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Matthew Attoe Jun 9, 2009 08:12 AM
Adding more internal SATA drives in Early 2008 Mac Pro

All 4 internal bays are full in my Early 2008 Mac Pro and I wanted to add some more internal storage.

I've added an old IDE into the top Optical Drive slot using a mounting kit but I'd rather get some more SATA drives in there.

So, I'm prepared to use both optical slots but I don't have any more SATA ports - although there are supposedly some more sneaking around on the motherboard but really hidden away and requires loads of fiddling and messing to get to.

What I'd like to know is if there is such a thing as a PCI-E SATA card that I could put in to my Mac that could power and run two or more extra SATA drives.

Any info or links (especially UK-related ones) would be greatly appreciated.

As always, many thanks,

mduell Jun 9, 2009 01:57 PM
The two extra SATA headers aren't hard to find. They're in the upper left corner of the logic board, near the optical bays.

If you really want a PCIe SATA card, there are several available. I don't know of any good UK vendors.

Either way, for power you'll need a Y cable to split an existing power connector.
CIA Jun 9, 2009 02:57 PM
The two onboard SATA connectors are really easy to get to. I bought a SATA to eSATA PCI bracket from somewhere, I think OWC for about 20 bucks. Now I have 2 eSATA ports on the back of my MacPro. It was easy to install, and I run 2 WD mybooks on it.
For the record, the two unused SATA ports inside by the optical bay don't seem to detect port multipliers. I checked it with mine. Still have to use my Sonnet E4P card for those.
I have a total of 19 drives hooked up to my MacPro, It's two seperate 5 drive RAID 0's using port multipliers (video render and video storage) to the sonnet card, 4 internals, the two WD MyBook eSATA's hooked to the internal optical SATA spares, and a couple firewires. Video work! Yea!
Matthew Attoe Jul 8, 2009 11:15 AM
Hi guys,

Thanks for the replies.

I'd sort of put this on the back burner for a while, but now I'm looking at actually getting this going and I could do with a little bit more advice first of all please.

Firstly, that picture of the motherboard doesn't look like mine from memory - is this from the early 2008 model. Could someone please highlight for me where I should actually be looking for the extra SATA ports?

Secondly, I had read somewhere that 10.5.6 or 10.5.7 had disabled these extra SATA ports - is this true?

Thirdly, as for supplying/splitting the power. Would this cable work Twin SATA Power Cable : Internal SATA Cables : Maplin and would it be okay splitting the one optical drive power supply in to 2 SATA power supplies or would I be better off buying 2 of these cables and connecting to each of the optical drive power supplies (not sure if I've made myself very clear there :) ).

Fourthly, I originally wanted to sacrifice both optical drive bays and mount a 1.5TB/2TB hard drive in to each optical drive bay and having an external DVD burner. However, if I could get it 2 hard drives to fit in the one optical bay slot (somehow!) would there be any danger/issues/problems with also keeping the optical drive in the other slot, such as having enough power to run the 2 hard drives and the DVD burner - obviously I'd then have to use the Maplin power splitter cable?

Thanks again for all your help,


EDIT - OK, I've now got what I believe to be the necessary components to do the job, but I can't get to the extra SATA ports. It looks like the front fan ssembly needs to come out. I can see one retaining screw, which I've taken out, but the fan assembly still won't come free. What else do I need to do? Thanks.
Matthew Attoe Jul 12, 2009 06:50 AM
I think I'm going to pass on this "upgrade" now as it looks to difficult to get to the SATA sockets and somehow route the two extra sata cable up in to the optical bay area.

Unless anyone has any last minutes brainwaves/flashes of genius :)

Thanks again for all your input.

CIA Jul 22, 2009 07:23 PM
Matthew Attoe Jul 24, 2009 08:02 AM
Thanks, CIA!

Looks like it could all be game on again :) It never even dawned on me to check on youtube - good call!

Do you know if anyone has tried routing 2 sata cables up in to the optical area? I was wondering if there would be room to get 2 up there? If not, one it is!

Thanks again,

Matthew Attoe Jul 24, 2009 02:59 PM
OK, one last question for the time being...

I have several Foxconn SATA II 3.0Gbs cables that I got from work. Does it really matter which end goes onto the motherboard and which end goes on to the Hard drive? I ask as there are stickers at both ends of the cable that say SYS BOARD and the other end says DRIVE. It would be useful to put the DRIVE end on to the motherboard as it is a right-angle socket and so would take up less space.

So, basically, can SATA II cables be used any way round?


mduell Jul 24, 2009 04:57 PM
Direction does not matter. You can use straight or 90 degree connectors on either or both ends.

SATA II is a misnomer; it was a committee. It doesn't mean anything in the context of hardware. Also, cables are not speed rated; SATA cables are SATA cables.
Matthew Attoe Jul 24, 2009 05:31 PM
Thanks, mduell!

That's what I was hoping - I wonder why they bothered putting the little labels on? *shrugs*

Thanks again,

Matthew Attoe Jul 25, 2009 08:31 AM

I managed to get everything apart and got a cable up into the optical bay (which wasn't really long enough, so I need to get a longer one - great).

But as I was putting it all back together the top screw that holds the front fan assembly to the motherboard fell into the heatsink. I couldn't believe it - it's a tiny slot and the screw must've only just fit through it.

So now I need to take it to the local Apple repairer and get him to take off the heatsink (not the heatsink cover - that'd be too easy!) and retrieve the screw for me as I don't want the screw to short-circuit the processors or something.

I've seen online that you can buy new heatsinks for my Mac Pro so I'm guessing that it'll come off/go on easy enough for the guy to get the screw out.

Oh well, I guess this mod is not meant to be for me :-)


reader50 Jul 25, 2009 12:23 PM
er, up-end the Mac Pro and shake gently? Save trip & pride?

I've dropped screws a few times into my G5, always managed to retrieve them.
Matthew Attoe Jul 25, 2009 01:57 PM
I'm deffo gonna give it a try tomorrow and who knows - I may be lucky!!! But I saw the size of the gap that it slid between though, so I'm not hopeful :(

But wish me luck, please :)

Then I think a set of long-shank more-magnetic screwies are in order :)
Matthew Attoe Jul 26, 2009 06:01 AM
For those of you who are following this car-crash of an attempted upgrade:

@reader50: Good call, followed your suggestion and up-ended the Mac and after some gentle shaking I heard a screw drop, which I successfully retrieved! Yay!!! Except this wasn't the screw I was looking for so God knows where this one has come from. It looks like one take holds things to the motherboard as I can see quite a few others that look like this one. It's bright silver and looks like it's a hex-type screw as opposed to a Philips or flat type.

However, in for a peny, in for a pound and a little more shaking and I finally got the missing screw that I WAS looking for out and screwed back in to place.

I now concerned about this other screw though and where it came from - I'm sure Apple don't just leave spares in there for the hell of it. I also found a pretty small Philips-type screw on the floor where my Mac Pro normally sits so I don't know if this is from the Mac or not.

This is turning in to a bit of a nightmare now :)

I bought the machine second-hand so I don't know if anything was worked on inside the machine before I got it. I have got AppleCare on it and we have an Apple Store opening locally in a couple of months time, so maybe I'll take it in there and plead ignorance and see if they can locate where this screw has come from.

Here are 3 pics of the two screws - the one on the left of each picture is what I found loose inside the Mac and the one on the right is the on I found on the floor where the Mac normally lives.

Thanks again,

tooki Jul 26, 2009 10:55 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Matthew Attoe (Post 3866255)
Then I think a set of long-shank more-magnetic screwies are in order :)
And this is why, contrary to the misinformation spread by many, you should ALWAYS use magnetized screwdrivers when working on a computer. I keep a tool magnetizer device in my toolbag for this very reason. (No, you will not damage the computer with magnetized tools.)

Many techs also keep one of those telescoping magnetic screw retrievers around.
reader50 Jul 26, 2009 12:39 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Matthew Attoe (Post 3866405)
Here are 3 pics of the two screws - the one on the left of each picture is what I found loose inside the Mac and the one on the right is the on I found on the floor where the Mac normally lives.
The motherboard-mounting screw on pic-left. Two guesses:
- It was an extra lost during assembly / previous service work. Whoever was doing it didn't spend the time to retrieve it.
- Or, it belongs under the heat sink assembly. From mduell's picture, all the mount points that might be covered by the HS would be near the edges - use a small mirror (preferably a dental mirror) to check around the edges of the HS for empty motherboard mounting holes.

The screw on pic-right looks like a drive mounting screw. Someone else will have to comment further on that, my G5 eliminated such screws. I don't know if the MacPros brought them back for optical drives, SATA drives, or both. Question: was a different computer sitting in that location before you put the MacPro there?
Matthew Attoe Jul 26, 2009 03:24 PM
HI again,

There use to be a G5 sitting in exactly the same place, so maybe the right-hand screw came from there.

As for the right-hand motherboard screw - is it worth losing any sleep over? If it was an extra then no biggie I guess, but if it WAS holding something in place, I'm a bit concerned. I must admit, I am using the machine right now to type this reply and all seems well so far! Although I have to admit I had the world's worst heart-dropping moment earlier. I plugged everything back in, but I then had to nip out as my son had saved up enough money to buy a Wii and they were on offer in Asda this weekend only. Got the Wii home, set it up, had a play (great fun!!!). Came upstairs to test out the Mac Pro. Pressed the power button. Nothing. At All. No matter how hard I pressed :-). Oh well, I thought a big bill looms! On my hands and knees to unplug it to get it ready to take in to the Apple repairman and noticed I hadn't plugged it in!!!! Relief is an understatement!

Would AppleCare cover an "examination" - like a preventative examination? It may be that it would potentially save Apple some £££ in the future if some related fault came from the screw being loose. Whadya reckon?

Thanks again,

SierraDragon Aug 2, 2009 03:55 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Matthew Attoe (Post 3866470)
Would AppleCare cover an "examination" - like a preventative examination? It may be that it would potentially save Apple some £££ in the future if some related fault came from the screw being loose. Whadya reckon?
I reckon Apple might say "Hmm, y'all took your Mac apart, dropped some screws, have more parts than when you started and you expect AppleCare to remain in coverage? And you want us to do a free examination (whatever that is)?"

Personally I would keep Apple unaware of your foray into atypical expansion. If the box fails then take it in for service.

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