TheR

Promise SuperTrak EX8350 PCIe x4

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# Intel IOP333 XScale I/O processor (500 MHz)

# 128MB DDR ECC on-board controller cache

This means its a hardware raid controller ?? Thought promise controllers were usually software raid.

Nox

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More info says its 'hardware assisted' any ideas?? Not sure if I like the sound of that, can't find any prices anywhere either.

Nox

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If the controller has an onboard CPU as well as dedicated RAM, then it is a hardware based controller.

More info says its 'hardware assisted'  any ideas??  Not sure if I like the sound of that, can't find any prices anywhere either.

Nox

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I found it here. http://www.geizhals.at/eu/a159536.html

Althow non of the sites has it on stock.

by

TheR

212613[/snapback]

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# Intel IOP333 XScale I/O processor (500 MHz)

# 128MB DDR ECC on-board controller cache

This means its a hardware raid controller ??  Thought promise controllers were usually software raid.

212609[/snapback]

Yes, this is the same processor on the Areca cards.

I see the EX8350 is available for sale now, but, strangely, Google shows no reviews or benchmarks. Has anyone seen or tested this card in the wild?

The 8-port version is less than 2/3 of the price of the equivalent Areca 1220.. tempting.

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Has anyone played with these yet? i am interested in the future array expansion options etc. looks like a great card, but i too doubt promise's integrity... too many failed raid cards to trust em...

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Has anyone played with these yet?  i am interested in the future array expansion options etc.  looks like a great card, but i too doubt promise's integrity... too many failed raid cards to trust em...

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I just ordered one from mwave.com (backordered to 2005-08-26, though). I plan to run it on an NForce4 board (Tyan Tomcat K8E) under Linux 2.6 (Debian stable, amd64); we'll see how it goes.. at $380 it's half the price of the equivalent Areca, definitely worth a shot though I hate being the guinea pig.

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Has anyone played with these yet?  i am interested in the future array expansion options etc.  looks like a great card, but i too doubt promise's integrity... too many failed raid cards to trust em...

213574[/snapback]

I just ordered one from mwave.com (backordered to 2005-08-26, though). I plan to run it on an NForce4 board (Tyan Tomcat K8E) under Linux 2.6 (Debian stable, amd64); we'll see how it goes.. at $380 it's half the price of the equivalent Areca, definitely worth a shot though I hate being the guinea pig.

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I am thinking exactly the same configuration with Suse Linux. I have seen on Suse web site that the driver has got their Enterprise Server certificate.

I am realy looking forward to your experience.

by

TheR

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I just ordered one from mwave.com (backordered to 2005-08-26, though).  I plan to run it on an NForce4 board (Tyan Tomcat K8E) under Linux 2.6 (Debian stable, amd64); we'll see how it goes.. at $380 it's half the price of the equivalent Areca, definitely worth a shot though I hate being the guinea pig.

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Despite being listed as backordered to the 26th, I magically received my card on the 25th-- woohoo! Linux setup looks pretty involved since I'm running Debian, not Red Hat or SUSE, so I gave it a go under Windows XP on another machine first (Asus A8N Premium, Athlon64 X2 4200).

The package includes a low-profile faceplate, perfect for 2U servers, 8 SATA cables, and a bunch of 4-pin-to-SATA-power cables. There's what looks like a manual but it's really a 90-page quickstart guide, only 8-10 pages of which are in English. Ha. The real manual is a PDF on the included driver CD.

The card fits in a 4x PCI-E slot. I plan to try it in the 16x slot also since that's what the Tomcat K8E has. Getting this running on Windows was a cinch: I set up a test RAID1 volume and ran some stress tests. I installed the WebPAM software which is a Java webapp for local & remote management of the RAID. I'm annoyed that everything WebPAM does is not also provided via simple command line tools, since I have no intention of running WebPAM on my live server. This means I have to reboot and use the BIOS tool-- suck! Perhaps I will break down an access WebPAM through an SSH tunnel or such.

Now I'm going to give the Linux side of things a try on the same box (Asus A8N, not the Tomcat yet) under Gentoo amd64 running 2.6.13 rc6. Crossing my fingers..

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The EX8350 Linux source provided on the Promise download page doesn't compile out of the box on 64-bit platforms because it tries to

#include <asm/ioctl32.h>

which has moved around between versions of the 2.6 kernel.

On 2.6.13 you need to change line 61 of cfg_linux.h to

#include <linux/ioctl32.h>

. Then I was able to compile fine.

Now I

# insmod shasta.ko
# cat /sys/block/sdb/model
1X2 Mirror/RAID1
# fdisk /dev/sdb
...partition drive...
# mkfs.xfs /dev/sdb1
# mkdir /mnt/raid1
# mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/raid1
# cd /mnt/raid1
# time dd if=/dev/zero of=testfile bs=64k count=16384
...
# time dd if=testfile of=/dev/null bs=64k
...

So, it passes the DOA test! Now to try in the x16 slot on the Tomcat under Debian...

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What do you think? Will it work on SLI board (2x PCIe x8) althow it is PCIe x4 card.

I'am thinking AMD X2 4400+, decent SLI board (ASUS), 64bit Linux, 2TB of disk space.

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The Asus A8N SLI has one x4 and one x1 slot between its two x8 slots, so you can run SLI graphics cards *and* RAID if you like.

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Don't suppose you could give us any performance figures with that card? Esp. in RAID-5?

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I will do some RAID5 benches shortly (waiting on other parts for the new machine) though I'm afraid they may not be terribly useful since I don't have another card (e.g. an Areca) to compare with. I suppose I can bench one of the bare drives as well. Ah, and perhaps against software RAID.. Any bets?

I have six 80GB Hitachi Deskstar 7K80; planning on five in RAID5 with one hot spare.

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Don't suppose you could give us any performance figures with that card? Esp. in RAID-5?

213919[/snapback]

I will do some RAID5 benches shortly (waiting on other parts for the new machine) though I'm afraid they may not be terribly useful since I don't have another card (e.g. an Areca) to compare with. I suppose I can bench one of the bare drives as well. Ah, and perhaps against software RAID.. Any bets?

I have six 80GB Hitachi Deskstar 7K80; planning on five in RAID5 with one hot spare.

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Well there are the benches at tweakers.net on the areca that can be compared. I'll be receiving my Areca PCI-e card soon, but I did ponder the promise card. They both use the same IOP333 processor, which seems to be a workhorse of a chip.

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The Asus A8N SLI has one x4 and one x1 slot between its two x8 slots, so you can run SLI graphics cards *and* RAID if you like.

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ASUS is no more an option, because its second network controller is connected via PCI.

I've also read that althow some consumer motherboards have PCIe 4x slots mounted on motherboard, slot can only work in 2x mode.

And I am not interested in graphics. I need a backup server which will also be used for other usefull functions.

by

TheR

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ASUS is no more an option, because its second network controller is connected via PCI.

I've also read that althow some consumer motherboards have PCIe 4x slots mounted on motherboard, slot can only work in 2x mode.

And I am not interested in graphics. I need a backup server which will also be used for other usefull functions.

I've just purchased an a8n-sli premium for home and am setting it up now as we speak.

Isn't one Gig NIC Card enough for you?

If you seriously need more gig NIC cards, I'd would think that a workstation grade board (based on nForce4 Pro or an Intel Server chipset would be a much better choice.

If you did decide to stay with an nForce4 SLI board, for graphics I'd recommend you install the oldest, cheapest PCI (not PCI-e) video card you can get you hands on. Then you can run the both the x16 PCI Express slots as x8 and have 2 high end RAID controllers or whatever else you need in them.

Regards,

Michael.

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ASUS is no more an option, because its second network controller is connected via PCI.

I didn't imply it was an option: I run this board on my workstation and have used it for additional testing. It is not appropriate for your needs. Perhaps you should be considering a less bleeding-edge technology, such as a solid server board with PCI-X, due to the much wider availability of peripherals.

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Well there are the benches at tweakers.net on the areca that can be compared.  I'll be receiving my Areca PCI-e card soon, but I did ponder the promise card.  They both use the same IOP333 processor, which seems to be a workhorse of a chip.

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I worry that the Promise will turn out to be too immature and destablize my system. The Linux drivers are unpolished and certainly not confidence-inspiring. There is no FreeBSD support. I have no qualms about replacing it with an Areca 1220 if necessary.

Advantages of the Areca line include upgradeable cache, optional battery backup unit, and out-of-band management via its own Ethernet port. The Promise EX8350 has an optional BBU but it's unavailable for purchase.

Nonetheless, the Promise may turn out to be the little card that could: easy on the pocketbook and very fast B)

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The Asus A8N SLI has one x4 and one x1 slot between its two x8 slots, so you can run SLI graphics cards *and* RAID if you like.

213962[/snapback]

ASUS is no more an option, because its second network controller is connected via PCI.

I've also read that althow some consumer motherboards have PCIe 4x slots mounted on motherboard, slot can only work in 2x mode.

And I am not interested in graphics. I need a backup server which will also be used for other usefull functions.

by

TheR

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Maybe I'm missing something here... What is the concern with the 2nd GBe controller on PCIe? I was also looking at this mobo and EX8350 combination. Is there some interaction between the x4 slot and the 2nd GBe that inhibits performance. thanks, jc

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[Maybe I'm missing something here...  What is the concern with the 2nd GBe controller on PCIe?  I was also looking at this mobo and EX8350 combination.  Is there some interaction between the x4 slot and the 2nd GBe that inhibits performance.  thanks, jc

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If you ever need second GB ethernet on PCI it is a CPU hog. MSI Platinum series MB has onboard second ethernet chip which is connected through PCIe.

I don't know is there any issue running PCIe 4x card in 2x slot as I don't know is there any probles running PCIe 4x card in PCIe 16x slot. 500MB/s (2x) of bandwith should be enough fro any disk operation.

by

TheR

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do you know if raid 6 support has been included, or is there still a mythical bios (?) update that's still waiting in the wings?

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Unfortunately there is no RAID6 support out of the box, and though the packaging promises an "update in late 2005," there is no mention of RAID6 anywhere in the manual, BIOS, or WebPAM software. I was disappointed by this omission considering that this feature is widely advertised as a selling point for this card.

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