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PERC 5/i RAID Card: Tips and Benchmarks - Page 276

post #2751 of 7150
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowFox19 View Post
@DJZeratul - What version of the BIOS/firmware are you running on your 6i?
Running 6.1.1-0147 at the moment. I am looking forward to flashing 6.2.0 sometime in the near future as I hear there is a significant performance increase. I cannot flash using the MegaRAID tool though so I have to make a boot CD and I have been too busy/lazy to do so lately. Maybe this weekend, as its a 3 day-er
    
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post #2752 of 7150
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJZeratul View Post
Running 6.1.1-0147 at the moment. I am looking forward to flashing 6.2.0 sometime in the near future as I hear there is a significant performance increase. I cannot flash using the MegaRAID tool though so I have to make a boot CD and I have been too busy/lazy to do so lately. Maybe this weekend, as its a 3 day-er
You should flash to Version 6.2 ASAP, I got a nice 40mbs boost after the flash.
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post #2753 of 7150
Quote:
Originally Posted by zha50 View Post
I see alot of fast single sequential transfer speeds in these Raid5 setups.

What i'm intrested in is how fast can a PERC5 in R5 handle MULTIPLE SIMULTANEOUS reads. I find my 4x1tb array, while sustaining 250mb read, it bogs and dies down once i read another file, to a total read speed of about 100mb/s.

Would adding more disks to the array help with multiple sequential reads of large files?
The total throughput will be almost certainly entirely determined by the drives and the locations of the files here. Remember that, whilst a single drive can stream sequential data off at ~100MB/s, if you ask it to do 2 streams it has to move the heads back & forth to read each bit of data separately. It is this that drops the read speed down, as the heads spend most of their time flicking backwards and forwards and little time actually reading data off the disks. The RAID card actually cares very little about what data you are asking for, as all the calculations it has to do are the same whether the data is sequential or random. Try your multiple streams with SSDs - with their almost zero access times your multi-file reads should fly along at pretty much the same speed as your individual streams.

Adding more spindles to the array will help considerably, as it lessens the load on each drive - in effect half of the drives can move between tracks whilst the others are sending data (not exactly how it works, but a decent way to think about it). You should also get a decent increase in max sequential transfer rate for 1 file. As you get more and more spindles the max speed from reading 2 or more files will start to approach the max speed you can get reading 1 file, as the controller starts to become the bottleneck.

Hope this helps.
post #2754 of 7150
Quote:
Originally Posted by bruestle2 View Post
I know these RAID cards can handle more than 8 hard drives. I have seen pictures of it. What do I need to do to split the connection up more?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tator Tot View Post
Just different SAS cables.
It is not quite as simple as this - you need to use a SAS expander, which is kind of like a network switch. It takes traffic from the controller on (usually) 1 or 4 ports, and spreads it out to a larger number of drives.

You can find expanders built in to some top of the range chassis (look at Supermicro and Chenbro, but there will be others). These are pretty expensive though. Chenbro make a few standalone expanders that connect to 4 of the ports on your PERC, and allow you to connect 16 or 24 drives (depending on the model) to those 4 ports. The 16 port model would therefore give connections for 20 drives (using the other 4-pot connector on the card) - a perfect number to match up to the cheap but decent Norco 20-bay chassis. The expanders cost in the region of $300, so coupled with a PERC they would be much cheaper than any of the high port count cards. You can even daisy chain expanders togther to add yet more drives - most high end cards can handle over 100.

One problem though - I have no idea on PERC compatibility. I would think the LSI-based PERC6 would fair better than the Intel-based PERC5, as the expanders use an LSI chipset, but this is by no means certain. Added to this, Chenbro have stopped selling their expanders in the short term becasue of compatibility problems with many controllers. As far as I know there is no ETA for the new firmware which they hope will improve the situation so they can start selling again. I hope they fix it soon though, as this is pencilled in as my next upgrade to work alongside my PERC6.
post #2755 of 7150
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigstretch View Post
Hello,

I've been doing a lot of reading on PERC 5I/E cards because I can't seem to get my cards to work.
I tried installing it in my Dell Vostro 410 into the PCI-E 16x slot by using the onboard VGA for video but just started beeping.
Purchased 2 HP xw4300 with 1 PCI-E x16 and 1 x8 (wired 4x) and when I insert the PERC 5i it beeps 5 times pauses 2 seconds and then 5 times again. I did some reading in the HP manual and it means there's something wrong with the memory.
http://godzilla.kennedykrieger.org/fmri/xw4300Setup.pdf


If I remove the PERC 5i and reboot the system, EVERYTHING works great.

I'm hoping someone might have an idea because my next step is purchasing a mobo I know works with a PERC 5i but I don't really want to build another system and spend more money...

Thanks,
BigStretch
Sounds like you need to do the pin-mod to your PERC - see the first post in this thread for more details.

I have an Intel-chipset server motherboard which I was hopeful would work without modification, as it is (or should have been) designed with RAID controllers in mind. However I got memory errors as soon as I plugged in the PERC6, and the boot process would stall. 2 minutes and a small strip of insulation tape later and my PERC was happily initialising my RAID array. It's not really clear whether this in Dell or Intel causing the problem, although I suspect it is Dell and the NVidia chipsets allow them to get away with it, as the similar LSI cards do not have such problems with Intel boards.

My next step will be to see if I can get an HP SC40Ge playing nicely in the same system.
post #2756 of 7150
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJZeratul View Post
Thanks for clarifying.

By "Expandable RAID", it means you can add more disks to your already created array... Say, 4x1TB to 5x1TB... The specific base disk size does not expand unless you recreate the array.

The only controllers I know of that would do that actually do a step by step process that you could probably not replicate very easily due to the way RAID5 works. What they do is, put your RAID5 array in degraded mode and copy the data to each new drive one by one as you add them, then perform a file system expansion. The step-by-step process takes awhile and is not the safest process, so many enterprise RAID solutions don't support it.

It would invariably be better to start with 3 or 4 1TB drives and add more as you need the space.
Which 1tb disks would you suggest? My personal opinion is that with RPMs fixed (7200) biggest platter > all, so I was looking to take advantage of the new 500gb platters, but only seagate has their 7200.12 out so far and the reviews seem mixed (in some cases it even loses to last year's 3 platter designs), but WesternD seems to be slow to get a decent 1tb 2 platter drive out...

On another note, I'd like to know if the controller supports using both SATA and SAS drives at the same time, and if so, are there any limitations? (for example maybe you cant mix them in the same channel, so you get a max of 4 for each). Finally, do I need any other cables to connect them, or the same I got that connect to the controller and give 4 sata ports are compatible?

I wanna know this because as long as SSDs are stil expensive, I am tempted to get a SAS 15k rpm cheap from ebay to use for OS, hell maybe even 2 in raid0...there are some very tempting prices for those in ebay...)

Thanks!
post #2757 of 7150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blinky7 View Post
Which 1tb disks would you suggest? My personal opinion is that with RPMs fixed (7200) biggest platter > all, so I was looking to take advantage of the new 500gb platters, but only seagate has their 7200.12 out so far and the reviews seem mixed (in some cases it even loses to last year's 3 platter designs), but WesternD seems to be slow to get a decent 1tb 2 platter drive out...

On another note, I'd like to know if the controller supports using both SATA and SAS drives at the same time, and if so, are there any limitations? (for example maybe you cant mix them in the same channel, so you get a max of 4 for each). Finally, do I need any other cables to connect them, or the same I got that connect to the controller and give 4 sata ports are compatible?

I wanna know this because as long as SSDs are stil expensive, I am tempted to get a SAS 15k rpm cheap from ebay to use for OS, hell maybe even 2 in raid0...there are some very tempting prices for those in ebay...)

Thanks!
What is the array going to be for? With 8 drives you will likely not notice the speed difference between any of the green drives or the fastest drives available like the .12s or the WD Blacks. I would not read too much into raw benchmarks either - in reality losing out on 10MB/s max sequential transfer or less than 1ms of latency will likely be completely impercievable in real-world use. I believe the green WD drives would currently be your best bet, especially for storage as they use less power. For a storage array, espacially in the home, the power used by the total array should really be your primary concern as 20+ drives spining away use a lot of power. If this is for buisness use where higher IOPS is an issue then really this is not the correct card to use and this is not the place to look for your answers - you should get a decent OEM who will properly support your system.

SAS/SATA - there are no limitations about ports/channels - in fact, although the connectors make it look like there are 2 channels this is not the case and all ports are completely independant. Each of the PERC connectors just has 4 ports built in - they do not share signal wires etc. The cables are potentially not the same though, as SAS drives only have 1 long connector on the back. It looks exactly like a SATA connector, but the 2 sections are joined together so you cannot use normal SATA data & SATA power cables. If however your current cables have a single drive plug with a tail to attach a 'molex' connector to you will be fine to use that with the SAS drives. The only thing you cannot do is mix SAS & SATA disks in the same array, although with the price/capacity differences I would doubt you would want to do this anyway.

As for the SAS drives - I have 4 Seagate 10K.2s here that I will be running my server OS & VMs on, although mine won't be on a PERC. For OS use a decent SAS disk will be fast yet very cheap from eBay. I would be wary of the 15K disks though if your workstation is near your desk - they wine quite a bit. I was pleasantly surprised by my 10k disks though - they are really quiet unless seeking hard.

Hope this helps.
Edited by the_beast - 7/1/09 at 5:34am
post #2758 of 7150
Thanks for the fast reply Beast!

Well, this system is not a workstation...it's my main computer+downloader+HTPC

But as an overclocker, I just can't make do with the Green drives just because they draw less power, when I know I can get something faster. I am a realist and I know the performance difference will be negligible in real-life use, so, if the price difference was significant I would go for the green as I am also budget-minded. But with prices being essentially the same, the overclocker in me can't let me get the green.

Also, I don't really care about noise, I just want a good alternative to SSDs until they become cheaper. But the SSD bar is high (0.1ms random access, ~200mb/s read/write) so I want to get as close as possible with a reasonable cost....15k seems the only way. I am thinking is those drives got about 5.5ms random access and ~100mb/s read/write, I can get 2x73gb , raid0 them and then partition them at ~80gb using 40gb from each, and reaching about ~4ms random access and ~200mb/s read/write should be achievable...no?
post #2759 of 7150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blinky7 View Post
Thanks for the fast reply Beast!
Trust me - replying here is much more interesting than the other crap I'm supposed to be doing...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Blinky7 View Post
But as an overclocker, I just can't make do with the Green drives just because they draw less power, when I know I can get something faster. I am a realist and I know the performance difference will be negligible in real-life use, so, if the price difference was significant I would go for the green as I am also budget-minded. But with prices being essentially the same, the overclocker in me can't let me get the green.
While I kind of see your point, the reality is that you will see NO difference between the fast disks and the green disks. With 8 disks the controller will bottleneck everything, so the 2 will perform the same. You MIGHT get a slight increase in max sequential reads, but the difference will be tiny if it is there at all. You just gain a bigger power bill and more noise for your trouble - so the greens are cheaper. In the UK at our power prices, running 20 greens would save you 20-40GBP/year which soon adds up.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Blinky7 View Post
Also, I don't really care about noise, I just want a good alternative to SSDs until they become cheaper. But the SSD bar is high (0.1ms random access, ~200mb/s read/write) so I want to get as close as possible with a reasonable cost....15k seems the only way. I am thinking is those drives got about 5.5ms random access and ~100mb/s read/write, I can get 2x73gb , raid0 them and then partition them at ~80gb using 40gb from each, and reaching about ~4ms random access and ~200mb/s read/write should be achievable...no?
You might actually be faster using a single 15K disk rather than RAIDing them together. Adding the RAID controller will actually increase your access times slightly, although the sequential benchmarks will shoot up. A single 300GB 15K SAS disk will also likely be faster for OS use when short-stroked than 2x73GB disks. Although it may sound stupid, a 10K V-Raptor will also likely be faster than 15K SAS disks, due to the way the firmwares are optimised for the different intended drive uses (SAS disks are usually heavily optimised for high IOPS). It really depends whether you are building the system to be fast to use, or building it to look fast in benchmarks so you can show off your e-penis.

If you are looking for budget then you could consider a cheap SSD with the much-maligned JMicron controller. By using it on a PERC you remove the stuttering issue as the onboard cache holds the writes until the drive is ready. The max sequential transfers are much lower on these drives (usually only in line with single fast HDDs) but this is actually not so important for an OS disk. You can then add 7 green disks in RAID5 to the remaining ports on the PERC & have a nice, quiet, low power, cheap (ish) system that will perform very nicely indeed.
post #2760 of 7150
The array is currently 4x 1tb greens. Might go and get two more 1TB greens and expand it.

They array is mainly used for storing video files/anime and disk images. Almost all the files are 200mb+.

Currently running RAID5, Stripe 256KB, formatted block 8K. Before the array gets full and have no more free space to shuffle data around, what settings do you recommend for this situation?

Mainly after more speed in multiple reads. In a file server with a dual port 1GB NIC. Want to be able to pump out close to 200mb/s from 2 read operations on the array.

Change to a 512kb stripe and larger formatting block size?

Or ditch the WD10EADS's 2nd hand and replace them with WD1001FALS ? As a price comparason in Australia, the greens are $128 and black is $150.
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