Owner Feedback on the 2.42 Firmware Update: (most recent reports first)
I recently installed the Acard AEC-6880M (shipped with revision 2.42)
with a pair of Seagate Barracuda IVs (80GB) in Raid 1 (mirror) mode
into my dual 1GHz QuickSilver running 10.2.2 with 1024MB of RAM.
Despite Acard's less than stellar documentation and the bad blocks on
my first drive, install went as expected. General operation is also as
However I have been having severe problems using my Griffin iMic for
USB Audio. iTunes will stutter on light HD activity, and halt entirely
on heavy activity (Quicktime Player/etc exhibit similar behavior). It
is not just the sound skipping/missing. iTunes itself seems to know
there is something wrong and stops playback. Some times it will enter
somewhat of a 'reverb' mode, which can be cured by stopping playback
from within iTunes and restarting it. Other times the iMic will cease
to function entirely and the only remedy is to disconnect it from the
USB port entirely and re-insert it, at which point sound returns (It is
the only USB device on that bus, so I have no idea if the entire bus is
failing as was reported previously, or if it is just that device). Also
some times a workable solution is to change the sound output selection
in the Sound control pane to the built-in controller, and then back to
It is worth noting that none of these problems arise when using only
the built-in audio controller, nor did they seem to appear while in
anything but Mirror mode. Though, since they hadn't cropped up until I
entered mirror mode I didn't have the opportunity to test for them
(copying a few hundred megs of data with iTunes has wreaked havoc every
time, usually within the first couple of megs).
If there is any other information that might be of use to readers which
I have not thought of, please let me know.
I'd write Griffin tech support on this issue also - maybe they have some suggestions or can investigate a driver change that might help. (They may
just say it's related to another device/driver but it can't hurt to
report it to them.) If any readers have a suggestion let me know using the email link here.
(Note - many of the mails added Nov 27th were from a week or more ago - just getting caught up here on past mail.)
(Added 11/27/2002 - mail dated Aug. 31st)
Spurred by your reader's earlier reports and needing a RAID 1 option,
I bought a SIIG RAID 133 card on ebay (for $90) and installed the
Acard v2.42 firmware. At first I tried the update from classic and
the application couldn't see the board. Turns out it needs to run in
In between I emailed SIIG that it didn't work, and got the response
that "The Acard card is different from the SIIG card because the chip
is different (!)" This despite having Acard's part number clearly on
the SIIG card.
By then I had successfully updated the firmware and was transferring
data onto the RAID mirror. The SIIG tech said "We must have tried it
from classic too, because we got the same error. Somehow I expected
these guys to be smarter than me. He said he would tell the SIIG reps
that it's possible ;=) We need a RAID utility that runs in OSX or at
least classic, though.
Some notes: Acard now has a nice PDF that shows dipswitch positions.
Apple is promoting the Acard and Sonnet Tempo cards on their G4 page
for "RAID", but doesn't mention RAID 1 or 0.
I considered the native OSX RAID options, but realized that when
booting into OS9 neither drive could be used. Rather a downer, so the
Acard RAID is a distinct advantage.
Thanks, this site rocks!
(Added 11/27/2002 - mail dated Aug. 2002)
Thank you for this list of user response. I am a network admin and recently installed a Sonnet Tempo RAID133 in my G4 450 running OS X Server 10.1 with two WD drives and two IBM drives. I downloaded the July 12 release of the Acard firmware and successfully updated to 2.42. Setup was straightforward. Mirroring works very well, and everything is as it should be.
(Added 11/27/2002 - mail dated Aug. 2002)
Recently, I purchased the Acard ATA/133 6880M from OWC. I was looking to
upgrade our G3/333 Minitower which we use as an ftp server running OS X
10.1.5 and Proftpd 1.2.4. The card is attached to 2 Seagate Barracuda IV
40Gb hard drives. I had to update the firmware on the new card in order
to use the mirror mode. I was looking to 1) increase drive capacity
(from 9.1Gb to 40Gb), 2) increase stability and safety of the data and
3) increase response speeds from the sever to the clients.
The install and setup was a breeze and I found a brief mirror mode pdf
on Acard's site. My testing so far has been limited, but promising. I
have increased the drive speed (according to QuickBench) from a
read/write avg. of 5Mb/s to a read/write avg. of over 18Mb/s. However, I
guess I did expect slightly better. I will continue to tweak and
research the subject in my quest for more speed. I, however, very happy
that someone finally made a RAID 1 card for Mac! It's just what I've
been waiting for so I could start using more mac servers around the
(Added 11/27/2002 - mail dated Aug. 2002)
Followup to audio problem of Mark C. (Mail dated Thursday, July 11, 2002
I use a Acard 133 Raid 0 in my Quicksilver (Dual G4 800, OS X 10.1.5,
1.5 GB Ram), firmware 2.4.2 and latest drivers from Acard. I can confirm
Mark C.'s audio/USB problem. After several seconds of heavy data
transfer from/to the Raid, USB devices (SoundSticks, Mouse, Scanner)
stop working. The problem persists after a clean install of OS X. Using
different USB hubs doesn't help. Using the ACard68xxM.kext V1.1 from OS
X instead of V1.2 from Acard helps somewhat, no more USB disconnections
but severly distorted audio during data transfers. The Acard works in OS
9.2.2, but this isn't the point. I tried usblogger (from the USB DevKit)
to no avail. Nothing shows up in the logfile when the USB devices stop
I wrote to Acard about this, didn't receive a reply either, but they
pulled the driver right after my email. I'll keep mailing them.
FWIW, I got this installed in my Quicksilver with little or no
difficulty, The Firmware update to 2.42 went real smooth (I bought
the card for mirroring).
So now I have a Quicksilver/733 running 10.1.5 on 1.25gb of RAM, an
SIIG RAID controller with 2 Maxtor 7200rpm/120gb ATA/133 drives, an
SIIG ATA/133 controller with a WD 7200/100gb ATA/100 drive, and the
factory 40GB drive attached to the internal ATA/66 controller. 380gb
My only complaint is that the raid utility only works under OS 9. I
talked to the guy and he said that no one seems to want the card, so
unless we gripe, they will not bother to make the utility OS X worthy.
So call into the folks at ACARD, since they make the controller which
SIIG, Sonnet, and others rebrand.
--S. M. Weems"
(Mail dated July 12, 2002 7:15 AM)
I have a Sawtooth G4 (originally 400 MHz) with an 533 MHz daughtercard
overclocked to 550. I boot from a RAID 0 array on the card using two
identical Maxtor 40 GB 7200 RPM ATA 133 drives. I also have the original 13
GB and 30 GB drive on the built-in ATA 66 bus. I use OS X exclusively and
haven't seen any issues before or after the firmware upgrade. My ONLY
complaint about the card is the lack of deep-sleep compatibility. Other than
that, it's been smooth sailing since I installed it.
(Mail dated Thursday, July 11, 2002 6:28 AM)
I purchased the Acard AEC-6880M ATA-133 to make a hardware RAID on my
Dual 1 Gig G-4 with 1.5 Gig of ram. Purchased two IBM 120gig Deskstar
drives. I bought it specifically for use with OS X and video editing.
Even with the new firmware update I have encountered a serious problem.
After 6 minutes of importing video into iMovie I lose USB connectivity.
My keyboard/mouse and iSticks are connected to the computer via the 22"
Apple Cinema Display. Suddenly the audio goes offline and the
keyboard/mouse freezes. If I move the USB connector to the ports in the
back of the computer control returns.
In OS 9 using the Acard A/V
Optimizer I do not have the problem, but I did not buy the card for use
in OS 9 and they tout the card as true OS X support. I have sent two
emails to Acard about the problem and have not received a response. The
problem does not occur when using the card in the "normal" mode as a
port for the two drives, or using the OS X software RAID so I am
satisfied it is not a problem with the computer. I would like to hear
from any one else with a similar story, but I would not suggest buying
the card at this time.
I asked Mark what RAID mode he was using but I assume RAID 0 (stripe).
(Mail dated July 10, 2002 10:07 PM )
Sorry I donĂt have any info on the RAID 1 capabilities, but I wanted to let you know the firmware update works fine on a SIIG card. I have the SIIG UltraATA 133/100 RAID controller (PN: SC-MR4A12) which has the same chipset as the ACARD AEC-6880M controller. I use the card in RAID 0 mode, but my curiosity got the better of me, so I booted into Mac OS 9 and ran the updater which went very smoothly. No noticeable difference in performance, but the firmware is updated. IĂll let you know if I have some time to try out the mirroring feature...
(Mail dated July 10, 2002 9:12 PM)
Just a quick note. I've attached some screen shots of the Acard
RAID Utility if that helps with the cryptic description below.
Rev. 1 B/W w/XLR8 G4/500; Radeon 7000; Siig/133 RAID with 60GB IBM
60GXP Deskstar (x2); Tempo/66 with 80GB Seagate Barracuda IV (x2);
27GB Maxtor Diamondmax+ on mb; Gig of Crucial.
I ran the update on my Siig/133 RAID, and it worked. After
flashing, the updater reports the new firmware (v2.42), and the
included '6880M RAID Utility' works. I tried to run the Utility
before flashing but received a 'firmware too old' message.
You beat me to the DIP switches, which I had to play with to the
mirrored array. There's zero documentation about mirroring in the
download and utility. Your hint seems on the mark. I didn't pull
my card, so I can't verify the 'Sx' numbers you gave. However, the
two switches are labeled '1' and '2' as you mentioned. For
stripping: '2' is on; '1' is off. For mirroring: '1' is on; '2'
The included RAID Utility doesn't work in Classic. I ran it in 9.x
(straight). It informs you whether you're in striped, mirrored, or
normal (non-RAID) mode. For both the array and individual HDs, it
gives 'name' of volume, size, and status. I only saw 'stripe ok' &
'mirror ok' for the array; and 'ok' for the individual HDs.
There are 2 buttons for the Array, when selected. (1) Quick Erase -
erases the array, but I had to reinitialize afterwords, (2) Delete
Array - this one erases too but unlike 'quick erase' requires a
restart or shutdown.
The 'rebuild' button only becomes live with a mirror array and when
you select one of the individual HDs.
I performed a quick erase and deleted my striped array before
switching to mirror. Not sure whether that was necessary. But
after switching to mirror, I had to reinitialize the array as I
Haven't had time to do much with it the mirror. I'm planning on
sticking a clone of my 10.1.5 install just to see if works.
[he later wrote]
Small follow up to the previous message...
The mirrored array mounts in both 9.x and X. It's bootable too; I
started up in 9.2.2 and 10.1.5 without a hitch.
Perhaps it was a bit of user error, but I found that it may be best
to delete the array with Acard's utility before changing the mode. I
switched out of mirrored to normal (dip switches) only, i.e. without
deleting, and Drive Setup couldn't see both HDs. I made the mistake
of formatting the single HD that it could see. I had to muck around
a bit until I was able to reformat both HDs (non-RAID) and later
re-setup the array. I also know what a bad status indication is:
Another thing I noticed. After reformatting the HDs in normal
(non-RAID) mode, I flipped the switch to mirror. On restart I the
mirrored array (single volume) mounted on the desktop without
reformatting -- it contained the data that was the HD attached to
channel 0. Leery of things, I used the Acard utility to delete array
and then reformatted with Disk Utility.
(FYI - The RAID Utility is linked at http://www.acard.com/eng/support/mac.html.)
(Mail dated July 10, 2002 8:26 PM)
I own a SIIG branded version of this card, and I was able to
successfully flash the card with the new firmware. The card functions as
it did before the flash in "stripe" mode. I have not tested the new
"mirror" mode. I have a G4 "AGP" 400Mhz with two Maxtor 80Gb ATA 133
(Mail dated July 10, 2002 3:38 PM)
Just updated what was originally a SIIG branded 6880M card that
previously had been flashed with Acard's own 2.1 firmware with the 2.42
updates and although I haven't tried the mirroring I am quite happy to
report it solved all the conflicts with a DigiVoodoo 64AV that I had seen
previously trying this setup (Acard + 80GB stripe of 2 40GB IBM GXPs
w/the DigiVoodoo 64AV)
It'd work sporaticly, or just lock up immediately, and the
conflict was something between the two cards. however with the new
firmware on the RAID card all stuttering/freezes are gone, playback in FCP
3 (OS 9.2.2 on a quicksilver 933, 1GB RAM, GeForce2) is perfect on the D1
output. Verified playing back a couple of different 30minute sequences
which previously would cause the freezing and leaving the "Report Drop
Frames" preference enabled (something so simple, yet digivoodoo's own
record/playback application fails to do it)
Since playback checks out gonna go drop this baby back into the
machine room and verify the machine can still digitize video to the RAID
OK. Performance #s in ATTO's ExpressPro-Tools 2.6 and HDT's QuickBench
1.5 were on par with the #s I have in my notes from the previous 2.1
Anyway, remembered another user had previously emailed you about
using the Acard ATA/133 RAID card w/DigiVoodoo and encountering the same
problems I had seen on my own testing the same setup in a b/w G3-400 and
this same G4/933, so I figured I'd pass it on.
(Previous posts on the firmware update from yesterday's news follow)
Acard ATA/133 RAID Card - Switch Settings for RAID 1 Mirror Mode
It appears that Acard has not supplied any switch setting info in the 6880M's firmware update download files (see below) for RAID 1 (mirror) mode. I don't own this card, but suggest trying a setting that has the opposite switch set to ON as the one shown for RAID 0 stripe mode. (I.E. If S0 ON is stripe mode, try S1 ON for Mirror Mode.)
I have an early model ATA/66 RAID card that still had the silkscreen marking for Mirror mode on the card:
"S1 ON" (S0 Off) for Mirror mode.
(S0 On/S1 Off was the setting for Stripe mode, both S0/S1 Off for normal (non-RAID) mode. )
Note On my older Card the board labels the switches "S1" and "S0", but the actual blue switch is marked "1" and "2" - where the "2" switch corresponds to the "S0" board marking.
Acard ATA/133 RAID Card Firmware Update for RAID 1 Support Now Available
The 6880M (ATA/133 RAID card) v2.42 firmware was released. If any readers try this firmware update with a RAID 1 setup let me know it it's reliable. Include your Mac/system details in reports.
(Based on owner reports (and Apple System Profiler), the Acard ATA/133 RAID cards are also sold by SIIG and Sonnet under their brand names. If in doubt of the firmware is compatible with those cards - ask them. I'd assume so but have not tested for that - I don't any any ATA/133 RAID cards personally.)