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PERC 5/i RAID Card: Tips and Benchmarks

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post #7281 of 7288 (permalink) Old 09-10-2018, 03:20 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by USlatin View Post
Looks like 6/i cards are just as cheap, and if you throw enough drives at it the ceiling is 550/600MB/s.

Should I be optimistic and expect the same kind of plug and play compatibility with a z97 MoBo?
I actually recently aquired a Z97 motherboard out of sheer luck for $6.95 from a thrift store. I don't have a processor for it at the moment to test it, but I do have a bunch of PERC 5/i and 6/i cards laying around here. I have a friend sending me a LGA-1150 CPU to use to test this board either today or tomorrow. When it gets here and I'm doing testing on it here next week or there abouts I will throw a 6/i and 5/i in it and report compatibility (yes or no) back here to the thread. I have a different friend I've been chatting to that works in a computer datacenter and says they have several spare PERC 6/i cards for some of their dell rack-mount servers still in production and he has one of their co-workers owns a threadripper system. I've asked him to see if he can take one home and stick it in his buddy's TR system just to see if it works or not.

I did have my one friend sending me the 1150 chip try a 6/i in his Z270 motherboard and we found out the card does show up in windows 7, is found, system loads drivers, and the MegaSAS software can see and minipulate it, but it does -NOT- show it's raid bios during POST, and can not enter raid BIOS For the card. So they "kind of work" in Z270 systems, but not really.

And yes, these cards are dirt cheap today, you can get a card with BBU battery, cable, and full height bracket for like $12 - $15 shipped and they're good for up to 8 x 2TB drives, and they max out around 550-600 MB/s RAID-5 if you throw in 7-8 drives in them and enable active caching. I use one in my x99 system with a set of 8 x 10k velociraptors and get 535-550 MB/s in raid-5 mode and I love it and it works flawlessly. Currently a bunch of small drives just for secondary storage, but, I paid in total $150 for the card, the 2 cables for it, the fan for it, and 8 x velociraptor drives. You'd have a hard time finding any storage anywhere today that's 550 MB/s read & write and 1TB capacity for < $200.

Last edited by kithylin; 09-10-2018 at 03:27 PM.
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post #7282 of 7288 (permalink) Old 10-07-2018, 05:38 PM
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why does my samsung 2TB HDD work in my USB doc but, isn't' seen on my PERC 6/i?

EDIT: Evidently because it's "foreign". F2 > Foreign Config > Clear Foreign Config > Profit

Alienware M17x-R4
(18 items)
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CPU
i7-3920XM
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G.SKILL Ripjaws 32GB Model F3-1866C10Q-32GRSL
Hard Drive
Samsung SSD 850 EVO mSATA 1TB
Hard Drive
WD Blue 5400 RPM 1TB
Hard Drive
ODD Conversion w/ White Label 2TB
Hard Drive
Empty / Free Bay
Optical Drive
Converted External USB
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Dell 330 Watt Brick
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GTX 750 Ti
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DDR2 800 Kingston
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EVGA GTX 770 4GB Classified
RAM
Kingston HyperX DDR3 KHX1600C9D3K2/8G
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55gb, 320Gb, 500GB, 1TB
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Last edited by cdoublejj; 10-07-2018 at 07:03 PM.
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post #7283 of 7288 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 02:07 PM
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any chance the pics from OP can be updated? (they're not loading for me)

I need pics of the covered PCIE pins, have a card here with same issue

cheers
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post #7284 of 7288 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 02:33 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by tiro_uspsss View Post
any chance the pics from OP can be updated? (they're not loading for me)

I need pics of the covered PCIE pins, have a card here with same issue

cheers
You can buy a PERC 6/i used for < $10 today off ebay and the 6/i works in quite a lot more systems than the 5/i did, and no taping of pins needed with the 6/i as it's a native PCI-Express device, unlike the original 5/i that was a PCI device run over a PCI-Express bridge, which is why we used to have to do the taping method. The PERC 6/i is superior in every way and super cheap today. There's no reason to be using the 5/i any more for any reason.
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post #7285 of 7288 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 07:16 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by tiro_uspsss View Post
any chance the pics from OP can be updated? (they're not loading for me)

I need pics of the covered PCIE pins, have a card here with same issue

cheers
I don't even know if the OP is watching this thread anymore, but the SMBus issue is pretty well documented around the internet with photos and videos. Here's one such video:

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post #7286 of 7288 (permalink) Old 08-18-2019, 09:34 PM
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disabling Perc 5/i write cache/fixing IO scheduling?

Howdy. I just inherited a Dell 2950 with a Perc 5/i.
I really don't want to use it, but from all the reading I did, there is no IT/unraid mode for it, so I was stuck setting the 6 2TB drives as 6 independent raid0 drives.
I wish I could just bypass the damn card and connect the drives directly to a sata card, but the case and backplane do not seem to make this possible.
So, the 6 drives show up in linux, I partitioned them and created various software raid slices on top (raid1, raid5 and raid6).
They work fine, but there is something very wrong with a block layer somewhere. If I send a bunch of writes, the IO scheduler seems to introduce terrible latency where my whole system hangs for a few seconds trying to read simple binaries while from what I can tell, the I/O platters spend all their time writing the backlog of what's being sent.

I tried to disable the write cache to let linux and its 32GB of RAM, do it better, but I didn't see a real improvement:
newmagic:~# megacli -LDSetProp -DisDskCache -L0 -a0 (0,1,2,3,4,5)
newmagic:~# megacli -LDGetProp -DskCache -Lall -a0
Adapter 0-VD 0(target id: 0): Disk Write Cache : Disabled
Adapter 0-VD 1(target id: 1): Disk Write Cache : Disabled
Adapter 0-VD 2(target id: 2): Disk Write Cache : Disabled
Adapter 0-VD 3(target id: 3): Disk Write Cache : Disabled
Adapter 0-VD 4(target id: 4): Disk Write Cache : Disabled
Adapter 0-VD 5(target id: 5): Disk Write Cache : Disabled

I'm also only getting about 5MB/s sustained write speed, which is pathetic. I have lots of servers with normal sata cards, software raid, and I get 50 to 100MB/s normally.
I'm hoping the Perc 5/i card is not _that_ bad?


If I access drives plugged directly into the motherboard's sata port, I get perfect speed. I've also added an SSD with bcache to frontload one of the raid arrays that is so slow, and sure enough, it becomes usuable.
Still, I'd like to fix the underlying problem.

megacli -LdPdInfo -a0 output for the first drive below. Any idea of what I could have missed that causes this?
Number of Virtual Disks: 6
Virtual Drive: 0 (Target Id: 0)
Name :0
RAID Level : Primary-0, Secondary-0, RAID Level Qualifier-0
Size : 1.818 TB
Sector Size : 512
Parity Size : 0
State : Optimal
Strip Size : 64 KB
Number Of Drives : 1
Span Depth : 1
Default Cache Policy: WriteBack, ReadAheadNone, Direct, No Write Cache if Bad BBU
Current Cache Policy: WriteBack, ReadAheadNone, Direct, No Write Cache if Bad BBU
Default Access Policy: Read/Write
Current Access Policy: Read/Write
Disk Cache Policy : Disabled
Encryption Type : None
Is VD Cached: No
Number of Spans: 1
Span: 0 - Number of PDs: 1

PD: 0 Information
Enclosure Device ID: 8
Slot Number: 0
Drive's position: DiskGroup: 0, Span: 0, Arm: 0
Enclosure position: N/A
Device Id: 0
WWN:
Sequence Number: 2
Media Error Count: 0
Other Error Count: 1
Predictive Failure Count: 0
Last Predictive Failure Event Seq Number: 0
PD Type: SATA

Raw Size: 1.819 TB [0xe8e088b0 Sectors]
Non Coerced Size: 1.818 TB [0xe8d088b0 Sectors]
Coerced Size: 1.818 TB [0xe8d00000 Sectors]
Sector Size: 0
Firmware state: Online, Spun Up
Device Firmware Level: AB50
Shield Counter: 0
Successful diagnostics completion on : N/A
SAS Address(0):
0x1221000000000000
Connected Port Number: 0
Inquiry Data: WD-WMAZA0374092WDC WD20EARS-00MVWB0 50.0AB50
FDE Capable: Not Capable
FDE Enable: Disable
Secured: Unsecured
Locked: Unlocked
Needs EKM Attention: No
Foreign State: None
Device Speed: Unknown
Link Speed: Unknown
Media Type: Hard Disk Device
Drive Temperature : N/A
PI Eligibility: No
Drive is formatted for PI information: No
PI: No PI
Port-0 :
Port status: Active
Port's Linkspeed: Unknown
Drive has flagged a S.M.A.R.T alert : No


Thanks,
Marc
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post #7287 of 7288 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 11:10 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by Marc MERLIN View Post
Howdy. I just inherited a Dell 2950 with a Perc 5/i.
I really don't want to use it, but from all the reading I did, there is no IT/unraid mode for it, so I was stuck setting the 6 2TB drives as 6 independent raid0 drives.
I wish I could just bypass the damn card and connect the drives directly to a sata card, but the case and backplane do not seem to make this possible.
So, the 6 drives show up in linux, I partitioned them and created various software raid slices on top (raid1, raid5 and raid6).
They work fine, but there is something very wrong with a block layer somewhere. If I send a bunch of writes, the IO scheduler seems to introduce terrible latency where my whole system hangs for a few seconds trying to read simple binaries while from what I can tell, the I/O platters spend all their time writing the backlog of what's being sent.

I tried to disable the write cache to let linux and its 32GB of RAM, do it better, but I didn't see a real improvement:
newmagic:~# megacli -LDSetProp -DisDskCache -L0 -a0 (0,1,2,3,4,5)
newmagic:~# megacli -LDGetProp -DskCache -Lall -a0
Adapter 0-VD 0(target id: 0): Disk Write Cache : Disabled
Adapter 0-VD 1(target id: 1): Disk Write Cache : Disabled
Adapter 0-VD 2(target id: 2): Disk Write Cache : Disabled
Adapter 0-VD 3(target id: 3): Disk Write Cache : Disabled
Adapter 0-VD 4(target id: 4): Disk Write Cache : Disabled
Adapter 0-VD 5(target id: 5): Disk Write Cache : Disabled

I'm also only getting about 5MB/s sustained write speed, which is pathetic. I have lots of servers with normal sata cards, software raid, and I get 50 to 100MB/s normally.
I'm hoping the Perc 5/i card is not _that_ bad?


If I access drives plugged directly into the motherboard's sata port, I get perfect speed. I've also added an SSD with bcache to frontload one of the raid arrays that is so slow, and sure enough, it becomes usuable.
Still, I'd like to fix the underlying problem.

megacli -LdPdInfo -a0 output for the first drive below. Any idea of what I could have missed that causes this?
Number of Virtual Disks: 6
Virtual Drive: 0 (Target Id: 0)
Name :0
RAID Level : Primary-0, Secondary-0, RAID Level Qualifier-0
Size : 1.818 TB
Sector Size : 512
Parity Size : 0
State : Optimal
Strip Size : 64 KB
Number Of Drives : 1
Span Depth : 1
Default Cache Policy: WriteBack, ReadAheadNone, Direct, No Write Cache if Bad BBU
Current Cache Policy: WriteBack, ReadAheadNone, Direct, No Write Cache if Bad BBU
Default Access Policy: Read/Write
Current Access Policy: Read/Write
Disk Cache Policy : Disabled
Encryption Type : None
Is VD Cached: No
Number of Spans: 1
Span: 0 - Number of PDs: 1

PD: 0 Information
Enclosure Device ID: 8
Slot Number: 0
Drive's position: DiskGroup: 0, Span: 0, Arm: 0
Enclosure position: N/A
Device Id: 0
WWN:
Sequence Number: 2
Media Error Count: 0
Other Error Count: 1
Predictive Failure Count: 0
Last Predictive Failure Event Seq Number: 0
PD Type: SATA

Raw Size: 1.819 TB [0xe8e088b0 Sectors]
Non Coerced Size: 1.818 TB [0xe8d088b0 Sectors]
Coerced Size: 1.818 TB [0xe8d00000 Sectors]
Sector Size: 0
Firmware state: Online, Spun Up
Device Firmware Level: AB50
Shield Counter: 0
Successful diagnostics completion on : N/A
SAS Address(0):
0x1221000000000000
Connected Port Number: 0
Inquiry Data: WD-WMAZA0374092WDC WD20EARS-00MVWB0 50.0AB50
FDE Capable: Not Capable
FDE Enable: Disable
Secured: Unsecured
Locked: Unlocked
Needs EKM Attention: No
Foreign State: None
Device Speed: Unknown
Link Speed: Unknown
Media Type: Hard Disk Device
Drive Temperature : N/A
PI Eligibility: No
Drive is formatted for PI information: No
PI: No PI
Port-0 :
Port status: Active
Port's Linkspeed: Unknown
Drive has flagged a S.M.A.R.T alert : No


Thanks,
Marc
If you're going to use "DIRECT" access (meaning bypass cache of the controller), you need to enable disk cache at least. That said, PERC5 has never been a super high performing controller... it has a PCI-X to PCIe bridge that limits it's total bandwidth; i don't recall the exact numbers now... but the PERC6 removed that limitation and performed better; but even then, with 8xHDD RAID-5, I think I was able to get about 500~600MB/sec throughput in sequential I/O. This is all a long time ago, so I may not have the right recollection.

All that aside, if you want to make that old server do some modern workloads, you can upgrade the storage system with a H200 or H310 and flash those to IT mode. I converted a PE2900-III once to a FreeNAS server with a H200 in IT mode. You just have to get the right cables between the controller and backplane, which I think means SFF-8087(host) to SFF-8484(target) cables...
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post #7288 of 7288 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 12:11 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by Marc MERLIN View Post
Howdy. I just inherited a Dell 2950 with a Perc 5/i.
I really don't want to use it, but from all the reading I did, there is no IT/unraid mode for it, so I was stuck setting the 6 2TB drives as 6 independent raid0 drives.
I wish I could just bypass the damn card and connect the drives directly to a sata card, but the case and backplane do not seem to make this possible.
Hardware raid with a dedicated hardware accelerator card like this (even this old 5/i one) is superior to software raid in every way anyway. Why not just enable hardware raid on the card, enable it's caching and have it appear as one large storage drive? It exports a single virtual drive to linux and then just slice that up as you would a normal single 10TB hard drive (6x2TB in RAID5 = 10TB usable).
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