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Hardware Thread, Advice: SATA Raid Controller card in Technical; I'm looking at building a FreeNAS box at home and need some help with choosing a suitable SATA RAID Controller ...
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    Gatt's Avatar
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    Advice: SATA Raid Controller card

    I'm looking at building a FreeNAS box at home and need some help with choosing a suitable SATA RAID Controller

    It needs to be PCI (NOT EXPRESS!)
    It Needs to support drives of 2Tb in size
    Have at least 4 SATA Ports
    Be under 50

    I'm seeing a few StarTech ones at about 30 but starting to wonder if these don't support 2Tb drives

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    Depending on your processor, it might be an idea to look at a new mobo with raid onboard. Most of the mid range intel boards have done h/w raid for a number of years and can be updated with firmware to support 2tb drives.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    @RabbieBurns grabbed one a while back that should fit the bill, can't remember which one though hence the mention so hopefully he can remember.

    Found it:
    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    Composite of last two messages:
    Looks like 48bit will still meet your needs, it's just a case of finding one that they have bothered to update the firmware on:
    Parallel ATA - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    View topic - 48-bit LBA Size Limitations - Maximum PC Forums

    Having a look at those ones on ebay I don't think that they are actually listed with their propper product codes as I was unable to find out much more information about them. One appeared just to be labled from the biggest chip on the card.

    It may end up being easier just finding a nonraid card that works with *nix and just using software based


    ==============new message===============

    PCI SATA 4 CHANNEL RAID CARD(SUPPORT VISTA)W/SATA CABLE on eBay (end time 30-Aug-09 05:30:41 BST)
    or
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/4-Port-SATA-SERIAL-ATA-PCI-CONTROLLER-RAID-CARD-2-CABLE_W0QQitemZ110420214600QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_C omputing_ComputerComponents_InterfaceCards?hash=it em19b58ec348&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

    How to Enable SiI 3114 SATA Support on Linux
    Silicon Image Products - SiI3114 - PCI to 4 Port SATA150

    Sil 3114 Bios Flashing -HELP- - Desktops



    No onboard cache but it looks like it may meet your needs, even supports raid5.
    By extention, any of these:

    Sil 3114 | eBay UK

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    Gatt (17th April 2011)

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    Gatt's Avatar
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    Thanks @SYNACK - guessing these'll work with FreeNAS and support 2Tb's (will try and read the post you mentioned as soon as I can..)
    @riffleman - its an old Dell Optiplex GX260 so it'll be a P4 processor

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gatt View Post
    Thanks @SYNACK - guessing these'll work with FreeNAS and support 2Tb's (will try and read the post you mentioned as soon as I can..)
    @riffleman - its an old Dell Optiplex GX260 so it'll be a P4 processor
    Should do, they work with 1.5TB ones and seem to be linux compatible so should work with FreeNAS.

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    Gatt (17th April 2011)

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    RabbieBurns's Avatar
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    I ended up buying a new motherboard with onboard raid, I couldnt get any of the PCI cards i tried to work properly with the 1.5tb seagates I was using. Didnt even try with a 2tb.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RabbieBurns View Post
    I ended up buying a new motherboard with onboard raid, I couldnt get any of the PCI cards i tried to work properly with the 1.5tb seagates I was using. Didnt even try with a 2tb.
    Oops, I thought that you had got it working, my bad. Glad you got back with the corrected info

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    RabbieBurns's Avatar
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    it could well have been that the seagates were part of the dodgy batch. I ended up buying WD 2TB with the new motherboard so never actually got to test fully properly.

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    I ended up getting a LSI SAS3081E, cost more than the atom ion 1 motherboard though. I don't use the RAID, ZFS is better

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gatt View Post
    It needs to support drives of 2TB in size
    Do you already have the 2TB HDDs for your NAS? If not, you may want to buy HDDs which aren't of the Advanced Format variety. All of the 2TB drives listed below have non-emulated 512 byte sectors (like HDDs used to have).


    I'm not sure if FreeNAS has any problems with 4K/512e HDDs (the changelog for the latest version is a little vague), but I know ZFS-based NASs can have all sorts of issues with Advanced Format drives.

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    Are there any AF drives that don't emulate 512 byte sectors? ZFS is natively 4K, but the emulation is annoying when you don't need it. As long as you use GPT format it's fine anyway, although I didn't notice much performance difference when they were in MBR format

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    The onboard raid is certainly not H/W - the only hardware based thing about it is the interface!
    Always worth looking around eBay for the XFX raid controllers - dirt cheap and far beyond their price in performance terms. Was about to buy one a year or so ago before finding someone selling an "ILS RADE CARD" on ebay (thanks to Goofbay) for 19.99 buy now. It was a 200 card

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    OK, another angle then.. I have a P4 Processor..
    Anyone know a good / cheapish - mobo that has 4 sata slots that are raidable (raid 1 and/or raid0+1)

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    Quote Originally Posted by mavhc View Post
    Are there any AF drives that don't emulate 512 byte sectors?
    None at present. Windows 7 doesn't even support 4K native drives so it may be some time before manufacturers create new drives without emulation.

    Quote Originally Posted by mavhc View Post
    As long as you use GPT format it's fine anyway, although I didn't notice much performance difference when they were in MBR format
    From what I have read there are a couple of issues with 4K/512e HDDs and ZFS. The first is to do with drives which lie about the size of their physical sectors. The end result being abysmal performance unless you use one of the workarounds (the ashift patch for Solaris or the GNOP method for FreeBSD - both of which are used to make ZFS aware of the real physical sector size).

    There is *much* discussion of dealing with 4k sector drives and ZFS. A search for "zfs gnop 4k" will find a number of threads where OpenSolaris and FreeBSD users have found performance to be much more satisfactory when using the "gnop" tool to create a device that requires all I/O to take place in units of 4k, rather than just 512b.

    Short summary of the problem: As the storage industry moves to 4k sectors, they've decided not, at least initially, to actually expose the 4k sectors to the OS. However, 512b-emulation of a 4k sector requires that an isolated <4k write to disk first be preceded by a read. So, scattered 512b writes (as might be expected from ZFS if its assuming a native 512b sector size) will cause extra reads (so that the unchanged parts of the 4k sector can be written back with the changed 512b). And each read requires an extra rotation of the platter before the subsequent write. Generating aligned 4k writes lets the underlying firmware skip the read - the full 4k native sector is just written as normal. (Source)
    If you put "WD20EARS and ZFS" into Google you will see there are many people having issues with the 4k emulated drives (particularly Western Digital's)...

    Solaris and the new 4K-Sector-Disks (e.g. WDxxEARS) - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

    The second is to do with ZFSs variable stripe size. For performance reasons you will want to avoid RAID-Z with 4 disks and RAID-Z2 with 5 disks. More info here and here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gatt View Post
    Anyone know a good / cheapish - mobo that has 4 SATA slots that are raidable (raid 1 and/or raid0+1)
    If you are using FreeNAS and software RAID, surely all you need is a motherboard with 4 SATA ports?

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