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2008 Mac Pro SSD Inside On a Sled or Outside In a USB 3 Box With HIghPoint 4 Port USB 3 PCI Card?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

In an early 2008 3.2 GHz Mac Pro which is faster? SSD inside one of the HD SATA connectors via 3.5" HD Sled adapter installation? Or Outside in a USB 3 enclosure attached to one of the HighPoint USB 3 ports of their 4 port PCI card installed in which PCI slot?

 

The SSD is a new 240GB SanDisk rated at 550 MB/s read and 520 MB/s write. So on paper the external hookup looks like it'll be faster given the 3 Gbps rating of the 4 year old SATA bus on this "old" but very fast clunker. Was that sentence correct or not? You moderator or anyone else know if my hunch is right? And will the external SSD show up as a bootable volume from the HighPoint PCI card or not?

 

The PCI card model is HighPoint RocketU Quad USB 3.0 PCI-Express 2.0 x4 RAID HBA for Mac. Found a used one on Amazon for only $69.81. It's a miracle!

 

I'm gonna put the SSD inside a Vantec NexStar 5Gbps USB 3 & 3Gbps eSATA box 'cause I have an early 2008 MacBook Pro with a Seritek Express 34 card I can boot off of from the same SSD - I hope. I'm planning to be able to move the same system SSD on both Macs while also moving a 4TB iTunes library that's inside an external Hitachi 4TB SATA USB 3 box (USB 2 on the MacBook Pro will be fast enough) back and forth between the MacBook Pro (6GB) and Mac Pro (32GB) both from 2008 running maximum RAM and Mountain Lion. Feasible? Both Macs are authorized in iTunes. Trying to save the $70 cost of a new USB 3 Express Card 34 for the early 2008 MacBook Pro.

 

Or will the speed be just as fast inside one of the early 2008 Mac Pro's hard drive bays?

 

I get confused about all the specification details and can't tell a bit from a byte sometimes. And I've forgotten what the 2008 SATA bus limitation is on this old sow.

 

Thanks guys &or gals for your help. Love your work.

Six x 3.5GHz '14 MP, 64GB, 1TB PCIe, 16TB HDs
2.6GHz 6GB 17"HD LED MBP, Sony 52XBR6 HDTV
EyeTV 500, Hybrid 2G, EyeTV 3 HDTV Recorder
64 ATT iPhone 5S, 128 ATT iPad Air, 128 ATT iPad miniRetina, 16...

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Six x 3.5GHz '14 MP, 64GB, 1TB PCIe, 16TB HDs
2.6GHz 6GB 17"HD LED MBP, Sony 52XBR6 HDTV
EyeTV 500, Hybrid 2G, EyeTV 3 HDTV Recorder
64 ATT iPhone 5S, 128 ATT iPad Air, 128 ATT iPad miniRetina, 16...

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post #2 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Multimedia 
will the external SSD show up as a bootable volume from the HighPoint PCI card or not?

I'm gonna put the SSD inside a Vantec NexStar 5Gbps USB 3 & 3Gbps eSATA box 'cause I have an early 2008 MacBook Pro with a Seritek Express 34 card I can boot off of from the same SSD - I hope.

No such luck in either case it seems. The Mac Pro card is not bootable on the Mac but is on Windows:

http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=269078773113433&id=114524608568851

The ExpressCard not only requires an external power supply as it's eSATA, which doesn't supply power but it's not bootable in machines older than the 2011 MBP, it doesn't even list the 2008 model as supported:

http://www.firmtek.com/download/manual/ST6G_Manual_Mac_v1.pdf
Quote:
Originally Posted by Multimedia 
I'm planning to be able to move the same system SSD on both Macs while also moving a 4TB iTunes library that's inside an external Hitachi 4TB SATA USB 3 box (USB 2 on the MacBook Pro will be fast enough) back and forth between the MacBook Pro (6GB) and Mac Pro (32GB) both from 2008 running maximum RAM and Mountain Lion. Feasible?

I don't think it's a good idea to regularly switch a single boot drive between two different machines, having to power up and down every time. If cost is a big factor, you could get 2 x 128GB boot drives, one for each machine and then install a HDD in the optical bay on the laptop. To keep the two synced, you can use a cloning app and clone the changes on one boot drive to the other (even just the home folder).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Multimedia 
will the speed be just as fast inside one of the early 2008 Mac Pro's hard drive bays?

The 3Gbps SATA port will have some impact but they still top out at 250-300MB/s, which is quite fast. It's only sequential read/write that loses out but most of the benefit of SSD is random read/write, which tends to be lower than the 3Gbps limit anyway.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

So you think the SSD inside on a Mac Pro sled hooked to one of the 4 HD SATA 2 ports is just as fast as outside cause only the eSATA will allow for booting and not the USB 3 because of drivers the system needs to install before the USB 3 card starts working after bootup? And the external eSATA can't be any faster than what's inside because it's all SATA 2 on the motherboard. Right?

Six x 3.5GHz '14 MP, 64GB, 1TB PCIe, 16TB HDs
2.6GHz 6GB 17"HD LED MBP, Sony 52XBR6 HDTV
EyeTV 500, Hybrid 2G, EyeTV 3 HDTV Recorder
64 ATT iPhone 5S, 128 ATT iPad Air, 128 ATT iPad miniRetina, 16...

Reply

Six x 3.5GHz '14 MP, 64GB, 1TB PCIe, 16TB HDs
2.6GHz 6GB 17"HD LED MBP, Sony 52XBR6 HDTV
EyeTV 500, Hybrid 2G, EyeTV 3 HDTV Recorder
64 ATT iPhone 5S, 128 ATT iPad Air, 128 ATT iPad miniRetina, 16...

Reply
post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Multimedia View Post

So you think the SSD inside on a Mac Pro sled hooked to one of the 4 HD SATA 2 ports is just as fast as outside cause only the eSATA will allow for booting and not the USB 3 because of drivers the system needs to install before the USB 3 card starts working after bootup? And the external eSATA can't be any faster than what's inside because it's all SATA 2 on the motherboard. Right?

PCI eSATA will give you SATA 3 speed:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/786763-REG/Sonnet_TSATAIII_E2_E2_Tempo_SATA_6GB_s_PCIe.html

If you found a PCI card that supports Mac booting, you'd get faster speeds than the internal SATA. Like I say though, it only really matters if you need fast sequential read/write.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks Marvin. Forgive my ignorance but what sort of applications would that matter in? Would ripping smaller AAC audio files from big ones be an example of that? And what external case supports eSATA 3? I couldn't find any.

That Sonnet card you link to is discontinued. Seems like high speed eSATA PCIe cards are few and far between existence for old Mac Pros.
Edited by Multimedia - 7/23/12 at 6:15pm

Six x 3.5GHz '14 MP, 64GB, 1TB PCIe, 16TB HDs
2.6GHz 6GB 17"HD LED MBP, Sony 52XBR6 HDTV
EyeTV 500, Hybrid 2G, EyeTV 3 HDTV Recorder
64 ATT iPhone 5S, 128 ATT iPad Air, 128 ATT iPad miniRetina, 16...

Reply

Six x 3.5GHz '14 MP, 64GB, 1TB PCIe, 16TB HDs
2.6GHz 6GB 17"HD LED MBP, Sony 52XBR6 HDTV
EyeTV 500, Hybrid 2G, EyeTV 3 HDTV Recorder
64 ATT iPhone 5S, 128 ATT iPad Air, 128 ATT iPad miniRetina, 16...

Reply
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Multimedia View Post

what sort of applications would that matter in? Would ripping smaller AAC audio files from big ones be an example of that?

Mainly things that don't include CPU processing. If you were ripping audio at even 100x real-time, you'd encode a 5 minute track in 3 seconds and write say 5MB so your output speed is 1.7MB/s. Video is different because there's more data written to disc during each processing cycle but say you manage to encode an MP4 at 8x real-time and output 2GB for a 90 minute movie, you are outputting 2GB in about 11 minutes so your write speed is still only 3MB/s. Uncompressed and intraframe video use less CPU to process but the data sizes are huge so if you convert say 20 minutes of 1080p AVCHD to 1080p ProRes in real-time, you'd write 25GB in 20 minutes = 20MB/s.

The most important thing for sequential writes is loading and saving files. Say you do an edit in FCP of a ProRes sequence and it doesn't have to re-encode it, it reads 20GB straight off the disc and writes it out to a separate file. This is pretty much a file copy so your export times would half using SATA 3 over SATA 2. Same deal for large Photoshop files so if you had a 1GB PSD, it would open and save in 4 seconds over SATA 2 and 2 seconds over SATA 3. The saving part is important if you want to regularly save changes as it has to dump out a lot of data. PSDs should really change to use lossless compression like PNG as it cuts the size down by about a factor of 10 and would make it more feasible to do auto-save.

It helps with virtual machines like VMWare and Parallels as they allocate large amounts quickly. If you suspend a virtual machine, it dumps the virtual RAM to disk and loads it when you boot back up so a virtual machine might write out 2GB when you quit one of those apps. Suspending a virtual machine on a standard hard drive can take 40 seconds. On SATA 2 SSD, it would take about 8 seconds and SATA 3, 4 seconds.

In most cases, sequential read/write is not that important.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Multimedia 
And what external case supports eSATA 3? I couldn't find any.

That Sonnet card you link to is discontinued. Seems like high speed eSATA PCIe cards are few and far between existence for old Mac Pros.

There's a 6Gbps enclosure here that also has USB 3:

http://www.amazon.com/MiniPro-2-5-inch-External-Enclosure-12-5mm/dp/B003XEZ33Y/

There's a 6Gbps card here but again no Mac boot support:

http://www.newertech.com/products/pcieraidesata.php

There's a cable you can connect directly to the internal ports but these will run at 3Gbps:

http://www.newertech.com/products/esata_cable.php
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks. I'm thinking this driverless 6Gbps eSATA card from HighPoint might do the trick. Must I use a 16x slot 1 or 2 or will one of the 4x slots 3 & 4 still deliver @6Gbps throughput?


Edited by Multimedia - 7/24/12 at 8:49am

Six x 3.5GHz '14 MP, 64GB, 1TB PCIe, 16TB HDs
2.6GHz 6GB 17"HD LED MBP, Sony 52XBR6 HDTV
EyeTV 500, Hybrid 2G, EyeTV 3 HDTV Recorder
64 ATT iPhone 5S, 128 ATT iPad Air, 128 ATT iPad miniRetina, 16...

Reply

Six x 3.5GHz '14 MP, 64GB, 1TB PCIe, 16TB HDs
2.6GHz 6GB 17"HD LED MBP, Sony 52XBR6 HDTV
EyeTV 500, Hybrid 2G, EyeTV 3 HDTV Recorder
64 ATT iPhone 5S, 128 ATT iPad Air, 128 ATT iPad miniRetina, 16...

Reply
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Multimedia View Post

Must I use a 16x slot 1 or 2 or will one of the 4x slots 3 & 4 still deliver @6Gbps throughput?

4x PCI has 16Gbps so enough bandwidth for 6Gbps SATA. That card doesn't mention boot support although they do on the other card that runs at 3Gbps:

http://www.hptmac.com/product.php?_index=57
http://www.hptmac.com/product.php?_index=67

The 6Gbps model apparently isn't plug and play either:

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3294531?start=0&tstart=0

That might be a good sign as far as booting is concerned but not so much if you just want to plug/unplug a drive without rebooting.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for finding that Marvin. I spoke with a Seagate customer service guy this morning who is quite experienced and he said inside the Mac Pro was going to be virtually indistinguishable from the $90 might work eSATA solution. I was thinking that driverless eSATA HighPoint card would work but the more I think about it, it just isn't worth it. I started this thread thinking USB 3, then rethought to eSATA 6Gbps and now I'm back to a plain new SSD inside on a sled @ 3Gbps SATA II. Thanks for all your help.

Six x 3.5GHz '14 MP, 64GB, 1TB PCIe, 16TB HDs
2.6GHz 6GB 17"HD LED MBP, Sony 52XBR6 HDTV
EyeTV 500, Hybrid 2G, EyeTV 3 HDTV Recorder
64 ATT iPhone 5S, 128 ATT iPad Air, 128 ATT iPad miniRetina, 16...

Reply

Six x 3.5GHz '14 MP, 64GB, 1TB PCIe, 16TB HDs
2.6GHz 6GB 17"HD LED MBP, Sony 52XBR6 HDTV
EyeTV 500, Hybrid 2G, EyeTV 3 HDTV Recorder
64 ATT iPhone 5S, 128 ATT iPad Air, 128 ATT iPad miniRetina, 16...

Reply
post #10 of 10

Just bought that http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=130696186620

 

which is SSD Upgrade Kit for Apple Mac Pro - OS X Bootable, SATA III, PCI Express 2.0 - Speeds up to 400 MB/s, Bootable in all Mac Pro Models

 

Seems like the best solution.

 

I cant wait to get it. Just registered to share it. Its not an add and Im not the seller.

 

Will come back to report how it works.

 

Best

 

Michael

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