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[Sticky] Important notes regarding Big Sur and SoftRAID  

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Joined: 5 years ago

Here is an announcement from Tim Standing, Vice President Engineering, OWC.

Many of our customers are wondering: Is SoftRAID going to work on Big Sur? Will SoftRAID continue to work on Macs with Apple silicon?

Let's start with a little background on the team behind SoftRAID for Mac: We have already been through, not 1 but 2 processor architecture changes. First the one was from Motorola 68000 to PowerPC and the second was from PowerPC to Intel. So of course we're going to conquer this transition as well.

We already have a Mac mini with Apple silicon on our way from Apple, we ordered it registered for one 5 minutes after the web page went live. In anticipation of the Mac mini arriving next week, we have already started implementing the changes required to support this new CPU. Just like the move from PowerPC to Intel, for this change, the majority of the code for SoftRAID will not require any changes. There are just a few key areas we will have to change.

With the switch from PowerPC to Intel CPUs, the major change was that areas of memory which stored numbers larger than 256 were set up in the reverse order in the Intel CPU. This mean that any number, that was used by the SoftRAID driver to determine what type of volume was in use, had to be swapped around right after it was read from disk and right before it was written back out.

With this new CPU, the key changes are the way the processor counts time and the way each of the CPU cores determine if memory has been altered by another CPU core. We have already finished the changes to the SoftRAID code which rely on getting time. We have also started a code review of both the driver and SoftRAID tool to determine what needs to be changed to accommodate the new multi-core CPU memory access architecture.

If you have access to a Mac mini with Apple silicon and would like to try out beta builds of SoftRAID which support this new CPU, please let us know and we will give you access to the beta testing program. Obviously, you won't be able to use it with Thunderbolt enclosures, as these test Mac minis don't have Thunderbolt, but you will be able to use it with USB 3.1 Gen 2 enclosures like the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Quad. We will be testing it with 4, 8 and 16 disk RAID volumes to ensure our implementation is robust.

I'll post more on this thread when we have a beta ready for testing with this new Mac hardware architecture.

Tim Standing
VP Software Engineering - Mac
Other World Computing, Inc.