What to do with the HDDs in my Mac Pro mid 08?

kublaiboy

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 5, 2009
43
0
Hi guys,

I'm moving on to a mid 2015 MacBook Pro. So I'm about to retire my obsolete mid 2008 Mac Pro tower. The OS on this tower would not upgrade beyond El Captain. However, there'e quite a few internal and external HDDs with this Mac Pro. I have 4 HDDs inside, and a few external G-Drives and Laci Tough Drives either via Firewire or eSata cables. Those drives have a lot of data on them. I would like to access them from time to time. So if I were to retire this 08 MP, what's the best way to access those drives from my MBP?

The mid 2015 MBP has thunderbolt, HDMI and USB ports. For those external drives I can hook them up with my MBP with cables when I need, but what about my internal drives? Is there some sort of dock that can have all of those drive connected, and I only need to connect to my MBP through one port?

I'm not very tech savvy. Hope someone can point a way. Thank you.

KB
 

jbarley

macrumors 68040
Jul 1, 2006
3,786
1,625
Vancouver Island
Hi guys,

I'm moving on to a mid 2015 MacBook Pro. So I'm about to retire my obsolete mid 2008 Mac Pro tower. The OS on this tower would not upgrade beyond El Captain. However, there'e quite a few internal and external HDDs with this Mac Pro. I have 4 HDDs inside, and a few external G-Drives and Laci Tough Drives either via Firewire or eSata cables. Those drives have a lot of data on them. I would like to access them from time to time. So if I were to retire this 08 MP, what's the best way to access those drives from my MBP?

The mid 2015 MBP has thunderbolt, HDMI and USB ports. For those external drives I can hook them up with my MBP with cables when I need, but what about my internal drives? Is there some sort of dock that can have all of those drive connected, and I only need to connect to my MBP through one port?

I'm not very tech savvy. Hope someone can point a way. Thank you.

KB
Or you could just install the latest Mojave on your 2008 Mac Pro and all your drives (internal + external) would continue to be accessible.
Here is a photo of my 2008 MacPro and it is really sweet running Mojave.

Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 5.37.37 PM.png
 
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kublaiboy

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 5, 2009
43
0
I thought my MP can not be upgraded to the latest macOS Mojave. I've checked it before. I can check it again tonight.
 

jbarley

macrumors 68040
Jul 1, 2006
3,786
1,625
Vancouver Island
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deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
8,082
1,245
Hi guys,

I'm moving on to a mid 2015 MacBook Pro. So I'm about to retire my obsolete mid 2008 Mac Pro tower. The OS on this tower would not upgrade beyond El Captain. However, there'e quite a few internal and external HDDs with this Mac Pro. I have 4 HDDs inside, and a few external G-Drives and Laci Tough Drives either via Firewire or eSata cables. Those drives have a lot of data on them. I would like to access them from time to time. So if I were to retire this 08 MP, what's the best way to access those drives from my MBP?

One option is to find a Thunderbolt v2 dock with eSATA.

https://www.caldigit.com/thunderbolt-2-dock-TS2/

and a Thunderbolt-to-Firewire . Apple still sells the adapter, but Caldigit doesn't sell the dock new anymore ( but looks like they have a refurb at the moment. http://shop.caldigit.com/us/index.php?route=product/product&path=88&product_id=156 ). Some used marketplace might another option.

Another option is to somewhat leave those drives behind. ( depending upon how many of these drives there are and their sizes ) would be to get something like a dual drive USB 3.1 gen 1/2 enclosure and some large capacity HDDs.

https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/MED3ER0GB/

for example 4 2TB drives could be put onto a 4 partition 8TB drive. If those are lots of older project archives that don't really have a back-up this new drive could be the "nearline" connected archive copy and those other drives the "back up". [ For example, might move all the eSATA data onto the USB 3.0 drive(s) and just get a TB-2-FW adapter for the FW drives left. If like/need a SATA connection then could FW stuff onto that particular drive above and connect it via eSATA to the dock above. ]


but what about my internal drives? Is there some sort of dock that can have all of those drive connected, and I only need to connect to my MBP through one port?
If they are non RAID HDDs and the concurrent bandwidth requirements aren't high then something like

https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/MEQCTJBT00/

would take all four and without a big hit on price.

There are some quad TBv2 options too. Probably no loss in bandwidth from your current set up, but higher baseline cost. [ There is now some discount of TBv2 drives since TBv3 are taking over. As the stock dwindles on T2 drives they'll probably disappear over time. ]


https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/hard-drives/External-Enclosures/3.5-Inch-Drives

If going to try to RAID in Mojave then the OWC options that come bundled with SoftRAID will eventually be a good options ( support for Mojave is coming and will be able to put data into APFS if you want. ). It is a bit cheaper if need something like RAID 5 when bundled with one of their enclosures.

If one of your internal drives is a Windows boot drive then you may have some particularly quirky issues to deal with. Moving it from "inside" to "outside" may cause a problem with the license check and Microsoft DRM.


I'm not very tech savvy. Hope someone can point a way. Thank you.
Folks have different budgets and 'pain' thresholds, but I wouldn't recommend someone who isn't tech savvy to run a 'hacked' , non supported system. Can put the Mac Pro 2008 into a "happens to mostly work" mode with Mojave but that most likely will have some quirks now and more quirks as updates roll out. If can't readily separate which quirk is due to your install hack and which are some new defect then that is a questionable path.
 
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keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
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24,615
Yep, I would recommend getting external USB > SATA drives to plug them in. You only need to access the data occasionally, as you said.

Whenever there’s a guy who runs an unsupported OS on their machine, they’ll never turn down an excuse to flaunt it and act like it’s always the best option.

What people like that find it harder to accept is that the mobile CPU in a 2015 15” MBP is more powerful than the E5462 Xeon, even when two instances are running as dual socket. Plus your MBP will be considerably cheaper on electricity, has much faster RAM, faster storage... the list goes on.

I think external USB > SATA drives are the best option for your new MacBook Pro if you ever need to access the data.
 

deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
8,082
1,245
Yep, I would recommend getting external USB > SATA drives to plug them in. You only need to access the data occasionally, as you said.
Just a postscript if venture out into the general USB enclosure market that was somewhat implicitly buried in the single examples i presented above. What you'd would be looking for is would be marked at USB 3.1 gen 1 which is basically equivalent of quality USB 3.0 enclosures. ( up to 5Gb/s like the ports on your MBP 2015). Also looking for USAP ( USB Attached SCSI Protocol ). The 5Gb/s coupled to USAP makes this USB solution not particularly like the old USB 2.0 era connections. The two make for at least as fast if not faster connection bandwidth as either Firewire or eSATA ( with a single drive or a couple of drives engaged in random access operating independently. ).

USB 3.1 gen 2 would be a bit more future proof ( the mac after the 2015 would might be able goose a bit more out of a multiple bay enclosure. )

However, the cheapest USB 3.0 drive enclosure on Amazon is a path I would avoid.

P.P.S. some of the USB drives using certain chipset allow SATA S.M.A.R.T data and status to be passed through to some software ( e.g., SoftRaid has drive health monitoring feature that leverages this. SoftRAID is now owned by OWC so their newer drives.. especially those that have a bundle option likely have that feature active. ). Not necessarily needed but it is a 'closer to parity' with the Thunderbolt drive enclosures solutions feature. ( and not 'missing' something because enclosure isn't 'native' SATA all the way to the PCI-e bus. )
 
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pl1984

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Oct 31, 2017
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Whenever there’s a guy who runs an unsupported OS on their machine, they’ll never turn down an excuse to flaunt it and act like it’s always the best option.
Or, perhaps, they're making someone aware of something for which they were unaware?

What people like that find it harder to accept is that the mobile CPU in a 2015 15” MBP is more powerful than the E5462 Xeon, even when two instances are running as dual socket. Plus your MBP will be considerably cheaper on electricity, has much faster RAM, faster storage... the list goes on.
Sometimes other factors besides CPU power need to be considered. For example the ability to expand a system, as the OP has with their Mac Pro, might be a deciding factor. Or perhaps additional GPU power is necessary. The ability to expand beyond 32GB of memory might be a factor. Unfortunately Apple no longer makes a system where these things can be done thus leading many to stick with what they have, especially if it works for them.
 

deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
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...
Sometimes other factors besides CPU power need to be considered. For example the ability to expand a system, as the OP has with their Mac Pro, might be a deciding factor. Or perhaps additional GPU power is necessary.
Given the original poster already picked out a 2015 MBP ( i.e., about as used as a Mac Pro 2012 ) how likely are those to be relevant to this thread ? Or as the other responder said .... more so a opportunity to jump onto a soapbox which is a tangent to the question ask ?
 

pl1984

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Given the original poster already picked out a 2015 MBP ( i.e., about as used as a Mac Pro 2012 ) how likely are those to be relevant to this thread ? Or as the other responder said .... more so a opportunity to jump onto a soapbox which is a tangent to the question ask ?
Given the OP asked how to connect their various MP expansion drives to a MBP I would say it's relevant. Likewise I got the impression the reason for moving to the MBP was because the OP needed / wanted to use macOS Sierra / High Sierra / Majove which their current MP cannot (at least officially).

Having said that the comment I was responding to wasn't limited to just this thread. The comment I responded to spoke to such situations in general:

"Whenever there’s a guy..."​
 

verdejt

macrumors 6502
Jul 19, 2011
358
96
Central Florida
Just upgrade your cMP to the latest software it can run and then share your drives across your home network. Or you can get a program called FREENAS and run it from a flash drive in your cMP and turn your cMP into a Network Attached Storage option. Probably the easiest way is to share your drives across your home network.
 

flaubert

macrumors 6502
Jun 16, 2015
256
41
Portland, Oregon
Just upgrade your cMP to the latest software it can run and then share your drives across your home network. Or you can get a program called FREENAS and run it from a flash drive in your cMP and turn your cMP into a Network Attached Storage option. Probably the easiest way is to share your drives across your home network.
Although this is certainly true (he can turn a cMP into a FreeNAS box), I just want to point out a few considerations... one is that FreeNAS doesn't support HFS+ disks as far as I know (it used to support HFS disks via a fuse filesystem, but I don't think it ever was well supported). So he would have to transfer data from HFS+ into the FreeNAS ZFS filesystem, and if there is a lot of data it will be a slow, painful process of juggling disks around. And although FreeNAS is free, and well supported security-wise, there is a learning curve to administering FreeNAS.

So I think your first suggestion of just upgrading the cMP to the latest MacOS he can run is the better one, if he doesn't mind the power draw and space the box occupies. I'd even go so far as to say that the unsupported dosdude1 upgrade to Sierra (10.12) has been pretty painless and reliable on the 2009 iMac that I'm running it on, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it (the I found the unsupported High Sierra upgrade to be easy to do, but hard to maintain: security updates tended to be problematic).

The other thing about older drives is that you need to be watching their health like a hawk via a SMART utility. I like DriveDX because it is able to show SMART data across many external drive enclosures, even USB ones. If you're running the drives in the cMP it is a given that DriveDX can read SMART data; otherwise I've generally had good success reading SMART data from Other World Computing products.
[doublepost=1549749722][/doublepost]Re-reading the original post, I think I would endorse the 4 bay option from OWC suggested by deconstruct60 as best meeting his needs, if he doesn't mind the $200 cost.