News Archive for Wednesday, Oct 3rd, 2012

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More Feedback on USB 3.0 Cards with OS X 10.7.5/10.8.2:   (skip to next item)
(more replies to question on USB 3.0 card support w/OS X 10.8.2/10.7.5 update's USB kext.)
"Using the Sonnet Allegro USB 3.0 PCIe Card with OS X 10.8.2 and the Sonnet 1.0.8 drivers with no apparent problems.
I use it for a Time Machine backup to a Seagate 3TB USB 3 hard disk on a 2008 Mac Pro.
-Andy"

This is the Sonnet USB 3.0 card model USB3M-E, not their original USB3-E one. I asked if he knew the USB controller chip used on that card but he wasn't able to check at this time. (Examining the driver pkg from card vendors will often show the oem/chip mfr also.)
   The linked OWC page has several OS X driver device compatibility notes (read before buying) and an advisory note but I wonder if it's current as OWC's Mountain Lion compatibility page lists the Allegro USB 3.0 card as compatible using Sonnet's 1.0.8 driver. (Driver page post date 9/4/2012 and notes v1.0.8 added OS X 10.8 support. And per their FAQ, v1.0.8 driver also supports 10.7.5.)

There's also an Allegro USB 3.0 Express/34 card that assuming the same chipset/driver, should also work. If anyone's used it with 10.8.2 let me know. (Monday's news had a 17in MacBook Pro owner report on two USB 3.0 express/34 cards and some comments about the lack of native/generic XHCI card support.)

Reader FYI on Allegro Card/USB Bus Power:
Another Allegro USB3 card user wrote regarding bus-powered device compatibilty:

"We have 2010 MacPro with the Sonnet Allegro USB 3.0 card using Sonnet's driver. (I updated from the Sonnet site due to 10.8 needing their Sept driver). (v1.0.8 added 10.8 support, link above) The card needs the driver as 10.8.2 doesn't seem to see any USB 3.0 devices.

Related to the Sonnet Allegro:
We have an issue with the card regarding some external "USB 3.0" bus powered drives that unpredictably unmount. Sonnet told me, "not all bus powered HDDs are supported and need to be ext (external) powered". Yeah, well tell WD to put power jacks on their 2.5" MyPassport line (not happening). I can imagine the 750GB and 1TB WD USB 3.0 drives being an issue.
Note: these drives work on Apple's bus because there is more power output with Apple's USB bus. Sonnet does not provide any adaptor cables for power.

The PCI Sonnet card has a 4 pin molex so we rigged-modified a SATA power to molex cable from the 4th (unused) MacPro backplane SAS/SATA connector. (2006-2008 Mac Pro owners could use a Y-Adapter off one of the PATA Optical drive power cables.-Mike)
Unfortunately, we don't have a WD MyPassport or other non-powered USB 3.0 drive to try. Until another comes by.

(Update/Follow-Up on Oct 16th:)
Just a heads up, we've had success with external WD MyPassport 500-1TB external 2.5" USB 3.0 notebook drives connected to the Allegro card along with having the internal DC power tapped from spare sata power.

We were seeing issue where in the middle of cloning or restoring data to/from the external USB 3.0 drive, it would drop off the desktop with unmount error. Sonnet's support only advised it doesn't support drives unless provided additional power, and most of the new USB 3.0 external 2.5" models do not provide additional/optional AC/DC power. (YMMV with finding a molex cable and power source inside your macpro - perhaps from optical or 2nd GPU power? We took it from 4th unused HDD sata on backplane. Our guy did a hack on the cable to have it fit. However we lose the 4th bay)

On another note, these WD Passport drives are not practical. The controller boards are integrated to the mini-usb connector and if you get a short, its not just an interface board/bridge, but the drive's controller. I would not rely on these for critical backups. Already took one apart (1TB WD) to find a burnt chip. User just backed off (and deleted) their most import images to make room on their MacBookPro. Sad.
-Ed S."

About the WD Passport (USB) drive comment - back in 2009 here I posted a FYI w/pix (still linked on storage page) about WD Passport 1TB (and others) not having a std SATA HD inside - the USB controller is integrated on the drive. (Previously we often bought USB cased portable HDs on sale (at less than bare HD price) and swapped out the SATA drive inside.)


A Highpoint RocketU Quad USB 3.0 card owner's problems w/OS X 10.7.5 &10.8.2:

"USB 3.0 Card Feedback (w/recent OS X Updates)
Have a Highpoint RocketU Quad USB 3.0 for Mac in a 2009 Mac Pro. Worked ok (with the provided drivers from HighPoint website) up until I upgraded to 10.7.5 then it stopped working.
(Driver D/L page has "RocketU_Quad_USB_3.0-Mac-v1.0.3-050212")
   System report shows the card, but lists the Drivers as "No" or, not installed, or something (not in front of the machine right now).
   I tried to uninstall the drivers and re-install to no avail. As a last ditch (and since that was the only thing holding me back) I upgraded the machine to OS X 10.8.2 and tried again. No luck.

When it did work (up 10.7.4 and below) It was very fast using Seagate USB 3 drives, where the drive was slower then the connection. (Got over 100MB/sec out of them) The downside was it doesn't work with our Rosewill USB 3 hub. I don't have any other hubs to test it with, so for all I know it doesn't work with USB 2 hubs either.

Any tips on getting this card running again in Mountain Lion would be appreciated.
(You already tried my first thought (reinstall driver). Were the drivers 64-bit compatible? Did you contact Highpoint support to see if they were working on an update/aware of the problem? (May not get any useful info but can't hurt.) Web Support link goes to a login page, but their contact us page has phone #s.)

Yes, that's the file I used. (RocketU_Quad_USB_3.0-Mac-v1.0.3-050212)
It includes an uninstaller which I ran first, rebooted, then installed. The HPT page lists 10.7 compat but not 10.8. (card details page says "Supports OS X 10.5 and later")
  I see online people have it working on 10.8 but am unsure why its not running for me. The MacPro has a Radeon 5770 card and a fibre card in it also. The fibre card currently also shows "driver installed no" in system report. But we don't have it hooked to our fibre network so no big deal. Funny as the fibre card worked fine with built in osx drivers in 10.6 but no support is 10.7.
(he later wrote)
Hey, just a little update.
A: High point's support system is essentially useless. But I did finally manage to shoot out a email to them asking for help.

B: The uninstall command that supposedly uninstalls the drivers doesn't actually do it. (Terminal window that opens shows errors and quits, I never looked at it) So anyone know a way to manually uninstall the drivers in Mountain Lion so I can attempt a clean install? (Did the installer create a log file that could be used to manually uninstall without having to search for drivers/files?)

(and a later follow-up)
So, just checked, and while the driver does not show active in the system profiler, it does see the drives in the web based management tool. Only problem is those tools are for setting up RAIDs and not for just using the drives as solo. So the card does see the drives, just won't mount them in the finder. When I plug in the drives to the card they do spin up.
-Kevin"

If anyone has a tip/suggestion for Kevin (and/or has the same card working in 10.7.5 or 10.8.2), let me know. (Also welcome feedback from anyone else that has tested other cards w/OS X 10.8.2 or 10.7.5.)

Update: (from a Dec. 20th, 2012 reader mail)

"Re: HighPoint RocketU Quad
Greetings, Regarding Oct 3rd posts (above) and specifically the section regarding the HighPoint RocketU Quad for ML (10.8.x).

I have a MacPro (early 2008) running OS/X 10.8 - 8 core 3.2GHz, 16GB RAM, ATI Radeon 5870 installed, plus the CalDigit 2-port USB3.0 PCI card.

I recently bought one of these RocketU Quad cards - had very variable and limited success: it would see one or other of my two USB3.0 WD 2TB disks on a random basis, but there seemed to be no pattern to this and it didn't matter which ports these were connected to. Bizarrely it showed them as SCSI disks and in System Information the card did not show up under USB, but did show up under PCI Cards.

I contacted HighPoint Support - they confirmed that their engineers are unable to get this card to work with ML/10.8 and advised me to return it to the vendor - which is what I will do (and will buy another CalDigit card or maybe the Sonnet 4-port USB2.0 PCI card).
Regards, Nick"

If anyone in the future spots an updated driver for 10.8, send a note. TIA.
(The Oct. 4th news has a report on the Caldigit Combo USB 3.0 + eSATA 3 Card.)
  

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