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Alex.Covecube

Successfully Enabled Port Multiplier on eSATA

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a15457

I've been planning on getting a Hotway H82-SU3S2 http://www.hotway.com.tw/products/h82-su3s2.htm later when I need some more disk space. (yes I know that this enclosure costs more than the server :D )

 

I was originally going to get a USB 3.0 card for my N40L as I'd read that the eSATA port is only at half speed without modding the BIOS. Now though with this little thread I'm thinking I might just get me one of these enclosures and re-install windoze after modding the BIOS. Here's a question for those with a little more experience than I, would I get more throughput through USB3.0 than eSATA? given that I already have a RAID card using the PCI-Express Gen 2 x16 slot leaving the x1 slot for the USB card.

 

Thoughts anyone?

 

PS. Massive thanks to Alex for the info! Nice work dude!

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cskenney

Joe_Miner is now going to need to re-route that eSATA cable back out of his box so he can give this a try.

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Alex.Covecube

I'm glad that you guys found this useful. It took almost the entire day to figure out :)

 

I forgot to mention one other important thing that I found:

  • The unlocked BIOS cannot boot if your SATA controller is in RAID mode. This is not an issue if you're running in AHCI mode, and it's not an issue with the official BIOS.
  • I've noticed that the RAID BIOS drive enumeration process never shows up during the boot cycle. This is something to be aware of.

I believe this means that if your server is set to RAID mode, you will not be able to boot your system if you flash the unlocked BIOS. I didn't spend any time diagnosing this problem because my goal was to get port multiplication working.

 

This is not destructive, because you can simply just flash the official BIOS back.

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ikon

I've been planning on getting a Hotway H82-SU3S2 http://www.hotway.co...s/h82-su3s2.htm later when I need some more disk space. (yes I know that this enclosure costs more than the server :D )

 

I was originally going to get a USB 3.0 card for my N40L as I'd read that the eSATA port is only at half speed without modding the BIOS. Now though with this little thread I'm thinking I might just get me one of these enclosures and re-install windoze after modding the BIOS. Here's a question for those with a little more experience than I, would I get more throughput through USB3.0 than eSATA? given that I already have a RAID card using the PCI-Express Gen 2 x16 slot leaving the x1 slot for the USB card.

 

Thoughts anyone?

 

PS. Massive thanks to Alex for the info! Nice work dude!

 

From my testing the throughput is pretty comparable. The real key is the choice of USB card. I've owned 3 different USB-3 PCIe cards; 2 of them did not work well; 1 of them didn't even perform as well as USB-2. I finally got a StarTech card that performs pretty well: http://ca.startech.com/Cards-Adapters/HDD-Controllers/SATA-Cards/2-Port-PCI-Express-eSATA-Controller-Card~PEXESATA2

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TheBeagle

Can someone please provide a link to a BIOS update for the N40L (with some basic instructions) to unlock the features that are being discussed on this thread? Thanks in advance for any assistance that can be offered. Best regards to all. TheBeagle

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Joe_Miner

Can someone please provide a link to a BIOS update for the N40L (with some basic instructions) to unlock the features that are being discussed on this thread? Thanks in advance for any assistance that can be offered. Best regards to all. TheBeagle

 

 

The links are available in this thread:

http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/3397-modified-bios-for-microserver-n40l-enables-hidden-features/

and this thread:

http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/3506-more-interesting-microserver-links/

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TheBeagle

Thanks very much Joe. It looks like I'll need to do some reading before attempting a BIOS upgrade. I already have WSSE 2008 R2 installed on the SSD that I mounted in the N40L, so I hope the upgrade doesn't mess up the boot on that install. Thanks again for the response. Best regards to all. TheBeagle

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a15457

Hey Beagley beagley ... I'd re-read the beginning of this thread. Just to be super sure ... before changing anything ...

 

  • Switching between AHCI / RAID changes the hardware ID of the SATA controller. This is akin to swapping in a brand new controller. Because of this, the old controller driver in Windows will not recognize the new mode and Windows will refuse to boot. The easiest way to switch this mode if you really need to is to re-install Windows.

Edited by a15457

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