9 Replies Latest reply: Feb 15, 2012 4:28 PM by Vincenzo Baldacchino
Vincenzo Baldacchino Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

Hello All,


I have two failing drives in my early Mac Pro 2008 and its time to find some replacements. The drives I need to replace are 1TB in size but I was looking to get something larger being 1.5TB. I read on a site that this version of Mac Pro supports a maximum of 4TB accross all the four bays which would essentially mean a maximum of 1TB for each Bay. Here is the link to the site: http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/mac_pro/faq/mac-pro-how-to-upgrade-hard-dr ives-what-type-supported.html


Question I have, is whether its safe to add two 1.5TB drives (I also have a 640GB for the boot and 500GB additional data drive) or should I stick with 1TB drives? Also, is there any advantage in going beyond the 3Gb/s Serial ATA spec as I would suspect the faster drives would not be utilized to their capacity given the older data path in this machine.


Any help/advice would be appreciated and thanks in advance!




Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6 (14,215 points)

    You can put any make and any size 3.5" drive in all the bays in any combination.  Also SATA 3's will work but of course at not their full maximum speed as you mentioned so SATA 2's are OK.


    As an example, if you got 4 3TB's you could stuff them in there for a max of 12TB.  Bit of overkill unless you really need all that space!


    Personally I like Western Digital 1TB and 2TB blacks.


    You might also want to consider using an SSD as your boot drive.


    Update: I took a look at that site you linked.  That 4TB limit is the max any one drive bay can support, not the total capacity across all 4 bays.

  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (60,880 points)

    Any site saying there is a limit should do the right thing: take that down, edit, and stop saying there is some limit. Apple does that, and it just confuses people.


    3TB x 4 for 12TB, only because that is the largest drive available, until 4TB drives come out.

  • Vincenzo Baldacchino Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Thanks for the feedback all and glad to know that I do not have a size limit. One last question, is there a particular SATA type I should avoid? I know the drives have improved but given the age of my Mac Pro, I would assume the latest 6Gps drives would be overkill. Is that a fair assumption?

  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (60,880 points)

    I would recommend you go with the latest model versions and avoid the older models.


    Second, probably avoid any drive that is 'green' and does not operate at 7200 rpm (5400 rpm or variable type)


    Plan on using no more than about 60% gives you some room and more likely to have files located in the faster outer portion where the drive performance is best.


    It is only when you get into SSDs that you can talk of overkill but even there something to look at for your system. And with 2TB WD Black and 120GB SSD both going for about $200.

  • Vincenzo Baldacchino Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Thanks for the feedback. I will certainly  stay clear of the 'green' drives as I am currently using 7200rpm drives today which are going bad - nothing lasts forever I guess...! 


    Just to go back to your point on using the latest model versions. Can you please expand on that as I am still a little fuzzy on using the newer SATA III 6Gbps drives which I am not so sure my Mac Pro will be able to benefit from given its older design as I believe it came out when the SATA II drives were the latest and greatest. I assume going with a SATA II drive will be cheaper and perform the the maximum that my Mac Pro can handle...?

  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (60,880 points)

    They are compatible, have larger cache.


    What's to know?


    old = 105MB/sec new = 120MB/sec depending on drive density etc


    stop worrying. they are built for wide range and HAVE to be backward compatible, not everyone buys new computer or updates motherboard every 2-3 yrs.

  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 Level 9 (53,540 points)

    "a chain is as strong as its weakest link"


    Although those drives could transfer data at 6GB/sec, since it never comes off the platters faster than 120MB sec, the 6GB in this case is specsmanship.

  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (60,880 points)

    Yup. And everyone thinks SATA III is ONLY the 6G and not the improvements in the features and support for Native Command Queue, better use of dual DSP, optimized firmware, fixes for things that they found in earlier models.


    SATA III (v. 3.1) will incorporate optimized features for SSDs.


    More GB and TB being put closer together packed into a platter.

  • Vincenzo Baldacchino Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Thanks for the feedback all. I have ordered a couple of WD Caviar Black drives with 64MB cache and these I believe are the latest SATA III ones. That should keep me happy although wish this would have happened when drives were so much cheaper!!!!