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Anyone happy with the SM X5DA8

J. Sokalski
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      09-03-2003, 06:24 PM
The Adaptec 2010S seens to be a bottleneck restricting the speed of my SCSI
raid arrays?

I am trying to debug and setup an X5DA8 board and have been extremely
disappointed in the slow SCSI drive speeds when using an Adaptec 2010S in
the green PCI-X slot. 4 Seagate ST336607LW drives only give 72.2 MB/s
throughput (across the whole 140GB) in a Raid 0 array. Win2K Server's
software Raid 0 with the 2010S still in the system gives 104 MB/s over the
whole 140GB array (a 44% improvement). That indicates there is a SCSI
bottle neck when a 2010S is in the system. I see the same problem when I
tried 2010S Raid 5 with the fast Seagates. I observed 54.3MB/s from the
2010S and 75.4MB/s with software Raid (a 40% improvement).

Each SCSI 320 drive (according to Seagate's specs.) should provide 78-43
MB/s throughput from the outside to inside tracks. I expected the outer
20GB in a Raid 0 array to show about 300 MS/s. The data comes from WinBench
99 v.2's disk inspection tests.

The system board and 2010S have been flashed to the latest versions and
drivers are the latest versions also.

I don't understand why Supermicro X5DA8 would lose SCSI performance when
using the recommended Adaptec 2010S raid controller. The performance of the
hard drives should be better with hardware raid.

A 3Ware 7506-12 controller with 6 IBM 18GXP drives in a Raid 5 array gives
192.0 to 152.0 MB/s throughput (across the whole 900GB) so it seems the
PCI-X slots or motherboard may not be the bottleneck. Also, the Seagate
Cheatah's specs. are faster than the 180GXP's.

The Supermicro X5DA8 motherboard uses Adaptec's 7902 (Ultra 320) chipset for
the on board SCSI. It is a dual channel controller. The Adaptec 2010S raid
controller is plugged into a green PCI-X 64 MHz x 64 bit slot that is
intended for the 2010S. The PCI-X slots are connected to the high speed bus
of the motherboard's Intel 7505 chipset.

I tried further tests without the 2010S in the system:

I removed the 2010S controller and ran the 4 Seagate ST336607LW drives as a
Win2K Server software raid-0 array and observed a huge improvement in
performance. WinBench 99 v.2 Disk Inspection tests reported 269MB/s on the
outer track and 161 MB/s on the inner track with 12 steps from high to
slower performance. With the Adaptec 2010S raid controller the performance
was a flat line across the disks. The steps are normal when there is no
bottle neck obstruction their performance.

Has anyone used the 2010S with the Supermicro X5DA8 motherboard and not
found a big reduction in SCSI performance? Any tip how to make the 2010S
allow the same throughput as a software raid?

If my 2010S is defective or engineered to be slower than software raid, I
would like a raid controller that is compatible with the X5DA8's green PCI-X
slot and is faster than software raid, any suggestions?

Thank you,

Joseph Sokalski

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