updated 12:00 pm EDT, Thu November 1, 2007
Apple ships RAID cards
Apple has begun offering its RAID controller cards as a separate upgrade for its Mac Pro high-end desktop systems. Mac OS X already allows users to stripe two, three, or four hard drives in a RAID 0 array for increased performance with a large storage capacity. The operating system also supports RAID 1 mirroring for protecting critical data against drive failure, while the new Mac Pro RAID card supports hardware RAID levels 0, 1, 5, and 0+1. The new card features 256MB of RAID cache, a 72-hour cache protecting battery, and sequential read performance of up to 304MB/sec in RAID 0 or up to 199MB/sec in RAID 5 without the need for any external drive enclosures. Apple's new Mac Pro RAID card is available via the online store as a configuration option for new Mac Pro purchases, adding $1,000 to the price of potential Mac Pro purchases.
Apple states: "The Mac Pro RAID Card delivers enhanced storage performance and data protection through a powerful hardware RAID engine, 256MB of cache, and an integrated 72-hour battery for protecting cache data. The card occupies the top PCI Express slot (slot 4) of your Mac Pro and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later."
Users looking to enable a Mac Pro for hardware RAID can install the Mac Pro RAID Card and two or more hard drives in bays 1 through 4. Each RAID level requires a minimum number of hard drives, however, with Enhanced JBOD (Just a Bunch of Disks) needing just one drive and RAID 0+1 requiring four separate drives.
The Mac Pro RAID card ships with an installation tool as well as detailed setup instructions.