Apple Mac Pro RAID Card is an SAS controller

Apple, probably because they don't offer SAS hard drives as standard or add-on for their MacPro machines, neglected to mention that the SATA RAID card they are selling for their MacPros is also a SAS RAID card.

SAS configurations offer much more speed and different network configuration options than SATA.

Thanks to Flickr user Trancepriest who points out that Apple's uber-expensive $999 SATA RAID (Revision 1306) card is also a reasonably-priced SAS card. It turns out that if you plug in a few 10,000 or 15,000 RPM SAS hard drives into the motherboard, you'll be grooving along with some pretty seriously fast hard drive access. Our new friend, Mr. Trancpriest is rocken 1.78Tb of it.

SAS Apple RAID Drive

Nowhere in the description on Apple's web page (pasted below) does it mention this functionality. Likely, Apple isn't going to let this power go to waste. Expect to see product announcements in the near future that take advantage of this functionality. See ten more things we'd love to see in the next MacPro.

For those of you who need a refresher on Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) versus SATA RAID, hit up Wikipedia.

Apple's SATA RAID card description:


The Mac Pro RAID Card offers improved storage performance and data protection to your Mac Pro system — up to 304MB/s of sequential read performance in RAID 0. Ideal for video and creative professionals with demanding storage needs as well as for tower server applications, this hardware RAID option supports RAID levels 0, 1, 5, 0+1, and Enhanced JBOD. It has 256MB of cache and an integrated 72-hour battery for protecting the RAID cache. The card occupies the top PCI Express slot (slot 4) and connects to the four internal drive bays.

To enable your Mac Pro for hardware RAID, install the Mac Pro RAID Card and two or more hard drives in bays 1 through 4. Each RAID level has minimum requirements for the number of hard drives:

RAID LevelDrive RequirementsBenefit
Enhanced JBODOne to four drivesA non-RAID configuration with the ability to migrate to a RAID set at any time
RAID 0 (striping)Two to four hard drivesMaximum performance and capacity for the most demanding I/O requirements
RAID 1 (mirroring)Two hard drivesMaximum protection for critical data
RAID 5Three or four hard drivesData protection, up to 199MB/s of sequential read performance, and efficient capacity utilization
RAID 0+1Four hard drivesA mirror of striped drive pairs providing performance and data protection

The Mac Pro RAID Card supports the creation of multiple RAID sets in a system and multiple volumes per RAID set. For optimal disk utilization in a RAID set, all hard drives should be the same size. Using Apple’s RAID Utility software (included with Mac OS X v10.5), you can migrate the drives into a RAID set without reinstalling Mac OS X or reformatting the drives, and you can customize your RAID volumes to meet your exact requirements.

Please note: The Mac Pro RAID Card occupies the top PCI Express expansion slot (slot 4).

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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