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Stefano

Any comments on Adaptec 2100s?

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I opened this case at "Ask Adaptec". Any comments?

OS : Windows XP

Problem : 12/25/01 08:01:29 ardev1

I use a 2100s with two Seagate X15 18GB harddisks in Raid 0. I updated

the controller firmware to the latest edition and replaced the 32MB

cache with 128MB PC100 ECC.

The problem is the poor performance of this card, it's performing worse

than one separate X15. You can see the performance in this file:

http://www.apestaartje.demon.nl/test/hdtach.jpg

I checked all settings but can't find something wrong. I made a config

file with storage manager pro which you can find here:

http://www.apestaartje.demon.nl/test/2100s.cfg

Can you tell me what the problem could be? Thank you.

12/25/01 10:03:57 ardev1

I did some research one the 2100s in some messageboards, shocking. It

seems I'm not alone, every owner of this card complains about the bad

performance. In fact, every user has the same low performance, about

37MB/sec in every benchmark you can think of. Adaptec's standard answer

to this problem is to add more drives?? This doesn't work, I've seen

the results from other users.

Does Adaptec acknowledge the bad performance of this card and what is

Adaptec going to do about this?

12/28/01 04:54:44 ardev1

Thank you for your detailed answer. Here's my respons:

1. I already use the latest bios for my systemboard (Tiger MP with bios

1.03)

2. The 2100s already has the highest priority possible on the PCI bus.

This can be set in the systemboard bios.

3. I know my hardware resources, no problems here

4. My system is conflict free. The 2100s has it's own IRQ (16) EBDA

Relocation is enabled.

5. My hardware is correctly installed with the 2100s on ID 7 and the

disks on ID 0 and 1. The disks are connected with the cable that came

with the 2100s. Checked all settings you suggested in SMOR and Storage

Manager, everything checks out.

What's next? Can you setup a config with this card and 2 disks to

verify my findings?

Thank you

Webmail Solution : 12/26/01 15:18:02 pass2614

Hello from Adaptec.

There are many variables in a system that effect performance. We have

noticed that simply inserting a controller in a PCI slot and connect

hard drives does not guarantee acceptable performance. This email will

provide a checklist for you to review for your system.

Please see the following:

1. System board BIOS.

Verify your system has the latest system board BIOS (CMOS). You may

contact the system board manufacturer or their website for this update.

There maybe unknown enhancements in a later BIOS revision that may

effect the RAID Controller.

2. PCI Slot order.

Your system board prioritizes how each PCI slot will receive hardware

resources; such as Interrupt and load order of BIOS addresses. For

this reason, inserting the RAID Controller in highest PCI slot,

normally PCI#1 or PCI#2 slot, will encourage the system board to

allocate a higher priority.

Keep in mind, the system board is in control how hardware resources are

allocated to the RAID Controller.

3. Hardware resource assigned.

How will you know the hardware resources in your system? Most times

your system board displays information on the screen before the system

boots or you may find this information in the operating system. If you

are still unsure, consult your system board or operating system

manufacturer.

For the Adaptec RAID Controller, you may find hardware resource

information in SMOR. You may access SMOR by pressing Ctrl+A at POST.

Highlight the controller on the left and press Alt+C to access the

'Configuration' tab. There, you will see the Interrupt assigned. It

is recommended that the RAID Controller receive an Interrupt greater

than 9. Again, the PCI Slot order or the system board BIOS will

control which IRQ the controller will receive.

4. Hardware resource conflict.

There are times where another device in the system, such as video card,

IDE controller, network card, SCSI card or any add-in card or

integrated device on the system board may receive the same Interrupt or

share an Upper Memory Address as the RAID Controller.

In SMOR, highlight the controller on the on the left and you will see

SmartROM Configuration settings on the right.

In the matter of IRQ conflict, inserting the controller in a different

PCI slot may encourage the system board to allocate a different IRQ or

you may access system board BIOS and you may have control by allocating

the IRQ to the PCI slot that the controller is installed.

The second possible conflict is Upper Memory Address overlap/sharing

which can be resolved most times by enabling 'EBDA Relocation' in SMOR

of the RAID Controller.

5. Hardware installation and setup

- Unsure which PCI slot to insert the RAID Controller? 32bit vs.

64bit, 33Mhz vs. 66Mhz, 3.3v vs. 5v? Review the RAID Controller

specifications and insert the controller in a PCI slot that meets these

specifications. If you are unsure which PCI Slot to insert, review

your system board documentation or call the manufacturer.

- Use only compliant carriers, enclosures and high quality cables.

- Do Not disable cache on the hard drives.

Note: Hard drives that have 68pin interface are generally not designed

for Hotswap enclosures. To avoid possible problems, it is recommended

to use 80pin SCA interface hard drives for this purpose.

Review SMOR (BIOS) settings

The controller is recommended to be set at default settings, unless

otherwise instructed.

Access SMOR by pressing Ctrl+A at POST.

- Configuration settings

Highlight 'Configuration' on the left side and SmartROM Configuration

tab appears on the right.

'DOS/Windows 3.1 Cache settings' . The default setting is Write

Through to avoid problems that can occur during operating system

installation.

Note: This cache setting has no effect on controller cache operation

under Windows 2000, NT, ME, UNIX or NetWare.

- Controller information

Highlight the RAID controller on the left side and Information tab

appears on the right. The information on this screen is information

only and can not be edited.

.Note the Revision. Check the Adaptec website for the latest revision.

Note the amount of memory/cache capacity is correct

- BUS settings

SCSI ID should remain at 7

Note Transfer Rate is correct

Note Termination is correct

Note TERMPWR is correct

- Drive information

Verify each hard drive that is physically connected to the controller

appears on the left side. The information on this screen is

information only and can not be edited.

Note the Revsion (Contact hard drive manufacture for latest revision)

Note the Transfer Rate is correct for the hard drive. (If it is not,

it may be related to a incompliant or faulty cable, carrier or

enclosure that hard drive is connected)

Note Status reports Optimal

- Array information

Highlight the RAID array on the left side and Information tab appears

on the right. The information on this screen is information only and

can not be edited.

Note the Status reports Optimal

Operating System

- Note the operating system has the latest service packs.

- Note the latest RAID driver is installed.

Optimize Storage Manager Sofware

- Run Storage Manager classic

- Double Click HBA (Host Bus Adapter)

- Click on 'Configure' button

- Click on Cache

- Set 'Cache Inhibit' settings from Mandatory to Advisory.

- Click on Switch-View button at top.

- Double-click the array

- Click on 'Configure' button

- Change setting to Write-back instead of Write-through

After reviewing the above hardware and software settings, you will see

how so many items in a system can dramatically effect performance.

Thank you for using Adaptec's ASK US System.

01/02/02 00:58:12 yue21938

Hello from Adapec,

I'm responding to your questions on Adaptec SCSI Raid 2100S.

I noticed in your last message that the Raid controller is on IRQ 16.

IRQ 16 is a mapped IRQ appears to the Operating System only. Please try

to force the Raid controller to IRQ 10 or 11. You may refer to our ASK

article # 010413-000007 on how to solve this issue. You can find this

article by using Search by Article Number option at:

http://ask.adaptec.com/cgi-bin/adaptec_tic...ser/std_alp.php?

p_sid=z-Ri5c4g&p_lva=&p_sp=&p_li=

Please try also updating all the drivers of the motherboard chipsets in

case you have not done so already.

I would also suggest you to check the sustained read write rate of the

hard drives.

Thank you for using ASK system.

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Yes it's true. Adaptec SCSI RAID controllers are crap. If the old discussion threads were still with us, you would find dozens of threads eerily similar to yours.

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Yes it's true. Adaptec SCSI RAID controllers are crap. If the old discussion threads were still with us, you would find dozens of threads eerily similar to yours.

Adaptec's performance problems problems are only in their RAID controllers right? Normal SCSI controllers like the 29160 and 39160 cards are decent cards.

But yea, the 2100s and such cards have some serious problems. Just stay away from Adaptec for SCSI RAID.

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Yes their normal SCSI controller cards are fine, if a little overpriced compared to the competition.

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I added this to my case, I wonder what they come up with next.

Changing the IRQ from 16 to 10 or 11 means disabling ACPI and probably a reinstall of Win XP. I'd rather not.

All drivers are up to date, Win XP delivers all except the latest IDE.

The read write transferrate is about 55-65MB/sec according Atto.

Did some more testing:

- Transferred the 2100s to PCI-slot 1 (32/64 bit slot)

- Disabled every other PCI card to ensure max availability of the PCI bus to the 2100s

- Added a third Seagate X15!!

- Benchmarked the new disk as single drive, 39MB/sec which is ok for this drive.

-Added the new drive to the raid 0 array. benched again with Atto and HDtach, no improvments, the transerrate stays the same as with 2 X15 hdd's, below 40MB/sec where it should be well above 100MB/sec.

- Benched again with Adaptec W2K driver 3.03 installed, no improvments.

I'm a bit out of options, this card seems incapabale of delivering decent raid 0 performance. Can Adaptec reproduce my results????? Does Adaptec replaces bad performing cards? This card doesn't deliver what Adapatec promises on your website. Quote below:

"Affordable, full-featured RAID solution for increased data protection and server availability. The Adaptec SCSI RAID 2100S card delivers high performance and availability for entry-level servers and workstations - conventional and rackmount. It is an affordable, micro-processor - based, fully-featured, Ultra160 SCSI RAID solution in a half size form factor making it ideal for environments that require greater uptime, high-speed throughput, scalability, and space saving features"

No high performance or high-speed throughput over here.

Thanx

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Since you asked about other controllers I thought I'd post the results of my Boot partition from winbench 99. This is two 18.4gig Atlas 10K IIIs on an Adaptec 2110s single channel RAID controller at 64bit / 66mhz. The stripe size is 258k in RAID 0. This partition is FAT32. SMART is enabled which may account for some of the more drastic spikes. There also several services & programs running in the background. Since I'm running WinXP Pro I don't like using Winbench's Startup manager. The other partitions on the array run a bit smoother as they formatted in NTFS with default cluster size. Speed wise these results equal XP's software RAID though that runs smoother as well.

test%20c.bmp

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That looks much better than my results in HDtach. What test did you run in Winbench 99? I have Winbench 99 1.1 somewhere, I can give it a try.

It's the Disk Transfer test. Winbench and ATTO are the only benchmarks I trust for testing RAID arrays. HDTach and Sandra are pretty much useless for testing them.

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What test did you run in Winbench 99?

Disk Inspection Test

check the test preferences if you want to save the graph as a bitmap

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What test did you run in Winbench 99?

Disk Inspection Test

check the test preferences if you want to save the graph as a bitmap

oops! Yes, the Disk Inspection test. Thanks Axl.

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Here's mine, much better than HDtach but very spykie

http://www.apestaartje.demon.nl/test/winbench.bmp

Compared to HDtach

http://www.apestaartje.demon.nl/test/hdtach.jpg

What to believe?

Believe Winbench's test. I have never seen anyone criticise it as not being accurate yet. HD Tach is fine for single drives but not reliablewith RAID 0. Atto works well except in Win XP where it it is flaky.

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So I guess it means the 2100 is no darn good. I discovered this newsgroup after I had already purchased this card. Ok so lets say I buy a differnt raid card. Which do you suggest. I need one that will be backward compatible with 32pci slot but I can use later when I update my MOBO with a pci 66 slot. Also what steps will I need to perfom on my current HD's if I change raid cards? Will I lose the info on my present drives? Will I have to low level format them for the new card to be able to set up the raid again or will I be able to keep my data? This may be too far over my head to redo the raid with a new card. I have 4-ST318452LW's raid 0 with 2100S. Some atto test have reported over 100MGb while retesting has shown around 50 to 60. The results have been so up and down I don't have a clue how the raid is performing. But after spending all that cash on the drives I definately would like to get as much performance as possible. OS is win XP pro.

Thx,

hog...... :o(

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Hoggy, seems to me we're in this together. My guess is you can't keep your current raid array with a different raid controller but I'm not sure about this.

I allways hook up a big IDE drive (IBM 60GXP) to my system for data storage, backup or (in your case) to reinstall my config. Easy and not that expensive.

I'm also not sure what the alternatives for the 2100s are, it's difficult to find any decent reviews on this subject. Maybe SR can?????

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I hear you there. After all I've read in here (even before the lost discussions) have still left me not really knowing what I should have bought to begin with. Maybe the 2100S isn't as bad as everyone says. I for one have not really had any signs that my performance is subpar. Everything seems to be ok. But as you know if you don't know any better than........ As some have pointed out atto and raid 0 isn't all that accurate. Sure wish I knew for sure. All in all I really don't want to start over. Am really affraid I'll screw up one of the drives.

hog :?

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I'll keep my 2100s for the time being, replacement is expensive and who will buy my 2100s? Maybe Adaptec comes up with some answers but I don't expect they will be usefull.

Gooed luck,

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