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RAID!

4-Drive RAID inside  a 8600
Step 4: Connecting Drive Cables (SCSI/Power)

Connecting Drive/Fan Power:
The wiring for each of the fan brackets has two connectors (one for each drive) and a end connector that mates to the 8600's power supply spare connectors. First connect the brackets drive power connectors to the drives and then route the connectors on the end of the bracket wiring up through the slot opening under the existing 8600 drive bays.

Locate two spare 8600 power supply connectors (behind the existing 8600 drives) and connect them to the fan/drive connectors. Like all power supply connectors, they are keyed with beveled corners and cannot be mated incorrectly. Ensure they are fully seated together.

Connecting SCSI cabling:
The supplied 4 drive wide SCSI cable has the 4 drive connectors spaced closely together (in pairs of two) and a connector at the other end for the PCI SCSI card. Start with the last connector of the four drive end and attach it to the lower right drive (as looking into the case). Then connect the cable to the drive above it (upper right drive), then the lower left drive and finally the upper left drive. Then route the connector on the end of the cable to your PCI SCSI card. The completed assembly should look like the photo below.

Final Cabled Assembly
Final Cabled Array Installed in 8600

After a quick visual check to verify that all cables are attached, replace the 8600 case cover and power up the Mac. I did note slightly more noise from the 8600 sitting on my desktop after installing the 4 drive array. I don't find the noise near the level heard in some Mac clones, but if you insist on a totally quiet Mac this may not be the upgrade for you.

The procedure for installing the RAID software will vary depending on which package you use, but my next installment of this series will be a walk-through of configuring the array with Conley SoftRaid 2, my preferred RAID package.

If you do not desire to run a RAID array, you can use this setup to have 4 separate drives (volumes) instead. For most brands of drives you can use Apple's Drive Setup to install a driver and format the drives, or if you bought them from Other World Computing or Pro-Direct, the drives will already come formatted with a driver installed and ready to use (for non-RAID applications).

Optional: Dual Channel SCSI Configuration
In my 8600, I used a dual channel Adaptec 3940UW controller, so that I can run a dual channel setup by replacing the existing 4 drive cable with 2 separate dual drive cables and use both SCSI channels on the 3940 (each channel driving two drives) for even more performance. The next page details how that was done.


I hope this tutorial has helped you gain the confidence to upgrade your 8600 but if not, I can setup the drives and build the array personally for a nominal fee. All you need to do is supply the drives, ProLine bracket kit and 8600 mounting plate.

Note that this kit will also work in the 9600, but will block access to the lower 3 PCI slots (you can't have PCI cards in the lower 3 slots with this kit in a 9600).

SoftRAID Setup: Although written as part of an IDE RAID article, to see how to install/configure SoftRAID, see this SoftRAID Install page. thanks for stopping by. For more on disk and SCSI controller upgrades (or IDE or Firewire), see the site Storage Articles Listing page.

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