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Thread: Tiger Install Stalls, MDD, Acard 6880M, Mirrored Drives

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    Default Tiger Install Stalls, MDD, Acard 6880M, Mirrored Drives

    I've been banging my head against this one all week.

    Every time I try to install Tiger (retail DVD) to a mirrored volume on an Acard 6880M, the installation stalls at some point -- it's a different point every time. After some tens of minutes, maybe an hour, a message appears "Please try to install again" or something similarly terse, and the machine is locked up. Neither the menu items, nor the "go back" button work. I must force power off.

    However, Tiger installs fine to Firewire drives, or drives attached to the buit-in busses. So I think it's an Acard issue, but I don't see anything in their FAQs indicating that there is a problem, and Google searching on 6880M and Tiger hasn't turned up the spate of comments one would expect to find, if there were a problem. I sent their support an email, but I don't have high hopes because it's a product they don't market any more.

    I think, perhaps, I should test the mirrored volume. Is there a utility which will transfer gigabytes of data on and off the drive and report if there are any CRC errors in the process? The drive seems to be fine, and Disk Utility gives it a clean bill, but it's the only thing I can think left for me to check. Could be a cable integrity issue or some such.

    I have a single CPU 1.25 GHz MDD here with 1.5 GB of RAM. It never gave us any trouble until one of the Maxtor 250 GB drives died (a slow death with lots of time to backup, yay!).

    First I installed the 6880M with no drives, and updated the firmware to 2.45 (latest).

    I attached a pair of Seagate 400 GB drives as masters, installed the latest Acard drivers and used Disk Utlities Restore function to clone the machine's old 80 GB Leopard drive to the 400 GB mirrored volume. Now one hiccup I had after that was that when I selected the new mirrored volume in Startup Disk, it still booted from the original drive, but I removed the original drive and everything seemed okay. I mention it only for completeness.

    Then I installed a new pair of Maxtor 250 GB (6L250R0) drives as slaves and used the Tiger install DVD to try to install Tiger. However, every time I do, the install process stalls at some point. At first it was usually during "installing Essentials"; 22%, 73%, 66% were various places it stalled. But later it made it further, to print drivers, or languages, just to taunt me and suggest that this time it might work all the way through.

    I've tried replacing one of the cables (don't have a spare for the other cable handy), switching the Acard back to Regular/non-RAID mode and initializing the drives individually, then back to RAID mode, repeatedly installed the Acard Driver (seems to be a driver that actually goes on the disk, not in the OS), tried the install DVD in two different optical drives, and probably several things I've forgotten. Oh, yes, pulled the Acard and installed it in an OS9 machine to use the OS9 firmware update utility to confirm that the firmware really was updated.

    Finally, late late last night (or early this morning) I hooked up a Firewire drive, installed Tiger to that, then used Disk Utility's Restore function to clone the Firewire drive to the Maxtor mirrored volume. That will probably work, but darn-it, the Tiger DVD install should work.

    Any ideas? Or just funny comments. I'd settle for a laugh at this point.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Austin, TX
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    Default

    Replying to myself....

    I didn't have high hopes for a reply from Acard, but there was a message from them in my In box this morning. Kudos to them for supporting a product even after it's no longer being marketed!

    The suggestion was to try disconnecting the Master array and then install Tiger. I'll give it a try. Seems a little kludgy, and who knows if it will work, but it's an interesting suggestion. And I'm tickled pink they responded.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Grangeville, ID USA
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    I am also amazed. I dropped into their offices in Santa Clara, years and years ago. I had written a photoshop magazine article about their card and using it to accelerate a beige Mac doing scan edits. That card was a wonder at the time, a game changer. Cheap and effective. Acard maintained an office in Santa Clara at the time and welcomed me with a tour and a lot of inside info. From the Mac community you wouldn't know they even existed any more. Glad to hear they still care to answer even on old way past end of life equipment.

    R
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  4. #4
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    This weekend I tried Acard Support's advice and it worked. Imagine that! And when I emailed to thank them, I received a nice "you're welcome" note in return. My experience has been that they're a first class outfit. It's too bad they're not marketing much in the way of Mac products any more.

    So the (a?) solution to the Tiger install problem was to temporarily disconnect the two Master drives from the 6880M and then run the installer.

    The difference was pronounced. I didn't realize it before but not only was the installer eventually stalling, but it was also running very slowly. With the Master array disconnected, Tiger installed to the Slave array lickety split. After I reconnected the Master array everything appeared to work fine.

    And the whole reason behind this exercise?... When I boot into OS9, my mirrored volumes are still mirrored and usable. As far as I know, the Acard 6880M is the only RAID solution with that feature-- RAID volumes accessible in both OS9 and OSX. Admittedly, an ever less relevant feature, but I still have a lot of software in OS9, that I just can't see spending a bunch of money to replace.

    I'm going to run some disk performance tests but I do not perceive any performance issues. After the gymnastics it took to install, I want to confirm that the arrays aren't running slowly or having integrity issues.

    I'm happy the whole thing can be made to work. I'm a little disappointed that there's some kind of bug in their implementation that causes this problem in the first place. Sigh. Few things seem to work perfectly.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Pretty neat. Thanks for the report back.

    There was another mirrored RAID device out that would allow this same type of functionality. I don't recall the name on it, but it went inline between the host port and the drive and split the signal to a pair of drive. The computer could not even tell that the drives were a mirror pair except using a utility. The Acard/Siig cards are simpler and worked well.

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

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