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I have a 2009 Mac Pro that I'd like to add a hardware RAID card to. I am running VMware ESXi with various OSes running as VMs. The Apple RAID card is not what I'm looking for.

I would also like to utilize the 4 hard drive bays and get 6G speeds. I have run into a few potential solutions, but have not been impressed. Anyone found a good solution?

  • Have you looked at this page? It seems that the HighPoint RocketRAID would be a decent choice but doesn't seem to be available as a new item from the manufacturer any more. – JakeGould Feb 9 '15 at 6:23
  • Also, check this out. – JakeGould Feb 9 '15 at 6:39
  • Thanks for the options! I have an inquiry out to the NewerTech card to see if they will work with ESXi. – E3L_1 Feb 11 '15 at 1:50
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Have you looked this RAID cared benchmark page from 2009? It seems that the HighPoint RocketRAID would be a decent choice but doesn't seem to be available as a new item from the manufacturer any more:

Not knowing there was a workaround, HighPoint removed the RocketRAID 4320, 3520, 3510, and 2680 from the Mac Pro product list on their website. We're hoping to persuade HighPoint to put them back on the product list now that MaxUpgrades has a solution.

A quick check on eBay shows the 4320 RAID card, 3520 RAID card, 3510 RAID card and the 2680 RAID card are still available as a used/refurbished item.

But if buying used/refurbished equipment is not for you, one thing that seems promising and is currently available and in production is the MAXPower RAID mini-SAS 6G-1e1i from Other World Computing. The description seems to be exactly what you are looking for:

Eliminate the SATA drive bus speed limit! Adding the MAXPower RAID mini-SAS 6G-1e1i to your Mac or PC provides a SAS/SATA 6G (6.0Gb/s) drive bus with up to twice the data transfer speed, regardless of your computer's built-in SATA 3G (3.0Gb/s) data bus. Utilizing the MAXPower's RAID processor, you can maximize your total performance up to 4800MB/s in RAID 0 mode or achieve the perfect balance of performance and protection in RAID 5 mode.

This feature-rich, high-value mass storage controller card is an ideal solution for those working with multiple high-speed HD video streams and/or anyone seeking high performance daily IT operation and back-up for an SMB. With mini-SAS, there's no loss of throughput as it provides full data transfer of four drives through one connection.

  • Thank you sir. my only hesitation right now is whether this will work with ESXi. It's not on VMware's list of supported devices and I haven't heard back from NewerTech yet. The other downside is it looks like you have to buy another rig to allow you to use the drivebays. One turns the drives around so they're not connecting to the backplane and another is just another card. Both of them $128. heh. I'm seriously reconsidering the mac pro as my esxi box given this and other limitations i've run into. Off topic, but video card pass throughs have been quite a problem with this box also. – E3L_1 Feb 12 '15 at 3:19
  • @tinf0il55 Fair enough. The ESXi requirement is really specific, but hey. I do think the question of repurposing aging Macs, alternative RAID cards and such are worth keeping here as reference. – JakeGould Feb 12 '15 at 3:49

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