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H57 ATX options? Is H57 RAID decent for RAID5?

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October 29, 2010 5:26:48 PM

I am planning on building a new HTPC / Media Server. I have decided on the core i3 Clarkdale and research has led me to believe that the best value for RAID 5 (for media storage) is to get a mobo with the new Intel H57 chipset with Intel Rapid Storage Technology. The plan is to have one main HDD for the system (purchased a Seagate Barracuda 7200.14) and then have 5 2TB hdds in the RAID5 array (or more if possible).

From what I can see there are currently only two good options for H57 mobos:

Gigabyte GA-H57M-USB3 - Looks like a great mobo. Reviews are solid. $120 + $8 shipping at NewEgg:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Asus P7H57D-V EVO - Looks fantastic. Reviews are also solid. $150 + $3 shipping at NewEgg:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The Gigabyte runs 5 SATA connections through the H57 and the Asus runs 6 SATA connections. An extra SATA port in the RAID array gives me greater ability to expand down the road.

Are there any other options for an ATX H57 mobo, or is the Asus currently the only one in existence?

Reccomendations or advice on the mobo options?

The H57 chipset looks pretty good for my purposes for RAID 5. Would you agree?
a c 716 V Motherboard
October 29, 2010 6:33:54 PM

I am very familiar with RAID, and while a MOBO can theoretically do RAID 5 most {especially Gigabyte} fail, and 8TB {2*(5-1)} is a lot of space. Worst are larger size/# HDD arrays.

Recommendation: Purchase a Dedicated RAID Controller, and preferably one with a battery back-up. Do not run RAID 5 off the any Intel H57 Express MOBO; I don't even like running one off the more robust ICH10R. Now tossing into the mix 5 HDDs and you're asking for trouble.
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October 29, 2010 6:45:39 PM

Jaquith,

Can you be more specific as to why I am asking for trouble with the H57 RAID? Most reviews I have read seem to imply that H57 would be just as good (if not an improvement) over software RAID controllers. I'm not looking to spend $300+ on a true hardware RAID controller as that really puts my build over budget and so far I can't really see what the big gains would be to justify that expense.

Intel Rapid Storage Technology has SMART monitoring and some advanced features that aren't even in the basic RAID cards (at least from what I read).

I realize that the larger my array, the larger the risk of a bad sector and complete data loss during a rebuild. Would that issue be addressed by a software RAID controller or a hardware RAID controller, or would I still have that risk?

This is the cheapest hardware RAID controller I can find $279 (only 4 ports, the 8 port version is $430):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also, I thought that H57 was basically ICH10R. What version is H57?

Thanks for any insight you can share. I know that RAID is a complex topic.
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a c 716 V Motherboard
October 29, 2010 7:19:43 PM

I have had extremely bad experiences with Gigabyte's H/W implementation of Intel chipset with ANY RAID. RAID 0/1/10 require no stripe calculations, and Gigabyte fails the 1 or 10. Next RAID 5, the larger the array the more computations are required and an 8TB 5 drive array will, assuming it remains stable, a lot of CPU computation; best guess 10-15%+ during any R/W cycles.

If that large an array has failures 1/2 the day {4~8+ hours} would be my 'best guess' to repair, and since you're using the MOBO + CPU -> I would pull my hair out.

Intel 82H57 Express Chipset {951 Flip Chip Ball Grid Array (FCBGA)}

In my case, I have a room/racks filled with servers, and every Workstation uses RAID 1 at minimum. The REAL issue beyond RAID redundancy is corruption, so in a practical situation with that huge array --- what are you going to do if and when that single RAID get corrupted??? What's your backup?? In my case we use NAS + server redundancy + off premises ~ NAS.

Something to think about. Q - How much Actual storage do you need?
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October 29, 2010 8:35:02 PM

another thing to think of.. you probably should buy raid edition hdd's with that big an array esp with raid 5..

you can have wierd happenings if you just try to plop some generic 2tb green series drives in.

raid 5 in general can give alot of problems esp on badly implemented boards with non raid hdd's

anything from multiple drives dropping out(losing all data) etc.
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October 29, 2010 8:39:34 PM

jaquith said:
I have had extremely bad experiences with Gigabyte's H/W implementation of Intel chipset with ANY RAID. RAID 0/1/10 require no stripe calculations, and Gigabyte fails the 1 or 10. Next RAID 5, the larger the array the more computations are required and an 8TB 5 drive array will, assuming it remains stable, a lot of CPU computation; best guess 10-15%+ during any R/W cycles.

If that large an array has failures 1/2 the day {4~8+ hours} would be my 'best guess' to repair, and since you're using the MOBO + CPU -> I would pull my hair out.

Intel 82H57 Express Chipset {951 Flip Chip Ball Grid Array (FCBGA)}

In my case, I have a room/racks filled with servers, and every Workstation uses RAID 1 at minimum. The REAL issue beyond RAID redundancy is corruption, so in a practical situation with that huge array --- what are you going to do if and when that single RAID get corrupted??? What's your backup?? In my case we use NAS + server redundancy + off premises ~ NAS.

Something to think about. Q - How much Actual storage do you need?


Thanks for the detailed reply.

I'm not worried about the CPU overhead for r/w to/from the array. 10-15% isn't really an issue since the i3 already has more power than I need. The computer will be used as an HTPC and media server. Very little gaming (if any). If there is a failure in the array and it required 1/2 day to recalc, that would really suck, but I'd have the same problem with a RAID card too, right? I'm assuming this would be a once to twice a year event, right?

What sort of bad experiences have you had with Gigabyte's implementation of the RAID? I thought the H57 boards were different than other mobo's with RAID since the RAID calcs were done via the southbridge instead of the BIOS.

This stuff is all new to me and I've never had any sort of RAID implementation before, so thanks for bearing with me.

Realistically I only need around 4TB within the next 6 months, but I'd like the capability to double that as my media library grows over the years and thought I might as well build the array with at least 4 drives to start (a little over 5TB formatted space).

This array will hold ALL of the household media. My plan has been to back up the critical items like photos, documents, special movies, etc into a seperate external drive plus copy on another external drive which is stored in a firesafe at a family member's house in another state. I hope the redundancy of the array is good enough for the rest of my data. Backing up 4-8TB of data really isn't feasible.

Would I really gain much more data safety via a dedicated RAID card? I realize it would be faster, but other than the speed what do I really gain for the extra $300? The H57 RAID already has SMART monitoring, online expansion, etc.

Is there a big gain in reliability between say a $150 RocketRAID software card and a $300 RocketRAID hardware card?

Thanks for answering all my questions.
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October 29, 2010 8:41:42 PM

rand_79 said:
another thing to think of.. you probably should buy raid edition hdd's with that big an array esp with raid 5..

you can have wierd happenings if you just try to plop some generic 2tb green series drives in.

raid 5 in general can give alot of problems esp on badly implemented boards with non raid hdd's

anything from multiple drives dropping out(losing all data) etc.


I am going to stay away from the WD Green drives. I've heard too many bad things about those in RAID setups.

I have heard that the Samsung Spinpoint F4 2TB (5400rpm) drives work fine in RAID arrays.

I've also heard that unless I am using a true hardware RAID implementation there really isn't that much benefit to RAID edition hard drives since software RAID doesn't recognize TLER, etc.

Thoughts?
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October 29, 2010 9:18:31 PM

one thing to think of is I wouldnt futureproof an array..
hdd's get cheaper very fast. in 1.5 years you can probably buy 4TB drives for 2tb prices now.

also you will need backups. raid arrays are not foolproof.

if 2 drives drop out of a raid 5 array at the same time you will lose all data.

this shouldnt happen.

however let me relate a story.

I upgraded my intel ich9r drivers..(to a buggy new version)
one of my RAID 0 drives started dropping out..

ended up having a format C: party to fix it.
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a c 716 V Motherboard
October 29, 2010 9:55:18 PM

thenerb said:
I am going to stay away from the WD Green drives. I've heard too many bad things about those in RAID setups.

I have heard that the Samsung Spinpoint F4 2TB (5400rpm) drives work fine in RAID arrays.

I've also heard that unless I am using a true hardware RAID implementation there really isn't that much benefit to RAID edition hard drives since software RAID doesn't recognize TLER, etc.

Thoughts?

I always recommend TLER, but your are correct about software, -----, RAID.

WD is about the only company that decided to be jerks about disabling TLER in the "consumer" HDDs. All of their Enterprise have TLER - http://www.wdc.com/en/products/index.asp?cat=2

Flip a coin, Hitachi, Samsung, Seagate will work fine OTHER than the facts as I've stated above.
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a c 716 V Motherboard
October 29, 2010 10:13:42 PM

thenerb said:
...required 1/2 day to recalc, that would really suck, but I'd have the same problem with a RAID card too, right? I'm assuming this would be a once to twice a year event, right?

No, it would be 1/2 the time and 1/10 maybe 1/100th the chance.
thenerb said:
What sort of bad experiences have you had with Gigabyte's implementation of the RAID? I thought the H57 boards were different than other mobo's with RAID since the RAID calcs were done via the southbridge instead of the BIOS.

Google {gigabyte RAID BSOD} or {UD3R RAID BSOD}
thenerb said:
This array will hold ALL of the household media. My plan has been to back up the critical items like photos, documents, special movies, etc into a seperate external drive plus copy on another external drive which is stored in a firesafe at a family member's house in another state. I hope the redundancy of the array is good enough for the rest of my data. Backing up 4-8TB of data really isn't feasible.

You ONLY need to backup the data, and NOT the entire system {OS, Apps, etc}
thenerb said:
Would I really gain much more data safety via a dedicated RAID card? I realize it would be faster, but other than the speed what do I really gain for the extra $300? The H57 RAID already has SMART monitoring, online expansion, etc.

First, SMART has problems of its' own; Google {SMART RAID BSOD} {SMART RAID FAILURE}
thenerb said:
Is there a big gain in reliability between say a $150 RocketRAID software card and a $300 RocketRAID hardware card?

I prefer Adaptec RAID Controllers, and you'll need to sort through ALL of add-ons, features, etc. I assume that you are not looking to do a Nested RAID, so most cards are good enough. Also, "Swiss-Army" PCs is another bad idea, if I were you then I would look into Windows Home Servers. Info link http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/win...
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a b V Motherboard
October 30, 2010 3:07:28 AM

I have to agree with Jaquith on every this he has said so far. RAID 5 $ucks on pretty much any board. You want a TRUE hardware RAID card for this. And yes, I too prefer Adaptech for RAID cards.

As far as RAID goes, imo, for a home server/NAS you want RAID1. Don't bother with RAID5 unless you are dealing at a enterprise type level. It just isn't worth the extra cost. For the price of a decent RAID card, you can get 2-3 1TB HDDs that will allow you to run in RAID1/10 with out loosing space. I have my Fedora based NAS/server/firewall running 24/7 (except during updates, power outage) for almost 2.5 years now in RAID1 with a HighPoint RocketRAID 2300 and I have yet to have any issues. Running on 4x 750GB Seagate HDDs.

This NAS will be replaced as the primary NAS with a ZFS based server by end of this year or early next year once I get the hang of ZFS. Why? Simply because ZFS is a much superior file system than any thing else out there, esp. for data storage/security.
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October 30, 2010 4:47:42 AM

This is really becoming a great thread. Thanks to everyone who has chimed in. I'm really learning a lot here.

Anyone else have any comments or ideas?

One more question, how do you guys feel about RAID5 in a Sans Digital TowerRAID? I know it is still software RAID, so is it any more reliable than using the Gigabyte or ASUS implementation of Intel's H57 RAID?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I may consider taking Shadow703793's advice and just stick with RAID1 with either Windows software RAID or the H57 RAID and just buy extra drives.

Hmmmm. So many options. What do I do!? Still very much on the fence.
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a c 716 V Motherboard
October 30, 2010 2:16:12 PM

Hmm, instead of the SANS -> Rosewill RSV-S8 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

"If" it were me and you needed all those hot-swap HDD {home}:
1. Case MS1000-HS2 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OEM link - http://www.zalman.com/ENG/product/Product_Read.asp?idx=...

2. RAID Controller {scary cheap}; the Adaptec's I like are $$
a. SYBA SY-PEX40016 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
b. LSI LSI00108 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
c. HighPoint RocketRAID 2220 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

3. Microsoft Windows Home Server {x64 coming soon} - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4. {Cheap MOBO, CPU & 4 GB RAM}
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a b V Motherboard
October 30, 2010 11:33:48 PM

^ That High Point RAID card is PCIX. Only a few non server boards support that format. As for the LSI, that's a x4 card, meaning you will need a 2nd PCIe x16 slot on the boards (AFAIK, no consumer board has a x4 slot).

Note: I'm assuming no server boards here, which has PCIX and PCIe x4/x16/x8 slots.

As for OS, imo, if just running a NAS/storage (and not HTPC) I'd run Linux. If running Linux, go Windows. It just takes too much work to set up a Linux HTPC unless you know what you are doing.
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a c 716 V Motherboard
October 31, 2010 11:01:48 AM

Duh, you're correct! I was desperate to find ANY affordable RAID Controller that was "affordable." The tricky part is finding 8-port RAID with RAID 5.

"My Choice" is the Adaptec 2267000-R - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... I run one and know it work$, but it is extremely expensive at $800.

As far as Linux, sure it will work but it would be a "mother" for the typical person so configure and get to work properly. I'm a big fan of RHEL. Windows Home Server is worth the price and is super simple to set-up, plus has some "cool" features - It's built of Windows Server 2003.
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a b V Motherboard
October 31, 2010 2:13:50 PM

^ Agreed. Linux isn't for every one, but if you do use a distro specific one like FreeNAS it's not *that* hard to set up basic NAS functions. There are plenty of tutorials on line on setting up FreeNAS.

But yes, if you want some thing that works out of the box, WHS is a very good choice.
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November 4, 2010 11:22:45 PM

cheap good raid 5 card pcie -- Dell Perc 5i -- you can get them for less then $200 on ebay with backup battery.

Its a SAS controller, but SAS is backwards compatible with SATA.

Specs: Intel IOP333
256MB Ram (up to 512MB)
PCI-E 8x (pci-e scales to the links available i.e. a 16x card can run in a 1x slot, and a 1x card can run in 16x slot -- this is the same with 99% of PCI-X (66mhz+64bit) being backwards compatible with PCI - as long as it doesnt have a physical limitation i.e. component in the way of the '64 bit' part of the card)

I have used a few of these, they are great budget cards, and will easily saturate a single GbE link. Read Speeds ~500MBytes/s with 8x300GB Seagate 7200.8/9 - with writes in the 250-350 range.

Be very careful about the drives you use depending on the controller. RAID DropOuts / Timeouts could mean instant destruction to your raid.

If you have more money I recommend ARECA controllers -- but you must use the correct drives to avoid drop-outs (ARC-1222 might be a good match)

let me know if you have questions.

Exp: Been building SAN/NAS for years, All my desktops have hardware raid.
Sys Eng at large corp managing a large VMware env.
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November 5, 2010 1:24:01 AM

wickedgtr1 said:
cheap good raid 5 card pcie -- Dell Perc 5i -- you can get them for less then $200 on ebay with backup battery.

Its a SAS controller, but SAS is backwards compatible with SATA.

Specs: Intel IOP333
256MB Ram (up to 512MB)
PCI-E 8x (pci-e scales to the links available i.e. a 16x card can run in a 1x slot, and a 1x card can run in 16x slot -- this is the same with 99% of PCI-X (66mhz+64bit) being backwards compatible with PCI - as long as it doesnt have a physical limitation i.e. component in the way of the '64 bit' part of the card)

I have used a few of these, they are great budget cards, and will easily saturate a single GbE link. Read Speeds ~500MBytes/s with 8x300GB Seagate 7200.8/9 - with writes in the 250-350 range.

Be very careful about the drives you use depending on the controller. RAID DropOuts / Timeouts could mean instant destruction to your raid.

If you have more money I recommend ARECA controllers -- but you must use the correct drives to avoid drop-outs (ARC-1222 might be a good match)

let me know if you have questions.

Exp: Been building SAN/NAS for years, All my desktops have hardware raid.
Sys Eng at large corp managing a large VMware env.



Thanks for the tips. $200 isn't bad, but I think I've decided to take a different approach to my build. I've now decided to go with building a seperate NAS and having a smaller head for the HTPC. I am going to use FreeNAS and take advantage of the super-robust ZFS RAIDZ file system/software NAS. Speed seems to be fine for my needs and data integrity seems very strong. Possibly a way to even use the new 4K sector AF drives also.

- Brent
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November 5, 2010 3:47:55 AM

might want to checkout openfiler and nexenta - both have free versions - nexenta also supports zfs - both of these (in my humble opinion) seem better than freenas.

if you have time you can get virtual pc for windows to make test setup of each to see what you prefer interface / management wise.

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November 5, 2010 10:26:03 AM

wickedgtr1 said:
might want to checkout openfiler and nexenta - both have free versions - nexenta also supports zfs - both of these (in my humble opinion) seem better than freenas.

if you have time you can get virtual pc for windows to make test setup of each to see what you prefer interface / management wise.


What is it about Openfiler or Nexenta that you prefer over FreeNAS?
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