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Seeking advice on multple esata USB3 questions


lottathought
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I have a few questions and I am hoping this is the correct section to ask them.  I know it will at first seem like I am just posting random thoughts....but I promise there are going to be questions too...and the thoughts will explain why I am asking.

 

This may sound silly, but I seem to be having a hard time finding what I would have thought was common hardware.

 

So let me explain.   I have multiple enclosures that I connect to my Home Server.

It is currently on the 8.1Pro OS but may soon be converted to the 2012R2 Essentials.

In case it is needed, my motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK, I5 CPU and 16GB ram. I chose this motherboard..in part..because of the number of PCIE slots to let me connect enclosures.

 

It is a new setup...I did purchase a new Mediasonic 4bay Probox for the new build....but becase the coin is limited, I am pulling over a couple of enclosures from my last build also. The Mediasonic Probox has both the esata and the USB3.

Those would be a 5 bay and 8 Bay Sans Digital enclosures.  Both are esata only.

 

So I connected the MediaSonic alone to the new build and started moving files over. I was curious and had no experience with the USB3 connection so I tried that. Speeds were pretty good...at least to what I am used to. I was getting anywhere from 80MB to +100MB/sec.

 

After a couple of drives, I connected the 8Bay Sans Digital. Transfer speeds took a plummet. I was getting only 8-10MB/sec.  The 8bay only has the esata and the Mediasonic was still on USB3 at this time. The USB3 port I was connected to on the motherboard is embedded and the 8 bay was connected via esata, using the old PCIE card I had it on before with the old build. (Rosewill RC-219)

When I changed the connection of the Mediasonic case to also be esata, transfer speeds jumped back to where they had been before I connected the 8 Bay case. Like the Sans Digital 8 bay case, the MediaSonic was also connected via an esata card. (Different one)

 

As it turns out, that RC-219 is not compatible with Windows 8. It was not immediate..but it randomly caused the BSOD...which has not recurred since I pulled that card.

 

As I have started searching for new cards, I have come to realize that I am having trouble finding a decently priced dual esata card that can port multiply on both esata ports at the same time AND is compatible with Windows 8. I have come to realize from the Rosewill, if it does not explicity state it is compatible, it likely is not. I would prefer the 6GB speed...but honestly, I am starting to think I will be lucky to score some quality 3GB speed cards.

There is a Mediasonic version..and I have confirmed that it works....but I was thinking I would have options here.

 

I have considered using USB3 connections for new cases. In fact, it seems to be where things are heading.......but I would need to work out what is causing the transfer slowdown first.

 

So...as promised..here are the questions that I have..there are 3.

 

1st question.. Are there suggestions on what may be causing such a slowdown in transfer when on both esata and USB3? I am pretty stumped on this one.  As I am using Drivepool, traffic would have been moving, at least in part, across the esata and USB3 at the same time.

Is this something common when using both of these 2 interfaces at the same time?

 

2nd question..  Would anybody suggest...or reccomend any esata cards with 2 ports and both ports able to port multiply at the same time? I would also have to be compatible with Windows 8...AND not cost more than my PC? Is the cheap little Mediasonic it?

 

3rd question..  if I am able to find the cause of the transfer slowdown and decide to move over to USB3....what should I look for in a USB3 card? Any reccomendations?

 

 

Many Thanks

 

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Not sure about the slowdown problem but in regards to an esata card go grab the MediaSonic HP1-SS3 Card.  It should run you about 20$.

 

I have a Probox and a 4bay Sans Digital hooked up with no issues.

 

Drashna (also in the forums) highly recommended any card with the ASMEDIA chipset as their testing showed this to be one of the best out there.  It hasn't let me down yet.

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Gavin that part is music to my ears. The HP1-SS3 is the one that I picked up. I was just concerned that a $14 card was going to be durable.

It was the one card that seemed to fit all the criteria.

 

I am looking forward to if anybody has input on my other questions as well. It would be nice to have USB3 as a serious option.

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Gavin that part is music to my ears. The HP1-SS3 is the one that I picked up. I was just concerned that a $14 card was going to be durable.

It was the one card that seemed to fit all the criteria.

 

I am looking forward to if anybody has input on my other questions as well. It would be nice to have USB3 as a serious option.

 

Glad I could help.  Keep in mind that the windows drivers won't work properly.  To get it to work properly you will need to download the drivers from there site.  Its not a big deal at all. 

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As for the slowdown, that is very odd. 

From the sounds of it, the USB connection is what was causing the slowdown. If that is the case, and you were using the onboard USB3.... that may be the issue. (could be an issue with the usb3 controller or the chipset).

 

 

As for the card, yeah, that should be a good one. And yes, we (Covecube/StableBit) definitely recommend any card that uses the ASMedia ASM1061 chipset (as that card does). As Gavin has said, we've found it to be very stable. Just make sure you have the ASMedia drivers installed (or port multiplication won't work). And the chipset drivers are compatible with WIndows 8, 8.1 and the server versions.

 

As for USB, I would recommend against it. The eSATA standard is much better for long term connectivity. the USB spec is okay with and allows periodic disconnects of the hardware. This can be dangerous for your drives, as it can cause data corruption (including to the partitioning.... which can cause the drive to show up as "RAW"). So if you have the choice, eSATA is much better choice.

 

If you really need more ports, Alex picked up an Addonics card and has had good luck with it:

http://www.addonics.com/products/adms6gpx2-e.php

You'd need to get a breakout cable, but it would have 4 eSATA connections, :)

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Thanks Drashna.  I just ordered a second Mediasonic card. Looks like I am staying with esata.  I got the drivers and used them on the last card. I am guessing the system will just see 2 cards when I install the 2nd and will not need me to install the driver again.

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I have tried a number of USB3 cards; most of them based on NEC/Renesas chips. Like Drashna, I do not recommend USB3. I recently did some throughput comparisons between USB2, USB3, and eSATA. USB3 was only around 25% faster than USB2, while eSATA was 300% to 400% faster.

 

Like GavinCampbell I am currently using the ASMedia ASM1061 based HP1-SS3 card. I originally had some issues trying to eject external enclosures (so I could change sets of drives) but I found a way around that by using a little utility called RemoveDrive. I created a batch file to eject the drives — it works quite well.

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Thanks Drashna.  I just ordered a second Mediasonic card. Looks like I am staying with esata.  I got the drivers and used them on the last card. I am guessing the system will just see 2 cards when I install the 2nd and will not need me to install the driver again.

Yes, that should be the case. 

Specifically, it should have a similar hardware ID (in the same ballpark).  

However, if the hardware ID is different enough, you'll need to download and install the specific drivers for that controller... but this is not likely the case...

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So it looks like there is a slight update to this issue.

 

But first....  This is my first real experience wih 8.1 Pro. And working with this flavor of Windows, I am starting to pine for the days of Windows ME. GOOD LORD this thing is finiky!!! I never remember having any issues with my old WHS. If the driver was not made for it, I would use XP. This though......

 

So...I now have 2 of the Mediasonic cards.  Both seem to be doing just fine. 

There is a problem though. The Mediasonic cards only Port Multiply x4 per esata connection.

The problem comes in that I was really hoping to use a 5 Bay Sans Digital Case that I have had a few years. It only has the esata connection. I was hoping that it would at least see 4 slots in the Sans Digital and just not see #5..... Nope. Not that lucky.  The 5 bay Sans Digital will not even register on the PC when connected to the MediaSonic.

 

No Problem I thought.  So I ordered a Syba. The  SD-SA2PEX-2E.   The Chipset is SIL3132. I looked through the specs...and on the docs that came with it. Both said Windows 8 compatible. I tried it with the default Windows 8 drivers. Then I downloaded the only drivers that Syba has online for this and I even tried the CD that came with it.

My motherboard bios is set to ACHI. It came that way and since I am not running RAID, I saw no reason to change it when I set up the Server. But I tried just setting it to RAID, just to see if it would help. That is because the Utility for the card wanted to set up some controller software when it loaded the drivers. No big deal I thought. I will just have it set to JBOD.

 

I might as well have ordered a software hand grenade. 

 

Not only did I get the BSOD with every config I tried, I very nearly lost all the stucture to DrivePool. It took a couple of reboots, after I got the PC back up to have Drivepool load again. I had 2 pools...and still have a situation where neither wants to recognize that the drives in the other Pool are no longer available. The good news is that one Pool is temp anyways.. (Old Server crashed about 20% into moving the files off and now I am pulling them off manually.) One 1 round trying to get the card to work,the PC decided it needed to roll back to an earlier save ...and tried to do so during one reboot.  It locked up on that..and when I did finally get the PC back up, it had remapped all my drives back to having letters.

 

So now I am looking at a couple of choices.  I need to either find a controller card that is esata and that Windows 8 likes..AND can do 5 drives per esata port....or I am going to have to get some new cases.  I am hoping there is a relatively inexpensive card out there that does all of this. I looked on the Sans Digital site.....I was a little surprised that they advertise nothing for Windows 8. Looked at MediaSonic....no cards that can port multiply x5 per esata port. 

 

So I am now looking around to see if any other viable options exist.

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Pretty much all the eSATA cards I've seen are 1-to-4 port multipliers; don't think I've ever seen a 5.

 

The way most 5-drive enclosures work with 5 drives, AFAIK, is that they expect to use their onboard drive pooling/RAID capabilities to make the 5 drives appear as 1 to the system.

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