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MicroServer N36L/N40L/N54L - 6 Drive Edition

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Nice to see someone else is using my BIOS, ...

Is it possible to enable SATA III/6Gbps? It is documented as being available in the AMD SB820M.

 

Thanks.

 

 

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I would a better bios, just bought an N54L recently.

 

I'm still hunting for the N54L Bios on the HP website, what version did your's ship with?.

My last bios release will work fine on the N54L btw, the only difference between them all is the CPU.

 

I was looking at the board on mine recently, I might be able to add audio, only a couple of components missing.

 

Been looking in to this SATA  III/6gbs and cannot get my head around how to enable it, the bios has no code whatsoever related to it. HP have probably crippled it on purpose to not compete with the main servers, though I will keep looking in to this.

 

Overclocking/Underclocking may be an option in my next release.

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...

Been looking in to this SATA  III/6gbs and cannot get my head around how to enable it, the bios has no code whatsoever related to it.

If it was easy, we wouldn't be having this discussion :).

 

There are motherboards that use the same SB820M and DO support 6Gbps SATA. I suspect their BIOS might have some good clues.

 

 

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...

Been looking in to this SATA  III/6gbs and cannot get my head around how to enable it, the bios has no code whatsoever related to it.

If it was easy, we wouldn't be having this discussion :).

 

There are motherboards that use the same SB820M and DO support 6Gbps SATA. I suspect their BIOS might have some good clues.

 

It's not just the BIOS though, I am studying the datasheets of the SB820M, there could be a chance that pins are held high or low on the board which enables/disables certain functionality, or there are variations of that certain chipset that lacks features or has been disabled internally to fit a segment in the OEM market, intel do this with their chipsets, that's why PHY's are usually 3rd party though nearly every intel chipset has a built in PHY's, it's a way motherboard manufacturers can sell the higher end products.

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It's not just the BIOS though,

Agreed. But I am a software person, and a seemingly analogous motherboard's BIOS would be an easy starting point for comparison.

I am studying the datasheets of the SB820M, there could be a chance that pins are held high or low on the board which enables/disables certain functionality,

I had done that too, but only within my limitations (I studied EE [almost 50 years ago] but wasn't good at it). One thing that caught my eye (in the DataSheet) was Table 61 (pg 112) -- Performance mode. But then there is the last entry in Table 28 (on pg 77) for AZ_SDOUT which implies (to me) that  Performance mode is always available.

 

Isn't it possible that HP decided to omit/remove a 6Gb/s setting from their BIOS so as to avoid that slight bump in TDP power draw (5.3W vs 4.9W--ref Table 61)? Or, as you surmised, maybe just to cripple the MicroServer market-segment-wise, relative to its more macho Proliant brethren?

 

Hence, that is why I suggested checking another (SB820M-motherboard) BIOS--to see if anything jumps out at you.

 

For example, in the MicroServer BIOS, can you tell me what effect the (SATA) 1.5G setting has, relative to the 3G choice?

 

--UhClem

 

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It's not just the BIOS though, I am studying the datasheets of the SB820M, there could be a chance that pins are held high or low on the board which enables/disables certain functionality, or there are variations of that certain chipset that lacks features or has been disabled internally to fit a segment in the OEM market, intel do this with their chipsets, that's why PHY's are usually 3rd party though nearly every intel chipset has a built in PHY's, it's a way motherboard manufacturers can sell the higher end products.

 

I like this new guy!

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Can someone help me out please?

I have an N36l that's running 6 drives and they are almost all full!

Can you guys recommend the best way to expand the drives? I don't mind if it requires installing some kind of a card into the PCI slot. But I would have to have to spend almost $700 on a new 15 bay computer from scratch when this is working so perfectly...

 

All I need is to be able to add another enclosure with a bunch of drives!

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Just increase the drive size put in two 3TB drives one for parity and 1 for new data & let them synch up. If you are already on 3TB drives then you need to build a new box. I am not 100% sure if the 4TB drives work in the N36L but Neil0 would know.

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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

 

Thank you Jens for a very nice detailed write-up!

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I´m planning to adda some sort of HDD bay to the 5,25 slot in this machine. I see that many here are using the Icy Box hot-swap but is anyone using the Silverstone FP 55. This is supposed to accomodate 1x3,5" as well as 2x2,5"

 

http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=272&area=en

 

Any ideas or comments on this before i order one? :)

 

/Niklas

 

Many of us use the Nexus Double Twin to add 2x 3.5" drives:

 

n36lq.jpg

 

I might try that. Are they both connected to PCI controller?

 

Other option is connect at the back of HP server and also to a motherboard.

 

Don't know which is better.

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I might try that. Are they both connected to PCI controller?

 

Other option is connect at the back of HP server and also to a motherboard.

 

Don't know which is better.

 

If you want to use 6 drives, you don't need an additional controller. There are 6 SATA connections on the Microserver (one is eSATA).

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I remember reading in one of the threads related to the microserver that someone was using a mesh blanking plate.

Can anyone provide a link to a product that will work with the nexus double twin?

 

I'm going back and forth with the idea of 2 3.5 drives in the top bay or  1 3.5 & 1 2.5.

 

I'm using these two products for now.

 

SYBA SY-MRA55006 5.25" Dual Bay Mobile Rack for both 2.5" and 3.25" SATA HDD, Plus 2 USB 3.0 Port

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817998184

 

ICY DOCK MB971SP-B DuoSwap 5.25" Hot-Swap Drive Caddy for 2.5" and 3.5" SATA HD/SSD

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817994143

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I remember reading in one of the threads related to the microserver that someone was using a mesh blanking plate.

Can anyone provide a link to a product that will work with the nexus double twin?

 

Pretty much any 5.25" mesh thingy from a tower should fit. I use one from my Sharkoon case and I think people have used the mesh bay cover from an Antec 1200.

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Guys,

 

I've had my N40L running nicely for about 6 months now. The original 250GB drive (cache) and a 3TB WD (parity) are installed in the ODD bay, and I've got another 3TB WD and 2x1.5TB Samsungs as data drives.

 

I'm in no desparate need to upgrade the storage at the moment, and if I did I still have a free bay and 2x1.5TB data drives which could be upgraded to 3TB.

 

But, with half an eye on future expansion, I was wondering about the possibility of hooking up an external drive cage of some description (in my mind I imagine it holding another 4 drives), along with some sort of controller card to provide the connections to the external cage.

 

Question I have is, what exactly should I be looking for to achieve that? Has anybody hooked up anything like that to a Microserver? Any specific cards or cages I should keep an eye out for? I guess it would make sense if the controller card also had an internal port so that I could lose the esata-in-through-the-back arrangement that I have now.

 

As I said, I'm in no need of extra space for the time being, but it would be good to know what I'm looking for when the time does come.

 

And I guess other Microserver owners might find any information useful as well :)

 

Cheers

 

Peter

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Question I have is, what exactly should I be looking for to achieve that? Has anybody hooked up anything like that to a Microserver? Any specific cards or cages I should keep an eye out for? I guess it would make sense if the controller card also had an internal port so that I could lose the esata-in-through-the-back arrangement that I have now.

 

As I said, I'm in no need of extra space for the time being, but it would be good to know what I'm looking for when the time does come.

 

And I guess other Microserver owners might find any information useful as well :)

 

Cheers

 

Peter

 

what about

http://unixsurplus.com/product/sgi-3u-media-server-storage-16-hd-bay-sas-sata-ssd-san-array-35-nas-jbod-good

 

cheap and expandable, you just need an controller

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I think someone on http://hardforum.com tried maxing out the drives further and there's a limit -- something like 12 drives.

 

It's somewhere in this thread:  http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1555868

 

I've had 9 drives attached to mine.

 

How do you have them attached?

I was thinking of using the SANS DIGITAL external eSATA/USB units to attach more drives along with SIL3132 controllers that do PMP. 

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I think someone on http://hardforum.com tried maxing out the drives further and there's a limit -- something like 12 drives.

 

It's somewhere in this thread:  http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1555868

 

I've had 9 drives attached to mine.

 

How do you have them attached?

I was thinking of using the SANS DIGITAL external eSATA/USB units to attach more drives along with SIL3132 controllers that do PMP.

 

I have an Adaptec 1430SA in mine and the extra drives (apart from the 6x 3.5") are:

 

2x 2.5" (internal)

1x 3.5" (external eSATA with its own PSU)

 

With all these drives attached (6x 3.5" + 2x 2.5"), the Microserver PSU is maxed out.

 

Note that you can apparently use a port multiplier on the eSATA port: http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/4727-successfully-enabled-port-multiplier-on-esata/

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I think someone on http://hardforum.com tried maxing out the drives further and there's a limit -- something like 12 drives.

 

It's somewhere in this thread:  http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1555868

 

I've had 9 drives attached to mine.

 

How do you have them attached?

I was thinking of using the SANS DIGITAL external eSATA/USB units to attach more drives along with SIL3132 controllers that do PMP.

 

I have an Adaptec 1430SA in mine and the extra drives (apart from the 6x 3.5") are:

 

2x 2.5" (internal)

1x 3.5" (external eSATA with its own PSU)

 

With all these drives attached (6x 3.5" + 2x 2.5"), the Microserver PSU is maxed out.

 

Note that you can apparently use a port multiplier on the eSATA port: http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/4727-successfully-enabled-port-multiplier-on-esata/

 

WOW that is excellent news. I'll have to test if unRAID can support the PMP capability.

At the very least a SIL3132 or SIL3134 with eSATA should do nicely.

I would end up with about 13 drives.  5 internal, 4 port SANS Digital box.

I doubt I'll do it, but I'm looking at options since I lost my 20 drive beast and I'm not sure I want to build such a big server anymore.

 

Good reading there at that link, plus the hard forum link. Thanks for posting.

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With 2 7200rpm and 2 green drives in the 3.5" bays, how much 2.5" hdd can I add before maxing the psu ? I plan to add a 6in1 or 4in1 2.5" caddy in the 5.25" bay.

Thanks

 

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In the real world, bearing in mind that the motherboard, RAM, CPU flash drive etc. all use power, my N36L hits 150W when booting with this config:

 

8GB of RAM (the extra DIMM uses a watt or two)

Adaptec 1430SA PCI-E HBA

2x 3.5" 7200rpm drives

3x 3.5" 5400rpm drives

1x 3.5" 5900rpm drive

1x 2.5" 5400rpm drive

1x 2.5" 4200rpm drive

 

I plan on removing the 2.5" drives and replacing some of the smaller (1.5TB) 3.5" drives with larger 3.5" drives (4TB).

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