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MicroServer N36L/N40L/N54L - 6 Drive Edition

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Have you used the R622 with Port Multipliers? If so were you able to benchmark multiple drive simultaneous access?

 

 

I.E.  DD from the raw drive  in parallel.

I'm curious if the High Point drivers handle it as smoothly as the Silicon Image cards.

While 30MB/s simultaneous access of 4 drives isn't that fast these days, I found that multiple drive access did not choke out the other drives.

Never used the non-RAID version only have the RR622 and I've only used them with Windows not Linux.  That might be why they work better for me.  The Marvel drivers for Windows may be better then the Sil drivers and the opposite for Linux.  For me speed wasn't an issue as I use them JBOD to Windows and not in any RAID configuration where simultaneous access is required.  So I've never bench marked them in Windows simultaneous or separately.  I routinely get 80-100+MB/s copying files 4GBs+ between drives but that is only two drives at a time.

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Remember that UnRAID is NOT a typical RAID access scenario ... the only times when more than 2 drives at a time are being accessed are (a) parity checks/builds;  or (b) if multiple clients are accessing the array at the same time and streaming/using different disks.    And if the accesses are writes, and there's a cache drive, then even then it's only one disk being accessed.

 

Bottom line:  While any port-multiplier scenario results in reduced bandwidth per/disk, in most cases it's just like Bob outlined for his Windows experience ... and you'll get very good bandwidth.

 

Probably the major "issue" (and whether this is an issue or just a lack of patience is debatable) is that parity checks will take longer  :)

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What are the temperatures like on these little things as was thinking of using one to back up the important bits on me main server.

Fine!

 

Very detailed  8)

... I suspect some actual numbers would be a bit more useful !!

 

There are temps scattered through this thread. I could find them, or you could look yourself.

 

In normal use, drive temps are in the 30s. During a parity check, 7200rpm drives can get in to the 40s with 6 drives and warm ambient temps.

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Remember that UnRAID is NOT a typical RAID access scenario ... the only times when more than 2 drives at a time are being accessed are (a) parity checks/builds;  or (b) if multiple clients are accessing the array at the same time and streaming/using different disks.    And if the accesses are writes, and there's a cache drive, then even then it's only one disk being accessed.

 

Bottom line:  While any port-multiplier scenario results in reduced bandwidth per/disk, in most cases it's just like Bob outlined for his Windows experience ... and you'll get very good bandwidth.

 

Probably the major "issue" (and whether this is an issue or just a lack of patience is debatable) is that parity checks will take longer  :)

 

I'm one guy, but I'm a programmer and a power user. I alone access multiple drives simultaneously. Since the unRAID server is my file server, all my documents, music, source and downloaded files go there. At the same time I have a bittorrent laptop that is continually downloading there. Then there is the HTPC constantly reading and playing music.  I don't use unRAID just as an archival server, I use it as my main file server.  For me, there was an issue of latency, blocking and stuttering.  Smooth coordinated access could have an impact. It all depends on usage and simultaneous access.  While I have not tested parity check speeds with some of the lower performing PMP devices, 10MB/s to access the drives will surely impact your parity check speeds to the point of being unusable.

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Thanks again buddy.

 

I am not too concerned with the internal drives running at SATA III speeds. They are all standard 3.5" hard drives in th ebox now and I am content with the speeds I am getting.

 

I am more concerned with the port multiplier speeds. Which card would you recommend then?

I think you mentioned it was the Syba, but do you mind linking me to it so I get the right one? You posted a link earlier in this thread I believe to an ebay auction but it has now ended.

 

Thanks so much once again for your help!

Thank you Weebo, but it doesn't seem like that Startech is a silicone image chipset which is what you recommended?

 

That enclosure seems pricey. What do you think about this one?

 

http://www.amazon.com/Mediasonic-HF2-SU3S2-ProBox-Drive-Enclosure/dp/B003X26VV4/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=37PZEZFSOCZ37&coliid=I1CTS9U3BFXBXW

 

 

I recommended the StarTech if you wanted/needed the 2 'other' internal drives to run at top speed. I.E. SATA III.

It's what I choose so my SSD would get 350MB/s.

It does not work well with Port Multipliers. It works, just not as smoothly when accessing multiple drives simultaneously.

 

 

I don't have an opinion on the mediasonic box.

 

 

I selected items based on performance, reliability and functionality.

I choose the sans digital box for it's internal power supply and hardware raid functionality should I choose to re-deploy elsewhere. It's really come in handy when I needed it. Have two of them.

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Thanks again buddy.

 

I am not too concerned with the internal drives running at SATA III speeds. They are all standard 3.5" hard drives in th ebox now and I am content with the speeds I am getting.

 

I am more concerned with the port multiplier speeds. Which card would you recommend then?

I think you mentioned it was the Syba, but do you mind linking me to it so I get the right one? You posted a link earlier in this thread I believe to an ebay auction but it has now ended.

 

Thanks so much once again for your help!

 

 

That particular SYBA card is no longer available. It was a SD-PEX40031. 

I bought it used on eBay knowing it was not produced or available any longer.

I bought it specifically because it had 4 ports, It uses some kind of bridging chipset for the PCIe to PCI-X.

I'm not sure I would recommend that one specifically.

I moved that to my ESX host.

I'm currently using the addonics and the startech SATA III controllers in my N54L.

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Try the Rosewill RC-218 card. It is port multiplier capable. I've been using one in my main unRAID setup for over two years with no issues. And I recently got one for my second unRAID. It's a x4 PCI express card with two external eSATA connections and four internal sata. Although only four can be active at once(selected by jumpers). I'm using four external enclosures connected to the RC-218 with seventeen hard drives on my main unRAID. On my second unRAID I have two external enclosures with eight drives connected to the RC-218.

 

I picked up my second one for around $68 from Amazon this past week. Newegg prices were higher.

This is the card I plan to use in my N54L when I'm ready to set it up. Hopefully there won't be any issues with it. But in my first two unRAID setups it has worked very well.

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Okay great thank you again!

 

I purchased this Addonics card. I'm assuming it the SIL chipset?

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

 

and this enclosure

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003X26VV4/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I've been using seven of those MediaSonic enclosures(USB 2.0 versions) with my WHS for over three years. They have worked great. Plus they will power down automatically as well so no need for me to get a power strip to do it like with my primary unRAID with SansDigital enclosures.

 

I'm in the process of transferring content from my WHS to my unRAIDs and as the drives are freed up I will be moving my Mediasonic enclosures over as well. Although with my WHS six of them were using USB. It will be nice to be able to use the faster eSATA port on them with unRAID.

 

Hopefully I'll be able to use five of my MediaSonic enclosures with my N54L when I get it setup. Four connected to a Rosewill RC-218 PCI express x4 port multiplier card, and one from the built in port multiplier eSATA port.  If I can use five of the Mediasonic enclosures, plus use five drives in the N54L I'll be able to max out the number drives in my third unRAID setup with twenty five 2TB drives. All from my current WHS setup. But it's going to be a few weeks until I get around to starting on the N54L since I need to copy so much data from my WHS to my second unRAID setup first.

 

 

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Great to hear!

 

So is it basicall 4 drives per SATA port that you get the slow down, Weebo?

So if I get another enclsure and hook it up to the second port on the card will it decreas the speed 1/4 when all drives are read the same way? Or is it 1/8 now since the other box is connected to the other port?

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Anyone here installed ESXi with UnRAID VM?

 

I need you to do a quick test for me please.

 

1) Let me know what the speed transfer you get when you copy a file to a user share with cache-enabled?

 

2) Also what the speed transfer you get when you copy a file directly directly to a cache disk?

 

When I copy a file to a user share with cache-enabled I only get max 35MB/sec, however when I copy to a Cache disk directly it is a lot faster around 60-70MB/sec. Are you having same issue?

 

I posted a thread at http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=27654.0

 

 

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I don't have that kind of setup. I.E. I have unRAID under ESX on a N54L.

I don't use usershares or a cache disk in my configuration. I figured I would post so you knew I wasn't ignoring you.

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Great to hear!

 

So is it basicall 4 drives per SATA port that you get the slow down, Weebo?

So if I get another enclsure and hook it up to the second port on the card will it decreas the speed 1/4 when all drives are read the same way? Or is it 1/8 now since the other box is connected to the other port?

 

I noticed slow down when accessing multiple drives on the same eSATA cable to a Port Multiplier Box.

I did not test to multiple boxes on multiple eSATA cables. I would assume that accessing one drive on each box at a time would provide close to maximum speed for each drive.  The PCIe x1 card is capable of 250MB/s in each direction (i.e. full duplex). 

 

Keep in mind the silicon image chipset is not the fastest port multipler chipset. I believe speed is limited to DMA/100. However, it was the smoothest I've seen when accessing multiple drives on the same eSATA cable.

 

I do like the RC-218 card. I had one. The driver at that time was a lil slower then the Silicon Image chipset. It initialized faster i.e. UDMA/133, but it was slow accessing multiple drives.  That may have changed since my tests with that card were quite a few years ago. In fact during the infancy of Port Multiplier Support in unRAID.  I had also tried the JMB363 chipset with mixed results.  Today's results may be very different from years ago.

 

 

 

 

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I don't have that kind of setup. I.E. I have unRAID under ESX on a N54L.

I don't use usershares or a cache disk in my configuration. I figured I would post so you knew I wasn't ignoring you.

 

Yes I knew that :)

 

I think the speed has improved slightly.

 

In the VM setting, it was set to:

 

Number of virtual sockets: 1

Number of cores per sockets: 2

 

I have changed other way round to:

 

Number of virtual sockets: 2

Number of cores per sockets: 1

 

I don't understand what that mean but the transfer speed seem to be improved, what did you set to?

 

 

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I'm simpler,  1 virtual socket, 1 virtual core.  I run other VM's. So my setup needs to leave the other core unused.

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I don't have that kind of setup. I.E. I have unRAID under ESX on a N54L.

I don't use usershares or a cache disk in my configuration. I figured I would post so you knew I wasn't ignoring you.

 

Yes I knew that :)

 

I think the speed has improved slightly.

 

In the VM setting, it was set to:

 

Number of virtual sockets: 1

Number of cores per sockets: 2

 

I have changed other way round to:

 

Number of virtual sockets: 2

Number of cores per sockets: 1

 

I don't understand what that mean but the transfer speed seem to be improved, what did you set to?

This:

Number of virtual sockets: 1

Number of cores per sockets: 2

simulates a multi core CPU.

 

This:

Number of virtual sockets: 2

Number of cores per sockets: 1

simulates a multi CPU MB

 

Or at least that is what I am assuming.  I can't say I've seen anything to confirm that theory.

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OK. I finally got around to setting up my N54L. I flashed the Bios. So if I have everything set up right, when I connect a drive to the eSATA port it should show up as AHCI right? Instead of IDE?

 

Also is there anything I need to do to enable port multiplier capability from the eSATA port?

 

I've loaded unRAID r15a so far with no issues. Hopefully I'll have another port multiplier capable enclosure removed from my WHS so I can try out the eSATA port. Plus I still need to get another Rosewill RC-218 card. And of course get a third unRAID license.

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The bios needs to be adjusted for sata port 5,6.

 

In bios under Chipset / SouthBridge Configuration / SB Sata Configuration

Disable "SATA IDE Combined Mode" - sets port 5 and 6 to use AHCI

 

There might be other settings, that's what I could remember.

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I'd also turn the write cache on. That's off by default.

 

Really? Write cache on? I'll try changing it.

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I'd also turn the write cache on. That's off by default.

 

Does enabling write cache have any noticeable benefit?

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What about the sata rate? If I set it to 3Gbps Max, does that mean every drive will try to run at that link rate? Or is auto the setting I need?

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I'd also turn the write cache on. That's off by default.

 

Does enabling write cache have any noticeable benefit?

 

I just changed mine. When it was disabled I was doing around 45MB/s for a parity sync. With it enabled the speed jumped to over 100MB/s.

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