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Thread: SATA Controllers

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb iSCSI Fibre Channel-to-Serial ATA

    iSCSI Fibre Channel-to-Serial ATA RAID

    quote:
    Another vendor goes down iSCSI path
    Adaptec buys Elipsan.

    By Chris Mellor, Techworld

    Adaptec has bought UK company, Elipsan, to add virtualisation facilities to its products.

    It has agreed in principle to acquire Elipsan Limited, a network storage infrastructure software provider. Elipsan's storage virtualisation technology will enable Adaptec to facilitate storage scalability and increase performance across multiple RAID subsystems.

    Adaptec said the use of storage virtualisation enabled IT managers to capture all network storage capacity physically located throughout the organisation in a single, easy-to-manage interface. By integrating Elipsan's virtualisation and business-continuance capabilities directly into Adaptec's RAID subsystems, Adaptec claimed to eliminate the need for a dedicated server or expensive third-party management software. It will also offer faster backup and recovery.

    Adaptec is also dipping a toe into the iSCSI waters with an iSCSI-to-SATA RAID system offered for backup, archive, or storage of what Adaptec calls reference data (others describe it as fixed content) and storage consolidation applications.

    HIGHLIGHTS:

    The new Adaptec iSA1500 Storage Array offers IP SAN capabilities and is a 1U system that provides one terabyte of storage capacity in four hot-swappable Serial ATA disk drives and supports RAID levels 0, 1, 5 and 10. The array automates storage management to simplify installation, configuration and administration of IP SANs.

    Adaptec FS4500 Fibre Channel-to-Serial ATA RAID and JBOD storage arrays

    Adaptec also introduced Fibre Channel-to-Serial ATA RAID and JBOD storage arrays for midsize businesses. The Adaptec FS4500 combines Fibre Channel scalability and performance with Serial ATA disk drives for reference data storage. The FS4100 SATA drive enclosure can scale to 24 terabytes of direct-attached, or networked, storage and provides an upgrade path to fully redundant RAID.

    Adaptec's suggested retail pricing for the Adaptec iSA1500 is $10,000. MSRP for the Adaptec FS4500 and FS4100 is $14,299 and $9,599, respectively. http://techworld.com
    Last edited by TZ; 12-09-2005 at 12:08 PM.

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    Lightbulb TCQ Part V: PATA CQ

    Well, let's try and play this trick with the queue depth on a SCSI drive, just to make sure. If the graph showing the dependence of the HDD performance on the requests queue depth differs for SCSI drives with enabled and disabled CQ, then. Ok, let's first look at the graphs:

    As we see, the old trick works fine on the SCSI drives. Having reduced the queue depth for tagged-requests, we prevented the SCSI drive (in our case it was Maxtor Atlas 15K) from processing these requests in the optimal way from its point of view. That is why it is not at all surprising that the HDD performance under any type of workload laid by the Intel IOMeter pattern equaled the HDD speed for queue=1.

    But look how scalable is the HDD speed when we enable TQ! Even when we had only two requests the HDD sped up a lot: and we do not see any flat spots on the curve.

    So, the experiment with a SCSI drive showed us the efficiency of the TCQ technology. However, we haven't come any closer to the question: does Command Queuing work properly by WD740GD? If the graph for WD360GD HDD, which doesn't support CQ, were similar to that of Maxtor Atlas 15K with disabled TQ support, then we could have stated with all certainty that WD740GD wins due to the implemented CQ support. However, both WD drives proved equally scalable depending on the workload and the performance difference between them is determined only by faster seek time of the new WD740GD.

    Our supposition about WD740GD requiring some special SATA 1.0 controller in order to have the TQ working properly also didn't prove true. We tested the drive with all sorts of SATA controllers but we didn't notice any significant performance differences.

    Summing up everything mentioned above I believe there remain two versions, which sound more or less reasonable:

    1. WD740GD hard disk drive does support CQ, but the exiting SATA controllers ignore PATA CQ. And the performance growth we detected during workload increase can be explained by a banal requests sorting performed by the driver of the SATA controller.

    2. The efficiency of the PATA CQ is so low that it is hardly noticeable against the background of the performance growth resulting from the optimization of the requests processing order by the controller driver.

    Here I would like to stop our discussion, but I will definitely return to this interesting topic later in the upcoming articles.
    Last edited by TZ; 08-22-2004 at 01:22 PM.

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    Lightbulb TCQ Part VI: File I/O Pattern Performance

    Well,. It seems to me I have already seen something like that (see our review of WD Raptor: First ATA Hard Disk Drive with 10,000 rpm Speed for details). At the same time there are a few differences. Due to a radically lower average seek time, WD740GD outperformed all SCSI competitors in Random-Read mode (of course we are only talking about those SCSI drives, which took part in our test session). In those cases when we have writes among the processed requests, the advantage of the WD740GD is also evident, except the Random-Write mode. I assume that there is no 10K SCSI drive in the market today, which could successfully compete with WD740GD in mixed modes under linear workload.

    But what will happen if we increase the workload on the drive?

    As the workload grows up, the consequences are inevitable: Ultra/150 CQ of WD740GD either failed or worked inefficiently. While SCSI drives felt at home under heavier workload and immediately sped up. Of course, WD740GD is no competitor to the SCSI solutions any more.

    So, the results of our database tests demonstrate that CQ support by WD740GD didn't bring any significant benefits to the drive. Although excellent lazy write algorithms remain really strong weapon of all WD HDDs.

    Performance in Intel IOMeter Sequential Read & Write Patterns

    Now let's see how WD740GD copes with sequential reading and writing. To check this out we will be sending read and write requests (with the queue depth equal to 4) with sequentially growing address. Once a minute we will change the data block size. This testing will show us the dependence of the read/write speed on the size of the requested data block.

    It is evident that WD740GD is not any slower than any of the participating SCSI drives. It actually outperforms them quite a bit.

    At the same time, all three SCSI drives worked faster with 8KB data blocks than WD740GD. This is a pretty interesting result, as WD740GD has always been beyond any competition when working with larger data blocks. The processing of large data blocks shows very clearly how big the linear read speed difference between the two Raptor generations is.
    Last edited by TZ; 08-22-2004 at 01:22 PM.

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    Lightbulb TCQ Part VII: Sequential Writing

    Now let's take a look at sequential writing:

    During writing WD740GD proved nearly perfect. Although it appeared a little slower than Hitachi HDD on small data blocks, it outperforms the latter once the data blocks size increases. At the same time we can also see that its write speed on 32KB and 64KB data blocks got somewhat slower.

    Performance in Intel IOMeter FileServer and WebServer Patterns

    Now it's high time we ran some tests in server patterns. Keeping in mind the results obtained in the DataBase pattern, we do not expect much here, but still.

    In FileServer pattern WD740GD is about 10% faster than the SCSI drives under linear workload. But as the workload increases, it starts falling behind them. In WebServer pattern WD740GD drive doesn't boast any evident advantage over the SCSI competitors under linear workload: it can't resort to its main weapon any more ?€“ the lazy write algorithms.

    If we try to average out the HDDs performance under all types of workload we will get the following picture:

    No doubt that WD740GD can successfully compete with SCSI drives only under low workload, and since the rating is calculated basing on the performance of our testing participants under five types of workload, WD drives do not look that attractive any more.

    Performance in Intel IOMeter WorkStation Pattern

    Now let's test our new Raptor in WorkStation pattern. Theoretically, the situation in this pattern is favorable for WD drives as they have to work under low loads and perform a lot of writes. Anyway, let's check out the results:

    In fact, the situation is very similar to what we have just seen in server patterns. Although the access time of our WD740GD is close to that of the participating SCSI solutions, our hero is considerably faster under low workloads. But as soon as the workload reaches 4 requests, SCSI drives outpace the winner.

    On the other hand, high HDD speed under high workloads doesn't matter that much for desktop applications, because they are not typical of desktop systems.

    Due to a significant advantage over the SCSI drives under low workloads, the new WD740GD looks very attractive overall.

    However, when we run the tests within a 32GB partition, the situation gets somewhat different: the victory belongs to a 73GB HDD from Seagate. Although WD740GD is still faster than the leader under linear workload, it is unable to break ahead in the 32GB partition, where the SCSI drive receives an indisputable bonus from the TCQ.

    Performance in Intel IOMeter WorkStation Pattern

    Now let's test our new Raptor in WorkStation pattern. Theoretically, the situation in this pattern is favorable for WD drives as they have to work under low loads and perform a lot of writes. Anyway, let's check out the results:

    In fact, the situation is very similar to what we have just seen in server patterns. Although the access time of our WD740GD is close to that of the participating SCSI solutions, our hero is considerably faster under low workloads. But as soon as the workload reaches 4 requests, SCSI drives outpace the winner.

    On the other hand, high HDD speed under high workloads doesn?€™t matter that much for desktop applications, because they are not typical of desktop systems.

    That is why we will calculate the performance rating for WorkStation pattern in a bit different way. Unlike server patterns where we consider all workloads to be equally probable, here we have to introduce probability coefficients for large workloads so that we could reduce their weight for the final result. The weight coefficient for the HDD performance under certain workload is inversely proportional to the queue depth.

    Performance = Total I/O (queue=1)/1 + Total I/O (queue=2)/2 + Total I/O (queue=4)/4 + Total I/O (queue=8)/8 + Total I/O (queue=16)/16 + Total I/O (queue=32)/32

    Now let's see what we've got:

    Due to a significant advantage over the SCSI drives under low workloads, the new WD740GD looks very attractive overall.

    However, when we run the tests within a 32GB partition, the situation gets somewhat different: the victory belongs to a 73GB HDD from Seagate. Although WD740GD is still faster than the leader under linear workload, it is unable to break ahead in the 32GB partition, where the SCSI drive receives an indisputable bonus from the TCQ.

    Now let's check the performance of our drives in Business Disk Winmark and High-End Disk Winmark:

    Hm.. It looks as if WD740GD has finally managed to take revenge for the failure in server patterns of Intel IOMeter. It is at least 1.5 times faster in Winbench than the SCSI HDDs. And in the Business test its advantage grew up to two times!

    In case of a 32GB logical partition all HDDs performed a little bit faster overall, but the situation with the participants ranking remained the same. WD740GD is ahead of all with a huge advantage.

    Now let?€™s take a look at the performance in NTFS file system:

    Well, it looks as if only absolute performance values have changed. But wait, in the Business test WD740GD is more than twice as fast as the SCSI HDDs.

    Times change, but they cannot change everything. WD hard disk drives are still very powerful in Winbench99 although they also owe a lot to the SATA controller drivers, as we have just seen.

    Performance in FC-Test

    Now we are going to try our HDDs in the last benchmark intended to check how fast they write, read and copy files. This is going to be the first time we use FC-test for a massive SCSI HDDs testing. And to tell the truth, we were really surprised with the results, I should say.

    The results for WD drives were obtained with a Promise S150 TX2+ controller:

    This is a very illustrative diagram, isn't it? The write speed appeared very low for SCSI drives. Could it be the driver of our Adaptec controller? Or maybe it is the peculiarity of the SCSI solutions, because all caching algorithms are set for random workload and not for streaming requests. It is especially true for lazy writing. Anyway, last time we tested a Fujitsu SCSI drive, it demonstrated normal write speed (see our article called WD Raptor: First ATA Hard Disk Drive with 10,000 rpm Speed for details).

    And SATA drives from Western Digital on the contrary, performed brilliantly: the average write speed for files from the ISO pattern exceeded 40MB/sec. So, it is not at all surprising that WD740GD was faster than WD360GD on all patterns.
    Last edited by TZ; 08-22-2004 at 01:22 PM.

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    Lightbulb TCQ Part VIII: Read Performance and Copying

    Now let's compare the read speed:

    Suring files reading SCSI HDDs managed to regain their reputation: only in the ISO pattern WD740GD managed to outpace SCSI drives from Seagate. At the same time the Hitachi drive, which boasts much faster linear read speed than WD740GD, fell just a little bit behind the WD solution in all patterns. Could it be that SCSI drives have something to help them during reading? Especially, when the workload is a little bit higher than the linear ones.

    Now let's check file copying:

    And what happens during files copying? Some data is read from the HDD and written into a different location. In other words, every copy operation can be split into four simple commands: read the data, move the heads, write the data, move the heads.

    The results of our SCSI solutions show very clearly that the data writing is their bottleneck in this entire process, while the remaining three steps are performed at almost no expense at all.

    WD drives appeared somewhat faster than SCSI drives during files copying. SCSI HDDs failed mostly on the ISO pattern, while WD740GD showed its real best there.

    During file copy from one partition to another, it takes more to move the heads and the overall performance gets somewhat lower. However, it hardly changes anything: SCSI drives are defeated by their SATA rivals from Western Digital.

    It is interesting that the file creation speed on SCSI drives doesn't depend on the average file size at all and stays around 11MB/sec. For WD drives, this performance is very dependent on the average file size, but even in case of the smallest files WD740GD is almost twice as fast as any of the participating SCSI solutions. Not to mention the ISO patterns.

    During files reading SCSI solutions from Seagate are again ahead. WD740GD managed to retain its leadership only in ISO pattern.

    During files copying in FAT32 we witnessed only one surprise: WD360GD outperformed WD740GD. Anyway, WD740GD is faster in NTFS

    Conclusion

    Speaking about our today's hero, WD740GD, I have to state that the new Raptor is significantly faster than its predecessor and boasts larger storage capacity, which will definitely make it more popular. Moreover, our tests showed that Western Digital WD740GD is the today's fastest desktop hard disk drive.
    Last edited by TZ; 08-22-2004 at 01:23 PM.

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    Lightbulb SeriTek 1VE4 and 2eEN4

    A winning combination of products from FirmTek and Sonnet:

    AMUG: A review of the FirmTek SeriTek/1VE4 Four Port External Serial ATA PCI-X Host Adapter.

    OS 9, OS X10.1.5 or later (works best with 10.2 or later).
    Compatible with ALL PowerMac G3, G4 & G5 computers.
    32/64 bit, 33/66MHz PCI
    133/100/66MHz PCI-X
    Compliant 32-bit PCI bus version 2.2
    Compliant with PCI-X bus version 1.0a
    Supports up to four external SATA 3.5" drives.

    Which PCI Slot Works Best?
    The SeriTek/1VE4 Host Adapter can be placed in any available PCI or PCI-X slot within a PowerMac. There are four external ports on the card that are used for connecting up to four external SATA drives. If you are installing the SeriTek/1VE4 Host Adapter in a PowerMac G5 with PCI-X, installing the card in slot #4 (the top slot) which supports 64-bit, 133 MHz will provide the best performance. The image below shows the card being installed in slot #4.
    FirmTek rolls out 3.0Gbps SATA 4-drive enclosure
    FirmTek today introduced its external SeriTek/2eEN4 serial ATA 4-bay enclosure, offering up to 3Gbps transfer rate with hot-swapping technology.

    Features include eSATA connectors, a whisper-quiet design, and an exclusive heat management system which lights LEDs and sounds a mute-able audible alarm when temperatures rise. The case consists of brushed and anodized extruded aluminum for rigidity and heat dissipation.

    Additionally, the SeriTek/2eEN4 offers a physical lock-and-key mechanism, a Kensington security slot to secure the chassis, a built-in server-class universal power supply, and support for host adapter, operating system, and software-based RAID or JBOD configurations. The SeriTek/2eEN4 Serial ATA enclosure is available for $500, and specially priced bundles with host adapters are also available.
    http://www.barefeats.com/hard58.html
    Last edited by TZ; 10-06-2005 at 08:56 AM.

  7. #7
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    Lightbulb SeriTek/1VE2+2

    SeriTek/1VE2+2 2-Port Internal, 2-Port External Serial ATA PCI-X
    www.firmtek.com/seritek/ MSRP: $139.95

    Introducing FirmTek's Flexible SeriTek/1VE2+2 2-Port Internal,
    2-Port External Serial ATA PCI-X Host Adapter

    The SeriTek/1VE2+2 is designed with a 133MHz PCI-X interface to deliver extreme Power Mac G5 performance with high-performance compatibility on all other PCI-based Macintoshes. It features direct booting from any attached hard drive or volume, hot-swap capability, support for native Mac OS X RAID 0/1 (mirroring or striping), and it works with OS 8, OS 9, and OS X 10.1.5 and later on any PCI bus-based machine intended to run those OSs.

    SeriTek/1VE2+2 Key Features and Benefits:
    * Four independently controlled Serial ATA ports; 2 internal and 2
    external
    * Exclusive hot-swap capability of stand-alone drives and entire RAID
    volumes; add and remove drives without shutting down the computer
    * Latest 133MHz PCI-X interface technology
    * Compatible with all PCI-based Power Macintosh computers; deliver top
    performance on "Sawtooth" G4, and all G5 computers
    * Supports direct booting from any attached drive
    * Boosts overall system performance with data transfer rates of up to
    150MBytes/sec or 1.5Gbits/sec per port
    * Supports Mac OS 8, OS 9, and OS X version 10.1.5 or later
    * Provides performance and protection: Supports native OS X RAID 0/1; OS
    9 RAID with third party software
    * User-upgradeable firmware for easy updates
    * Large LBA support for drives larger than 137GB
    * Includes two "designed for Macintosh" thin and flexible internal SATA
    data cables to allow easy, optimal placement of internal devices
    * Ideal for backing up large amounts of data - perfect for
    multimedia-intensive applications: audio/video capture and editing,
    graphics manipulation and high-end digital publishing
    www.firmtek.com
    Barefeats review:
    G4 POWER MAC SURPRISE

    In 5 out of 8 tests, the SeriTek/1VE2+2 installed in the G4 Power Mac running a 4 drive RAID 0 set was equal to or faster than when it was installed in the G5 Power Mac (non-PCI-X).
    SeriTek/1VE2+2 Review
    Last edited by TZ; 12-09-2005 at 12:00 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default

    Just to keep you all informed, MacGurus is highly unlikely to carry the Fusion. I am not particularly a fan of tight minimum airflow enclosures with small power supplies. Nor do I like the Sonnet (ProMax) skeleton hotswap trays. They don't always lead to longevity on the drive connections and they do nothing to help drive cooling nor protect the drives when they are out of the bay. Those are the lightest built sheet metal trays one could make.

    Not that the product is bad, but at an MSRP of $600 for the 4 Bay Sonnet Fusion versus a 4 Bay Hotswap Burly at $405 is a poor comparison for Sonnet. I think we have a more perfect combination than that.

    Macgurus will soon be shipping a prebuilt SATA enclosure with a four drive hotswap cage. Looks like this:



    Better cooling, quiet and perfect desktop size. Our pricing should have it around $440 or $475 with external cables. All in a 7 x 6 x 11 box.

    Rick
    Last edited by ricks; 06-21-2005 at 09:56 PM.
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  9. #9
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    Lightbulb

    SeriTek/1VE2+2 2-Port Internal, 2-Port External Serial ATA PCI-X
    www.firmtek.com/seritek/ MSRP: $139.95
    AMUG Review SeriTek/1VE2+2
    Last edited by TZ; 08-29-2005 at 11:20 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Billington
    2x2 makes a whole lot of sense. I appreciate all the clear allusions to compatability with the Ole Sawtooth. Man. Spare cash? !!!!!??

    CB
    As usual, this is specially optimized for the Sawtooth. The history: looking at (f)eeBay statistics with a fellow at A. following dialog happend few years ago:

    "- What Mac is the most popular on the used market?"
    "- Not sure, maybe..."
    "- Sawtooth or Mystic?"
    "- That's right, we see quite a few trades"
    "- Either one. It's difficult to tell them apart, but if so we are going to optimize for both. Luckily they are almost the same apart of Gig Ethernet"

    Since it happened, every single card which ends on "Tek" is tought a trick to recognize the Sawtooth and Mystic machines and make the I/O as fast as possible. With four drives expect 140 MB/Sec speed on RAID-0. No other card comes even close. No one else could beat the Sawtooth speed barrier of about 80 MB/Sec.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ataMan
    No one else could beat the Sawtooth speed barrier of about 80 MB/Sec.
    Ooops, wrong. SeriTek/1V4 and SeriTek/1VE4 are head-to-head with it.

  12. #12
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    Cool Hi Ataman

    Even with my experience I have to say the Sawtooth seems a good machine. Expandable and working very well on the final incarnation of 10.3. But which machine is referred to as 'The Mystic'? The Seritek 1S2 I put in this Sawtooth has run flawlessly from the start. A very satisfactory piece of work. I am in awe of much of the information I read on this forum..... Speeds and callibration and so on. But really, at my level of expertise all that matters is speed I can actually see. The SeriTek and SATA drive I hooked to it showed me that. I do want external storage for Backups and the 2x2 would be perfect for that. As always it depends on the budget!

    CB
    Last edited by Chris Billington; 06-26-2005 at 04:54 PM. Reason: Spelling. Surprise.
    It's a nice nose! I like it! It's chewy!!

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    Default

    "Mystic" = same as Sawtooth but with dual processor capability and Gigabit Ethernet

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    Lightbulb Sonnet TEMPO-X SATA 4+4 PCI-X

    TEMPO-X SATA 4+4
    PCI-X HOST CONTROLLER CARD FOR POWER MAC COMPUTERS

    IRVINE, CALIFORNIA Ñ December 3, 2004Ñ Sonnet Technologies, the worldwide leader in upgrade cards for Apple Macintosh¨ computers, announces announces the new Tempoª-X SATA 4+4 8-port Serial ATA PCI-X host controller, the latest addition to the Sonnet Tempo line of products. This high-performance adapter features four internal plus four external Serial ATA ports, giving users unparalleled flexibility in connecting eight Serial ATA hard drives. It utilizes the PCI-X interface to take advantage of the enhanced performance offered in Power Mac¨ G5 computers while retaining compatibility in standard PCI slots. Tempo-X SATA 4+4 enables Mac owners using high-end streaming applications to take advantage of the advancements in Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) storage technologies; with data transfer rates of up to 150MB/s per port, this productÕs performance is comparable to SCSI but without the SCSI price.

    Sonnet Announces PCI-X Serial ATA Controllers

    MacGurus Store Sonnet TEMPO-X SATA 4+4 PCI-X

    check information about this card over on the forums and check out Tom's Hardware review to understand the limitations of the Marvel chipset (used by many).
    Last edited by TZ; 12-09-2005 at 11:56 AM.

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    Lightbulb

    As of mid-April '05 firmware version 5.1.1 appears to have fixed the issue, but as the update isn't found on their site, one has to contact them with one's part serial number etc.
    I have never updated to this firmware version. Please post a link when you find it. I am super busy this next few days or I'd go find it. I still will if you don't in a few days.

    My Seritek is one of the very first that does not support "deep sleep" without sending it to Giga for a fix and I run my computer 24/7 or somedays if I am going to be away for days I just do a shutdown. I'd like to have the "deep sleep" option.

    Quote Originally Posted by ataMan
    - The "deep sleep" cannot be fixed via firmware upgrade, it's a combined Apple + Silicon Image (the maker of the SATA chip) issue and requires a minor hardware modification of the card. Once modified, the machine will wake up properly. Only Digital Audio and QuickSilver machines are involved.

    - If you never updated the firmware, you are likely running 5.0.3. Please contact info@firmtek.com regarding the latest update.
    Last edited by TZ; 12-09-2005 at 11:57 AM.

  16. #16
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    Tongue

    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    PCI cards always take extra time. SCSI can mean 1-2 minutes longer as it scans for possible devices (15 per channel). Barefeats did some boot tests of various drives on native and PCI controller (G5 only model with native SATA) against different drives, including RAID and non-RAID.

    I boot from SCSI and don't find it to be noticeable, and I only boot once or twice a day.
    That is true, but there is always work going on. Currently the Mac-based SiliconImage 3112A (SeriTek/1S2, SeriTek/1SE2) and Intel GD31244 (SeriTek/1Vxx) are much faster and SAFER booting then their PC counterparts. Once in a while I do see drives being disappear on "pee see" but it is very stable on the Mac.
    Hint/1: the BIOS for pee + see was written by SImage and Intel, not FirmTek.
    Hint/2: unless serious job will be put into BIOS, this shows how the "brave new world" of x86/Mac could look like.
    Hint/3: there won't be less work to do and faster product turnarounds on x86. Hope, more customers...

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    Lightbulb SeriTek 1VE4, SATA Hot-swap Burly

    Got my new MacGurus 4-bay Hot-swap SATA Burly up and running.

    Installed a SeriTek 1VE4 in slot #3 (100MHz) of the G5 Dual 2GHz.
    The firmware rev on the card is 5.1.1.1VE4
    The card installed beautifully though one must be careful to insure the external SATA connecter slots are not infringed upon by the outside of the PCI slot cover openings on the G5. Fortunately, there is a bit of adjustment possible where the card screws to the computer.

    Putting the Burly together was pretty straight forward and took about an hour.
    The only tough part was the instructions for each drive case's drive power/drive activity LEDs. For the time being- because I couldn't understand the instructions I'm not an electrician- I didn't attach any of the included wires, resulting in the each drive's power LED lit but not the drive activity LEDs; nor did I attempt to power the front panel LEDs on the Burly case with the wires attached to the Burly chassis.
    Later, I'll get to trying to get all that working.

    I bought a total of 5 hot-swap cases since I have 5 SATA drives I plan to use with this unit.

    3 drives are 300GB 7200.8 Barracudas fw 3.02
    1 drives is a 300GB 7200.8 Barracudas fw 3.01 which I already owned.
    1 drive is a 160GB 7200.7 Barracuda which I already owned.

    I have the 3 new 'cudas mirrored with SoftRAID as a single 279GB automatic nightly backup volume. One of the three drives is for an off-site backup. The other two will remain on-line, though I can easily keep the volume un-mounted for extra protection if I want.

    When it's time to rotate the off-site backup drive, I un-mount the mirror volume, pull the other hot-swap "secondary disk" drive, bring it to the off-site location, and exchange it for the older "secondary disk" drive backup. I put the older "secondary" drive back in the Burly and SoftRAID commences to rebuild the previously "missing secondary disk" to match it to the "primary disk" of the mirror, which never gets removed from the Burly. Swapping the drives in and out is quick and easy with the latch and key system.

    In SoftRAID prefs, you can have the rebuilding start automatically or manually. Rebuilding appears to continue to run in the background even after quitting SoftRAID. Once though, when I restarted the G5 while the mirror volume was still re-building, the re-building process seems to need to start all over again from the beginning- rather than from where it left off. Maybe if I had pressed Cancel or command period first before restarting, it would have been able to pick up where it left off on the rebuild.

    Rebuilding with an empty drive added to the mirror took some serious time; 8 or 9 hours for 66GB of data- I lost track.
    Rebuilding the mirror with "a day old" drive only took a minute though.

    Another good thing, the process doesn't seem to use much system resources. CPU usage was less than 1% and RAM use was maybe 20MB total while SoftRAID was running, and almost nothing while SoftRAID.app was not running but the volume was still re-building. It was hard to figure out what process was carrying on the re-building but disk activity in Activity Monitor showed a continual I/O transfer rate of about 9MB per second, and you could hear the 'cudas working.

    I've kept the other two older SATA drives as Apple-formatted offline backup volumes so not everything is SoftRAID formatted (don't wanna be locked in too tight!)

    One thing I found essential: labeling of which mirror drive is primary and which are secondary on the front of the hot-swap drive trays. I never wanted to accidently remove the "primary disk" drive of the mirrored volume, because if you do, SR automatically turns one of the other "secondary disks" into the "primary disk" and my feeble brain would not be able to sort that out! I wanted to use the "blink disk light" feature in SoftRAID to make that easy, but that didn't work with the non-functioning disk activity LEDs. So eventually I guessed right and promptly labeled everything properly.

    Both SoftRAID and Panther have excellent status panes which appear when a SATA drive is disconnected or reconnected, identifying which bus and device number, and SR warns you nicely when a drive is out-of-sync and needs re-building.

    As a backup system this is working real well; backups are fast, much faster than firewire ever was for me, and I much prefer the SATA cables which don't feel like they could accidently be dislodged if bumped the wrong way like those fw800 cables.
    I've booted without problems from the Burly with both the SoftRAID mirror and ADU-formatted drives, so this will also work nicely to regularly repair and maintain the G5's internal drives.


  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    6

    Lightbulb SeriTek/1SE2


    I have a SeriTek 152 sata pci card in my G-4 867 Quick silver. I have gone thru all the iterations of OSX with no problems, the sata drives boot fine. The card (152) shows up in the system profiler under the PCI section.

    I wanted to add another drive and had no room internally so I bought a SeriTek/1SE2 external sata PCI card. Under OSX 10.4.1 the card is not recognized (it doesn't show up in the PCI card list and won't mount the connected drives). Under OS X 10.3.9 I can see the 1SE2 card but as soon as I connect anything to it it causes a Kernel panic. (I get the sata status change alert and after clicking away all the windows the machine does a kernel panic)

    If I boot into OS 9.2.2 the machine sees the card and mounts the sata drives connected to it.

    I have tried the card in multiple PCI slots and the results are the same. I have examined the two cards and the only real differences I can find ( other than internal and external ports is the ROM. The internal seritek I have is ROM # is 503L335 and the 1SE2 is 5091SE2. The only other PCI card I have installed is a adaptec SCSI card.

    Any ideas for a solution?
    Last edited by TZ; 08-29-2005 at 11:46 AM.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Mobius Strip
    Posts
    13,045

    Lightbulb

    FirmTek just came out with a new card, two internal and two external connections for $139. http://www.firmtek.com/seritek/
    See this thread.

    Are you trying to use both SeriTek cards together? I don't think that is a "recommended" setup, but not sure. I do know that performance can suffer with two cards if you don't have PCI-X.

    Which Adaptec card? can you try without it?

    Any time that you change PCI card configurations, it is wise to boot into Open Firmware (command option of keys held down together at startup, either restart or cold start) and enter three commands. There is a link to Apple note in the Troubleshooting Guide.

    > reset-nvram
    > set-defaults
    > reset-all

    system will now reboot.

    What firmware does the new card show? Tiger has expanded what it shows for PCI cards as well as having entries now for SATA as well as ATA and Parallel SCSI.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Thanks for the great advice. You can't in fact have 2 sata pci cards together. As soon as I removed the internal sata card the external worked and visa versa. You would think SeriTek would give you warning about not being able to use the two cards together. Now I have a external controller I can't use. Perhaps they will let me exchange it for the 2 internal and 2 external port unit.
    I know about the added catagories in the system profiler. The pci card shows up but none of the sata drives do even though they work fine. in 10.3 they show up as ata drives.

    Thanks again for your timely help

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