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Has anyone found a way to get port multiplier support under 10.6?


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Hi all,


I've been searching all around these forums with little success so was hoping somebody may be able to provide me with a straight answer. I have an external 2-drive enclosure which is set up as a 4TB BIG array (span/concatenated). The enclosure has both esata and USB2 ports, and I successfully formatted the array and shifted a ton of data over on the USB2 port. The problem is that USB2 is just going to be too slow for my needs, and the SATA ports on my motherboard don't support the port multiplier which is necessary to access the external drives.


I bought a pcie eSata card from Startech which *claimed* to be Mac compatible, but most certainly wasn't, and I managed to hose my 10.5.8 installation trying to get it to work. Now that I am forced to reinstall OS X I have decided to use this as an excuse to upgrade to 10.6, and I have a 120GB OCZ Vertex 2E arriving tomorrow on which I plan to install the OS (using one of the GA-EP45-UD3R's standard SATA connectors).


However, I really want to get to the bottom of this esata issue. Surely there must be a port-multiplier-compatible card out there that works on a Hackintosh? Every time I think I've found the ideal card (last candidate was a Highpoint Rocketraid 622), I read elsewhere about other issues.


If anybody has successfully accomplished what I am trying to do, I would be ENORMOUSLY grateful for your advice. It seems like it *ought* to be a relatively trivial procedure to be able to connect an external RAID enclosure to a system, but it's been getting the best of me for almost 2 weeks now, and I don't have much hair left to pull out!


Thanks in advance to anybody who can make any suggestions!

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  • 1 month later...

On a related note -- and since I can't start new topics -- does anyone have any opinions on reliability and speed when it comes to building an internal vs external RAID? Now that my first Hackintosh is up and running -- thanks to this forum! -- the next step is building a RAID for video editing. Planning on getting 4 1TB drives and going RAID 5. At this point the question is whether I use this internal card (ARECA 1210) or this external enclosure (OWC 4-drive Mercury Pro).


I was thinking the internal solution would be faster, but if you look at the benchmarks tab for the 4TB OWC enclosure, they're pushing 240MB/sec + for both read and write. Meanwhile BareboneNet is getting 270MB/sec using the Areca card, but that's with 10,000 RPM drives. So I assume they're basically a wash when it comes to speed, which leaves me with this question:


Would the internal solution be more reliable? I like the idea of portability for the external, but I have had external arrays (cheap ones) fail on me in the past. Any insights? If I get the external array, would that work fine with my existing eSATA ports or would I need a card, too? Thanks!

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As for the reliability, either would be just as reliable as the next as long as you buy quality hardware; your results may be different if you decide to go with a cheap external solution. Speed wise, again it all depends on what you buy. From a technical standpoint if you use equal components and equal connecting technologies (ie.. firewire, sata, fibre, etc..) the speeds should equal. From my 16TB external raid array I consistently push 350MB+ simultaneous read/write speeds. Being external has nothing to do with failure or speed; its all in components and connectivity. As for whether you need another card or not, well thats all depending on what you end up doing. With an internal raid, you could use Apple's software RAID if you really wanted to (not that I would recommended that as the best option though). But if you end up with an enclosure like anaemik's then you will need a card.




Did you ever find a compatible card and have success?

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  • 2 months later...
  • 3 months later...

Most of the cards I have seen with FIS support (where I know for sure it works) have Marvell or Silicon Image chipsets.


A bunch of highpoint rocketraid cards have FIS support, but those aren't the hardware stuff with an IOP, mostly driver assist hardware assist or whatever marketing mumbo jumbo they are calling it.

highpoint tech


The SIL3124 for PCI/PCIe cards seems to have FIS support, if I recall there are other sil chipsets that do as well.


sonnet has a bunch of 'pro' line pci, pcie and expresscard devices which are fairly expensive but also have FIS support; the few I have messed with from sonnet seem to have marvell chipsets and come with custom sonnet drivers. the few I have used work very well. I run 2 4 port multipliers off of a sonnet pro express34 sata card. I recall seeing some adaptec cards with the same chip, and a handful under other brand names that explicitly had FIS support.


Last I checked sonnet cards presently are working fine when booting 64 bit with the current drivers.


There seems to be a significant difference in performance between various cards / mobos with some of this stuff. I was getting 110-120 mb/sec off the expresscard via adapter on a i7 rig, ~90 on a intel core2 system and ~100 on a core2 nvidia mobo. The SIL3124 card mirrored these performance differences but was always about 5-10 mb/sec slower on the same systems.

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