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Daniel Williams
Daniel Williams

Pci To Serial Ata Card For Mac Fixed

While searching for answers to my SATA problem on the Web, Idecided to take my questions to one of the Mac forums I frequent.Through the seams of learning about my lunacy, idiocy, andilliteracy for making this attempt to jury rig an OWC 2+2 SATA PCI card to a clearly incompatible Power Mac 7600, I was able to glean usefulinformation of great relevance to my experiment.

Pci To Serial Ata Card For Mac

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On face value, the OWC card is 32-bit, 33/66 MHz PCI/PCI-X, andthe SonnetSATA Tempo (which lists Power Mac 7600 compatibility) is alsolisted as 32-bit, 33/66 MHz PCI and Compliant 32-bit PCI busversion 2.2.

Both theOWC card I tested and the 7600-compatible Sonnet Tempo SATA havethis PCI card tab layout. Notice the first slot illustrated. My7600's PCI slots correspond to this layout and, as noted, should bephysically compatible.

Having the system recognize the card or connected drives isanother matter. My utterly unqualified advice is that a user wouldnot physically damage their older Mac or other personal computer bythe simple act of installing a card into any appropriately shapedPCI slots.

2. PCI v2.1 and v2.2 may be subtly different in some otherway than voltage support and tab connector. Additionally, theactual chips on the card are not reliably compatible with somethingrelated to the design of Old World Macs.

However, why not explain my viewpoint on this issue? At firstglance it would seem silly to put such effort and money into Macsthat aren't worth the cost of the SATA card itself, let alone thecard, cables, and drives.

Easy answer: The money isn't going into these older Macs to keepthem up to date - that's plain silly in most cases. Instead, thinkoutside the box. I needed another hard drive for backup, and if notfor the Power Mac 7600 I would have purchased an external case forabout the same amount of money anyway. The hard drive cost was thesame whether I purchased the SATA card or an external case.

If you find a SATA controller card that is compatible with olderPower Macs like my 7600 (the Sonnet Tempo SATA is listed as onesuch device, although it costs more than the OWC competition andonly offers internal ports), then why not.

When I acquired my 7600 it already possessed a G3 upgrade, adecent amount of RAM, built-in ethernet, and a handy audio/videopersonality card. With a couple large drives, I have a backupstorage box and audio server all in one package. Not to mentionthat the 7600 isn't rotting in the landfill and still makes for adecent Mac OS 9 workstation if my main Mac, a 6-year-oldiMac G3 DV SE, were to succumb tohardware component failure.

While I can't unequivocally give the OWC SATA 2+2 PCI controllera passing grade in this specific (and very much unsupported)configuration, it is a nice card. If you have the appropriatesystem, I'm sure the card works as advertised.

For those with supported Macs, the US$50 OWC SATA card is verycompetitively priced, especially at the open box discount I waslucky enough to stumble upon, and this card is flexible in it'sacceptance of two external drives, two internal drives, or oneinternal drive and one external drive. All you have to do is togglethe switch for each of the SATA channels to internal or externalconfiguration.

The other card of interest is the US$80 Sonnet SATA Tempo PCIcard, which gives a PCI or PCI-X equipped Mac two internal SATAports. (I have not tested this card.) While more expensive than thecompetition, Sonnet guarantees compatibility with a far largerrange of Macs - essentially any PCI/PCI-X equipped Mac orMac clone.

There are other brands of internal 2-port SATA cards available,but they all list the same compatibility requirements for about thesame price as the OWC 2+2 SATA. The OWC card looks to be a steal incomparison, and having the option of external or internal ports isquite nice, but the Sonnet card has been more extensively tested bySonnet to work with a larger range of Macs.

Late Sunday night I successfully formatted my 320 GB SeagateSATA drive while it was connected to the OWC SATA card in my PowerMac 7600. More information will follow as I run more tests. Thankyou for your patience, as this occurrence has allowed for thepossibility of my viewpoint changing on this OWC SATA card.

I haven't collected enough data yet to know if my slightreservations can be erased, although there is a better chance thatthe card may receive a clean bill of health for operation withunsupported Macs, such as my Power Mac 7600.

After checking ebay for used cards, one seller listed Sonnet's specs for its SATA PCI controller card and incompatibility with Quicksilver models was indicated. Acard made bootable, Mac-compatible PCI controller cards at the same time, so that's another search option to try. As I recall, a third company also manufactured Mac controller cards, but I can't remember the name.

I would contact OWC and ask them about it. The utility was originally developed to help install OSX on older unsupported systems that could only boot into OS9, but the helper disc feature also allows those OSX compatible machines to boot onto drives larger than 8GB partitions on otherwise non-bootable PCI cards.

PS, I had installed a hardware striped RAID ATA133 card in my G4 and it was nearly as fast as an SSD, but not quite. I later replaced that with a PCI SSD card and it worked great too. I think I continued to use XPostFacto with the helper drive, but I am not really sure now, that was a long time ago.

The 4 Port Tempo SATA Pro 6 Gb PCI Express 2.0 Card from Sonnet is a cost-effective solution for adding four high-performance 6 Gbps eSATA ports to your Mac Pro, desktop PC or Thunderbolt expansion chassis with PCIe 2.0 slots. Featuring dual SATA controllers and four ports, this card enables you to connect multiple systems for fast transfers between them. It also allows you to improve performance by creating RAID sets from two or more systems. Whether you connect single or multi-drive systems or a combination of both, Tempo SATA Pro Card supports them at maximum performance levels.

After a year of waiting, a Macintosh compatible SATA PCI host adapter with more than 2 ports is shipping. We've also been praying for an adapter that's PCI-X rated. Two weeks ago, HighPoint quietly released the Mac drivers for their RocketRAID 1820A 8 channel PCI-X SATA host adapter. It's been shipping for Window PCs for some time. I was able to observe the performance of the card at the ProMax test lab the day the drivers were released to the public. I was impressed, but (as you can imagine) anxious to test it for myself.

TEST 1: DIFFERENT DRIVES COMPAREDThis first series of graphs show how 4 serial ATA drives from 3 different manufacturers performed on the RocketRAID. We put them in a RAID 0 set using SoftRAID 3.0.3. We used DiskTester instead of QuickBench this time because it closely mimics the speeds we saw when the BlackMagic Speed Test was run on a DeckLink equipped G5 tower. In other words, you 10 bit HD jockies can take these numbers to the bank.

One very nasty thing happened while we were testing the seven drive raid set. Three times in a row while running the 5 GB Disktester read/write test, our G5 had a grey screen kernel panic half way through the test. A few hours later, I read that an HD Video jockey in Texas had a kernel panic while duplicating a 5 GB file. We're still probing the limits of this card. If you plan to use this card for production, we want you to know all the problems we've encountered.

As you can see, the SeriTek solution would be as fast, but there's a downside. It takes up two slots on the G5 Power Mac. And to avoid bus contension, one of them has to be in slot 4 -- which many of you reserve for your DeckLink or Kona capture card. That's why the one card solution is most attractive.

MORE ON WHY YOU MAY WANT A SATA CONTROLLER WITH MORE THAN 2 PORTSThere are good reasons to have more than 2 ports on a your SATA PCI host adapter. If you have G5 Power Mac with a DeckLink or Kona card in slot 4 and want to control a fast SATA array for capturing 10 bit HD video or for Photoshop scratch, then you really need a single SATA host adapter with at least 4 ports. In spite of its "non-features," the RocketRAID is the only shipping Mac compatible SATA host adapter that fulfills that requirement.

Some of you have created a four drive, four channel SATA array using dual FirmTek SeriTek/1S2 cards. But you've also found that if you put them in slot 2 and 3 of your G5, the write speeds go way down. When you put them your G4 tower and span drives across the cards, the speeds go way down. If you are creating a RAID set with more than two drives, you really need a host adapter with more than 2 port/channels. Until someone else offers a four, six, or eight channel Serial ATA PCI-X host adapter, the RocketRAID is the only game in town for extreme Serial ATA RAID 0 sets.

The SeriTek/2SE2-E is a Serial ATA host adapter fullycompatible with the new PCI Express bus architecture found inApple's latest Dual-Core G5 Macintosh, 4-core and 8-core Mac ProSystems and newer PC computers. Offering two external SATA IIports at up to 3 gigabits per second, the card enablesindividual drives or RAID arrays to be fully utilized ashigh-performance storage on Dual-Core G5 systems and 4-core and8-core Mac Pro Systems. With FirmTek's established hot-swapcompatibility, users can easily move these drives or volumesfrom one system to another, providing maximum flexibility andsecurity.

Apple's use of PCI Express in the new Dual-Core G5 and 4-core and 8-core Mac Pro Systems has opened a new era of performance for peripheral devices and expansion cards. Unlike previous standards, PCI Express gives each device dedicated bandwidth and access to the system controller. Under this design standard, cards and slots are defined by the number of data lanes included; usually one, four, eight or sixteen, each supporting up to 250 Mbps. The newer G5s and 4-core and 8-core Mac Pro Systems include a 16 lane slot intended for a graphics, as well as two with four lanes and one with eight. Cards must be specially designed to work with this new standard.




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