View Full Version : Startup drive for striped RAID?

04-08-2002, 04:52 AM
I'm in the middle of setting up my first RAID http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I've installed an Adaptec 29160 and a pair of IBM 10K 36G SCSI drives, which I intend to stripe, on a G4 DP 533 . I understand you can't use a striped RAID as a startup volume, so is it better to:

a) add a third SCSI drive, say 18G Cheetah X15, as a startup/apps disk (if so how do I attach it to the 29160 - only two positions on the supplied LVD cable -do I just get a cable with an extra position and put all 3 drives on the same bus?) Perhaps I'd be better with a second card or a two-channel card.

b) use my existing IDE 60G IBM Deskstar 60GXP as a startup drive (although I feel that may negate any speed gains from the array)

c) partition some of the IBM SCSI array as a mirrored RAID for the startup disk - is this a good idea - (sounds messy)?

Although I do some Photoshop/Video work I'm really looking for general system acceleration.

Last question - are there any RAID drivers which will let you use the disk in both 9 and X?

In case you're wondering, I got the Adaptec because the other cards are pretty hard to find over here in the UK.

Grateful for any advice!


04-08-2002, 12:07 PM
Hey string,

Welcome to the forums. Sounds like fun hooking up your RAID. I have a couple of thoughts after reading your post.

I never like to have my system on a RAID volume. The extra little savings made up in startup times is to me not worth the risk of the problems that could come. I definately don't like the idea of having my OSX system on a RAID, housekeeping alone as the OS reads/writes constantly to disk and the inherent cpu use that comes with softwarte RAIDs would negate any speed gains. And again, the risks are higher than I want to take with my OS on an array.

Other than that, if you take proper backup precautions, there is little drawback to RAID0 striping for your data. Striping has the drawback of being the least secure method for storage, if you lose one drive you lose all your data, make sure you have a good backup plan.

Mirroring is purly a data protection method. It will cost you a VERY little bit of speed to write to 2 drives simultaneously and, of course, it will require 2 drives of equal size to mirror the data on. 2 40 gig drives will net you 40 gig of storage space.

I am waiting for SoftRAID for OSX to come out. I want the ability to make small 1 or 2 gig partitions on the very fastest outer tracks of my hard drives to RAID0 together for Photoshop scratch disks. This will accelerate PS better than anything else, and by letting PS 'own' the RAID volumes created I can optimize or even erase them frequently to keep them fast and clean.

At this time only ATTOs ExpressStripe for OSX allows crossover mounting between OSX and OS9. ATTO sells ExpressStripe for around $30 direct from attotech.com.

Target date for SoftRAID release is end of this month.

I'm using the IBM 60GXP on the ATA66 bus for my startup disk. I am also backing up my OS's to a hardware RAID0 pair of Barracudas that seems to work all right. Hardware RAID has no overhead for the cpu and seems to work good for OS storage as well as general fast data storage.

A third drive on your Adaptec bus would be fine too. I am not sure if the gains of having a fast Cheetah wouldn't be negated by having it share the same bus as the RAID array. Not even sure how to test that, too many variables.

I have no idea what we'll see when SoftRAID gets here. Hopefully crossover OS compatibility and RAIDing of partitions. Maybe even combination RAID0+1. That would really be the ticket. Next couple of weeks will tell.


04-08-2002, 04:58 PM
Just to chime in on the Sofraid situation for OSX which I've been following.

I went to their website recently and found a couple of interesting tidbits of info regarding the new version.

-Contrary to their original announcement of Softraid working in both systems, there will be different versions of Softraid for OSX/OS9:

Q: Will SoftRAID for Mac OS X also work with Mac OS 9?
No. There will separate versions of SoftRAID for OS 9 and OS X. The current version of SoftRAID works with OS 7.5 to OS 9.2.2.

-In terms of release date:

Q: When will there be a version of SoftRAID for Mac OS X?
The release of SoftRAID for Mac OS X is contingent upon updates on Apple's Mac OS X developer tools for low level drivers. With this in mind, we are estimating a release near the beginning of the 3rd quarter of 2002.

I think beginning of 3rd quarter differs from the orignal "end of March beginning of April at latest" which had been their answer up to the website revision.

Kinda disappointing on both counts.

04-08-2002, 05:58 PM
Thanks a bunch for the update Cliff. Bummer is highly desciptive of this situation!

Better to know what's in the works though. OSX has been a tough target for drivers, always moving around. I'll bet it's worth the wait though.

Thanks again,


04-08-2002, 06:42 PM
I was over browsing SoftRAID site yesterday. Even put a "tell me when this page changes" daily check. I didn't find anything. Weird.

I tried to create 3 stripe volumes with ExpressStripe but only got two. It kept unmounting everything making it hard to do. I expect Apple to improve their own. i'm also looking at Darwin 1.5.1 which should be OS X 10.2 for improvements.

I've got two X15's but the firmware is 0002 and 0004 and they weren't getting along - at all. At first I blamed ExpressStripe, then Apple RAID. Did a low level on the one that seemed to be having the most trouble. Even boot block errors and Disk First Aid reporting problems. Could different firmware be a freakout for RAID?

I was getting ready to buy another drive, either match my X15, go for 36GB, match my Atlas 10k III. Something. Waiting for SoftRAID X. Now I'll have to rethink. Sounds like it is harder, that documentation is still weak, and that BSD and other raid driver kits are no easy task.

The recent public "discussion" of InTech HDST 3.5 and Apple documentation on partition maps and missed communication etc makes me just plain jittery.


04-11-2002, 09:57 AM
I was thinking, like string, of going for a striped startup disk.

I know you don't recommend this Rick, but what if I put in an Acard, striped my 2 GXP60's, and put X on it? The rub is I want a separate scratch disk, so I figured I'd then put my oem 40 back in the case and use it as a dedicated scratch.....so the resulting setup would be: system, home, and apps on hardware raided ide stripe, image files on apple-raided 2x15k cheetah stripe, scratch disk on 40G ibm ide. A total of 3 ide drives and 2 scsi drives in case...I'd have to retrofit an additional 2-drive sled in there, but everybody's saying these 320 cheetahs run cool so why not stick an ide on top of one of them?
Is this stupid crazy and totally asking for trouble or what?

My setup right now is a comfortable 5 drive setup, no partitions, 9, X, Apps, Home, and docs on 7200rpm ide, second 7200rpm ide for scratch, all graphics on striped 15k cheetahs one volume, complete bootable second system and all docs backed up to firewire 40G.


04-11-2002, 10:57 AM

I don't see any reason that wouldn't work. Both Kaye and I have computers running the OS on Acard ATA133 RAIDs. My B&W has 3 IDE drives, 2 on the Acard. My QS has the Siig version with my backup OSX system on it.

Use OSX drive Utility to partition the Acard volume, Don't use SoftRAID, it may work but there are issues in OSX witth SoftRAID drivers.

You'll have a fast setup.


04-11-2002, 07:01 PM
Sounds good. Now I've got to investigate just what drive would go where in the box, and find a double drive sled...maybe even spring for another GXP60. I guess if was really so confident that heat were not an issue, I could put 3 double sleds on the bottom of the case. But I don't know what I'd do with all those ata's other than be the ide poster boy!

04-11-2002, 07:17 PM
Proline has the sleds http://store.yahoo.com/buyproline/g4twodbrac.html k

04-16-2002, 03:19 PM
Thanks Kaye.

04-18-2002, 09:14 AM
I noticed the Siig version of the controller card seems to be less expensive; are there other reasons I might want the Siig instead of the Acard? Also I noticed the instructions for installing and using the Acard are probably some translation (very poorly done). Kinda gives me the willies about Acard, but you folks have had no problems with either version, right?


04-18-2002, 10:50 AM

I don't think it matters which. The manual with the Siig was written well, and the cables are TPO while the cables with the Acard were PVC. Both seem to work just as well. The TPO cables are a little easier to handle, those PVC ones seem really big when you're trying to collapse things down to close the door on G4 cases.

All in all it should come down to price and vendor. Get a good vendor that will take care of you. Hopefully the Gurus will carry this card in the near future and we'll be able to say, buy it here.


04-18-2002, 11:36 AM
In thinking about my possible configuration, this is so far what makes sense to me: leave the 2 GXP60's in their current position stacked in 3, install 2 more ( the prices for the 40G's have come down!) by first putting double-drive sleds in bays 1 and 2, then putting cheetahs back in same bottom positions (or should they go on top?) with the new ide drives occupying the top positions in bays 1 and 2...
Install startup on raid0 run by card controller (ide drives in bays 1 and 2), for a scratch disk make an apple raid0 out of the 2 drives in bay 3 run from mobo ide controller, maintain apple raid0 on the cheetahs for my 'easel'..
3 stripes in the same box! (backups every 2 seconds!)

Actually, I'd better check to see if I can put a double sled in position 1-


[This message has been edited by gmidd (edited 18 April 2002).]

04-19-2002, 12:40 PM
Well I looked in the box. Drive bay #1 looks like it might just barely accomodate a 2-drive sled, though actually installing it could be very problematic: a sheetmetal housing covering the speaker and power/restart switch assemblies is potruding just above the drive bay. It appears to be removable, but I wonder, is this housing mandatory to shield what's behind it from heat, or perhaps it shields the drives from magnetic disturbance? (just guessing here). Any opinions on if I could get away with permanantly removing this item? A 2-drive bay could more easily be installed that way.
Another possible alternative to fit 6 drives inside the QS would be to put a 3-drive sled in position 2 (the middle); that is if such a sled is even available and this would truly be placing faith in the drives not overheating each other. It certainly would be an easier install than three 2-drive bays...


04-19-2002, 02:07 PM
Probably just as easy to make a generic mount work and install the last drive either under the zip mount, in place of the zip mount or on top of the CD-whatever mount.

I bet the cover is just protecting both wires and delicate speaker stuff from abuse while drive installations are being done. That's purely conjecture though, no taking that to the bank.

I would never stack Cheetahs on anything without serious cooling considerations. Even new Cheetahs are as hot as their namesake animals. I have never heard it said, from people I respect, that this should be done. I have stacked the much cooler running AtlasIIIs in my QS, but only while doing testing, they now reside in a Burly with coolers attached. No use taking chances.

Nice thing with scsi anyway, they can be put in an external enclosure with out any loss in performance.


[This message has been edited by ricks (edited 19 April 2002).]

04-19-2002, 03:10 PM
Yah, it seems like the smart move here would be to leave the bottom bays as is and do the mounts above the cdrw and maybe in the zip bay...no sense in risking the cheetahs.
I put an ide drive in the zip bay of my daughter's yose a while back. The QS zip bay seems smaller though; I'll have to check that out. Looks like Proline has a sweet mount for top of cdrw..
Thanks for the feedback, Rick.

04-19-2002, 03:22 PM
I think I'd double up the ATA drives in the middle and rear bays with a second stackable. Then the first Cheetah can go safely in the front bay and then a proline kit for the last one. An extra fan replacing the speaker might be a cool hack. (pun haha) I am not sure if you'd need more air, that needs thought though.


04-19-2002, 08:13 PM
Now that's an idea that didn't occur to me at all.
Um, is it permissible to mount a drive upside down? Maybe I could bolt a single sled to the bottom of the cdrw 'box', but it would be upside down. ...Or is that a strict no-no? I'm thinking if I try to put one of the cheetahs up top, either on top of the cdrw or in the zip bay (not even sure it would fit) then I'd need a new custom length granite cable...
This is looking like a possible custom -fabricated sled/carrier in order to give that second cheetah- as per your suggestion- adequate air circulation.

Or! maybe the drive would mount upside down up in a single sled with the sled mounted upside down under the cdrw box, leaving the drive right side up! Perhaps with little or no mods-
I'm going to have look at these parts closely.
'Scuse the thinking outloud!

04-29-2002, 08:23 AM
I decided its not worth it to stuff more heat in this box...just too many issues: no way no how I'm stickin a cheetah up on that little cubby shelf...a burly would be the way to go, but I think I basically have what I need now: startup on a cheetah (call me heretic), docs on a cheetah, an apple-stripe of 2 IDE's for a scratch disk....Very peppy computer this way!

I figure I'll save my dough for the G5 Quad 2Ghz http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

05-01-2002, 12:08 AM
I did go ahead an order the Siig- that'll give me a variety of config options for the four internal drives...

Hopefully, pretty soon I'll settle down and find and stick with the optimum all around setup for my hardware and my graphics oriented work!

I've found the apple-stripe off the built-in IDE bus pretty slow- likewise an applestripe of the cheetahs. No way to really accurately test it yet, not sure I quite believe Quickbench's numbers (or perhaps I don't quite understand why they're different from ATTO).

The Siig 'll boost things though..
SoftRAID X Please.

05-01-2002, 01:29 PM
I'll second the SoftRAIDX motion...All in favor.... Eye's have it.

Rick http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/tongue.gif

05-03-2002, 03:10 AM
Installed the Siig...

Ran a few tests prior to installation though:

G4QS733 ATTO UL3S, 2 x ST318452LW 18G Seagate Cheetahs 15000rpm SCSI
2 x IBM 60GXP 40G 7200rpm ATA on mobo bus

All tests conducted with ATTO Express Pro Tools 2.6
8mb transfer, sample size 2 system disk cache off. All drives hfs+

IBM ATA's with Apple driver 3.2.8:
PR 61.21 (mb/s)
SR 39.43
PW 54.35
SW 33.20

IBM ATA's with HDST 3.5 driver:
PR 38.42
SR 37.12
PW 41.93
SW 39.62

Seagate (non-striped, 1 volume) SoftRAID 2.4.2 driver
PR 82.11
SR 56.93
PW 65.22
SW 58.67

Then I installed the Siig Ultra ATA/133 RAID Controller pci card (Acard, 6880M) using both channels, both IBM ATA's set to 'master'. I initialized each drive and measured:

IBM ATA's from pci bus:
PR 95.48
SR 39.32
PW 75.13
SW 31.05

Shut down and set the dip switch to RAID0. Rebooted and initialized the drive and made 1 volume:

2 IBM 7200rpm ATA's as 1 volume hardware RAID0 from pci bus:
PR 122.17
SR 74.22
PW 108.61
SW 73.56

Can't wait to get those cheetahs striped (no thank you apple-raid) http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/cool.gif

05-03-2002, 11:26 AM

Great numbers on the Siig!!

Since you're doing all this cool testing...

Anything you want included in the Data Base could you shoot screen shots of the benchtest windows? If you send them to me with a descipt of each setup I'll stick them in the DB.

Also, run a MacBench of each setup and record the disk and Pub disk for each setup. If you don't have a copy it is available from the gurus ftp site.

Thanks, email me your questions, flames or best of all, your results.


05-03-2002, 12:59 PM
Sure, give me a few days to get that together...


05-13-2002, 09:56 AM
Well I've got this G4 case pretty well stuffed at this point. No smoke coming out of it yet!
2 IDE 60GXP in #3 on Siig hardraid, X15's in #1 and #2 on UL3S, 1 IDE 75GXP on cdrw shelf on 66Mhz bus (that is a beautiful drive, very fast).
In my ignorance, I first tried to hook up the third IDE off the cdrom cable. Boy, was that slow- 10mb r/w...I didn't raelize that was a slow bus. In any event, I ended up using one of the Siig-supplied cables for the shelf-mounted drive and the OEM cable for one of the hard-raided drives. I was concerned about the cable mismatch, but there doesn't seem to be a problem.


05-13-2002, 11:27 AM
Hey George,

You got stock holdings in Seagate? At least no one can steal your G4, it weighs too much to carry. http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/tongue.gif

I got your latest numbers, I'll add them to the DB this week.


05-14-2002, 09:40 PM
It's like it has bricks in it or something.

Kaye's the Seagate shareholder!