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Mac Pro won't boot as soon as I insert my RAID card

Pecacheu
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Hiya! I am trying to use an HP LSI 9217-4i4e SAS card with my Mac Pro but it isn't working. It's a 6Gb 2 port Mini SAS PCIe RAID card, with one port facing internally and the other externally. (The Mac Pro requires a SAS connection to hook up the SATA HDD bays inside... because Apple.)

 

However when I connect the card to my Mac in any slot, it won't even POST. It just sits there on a white screen (before showing the Apple logo but after making the 'dong' sound) indefinitely. I really wish it was possible to see the BIOS messages in case there's some kind of error, but I don't think it's possible to do that on a Mac (let alone access the BIOS to change any settings). There is also a green LED on the card that blinks on and off about once per second. It's not labeled so I don't know what it's for. But the odd thing is the card works 100% just fine when connected to any other PC. (The LED pattern is the same.) It works in Windows, haven't tried setting it up in Linux yet but the PC will at least POST.

 

I wondered if it was because the card is PCIe gen 3 and the Mac Pro (2008 model, maxed out config) is gen 2. But the internet says PCIe is forward AND reverse compatible. I can't think of anything else that's causing the problem. It shouldn't matter whether the card is compatible with Mac OS or not, I was told it's compatible with Linux and that is what I'm running. My Mac Pro has Ubuntu 22.04 installed on it (not Bootcamp, just Linux, wiped Mac OS). I do also have the original SAS card that came with the Mac preinstalled, but unfortunately, it seems to be some proprietary nonsense that's completely incompatible with Linux.

 

Tried to get some help for this on Stack Overflow but so far unsuccessful.

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Do you know anyone else who uses this RAID card with a mac pro? Apple is known to have a restricted UEFI and is only compatible with particular hardware. 

 

Unfortunately, I'm not capable of answering your query. Still, I hope someone here is, or maybe you can track down someone good with Apple devices, mac forums might be handy, or you could ask Apple support (if you can get onto them) whether the Mac Pro is only compatible with specific RAID cards. 

#Determine if advice was helpful
def was_helpful(advice):
  if advice >= 8:
    return True
  else:
    return False

helpfulness = input("Was I very helpful (1-10)?")
try:
  helpfulness = int(helpfulness)
  if helpfulness < 11 and helpfulness > 0:
    if was_helpful(helpfulness):
      print("Glad I was helpful")
    else:
      print("That's a shame")
  else:
    print("Provide a number between 1-10 next time...")
  except:
    "You did not provide a number"

 

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12 hours ago, Akolyte said:

Do you know anyone else who uses this RAID card with a mac pro? Apple is known to have a restricted UEFI and is only compatible with particular hardware.

I did no research to determine if it is Mac compatible beforehand. When I look it up I get this massive PDF that mentions "LSI 9217-4i4e" and Mac compatibility is mentioned elsewhere... But I'm not sure if that's any conclusive evidence.

 

To be fair, I had previously inserted a random USB 3.0 PCIe card I have laying around and that works flawlessly so I assumed that any card would. I also just tested an NVMe PCIe card that I have from another system and that also works, granted the Mac refuses to boot from it of course.

 

So I bought a card with an LSI chipset that was on a "works with Linux" list I found somewhere and happened to be for a good price. I had no clue Apple would restrict it from working... I didn't even know they COULD do that outside of the OS level, I figured "well it runs Ubuntu now, it's a Linux PC for all intents and purposes." But no, of course not... Not with an Apple product.

 

Upon looking for info on if the Mac Pro is only compatible with certain RAID cards the answer appears to be yes(?). If it is the case that the Mac is somehow preventing me using the RAID card on purpose, I guess that's $60 down the drain. I'd have to find some sort of overlap with a card that is both compatible with Linux and graciously allowed to be used on this machine by the Apple overlords, and that's apparently not easy to find.

 

My only hope is to try and get the Newer MAXPower RAID (seemingly clone of Highpoint RocketRAID) card I have that IS compatible with it working in Linux somehow. Easier said than done, I tried every suggestion I could find to make it work, Linux just won't see it at all, but Mac OS and Windows can (heck, the drivers are even automatically installed).

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