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btb4

Looking For Secondary Storage Adapter Suggestions

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Hi,

I am looking to add one or two Raptors as secondary (tertiary, really) storage to an IBM IntelliStation M Pro 6850-25U. The OS drive is a 15K Seagate and the secondary storage is a Maxtor 10K IV 140G. Rather than continuing to add 10K SCSI drives I thought I'd add an SATA controller. I will have a 64-bit slot available.

Looking through the archives it seems that there may be some BIOS issues with certain configurations and certain SATA adapters. Is that likely to be the case with a Promise SATA150 TX4? I am thinking that the on-board Adaptec SCSI chipset may be an issue. Perhaps the Adaptec SATA controller, used in a non-RAID configuration?

TIA!

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I have several SATA controllers, and the Promise SATA150 TX4 is very nice. It has a very unobtrusive BIOS, and scan the drives quickly.

Unfortunately, I've had big problems making it work in PCI-X slots. The HighPoint controllers work fine in PCI-X, but I don't like their card BIOS as much.

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my biggest concern would be controller conflict.. either in the loading of BIOSes or on PCI bus transfers, one controller might try to hog the bus...

The 74GB atlas 10k III is cheaper than (or similarly priced to) the raptor... I think I'd just add it personally.

S-ATA can replace IDE in servers, but I just can't help but feel that neither S-ATA or (especially)WD are really ready to replace SCSI in serious server roles.

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Thanks, not sure about the Atlas IIIs, though. My issue is that this is our Scenarist workstation. We'd used 9 15K spindles on a Mylex RAID card for building images from the software; however, with each succesive version Scenarist has become less and less RAID-compatible. With the latest patch I had to disable the RAID card in BIOS and actually burn the images to an external 1394 drive. Very slow - a DVD-9 takes 1.5-2 hours to build on the 1394 versus maybe 20-30 minutes on the RAID. This is essentially temporary/testing storage, as the real build goes to DLT.

I am assuming the STR is a primary limiting factor with this process, so was hoping to find a reasonable solution w/out RAID. The Raptors are going for about $230 for 74G. The Maxors are about 50% more.

First and foremost the station needs to work, of course. Saving a few $100 on a workstation that has about $40K+ into it may seem stingy, but if I don't have to spend it, why do it? As it is I have to find a home for the RAID, which I spent about $9K on two years or so ago and now no longer performs its designated function due to the software.

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I got a promise Tx4 I'm not crazy about it, It has problems in my setup that it conflicts with something (onboard SATA (A7N8X Del.), promise IDE controller, adaptec SCSI). The system would hang in certain configurations on boot up. It also has a stupid thing that it hangs if no hard drives are attached! Now it is normal that you have drives attached to it, but if you are testing and want to disconnect drives you have to unplug the TX4 to get it to boot.

I would try another brand before getting a TX4, thats my experiance with it

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I got my 10k III prices from hypermicro. They specialize in SCSI storage and seem to have better prices than newegg/google gear who deal mainly in IDE/S-ATA storage.

I see now that I was looking at an 80 pin unit... however, it does come with an 80->68 pin adapter for $200 total. The 36.7GB unit is $119.. very comparable to the raptor.

The atlas 10kIII beats the 74GB raptor in most of the highly random server benchmarks. However, the raptor does win in the sequential transfer rate tests.

There's nothing forcing you to use RAID either way if your software has a hard time with it...

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There's nothing forcing you to use RAID either way if your software has a hard time with it...

Right, though even with the fastest drives out there I am not going to come anywhere close to the STR of the 9X15K RAID. All evidence seems to point to that being the limiting factor, though it is in a funny way that frankly is not 100% obvious to me (writing 8G in 20 minutes with only a handful of large files should not be a challenge under any of the above scenarios). Based on observing drive activity lights, the writes seem to happen in discrete "strokes".

Sonic's Scenarist support - which is frankly the best I've ever had from any vendor at any time when it comes to using the software - can't seem to elucidate.

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It has problems in my setup that it conflicts with something (onboard SATA (A7N8X Del.), promise IDE controller, adaptec SCSI).

Thanks for the feedback. I'd say the Adaptec onboard SCIS is probably my biggest concern for complications.

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FWIW, Promise tech support came back and said it probably would not work. I give them full marks for both honesty and speed (I sent the email question at about the same time I started this thread).

The reply also said something else interesting, though - he indicated that none of their boards were 64-bit. Maybe my eyes are getting tired, but they looked like they had the extra pins in the photos I've seen. Perhaps it was another card? For full-SATA and 4 drives don't the cards need to be 64-bit?

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The Promise cards are 3.3v and 66MHz capable, but not 64bit. That means that they are keyed to fit into 64bit slots, but they don't actually operate at 64bit width.

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