Windows and Mac Pro w/ Apple RAID card

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Yarrow, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. Yarrow macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2008
    Moscow, Russia
    It happened i have a need to run Windows natively on Mac Pro with Apple RAID card installed.

    I know there is no Windows driver for that card, but i had a hope to bypass RAID card via connecting of internal SATA drive directly to iPass(SSF-8087) connector of Mac Pro's motherboard and using of that drive for Windows.

    So, i've connected SATA drive this way and it works fine with OS X.
    But i can't even try it with Windows because Mac Pro doesn't boot up from Windows installation CD if Apple RAID card installed :) :apple:
    Empty black text console is all that i've got after selecting of Windows installation CD in EFI boot menu.

    I need a suggestion how to bypass my problem, or generally speaking, how to install Windows onto Mac Pro with Apple RAID card.
  2. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    Thats a good question. What happens when you try boot the windows CD?

    Would vmware fusion work for you by any chance? I got it for free and its great does everything I need, and pretty fast too.
  3. Yarrow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2008
    Moscow, Russia
    I see empty black text console after selecting of Windows installation CD in EFI boot menu. Mac doesn't continue boot process.

    Yes, if i don't find any other solution, thanks.
    However it is really not a good way in my case.
  4. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    Okay, which windows version are you trying to boot?

    EDIT: the post by Tachion helps out some.

  5. gugucom macrumors 68020


    May 21, 2009
    Munich, Germany
    Why don't you use one of the available internal HDDs for Windows? If you take out the RAID card for the time being it ought to be possible to install Windows there. Then re install the RAID card.
  6. Yarrow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2008
    Moscow, Russia
    Sorry for the delay in getting back to you guys.

    I've tried both WinXP SP2 and Windows 7 RC#.

    Yesterday i also tried Tachion's solution (install OS X onto the SATA drive first, then use BootCamp from this OS X's instance to install WinXP). It doesn't help, black screen trying to boot from WinXP installation CD.

    It seems that some posts from Tachion's thread are describing the same problem as mine:, and looks like problem not solved yet.
    Mike Van Sande:

    Not sure i understand you correctly.
    Are you suggesting to set up WinXP onto the HDD that will be driven by RAID card when it re-installed?

    If "YES" there are two difficulties here: 1) those drives are SAS not SATA, and 2) there is no Windows driver for Apple RAID card.
    Even in case those drives could be SATA, WinXP on such drive would be non bootable after RAID card re-installed.

    If suggestion is to remove RAID card, then install WinXP onto SATA drive that is connected to motherboard's iPass, and then put RAID card back, when i've tried it.
    WinXP's installation passed successfully, but i've got black screen again trying to boot WinXP from that SATA drive after RAID card re-installed.
  7. sputnikv macrumors 6502


    Oct 3, 2009
    I too am interested in finding a workaround for this. To my understanding, installing windows is not the issue, the problem lies in its boot. I have a drive devoted entirely for windows 7 that functions properly when the card is not connected. Bootcamp is officially incompatible with apple's RAID card, though there must be a way.

    I have read few posts elsewhere that suggest using a cable (an ipass, a mini sata or something) to connect to one of the sata ports near the front side of the logic board. These posts are in reference to a pre-nehalam model of 2007 or 2008. The results of these posts seem inconclusive; those posting don't seem to find success or cease posting all together.

    There is a RAID card available by CalDigit that provides bootcamp compatibility, though that is not without connecting cables to the frontside of the board. This card either does not support bootcamp compatibility for 2009 Mac Pros, or is incompatible with them completely.

    For those interested, there's a wealth of knowledge here:
  8. Yarrow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2008
    Moscow, Russia
    Yep, it seems CalDigit RAID card is the only solution for my case.

    I believe the root cause of my problem is the following:
    Emulated Mac Pro's BIOS detects installed SCSI controller and calls SCSI controller's BIOS installation function. (I believe it is a part of default PC's BIOS boot procedure). But Apple RAID card has no BIOS at all, and memory address called by Mac Pro's BIOS doesn't contain expected SCSI BIOS installation code. That finally led to Mac Pro became frozen (black console screen).

    BTW, CalDigit RAID card marked as out of stock in Caldigit's online shop. Looks like they are working on a new model for Mac Pro 2009 compatibility.
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    No, it's not. ;)

    It's design was based on the '06 - '08 models that used the iPass cables, but other 3rd party cards will work. You just place the Windows installation on it's own drive, ideally, on the logic board's SATA ports.

    I'd recommend looking at Areca or even Highpoint's RR43xx models (only these from Highpoint, as you can load an EFI firmware version to boot OS X). Areca also has cards that will boot EFI (originally created for Itanium based systems, but it works in MP's). They also are the ODM for the RR43xx cards for Highpoint, and it's a little better (has larger firmware, additional features, and will boot multiple OS's, as where the RR43xx you have to choose one or the other; BIOS vs. EFI).

    Maybe, but I'd think they'd run into IP issues due to Apple's using the logic board (traces) to route the data in the '09's, as it has to access the system's firmware, and disable the on-board SATA controller (ICH10R).

    So they may have just run out of stock, or they've decided to stop producing it.
  10. Yarrow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2008
    Moscow, Russia
    Can you recommend any concrete Areca card well known as working in MP? :rolleyes:
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    ARC-1680 series (ARC-1680ix12 in an '08 base model to be specific). But any of them that indicate they work in EFI would work. So additional details would be helpful, such as:
    • Port count (consider future expansion too, as new cards aren't cheap. It's best to get say an extra 4 ports than you currently need for expansion as you need additional capacity).
    • Level of array (0/1/10/5/6/50/60...) you need now or in the near future.
    • OS/s to be used on the card (both boot and driver support)

    It does seem the '06 - '07 systems can get problematic with the details though due to the EFI is only 32 bits (such as trying to make a bootable Windows array; ask gugucom about this one... ;)). Sticking to OS X seems to be fine IIRC. You may need to look into this one, as there's an entire thread on it (it's long as well). It even included having to make a boot disk that the '06 could read (has to do with ISO specs). Simply put, it can get ugly on an '06 system, so search for it, and read carefully. Perhaps gugucom will chime in here. ;)

    He ended up going with a newer system (and selling off the '06 for a decent price) that has EFI64 in it to resolve this and graphics card issues. Highly recommended if possible, as the price you can get will be better than if you continue to wait.

    If you do this, take a look at the '08's, as they do have EFI64, and offer more value for the funds than the '09's.

    Sorry it's not quite as simple as you may like, but it's hard to say without details. I do hope it helps though, so you don't get into any headaches over it. :)
  12. Yarrow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2008
    Moscow, Russia
    BTW, finally i've got a solution for the black text console problem described in the first message.
    Problem affects MacPro 2006 (and probably 2007), but not 2008.

    So i've just sold out my MacPro 2006, bought 2008 one, and now use Apple RAID Card and natively booted WinXP in the same system. :apple:

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