OWC Accelsior 4M2 offers 8TB 6GB/s storage upgrades for Mac Pro

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2019
Mac upgrade specialist OWC has launched the Accelsior 4M2, a PCIe M.2 NVMe SSD that is capable of transfers of over 6 gigabytes per second in RAID 0 configurations, one that is aimed primarily at Mac Pro owners seeking to add more high-speed storage to their workstation.

OWC Accelsior 4M2 SSD


The Accelsior 4M2 is offered as a high-performance way to boost the onboard storage of the Mac Pro, including the current generation and versions released in 2012 and 2010. It is the fastest SSD solution OWC has ever produced, offering access speeds in excess of 6,000MB/s, which OWC suggests makes it ideal for 4K and 8K video editing, gaming, and compute-intensive tasks requiring high amounts of bandwidth.

Fitting into a half-height or full-height PCI 3.0 or 3.0 8x or 16x slot, the card is compatible with the new Mac Pro as well as the older 2012 and 2010 versions, along with PCs. If no expansion slot is available, it also works with Thunderbolt 3-based external enclosures.

The card is made up of four NVMe blade-style drives, that operate at full x4 PCIe speeds for performance. OWC also suggests even higher speeds can be achieved by using multiple Accelsior 4M2 cards together in RAID.

Though drives can be used individually, they can also be used in RAID on the card itself, including support for Raid 0, 1, 4, 5, and 1+0 volumes using the included SoftRAID software. Raid 0 ,where data is striped across multiple disks, is essential to reach the headline 6GB/s speeds.

The card is entirely slot-powered, meaning it doesn't require any extra power connections to function, is plug-and-play without needing additional drivers for installation, and is able to be used as the boot volume for fast start-up times. The four NVMe sticks are protected by a finned heat sink cover across the entire length of the card, which provides cooling without additional noisy fans.

OWC is selling the Accelsior 4M2 in a variety of different capacities, ranging from 1TB for $479.99 to 8TB for $1,599.99, while the card on its own without NVMe drives is $249.99. OWC plans to start shipping the card in the week of December 30.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    It's NOT bootable unless you designate one of the individual blades as the boot volume (visit their product page and view the fine print).  It can't boot from a RAID volume, which sadly renders it useless for me.  I was so excited about this product and now am hugely disappointed.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 20
    This product basically requires their SoftRAID software and it's only an x8 card!  Get the HighPoint 7101 or Sonnet M.2 4x4.  Both are x16 and more customizable without relying on SoftRAID.  SoftRAID Version 6 has been delayed for months and still does not work correctly in Mojave, let alone Catalina... 
    hodarwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 20
    ciacia Posts: 144member
    It works in the cMP also, which is nice for us clinging to our old MacPro's. Not quite as fast, but still better then the SATA II connections built in.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 20
    jdwjdw Posts: 993member
    Really, not bootable?  That deflates that balloon fast!

    Curious about RAIDing multiple cards though.  Does this mean you get 12GBps if you have two 1TB cards?  Even 6GBps is crazy fast!
    bradchatellierwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 20
    It's NOT bootable unless you designate one of the individual blades as the boot volume (visit their product page and view the fine print).  It can't boot from a RAID volume, which sadly renders it useless for me.  I was so excited about this product and now am hugely disappointed.
    NONE of the RAID solutions are bootable, it's a limitation Apple introduced in macOS. Sonnet has the same note on theirs as does High Point.

    Boot Support

    macOS

    • Only from single SSD (not RAIDed) Mac Pro 5,1 or Mac Pro 7,1
    • Any Thunderbolt Mac

    Storage Mode Data Storage only (non-bootable)

    cy_starkmanbradchatellierwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 20
    bsbeamer said:
    This product basically requires their SoftRAID software and it's only an x8 card!  Get the HighPoint 7101 or Sonnet M.2 4x4.  Both are x16 and more customizable without relying on SoftRAID.  SoftRAID Version 6 has been delayed for months and still does not work correctly in Mojave, let alone Catalina... 
    I know they have struggled with SR 6, there was a lot of changes to the OS that have impacted their feature set, most notably trying to support the new Apple File System, which was NOT documented well. I'm gonna wait until someone does a comparison but SoftRAID has beat the hardware solutions in the past in terms of speed, reliability & recovery. I got SR 5 at home on a cMP running Mojave with a bunch of old drives I had laying around and it does great.
  • Reply 7 of 20
    jdw said:
    Really, not bootable?  That deflates that balloon fast!

    Curious about RAIDing multiple cards though.  Does this mean you get 12GBps if you have two 1TB cards?  Even 6GBps is crazy fast!
    Yeah, not being able to use all this speed for boot SUCKS.  Especially when you can RAID multiple cards together.  The performance probably won't scale completely, but I'd have bought two of them if I could get a 8-10GBs boot volume.  Shame on Apple.
  • Reply 8 of 20
    This looks ideal for my Hackintosh. Then when the time comes and I win the lottery, I can buy a new Mac Pro. :) :wink: 
  • Reply 9 of 20
    All the PCIe slots in the Mac Pro's we're ordering are occupied by the AfterBurner + GPU's. The OWC ThunderBlades (daisy-chainable SSD storage) make more sense for high-end video editing/graphics effects bays. 8 TB Apple internal + 2 chains of 5 8 TB Thunderblades = 88 TB (realistically 80 TB to dump video off the unreliable and expensive Red mini-mag cards) and we can easily swap out a chain for the team at home base to work with after the dailies have been shown.

    I hope the rack Mac Pro prices will be out soon. 
  • Reply 10 of 20
    DuhSesameDuhSesame Posts: 1,073member
    All the PCIe slots in the Mac Pro's we're ordering are occupied by the AfterBurner + GPU's. The OWC ThunderBlades (daisy-chainable SSD storage) make more sense for high-end video editing/graphics effects bays. 8 TB Apple internal + 2 chains of 5 8 TB Thunderblades = 88 TB (realistically 80 TB to dump video off the unreliable and expensive Red mini-mag cards) and we can easily swap out a chain for the team at home base to work with after the dailies have been shown.

    I hope the rack Mac Pro prices will be out soon. 
    I wonder if you can pack two Thunderbolts in one?  An MPX module is equivalent to 8 PCIe lanes. 
  • Reply 11 of 20
    thttht Posts: 4,029member
    All the PCIe slots in the Mac Pro's we're ordering are occupied by the AfterBurner + GPU's. The OWC ThunderBlades (daisy-chainable SSD storage) make more sense for high-end video editing/graphics effects bays. 8 TB Apple internal + 2 chains of 5 8 TB Thunderblades = 88 TB (realistically 80 TB to dump video off the unreliable and expensive Red mini-mag cards) and we can easily swap out a chain for the team at home base to work with after the dailies have been shown.
    Aren’t there two x8 PCIe slots left?

    Unless you put a 3rd party double wide GPU card in it too?


    cy_starkman
  • Reply 12 of 20
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,728member
    RAID should be hardware-level.  I am only guessing that they are using software RAID due to costs, but it just boggles my mind from an efficiency standpoint.  I don't want my OS managing RAID.  The card should be doing that all its own.  I like OWC's products, but I don't buy any of their storage products using software RAID.  I just don't trust it.
  • Reply 13 of 20
    sflocal said:
    RAID should be hardware-level.  I am only guessing that they are using software RAID due to costs, but it just boggles my mind from an efficiency standpoint.  I don't want my OS managing RAID.  The card should be doing that all its own.  I like OWC's products, but I don't buy any of their storage products using software RAID.  I just don't trust it.

    yeah, that's the enterprise way of thinking. I've been using SoftRaid at home for a RAID 5 setup and it's been fine. much cheaper and easier to manage than hardware solutions have been in the past. No controllers or batteries to worry about dying and losing your data. pretty easy to swap a drive and rebuild too. and the speed outperforms any hardware solution I've seen in the past. Support dried up some years ago for the Apple RAID cards and other solutions. Good luck when that happens with these in the future as well.
  • Reply 14 of 20
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,728member
    kmac1036 said:
    sflocal said:
    RAID should be hardware-level.  I am only guessing that they are using software RAID due to costs, but it just boggles my mind from an efficiency standpoint.  I don't want my OS managing RAID.  The card should be doing that all its own.  I like OWC's products, but I don't buy any of their storage products using software RAID.  I just don't trust it.

    yeah, that's the enterprise way of thinking. I've been using SoftRaid at home for a RAID 5 setup and it's been fine. much cheaper and easier to manage than hardware solutions have been in the past. No controllers or batteries to worry about dying and losing your data. pretty easy to swap a drive and rebuild too. and the speed outperforms any hardware solution I've seen in the past. Support dried up some years ago for the Apple RAID cards and other solutions. Good luck when that happens with these in the future as well.
    I have a 12TB Promise RAID disk array.  Nothing to run on my system once it's configured.  Can plug it into any other machine without having to load anything.  Hot-swappable too.  Easy and forget about it.  A drive will fail before the RAID controller ever does.

    edited December 2019
  • Reply 15 of 20
    tht said:
    All the PCIe slots in the Mac Pro's we're ordering are occupied by the AfterBurner + GPU's. The OWC ThunderBlades (daisy-chainable SSD storage) make more sense for high-end video editing/graphics effects bays. 8 TB Apple internal + 2 chains of 5 8 TB Thunderblades = 88 TB (realistically 80 TB to dump video off the unreliable and expensive Red mini-mag cards) and we can easily swap out a chain for the team at home base to work with after the dailies have been shown.
    Aren’t there two x8 PCIe slots left?

    Unless you put a 3rd party double wide GPU card in it too?


    i believe you are correct
  • Reply 16 of 20
    All the PCIe slots in the Mac Pro's we're ordering are occupied by the AfterBurner + GPU's. The OWC ThunderBlades (daisy-chainable SSD storage) make more sense for high-end video editing/graphics effects bays. 8 TB Apple internal + 2 chains of 5 8 TB Thunderblades = 88 TB (realistically 80 TB to dump video off the unreliable and expensive Red mini-mag cards) and we can easily swap out a chain for the team at home base to work with after the dailies have been shown.

    I hope the rack Mac Pro prices will be out soon. 
    Even though it says "coming soon," Apple shows rack version starting $500 more than non-rack starting point. So probably rack version is a $500 "add on" for the enclosure and all other pricing is same. Of course, I could be wrong...I wonder what the hold up is?
  • Reply 17 of 20
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,391member
    People still boot their machines more than once or twice per year? How quaint.
  • Reply 18 of 20
    It's NOT bootable unless you designate one of the individual blades as the boot volume (visit their product page and view the fine print).  It can't boot from a RAID volume, which sadly renders it useless for me.  I was so excited about this product and now am hugely disappointed.
    Serious question: how often are you rebooting your machine instead of putting it to sleep?

    if you’re constantly rebooting such a machine, what are you doing with it where that makes sense?

    With any modern OS (Linux, MacOS, Windows, etc.) I almost never reboot short of a system update that forces it, because they’re stable enough it’s not an issue.
  • Reply 19 of 20
    I only reboot my machine if something isn't working properly, and I only sleep my display.  But that's not the point.  I want the performance increase that comes from booting off of a volume with super high throughput.  Apple stock flash drives in the Mac Pro top out somewhere in the 3GBs range.  If I RAIDed two of these cards together and could boot off that volume I'd get something well above 6GBs.  A 200%+ performance increase is what I'm after.

    anonconformist said:
    It's NOT bootable unless you designate one of the individual blades as the boot volume (visit their product page and view the fine print).  It can't boot from a RAID volume, which sadly renders it useless for me.  I was so excited about this product and now am hugely disappointed.
    Serious question: how often are you rebooting your machine instead of putting it to sleep?

    if you’re constantly rebooting such a machine, what are you doing with it where that makes sense?

    With any modern OS (Linux, MacOS, Windows, etc.) I almost never reboot short of a system update that forces it, because they’re stable enough it’s not an issue.

  • Reply 20 of 20
    I only reboot my machine if something isn't working properly, and I only sleep my display.  But that's not the point.  I want the performance increase that comes from booting off of a volume with super high throughput.  Apple stock flash drives in the Mac Pro top out somewhere in the 3GBs range.  If I RAIDed two of these cards together and could boot off that volume I'd get something well above 6GBs.  A 200%+ performance increase is what I'm after.

    anonconformist said:
    It's NOT bootable unless you designate one of the individual blades as the boot volume (visit their product page and view the fine print).  It can't boot from a RAID volume, which sadly renders it useless for me.  I was so excited about this product and now am hugely disappointed.
    Serious question: how often are you rebooting your machine instead of putting it to sleep?

    if you’re constantly rebooting such a machine, what are you doing with it where that makes sense?

    With any modern OS (Linux, MacOS, Windows, etc.) I almost never reboot short of a system update that forces it, because they’re stable enough it’s not an issue.

    Well, it’s up to the hardware vendor to make sure that happens on boot drives, generally via direct hardware support: boot drives as a general rule need to have minimal drivers for booting from firmware regardless of OS, because most drivers aren’t available that early in the boot process.

    Blame the hardware vendor.
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