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Mac Pro RAID Card advice

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Danny Jenkins
Mac Pro RAID Card advice
on Apr 19, 2010 at 1:16:21 pm

Hi guys, need a bit of direction on setting up a RAID.

Will have 4 x 700GB sata drives internally in a Mac Pro that I pick up tomorrow. It's not the Nehalem Mac Pro so I think the current raid card in the apple store is out of the question. I know of Caldigit & HighPoint making compatible cards but not sure of others.

Idea is to have all 4 drives in raid 5, with a new system drive in the optical bay making 5 in total. Which card would be best for this? I'm not really familiar with pricing variation on these cards either.

Also I initially was thinking to keep it just as an internal raid setup, however the purpose of me buying this Mac Pro was to ingest footage at work where I have access to broadcast decks, take footage home to offline in Avid Media Composer, then bring back to work and online in Symphony.

I was going to just do this using an external HDD (the projects aren't likely to be that big) but now I'm wondering if I might be better off taking the 4 x 700GB drives out and running them in an external RAID enclosure so I can take the whole unit to & from work.

It's only for personal work on the side so I won't be making millions at home... pricing suggestions should be considered accordingly!

I know there are a few questions in here... any thoughts?!


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Bob Zelin
Re: Mac Pro RAID Card advice
on Apr 19, 2010 at 4:12:34 pm

you should NEVER create a big raid array in your system, and always use an external raid enclosure. And you should NEVER EVER EVER EVER include your boot drive as part of the RAID array, unless you want to ultimately lose all of your media.

I would choose any product - Cal Digit, Highpoint, ATTO, Areca, LSI, instead of the Apple RAID card.
All of these products (even the Highpoint which I don't like) work dramatically better than the Apple RAID card. Choose any one of these cards, and any external drive array box, and you will be happier, and safer.

Bob Zelin




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Danny Jenkins
Re: Mac Pro RAID Card advice
on Apr 20, 2010 at 12:28:53 am

Hi Bob, thanks for the reply. What's the reason for avoiding an internal RAID?
This is not really going to be for intense commercial use - more of a lightweight extension of my work at the office, I just wanted the security as I've lost data due to head crash before... plus the 700GB drives are already there.

Having said this I have found some enclosures at work, one 4 bay and another ex Avid tower. I think they have scsi connections in the back so will have to find out if this is an option.

Thanks again.



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Bob Zelin
Re: Mac Pro RAID Card advice
on Apr 20, 2010 at 1:49:03 am

danny -
this is crazy. you cannot put SATA drives in an old SCSI enclosure, and new SCSI drives and new SCSI RAID controllers will cost you a fortune. What appears to be "free" will cost you a lot of money, and a lot of aggrivation. If something goes wrong, and your system cant boot up, the first thing you want to do is disconnect all of your drives and external devices, and if you have an internal raid, this will become a nightmare for you. You must plan for disaster, and being able to disconnect, to simplify your system is very important.

Bob Zelin




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Danny Jenkins
Re: Mac Pro RAID Card advice
on Apr 20, 2010 at 3:05:03 am

Yeh I just looked at that enclosure, was a bit outdated I think haha. Was a Medea with scsi connectors on back but was full of IDE drives.

I'm not going to try and do anything 'crazy' however I'm also not an expert on this which is why some of my questions may obviously not be feasible!

Another few more of these wild questions though... if I have a raid card & separate system drive, they are kept separate on the main board right? I could just disconnect the raid card if it was playing up & still boot up?

Or rebuild the system drive from Time Machine if it has problems?

Also I was thinking there would be some sort of software monitoring the raid performance/status?

Sorry for ruining your day Bob, thanks for any help again!





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Bob Zelin
Re: Mac Pro RAID Card advice
on Apr 21, 2010 at 12:44:10 pm

your questions may be based on the fact that you want to spend very little money on this (you may not have a lot of money). Although I try to promote professional equipment, as you see advertised here on Creative Cow, you are much better off with a "piece of crap" eSATA RAID that is modern (from a company like Newegg or OWC) than some old piece of useless crap like an antique Medea SCSI chassis with IDE drives in it. Don't waste your time with dinosaur equipment that will just give you grief. You will often find that free is not always free.

Bob Zelin




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