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Why Dual Channel?
The downside is cost, as adding a 2nd SCSI card adds expense and dual channel cards (often the only option if you don't have two free PCI slots) can be more expensive than even two single channel SCSI cards. With Ultra2 SCSI cards appearing on the market now [see this review of 3 Mac Ultra2 SCSI Cards], watch for reduced pricing/closeouts on std Ultra SCSI cards. Remember the drives are usually the limiting factor, so an Ultra2 SCSI may not provide more real world performance if your drives are not also Ultra2 SCSI then you won't see any real gains. If you're running a large multi-drive array with modern drives however, the faster Ultra2 SCSI card would be preferred. [Note that Ultra2 SCSI drives don't provide on-drive termination, they use a terminator block at the end of the Ultra2 SCSI (twisted pair) cable.]
What's Different in the Dual-Channel Configuration:
Take care in routing the cables - make sure they do not contact the fan on the 8600 side cover. The completed dual channel setup should look like the photo below.
Final Cabled Dual Channel Array
Note that I did not have to reconfigure the Raid volumes for this change. SoftRaid 2.0 was used on the single channel setup and rebooting with the dual channel setup mounted the volume without problems.
If you arrived here without reading the start of this article on how to assemble the kit, check the first page of this article.
For more articles on disk and SCSI controller upgrades (or IDE or Firewire), see my Storage Articles page.
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