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Thread: Burly 6-Bay w/Sonnet E4P RAID 0 Super Slow (Speed Issues)

  1. #1
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Burly 6-Bay w/Sonnet E4P RAID 0 Super Slow (Speed Issues)

    Hello all,

    I am having some major speed issues with my recently purchased Burly 6-bay drive plugged into a Sonnet E4P (all drives are Seagate 1GB 7200.11s). I was previously running it on an older Mac Pro 2.4GHz Duo with 4GB Ram. On that older Mac, it played back 1080p 10-bit video beautifully but unfortunately the Mac was becoming incredibly unstable so I decided to move my drive/card to another quicker Mac I have access to so I can finish my project:

    Mac Pro 2.66GHz Quad
    12 Gigs Ram
    10.5.6

    First thing on this Mac: I noticed was that my video was dropping frames like crazy after only a few seconds of playback. I ran the AJA system test and discovered I am getting at most 50-60 MB/s for both read and write. I expected something closer to 300-400 here obviously. I made sure the RAID is stripped and tried zeroing the drives on the new system to no luck. Tried resetting the PRAM too. I am running the newest driver from Sonnet's website.

    The only major difference I can notice between these two systems, besides age, is that the one with the speed issues has an Apple Raid Card and that my older system was running 10.5.0.

    Anyone out there have any idea what is going on? Any other suggestions of things to test?

    Thanks,

    Nick

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    The only thing that comes to mind (and this is not really my area) is that on the PCI Express machines you have lanes assigned to each slot and you can change these lane assignments to some extent. When you moved the card to the new Mac did you put it in a high speed slot and/or assign enough lanes to the slot it's in?

    Someone more knowledgeable than me should be along here any minute to clarify what I (almost don't) know
    Damien,

  3. #3
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    Just a couple questions...

    What slot is the Sonnet card in? (should be in one of the top 2)

    What firmware is the Sonnet card running? (should be 2.1.8 or at least 2.1.4)


    Other than those the thing should run the same on either MacPro.

    Rick
    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

  4. #4
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    Jun 2009
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    Hi Guys,

    Right now it is in slot 3 but I also tried slot 2. I've tried formatting the drives at both 32k and 128k block sizes, but the speeds remain the same (50/60 MB/s). I checked the system profiler, but do not see where the firmware version is listed (image attached).

    I am using this driver:

    http://www.sonnettech.com/support/do...osatae4pmacpro

    ...and when I try to run this 'firmware update' here:

    http://www.sonnettech.com/support/do...osatafamilymac

    I get a message saying it only runs on PowerPC processors. Is that first package Intel procs only? Does it contain a firmware upgrade? I am running the card out of the box so I am unsure which firmware it has.

    Any other hints? I am trying to get started editing a feature I just shot and really need this to work.

    Cheers,

    Nick

  5. #5
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    Hi Guys,

    It's in slot 3, but I've tried slot 2 too. The Apple RAID card is in 4. I've re-formatted the RAID with 32k and 128k block sizes; both have slower read/write times that are identical (50/60 MB/s). I am unsure which firmware version my card is running as it is straight out of the box and I do not see a version under PCI cards under system profiler.

    I am using the newest 2.1.8 driver here:

    http://www.sonnettech.com/support/do...osatae4pmacpro

    When I try to run this firmware updater, it tells me I need to run it on a PowerPC:

    http://www.sonnettech.com/support/do...osatafamilymac

    Am at a loss here and am hoping to get this resolved asap as I am on a deadline to start editing a feature film I need to offload to this drive. Any other hints out there?

    Nick

  6. #6
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    Jun 2009
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    Update: I emailed Sonnet Tech 7 days ago and never heard back from them. Does anyone know how one:

    a) Tells what firmware version their E4P card is running under 10.5.6?
    b) Update firmware on a non-Power PC (Intel) Mac? Is this even possible?

    I switched my card to slot 2 and speeds starting improving and stabilizing around 200-300 MB/s and higher on read. Thinking it was just the slot, I started editing away and my HD footage played beautifully for a few days. Starting at midnite last nite the speeds dropped again down to 50/60 MBs write and super low for reads: 34 MB/s.

    Does anyone know what the heck is going on? My drive is less than 25% full and was working great only a few hours ago. I have done nothing (other than switch the card to slot 2) to alleviate these speed issues and they appear to be random from what I can tell.

    I'd also appreciate some straight answers regarding firmware/support for OS 10.5.6 on Intel Macs from someone who has an answer, since the vendor is being silent.

    Thanks,

    Nick

  7. #7
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    Run the updater. It is listed as ROM Revision when you have the card selected. Current is 2.1.8, you can download and run it on any Mac at all. There is one updater that is meant to run on MacPro and a different updater, same revision, to run on PowerPC.

    Rick
    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

  8. #8
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    Okay, I finally got in touch with someone at Sonnet (we guess spam issues caught his earlier message) who was extremely helpful and quick in helping me diagnose this. Interestingly, he claims the new Mac Pros do not utilize the firmware but rather use the driver exclusively (like PeeCees) so running the 2.1.8 driver is the way to go and that there is no need to worry about FW version.

    I ended up breaking my RAID apart and running tests and in the end it appears the card is most likely faulty. Completely randomly faulty at that. Below is my exchange if it helps anyone in the future:

    On Tue, Jun 9, 2009 at 2:32 PM, Support wrote:

    Nick,

    That's probably the best idea. Get a replacement E4P card. Where and when did you buy it?

    Neal
    Sonnet Customer Service
    support@sonnettech.com

    On Jun 9, 2009, at 2:24 PM, Nick Peterson wrote:

    > Hi Neal,
    >
    > Thanks for all the pointers. I'm back with some test results.
    >
    > So I checked with Seagate and all my drives are running the newer firmware.
    >
    > I have an early 2008 Mac Pro and the Expansion Slot Utility will not run so I assume the lane speed issues are not the problem.
    >
    > Next I broke apart the RAID and started speed testing each drive. What I found:
    >
    > Drives 1-3 (set1 on external enclosure): Drives 2+3 = 43 MB/s, 1 = 15 MB/s
    > Drives 4-6 (set 2): All 120 MB/s
    >
    > Next I try different cables for drives 1-3 and notice no noticeable speed increase. So, I unmount set 1 from channel 2 on the E4P and try it on channel 1. Speeds increase to 120 MB/s, just like drives 4-6 on set 2. I try channels 3 and 4 on the card and speeds drop back down to 40-15 MB/s. For the heck of it, I unmount and try another cable. Now, set 1 won't mount. I try another channel on the E4P: still won't mount. I try set 2 and it won't mount either. I reboot the machine. Suddenly, set 1 works at 120 MB/s on EVERY channel of the E4P as does set 2. I try a few different cables and speeds hold across all my drives/channel combos.
    >
    > I thought initially the problem might be the enclosure's top set port but now I am assuming the problem is with the card and that it is sporadic at best.
    >
    > What next? Should I get the E4P RMAed? If so, is it possible to have that process expedited as I am on a project deadline and this has already killed a lot of my available edit time.
    >
    > Thanks,
    >
    > Nick Peterson
    > email xxxxxxxx
    > cell xxxxxxx
    >
    > On Tue, Jun 9, 2009 at 1:17 PM, Support wrote:
    >
    > Nick,
    >
    > Have you checked to see if your Seagate drives have the problematic firmware that Seagate got a ton of bad press over? We posted about it here:
    >
    > http://www.sonnettech.com/support/te...racudaes2.html
    >
    > What lane speeds are your slots set to? Launch the Expansion Slot Utility to find out. It's located in the Core Services folder. If you don't have the ESU or you launch it and it says it's not for your machine, that just means you have an Early 2008 Mac Pro. It came with fixed lane speeds and the ESU is no longer used.
    >
    > If you are still running 10.5.6, the ESU will not report things properly. Apple fixed this bug in 10.5.7 which came out within the last two weeks.
    >
    > You shouldn't see a huge dip in performance like that. I was using the AJA test program last week while doing some testing and I got similar speeds no matter what frame size and bit level I chose. Granted, I was only testing a 2-drive RAID 0.
    >
    > I would try breaking the RAID apart and testing each drive again. Just see if one is being slower than the others. Obviously back up any data before you bust the RAID apart.
    >
    > Neal
    > Sonnet Customer Service
    > support@sonnettech.com
    >
    >
    > On Jun 9, 2009, at 1:09 PM, Nick Peterson wrote:
    >
    >> Hi Neal,
    >>
    >> I'm guessing gmail spam got your earlier message but I never saw anything in my queue so unsure what happened but thanks for re-emailing.
    >>
    >> So: the story with these drives is:
    >>
    >> -- They are all new Seagate 7200.11 1GB drives.
    >> -- They have performed, in a RAID 0, at read speeds exceeding 300 MB/s and in fact did so just a few days ago for enough time for me to edit about a quarter of the HD video footage I have loaded on them.
    >> -- They have ran at these speeds just fine on an older core duo with only 2 gigs of ram (using the same E4P card). I moved them to a newer 8-core and initially they worked fine. I started noticing these speed issues once I began heavily working with the drives. I have reformatted the drives many times and eventually switching the E4P card to slot 2 (from 3) made the RAID perform at the higher speeds I needed. I assumed it was just slot 3 and worked with my footage for several days.
    >> --Starting at midnite last nite the drives started performing at very low read speeds (35 MB/s) yet again. I have done nothing to them: added no data and have not changed anything on the Mac. All I have been doing is using Final Cut Pro to read data from them.
    >> -- I shut down the Mac and drives and tried again this morning. Same low read speeds.
    >>
    >> I am running the drive in a Burly 6 bay esata port multiplier case bought from MacGurus.
    >>
    >> Should I break my RAID and retest every drive again? It's odd that it was working great just a few hours ago and for no apparent reason suddenly slowed down again.
    >>
    >> Interestingly, when I run an AJA system test against the drive and select:
    >>
    >> 720x486 8-bit frame, 8GB file: write 315.7 MB/s, read: 330.8 MB/s
    >> 720x486 10-bit frame, 8GB file: write 87.5 MB/s, read: 57.7 MB/s
    >> 1980x1040 10-bit frame, 8GB file (the kinds of files I am actually working with): write 65 MB/s, read: 35 MB/s
    >>
    >> This seems odd. I would not expect such a big performance dip moving from 8 to 10 bit files when the frame and file size are the same?
    >>
    >> Also, I have tried formatting the drive for a block size of 32kb, 128kb and 256kb to see if it made a difference initially and all 3 yielded similar results.
    >>
    >> At a loss,
    >>
    >> Nick
    >>
    >> On Tue, Jun 9, 2009 at 12:50 PM, Support wrote:
    >>
    >> Nick,
    >>
    >> That's really strange. I sent you an email on the 2nd. Must have been lost in cyberspace or spammed out by your ISP for some reason.
    >>
    >> Hopefully you are seeing this email. Here's what I sent you last week.
    >>
    >> There is no point in trying to update the firmware on the card as Intel machines don't use the firmware on any PCIe card for any reason. They're like their PC cousins in that they use drivers for everything. So the 2.18 Mac Pro driver is what you need to load. It's basically the firmware in an Intel format that the machine can use.
    >>
    >> What make and model of drives are these? Have you tried busting the RAID 0 apart and individually testing each drive. All it takes is one drive to be bad and that'll drag the performance of the entire stripe down.
    >>
    >> Neal
    >> Sonnet Customer Service
    >> support@sonnettech.com
    >>
    >> "No Switches. No Control Panels. Simply Fast."
    >>
    >> DISCLAIMER:
    >>
    >> Information contained in this email or any attachment may be of a confidential nature which should not be disclosed to, copied or used by anyone other than the addressee. If you receive this email in error, please delete the email from your computer. Do not post anything in this email to any online forum without express permission of the sender. No pixels were harmed in the making of this disclaimer.

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