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SATA III With Mac Pro 2008

7924 Views 35 Replies Latest reply: Feb 21, 2014 8:20 AM by YOMOON RSS
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Daz1761 Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Nov 28, 2012 11:34 AM



I have been scouring the internet for a few hours trying to pin point an answer for my question, but sadly Its not clear wether this can be done.


I have a Mac Pro 3,1 Early 2008 x2 2.8ghz and I am about to purchase an ssd and was wondering if I can get SATA III running Lion 10.7.5 as a bootable drive.


I am aware of the OCS Mercury Accelsior but sadly too expensive.  The only options I have discovered which may work is this:


The PEXSAT32 2 port SATA 6gbps PCI Express internal controller card: bps-PCI-Express-SATA-Controller-Card~PEXSAT32


Just to test, I downloaded the driver for this card as it said 10.6/10.7, but the driver was Windows only.  So does this mean Mac OS X recognises Startech cards natively?  If so, could I install this card, screw a ssd 2.5" bracket on one of the hard drive bays and have Mac OS X Lion 10.7.5 as a bootable drive?


There is another card I've found by Sonnet, the tempo SATA 6GB/s and that says its bootable, but its an external eSATA version which means having bootable hard drives in external caddies which would be a bit messy.


Any help will be much appreciated :-)


Many thanks

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (221,010 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 28, 2012 11:41 AM (in response to Daz1761)

    The bus in that model supports up to SATA II 3.0 Gb/s drives. This is independent of the OS version as it's a hardware limitation.


    PCIe cards will require drivers.


    Get a SATA II SSD. The rest of the stuff is not worth the cost for such an old model MP.

  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,535 points)
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    Nov 28, 2012 11:55 AM (in response to Daz1761)

    The other thing about 2008's and their PCIe and EFI, is that they have more trouble with 3rd party SATA and _bootable_ controllers.


    There is a nice $99 SATA III Marvel based but they will only certify using in 2009 and later models.

    CalDigit has lately been popular go-to card with support, but again, maybe not in yours.


    there are / is more extensive consolidation on MacRumors forums where they try to keep a topic to one thread one subject such as this.


    I woudl not buy what would be a 2-year old technology drive as far as SSD SATA II. I would buy current technology. I would also make sure it has latest firmware. Crucial m4 were not, they now are shipping with current firmware - why it takes months but it seems to take take that long for cleaning out inventory and stock.


    Or spend less and get near SSD, not the 0.01 ms seeks, but good solid 180MB/sec r/w you cna get out of WD 10K VR (250GB $104). And forget all the SSD stuff and make sure to have 2nd drive for media data libraries and not use system boot drive.

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (221,010 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 28, 2012 11:56 AM (in response to Daz1761)

    I don't know about using a PCIe slot card. You would need to ask the manufacturer. You would probably need to use the PCIe 2.0 slot if you have one free, but I simply don't know if the bus is fast enough.

  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,535 points)
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    Nov 28, 2012 12:00 PM (in response to Daz1761)

    He said not to use a card, not that a card won't deliver SATA 3 or 500MB/sec.


    Your Mac is also limited to 4 drives sharing a common 800MB/sec controller, fine for 4 standard traditional 7.2K drives but not ideal when you look at bleeding the best performance.


    Even your 4x slots are plenty for the SATA 3 and a couple SSDs. They support 8x SAS/SATA controllers and the good higher end units, but cost $600 range. Why wouldn't it?


    But the PCIe bus seems to be buggy.


    Also, a LOT of people are unhappy with ML or Lion on 2008 and have gone back to 10.6.8: more stable and relilable and don't have the power issues they experieince otherwise.

  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,535 points)
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    Nov 28, 2012 12:43 PM (in response to Daz1761)


  • leomonkeyhanger Calculating status...
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    Feb 23, 2013 11:45 PM (in response to Daz1761)

    Thanks to you gentlemen/women on here for the advice.


    I too have the same model and year Mac Pro and was using a Crucial 128gig M4 SSD in bay 1 as a boot drive. Compared to the read/write speeds of the original Apple 350gig HDD (127/115MB/s) and the 1TB Back up HDD (132/132MB/s), it was returning 270/193MB/s. I presently can't afford a newer Mac Pro but even so, without SATA III I wouldn't get that much more performance and it's irrelivant as Apple have now stopped selling the Mac Pro in Europe, allegedly due to impending European legislation which would make them in their present format illegal. Personally I think it's because there's a new model due imminently and it's pointless spending millions on re-designing and re-tooling for something that will only last a couple of weeks.


    On advice from someone on another forum I installed a Velocity Solo X2 on my PCIe slot and straight away the read speed increased to 506MB/s but the write only to 199MB/s. Haven't figured that one out yet. But the performance was very impressive, applications open much faster. Also the SSD still backs up using timemachine to the back up HDD.


    I tried linking the 1TB HDD to the card using SATA III cables and the power from the second R/W disc drive but the speed didn't improve and so put it back in bay 4.


    I'm now seriously considering buying a second Crucial M4 and pairing the two SSDs in Raid 0 which should increase the read speed to 750-800MB/s region. So far there are no obvious problems but if any do occur I'll keep you posted.

  • Daniele_M Calculating status...
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    May 22, 2013 9:03 AM (in response to Daz1761)

    Hi leomonkeyhanger,


    I am upgrading my 2008 Mac Pro 3,1 to SSD and I am very tempted to go with the Velocity x2 to make use of the SATA III.


    When I try to buy a Velocity Solo X2 in the UK, what seems the only re-seller carries this disclaimer at the bottom of the product page:


    "The 2008 Mac Pro 3,1 is EFI64 but does not boot reliably, and therefore is not supported. "


    You seem to be the living proof that this is no longer the case, is it something that got resolved with firmware update or running newer OSX ?


    Few months down the line, are you still running 10.8.3 from your Velocity x 2 ?

    Anyone else had ppositive results with it ?


    thank you,



  • leomonkeyhanger Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    May 22, 2013 11:13 AM (in response to Daniele_M)

    Hello Daneile,


    Since my last posting I've replaced the Crucial 4 SSD with two Samsung 840 PRO Series 128 GB SSDs running in Raid 0 format giving me 255 GB storage. One SSD is rigid fixed to the Velocity Solo running on the PCI slot (make sure it's the 16 (I think) slot not the lower value 4 one). The second SSD is connected using a bog standard SATA II cable connected directly to the Velocity Solo board. Any SATA II/III cable will do, just £4.00 from PC world. If you're installing two or more SSDs in raid, the storage will only be to the doubled value of the smallest SSD so make sure they're of the same value and size. (ie) one 128 GB SSD and one 256 GB SSD will only give you a storage of 256 GB not 384GB


    I'm using the Raid as my start up drive and my 1TB Hard Drive as a back up. I also have the 350 GB Hard Drive as a second back up drive so if any of the 3 fail I have two others to back up. I've done this because in trying to clone the SSDs I errased my back up drives twice....numpty that I am.


    So as well as the drives, I've also installed a new 1TB ATI Radeon HD 5770 video card and am running it alongside the 250 meg original card. I'm now running 3 monitors(but have the ability to run 5). I'm also running the computer on 14 gig of RAM ( how you install the RAM dictates how fast it performs and unless your using multiple mega fast programs, your unlikely to use the amount of memory I have. Make sure that all slots are filled  or that the RAM is equally paired. For example 8 x 1 gig RAM (8 GB using all the slots) will work faster than 2  x 4GB RAM. It will even be quicker than more RAM if it's not balanced.


    I'm presently running on OS X 10.3.8.


    So the benefits. In RAID the start up times are the same as the HDD but using just a single drive halves that time (bare in mind your splitting the information between two drives). The RAID backs up every 10 minutes using Time Machine to the 1TB HDD and then every couple of months I change it to the 350 GB HDD for belt and braisers.


    But the speeds of read, write are blisteringly quick. Read speed is 700 MB/S and write speeds are 600 MB/S. with a single SSD it was 506/199 using the Crucial SSDs but the Samsung SSD should do it at  530/390.


    And finally the best bit. I'm saving money cause I use less power. As the SSDs are chips, they don't get hot and therefore don't need fans to cool them down. I've at least halved my power usage, probably more plus the room's a lott cooler in the summer as well.......OK, I'll conceed we haven't had a summer yet and with snow forecast tomorrow it's going to be a while, but I'm really chuffed with the performance.


    Now the down side. After spending nearly £700 upgrading the computer.....I've lost interest. Because there's no lag once you hit the key and the calculation is done instantly, it's taken the fun out of computing. A bit like riding a high powered motor bike and travelling 10 miles in 30 seconds. The pleasure of the ride is taking in the journey not just getting from A to B as quick as possible. If you're looking to save working time then it's a real benefit. If you're looking to enhance your experience, unless your a gamer, be prepared to have the fun taken out of it.



  • Daniele_M Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jul 5, 2013 8:29 AM (in response to Daz1761)

    Hi There,


    I went ahead and now running:


    • Velocity x 2 (SATA III)
    • Samsung 840 Pro 256gb SSD
    • 10.8.4


    So far booting from SSD drive with no issues.


  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,535 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 5, 2013 8:36 AM (in response to leomonkeyhanger)

    I assume you read and familiar with these threads on MacRumors -


    Adding 1TB of SATA3 SSD with Apricorn and Highpoint RAID to my 2009 MP




    Real world experiences with Sonnet Tempo Pro and 2 Samsung 840 Pro SSDs


  • Hamish B. Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 16, 2013 6:01 AM (in response to Daniele_M)

    How did you install Mac OS X on the SSD? I have tried doing the "Restore" process as per the Apricorn website, and can choose my SSD as the boot drive from System Prefs.


    However when I go to boot it brings up the utillity you get when trying to boot into restore mode.


    So no luck in installing and booting into Mac OS X 10.8.4 for me.


    The PCI card is in the second PCI slot next to the graphics card (upgraded to a Mac ATI 5770).




  • leomonkeyhanger Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 16, 2013 6:29 AM (in response to Hamish B.)



    from memory, bearing in mind I have altziemers...........What was I saying.......oh yes.


    Go to Finder > Application > Utilities > Disk Utilities


    Select Disk


    If you're using the SSD as a RAID then follow the RAID format for creating the RAID.


    If Not.


    Highlight the SSD ( the second one which is offset, not the main title)


    In the display go from left to right, First Aid, Erase, RAID, Restore and click on Restore.


    You should now have a list of HDD/ SSDs on the left and two drop menus on the right.


    For the Source drive left click on the HDD/SSD you want to copy from and drag and drop it into the first drop menu.


    For the Destination left click on the SSD you wish to create and drag and drop it into the second drop menu


    Click Restore and go and make a coffee. It should duplicate what you have on the HDD


    Once complete go to the Apple in the top left corner > System Preferences > Startup Disk and highlight the SSD as your start up disk. This should now boot up your computer when you restart and you should be running on the SSD.


    That is the way I've done mine. I hope it proves useful but please check to see it works with your setup before you lose any info you haven't backed up.






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