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SSD on HP xw8400

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September 20, 2012 4:07:06 PM

OK, so I recently acquired an HP xw8400 workstation with two quad-core Xeons and 12GB of RAM - old, but still quite respectable and a good upgrade over my previous machine (an Athlon 64 lol). Anyhow, I'd like to move my Intel 330 SSD to this machine and am trying to find the best way to do it.

I purchased a cheap Asmedia ASM1061 SATA III controller (PCIe X1) and installed it - it works fine, but the benchmark speeds are LESS than the integrated SATA II controller in the xw8400. Am I doing something wrong here? Is it a limitation of the 330 SSD? Of the PCIe X1 bus? Of the xw8400?

On the internal SATA II, I get an average benchmark of around ~190MB/s; on the SATA III card, I'm luck to break 160MB/s. Suggestions? Or should I buy a second drive and stripe it on the internal SATA II RAID? Or stripe a pair of fast(ish) hard drives? Any advice is GREATLY appreciated. :-D

I have NEVER been able to get good speeds out of this Intel 330 SSD - I realize I'm on SATA II (I was on my old machine, too). My old machine was barely able to get 140MB/s out of it...

More about : ssd xw8400

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a b G Storage
September 20, 2012 4:11:56 PM

I wouldn't sweat it. The bulk of an SSD's advantage is in its IOP rate, not its raw throughput. You get all the IOPS regardless of which interface you use.
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September 20, 2012 4:24:43 PM

Well, it IS definitely faster (I tested the computer with its included hard drive before moving my SSD to it), just as it was in my old machine. I just want to make it... even faster. :-D I installed the drivers to the SATA III card, but I still get crappy speeds. Is this a limitation of the PCI Express slot in the xw8400?
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a b G Storage
September 21, 2012 2:18:46 AM

Quote:
Is this a limitation of the PCI Express slot in the xw8400?

Unlikely. A single lane of PCIe 1.0/1.1 gives you 250 MB/s of bandwidth. 2.0/2.1 gives you 500 MB/s, and 3.0 gives you 1000 MB/s.

Unless you spend big bucks, controller cards like that tend to be fairly slow. To properly saturate the link, they need their own processors. To make cards cheaper, they skimp here and you end up with lower speeds.

Generally, you want to use cards like that to add new things (like additional ports, RAID support, etc.) rather than upgrade existing features (like SATA II to SATA III).
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September 21, 2012 1:00:37 PM

willard said:
Quote:
Is this a limitation of the PCI Express slot in the xw8400?

Unlikely. A single lane of PCIe 1.0/1.1 gives you 250 MB/s of bandwidth. 2.0/2.1 gives you 500 MB/s, and 3.0 gives you 1000 MB/s.

Unless you spend big bucks, controller cards like that tend to be fairly slow. To properly saturate the link, they need their own processors. To make cards cheaper, they skimp here and you end up with lower speeds.

Generally, you want to use cards like that to add new things (like additional ports, RAID support, etc.) rather than upgrade existing features (like SATA II to SATA III).


Cool, thanks for the replies! I tweaked it a bit (including disabling write-cacheing) and am now seeing ~235MB/s on the internal SATA II with CrystalDisk. Not bad at all. :-) Just for fun, I tried striping a pair of Vertex 4's that I have for a project I'm working on - two of those on the internal RAID controller pulled 424MB/s! Now I see what I need to do... buy another SSD! lol

Are you aware of any issues with striping SSDs? TRIM, alignment, etc?
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September 21, 2012 5:02:33 PM

Best answer selected by js81.
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a b G Storage
September 22, 2012 2:18:48 AM

Quote:
Are you aware of any issues with striping SSDs? TRIM, alignment, etc?

Yep, TRIM and RAID don't play nice. You can make RAID 0 work with TRIM, but you need to install Intel's RST driver version 11.5 or later (think it's still in beta, has some issues last I checked).

As far as I know, you still can't get TRIM working on any other flavor of RAID. So install the beta driver and stripe those babies!
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September 25, 2012 2:07:23 PM

Can I use RST 11.5 on the ESB2 controller? Also, a weird issue - decided for the time being to just go with my Intel SSD on the internal SATA II and deal with everything else later. Well, I did a clean install and the computer was... wonky (for lack of a better word). I mean, it worked and worked fast - but there would be random errors and freezes that I NEVER had before with the same SSD on my old HP DC5750. I tried a re-install (clean) to a standard hard drive I had, and it worked perfectly. Is it an I-don't-like-you hardware issue with my SSD and the computer, or is it more likely just a screwy 7 install? My wife was tired of me messing with it :-) so I just left the HDD in place for the time being. I have a 10k VelociRaptor I can use if the SSD doesn't like this computer (or vica versa), but the SSD is noticeably faster...
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a b G Storage
September 25, 2012 5:02:23 PM

Not sure about whether or not you can use the RST driver, I've never bothered with it myself.

As far as the Windows install goes, there's an outside chance it could be the SSD. There are health testers you can use to rule it out.

Also, an SSD is going to annihilate a Velociraptor. The VR has a similar max sequential speed, but it has around 1% of the SSD's IOP rate. If I were you, getting back on that SSD would be my priority. You can move the Windows install from the VR to the SSD, but it's a gigantic headache and it's a lot easier just to reinstall Windows, especially if it's a fresh install anyway.
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September 25, 2012 6:00:02 PM

Yeah, my thoughts exactly. It's just weird, though... no signs of anything having gone wrong - just a "wonky" install on the SSD. I checked its health and optimized everything, but it still acted strange. I plan to move it back over, but I just don't have the time right now. Maybe this weekend? I hope... :-) We have a newborn, if that helps explain the time constraints lol.
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