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10 SATA drives RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm in the process of building a 24x7 Windows Home Server. 4 key issues are power, disk storage space, future proofing and $. I'm looking at the Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS5 motherboard / Intel E7200 CPU with the expectation they will pay for themselves given the power save option and the rapidly rising cost of power in NZ. I also hope it will remain relevant at least 3 years if not 5. The second issue is storage - my belief here is the more the better - you can never have too much and with a family of 3 emerging teenagers each with their own PC, disk space will always be at a premium (I don't want to forever buying disks for the PCs). The GA-EP45-DS5 supposedly supports up to 10 Sata JBOD disks. This is a much cheaper option than buying SATA expansion cards and frees up the PCI/PCIe slots for future activities. The DVD will be IDE. I am also investing in the Corsair HX620W psu with 8 SATA connectors  - someone suggested each disk should have a dedicated power feed. Also, the case (Tuniq 2) given the price, the tool (not tool free) setup, the large fan cooling options, the built in 4 disk bay and the potential to add additional drives in the 5.25" slots.  I plan to start with 3 disks (1 x 300GB and 2 x 1TB) with the option to add further TB disks up to a total of 10 as and when required. Total cost for the initial 300GB and 2 x 1TB is NZ$2000. Note I have also included a VGA PCI card. So 2 initial questions: 1. can the motherboard support 10 disks in a JBOD configuration; and 2. will the WHS operation quiesce to the point the Gigabyte power save will be able to take effect. 

    Sunday, June 29, 2008 12:05 AM

Answers

  • The product specifications page on the Gigabyte web site answers your first question. As for the second, Gigabyte hasn't released enough details for me to be sure, but if it's processor-based, then there are periods when the processor will be close to idle. Just realize that Windows Home Server is based on Windows Server 2003, not a desktop operating system. So it will be performing various operations "behind the scenes" pretty much around the clock.
    Sunday, June 29, 2008 1:19 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • The product specifications page on the Gigabyte web site answers your first question. As for the second, Gigabyte hasn't released enough details for me to be sure, but if it's processor-based, then there are periods when the processor will be close to idle. Just realize that Windows Home Server is based on Windows Server 2003, not a desktop operating system. So it will be performing various operations "behind the scenes" pretty much around the clock.
    Sunday, June 29, 2008 1:19 PM
    Moderator
  •  

    I have just rebuilt my homeserver with the following

     

    Coolermaster Centurion 590 case (9 x 5 1/4" disks) (split into 12 x 3.5" disk with 120m fan for 4 drives)

    Corsair 520w PSU.

    Intel DG33FB motherboard (4 x sata) (1 x IDE)

    Intel Quad Core Q6600 CPU (stock cooler)

    2 x 2GB RAM

    Highpoint RocketRaid 454 (8 x IDE drives, running with 4 attached)

    I have 10 drives already installed.

      4 x sata (500-1TB) and 4 x RocketRaid IDE ( 400-500GB) and 2 Mobo IDE 400GB, and 120GB for Vmware.

     

    Total storage is up to 4.86TB right now.

     

    Using an APC UPS I am using 130-160w on average with 3 VM's running. Less than most 32/37" HD TV's

     

    I would recommend any motherboard with built in (2D) graphics as 3d is a waste of time/money.

     

    I would not go for the board with lots of Sata ports (although this is good) there a more and more cheap PCIe sata expansion boards on the market to day and I know I will be getting the ST Labs (4 x sata) PCIe card for about $60 when it arrives in NZ. Plus boards with lots of sata ports normally have no VGA and a VGA card will use more power than a PCI/PCIe sata card.

     

    I will eventually replace the IDE drives but at the moment I have no issues with performance or expansion options (2 free drive bays and plenty of PCIe slots free).

     

    Cheers

    DB (also in NZ)

    Monday, June 30, 2008 1:14 AM
  • I contacted Gigabyte but they claimed they could not make any comment re WHS since it is an OEM product and they are therefore unable to evaluate it as a supported option. They do however support Windows Server 2003. I have since set up the machine and commenced the initial install. There are a number of initial observations:

    1. all the Gigabyte supplied drivers have worked satisfactorily except for the Gigabyte Realtek integrated sound which is not required but which is supported by the supplied WHS driver.
    2. I have been informed I should be able to see all 10 drives although I have not attached any to the Sil chips as yet
    3. The mobo has dual NICS which I have 'teamed' using the Realtek teaming driver; both appear to be working; I am getting 36MB per second transfer speed; I have set Jumbo Frames to 7K on both PC and server. I note the transfer speed drops to 22MB per second when the WHS storage balancing kicks in.
    4. The Gigabyte DES functionality is working with the CPU being knocked back to  20% clock speed during idle state

    I appreciate the comments about using RAID PCIe cards as opposed to Mobo for connectivity of the SATA drives but I still believe the additional cost of the Mobo gives me the required flexibility, performance and quality.

     

    All in all, I am currently very satisfied with the system configuration and performance and believe I have engineered a system which is cheaper, more flexible and better future proofed than alternative proprietary NAS systems.

     

    Friday, July 18, 2008 11:09 PM
  • Don't get a GA-EP45-DS5 or GA-EP45-DQ6 if you want 10 SATA ports.  Gigabyte have changed the specifications and the last four ports (the purple ones) are now RAID1 *only*.  If you connect a hard drive to the 2nd and 4th of those four ports, they will be wiped and initialised as RAID1 mirrors.  I lost a lot of data with this, and I'm not the only one to be burned.  You can't set them up as JBOD or RAID0.  Unless you really want RAID1, the most you'll get out of it is 6 or 8 hard drives (depending on the BIOS revision that ships with it).

    Gigabyte aren't being up front about this, although you can find it mentioned in a footnote of the latest revision of the manual.  They've described it as a "chip limitation".

    More information can be found here:
    http://forums.tweaktown.com/f69/ga-ep45-ds5-g-sata-problem-please-help-27043/
    Saturday, September 6, 2008 7:54 AM
  • I suggest you look into some of the microATX boards.  While they usually don't have as many SATA slots as full sized ATX boards they do not require a graphics card.

    I just bought the Asus P5Q-EM microATX board with the Intel E7200 cpu and am running fine.  I even have the Asus EPU-4 (energy saving) software running (although I'm a bit sceptical about it).

    The Asus P5Q-EM motherboard has six sata ports.  If you need more sata ports, cheap controller cards can be had for ~$15 (USD) that use the somewhat outdated, but perfectly fine SilImage 3114 chip.  By the time you actually need more sata ports they'll be even cheaper & better.

    Every 3.5" hard drive you add (now) will add 4-5 watts in idle & ~10 watts in use to your power requirements.

    As your storage requirements increase you may want to think about replacing multiple smaller hard drives with one larger one.  This will keep your energy usage down & will keep the # of sata ports required down as well.  (although I don't see replacing four or five smaller drives with a large one ever breaking even in terms of energy saved versus drive cost)

    Remember that 1.5TB drives are starting to show up now and 2TB drives are around the corner.
    Saturday, September 6, 2008 9:14 AM
  • Lliam,

    Did you have good luck with install of WHS onto ASUS P5Q-EM.  Was looking at this board and just wanted any issues with the install

    Thanks,
    BC
    Tuesday, November 4, 2008 6:30 AM
  • I gave up on the Sil5723 chip on the Gigabyte board (Gigabyte has now relegated this to RAID 1 ONLY although you can get it to support 2 internal drives (as opposed the 'advertised' 4)

    Instead I bought 2 x PCI-e 2 port SATA 2 cards for A$3 each from ebay. These cards support Sil3132 RAID chips.

    These same cards are also available on Newegg - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815280008.

    SMART works and the Tentacle disk manager shows both the access transfer rate and temperature.

    Use the standard WHS drivers; not the one bundled with the card. Each card supports 2 internal SATA 2 ports or 2 external e-sata ports. Follow the instructions on the board for the pin slots (for 2 internal ports all jumpers should be on pins 2 & 3)

    I'm using two "5 in 3" plug in fan enabled disk bays (5x 3.5" disks in 3x 5.25" slots) and 1TB drives (mixture of Samsung and WD green). I now have 1 x 320GB drive (system) and 9 x 1TB drive (data).  The Gigabyte DES is also working well. So buying a board with lots of PCI-e extensions gives a cheap way for adding more disks without forking out for expensive RAID cards.  The disks run at 39 degress celcius. The server is in a wardrobe and keeps everything dry (small cupboard heater).

    Other recommendations are Avast virus, Tentacle disk management suite (see above); the Advanced Console add-in (gives me remote console access); and FreeProxy server (supports both http and a mail proxy).

    My only gripe is since I changed the disk configuration I no longer get the WHS OEM standard install  'reinstall' oprtion.  Presumably I need to reposition the system disk back on sata port '0'.  Hopefully WHS will find this when I do a reboot.

    Saturday, November 29, 2008 11:06 PM
  • Hi BC,

    I did use the Asus P5Q-EM for my homeserver (and it still is).  I've had no issues with the motherboard thus far.  I have a write up of my experience with the onboard raid5 somewhere around here as well. :)
    Sunday, November 30, 2008 9:08 PM
  • Its been over 6 months and I'd like to give an update.

    First the Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS5 has not lived up to expectations. As already stated the integrated 2x2 SATA add on only supports RAID1 which gives only 2 disks for WHS (and not 4) - so the Mobo gives 8 on board ports and not 10.

    Second, I have been using Sil3132 PCI-e expansion cards to generate additional 2 ports using the three PCIe 1x slots. These are available from HongKong and priced very reasonbaly on EBay. There are two types - serial sata and RAID, both show up in the BIOS and both work.

    I have decided to expand the system by adding a second cabinet. This offers a further 8 more drives (using coolermaster 3-in4 disk caddies). I found http://www.burningissues.net/how_to/power/psu.htm for linking two PSUs. This works well - turn on one cabinet and the second one with the additional disks 'automatically' starts up. Re e-Sata disk connection I thought I'd continue to use the 2 x SATA/SATA PCI-e expansion cards. This surfaced another problem. The Gigabyte Motherboard PCI-e 16x and PCI-e 8x slot are fronted by a switch which is used to support Crossfire and which DOES NOT SUPPORT non video PCI-e cards. This is a real let down. So I bought a PCI Sil 3114A card (again on Ebay from HongKong) for A$11 to realise a further 4 ports. Unfortunately these are only SATA 1 but looking at the WHS disk performance the resulting  transfer rate is more than sufficient. To keep costs down I should have bought 2 of these on day 1.

    So I now have potential for 18 disks using 2 cabinets. I've found the OEM 5-in-3 caddies run hot (~40 degress C) compared to the Coolermaster 4-in-3 (~25 degress C). Also there is no diference in temperature between WD disks and Samsung. So I will replace the OEM 5-in-3 caddies with the coolermaster 4-in-3 (the latter are a lot cheaper) and while I only have space for 16 disks, will hopefully get a longer disk life - I don't like high temperatures, especially as I run the unit in a wardrobe.

    I have also had a few disk problems and now duplicate all folders - disk is still cheap. The system is now a lot more stable with fewer file conflicts.

    I was also getting VSS VolSnap issues which I think I have solved using PerfectDsk - I believe the data on the disks was getting too complex and forcing timeouts. Since doing a complete defrag of all disks using PerferctDisk I am no longer getting the VolSnap and Mrxsmb errors.

    I have set all Mobo overclocking to standard and removed the power saving facilities. These worked well in short bursts but invariably caused a blue screen after 2 to 3 days (especially on execution of the VSS at 0400).  I am using Corsair EMX memory. I tried Memtest86+ which systemativcally failed after 20 to 30 passes. With the Mobo memory set to standard I have yet to have a failure.

    Another major problem with the Gigabyte Mobo is the LAN driver. All driver upgrades since July 2008 caused a disconnect during backup with the WHS blue screening. Going back to the July release has solved this problem. Gigabyte have replied they do not support WHS. The newer LAN drivers were also the reason why Tversity was stuttering (although PS3 Server was OK).

    I am also using Alcohol52 to provide virtual iSCSI DVD drives across the network. This works well. I have set aside one disk as removed and use it as a 'work' disk to support the DVD data.

    Finally, using an E7200 CPU and 2GB RAM with gigabit network I can stream .mt2s files (using PS3 Server) to my PS3 at over 50Mb/sec and less than 25% CPU usage.  The PS3 stutters when the throughput exceeds 80Mb/sec.

    Hopefully I can now focus on doing real work.



     



    Saturday, February 7, 2009 10:11 PM
  • Hey Triple fun;

    I found this tread posing a similar query to you about 6 months ago. I am glad I found your post before I invested in Gigabyte thinking it would seamlessly support 10 drives. It seems we are both after the holy grail of # of hard drives. 3-4 years ago I built a system in an Aspire Q-Pack case. The case is only supposed to support 2 3.5, 2 5.25 HDs and 1 floppy, but I managed to get 8 HDs comfortably in it. I have 4 1.5TBs, 2 1TB HDs and 2 750 HDs for a total of 9.5 TBs. I am a movie and TV series buff, so even with 9.5 TB, expandable to 12TB I am running out of space.

    Thought I would share my next idea with you. eBay has a 19" x 84" Server Rack Kit 1 sided 45U for $60 and 4U 19" 13 Bays Rack Mount Chassis USB Server Cases for $75. You'd need rails too, but they are fairly inexpensive. That rack could support up to 11 of those cases (13 drives each) or a few less, if you also add a rack mount KVM, network switch, etc.

    PK









    Friday, July 10, 2009 6:09 AM