down ;). They don't need to be secured so much since they are non mechanical, I just prefer to keep the inside of my MP looking good.

    I believe the realistic limitation on a single sata port is ~300 MB/s, so read speeds would likely saturate the port with just two SSD's in raid 0. Here http://macperformanceguide.com/Reviews-SSDMacPro.html they averaged sustained write speeds of 480 MB/s which would be limited by a single port.

    You don't count the diagnostic/warmup part of the boot sequence when timing it?
     
  10. whatisthe thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Location:
    CT
    #10
    No problem ;) I figured it would be useful to have it as an available resource to the fine MacRumors community.

    Definitely go for it someday, it's hard to imagine going back to using a single 7200rpm drive :p
     
  11. whatisthe thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Location:
    CT
    #11
    Just did a speed test, hard drives have been used a little over a week, using ~35gb out of total ~150gb.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Abidubi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal
    #12
    Well if I'm not mistaken (and I probably am) no matter how fast your drives, it wont affect how fast the firmware runs any diagnostics/starts the system, so why count that as the start up when nothing you do will ever effect it? If the first 20 seconds are the same no matter what, and you go from a 40 second start up to a 26 second start up, as far as I am concerned it takes 1/3 the time to start up even though total time it's less than twice as fast.
     
  13. Abidubi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal
    #13
    Actually on another note, I just roughly (1 Mississippi) timed my 09 MP's startup. It has the OS on 1 partition of the 640GB HD (WD caviar black) and windows 7 on the other partition, plus a 300GB HD from my old G5. I shut it down completely and waited about 10 second before turning it on. I counted about 26 seconds from the end of the bong to the desktop loaded (icons loaded and no more HD noise). I have no startup items yet. I think about 70GB of the OSX partition are used. Might be closer to 36 seconds though as I'm not sure if I was counting fast or slow.
     
  14. RipperG macrumors newbie

    RipperG

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    #14
  15. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #15
    Why compare and contrast products from threads that are over 5 years old???

    The OP hasn't been here in almost a year.
     

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