Sonnet Fusion Dual SATA SSD card offers Mac Pro storage expansion over PCIe

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2020
Sonnet is giving Mac Pro owners an extra option to boost the capacity of their workstation with high-speed storage, with the Fusion Dual 2.5-inch SSD RAID PCIe 3.0 card enabling solid-state SATA drives to be installed via one of the expansion slots.




Unlike a PC or other Mac desktops, such as previous Mac Pro models, the current iteration of Mac Pro does not include any drive bays to easily install more storage. Customers wanting more storage have to either use an aftermarket drive bay with the built-in SATA connections, use external storage systems, or use an expansion card that provides more capacity.

Sonnet's Fusion Dual 2.5-inch SSD RAID PCIe 3.0 card offers a solution for those who want to use normal SSDs, as it consists of an expansion card that fits into a full-length PCIe card slot. The 2.5-inch SSDs are held by the card, so there is no need to include extra SATA or power cables, or even to acquire a mounting system for the drives.

When connected, the SSDs are managed by the onboard RAID controller, with support for RAID 0, RAID 1, Span, and JBOD configurations. When set in RAID 0, the card is capable of sustained data transfer speeds of up to 1,000MB/s, with RAID one reading at 540MB/s and writing at 480MB/s.

The card supports up to two SSDs up to 4 terabytes in capacity, with a potential total capacity of 8 terabytes. To further take advantage of the PCIe 3.0 connection, the card also includes a SuperSpeed USB-C port that connects at 10Gb/s, which can also provide power delivery at up to 15 watts.

While the card offers considerable benefits to new Mac Pro users, it also has its uses on other devices, including the older 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro models with free PCIe 3.0 slots, PCs, and Thunderbolt 3 external expansion devices. Support is offered for macOS 10.10.5, macOS 10.12.6, and later releases, but not macOS 10.11.

Fusion Dual 2.5-inch SSD RAID PCIe card will be available for purchase at $129.95, starting on January 31.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,736member
    I'm curious who this is marketed for.  RAID or no RAID, why would I want to use a PCIe card and connect a bunch of slow SATA drives when there are PCIe cards out there that use NVMe SSD drives which provide for much, much faster transfer rates.  Any ideas?
    cy_starkmanfastasleepPickUrPoisonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 9
    It's $130, adds USB-C and lets users bring drives from their old machines into the MP7,1 with ease.  Hardware RAID at 1000MB/s is more than fast enough for many media tasks, larger capacities with two 4TB SSDs (8TB total), and also run a LOT cooler (aka quiet) without the need for heatsinks.  Could be a dream for audio engineers and recording setups with MP7,1.  All macOS compatible multiple blade NVMe solutions start at $400 without the blades and most commercially available blades top at 2TB max right now.
    edited January 2020 mknelsoncy_starkmanfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 9
    bsbeamer said:
    It's $130, adds USB-C and lets users bring drives from their old machines into the MP7,1 with ease.  Hardware RAID at 1000MB/s is more than fast enough for many media tasks, larger capacities with two 4TB SSDs (8TB total), and also run a LOT cooler (aka quiet) without the need for heatsinks.  Could be a dream for audio engineers and recording setups with MP7,1.  All macOS compatible multiple blade NVMe solutions start at $400 without the blades and most commercially available blades top at 2TB max right now.
    1) It will not "run cooler" by much, nor likely at all in most tasks (ie, those that aren't hitting the SSDs 100% of the time) as the NVMe blades will finish their tasks much more quickly. Total heat generation will be lower, though more concentrated.
    2) The USB-C port may be useful to a few people, but most won't need/want it since the Mac comes with 4 (or more - up to 12).
    3) Multiblade (4, not 2 like this card) cards should be pretty cheap. AppleInsider promises to review at least one soon.
    4) If you have some old 7.68 or 15.3TB SATA drives lying around, this might, maybe, be useful - though you should also look at the Promise option too. Otherwise, a 4-way carrier with 4x NVMe modules is almost always going to be a better idea. When you're buying an nnMP you probably don't need to save a couple hundred dollars reusing old slow storage.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 9
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,736member
    4) If you have some old 7.68 or 15.3TB SATA drives lying around, this might, maybe, be useful - though you should also look at the Promise option too. Otherwise, a 4-way carrier with 4x NVMe modules is almost always going to be a better idea. When you're buying an nnMP you probably don't need to save a couple hundred dollars reusing old slow storage.
    Precisely.  I don't understand why someone would spend so much money for a MacPro, or even the base model, only to go on the cheap side and re-use old SSD drives, especially with a SATA interface when far more modern and faster tech exists... even if it's a bit more expensive.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 9
    YP101YP101 Posts: 132member
    If you already have bunch of 1TB SATA SSD then this card will help.(i have 4 so far.)
    Yes. M.2 NVME SSD is faster then 2.5' SSD but will you pay more?
    These days 2.5 SSD 1TB under $100 from samsung or crucial. M.2 NVME 1TB around $150.
    If you want 2TB then 2.5 SSD is much cheaper.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 9
    thttht Posts: 4,040member
    Hmm, there is room to put 4 SATA 2.5” SSDs in a 1-wide PCI card?

    To me, it looks like one advantage is it only be 1-wide. So, 2 MPX module GPUs, leaves 3 1-wide PCIe slots to use. Instead of the Promise J2i, this would be about 10x faster, and could serve as backup to Apple’s SSD storage, or serve as much more affordable storage than a PCIe SSD card.

    Always nice to have options. Don’t knock it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 9
    While it's a great option for the 7,1, I think it's a greater option for extending the life of 5,1's, of which I have two.

    I was considering getting a SAS card and some retrofit kits to support a handful of spinners in my 3,1 and 5,1's to try to get the transfer rate up, but this looks to be a much better option all around. Save the spinners and SAS stuff for a dedicated external enclosure or dedicated server.



    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 9
    I will answer why I bought the base model Mac Pro and added sata SSDs.  I have a 2009 8 core which I also used the PCIe to add sata ssds to bring new life to my aging machine.  Now, I just purchased the new Mac Pro because I know it allows me to keep this machine for 10 years or more with options of Future upgrades.  I am a photographer so I need storage redundancy like anyone else.  I like that the Mac Pros allow the user to place all their storage neatly within.  I chose 4TB for my working storage using the Pcie M.2 4x4 from Sonnet.  That set me back $1,160 but I still wanted two more 4TB backups and I was not going to burn $2,200 on a M.2 backup.  This is why I chose to buy two Sonnet Fusion dual 2.5. Using four sata SSD 2TB both set to raid 0.  This cost me $560 each.  Now I have Three separate 4TB storage using the pcie slots.  This I thought was the best scenario for what I wanted to spend my money on. 
  • Reply 9 of 9
    NYCphoto said:
    I will answer why I bought the base model Mac Pro and added sata SSDs.  I have a 2009 8 core which I also used the PCIe to add sata ssds to bring new life to my aging machine.  Now, I just purchased the new Mac Pro because I know it allows me to keep this machine for 10 years or more with options of Future upgrades.  I am a photographer so I need storage redundancy like anyone else.  I like that the Mac Pros allow the user to place all their storage neatly within.  I chose 4TB for my working storage using the Pcie M.2 4x4 from Sonnet.  That set me back $1,160 but I still wanted two more 4TB backups and I was not going to burn $2,200 on a M.2 backup.  This is why I chose to buy two Sonnet Fusion dual 2.5. Using four sata SSD 2TB both set to raid 0.  This cost me $560 each.  Now I have Three separate 4TB storage using the pcie slots.  This I thought was the best scenario for what I wanted to spend my money on. 

     ;)  To look over imo : https://www.promise.com/us/Promotion/PegasusStorage

    edited July 2020
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