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News Archive for Friday August 12, 2011:

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= Recent Articles and Reviews =

Anyone gotten a RocketRaid 640 card working w/OS X?
(From a reader mail Wed. Aug 10th. Comments updated again on Aug 16th.)
"RocketRaid 640 help request
I just purchased a RocketRaid 640 for my Mac Pro based on the fact that it was advertised as a 6Gbps/sec SATA card (with RAID capability). I got this so I could make the most use of the speed offered by my shiny new Vertex 3 120 GB SSD, but I've run into a bit of a snag.

The card is advertised as having OS X compatibility (but not bootability, which I'm not really worried about as this is going to be my games drive), yet I had to jump through hoops to find any driver at all for this thing, and their US site redirects me to their Chinese site of all places. If I weren't savvy enough to use my browser's tiny little status bar to read webpage address mouseover link info, I'd never have found the RR640 driver page.

Anywho, the driver listed there, and also for the 620/622/644 is actually the 644M driver, which I verified by going into its info.plist and checking the IOPCIMatch category, and sure enough it lists only the number "6441103", which is vendor 1103 (HighPoint), and 644, referring to the RocketRaid 644. The driver will not load at all on startup, and even after loading it with the kextload command in Terminal, system profiler shows that the card is there, but no drivers are loaded for it. (I wrote to ask if he'd edited the driver plist for the 640 card's id. Later saw he had mentioned some edits in his apple forum thread with some issues. I run RP (repair permissions) after editing apple supplied kext plists, but not sure if RP will do that for 3rd party files (set per pkg receipt, etc), so it may have to be done manually.)

So my question then becomes this: Has anybody out there gotten the 640 to work in a Mac Pro in OS X? The driver CD inexplicably states only Windows/Linux/FreeBSD as compatible OSes, but comes with a WebGUI management installer in the form of a .dmg on the cd, but no drivers. I'm kind of at an impasse now. I can't flash the BIOS on the card to make it look like a 644 model (which is functionally almost identical except its ports are all eSATA whereas my 640 is all SATA internal) because the Mac Pro has no floppy, isn't accepting DOS boot ISOs, and doesn't detect my USB flash drive at the EFI boot selector screen (it's been converted to be a DOS bootable drive w/ the RR640/644 BIOS on it).

Highpoint, as usual, is of no help. I suppose this is what I get for purchasing from a company that puts more effort into its chinese site than its US site, but cost was a factor so not much choice there (Areca is awesome, but too expensive). If anybody out there has any answers to this little snafu, I'm all ears.
(he later wrote)
I've tried injecting the proper IOPCIPrimaryMatch entry (6401103) into the info.plist, but it still refuses to load. In fact doing so actually invalidates the .kext and a few seconds after making the modification the OS gives me a "this file cannot be used as it was installed incorrectly" error. (I wrote to ask him about correct file permissions after editing, etc. as I mentioned earlier.)
I was contacted by HighPoint's tech support and they linked me to their supposed working driver installer file, but it was just the exact same one I already had, byte for byte and they seem clueless regarding the IOPCIPrimaryMatch information I gave them to specifically fix this issue (hopefully). It's a shame too, because other than form factor, the 640 is functionally identical (two Marvell 9128 cnotrollers, four SATA ports) to the 644 other than that the 644 is all eSATA ports and has an EFI firmware for bootability (I tried making a DOS bootable USB drive, but no matter what, I couldn't get it to work so I was unable to try flashing this card to 644 status).

I find it really weird that the CD that comes with the card only states Windows/Linux/FreeBSD as the OS compatible, but has a Mac WebGUI installer DMG on the CD (yet no Mac drivers in that DMG!). It honestly seems like the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing at HighPoint.

(Update - from Aug 16th mail)
It looks like HighPoint has finally admitted there are no working drivers for the RR640, and they refuse to help me with flashing it to a known working model (despite the card's components being identical to the RR644). So I'm instead looking into the more expensive, but futureproof (for the next few years) Areca 1880ix along with a MaxUpgrades SAS/SATA Link coupler with cable. This will allow me the extra bonus option of not only having a RAID 0 or RAID 6 SSD setup in my second optical bay, but also turning my internal HD Bays from 3Gbps to fully native and bootable 6Gbps ports, complete with hardware capable RAID. I'm done with HighPoint at this time. Their lack of support, and unwillingness to accomodate even a trade-up that I'm willing to pay for is beyond pathetic, especially since it was their own website that led me to a bad purchase and they have no intention of fixing their driver links.
- Terra
My system info:
Mac Pro 1,1 (2006), 7GB RAM, Radeon HD5870, OS X 10.6.8
Intel X-25M Gen 2 80GB (OS Boot drive)
40GB OWC Mercury Pro SSD (SF-1200) (Lion Boot drive)
OCZ Summit 60 GB SSD (Secondary games drive)
OCZ Vertex 3 (Primary games drive)
WD 1TB Green HD (Downloads, SL OS clone partition, Lion Clone partition)
WD 1TB Green HD (Clone of first WD 1TB HD for primary backup)
WD 2TB Green HD (Secondary backup for all drives)"

If you've had better luck with a RR640 card w/OS X and/or have some tips for Eric, send a note, or post a reply in an apple forum thread he created yesterday on this.

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