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MicroServer N36L/N40L/N54L - 6 Drive Edition

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WOW that is excellent news.

Two months older news now, than when I tried telling you ...

For those interested, I just purchased a N54L.

...

I'm using an addonics SIL3132 card for external eSATA access to a Sans Digital PM Unit.

Have you tried plugging the SansDigital into the MicroServer's eSATA port? [surprise!! :)]

I'll have to test if unRAID can support the PMP capability.

Probably will, but performance (parity check, etc.) might be yucky.

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

Even there, you will be limited to about 120 MB/s total bandwidth with the PM enclosure. The SiI3132 has a bogus transfer rate limit of ~120 MB/s (even though it is PCIe x1 v1, and should be able to get 180-200 MB/s).

 

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WOW that is excellent news.

Two months older news now, than when I tried telling you ...

For those interested, I just purchased a N54L.

...

I'm using an addonics SIL3132 card for external eSATA access to a Sans Digital PM Unit.

 

Have you tried plugging the SansDigital into the MicroServer's eSATA port? [surprise!! :) ]

I'll have to test if unRAID can support the PMP capability.

Probably will, but performance (parity check, etc.) might be yucky.

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

Even there, you will be limited to about 120 MB/s total bandwidth with the PM enclosure. The SiI3132 has a bogus transfer rate limit of ~120 MB/s (even though it is PCIe x1 v1, and should be able to get 180-200 MB/s).

 

I forgot.. I've been so buried in life after Sandy recovery.  ;)

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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 using this with the double twin in my N40L.  It is a tight fit in mine but I got it to work.

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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 using this with the double twin in my N40L.  It is a tight fit in mine but I got it to work.

 

Thanks it! Thanks!

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I'm using this with the double twin in my N40L.  It is a tight fit in mine but I got it to work.

Got one of those covers for where the optical drive opening is. It looks excellent but the bracket also is a very tight fit, tighter then the two drives with Nexus Double Twin adapter, but it works.

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I'm using this with the double twin in my N40L.  It is a tight fit in mine but I got it to work.

Got one of those covers for where the optical drive opening is. It looks excellent but the bracket also is a very tight fit, tighter then the two drives with Nexus Double Twin adapter, but it works.

Yes.  I tried to make mine bend out in the middle of the bracket and split the difference a little bit inside the case at the outside edges and a little bulge sticking out in the middle.  Wish they could reduce it in width by a couple of millimeters so it would fit a little better.

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just got my N54L ordered yesterday off the newegg deal yesterday 299+tax- 50 dollar newegg rebate.  Picked up a 4tb hard drive also going to use that as the parity along with a 2 x 3tb hard drives (possibly a third) i picked up over the last couple of months.

If i'm just running unraid and probably sabnzb would the 16gb of ram be worth installing?

 

this usb drive shouldn't give me any issues for unraid correct? http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004BLIQDW/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

 

comments off of newegg said this memory was good to go if i need to go for 16gb http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231556

 

i've saw some mention of a ssd any thoughts on this? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227810

pretty excited to get my new 6tb plus system up and going soon!!!!

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If i'm just running unraid and probably sabnzb would the 16gb of ram be worth installing?

 

I think that's overkill, myself. 8GB should be plenty. Perhaps if you were running ESXi or multiple VirtualBox VMs, 16GB would be wise.

 

I run 8GB and run nzbget, Transmission, Sick Beard, nzbgetter and a bunch of other stuff including a 1GB RAM Windows XP VM under VirtualBox occasionally. I never get near to overtaxing the RAM. It just gets used as a cache for file access most of the time.

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oh okay i haven't tried using nzbget yet need to try out sick berad and couch

what's transmission good for? good links for it?

might need to bum some of your nzb :-D only have 2 resources since the big debacle a few months ago

are you running anything for your cache drive?

 

only reason i'm leaning with sabnzb just given i'm really familar with using it after switching from newsleecher (i know :-S)

but i am open have to do some more research

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Even with SABnzbd, you'd be hard pressed to tax 8GB of RAM.

 

There are threads all over the board about how to install everything.

 

I do not allow bumming of my NZB. That means a different thing to us fellas in the UK.  ???

 

All my apps run on the cache drive and that's where the data is written to initially by those apps.

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lol oh okay sorry didn't mean bum in a uk fashion but i'll ask via pm.

ill stick with the 2gb stick for now if i noticed things are sluggish i'll probably just grab an 8gb stick and run it at 12 not sure what else I might end up doing with it since it will have so much space.

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I can confirm this ram works in the N54L.

Crucial 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model CT2KIT102464BA1339

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148466

 

There were posts about it, i bought it, it worked. I have two machines with it.

 

As far as, will be be useful? Well you have to determine how busy the machine is.

With the right kernel tunings, the large ram and buffer cache come into play and you can move small files to the machine at very high speed.  Granted you have to retune the kernel a bit, but I was getting high transfer speeds on small writes for a burst. Good when moving lots of MP3 files or torrents.

 

You also can consider how cheap ram is these days vs what could come around the corner next year.

 

4GB is enough for an unRAID server, anything more is cache enhancement.

 

I'm running ESX 5 on my machine. If you plan to run ESXI, go for the most you can afford.

When I'm not running ESX and just unRAID, my unRAID usage is very fast.

 

FWIW, I use these in the top bay.

 

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

 

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

 

The ICY DOCK is well made, but I do not like how the drive is exposed a bit when you put a drive in.

The SYBA has a door that closes. It's not as sturdy, but looks nicer then the edge of a drive showing.

 

So you can fit a 3.5" drive and a 2.5" SSD in the top bay.

You will need a Molex to SATA power cable.

You will need an SATA cable from motherboard to top bay and an eSATA to SATA cable to route from the back.

 

Frankly, I decided to go with another controller instead.

 

StarTech PEXESAT322I PCI-Express x1 Low Profile Ready SATA III (6.0Gb/s) 2 Int/2 Ext SATA Controller Card

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816129101

 

I plan to use two controllers and put each drive and each eSATA unit on it's own card. But for now I have one drive on the motherboard and the other drive on this controller.

 

On one of the other machines I'm using a SYBA-SIL3124 PCIe controller which gives me 2 internal and 2 external ports.  newegg doesn't have it anymore. I had to score it off eBay.

 

Power-over-eSATA II + Internal SATA II 4-port PCI-e Controller Card with Low Profile Bracket

http://www.sybausa.com/productInfo.php?iid=844&currentPage=0

 

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nice thanks for all that info think i'm going to go head and pick up the StarTech PEXESAT322I PCI-Express x1 Low Profile Ready SATA III (6.0Gb/s) 2 Int/2 Ext SATA Controller Card, Crucial 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) and the SYBA SY-MRA55006 5.25" Dual Bay Mobile Rack for both 2.5" and 3.25" SATA HDD, Plus 2 USB 3.0 Port.

 

Are you using an external system to add more drives into it to make use of those other connections you'll get with the pci and pci-e and esata ports that are open?

 

think i'm goin to grab a 2.5 ssd to run my cache on

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Are you using an external system to add more drives into it to make use of those other connections you'll get with the pci and pci-e and esata ports that are open?

 

I like these

 

SANS DIGITAL TR4UTBPN 4Bay USB 3.0 / eSATA Hardware RAID 5 Tower RAID Enclosure (no eSATA card bundled)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816111149

 

I'm sure there could be better ones. In my case I like having and internal power supply. (no blocks, just standard PC style power cord). 

The option of plugging a drive in without trays.

The ability to use Port multplier with JBOD or hardware raid, concat,1,0,5,or 10.

I have one in RAID10 mode and another in jbod mode.

Although I not tested PMP capability in JBOD mode under unRAID, the drives did show up individually in JBOD mode under ESX 5.1 (but let me double check and verfiy that again). In my Micro server I had two controllers. 1 startech, and one SIL3132.

I did test the PMP capability using the eSATA port on the back of the server and ESX nor unRAID saw all drives in JBOD mode. It could require a load of the modified bios.  An original unmodified machine did not have PMP capability of the eSATA port (yet).  In any case you could take smaller drives, RAID10 or RAID5 them and use that as a vmfs DATASTOR for esx.

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I like these

 

SANS DIGITAL TR4UTBPN 4Bay USB 3.0 / eSATA Hardware RAID 5 Tower RAID Enclosure (no eSATA card bundled)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816111149

 

I'm sure there could be better ones. In my case I like having and internal power supply. (no blocks, just standard PC style power cord). 

The option of plugging a drive in without trays.

The ability to use Port multplier with JBOD or hardware raid, concat,1,0,5,or 10.

I have one in RAID10 mode and another in jbod mode.

Although I not tested PMP capability in JBOD mode under unRAID, the drives did show up individually in JBOD mode under ESX 5.1 (but let me double check and verfiy that again). In my Micro server I had two controllers. 1 startech, and one SIL3132.

I did test the PMP capability using the eSATA port on the back of the server and ESX nor unRAID saw all drives in JBOD mode. It could require a load of the modified bios.  An original unmodified machine did not have PMP capability of the eSATA port (yet).  In any case you could take smaller drives, RAID10 or RAID5 them and use that as a vmfs DATASTOR for esx.

 

That Sans Digital enclosure looks like exactly the kind of thing I had in mind when asking my question, a few days ago, about possible future storage expansion for my Microserver.

 

Am still alittle confused by what sort of controller card I'd need to be able to hook one of those enclosures up to my Microserver. Does anybody have any suggestions on what card I should be looking at? Ideally I'd want for Unraid to see the individual drives in the enclosure, and for a setup where performance of the enclosure drives isn't hampered too much.

 

Peter

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Have any of you tried installing ESXI on N40L and what the performance like? is it too much hassle?

 

I played with ESXi on N36L shortly but because (1) you can not passthrough a hardware controller to a VM and (2) CPU is incredibly weak for any practical application, it makes little sense to run ESXi on a microserver other than for testing and experimenting.

 

How it can make sense to run ESXi on a microserver when you say CPU is incredibly weak for any practical application?

 

I am considering selling N40L so I can build my own mini server (same server case size) with much powerful CPU and better motherboard that support passthrough.

 

Tempted to do the same, but the cost of new server will be higher than the N40L I assume?

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smh did i break my n54l?

none of my cage drives are reading anymore.  i put in my 16gb of ram and my ssd but now the only things that read in the bios and unraid are the ssd and the thumb drive i have installed

and now when i plug in the system the red light is coming on and the system wont boot up

 

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Cross post from another thread. I'm only adding it because some of the performance tests and recommended devices.

 

FWIW, I got my two N54L's running today with ESX and unRAID.

 

I found I had to use the -z switch to make the RDM files/links to the .vmdk.

Once I did that it worked with lsi sas then switched over the pvscsi without issue.

 

I did find some interesting tidbits with the N54L and speed.

 

I have a Startech PEXESAT322I PCI-Express x1 Low Profile Ready SATA III (6.0Gb/s) 2 Int/2 Ext SATA Controller Card

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816129101

 

This card supports SATA III.

 

I had the sandisk external raid unit set up with 2 3TB Seagate 7200 RPM drives.

Native unRAID did a read test clocked at 230 MB/s

under ESX unRAID did 170MB/s with the LSI SAS controller and 230 MB/s with the PVSCSI controller.

Just something to think about.

 

I did a whole assortment of speed tests with the N54L. I found the Startech controller to be good for single drives, but a SIL3132 to be good for multiple drives on a PMP device.

 

I'm also using the Addonics ADSA3GPX1-2E PCI Express eSATA and SATA II 2 Port eSATA II RAID Controller

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816318005

 

I found this to handle the PMP smoother. It seems the silicon image drivers multiplex drive access smoother then the Startech ASMEDIA ASM1061.

 

While the startech handles single drive speed the fastest, the PMP speed of multiple drives at the same time was abysmal.

 

SIL3132 DD read tests of 4GB on all drives brought it down to about 33MB/s for all drives at the same time.  Actually that's not too shabby. Single drive speed was about 120MB/s never really higher no matter what model of drive I used.

 

ASMEDIA ASM1061 DD read tests of 4GB on all drives brought it down to about 10-20MB/s on various tests for all drives at the same time.  Single drive speed maxed at 170MB/s for the newer seagate 1TB platter drives (3TB and 2TB).  with a Samsung PM 840 PRO I was getting 350-420MB/s read tests.

 

The interesting point about the SIL3132 is that for a single drive, you get max speed, for 2 drives, you get half speed, for the drives you get 1/3rd, then down to 1/4th.  Seems appropriate. With the ASMEDIA ASM1061, I saw big blocks of data being serviced for one drive.. then move on to the next drive, then onto the next, and so on.

 

I've yet to do an analysis of how it affects parity generation or checking.

 

I still see myself using the ASMEDIA ASM1061 for the top two drives which are going to be dedicated to ESX.

Samsung PM 840 PRO 256GB for ESX data store and a Seagate 2TB 7200 RPM for it's backup.  I may change this if I find the Samsung to be so reliable that the spinner is unnecessary.

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Have any of you tried installing ESXI on N40L and what the performance like? is it too much hassle?

 

I played with ESXi on N36L shortly but because (1) you can not passthrough a hardware controller to a VM and (2) CPU is incredibly weak for any practical application, it makes little sense to run ESXi on a microserver other than for testing and experimenting.

 

How it can make sense to run ESXi on a microserver when you say CPU is incredibly weak for any practical application?

 

I am considering selling N40L so I can build my own mini server (same server case size) with much powerful CPU and better motherboard that support passthrough.

 

Tempted to do the same, but the cost of new server will be higher than the N40L I assume?

 

 

I have the N54L with 16GB of ram.  ESX runs OK on it. 

In comparison, at work we have a dual processor 2.5 ghz opteron  we've been running RHEL 4 with vmware server 1.0 for years. It gets about 5184 Bogo mips. We hit this hard with about 3-9 RHEL linux VM's at a time.

 

 

The N54L is 2.2ghz dual core and gets about 4400 bogo mips. 

Since I do not hit the server so hard as we do at work, Plus with the use of ESX rather then RHEL/VMware Server, ESX is pretty do-able with light loads and/or use of an SSD for the datastore.

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Has anyone upgraded their N54L with the modified Bios for the improved SATA options?

There are numerous reports (on other forums' MicroServer threads [homeservershow.com & overclockers.com.au]) of people successfully installing one or another unlocked ("modified") BIOS (initially intended, and used, on the N36L/N40L) on the new N54L.

 

If you stay with the stock BIOS, SATA ports 4 & 5 are locked in IDE mode and limited to SATA I speeds. Also they are incapable of hot-swap usage and port-multiplier controllability (both of which require the port to be in AHCI mode).

 

Just Do It!! :)

 

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Has anyone upgraded their N54L with the modified Bios for the improved SATA options?

 

I successfully updated my N54L's BIOS last night using TheBay's version. Afterwards, I went into the BIOS, loaded optimal defaults, and then tweaked a few settings. Among the adjustments, I set the "SATA 5/6 IDE Mode" (I don't remember the exact label, but it will be close to this) option to "Disabled" under the "SouthBridge Configuration" options. Upon next boot, all my drives populated in AHCI mode and unRAID started up without a hitch.

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Has anyone upgraded their N54L with the modified Bios for the improved SATA options?

 

I successfully updated my N54L's BIOS last night using TheBay's version. Afterwards, I went into the BIOS, loaded optimal defaults, and then tweaked a few settings. Among the adjustments, I set the "SATA 5/6 IDE Mode" (I don't remember the exact label, but it will be close to this) option to "Disabled" under the "SouthBridge Configuration" options. Upon next boot, all my drives populated in AHCI mode and unRAID started up without a hitch.

 

 

Thanks. I'll attempt it this weekend.

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