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How to use a SoftRAID startup volume with High Sierra

If you're using High Sierra, and booting up from a SoftRAID volume, you'll need to follow the steps given in this forum post, since the macOS High Sierra Installer does not recognize SoftRAID volumes as valid startup volumes.

New OWC Express 4M2 enclosure performance results
#1
From an announcement on June 28, 2018:
OWC Releases the Infinitely Configurable Express 4M2
Pint-sized powerhouse takes digital capabilities to a new level.

This enclosure can accept 4 NVME drives, up to 2TB each, for 8TB maximum capacity and up to 2800 MB/s in performance. Incredible!

If you purchase one, I would like to see what brands, models, sizes of drives SoftRAID users install into these enclosures, and what performance they get.

Benchmark test to use:
(so we get reasonably standard results posted):
AJA System Test Lite
Resolution: 5120x2700 5K RED
Test File size 64GB
Codec Type: Sony 16 bit RAW
Target Disk: Freshly created or "erased" SoftRAID RAID 0 volume, with 64K Stripe unit size
Exact Mac model you are using. (i.e, iMac Pro 1,1)

Click onto the graph icon in AJA to expose the performance chart.
Take a command-shift-4, then space bar, screen shot of your results.

Post the screen shot here.

I am curious to see various NVME drive performance results. There is such a wide range of drives available, results may vary quite a bit.

Do NOT try using these enclosures with the Apple Thunderbolt 3/2 adapter on a Thunderbolt 2 port. It will not be stable.
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#2
I want to use the Express 4M2 with the 2013 MAC PRO (trashcan). Are you saying it can't be used at all, or that I need to use a different brand Thunderbolt 3/2 adapter (such as the one made by Akitio)?
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#3
We are aware of some issues with using the TB 3 adapter on a Thunderbay 2 computer, expecially with the faster enclosures.

There are some sleep issues and occasional kernel panics, that I am aware of.

I will try to get more information on this and post it.
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#4
Thank you-- so the problems you are seeing are with the Apple TB2/TB3 adapter only?

I have both Apple and Akitio adapters, both have worked well for me, though I know others in my profession who say the Apple is not as reliable.

I have been using an Akitio Thunder3 Quad Mini (8TB SSD RAID) for months now on heavy duty data jobs, using the Apple TB2/TB3 adapter to connect to a 2013 Mac Pro (TB2). No issues. Hoping this will be true for the Express 4M2.
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#5
We have been investigating reports of issues with the Thunderbolt 3/2 adapters. There are no conclusive reports. Several anecdotal reports of kernel panics, but nothing that points to the adapter being the cause.

We are happy to report on this further, if we determine any specific issues with the 3/2 adapters, but at present, we will presume they are fine to use either direction.

If any users find a scenario where using the Thunderbolt 3/2 adapters cause hangs, kernel panics, etc, we would like to get more information about what you experienced.
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#6
I've connected the Express 4M2 to a Mac Pro 2013 with Apple Thunderbolt 2/3 adapter, and all working fine so far, though it's only been one day of using it. The computer is set to never go to sleep. Will report if any problems.

I have one drive in it at the moment, Samsung 970 PRO 1TB, formatted using Softraid. The speed I'm getting is 657 MB/sec write, and 793 MB/sec read measured using AJA 64GB file. The device's the only one on its Mac Pro Thunderbolt 2 bus.

The Samsung drive is advertised as 3500 MB/s read, 2700 MB/s write and I was hoping to max out the Thunderbolt 2 port on the Mac Pro 2013.

Wondering if speed will increase if I create a RAID 0 of more drives? Or have I already reached the max speed the Thunderbolt 2 bus on Mac Pro or the Apple 2/3 adapter can handle?
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#7
I have not seen that speed in the real world with one drive.

Thunderbolt 2 should be able to hit close to 1.4GB/s, so yes a RAID 0 should be faster.
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#8
Thanks, I've now created a RAID 0 of 2 Samsung 970 1TB drives. Happy to report increase of speed.

1255 MB/s write, 1339 MB/s read, Mac Pro 2013 via Apple 2/3 adapter.

No problems at all so far.


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#9
Well, the drive bays specs on the 4M2 enclosure are: 4 M.2 - 2280 "M Key" (PCIe 3.0 x1 per slot), so each SSD is limited to 1 lane. I am correct?
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#10
Each SSD gets its own PCI lane, as I understand it, yes.
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