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Promise stripe size

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November 2, 2002 10:12:00 AM

Does anyone know what the stripe sizes are on the Promise controllers? I've been going back and forth both here and in other forums, plus the Promise and ASUS web sites, looking for the stripe sizes for the Promise controller with the "Lite" BIOS. I want to make sure I am using the right stripe/cluster size for the system. The BIOS only gives the options of Desktop, Server, or A/V Editing instead of letting you select or even know what the actual size is. I'd like to know before I go out and attempt flashing the Lumberjack BIOS. Thanks.

Jarrett

More about : promise stripe size

November 2, 2002 11:41:49 AM

I think it's like 8, 16, and 64. You should be able to find it in the manual, but from the couple of mainboards I have, that's what I seem to remember.

64 was the top size.

"I personally think filesystems should be rewritten from scratch every 5 years..." --- Hans Reiser
November 2, 2002 6:43:28 PM

I think the strip size is fixed at 64KB no matter it's A/V Editing, Server or Desktop setting.

The Promise Lite version is probably designed for newbies, and there is no way to change the strip size.
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November 2, 2002 7:15:05 PM

I"ve read the ASUS manual from cover to cover and checked the CD, but they don't say squat about stripe size. The 8, 16, 64 sounds good if it's server, desktop, A/V respectively, but who can tell. It doesn't make sence to have them all 64, otherwise why give you these choices. It's fustrating when you don't know, making the Lumberjack BIOS all more apealling.

Jarrett
November 2, 2002 9:55:59 PM

I agree. A friend of mine has the Gigabyte 8irxp mobo. Regardless of the desktop/server/AV setting, windows is able to se an allready created array. Even after deleting the array and rebuilding it, windows sees the drive as allready being formatted from the previous try. The only explanation for why this is possible is that the stripe size isnt changed at all. Further the bios <b>does</b> actually show that the stripesize is 64K regardless of the setting.

We tried the lumberjack bios for 8irxp (F7) and the driver version 230b14. Compared to the original bios with 8K clustersize we only obtained a marginal improvement in performance. Deffinitely not enough to warrent the use of a hacked bios.

Below are the sisoft sandra scores for the lumberjack experiment:

8K stripe size:
Cluster: 4K 8K 16K 32K
39590 32785 45530 32279

16K stripe size:
Cluster: 4K 8K 16K 32K
39413 32999 45699 34142

32K stripe size:
Cluster: 4K 8K 16K 32K
32859 33978 40166 36472

64K stripe size:
Cluster: 4K 8K 16K 32K
33763 39829 39199 38365

For comparison the original bios (F7) with 'Desktop' setting (although that really doesnt matter) the score are:

Cluster: 4K 8K 16K 32K
36988 45574 35102 37707

We finally choose the original bios with a stripesize of 8K.
For completion, the drives used was Maxtor D740X 40GB

<i><b>Engineering is the fine art of making what you want from things you can get</b></i>
<A HREF="http://www.btvillarin.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=655" target="_new">My systems</A>
November 3, 2002 1:39:43 AM

A *WHOLE* lot depends on the filesize.

If you're some warez puppie, with "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Snatch" and 50 other movies ripped to Divx and hosted on Kazaa with an OC-48, then you will see a massive improvement with 128k stripes.

If you're some database engineer with 80,000 entries on your MFT, then you're going to see a better go with 4 and 8k stripes.

"I personally think filesystems should be rewritten from scratch every 5 years..." --- Hans Reiser
November 3, 2002 4:45:45 PM

Promise controller onboard of some mobo on the market has a fixed stripesize. Only PCI boards (Fasttrack 100, TX2, 2000, etc..) let you to select the stripesize when you build your array, during the installation process. After you format the array you cannot vary anymore the stripesize. The optimal value depends on the dimension of the file you normally work with. This because each file is devided into fragments equal to the stripesize and each fragment is located on a different disk. when the system read or write such files the transfer rate from and to the disk is equal to the sum of the trasnfer rate of the disk invelved in the data transfer. If you select a stripesize of 64k and your files are mostly smaller trhen 64k, the system will use mostly only one disk and the benefits of a RAID 0 configuration, will be lost. But if you use generally big files it is better to select big stripesize (64k or 128k) to reduce the time to access the data.

the last is in the past
November 3, 2002 6:50:29 PM

Thanks for all the info HammerBot. Just for a point of reference I'm using the ASUS A7V333 Mobo /w onboard RAID and a pair of WD800JBs. This box is getting setup as an audio workstation first, content (ie. Macromedia Studio MX, Photoshop, etc.) second. I don't game, and file swapping will be on another box.

Everything I've read points to setting up a 16K/16 stripe/cluster size for the drives I'm using. I've also seen that the Sandra scores can seem low for these drive, making me want to put more stock in the Content Creation scores, which will be closer to what I doing. I've also read that disableing the USB 2 and Firewire boost performance, though my audio interface is firewire, negating that fix. As long as "desktop actually is a 16k stripe, it should work fine and I won't have to use the hacked BIOS. Thanks.

Jarrett
November 4, 2002 6:17:39 AM

Quote:
As long as "desktop actually is a 16k stripe, it should work fine and I won't have to use the hacked BIOS.

Im not sure it is. As I wrote above, Im sure that the stripesize is fixed at 64k, regardless of the desktop/server etc setting. My argument for NOT using the hacked bios, is that the performance gain wasnt so large.
But I suggest you benchmark it yourself. My tests showed that a clustersize of 8K is better than 16K if the stripesize is 64K

Does your RAID bios shown anything about the stripesize?

<i><b>Engineering is the fine art of making what you want from things you can get</b></i>
<A HREF="http://www.btvillarin.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=655" target="_new">My systems</A>
November 4, 2002 9:17:15 PM

Quote:
Does your RAID bios shown anything about the stripesize?

I haven't noticed anything pertaining to stripe size. That's why I've been bangin' my head against the keyboard over this. I'm probably going to install Lumberjack and be done with it. Hopefully I'll have the Content Creation disk by then.

Of course now my curiosity is really peaked. If it is a fixed 64k stripe, then what the hell are the Server/Desktop/AV Editing settings for?

Jarrett
November 5, 2002 1:21:37 AM

The LITE version only allows a fixed 64KB of strip size regardless of the setting. You can see this in the view array definition menu of the RAID BIOS setup.

I am also curious why Promise offers the settings of Server/Desktop/AV Editing. Is it designed to fool the newbies?

This web page should give you a better understanding of the limited feature of Promise LITE RAID:

<A HREF="http://www.tweakhardware.com/guide/a7v133-fullraid" target="_new">http://www.tweakhardware.com/guide/a7v133-fullraid&lt;/A>
November 5, 2002 2:00:53 AM

They must not have disabled that function in the firmware updates.

Which tells you that the hardware supports it, just that promise doesn't want anyone getting too much for their money. =)

"I personally think filesystems should be rewritten from scratch every 5 years..." --- Hans Reiser
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