Guide To Building A Media Storage Server - Page 37 - AVS Forum
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post #1081 of 7897 Old 11-25-2008, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alamone View Post

As for direct connections, you can't just have SATA cables running loose from a chassis to a chassis, as you'll probably run into signal integrity problems. The SATA signaling voltages are expecting cable lengths of maybe 1 meter or so, and exceeding that's going to cause problems. There's eSATA which can be routed for longer distances thanks to better shielding, but if you're kludging adaptors and connectors in the mix, you'll probably run into the same problems. A port multiplier in the mix might provide a signal boost for wiring longer distances. External miniSAS connectors are also an option for SAS cards or expanders.



Direct SATA connections from one chassis to another! (The overall length from point to point is almost 66", including a SATA male to male bridge in the middle, and then the backplane.)

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post #1082 of 7897 Old 11-25-2008, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alamone View Post

Setting up your server as an iSCSI target, you could use an iSCSI initiator from the HTPC side to directly mount the volume of the server as if it's a local drive, but using a standard network connection. It should be faster than just using file sharing, but I haven't actually tried it out.

iSCSI is a LOT faster than a file protocol, i.e., file sharing. But the downside is that you can't share files (as you point out). And I'm not sure the extra speed of iSCSI is even necessary or noticable in a home environment. I just don't see any value in iSCSI at home. There's some cool things you can do in an enterprise, failover environment, but not at home. eSATA or SAS makes more sense.
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post #1083 of 7897 Old 11-25-2008, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by jeffreydeng View Post

I finally found one mobo which work with AOC-USAS-L8i. Vista Ultimate is used. I tried two AOC-USAS-L8i boards with either the IT firmware and MegaRaid firmware. Both AOC-USAS-L8i can be used to recogize singal disk under Vista. I have tried 250GB, 500GB as well as 1TB HDDs. I haven't tried WHS on this particular mobo yet. But I am sure that it will work.

Interesting thing so far is that it seems to me that the AOC-USAS-L8i has compatibility issue with some mobos or chip sets. The one it works is EVGA 122-CK-NF67-T1 using Nvidia 680i LSI LT as north bridge.

Several other mobos which don't work with AOC-USAS-L8i.
- ASUS P5N-E SLI that uses 650i SLI board
- Asrock 775Dual-VSTA that uses VIA® PT880 Pro/Ultra

For these two mobos, AOC-USAS-L8i is recognised by OS (XP, Win2003 as well as Vista)and the drivers connected to the card are recognized by AOC-USAS-L8i also. However I couldn't get drives to be recognized by OS because I couldn't make it 'On Line' in Disc Management of Computer Manegement tool. I am not sure whether the board will work with Unix on these mobo or not. I may try later.

I've tried my AOC-USAS-L8i on 2 Gigabyte motherboards (GA-EP45-DS4P and GA-EP35C-DS3R) and after too much fiddling, it does the same thing on both -- the OS's (I tried Windows Server 2003 and WHS -- and yes I know WHS is a built-upon Server 2003) the OS's see the card and the driver installs fine but it doesn't allow for any meaningful interaction with HD's attached to the card.

So barring the unforeseen...

Does anyone have any other suggestions for an inexpensive PCIe-based controller that has more than 4 SATA2 ports? I'm wanting to try a JBOD installation and/or linux-based software raid installation w/ 20 HD's.
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post #1084 of 7897 Old 11-25-2008, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outbreak View Post

Here are my specs for the new media storage server I want to build. I need around 3TB to store all my DVDs and other media files. The D-Link DGE-550SX will be used for management and remote access connected to a Cisco 3524xl switch via SC-SC, MM, Duplex, 62.5/125 fiber. I cant decide on a good power supply so let me know if you have any recommendations or if you see any compatibility issues with the current specs below.




NORCO RPC-2008 2U Rackmount Server Case
SUPERMICRO MBD-PDSME+-O LGA 775 Intel 3010 ATX Server Motherboard
Adaptec 2252100-R PCIe x4 SATA / SAS 3805 KIT Controller Card
Intel Xeon E3110 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775
2x Kingston 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300)
8x Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
LITE-ON Slim 8X DVD Burner Black SATA Model DS-8A2S-A01
2x D-Link DGE-550SX 10/ 20/ 100/ 200/ 1000/ 2000Mbps PCI Fiber Network Adapter


unless i am mistaken, i do not believe that the xeon 31xx, 30x5, or 33x0 series processors (1333 FSB) are compatible with that motherboard. you will need a xeon 30x0 or x32x0 processor (1066 FSB). Also, you should be able to use a q6600, or e4000/e6000 series core2duo

the supermicro x7s motherboard series supports newer processors.
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post #1085 of 7897 Old 11-25-2008, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffreydeng View Post

I finally found one mobo which work with AOC-USAS-L8i. Vista Ultimate is used. I tried two AOC-USAS-L8i boards with either the IT firmware and MegaRaid firmware. Both AOC-USAS-L8i can be used to recogize singal disk under Vista. I have tried 250GB, 500GB as well as 1TB HDDs. I haven't tried WHS on this particular mobo yet. But I am sure that it will work.

Interesting thing so far is that it seems to me that the AOC-USAS-L8i has compatibility issue with some mobos or chip sets. The one it works is EVGA 122-CK-NF67-T1 using Nvidia 680i LSI LT as north bridge.

Several other mobos which don't work with AOC-USAS-L8i.
- ASUS P5N-E SLI that uses 650i SLI board
- Asrock 775Dual-VSTA that uses VIA® PT880 Pro/Ultra

For these two mobos, AOC-USAS-L8i is recognised by OS (XP, Win2003 as well as Vista)and the drivers connected to the card are recognized by AOC-USAS-L8i also. However I couldn't get drives to be recognized by OS because I couldn't make it 'On Line' in Disc Management of Computer Manegement tool. I am not sure whether the board will work with Unix on these mobo or not. I may try later.

I think some of the compatibility issues your seeing are because this is one of Supermicro's UIO cards, and is designed to be used with their UIO enabled motherboards. It looks like Supermicro has only certified the card to work with a few of their own motherboards.
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post #1086 of 7897 Old 11-25-2008, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alamone View Post

Setting up your server as an iSCSI target, you could use an iSCSI initiator from the HTPC side to directly mount the volume of the server as if it's a local drive, but using a standard network connection. It should be faster than just using file sharing, but I haven't actually tried it out.

As for direct connections, you can't just have SATA cables running loose from a chassis to a chassis, as you'll probably run into signal integrity problems. The SATA signaling voltages are expecting cable lengths of maybe 1 meter or so, and exceeding that's going to cause problems. There's eSATA which can be routed for longer distances thanks to better shielding, but if you're kludging adaptors and connectors in the mix, you'll probably run into the same problems. A port multiplier in the mix might provide a signal boost for wiring longer distances. External miniSAS connectors are also an option for SAS cards or expanders.

Of course, you could also just combine the server and the HTPC as lightspeed mentioned. If you really need the speed of a direct attached storage, it's probably better just to have them in the same chassis in the first place.


For server to server SAS connections, you need to have Initiator/Target mode capable controllers (like the LSI HBAs with IT firmware - the IT stands for Initiator/Target). Additionally, you usually need some special software running to make use of this connection...I had tried to do it once in the past, but Windows doesn't see the attached device, and the SAS controller doesn't see the drives connected behind the second system's controller.

The only systems where I've seen direct SAS to SAS connections were running proprietary software.

Also, as far as I know, there are no SATA controllers that can even do this.

If you want a high speed link other than standard Gb Ethernet, you'd need to shell out the cash for Fibre Channel (which can be a pain to set up itself) or use iSCSI which can also be extremely expensive.
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post #1087 of 7897 Old 11-25-2008, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmelan View Post

unless i am mistaken, i do not believe that the xeon 31xx, 30x5, or 33x0 series processors (1333 FSB) are compatible with that motherboard. you will need a xeon 30x0 or x32x0 processor (1066 FSB). Also, you should be able to use a q6600, or e4000/e6000 series core2duo

the supermicro x7s motherboard series supports newer processors.

Your right I just checked it supports 1066 so I will just get the Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz
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post #1088 of 7897 Old 11-26-2008, 10:03 AM
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I just bought an HP EX470 for WHS. I know, not as adventerous as some of you But I want to also get an external eSata or USB enclosure to add 4 more drives. Any suggestions?
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post #1089 of 7897 Old 11-26-2008, 11:21 AM
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I recommend just getting an el cheapo silicon image card to use as a JBOD HBA. If you want RAID, you might consider the highpoint fakeraid esata cards (the 2000 series). Performance wont be so good though - maybe 100mb/sec if you're using 4-5 disks in raid5. There's a 3000 series rocketraid that supports esata but it only does raid 10.

PM enclosures (4 or 5 or 8 or 10 bay solutions most common):

iStar v7AGE420-ES - I haven't seen this one, must be a new model. 4 trayless bays. about $200. Maybe I'll pick one up for hotswapping JBODs.

Cal/Datoptic - Offers various generic boxes for PM. They're kinda cheap and generic and usually dont have real hotswap trays or good PSUs.

Sonnet Fusion 500P - An overpriced 5-bay one. The PSU on mine died. There's also a similar looking 8-bay one floating around, I think it has AVIO or something stamped on the side.

WiebeTech - also sells overpriced multibays, but they have some handy driveboxes for drive storage

pc-pitstop - Also offers various generic looking PM boxes. Looks like they're using the Kingwin trayless multibays in a generic tower case.

addonics - Offers the generic tower cases / PM boards by themselves so you can add whatever multibay thing you want to it. I think they call them the storage tower. But you wont save much money going this route, it may end up even costing more than an integrated solution.

Any others I'm missing?

If all you want is single-drive swap capability, I'd get one of those eSATA docking bays. Problem is the power connector on a lot of them uses a crappy 4-pin connector that gets loose easily.
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post #1090 of 7897 Old 11-26-2008, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alamone View Post

I recommend just getting an el cheapo silicon image card to use as a JBOD HBA. If you want RAID, you might consider the highpoint fakeraid esata cards (the 2000 series). Performance wont be so good though - maybe 100mb/sec if you're using 4-5 disks in raid5. There's a 3000 series rocketraid that supports esata but it only does raid 10.

The 35XX series from Highpoint does all RAID flavors at high speed, and is PCI-E x8.

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post #1091 of 7897 Old 11-26-2008, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifespeed View Post

The 35XX series from Highpoint does all RAID flavors at high speed, and is PCI-E x8.

Do they support port multiplier, though?
AFAIK only the marvell based ones do, and those are the intel IOP ones...
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post #1092 of 7897 Old 11-26-2008, 01:31 PM
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I built a great little 2.2TB RAID5 storage server around a Highpoint card. I know it doesn't have a integrated processor, but the dual-core CPU really isn't doing anything else. Single-drive swap capability is a must if you are using RAID5/10. Just chuck a bad drive, and replace it with a new one. a little more info about the system:

Modified Aopen G35 mATX cube case
Gigabyte GIGABYTE GA-M68SM-S2 Motherboard (onboard Gbe)
HighPoint RocketRAID 2310 PCI Express x4 (SATAII x 4) RAID Card
4 x Seagate 750Gb drives
1 x Western Digital 36Gb Raptor 10K RPM HDD (for OS)
Athena Power BP-SAC3051B HDD internal backplane
AMD 5000+ 64 X2 CPU 2.6Ghz
SILVERSTONE SST-ST60F 600W PSU

Here's some pics of the NAS:


The NAS pulled out of it's home in the entertainment center.


The cover pulled off, a pic of the left side showing the 2310 RAID card. I plan on upgrading this to a Highpoint 2320 8-port card.


The right side showing the CPU & cooler (very tight fit between it and the the bottom of the SATA hotswap enclosure)


A pic of it next to the mini-ITX motherboard I need to put in it for the upgrade, adding another hotswap enclosure for 8 1TB drives, giving me a total of 6TB in RAID5.


A pic of it back in it's home in the entertainment center, hooked up to my HTPC above the TV.

Questions I know that will be asked:

1- There isn't room in that case for 8 drives.
2- Where did you get that case?
3- Won't you have cooling issues in that case with that many drives?
4- That mini-ITX board doesn't have a PCI-e slot, just PCI.

Answers:

1- Actually- I'm pretty sure there is- Barely. If I buy another 5-drive SATA backplane (exactly like the one you see), and turn them vertically, there should be enough room- If I replace the motherboard with the much smaller mini-ITX board you see in the fourth pic. It should look like this: (photoshop)



2- That case is actually an Aopen G35 mATX cube case like this:



With the front fascia and top corner rails removed. I replaced the front plastic with a black plastic cutting board cut to fit the front of the case and the SATA hotswap enclosure. The side vent grilles are taped shut from behind with wide black electrical tape to promote airflow through the drives, and out through the PSU in the back.

3- Currently the 135mm fan on the PSU pulls air through the drives, helped midway by a 80mm fan mounted at the back of the hotswap enclosure. So the drives stay cool, and the mini-ITX motherboard I plan on replacing the current mATX board with is a low-power board that doesn't expel much heat.

4- The board shown in the pics isn't the mini-ITX board i will be using. The board in the pics with the PCI slot is the VIA SP13000, While I will be using the VIA SN18000 1.8Ghz board which has a PCI-e 16x slot.

I watch 1080p .MKV's stored on it through my HTPC on my 47" LCD all day long. no problems here. If all you are going to be doing with it is storing and watching video, don't get caught up looking at expensive IOP RAID cards. Yes, it's true my transfer speed suffers because of it, but I can stream HD video from it over the Gbe connection with no problems, and it takes an extra minute to transfer a 5+GB file to/from it, but that's fine with me, I saved myself from spending an extra $400+ for a little extra speed.

Questions, comments welcome.
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post #1093 of 7897 Old 11-26-2008, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alamone View Post

Do they support port multiplier, though?
AFAIK only the marvell based ones do, and those are the intel IOP ones...

That I don't know, you may be right. Personally I'm not a big fan of PMs, I would rather just buy the correct HW and not incur all the performance hits and incompatibilities that result.

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post #1094 of 7897 Old 11-26-2008, 01:39 PM
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snootch420,
What kind of write performance do you get?

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post #1095 of 7897 Old 11-26-2008, 01:49 PM
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If I remember correctly, 28-35MB/s
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post #1096 of 7897 Old 11-26-2008, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snootch420 View Post

If I remember correctly, 28-35MB/s

Yeah, that's not quite what the Highpoint cards with Intel IOP do. Better than unRAID, tho.

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post #1097 of 7897 Old 11-26-2008, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifespeed View Post

Yeah, that's not quite what the Highpoint cards with Intel IOP do. Better than unRAID, tho.

I disagree, I get 50-60MB/s using unRAID. There is a code you put into the config file that allows a faster transfer.
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post #1098 of 7897 Old 11-26-2008, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Cmedwards80 View Post

I disagree, I get 50-60MB/s using unRAID. There is a code you put into the config file that allows a faster transfer.

Is that the 'cache drive' where it uses the unencumbered speed of a single drive to accept the write, then calculates and writes the parity later?

Not bad, but probably still a bottleneck for operations on video files.

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post #1099 of 7897 Old 11-26-2008, 03:39 PM
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Yeah, i'd like to know that one too.
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post #1100 of 7897 Old 11-26-2008, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by storengsl View Post

I think some of the compatibility issues your seeing are because this is one of Supermicro's UIO cards, and is designed to be used with their UIO enabled motherboards. It looks like Supermicro has only certified the card to work with a few of their own motherboards.

AOC-USAS-L8i is simply a PCIe cards and is recognized by Windows. UIO is just a marketing name for SuperMicro to differenciate themselvs to other server vendors. Anyone can tell the uniquess of UIO?

At least AOC-USAS-L8i works for one Nvidia 680i mobo. So it doesn't seem to me that UIO has snything different.

For all mobos I tested I use PCIex16 video card slot for AOC-USAS-L8i. I don't have any server boards that has generic PCIex4 or PCIex16 slot. I am not sure whether this makes difference.

At the holiday weekend, I will try AOC-USAS-L8i on the WHS server I am using which is a Nvidia 650i mobo.
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post #1101 of 7897 Old 11-26-2008, 04:25 PM
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Can anyone recommend a DVD-R Drive that fits in the Norco 4020's "Slim" Slot?

Thanks.
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post #1102 of 7897 Old 11-26-2008, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifespeed View Post

Is that the 'cache drive' where it uses the unencumbered speed of a single drive to accept the write, then calculates and writes the parity later?

Not bad, but probably still a bottleneck for operations on video files.

Thats exactly it. Ever since they implemented the cache drive into the system it makes writing to the server much faster. Granted its unprotected while its on the cache drive, but you can manually go into the unRAID control panel and click a button to move the files from the cache to the protected array.

Everything I mentioned is the reason I even went back to unRAID. I couldn't stand the write speeds before. I was using Server 2008 and I used WHS.

As far as bottleneck goes, I stream HD content to my HTPCs. I mainly see a problem if im watching a HD movie and the server is writing from the cache to the array. Thats about the only time I see a hit but then again, thats not even all the time. That move from cache to array is on a timer that can be changed at any time. Or done manually if you want to get it over with.
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post #1103 of 7897 Old 11-26-2008, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by diet butcher View Post

Can anyone recommend a DVD-R Drive that fits in the Norco 4020's "Slim" Slot?

Thanks.

How about something like this?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827106260
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post #1104 of 7897 Old 11-27-2008, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diet butcher View Post

Can anyone recommend a DVD-R Drive that fits in the Norco 4020's "Slim" Slot?

Thanks.

I bought this one and it fits but now OOS:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827151162

Remember that you also need slimline IDE adapter such as this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16816133024

I'm using this LITE-ON external DVD-RW for my other servers
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827106248, no need to provide power to a DVD drive all the time when you're using it so rarely in a server.
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post #1105 of 7897 Old 11-27-2008, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snootch420 View Post

If I remember correctly, 28-35MB/s

You should get better performance than that with the Highpoint controller.

In my workstation I'm using a 2220 PCI-X controller in regular PCI slot with 4 Seagate 750GB drives in RAID-5 configuration and get 95 MB/s read/write; the PCI bus is the bottleneck here. In a server I'm using the same controller in PCI-X slot with 6 WD 500GB drives in RAID-5 and get 320/220 MB/s read/write.
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post #1106 of 7897 Old 11-27-2008, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leadman View Post

I bought this one and it fits but now OOS:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827151162

Remember that you also need slimline IDE adapter such as this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16816133024

I'm using this LITE-ON external DVD-RW for my other servers
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827106248, no need to provide power to a DVD drive all the time when you're using it so rarely in a server.

Can I use my dvd drive from my lenovo laptop? I figure that after booting the OS, I'll have no use for the dvd drive.
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post #1107 of 7897 Old 11-27-2008, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaomember View Post

Can I use my dvd drive from my lenovo laptop? I figure that after booting the OS, I'll have no use for the dvd drive.

Most "slim" optical drives, have a SCSI "type" interface. That interface carries both data and power. If you're gonna use a "slim" optical drive with a regular motherboard (i.e. not directly connected to a laptop type motherboard, which has the same type of socket), then you need an adapter.

The most common is a slim to regular IDE adapter, which plugs into the SCSI "type" connector on the drive, and exposes a regular 40 pin IDE header on the outboard side. In addition it has a regular floppy style power connector. You plug your regular IDE and power cables to the adapter.

Edit: A lot of "laptop" optical drives won't fit nicely into a rackmount chassis. Why? Because of their bezels which are curved (or otherwise funky styled) for laptop usage. If you are ok with running it without a bezel, then the fitment is actually not an issue. They are of a standard size.
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post #1108 of 7897 Old 11-27-2008, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by aaomember View Post

Can I use my dvd drive from my lenovo laptop? I figure that after booting the OS, I'll have no use for the dvd drive.

Most likely it will work, see kapone's point about the bezel. But you'll need the slim-ide adapter.
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post #1109 of 7897 Old 11-27-2008, 10:18 PM
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...I figure that after booting the OS, I'll have no use for the dvd drive.

Have you considered installing from a USB flash drive? I recently went this route to avoid wasting a drive bay/SATA port in a small media server build.
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post #1110 of 7897 Old 11-27-2008, 10:32 PM
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I've tried my AOC-USAS-L8i on 2 Gigabyte motherboards (GA-EP45-DS4P and GA-EP35C-DS3R) and after too much fiddling, it does the same thing on both -- the OS's (I tried Windows Server 2003 and WHS -- and yes I know WHS is a built-upon Server 2003) the OS's see the card and the driver installs fine but it doesn't allow for any meaningful interaction with HD's attached to the card.

So barring the unforeseen...

Does anyone have any other suggestions for an inexpensive PCIe-based controller that has more than 4 SATA2 ports? I'm wanting to try a JBOD installation and/or linux-based software raid installation w/ 20 HD's.

Very odd. I have two of these boards in my gigabyte GA-EP45-DS4P, and they work great. One is in the x4 slot, and the other in the x16 slot. No issues on boot, the cards are detected fine, as are all the drives. But this is under linux.
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