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neilt0

MicroServer N36L/N40L/N54L - 6 Drive Edition

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Hi,

 

I just found that SATA HDDs are not running in AHCI mode despite selecting AHCI mode in BIOS and It has BIOS version (04/02/2011) installed.

 

By default it had AHCI model enabled for SATA drives but on boot it lists them as IDE.

 

I have installed WHS 2011 on it and Device Manager list all drives as ATA using IDE channel.

 

1. UDMA mode supported by Sata HDDs are udma6 but driving runs only on udma2 and gives write speed of 97 mb/s. Don’t know why it is not running on udma6 mode?

 

2. Bought an 128 GB Crucial SSD and attached it to ODD SATA port, this one also listed as ATA drive in Device Manager but runs on UDMA6 although it support UDMA5 and gives right speed of 1 gb/s.

 

3. Some blog users have pointed out that if drives run in AHCI mode they should be listed in same place as USB in windows explorer but that’s not the case in my scenario.

 

Am I missing any setting? How to use SATA drives effectively?

 

Thanks

 

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You have to use the hacked or Russian or "Thebay" BIOS. Otherwise two of the ports will be IDE and not AHCI. Read this thread from the beginning or Google.

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I am toying with the idea of getting an N40L and running Unraid on it.

 

My question is - would it be possible to use the eSata port and connect an external eSata hard drive enclosure to extend the Unraid array?

The ideal would be something like a 4 bay external like this: http://www.startech.com/HDD/Enclosures/4-Bay-External-Hard-Drive-Array-Storage-Tower%E2%80%93eSATA-USB-Enclosure~SAT3540U2E.

This would allow somebody to expand from 5/6 drives to 8/9 drives.

 

Thoughts?

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I am toying with the idea of getting an N40L and running Unraid on it.

 

My question is - would it be possible to use the eSata port and connect an external eSata hard drive enclosure to extend the Unraid array?

The ideal would be something like a 4 bay external like this: http://www.startech.com/HDD/Enclosures/4-Bay-External-Hard-Drive-Array-Storage-Tower%E2%80%93eSATA-USB-Enclosure~SAT3540U2E.

This would allow somebody to expand from 5/6 drives to 8/9 drives.

 

Thoughts?

The Esata port on the Microserver does not support port multiplying.

you would have to get an esata card that supports port multipliers to use an external multi-drive esata bay that uses port multiplication.

 

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@Neilt0,

 

Can you post a pic with that mesh bay cover in place?  I've got another 2GB WD Green here I could potentially use as the 6th array drive, just need to get a Nexus DoubleTwin or X-Swing bracket to mount it and the 5th drive in the top bay.

 

Edit: Forgot to mention I got the cache drive installed today.  I'm a bit scarred from the process of re-routing power cables, etc but it works.  I'm using a SIL3132 based controller card to handle mine, saves having to re-route the eSATA port.

mesh_cover.png.1550053abf7e2650dfb36c3e31cc1e19.png

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I've acquired a mesh bay cover so I can add a 6th array drive.  I have a 2TB WD Green I can use but it's an Advanced Format drive.  Would I be OK to re-assign this as the parity drive and re-allocate the current Parity drive to the array?  Will having Parity on a 64K sector drive cause any issues?

 

Also, I'm a little dissappointed with my performance results after adding my Cache drive (WD Black 500GB 7200RPM).  Not much write improvement and read speed actually dropped (albeit only marginally).

 

No Cache drive :-

 

Average (W): 57.6 MB/sec

Average ®: 113.13 MB/sec

 

With Cache drive :-

 

Average (W):    64.27 MB/sec

Average ®:    107.86 MB/sec

 

BIOS is currently set to have Write Caching enabled, should I disable it?

 

NVM, answered my own question by trying it, write speeds died big time!

 

Average (W):    25.78 MB/sec

Average ®:    110.26 MB/sec

 

Read speed a tiny bit better, just lucky there I think.

 

Nastester creates a temp file for the write part of the test.  It doesn't try and read an existing file, just reads the temp file back.  I'm assuming if the data I'm trying to access had already been moved to the array then reads would need to go there.  Nastester points to a drive letter but wouldn't the read/write still go via the cache drive first?

 

Update: Doh!  I didn't have cache enabled for the share Nastester was using, didn't realise it was disabled by default.  It helps if you read the manual LOL!  Much better figures now :-

 

Average (W):    92.59 MB/sec

Average ®:    113.95 MB/sec

 

Also found a easy ghetto mod to hold the 2.5" cache drive in place in the void under the ODD bay, slices of wine cork cut to an appropriate thickness  :)

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I've acquired a mesh bay cover so I can add a 6th array drive.

Where did acquire the mesh cover from and do you have a picture of it. Does it fit in the covering slot area easily?

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Where did acquire the mesh cover from and do you have a picture of it. Does it fit in the covering slot area easily?

 

I put out a call on the WTB forum of Overclockers AU (OCAU) and a fellow member had one spare.  It's from a Coolermaster Elite 3xx series case and as near as I can tell the dimensions match those of the cutout on the Microserver.  I don't have it as yet so cant say for sure if it will fit or what it will look like.

 

Can anyone tell me why the status light on my Cache drive in the UnRAID console is flashing green, not solid?  I also can't see the temperature of the drive now.

NVM, all good now.

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I just  realised I never came back to say how I went with the mesh panel.  It fits fine with a little bending and twisting, doesn't need anything else to hold it in place too.

 

I have 7 HDDs all running happily in my Tardis now, 6 x 3.5" and 1 x 2.5".  Temps are good, the bottom HDD in the double stack running just a few degrees Celsius higher than the rest even during parity checks (have one running right now and temp is 35c, other 6 are 31/32c).

 

The hardest part of getting all the drives in was shoehorning the Nexus DoubleTwin into the ODD rails, don't want to think about having to do that again in a hurry.

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Hi - Just came to check your link after you posted on my readynas post. Looks good, the HP is a cracking little box. Good to know i can get another disk in under there if i need to. I have a spare 1.5TB 3.5 drive so might go for an external caddy for now but see if i can steal the power out of the erver somehow as its on a ups etc and would be good to have them all on the same supply. If not it will just be powered seperatly and plugged into the esata.

 

As someone who has never touched linux, never built a server but has loads of storage sapce needs UnRaid has been great so far and the support on the forums is really first rate

 

Cheers

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Neilt0 - i have taken your build and done something almost the same. As i only use if for holding and streaming data to 1 TV i have not done anything about memory but i have done the nexus double mod with the hacked bios. Couple of things

 

1. My system does not see the new disk at all. Did you have any such issue? in another thread someone has suggested it could be the e-sata to sata cable as these can be picky.

2. How are your temps in the top area? I put in the plastic bezel and the lower drive (the one already in the array) got past 40 pretty quick. It seems to show a degree or so higher than the others by default but this was more than 5 degrees hotter in a relativly short time with no work being done. Do you have a grill or fan in the front bay cover and how do your temps look?

 

This gives me 9.5TB of working space with the option to go further as 3TB or 4TB get cheaper - this little N40L is a cracking little box !

 

Thanks

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Neilt0 - i have taken your build and done something almost the same. As i only use if for holding and streaming data to 1 TV i have not done anything about memory but i have done the nexus double mod with the hacked bios. Couple of things

 

1. My system does not see the new disk at all. Did you have any such issue? in another thread someone has suggested it could be the e-sata to sata cable as these can be picky.

It's probably the cable, as I told you in the other thread. Try another one and if it doesn't work, I'd contact HP and see if the port is dead (highly unlikely).

 

2. How are your temps in the top area? I put in the plastic bezel and the lower drive (the one already in the array) got past 40 pretty quick. It seems to show a degree or so higher than the others by default but this was more than 5 degrees hotter in a relativly short time with no work being done. Do you have a grill or fan in the front bay cover and how do your temps look?

 

I have a grill in mine (from my Sharkoon case). I suggest putting a cache drive and an array drive in there (not two array drives). The reason for that is when you do a parity check, the cache drive is not checked, so only one of the drives will heat up.

If you hammer the cache drive with a usenet and/or client like I do, the other drive there, if it's in the array, will probably be spun down.

 

My drives in that top part (5400rpm) don't get too hot. I wouldn't put 7200rpm drives in there. My older 7200rpm drives (in the 4-bay area) get to 45 degrees during a parity check, but none of my drives ever go above that.

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Cheers - i am also now pretty convinced its the cable. The drive in a caddy with e-sata port works connected to the e-sata on the server so its not the port and its not the drive - does not leave much. Did not know theyw ere so fussy about cable quality. I think i used a link on this thred somewhere to get one off e-bay. Is there something specific i should be looking for on either end (thinking the server end is more fussy than the drive end). I got this cable http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/110654586577?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649 but its not like the picture e.g. the HDD end is just plastic, no metal parts

 

As for the heat i think i will add some air space into the front cover to allow air to be drawn in through that bay by the main fan. I do not use the server for anything like user groups etc, just as a store for lots of movies and music so drives are spun down most of the time. I also do not have a cache drive in there. Parity check would be the most activity or if i was watching a movie from one of the 2 drives in that bay as it would stay spun up for a couple of hours. Think when i get the drive to work i will watch a parity check for a couple of hours to see how things go and then let it finish off overnight. Might also just run a test and let a film run on the pc off that drive, just to see how we go when its spinning for a while.

 

Question - does the e-sata connected drive also get spun down

 

So just need to get the darn thing to see my added drive now !!!

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Question - does the e-sata connected drive also get spun down

 

Should do.

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Thanks - got some feedback and stuff to try from joe.l. Powerdown, swap connector over to other sata cable in the ODD bay and power up - new disk is there, other has gone. Seems to be the disk not visible on that cable. Put everything back and now all running fine until i can source a new, different cable.

 

Just running a test now with all disks spinning and running a movie off the disk in  that bay to see how temps go. Seems to be around 36-37 so far, bit more than before but not excessive. What would you consider to be a worrying temp so i know when to stop and consider some alternative cooling (already put a row of holes into the plastic bezel so some ari gets drawn over the drive - maybe it will need some more before i gor gor cutting out a big area and sticking some mesh over ....

 

Thanks again for the feedback, appreciated

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The real test is a parity check, which is why I recommend only one array drive in there. I would worry at temps over 45 for long periods, but in theory you can run up to the max the mfr specifies and Facebook and Google run their drives hot.

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Thanks for the info. Running a movie for 2 hours with the other drives spinning i am getting around 37-38. cannot try a parity check until i get drive and cable sorted out but if i get low 40's only during a parity and sub 40 for normal working i will be comfortable with that. If it gets more might consider a fan type bay cover and pump some air over them, lets see how it goes. Will keep you and anyone else this is useful for, informed

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N40L with new drives. One drive each is on SAS, AHCI SATA, and eSATA. These are fast drives.

microserver_with_new_drives.jpg.864072a90ebba110268e8517e0401814.jpg

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Just done monthly parity check with 5 data drives, 2 of which are mounted in the top drive bay. Max temp was 41 in the top and 38 for one of the others in the main array area. Think that is fine if only for hard parity check.

With 5 data drives I currently have 9.5 tb of space with possibility to grow to 15tb using 3tb drives these N40l servers with current uk discount are first class for this kind of set up.

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I have two MicroServers running unRAID. Both have been extended to run 6 drives. A third system is currently in use as ESXi server and may become another unRAID next year. Here is some information that maybe useful for other MicroServer owners.

 

A. BIOS Update: This is required for adding a 5th and 6th hard drive. I have been using the 'Russian' BIOS mod for a while, but all my systems run a version supplied by TheBay now. I have documented the process and required settings in a PDF document [1]

 

B. Hardware mods: I have been using the Nexus DoubleTwin [2] to mount 2 drives in the Optical Drive Bay (ODB) [3] [4]. Cables required are (i) a power splitter / Y cable from Molex to 2x SATA power; (ii) an internal SATA cable, approx 50cm long; and (iii) an external eSATA to internal SATA cable, approx. 50cm long. The 5th drive is connected using (ii), routing the cable from the motherboard to the ODB. See the silver cable in pictures [4] [5] [6]. For the 6th drive, cable (iii) is routed from the back of the case through an opening above the PCI extensions slots [7]. You can easily bend the metal on the clamp that holds down extension cards with a pair of pliers. Temps can go up a bit during parity checks, but are OK otherwise. Replacing the ODB cover with a perforated cover might be a good idea.

 

C. Wake-On LAN: This has to be enabled in the BIOS (see [1]). The current unRAID releases have a bug in their shutdown scripts causing the network interface to be in the "up" state on powerdown. However, at least on the HP, this prevents WOL to work when the system is powered off (as compared to a WOL from S3/Sleep, which is not supported by the MicroServer BIOS). To fix, this I have added the lines below to my go file:

 

# Fix Wake on LAN
mv /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1 /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1.bak
sed 's/|| \/sbin\/ifconfig/\&\& \/sbin\/ifconfig/' < /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1.bak > /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1
chmod 755 /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1

 

For reference, a copy of my go file can be found here [8]. There's some additional stuff in there that requires extra packages, so please adapt before use.

 

D. Auto Poweroff: I have been using a modified version of the auto_s3_sleep.sh script from this forum, with an added powerDownInsteadOfSleep option [9]. Assuming that this script is located in the bin folder of your unRAID flash share, the following lines in the go script [8] will activate it:

 

# Wait for disks to spindown and no network activity
/boot/bin/auto_s3_sleep.sh &

 

E. Misc enhancements: I have added very thin patches of felt to the drive holders to reduce vibrations and noise.

 

F. Experience: The system is stable with the latest unRAID beta (b14), except that NFS on user shares (NOT disk shares) is totally buggy.

 

Hope this helps some of you guys!

 

[1] http://www.jens-thiel.de/static/HP/HP%20Proliant%20Microserver%20-%20Flash%20Modified%20BIOS.pdf

[2] http://www.aquatuning.co.uk/product_info.php/info/p6594_Nexus-Double-Twin-HDD-decoupling.html

[3] http://www.jens-thiel.de/static/HP/IMAG0127.jpg

[4] http://www.jens-thiel.de/static/HP/IMAG0126.jpg

[5] http://www.jens-thiel.de/static/HP/IMAG0133.jpg

[6] http://www.jens-thiel.de/static/HP/IMAG0134.jpg

[7] http://www.jens-thiel.de/static/HP/IMAG0135.jpg

[8] http://www.jens-thiel.de/static/HP/go.txt

[9] http://www.jens-thiel.de/static/HP/auto_s3_sleep.sh.txt

 

Hi Jens i am running your auto shutdown script and everything works fine accept when i try to wol my machine after a shutdown using your script nothing happens.

i have followed your instructions exactly and added the fix for wol in my go script but still nothing, my machine wakes fine from a normal shutdown just not from the scripted one :S. I am on unRAID 5.0rc5 if thats any help?

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Hi Jens i am running your auto shutdown script and everything works fine accept when i try to wol my machine after a shutdown using your script nothing happens.

i have followed your instructions exactly and added the fix for wol in my go script but still nothing, my machine wakes fine from a normal shutdown just not from the scripted one :S. I am on unRAID 5.0rc5 if thats any help?

 

I haven't updated to the RC version yet  :-\

 

Can you define "normal shutdown" and "scripted one", please? I suppose the latter is waiting for the server to become idle and trigger the script?

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Just installed two drives using the Nexus Doubletwin adapter in the space for the optical drive and wish to know what temperature have you experienced with no grill installed? The drives are 3TB Hitachi 5K3000 Deskstar. I am considering if I have to knock out the space for the optical drive and install a mesh cover. By the way how does one remove the black blank plate from the cover for the optical drive?

 

Thanks

O2G

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I removed the metal internal cover as you would do to install and optical drive, the fron cover then comes out easily. I drilled lots of small holes in my cover to get some air flow over the drives. In a full parity chack the drives get up to 43 degrees - not ideal but its for 6 or 7 hours per month and the rest of the time they are mid 30's so i think its fine. There is some dust getting in through the holes so i think i will put some filter mesh inside if it becomes a bit of a problem. I have been running with 6 2TB drives in mt server for several weeks with no issues. I also did the silent fan mod and although not silent it gives the servers a smooth, and a little quieter sound profile, takes about 30 mins to do. I have 2 sitting side by side on my desk running 24*7 and its not silent but its not an issue.

 

 

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Thanks for your quick reply. I thought as much that you sort of have to twist the inner metal part to open the slot for the tray of an ODD and then remove the black plastic part. I don't do a once a month parity check but maybe every 2 to 3 months so I think temps should not be an issue. I'll look for a mesh cover with some filter material and mod the server in that fashion. On the other hand my box only runs when I want to relax in the Home Theater and watch something.

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