​ Adding USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 to Classic Mac Pro with Dual SSD Boot

The classic Mac Pro continues to be a workhorse for one-lites and dailies. At The DIT House they still rent, and are even used for editing. So we decided to teach an old dog new tricks by adding an Aukey PCIe card with 2 USBC ports.

Parts List
(1) Aukey PCIe Card
(1) Power splitter
(1) Power extension
(2) Sata cables
Our systems have dual ssd boot drives for redundancy. These were utilizing both power taps in the optical bays. To fully support 3.1 power draws, the card needs to be powered. As 9to5Mac pointed out, routing from the optical bay is the preferred method. So I split one to power both ssds, then ran an extension from the other to the card. I also added sata leads from each tap to ssd.
It wasn’t exactly plug-and-play, the molex connectors were too large to clear through the opening. I could have disassembled the case, but opted instead to snip the cable, pass it through, then crimp it back together.
The next hurdle was making all the connections fit together. I shaved the plastic on the connectors using a Dremel. If you don’t have access to a Dremel, I found alternative cables you could use.
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Now you have high speed USB-C 10Gb/s, which is becoming the port singularity. It’s not Thunderbolt, but still allows the use of RAIDs and other interesting new USBC periphs. And we kept dual ssd boot drives so redundancy is maintained. All while leaving the 4-disk raid powered and in place.
IMO the PCI Gen 2 architecture is still a major drawback to this system, DDR3 aside. I’d love to test an AMD Polaris card (RX 480) in here next, but putting that card in an Akitio Node connected to the 2016 MBP over ThB3 is more interesting to me at this point tbh. It represents another step toward decentralizing the PC, which I am all for. Poking around inside the cheese grater just feels so 2012.

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