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Modified BIOS for Microserver N40L enables hidden features


diehard
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I have only the server stuffed with 16Gb ECC + 6x2Tb WD Green for data array + USB sticks for OS.

 

I'm very leary of running an OS off a USB stick, mostly due to issues with wearing out the data cells, since USB sticks don't have wear levelling or TRIM. I will be interested in hearing how it works for you.

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I bought my N40L over a year ago. Regretfully I was unable to afford the drives because of the flood pricing and loss of job shortly after purchase. But even though I am currently very underemployed, I am thankfully employed again, and would like to enjoy this thing for what I intended to use it for in the first place.

 

I'm thinking of using FlexRAID so I can add drives as the funds become available, since I also don't need them all now.

 

Would there be anything wrong with initially using the BIOS that my N40L came preinstalled with? I would like to see eventually having four 3tb storage drives and use the 250gb drive that the N40L came new with for the OS.

 

Could I run the 250gb OS drive off the extra internal SATA connection on the motherboard without seeing much performance loss using this as a file server? I've been away from this thing for so long now, but if memory serves me correctly I remember reading that for typical file server, almost exclusively mkv files, that a BIO mod was not really needed. I'd hate to brick this thing, so if I'd be OK with the stock BIOS I'd prefer that.

 

I'm thinking of using FlexRAID so I can add drives as the funds become available, since I also don't need them all now.

 

I've used FlexRAID VERY Little and haven't tried it in a MicroServer -- maybe someone else can help you on this question

 

Would there be anything wrong with initially using the BIOS that my N40L came preinstalled with?

 

There is nothing wrong with that strategy. Just note that without the BIOS-MOD the internal SATA Port on the MB and the eSATA Port will only operate at half-speed compared to the the 4 SATA Ports in the 4-drive cage

 

Could I run the 250gb OS drive off the extra internal SATA connection on the motherboard without seeing much performance loss using this as a file server?

 

Yes, you can do that. You'll have to decide for yourself if the performance loss is noticable to your applications or not -- I've read a lot of posts on other forums where people are perfectly happy with the Stock BIOS and it's performance -- if you are worried about bricking your N40L then you should stay with the Stock Factory BIOS not do the BIOS-MOD.

 

My 2 cents.

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Hi Joe,

 

Sincerely I don’t know what to do with the 2Gb stick delivered with the microserver. You can have it if you want it. (PM your address)

Anybody who is considering to get the KVR16E11/8I sticks I advise just wait a few days. I did not encountered any problem -some people reporting only part success with other type of 2x8Gb sticks e.g. the server booting once with 8Gb and other time with 16Gb recognized – but the server booting always with 16Gb recognized. Yesterday I run Memtest 4.0b on a six our torture and no problem at all. Memspeed was around 3850Mb/s. I am looking for some utility to check if the ECC correction is active and functioning from the CPU/motherboard side and I will report back when everything is 100% OK.

The N40L is still on the original 07/29/2011 factory BIOS and I am looking for a modified one. It is not easy to decide which one is the latest and most stable version.

  • On this forum we have diehard’s mode from 01/03/2012.
  • On overclockers.com.au we have mods from 09/06/2012 – it is for N36L but stated well working on N40L. http://forums.overcl...81&postcount=77
  • We have TheBay’s ROM from 9/29/2011

http://www.avforums....os-support.html

  • We have cmiloml’s BIOS form 10/19/2011

http://www.bios-mods...er-AMI-BIOS-MOD

Sincerely, I don’t know which one to choose. Well it would be nice to put a Microserver BIOS mod WIKI together.

Do you have any suggestion?

I have only the server stuffed with 16Gb ECC + 6x2Tb WD Green for data array + USB sticks for OS. I am still testing as you see. Planning to install FreeBSD 9 with ZFSguru’s interface and have a secure RAIDZ2 storage array. Any recommendations are welcome guys!

 

Sincerely I don’t know what to do with the 2Gb stick delivered with the microserver.

 

Good luck with that. I tried giving away the 2GB stick from my latest MicroServer at the October HSS Meet-up in Indianapolis and nobody was interested.

 

The N40L is still on the original 07/29/2011 factory BIOS and I am looking for a modified one. It is not easy to decide which one is the latest and most stable version.

  • On this forum we have diehard’s mode from 01/03/2012.
  • On overclockers.com.au we have mods from 09/06/2012 – it is for N36L but stated well working on N40L. http://forums.overcl...81&postcount=77
  • We have TheBay’s ROM from 9/29/2011

http://www.avforums....os-support.html

  • We have cmiloml’s BIOS form 10/19/2011

http://www.bios-mods...er-AMI-BIOS-MOD

Sincerely, I don’t know which one to choose. Well it would be nice to put a Microserver BIOS mod WIKI together.

Do you have any suggestion?

 

I believe all of the MODs are based on the Stock 07/29/2011 Factory BIOS

 

It's my understanding that the BIOS-MODs (which is available also from DieHard's thread) open's up everything and has been pretty widely used by people at this Forum and elsewhere. That's the only one I would use. As I outlined here.

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The version you are referring to as Diehards is the one from the Bios-mods forum. I think the majority of people in this forum that are using a modified Bios are using the version from Bios-mods (I know I am).

Thank you, I will try Diehards one.

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I'm very leary of running an OS off a USB stick, mostly due to issues with wearing out the data cells, since USB sticks don't have wear levelling or TRIM. I will be interested in hearing how it works for you.

Well, I didn't mean doing swap or lot of writes on the USB stick. It will be used practically only for reading and some small log writing. That is the goal of an OS only USB stick.

With 16Gb RAM I am thinking about switching OS swap off hence it will be never used. Is there any common sense or practical advise about switching off OS (FreeBSD) disk swapping?

 

It's my understanding that the BIOS-MODs (which is available also from DieHard's thread) open's up everything and has been pretty widely used by people at this Forum and elsewhere. That's the only one I would use. As I outlined here.

Thank you Joe_Miner. I will try the mod from this forum.

Edited by karmantyu
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I'm very leary of running an OS off a USB stick, mostly due to issues with wearing out the data cells, since USB sticks don't have wear levelling or TRIM. I will be interested in hearing how it works for you.

 

I don't know if that is true. I thought the OS managed the TRIM as long as the media supported it. Also, Microsoft is pushing Windows 8 to Go which is OS on a stick. I would hate to think they would push that technology without ensureing the stick is capable. I do know they have specified only a couple sticks (last I checked) that it was compatible with so it may be that those are the only sticks that allow the OS to enable TRIM and wear leveling.

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I don't know if that is true. I thought the OS managed the TRIM as long as the media supported it.

 

Exactly: I don't know of any USB sticks that support TRIM. AFAIK, both the OS and the media have to support it and USB sticks don't.

 

Also, Microsoft is pushing Windows 8 to Go which is OS on a stick. I would hate to think they would push that technology without ensureing the stick is capable. I do know they have specified only a couple sticks (last I checked) that it was compatible with so it may be that those are the only sticks that allow the OS to enable TRIM and wear leveling.

 

It's also possible that Win8 To Go is specially crafted to not use indexing and/or doesn't need a drive cache and therefor does so little writing to the flash drive that it's not a real threat to the life of the drive. According to WikiPedia, there are currently 5 certified sticks.

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Would there be anything wrong with initially using the BIOS that my N40L came preinstalled with?

 

There is nothing wrong with that strategy. Just note that without the BIOS-MOD the internal SATA Port on the MB and the eSATA Port will only operate at half-speed compared to the the 4 SATA Ports in the 4-drive cage

 

Could I run the 250gb OS drive off the extra internal SATA connection on the motherboard without seeing much performance loss using this as a file server?

 

Yes, you can do that. You'll have to decide for yourself if the performance loss is noticable to your applications or not -- I've read a lot of posts on other forums where people are perfectly happy with the Stock BIOS and it's performance -- if you are worried about bricking your N40L then you should stay with the Stock Factory BIOS not do the BIOS-MOD.

 

My 2 cents.

 

Thanks Joe. What I have read too is others stating that it is hard to tell the difference if at all with a BIOS mod.

What is the stock data speed transfer of the 5th SATA port and what would be the modded speed?

And are you saying that the eSATA would double the speed if a BIOS mod is performed?

 

I was just thinking that I don't really have the time to read up on how to do the BIOS flash for this mod. If I do feel I can find the time I might look into it.

I've build 4 PCs over the years and have done manufacture BIOS flashing a handfull of times, so I'm sure I could figure it out though.

 

Thanks for your reply on this.

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