View Full Version : General RAID Questions.

05-20-2002, 10:07 AM
Hey guys,

First of all let apologize for this long post but if you guys will just take your time reading it and respond as you can I will be patient for your answers. I have been seriously considering a RAID setup in my QS 867 for a while now and in fact I am planning on getting the card and second drive probably as soon as I get some feedback from these forums. I am cosidering the Acard ATA 100/133 Hardware RAID card running two 40GB Seagate Barracuda IV drives.

I currently use 9.2.2 only. I do not use OS X at all. So my first question is, will this be OK with the current hardware RAID cards/drivers out there right now or is everything in the ATA 100/133 range geared for OS X?

Secondly, would I use Apple's drivers or does say the Acard Hardware RAID card come with drivers?

Third, I do all graphics work, i.e Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Quark, etc. You guys know all those programs, so I figured I would really benefit from RAID when saving files as they get up to a couple of GB sometimes. Is my logic correct that RAID will really help with saving large file times?

Fourth, will RAID help with over all system performance or will I pretty much only see the benefits when reading/writing larger files?

And lastly I just wanted to what some of the drawbacks may be for doing this kind of setup in a QS G4? Lock-ups, errors, hardware not recognized correctly? Anything like this or is it pretty much smooth sailing? Thanks so much for any help you can offer. I always like to be as informed as possible from real users and not sales reps still in high school.

05-20-2002, 04:45 PM
Hey b-l

You had to listen to me wax lyrical about RAIDs and graphics acceleration more than once so I was hoping someone else would jump in with "The Word". We'll have to ask kaye to weigh in on this also, he, like me, has more than one of the Acard Hardware RAIDs in his machines.

If you get to looking around at the different brands the Acard is selling under (Sonnet, Miglia and Siig) you'll find that each of them puts their own cables and manual together. I can only speak for the Acard and Siig.

Acard supplies PVC cables that work just fine, a bit bulky but no real complaints. Acards manual is not written very well.

Siig gives you a decent manual and great TPO cables. I don't know that you could buy a better cable at least appearance wise than these. Performance is identical to the Acard w/PVC so don't put a whole lot of weight to that. The TPO cables are a whole bunch easier to route being less bulky. Siigs manual is almost satisfactory.

I saw a picture of the Sonnet card and it appears to have a few minor differences, I have no idea what that means in performance, if anything. From what I heard their tech support may be better than Siig or Acard also. The Gurus are going to start carrying the Miglia if they haven't already. That'll be great.

When it comes to graphics acceleration you always get what you pay for. I say it that way since a SCSI RAID will flat kick butt on a IDE RAID.

IDE is inexpensive. So much so that it's crazy not to do it. 4 to 5 hundred will give you 160 plus gig of storage at almost 100MB/sec. That's it though. You can make it bigger, you can't make it faster.

SCSI costs whatever you're of a mind to go into hock for. You can make scsi as big or as fast as you can afford. An ATTO host card and two Cheetahs will give a bunch more performance than an ATA133 RAID can, and SCSI is expandable (speed and size) by adding more drives.

ATA133 Hardware RAID cards do not care at all whether you are in OSX or OS9. Absolutely no difference. There are some performance advantages to using different drivers, the RAID database has listings for several and the performance we got from them. I just use OSX Drive Utility as being the least trouble and close to max in performance.

You will see some significant improvement in time spent waiting for a progress bar in Photoshop. Boot times are less and opening large files shows a definite improvement. I did some Photoshop file opening tests back when I wrote up a review on the Acard, I'll have to see where the notes are. I think I was getting around a 30% cut in times opening a 500MB photo from the RAID. I wasn't getting quite that improvement on the B&W, the Quicksilver was where I saw 30%.

Hope that helps some. Glad to see you playing here on the Gurus forum, you are always welcome.


http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/batlogo.gif Batsignal invoked to kaye!

05-20-2002, 11:48 PM

My Acard 6880M (the M is for Mac version) HardRAID card is in my G4-800DP. My Acard came with TPO cables and a manual that is a very rough translation but the important stuff is pretty plain to read. I have two IBM 40GB ATA/100 120GXP drives attached in HardRAID. I mainly boot off of this setup whether OS9 or OS10. No complaints and no problems so far with this setup. It is fast tho in OS9, the startup init parade has four major slowdowns - Apple CD/DVD init while it looks for the SuperDrive, Iomega Driver while it looks for my Zip 250. Toast init while it looks for everything, and CD/DVD SpeedTools while it looks for my two external SCSI CD-ROM drives. Still it is faster in OS9 than my original boot drive, an 80GB Western Digital. OS10 is faster than OS9, I guess because I have dual processor.

No drivers necessary. Apple's Drive Setup in OS9 or Drive Utility in OS10 which has a checkbox for loading an OS9 driver as well as the OS10 driver.

I think that nearly everything is faster with the faster drive performance compared especially to running off of my original Macintosh HD, certainly Photoshop and Illustrator.

I would say smooth sailing or plug-n-play. If you get it and have questions, yell. k

05-22-2002, 05:52 AM

I've been following this thread because I have been thinking about at least getting the card right now and hooking up my 60 and 40 gb drives... then maybe getting another 60 down the road and trying a RAID.

So here's a follow-up question on the various cards: why is there such a price difference between the four cards (Sonnet and Miglia are 200 bucks, Acard is 170 bucks and the SIIG card is 140 bucks)? Your previous post indicates they are all Acards, just rebranded by the others.

Do Sonnet and Miglia somehow program these cards to have additional features, provide you with better cables or provide you with additional software to make them 60 bucks more than the SIIG?

How is the SIIG card cheaper than the company from which they buy the cards (Acard)?




05-22-2002, 10:45 AM
Hey Anthony,

I don't think there's a lick of difference between them at all. I haven't actually seen a Miglia or a Sonnet card except in pictures. Th Sonnet had a couple differences, I have no idea what that means.

The Gurus is going to add the Miglia to their pages, I just called and will get a price later today. At least from the Gurus you'll get a little after sale support.


05-22-2002, 12:54 PM
If prices are close, I generally try to buy from the Gurus (even if they are 10 or 20 bucks more). I figure if I spend a couple of extra bucks buying from Gurus that is more than made up for the fact that I can usually get an answer within minutes here on the Forums. Beyond that, if I have to call them, everybody at the Gurus has more than two or three clues as to what they are doing. http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/kickass.gif That can't be said about most customer or even bona fide tech support.

Still it is hard to justify spending 200 bucks on a Sonnett or Miglia when a SIIG is apparently the exact same card for 60 bucks less. There must be some difference... maybe the Gurus can indicate any differences on the Miglia page when they post it?