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 Out of the Woods


The super fast disk project: Part-3


Imagine that you're a bold explorer, and you've hacked your way through swamps, over mountains, past dangerous cliffs; proud of having fended off vicious animals and deadly insects.  At the moment of truth you break through the edge of the woods into a meadow and find a shopping mall full of soccer moms with Muzak wafting over the scene.


In the weeks that I've been waiting for my NewerTech MAXpower RAiD 1e1i (physically, the equivalent of the HighPoint RocketRAID 2721) to arrive, I've been doing a bit of reading. 


During my reading, I learned that the fine folks over at have already done almost all the benchmarking that I would ever attempt on this solution.  They have the methodology, software, charts, graphs and multiple checkpoints to affirm their measurements and insights. It's enough to make a guy hang up his hiking boots and throw his pith helmet in the decorative fountain at level-3 domestic goods in the mall!


They've proven that a 4-member RAID-0 group of SSD's (like the Crucial BX100's I bought) are capable of matching the 1600 Mbytes/sec performance ceiling of the Samsung SM951.  They've also shown that if I extend my RAID group to 6-members totaling 1.5 terabytes, that I'll be able to push past 2600 Mbytes/sec.  That will more than triple the speed of the new 2013 Mac Pro cylinder's internal flash drive.  That would be satisfying, but not nearly as satisfying as truly breaking new ground.


The best I can hope to offer is some industry and marketing insights.  My primary contribution to the world of fast RAID-0 solutions in 2012/2010 Mac Pro towers is packaging. Yes, packaging. In some respects, it's a reflection of the convergence of smartphone technology over the past three years. The package has morphed, while the functions are essentially the same.  In my case, the normal HighPoint RocketRAID 2721 will NOT allow the internal SFF-8087 port to be active in a Mac OS X operating system, but will allow it to work in a PC. That's a disaster for Bootcamp users like myself, and that's why I chose the NewerTech MAXpower; same hardware, more compatibility.


The NewerTech MAXpower allows both the internal and external SAS ports to be concurrently active. In the first phase of the implementation, I will be cobbling together an assembly that fits neatly onto a Mac Pro 3.5-inch internal HDD sled and holds four BX100 SSD's.  To extend past the four drives, the external SFF-8088 port will have to be used. 


The external plan revives an 1999-vintage MOTU Glyph/M-Project rack mount firewire chassis. i have two of them. I always thought they'd come in handy someday.  I'll be doing a bit of metal work and electronic trickery to enable them to function as an external SAS bay, each holding two SSD's and one spinning HDD.  That will be satisfying...not keep-the-pith-helmet satisfying, but enough to wrinkle the corners of my geek-of-the-month membership card.


When my mounting cage from China gets here, we'll put it all together and plant the flag.


Ted Gary of TedLand

- October 1, 2015 




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