TheR

Promise SuperTrak EX8350 PCIe x4

Recommended Posts

I bought the Promise EX8350 myself and promptly returned it (and was able to get a full refund).  The chip on the card ran EXTREMELY hot; my temperature sensor read about 170-180 degrees.  The performance I got on the card was dismal as well under Windows XP.  I got about 7 MB/sec on RAID 0 and RAID 0+1 using 4 Maxtor 300GB SATA DiamondMax10 drives.  Interestingly, RAID 5 was fastest at about 35 MB/sec if I can recall correctly.  I was also unhappy that the controller BIOS would only let me create two logical drives on a physical hard drive set.  That's too limiting.

Now I am back  to Fake RAID 0 on a NForce4 motherboard and get over 120 MB/sec, but have to resort to doing more frequent backups since I don't have H/W RAID 5.

217058[/snapback]

Mine ran pretty hot as well, but I think Promise designed it that way. the WebPAM software has a picture of the 8350 with a fan. I bet the card featured isn't a production card. Mine doesn't run hot anymore because I have a couple of 80mm fans blowing air over the two controllers.

I'm not having anymore write Issues and the calls to Promise couldn't find the cause. I decided to recreate the RAID 5 array first, but after many attempts the problem remains. Today, I tried a RAID 10 with six drives and it had decent performance. I didn't write down any numbers though. I recreated the RAID 5 array and the problem magically disappeared.!..?

The write speed is about 100-150MB/s now. This is what concerns me, its not consistant at all. I don't know if I should gamble or replace it with an Areca....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All I know is that I spent about 3 days trying to get the card to perform at a decent speed and I had absolutely no luck. I paid $450 for the card and it surely wasn't acting on par with what I would expect for $450. I could never get past the 7 MB/sec write barrier on anything but the RAID 5 configuration. And, as I said, even the RAID 5 write performance was not anything to rave about. I debated on buying the Areca controller myself, but I think it's just too expensive. If it was maybe $500 for the 8 port card, I would consider it. But I think it's just too much money right now. It's cheaper to buy more hard drives and do frequent backups than spend $700 - $800 on a RAID card. Maybe the timing just isn't right for me to own a RAID card. I suppose I'll have to wait until PCI Express catches on more since I don't have any PCI-X slots nor ever will.

Is it too much to ask for an affordable RAID 5 card that gives 120 MB/sec performance on writes or am I too demanding??

So, do you plan on keeping your Promise card??

Mine ran pretty hot as well, but I think Promise designed it that way. the WebPAM software has a picture of the 8350 with a fan. I bet the card featured isn't a production card. Mine doesn't run hot anymore because I have a couple of 80mm fans blowing air over the two controllers.

I'm not having anymore write Issues and the calls to Promise couldn't find the cause. I decided to recreate the RAID 5 array first, but after many attempts the problem remains. Today, I tried a RAID 10 with six drives and it had decent performance. I didn't write down any numbers though. I recreated the RAID 5 array and the problem magically disappeared.!..?

The write speed is about 100-150MB/s now. This is what concerns me, its not consistant at all. I don't know if I should gamble or replace it with an Areca....

217175[/snapback]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For some reason the write speed in RAID5 is quite respectable now and what was the solution? You got me. Like I said before, the only thing that worries me is the inconsistancies with this card. I'm installing Gentoo Linux on the machine now and the drivers are ok as far as I can tell although they don't provide a kernel patch, only as a module so you can't really boot off this controller without using initrd, which is fine with me.

I still plan on making backups even with this array because RAID doesn't mean the data is completely safe, just adds another level of redundancy. The controller is now capable of sustaining a 120MB/s write speed, mine does anywhere from 100 to 150MB/s.

At this point in time, I'll probably keep it because its working but how reliable is this? I have no freakin idea. This array is just a toy at the moment as I have enough storage space across my network. If it shows decent performance in Linux, I'll probably keep it. I also need to test how well it does when it looses one drive. After Linux is installed and configured with Samba, I'll rip a drive out of the array to see how the controller handles the rebuild of the array.

I'll update this thread as I go. On that note I believe the Promise guys are reading these threads.

Edited by jewps

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After reading all the problems and issues on the Promise card, not to mention the horrible write speeds. There is no question that you should pay a few more dollars for the Areca controllers. Well worth the headaches it will save you and definetly give you better write speeds. The Areca ARC-Series has been out for over a year, Since then the company I work for has switched over from 3ware to an all Areca storage server line, We have had no major issues, except for some motherboard compatiblities, which was quickly solved by a motherboard BIOS update.

The way I see it, Areca has some outstanding RAID controllers. They were the first company to offer SATA II 3Gb/s Controllers in both PCI-X and PCIe interfaces. Promise and 3ware are just finally releasing their controllers while Areca has allready been there done that. Areca has even dropped in price down to an affordable level (compared to the original prices) Just pay the extra money, It's well worth it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've considered Areca products but up here in Canada, its very hard to obtain even for me. I do have Areca's price list and the cost prices for the 8-port is the same as 3Ware's new 9xxx series. If I order from TekRam, there is a good chance there will be duty on the card.

At the moment the Promise quietly humming away and I'm starting to like it more each day. As I've said before this array is just a toy for now, when I need it and I find the Promise not suitable for my needs, I'll just sell it and buy a Areca.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyone managed to get the webpam software to work in Linux? I'm running Gentoo and the jetty server is up but I don't think it's opening up a port.

I don't know how to configure this jetty server..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
After reading all the problems and issues on the Promise card, not to mention the horrible write speeds. There is no question that you should pay a few more dollars for the Areca controllers.

The only problem for me is - that the Areca controllers have fans on their boards.

I'm looking to build a queit system with RAID5 that supports OCE... 3 HD's will make enough noise, but adding another fan to a system that will only have a total of 3 fans, all nearly silent... Well I'd like to avoid that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The only problem for me is - that the Areca controllers have fans on their boards.

I'm looking to build a queit system with RAID5 that supports OCE...  3 HD's will make enough noise, but adding another fan to a system that will only have a total of 3 fans, all nearly silent...  Well I'd like to avoid that.

217658[/snapback]

I have an Areca 1220 PCIe card and it came with a fan/heatsink installed. However it also came with another heatsink in the packaging that you could replace the fan/heatsink with if you didn't want a fan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have an Areca 1220 PCIe card and it came with a fan/heatsink installed. However it also came with another heatsink in the packaging that you could replace the fan/heatsink with if you didn't want a fan.

217717[/snapback]

Thanks - that is very good to know.

I wish their compatibility chart listed a few more AMD based MB's.

I'd rather not gamble, but this is for a workstation not a disk server. (I just love the OCE capabilities, fault tolerance, and speed advantages of going to a high end RAID 5 solution)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sadly the Promise SuperTrak EX8350 PCIe 4x won't fit in the new Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe due to the collision between the card and the heatpipe ... I hope it'll fit in the A8N-SLI Premium board, which'll replace my (yet unused) A8N32-SLI Deluxe <_<

Edited by DocSilly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm considering buying the EX8350 and setting up a RAID5 array with 8 WD4000YR drives. There are however a couple of points where I have doubts after reading the posts:

1. If I have an nForce4 SLI motherboard with 2 PCIe x16 slots but no x4 slots, can I plug the controller on one of those x16 slots? Has anyone tried this? I don't know if the nVidia drivers like having something other than graphics cards on those slots.

2. I'm considering buying just the minimum of 3 drives at first and then adding new drives as needed. The EX8350 supposedly supports growing the arrays, and under Linux it seems one can grow an XFS filesystem with xfs_growfs. My main concern is whether this is too risky and if I should go for the full 8 drives right away, as I really don't want to risk losing data. Is it safe to grow the array like this? Is there any way to recover the data should the operation fail for some reason?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm considering buying the EX8350 and setting up a RAID5 array with 8 WD4000YR drives. There are however a couple of points where I have doubts after reading the posts:

1. yes. you can use it in a x4, x8, or x16 slot..

2. yes. the expansion can take a looong time though (recalculating parity for the entire volume)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HI all!

I'm planning buying one EX8350 to build a cheap RAID5 array.

Is it possible to insert the car in a PCI-E 1x slot?

many thanks and happy new year :D

I think there was a post somewhere in the ars forums where someone modded a 1x slot so it would fit.

ps. Has anyone else gotten the ex8350 to workable sustained write speeds? (50MB/s+) I'm chuggin along at 20 right now in a 4 disk RAID5 array, and while it just might barely suffice for what I'm using it for, 400$ doesnt really seem worth that performance. If I cant find any other ideas I may actually have to throw in a (gulp) windows bootdrive. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to know what motherboards you are running this controller on? I'm thinking about using an A8N-SLI Premium or an AR8-MVP as a "server board" with this controller. I wonder if it'll work?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would like to know what motherboards you are running this controller on? I'm thinking about using an A8N-SLI Premium or an AR8-MVP as a "server board" with this controller. I wonder if it'll work?

DFI NF4 Lanparty Ultra-d here

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to know what motherboards you are running this controller on? I'm thinking about using an A8N-SLI Premium or an AR8-MVP as a "server board" with this controller. I wonder if it'll work?

DFI NF4 Lanparty Ultra-d here

Thanks!

What about all the rest of you EX8350 owners...?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm trying to install the driver on a SUSE 10 AMD 64 dual core system running the 2.6.13-15.7-smp kernel.

I followed your instructions in combination with the readme that came with the open source driver, taking care to activate smp support in the kernel config. Trying to insert the module I get:

#insmod shasta.ko
Killed
#lsmod
Module	  Size   Used by
<the command hangs here>

Any suggestions on how to troubleshoot the problem would be appreciated.

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...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm trying to install the driver on a SUSE 10 AMD 64 dual core system running the 2.6.13-15.7-smp kernel.

I followed your instructions in combination with the readme that came with the open source driver, taking care to activate smp support in the kernel config. Trying to insert the module I get:

#insmod shasta.ko
Killed
#lsmod
Module	  Size   Used by
<the command hangs here>

The output of dmesg is;

shasta: no version for "struct_module" found: kernel tainted.
shasta: module not supported by Novell, setting U taint flag.
Unable to handle kernel paging request at ffffffff8899bec0 RIP:
<ffffffff80159593>{load_module+2851}
PGD 103027 PUD 105027 PMD 7d61e067 PTE 0
Oops: 0002 [1] SMP
CPU 1
Modules linked in: nls_utf8 subfs cpufreq_ondemand cpufreq_userspace cpufreq_powersave powernow_k8 freq_table ipv6 snd_pcm_oss snd_mixer_oss button battery snd_seq ac snd_seq_device edd usbhid floppy dvb_ttpci dvb_core l64781 saa7146_vv video_buf saa7146 v4l1_compat v4l2_common videodev ves1820 stv0299 tda8083 stv0297 sp8870 firmware_class ves1x93 ttpci_eeprom ohci1394 ieee1394 nvidia sk98lin generic snd_intel8x0 snd_ac97_codec snd_ac97_bus snd_pcm snd_timer snd soundcore forcedeth ehci_hcd ohci_hcd usbcore snd_page_alloc i2c_nforce2 i2c_core shpchp pci_hotplug parport_pc lp parport dm_mod reiserfs fan sg thermal processor sata_nv ide_cd cdrom libata amd74xx sd_mod scsi_mod ide_disk ide_core
Pid: 9290, comm: insmod Tainted: PF	U 2.6.13-15.7-smp
RIP: 0010:[<ffffffff80159593>] <ffffffff80159593>{load_module+2851}
RSP: 0018:ffff81005cfb1d38  EFLAGS: 00010246
RAX: ffffffff8899bec0 RBX: ffffffff88996a20 RCX: 0000000000000000
RDX: 0000000000000000 RSI: ffffc20000af991b RDI: ffffffff889977cb
RBP: ffffc20000af5770 R08: 0000000000000004 R09: ffffffff8808d000
R10: 0000000000000000 R11: 0000000000000001 R12: ffffffff88997d40
R13: ffffc20000af1000 R14: 0000000000000016 R15: 0000000000000004
FS:  00002aaaaadedb00(0000) GS:ffffffff8050e880(0000) knlGS:0000000056ec0bb0
CS:  0010 DS: 0000 ES: 0000 CR0: 000000008005003b
CR2: ffffffff8899bec0 CR3: 0000000054f34000 CR4: 00000000000006e0 Process insmod (pid: 9290, threadinfo ffff81005cfb0000, task
ffff81007d486230)
Stack: 0000000000000000 ffffffff801666cc ffff810052fa03f8 ffff8100402452c0
   ffffc20000af5770 ffffc20000af55b0 ffffc20000af5730 ffff81005cfb1e0c
   ffffc20000af5230 ffffc20000af5168 Call Trace:<ffffffff801666cc>{find_get_page+92}
<ffffffff8023b891>{__up_read+33}	  
<ffffffff80124983>{do_page_fault+1251}
<ffffffff8017ab0a>{unmap_region+362}
   <ffffffff8017e1cc>{anon_vma_unlink+92}
<ffffffff8017a442>{remove_vm_struct+130}
   <ffffffff8015a4b6>{sys_init_module+134}
<ffffffff8010ed7e>{system_call+126}


Code: 49 89 84 24 80 41 00 00 49 89 84 24 88 41 00 00 89 d0 48 ff RIP <ffffffff80159593>{load_module+2851} RSP <ffff81005cfb1d38>
CR2: ffffffff8899bec0

Any suggestions on how to troubleshoot the problem would be appreciated.

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...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello All - 1st post :)

After installing an EX8350 on a MSI K8N Neo4 MB w/4x Seagate 120G SATA drives

When I boot the system the card identifies itself SuperTrak EX8350/8300 BIOS version 2.8.0.25

Scanning disks...... about 250 dots - takes about 3 minutes

Warning - Something wrong with your hardware!.

The system hangs here.

I have rebooted several times with and without the drives connected to the card - all 4, 2 drives, 1 drive - the result is the same every time - it takes 2-3 minutes in the Scanning Disks mode then fails

Is there something wrong with my card or the drives

what can I try next.

Please Help!!!

Thank you,

Will :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<quote>

#insmod shasta.ko

Killed

#lsmod

Module Size Used by

<the command hangs here>

The output of dmesg is;

CODE

shasta: no version for "struct_module" found: kernel tainted.

shasta: module not supported by Novell, setting U taint flag.

Unable to handle kernel paging request at ffffffff8899bec0 RIP:

<ffffffff80159593>{load_module+2851}

PGD 103027 PUD 105027 PMD 7d61e067 PTE 0

Oops: 0002 [1] SMP

CPU 1

etc.......

</quote>

Geronimo4711 were you able to resolve your problem and how?

by

TheR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi.

I heard a rumor that on nforce4 boards, if you plug in a raid controller, the onboard controller would not function anymore. Is this really true?

Since I am also interested in the combination of Asus A8N-SLI Premium and Promise EX8350 I would like to ask you if this is true.

Since I would like to reuse my dvd-burner (PATA) or older hds (PATA) this would not be very good for me.

Anyone ever had any problems concerning this?

thx

frank

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.

213673[/snapback]

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..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not true at least for PATA devices. I can try using the onboard sata ports also if you like but I doubt they would be disabled, they are nicely displayed during boot at least.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought the Promise EX8350 myself and promptly returned it (and was able to get a full refund). The chip on the card ran EXTREMELY hot; my temperature sensor read about 170-180 degrees. The performance I got on the card was dismal as well under Windows XP. I got about 7 MB/sec on RAID 0 and RAID 0+1 using 4 Maxtor 300GB SATA DiamondMax10 drives. Interestingly, RAID 5 was fastest at about 35 MB/sec if I can recall correctly. I was also unhappy that the controller BIOS would only let me create two logical drives on a physical hard drive set. That's too limiting.

Now I am back to Fake RAID 0 on a NForce4 motherboard and get over 120 MB/sec, but have to resort to doing more frequent backups since I don't have H/W RAID 5.

217058[/snapback]

Mine ran pretty hot as well, but I think Promise designed it that way. the WebPAM software has a picture of the 8350 with a fan. I bet the card featured isn't a production card. Mine doesn't run hot anymore because I have a couple of 80mm fans blowing air over the two controllers.

I'm not having anymore write Issues and the calls to Promise couldn't find the cause. I decided to recreate the RAID 5 array first, but after many attempts the problem remains. Today, I tried a RAID 10 with six drives and it had decent performance. I didn't write down any numbers though. I recreated the RAID 5 array and the problem magically disappeared.!..?

The write speed is about 100-150MB/s now. This is what concerns me, its not consistant at all. I don't know if I should gamble or replace it with an Areca....

I just put a finger to the heatsink of my card, and I could only bare to keep it there for a second or two. However compared to my old passive graphics card or the heatsink (without fan) on my mobo it's not that hot :)

Of course if I can choose between cool and hot I'd choose hot, but there is no reason to panik just because the heatsink is hot, it should be otherwise it wouldn't be there :)

If you are worried or simply like to keep your chips cool I'd simply put a very small fan next to it, even the slightest airflow drops temp alot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now