View Full Version : ATA Raid

09-14-2001, 10:41 AM
Hello Again,

Is it possible to create a raid with ATA drives? I am looking to buy a new mac and ATA drives are just so...cheap. What is the speed difference between ATA and SCSI?


09-15-2001, 12:04 AM
Yes you can, but remember that you are limited to two drives per ATA port and you can't boot from the RAID. What this means is that you would have to add an IDE PCI card to support your small RAID setup.

As far as speed, I'm afraid you'll have to wait for someone that would better than IČÍ

Kaye? http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

09-15-2001, 01:11 AM
A couple of QuickSilver ATA RAIDs here http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/IDE/quicksilver_raid/quicksilver_IDE_RAID.html#400 and more here http://www.barefeats.com/hard13.htm

Those are generation one X15s. For more on G2 X15s go here http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/Forum16/HTML/000044.html k

09-17-2001, 03:24 PM
TheTempo ATA Hardware Raid controller from Sonnet seems to have pretty good potential.
This is no replacement for the x15 Cheetah Ultra160 drives and SCSI.
......but it could be a great solution for someone on a budget, like say me and my home system.

What is the top speed of ATA drives?
Has anyone built such a system?


09-17-2001, 04:53 PM
Take a look at StorageReview.com which reviewed new ATA/100 PCI cards (some hardraid) as well as benchmarks and reports as well as a comparison database. Another place and such is www.xlr8yourmac.com (http://www.xlr8yourmac.com) and I think barebones.com also has a lot of benchmarks, tables, MacBench scores etc (ATTO is usually used by Mac users just to have a consistent benchmark tool).

And of course with new ATA/100 boards that do hardraid not yet available all that will change shortly.


09-18-2001, 10:02 AM
I have not seen any ATA drives that are over 7200 rpm.

Is that the limit or are there faster drives?

09-18-2001, 02:07 PM
Frozen Tundra,

I just bought a quicksilver. I also wanted to accomplish something with the ATA100 drive that came with it.

Currently an identical IBM 60GXP 60 gig drive costs around 170 dollars. The performance I got with that drive on the motherboard IDE bus was in the high 50 MB/s range sustained read and write. That's pretty good.

Acard has shippped their new ATA100+ Raid host card to resellers in the US.(this shipping has been tied up in transit due to airline problems from sept 11th) This card will also probably be sold soon after by Sonnet (and thus by the GURUS one would suppose). Acard is purporting this card to give virtually double the performance hardraiding two drives from the performance of a single IDE drive. If so, then a couple of ATA drives ought to give at least high 90's.

Presumably the Acard 100+ card will be flash upgradable to the new 133 standard as it becomes availiable, at least that is what I have heard, regretably not from Acard.

Also, Acard is claiming full bootability from hardraided drives and full compatability with OS9.x and OSX. We'll see. BTW, a hardware raid card will only support RAID0, striping as far as I know.

Don't expect the same performance as from SCSI raid. Also, do get identical drives with identical firmware, if possible, for best performance and compatability. All sorts of issues could arise from mixing drives on a hard raid settup.

I have ordered one of these cards and am in the process of ordering 80 wire TPO Granite cables from The Gurus to hook it up. I will post the results as soon as I get them.

Speed is its own reward.

[This message has been edited by ricks (edited 18 September 2001).]

09-18-2001, 03:03 PM
Sounds way cool. I would love to here how your install goes and any hurdles you may have. Of course the performance will be the real test that matters. So please keep me posted.
Do you know how long it will take to recieve your card? cables?

09-18-2001, 03:54 PM
I look forward to posting the whole enchilada. I am really just learning about Raiding. I have found that this forum is one of my best resources! The ATA drives will be stacked in the right hand mount and 2 X15 cheetahs are going in the two single mounts with combined raid 0 and 1.

BTW,Look out for that darn Kaye, he'll give you the speed bug. A scratchable bug but totally incurable. Seriously though, check with the real experts on this forum before spending any biggish monies.

I called microland (Acards USA rep) regarding delivery of the 100+ and they are in the dark, only that shipping has occured(is occuring?) from asia.

Gurus shouldn't have any problem with rapid delivery of the cables @ http://www.macgurus.com/shoppingcart/showrampage.cgi?idepagesofheck.html

I am really looking forward to trying the ATA100 raid option, especially since it's bootable.

One other thing, when formatting your drives for OSX, for best speed one should probably use the Unix format instead of the mac os extended. The Unix format uses less information for indexing and will access in less time because of that. This is according to my brother who is a Apple engineer. This format is availiable with the new drive setup that comes with 9.2 and OSX. I am running a partition for OS9.2/mac extended and a partition for OSX/unix. Will be interesting to see if the Acard raid will support this with 2 drives and same config.

I'll be back as soon as the card gets here!


09-18-2001, 04:46 PM

I am building 10 workstations with X15 Cheetahs for work and was planning on just running the OS and applications off the internal that comes with the new Dual 800's. The idea of running the OS and Applications off of a bootable raid is just wild. Do you have any idea how much faster real world processing will be running off a raid? Some time ago we did some tests with serving up Adobe Photoshop from a ram disk and it really helped with certain tasks. I would think that a raid should help just ot to the same degree.

At home I will have to live with an ATA RAID, atleast with ram prices falling through the floor I can afford to put in gobs of ram.


[This message has been edited by FrozenTundra (edited 18 September 2001).]

09-18-2001, 07:30 PM

Sorry, I'll stay out of it and pass no bugs. k

09-18-2001, 10:13 PM
Come on Kaye, that's no fun, the warning, now that was fun. Giving someone the speed bug should come with disclosures and warranties or somethin'. Keep doin it Kaye, I for one am getting a kick out of it.

In answer to your question about real performance gains with ATA bootable striped drives, I HAVE NO IDEA.

Some of the others have tried the ATA66 raid card but we are in uncharted territory with Quicksilvers and ATA100 cards/drives. Not to mention that OS9.2 and OSX are new territory. Performance with ATA66 was never up to the abilities of SCSI, I am hoping that ATA100 proves to be a low cost alternative, however I am going to still go for a scsi/X15 Cheetah hotdog raid when I can afford the drives.

Until I see the actual bench results on ATA raid and run some real life comparison tests such as Photoshop filters, I am not going to count any of these chickens. Real life gains are seldom what we see in benchtests, I expect to see more degredation of real vs. bench performance with ATA drives than with SCSI drives. They just aren't as efficient as the scsi drives, just cheaper.

It will be fun to test. I will try to do a reasonably comprehensive test and will post this. It will be pretty cool to try something absolutly NEW. At least until tomorrow.


09-18-2001, 10:23 PM
If I special ordered a SilverBullet from Apple with multiple ATA drives would I just disconnect the the drives from the motherboard and hook them up to an ATA RAID card? VIA Guru granite cable of course. Would I be better off buying a Mac sans harddrive and buying the drives. If so whats the biggest and the fastest.
Put another way what is the X15 Cheetah equivalent in the ATA world?

BTW. I went to the doctor today.
He said this speed thing I caught is terminal. http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/eek.gif
There is no known cure.

[This message has been edited by FrozenTundra (edited 18 September 2001).]

09-18-2001, 11:13 PM
Can't see buyin' anythin' from Apple that you don't have to. The cost with Apples Build to Order is usually much higher than doing it yourself with aftermarket sellers and your skull sweat.

The only thing I bought extra was the GeForce3 card. I paid for that by dumping the superdrive for a combo, can't see a reason to record DVDs that play on my TV.

RAM will kill you at Apple prices, they unfortunatly have to have long term contracts for their ram and they will never reflect short term market changes(at least not the downward ones, hah ha)

I purchased with the 60gig IBM drive and was pleasantly surprised with 61.70 sustained read and 58.28 sustained write with 8mb benchtests (ATTO). With that I wasn't unhappy looking to raid that drive with a dupicate and see what happens. I just will wait until the ATA100 raid card comes out, I have never seen a good performance from current ATA66 cards.

I just did a prolonged search and didn't find any 10k ATA drives, I had thought there was one availiable but I couldn't find it. I did see that Maxtor is shipping ATA133 drives, these should be capable of a theoretical 133mb/sec rate. Again, we'll see. These drives are 5400 and 7200 rpm drives, X15 Cheetahs stomp them! Of course 10K Maxtor scsi drives kick butt on them too.

Hope that's of some help.


PS. Buy somethin' real fast, even if you don't need it, it will help with your symptoms.

[This message has been edited by ricks (edited 19 September 2001).]

09-19-2001, 08:26 AM
You make a good point about Apple build to order pricing. As the market price of ram drops it just doesn't pay to buy anything more than you have to from them. I wish Apple would let you buy a bare box, then you could add your own drives and ram. Way back when we were able to do that through our vendor. Now they insist on providing ram, video cards and harddrives.

BTW just a little tidbit for the speed junky in you. astheAppleturns.com is reporting that G5's are being targeted for the January Macworld Expo. http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/dance.gif


09-19-2001, 02:13 PM
Rub it in will ya. I just bought a new 867 and your talking 1.7g. OUCH.

The old axiom is still true; It's never the right time to buy a computer.

I have been hearing the 1.7 gig rumblings for a couple months, hope XLR8 comes out with upgrades for our G4s, not likely the way Apple's gone disposable. However I sent mail to XLR8 before purchasing the quicksilver and here's their response;


XLR8 is looking into developing an upgrade for the Sawtooth G4 motherboard.
Since we have developed upgrades for almost everything else it seems the
next logical step. Currently we are only selling the upgrade for the Yikes
motherboard. From what I can gather, we are looking to the last half of 2001
before we would have anything for that market.

Thank you for the kind words. If I may be of further assistance please do
not hesitate to contact me. I will be happy to help.

Thank you,

Don Berry
XLR8 Technical Support

I thought the response was very positive.

Speed is it's own reward.

09-19-2001, 05:01 PM
I am still going forward with our upgrades. G5's are still a long way off and at the speed Motorola gets things done.....
Although the report is that the G5 is strategic to Apple's future. That actually seems like an obvious statement. Bottom line I have outdated machines and just can't afford to wait.

There is always something else out on the horizon. WAITING around for something faster to come along.......? What kind of real speed junky is going to WAIT.


09-19-2001, 08:38 PM
You got that right!!!!!! I didn't wait. My biggest problem in the past has been not being able to resist upgrading piece by piece by piece until I could have bought two new machines between every one I currently purchase.

I am a firm believer in purchasing your new system immediatly after release though, it has the highest and longest value then. If you wait a few months then you risk having your purchase be reduced the very next week to the minimum cost as we saw with the last speed bump and the 733 going from 3000 to 1700 in one day.

My wifes going to kill me one day. The day I got my new 867, before I ever plugged it in, I installed an ATTO UL3D, 2 Cheetahs(old ones) an extra gig of ram and a sound blaster. Luckily it started up. Someday I'll come to a bad end.