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PCI Card/Slot config in MacPro

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msacci
PCI Card/Slot config in MacPro
on Aug 18, 2007 at 9:29:04 pm

Okay how is everyone config their PCIe slots on a MacPro.

Listed below are what I think to be the case - correct me where I'm wrong.

I have a x1900 so that needs all 16x

Then I have the Kona 3 - 4x
a Sonnet E4P Sata card with is also a 4x

But now that there are 8x Sata cards coming out what do you do? Seems like if you go with 4x for the Kona - 8x for the Sata card it would drop your X1900 to an 8x slot.

This is another thing that just confuses the crap out of me.


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szumlins
Re: PCI Card/Slot config in MacPro
on Aug 18, 2007 at 10:04:26 pm

First things first...4x PCIe slots supply a theoretical throughput of 1000MB/sec. That means your storage has to provide 1000MB/sec to actually see a benefit from an 8x slot (even if the card is an 8x lane card). In my testing of 1x slots, I'm normally able to realize 90% of that bandwidth with a good HBA (read: ATTO celerity or R380).

So how many drives do you currently have and what kind of storage are you using that supports over 1000MB/sec? Are you editing multistream 4k that would necessitate 1GB/sec? 4-up multi-cam uncompressed 10-bit 1080i?

This is a great case of putting the cart before the horse. Yes, even ATTO's R380 card is an 8x lane card and IS capable of exceeding 1GB/sec, but putting it in a 4x slot on a current MacPro isn't going to net you any worse or better performance than an 8x slot unless you have the drives to back it up. My rough guess would be 20x 750GB Seagate 7200rpm enterprise drives in RAID0 based on the testing I've done. In that case, you would need a port multiplier to have multiple drives and multiple chassis on each of the R380's channels.

So the easy answer is "don't worry about it". Odds are that by the time drive technology is capable of providing the kind of throughput an 8x lane slot can handle, MacPro systems will have more available lanes on the board.

If you really need over 1GB/sec today, it can be built and provided on a MacPro. How deep are your pockets?

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-Mike


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msacci
Re: PCI Card/Slot config in MacPro
on Aug 19, 2007 at 2:27:35 am

I'm not suggesting I need the speed at all, but it seems like if you fill the PCIe slots the feedback you get from the Mac is that some of the cards are not better enough bandwidth, Apples words not mine. As far as following AJA recommendation I have been but once again there is no recommendation for 8x cards (ATTOs new card) or (2) 4x cards (Sonnet) but if you are saying that it really doesn't matter, nothing really needs the bandwidth that they are asking for that is kind of what I'm looking for.


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cowcowcowcowcow
szumlins
Re: PCI Card/Slot config in MacPro
on Aug 19, 2007 at 2:51:06 pm

[msacci] "I'm not suggesting I need the speed at all, but it seems like if you fill the PCIe slots the feedback you get from the Mac is that some of the cards are not better enough bandwidth, Apples words not mine. As far as following AJA recommendation I have been but once again there is no recommendation for 8x cards (ATTOs new card) or (2) 4x cards (Sonnet) but if you are saying that it really doesn't matter, nothing really needs the bandwidth that they are asking for that is kind of what I'm looking for.
"


Yeah, bottom line is put your storage and AJA in slots 3 or 4 and select option 2 in the PCI expansion utility and you are good to go.

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-Mike


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walter biscardi
Re: PCI Card/Slot config in MacPro
on Aug 18, 2007 at 11:55:19 pm

[msacci] "Okay how is everyone config their PCIe slots on a MacPro."

Exactly how AJA tells me to config my system. The best way to get an unstable system is to start re-configuring your system in ways other than what AJA recommends.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
http://www.biscardicreative.com
HD Editorial & Animation for Broadcast and independent productions.

All Things Apple Podcast! http://cowcast.creativecow.net/all_things_apple/index.html

Read my blog! http://blogs.creativecow.net/WalterBiscardi


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Bob Zelin
Re: PCI Card/Slot config in MacPro
on Aug 20, 2007 at 2:00:21 am

Sonnet E4P slot 4 x4
AJA Kona 3 slot 3 x4
slot 2 empty
ATI Graphics slot 1 x16


x8 storage cards (like ATTO, Dulce) go into slot 4, as a x4 slot. Since you can do uncompressed 10 bit HD with these cards running at x4 lanes, you do not need to worry about x8.
When we all start dealing with 2k and 4k files, then we can all cry - but by then the NEW Mac G6 will be out, and all of these current boards will be incompatible.

Bob Zelin


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msacci
Re: PCI Card/Slot config in MacPro
on Aug 20, 2007 at 7:52:49 pm

Thanks guys that is the way I have it now. Do have a couple of weird things happen that I cannot find a solution for. The most problematic is the system with my Raid plugged into the Sonnet card will not go through a restart - it will shut off and hang on a black screen. I then do a hard power off and have to wait a couple of minutes and reboot, all is fine. I can also shut down and reboot after the couple of minute wait.

Also would you be able to install another Sonnet card (or another 4x card) in slot 2 or would that just be pushing my luck.

Also, most of the time I have a Norco 12 bay enclosure hooked up. It has two 5-bay with port multipliers and two single bays. The (2) 5 bays are Raided together as Raid 0. At times I unhook one of the single backs and hook up a Sonnet P500 that has 5 jobd drives not raided. They all seem to play okay but didn't know if I'm pushing my luck here also.

Thanks for any advice.


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szumlins
Re: PCI Card/Slot config in MacPro
on Aug 21, 2007 at 10:46:56 pm

If the multipliers don't follow the eSATA spec (and you'd be surprised how many don't), they can have problems with warm starts and drive spin up. Contact the manufacturer of your enclosure.

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-Mike


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