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New Server- Z68 with Dell PERC H700


fredp1
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Hi all,

 

I'm in the process of building my first home server 2011. Its still on the "bench" for testing before going live. I want to share my struggles with the hardware to get some decent performance from the disks/controller.

 

My build is

Gigabyte Z68X-UD7

Intel i5-2500k

Corsair 8Gb Vengeance

Corsair AX-750 psu

GTX 550Ti video

Fractel R3 case

Dell PERC H700 Raid card 1G ram

Boot disk is 2x Seagate Momentus 500G- 5400rpm ST9500325AS- Raid 1

Data disk is 3x Segate Barracuda Green 2G- 5900 rpm ST2000DL003- Raid 5

LG DVD Burner LG GH22

 

The server was initially built with the onboard raid, the Marvell 9128 for RAID 1 (boot disk) and the Intel Z68 for raid 5 (Data disk).

 

I'm not sure if my expectations were too high, but the performance was terrible. The volumes were slower than a single drive (using ATTO for benchmarking). I expected more. I tried various combinations of stripe size, allocation size but it wasn't looking good. In the process of trying to fix the speed issue, I found that drive partition alignment might be a factor.

 

After reading this forumn for a while, I decided to get a raid card. I came about a H700 at a great price, but had a nighmare trying to get it to be detected by the bios. I was ready to send it back... when I found the setting that was conflicting with the Raid rom. On my Gigatbyte it doesn't like the USB 3.0 "TURBO" mode. With this disbaled, the mb detects the card just fine.

I'm glad I persisted as the many long nights was worth it in the end. This card rocks.

 

If anyone wants more details, i'll be able to test/rebuild this server during this month. I plan to post some disk perfromance figures when I find the best combo.

Edited by fredp1
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Have you tried it with SSD caching yet? I just build a Z68 server with the same CPU and the Gigabyte Z68A-D3H-B3 board using a Highpoint 2720 8-port RAID card for my array. I had to disable the int13 for the Highpoint to get an OS to install when using any other RAID (I also have my OS in an IcyDock 2-in-1 RAID 1). When using the Z68's caching features you have to set the onboard SATA ports to the RAID setting, which can cause conflicts if you have any other RAID devices attached.

 

I also found that updating the BIOS (duh) made a significant difference in speeds both onboard and with the RAID array. The caching (I'm using a 64GB Vertex2) I wasn't too sure about at first, as it is a server and host virtual OS's, but I'm caching the drive (SATA port, actually) that has the virtual OS's stored on it an it is much faster than without it. Of course, I don't know how or if it has TRIM enabled so I'm not sure how that will affect speed over time, but as you can remove the SSD cache without damaging the main drive I can always do a manual cleanup down the road.

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Have you tried it with SSD caching yet? I just build a Z68 server with the same CPU and the Gigabyte Z68A-D3H-B3 board using a Highpoint 2720 8-port RAID card for my array. I had to disable the int13 for the Highpoint to get an OS to install when using any other RAID (I also have my OS in an IcyDock 2-in-1 RAID 1). When using the Z68's caching features you have to set the onboard SATA ports to the RAID setting, which can cause conflicts if you have any other RAID devices attached.

 

I also found that updating the BIOS (duh) made a significant difference in speeds both onboard and with the RAID array. The caching (I'm using a 64GB Vertex2) I wasn't too sure about at first, as it is a server and host virtual OS's, but I'm caching the drive (SATA port, actually) that has the virtual OS's stored on it an it is much faster than without it. Of course, I don't know how or if it has TRIM enabled so I'm not sure how that will affect speed over time, but as you can remove the SSD cache without damaging the main drive I can always do a manual cleanup down the road.

 

Are you going to test the board with W7 as well. I am curious how it performs on a desktop instead of a server.

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I was hoping to use the Z68 acceleration feature with a SSD too, but the intel 311 ssd's aren't available in OZ yet. I also have 3 additional drives to add in the array hence the need for the perc.

 

I've seen pretty impressive benchmarks for a z68 with ssd cache which prompted me to get the mb. It makes a lot of sense to have a big cache using a small ssd. The z68 is an ideal desktop.

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Your right.

 

The reason for the Intel 311 is the added speed and longevity due to the new technology of SLC memory chips as apposed to the MLC'.

 

I'm not too sure of many other drives with SLC and also cost effective.

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Are you going to test the board with W7 as well. I am curious how it performs on a desktop instead of a server.

 

Have a look at this review of a Z68 mb. There is a benchmark of the SSD cache which is impressive.

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Have a look at this review of a Z68 mb. There is a benchmark of the SSD cache which is impressive.

 

What review? I think you forgot the link. :)

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