PCI under Snow Leopard

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PCI under Snow Leopard

Postby audioio » Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:49 pm

This is a long shot, folks, but I crave your indulgence. Moderators, feel free to move this to a more appropriate forum if you think it is warranted.

I picked up a cheap Magma 4-slot expansion chassis with rack ears. More recently, I got an ExpressCard adaptor and the box is talking to my recently acquired Macbook Pro very nicely--yes, the chassis is recent enough to have the Pericom bridge chip needed for Intel Macs. When I grow up I'm planning to put S/H PTHD cards in it.

The bonus is that it holds up to four hard drives. So, I thought, I'll mount drives in it and until I grow up it can serve as a rack-mountable HD with a faster-than-Firewire link to the MBP. The only trouble is my PCI SATA controller card doesn't work with Snow Leopard (which I need to run Pro Tools 9). This, as it turns out, is unsurprising because there are no Intel Macs with PCI slots. Snow doesn't support such cards and vendors don't bother to write drivers. O course PTHD is the exception and, as we know, is different from yer average PCI card.

So I'm willing to do a bit of experimenting here. There are two ways I can go:
(1) Use a PCI Express card with a PCI-to-PCIe adaptor, or
(2) Use a PCI controller card with Snow Leopard drivers

There's a Canadian company offering an adaptor which they claim works transparently. With a 1-lane PCIe SATA card, this might work.

Alternatively, Areca makes a few PCI-X RAID cards with a driver which they claim will work with their PCI-X and PCIe models. The manual also claims that the card can sit in a regular PCI slot, which the Magma has, but there'll be a performance hit... again, not surprising. I've been talking to their tech support and turns out that, although they write the driver for all their cards (which I suppose they've designed with a unified API), they haven't actually tested the PCI-X cards with Snow Leopard... because there are no machines which run Snow that have PCI slots.

I have seen vague references to the use of Areca cards in Hackintoshes, some of which might have PCI slots, but nothing concrete yet.

As I said, I'm willing to experiment.. I'd be grateful if any boffins here were able to suggest which is more likely to be successful, and why. Of course, it still might not work, but I'm open to suggestions (other than "go back to Firewire or USB").

Thanks
David Rodger
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Re: PCI under Snow Leopard

Postby audioio » Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:18 pm

Been having a conversation with tech support from Syba and I've found a cheap 4-port SATA card. Many Syba cards have Silicon Image chips on them and the company seems to rely on SI drivers rather than writing their own or modding them. They seem to think this could work. It might not but I haven't blown much money.

I'll let you know the result.
David Rodger
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Re: PCI under Snow Leopard

Postby audioio » Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:51 pm

Got the Syba card and tried it with the Silicon Image SI3124 drivers. It doesn't work in the Magma. Macbook hangs during start-up.

Since the chassis came with a PCI card, I might try it on the G5 with the Tiger or Leopard drivers, just to see if it's truly a chassis problem or a driver problem. But that doesn't solve the problem.

I could try that Amfeltec adaptor I mentioned in the first post but I've spent enough time and money on it for now. So if anyone knows how to make a HD inside a Magma PCI chassis work under Snow Leopard, I'm all ears.
David Rodger
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