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Need help with a very complex setup

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December 15, 2002 5:22:58 AM

Below are the components in my new system followed by my intended setup and questions. Any advice and suggestions on the setup will be greatly appreciated. The system is a bit complicated and should be quite challenging to configure. It seems a bit long, but it is in outline format. Thanks ahead of time.

Core:

Motherboard: Asus P4T533
CPU: Pentium 4 3.06GHZ
RAM: 1GB RIMM4200 ( PC1066 232 pin )

Hard Drives:

(4) Fujitsu 18.4GB 15K RPM ULTRA160 SCSI (MAM3184MP)(68 Pin)
(1) IBM Ultra2 9.1GB 9LZX Ultra2 SCSI (may go in my sons computer)
(1) Seagate Cheetah 9.1GB Ultra160 SCSI (ST39205LC) (80 Pin)
(1) Fujitsu 9.1GB Ultra160 SCSI (MAH3091MC) (80 Pin)
(1) Maxtor ATA Ultra 133 160GB IDE

AGP Card:

(1) Gainward Geforce4 Ti4600 Powerpack

PCI Cards:

(1) 3400s Adaptec Scsi 4 channel Ultra160 SCSI Raid Card
(1) 39160 Adaptec Ultra160 SCSI Card (2 independent Ultra160
Channels and 1 50 pin) (do I need this?? I need the 50 pin, but I can convert it to a 68 pin device and hook up to one of the separate channels on the 3400s—more of this later). Also, I may be putting one of my Fujitsu 18.4GB 15K RPM ULTRA160 SCSI (MAM3184MP)(68 Pin) Hard Drives on this.

(1) Soundblaster Audigy2 Platnium Card
(1) Dazzle Digital Video Creator 2
(1) Hauppauge Win TV-D
(1) Maxtor ATA 133 PCI Card or Creative Labs DXR3 “dvd-decoder” (may need these—may not—more on this later).

50 PIN SCSI Devices

(1) Creative DVD-RAM
(1) Onstream 30GB Tape Drive
(1) Iomega JAZ 2GB
(1) Iomega 100MB Zip Drive

IDE Drives:

(1) Plextor 48/24/48A CD-RW/R (ATA 33)
(1) Pioneer DVD 106s/2 (ATA 66)
(1) Sony DVD+-DRU500A (ATA 33)
(1) Kenwood 72x Cd-rom (ATA 33)(I have this drive, but may not include it--see below on the discussion about IDE setup).

Other Relevant Stuff:

Roughly 20 Fans and 8 Hard Drive Coolers (Sounds like a jet engine—ok for me)
Windows XP Professional

Here are the questions regarding setup for optimal performance:

(1) First, Scsi Hard Drive Placement:
This is what I have come up with:
-On the 3400s I will have two Raid Arrays:

1. 3 of the Fujitsu 18.4GB 15K RPM ULTRA160 SCSI Drives on RAID 0. Two on two of the four channels on RAID 0. (I’ll be backing up with the 160GB Maxtor so don’t need any protection.

2. Another RAID 0 configuration consisting of the Fujitsu 9.1GB Ultra160
SCSI Drive and the Seagate Cheetah 9.1GB Ultra160 SCSI Drive.
The Questions Regarding this:

1. I’ve talked with Adaptec and they see no problems with having an array over
Multiple channels and it will not cause a performance decrease. I just don’t want any bottleneck, which may be a problem with 4 of the Fujitsu 15K drives on just two channels. Does anyone see a problem with this or have any input?

2. I know you should always have the exact same drives in a Raid Array, but does
Anyone see a problem with the 2nd array I’m doing, since they are different brands—but they are the same size?

3. As will be seen in a moment, I plan on putting my last Fujitsu 18.4GB 15K RPM
ULTRA160 SCSI Drive on the Adaptec 39160 Drive and boot Windows XP Pro
From there. This brings me to one of the most important questions. I have read
many posts and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s best to separate the operating
system and applications (more of this later) on its own hard drive. I do not
understand this. What is the benefit of having raid (for performance) if the
operating system and applications and saved files are not on the RAID Array??? It would seem to me that I should put all 4 of the Fujitsu 15K Ultra160 Drives in an array and
boot the operating system and applications from that?? If there is a reason for this
please let me know and also what gets stored on the RAID Array for a performance
increase if the OS and Apps are not on the Array?? Please, any input on this
would be greatly appreciated!!!!

4. What about Stripe Sizes? What is the Optimal level? 90% of my files will be
Under 10MB and most of that will be under 5MB. I’ve read that it’s best to have
A 64k stripe size is best for overall performance. Is this right?

-On the Adaptec 39160 this is what I plan. This takes into account that I will boot
the OS and Apps from here (see question 3 right above).
1. On Channel A I will have the Fujitsu 18.4GB 15K RPM ULTRA160 SCSI
Drive if this is the best thing for performance to do. If I do this how do I set it up concerning partitions? I’ve heard it’s best to have one partition for the OS and another for apps(concerning apps I have heard it’s best to have an additional one for games) and another for a Swap/Page file. Also, is it best to do without the swap/page file since I will have over 1GB of ram. This is the 2nd most important question!!
2. On Channel B I will have the IBM 9LZX and on the 50 pin connector I
Will have all the Ultra SCSI Drives. No question here—straight forward. That is if I decide to keep the 9LZX on this computer—probably will not and will just get an adapter to connect the 50 pin scsi devices to the 3400s—any ideas or comments?

(2) Hard Drive and DVD/Cd IDE Drive Placement:
--I’m really lost here. Where should I put the 5 IDE Devices (4 DVD/CD drives and
the hard Drive)? The hard drive is ATA 133 and the Plextor, sony and kenwood(may not put in the system) drive are ATA 33 and the Pioneer 106s/2 is ATA 66.
--On the motherboard I have two ATA 100 connectors and two ATA 133 Raid
Connectors. On the Maxtor PCI card(may not include—see below) I have 2 ATA 133 Connectors.
(1) How should I set this up? Can I put any of the DVD/CD drives on the
Maxtor PCI Card or on the raid connectors on the motherboard? Can the
Hard Drives be put on the Raid Connectors on the motherboard without a
Raid Array?? Finally, will having say an ATA 66 and ATA 33 on the same channel decrease performance of the ATA 66 Drive?? I’m a bit lost here and need help.

What about the 6th PCI device? Should I go with the Maxtor ATA 133 PCI card or the DXR3?
1) DXR3
This device will allow me to have two more sound outputs. I have the new POWER DVD Player, but is it better than the hardware decoder of DXR3.
2) MAXTOR ATA 133 Card
Will I use this? From what I think I know, I can only hook up hard drives to the raid on the board, which means I have 4 regular IDE devices(upon the two connectors) which I can hook up. This is not a problem since I am only left with four after the hard drive is on the raid. But, on the ide channels on the motherboard I will have a CD-RW, CD-Rom, DVD-ROM, and a DVD-+R/RW. However, is the IDE connectors on the MAXTOR PCI Card able to recognize non-hardrives—any conflicts.
3) Do I need either of these cards.
Final Questions:

(1) The server case I have is double sided and has two 400W power Supplies, but I
Believe I will need more. I would like to note that having two 400Watt PS is not like having one 800 Watt PS. I would like to get two 550+ Redundant power supplies, but I’m having trouble finding one. Any suggestions regarding this???

Any more info or advice about anything would be greatly appreciated. Thank You for the help.

More about : complex setup

December 15, 2002 7:56:54 AM

Please dont do multiple posts in different forums. It upsets the natives.
If you have a HDD specific question, please ask it.

<b><font color=purple>[Rik_]</font color=purple> I wonder how many people have made their own phasechange system?
<font color=blue>[LHGPooBaa]</font color=blue> I get phasechange whenever i eat a hot chillie :lol:  </b>
December 15, 2002 2:04:10 PM

Quote:
I do not understand this. What is the benefit of having raid (for performance) if the
operating system and applications and saved files are not on the RAID Array???

Well for starters you should have your OS on the single drive and your apps on the array. Raid 0 stripes can do wonders for large file transfers but not much if anything for small file transfers. Most OS IO activity is of this nature.

Quote:

1. I’ve talked with Adaptec and they see no problems with having an array over
Multiple channels and it will not cause a performance decrease. I just don’t want any bottleneck, which may be a problem with 4 of the Fujitsu 15K drives on just two channels. Does anyone see a problem with this or have any input?


Actually having your array over multiple channels is preferable. You will always be limited by two things, the bandwith of your controller( 160 MB/s) and the bandwith of your pci bus ( 133 MB/s). 4 drives will easily saturate your pci bus. Three drives will as well for that matter.


Quote:
50 PIN SCSI Devices

(1) Creative DVD-RAM
(1) Onstream 30GB Tape Drive
(1) Iomega JAZ 2GB
(1) Iomega 100MB Zip Drive

IDE Drives:

(1) Plextor 48/24/48A CD-RW/R (ATA 33)
(1) Pioneer DVD 106s/2 (ATA 66)
(1) Sony DVD+-DRU500A (ATA 33)
(1) Kenwood 72x Cd-rom (ATA 33)(I have this drive, but may not include it--see below on the discussion about IDE setup).

Ok, forgive me for asking this why on earth do you need all this stuff??????


It's not what they tell you, its what they don't tell you!
Related resources
December 15, 2002 5:01:44 PM

Thanks for your input ncogneto.

As far as the raid setup. I'm thinking i should put 4 fujitsu hard drives in raid 0 over two channels on the Adaptec 3400s. I do not believe there will be any bottleneck with this configuration. However, i've never set up a raid array and i really need help on what to install on the raid.

I have read and believe i should do the following:
Partition the Raid Array so that my OS is on its on partition. Also, partition it further so that my apps and games and data files are separated. Also, with a gig of ram i can get rid of the swap file. How does this sound? Is this my best option?
December 15, 2002 5:19:44 PM

Quote:
As far as the raid setup. I'm thinking i should put 4 fujitsu hard drives in raid 0 over two channels on the Adaptec 3400s. I do not believe there will be any bottleneck with this configuration. However, i've never set up a raid array and i really need help on what to install on the raid.

Yes there will be a bottleneck it is called your pci bus. Three 15k drives will more than saturate this bus, so adding the forth to the stripe set will do nothing additional for performance, although it will add more space.

Quote:
I have read and believe I should do the following:
Partition the Raid Array so that my OS is on its on partition.

Better yet as you will have a spare 15k drive why not put the OS on its own drive? Then partition the three drive Raid stripe with a 1-2 gig partition at the begining of the drive and place your swap there. The rest of the stripe will hold your appps and dat files.

Quote:
Also, with a gig of ram i can get rid of the swap file. How does this sound? Is this my best option?

Yes you <font color=blue>could</font color=blue> do this. Whether or not it is advisable would be entirely dependent on the apps you run and how much multitasking you do. I think a gig of memory is nice, but not quite sure if I would call it sufficient enough to disable the swap entirely. Also, some apps (read photoshop) almost demand the use of a swap file.


If you are that adimate about disabling the swap, maybe you might want to look into one of these <A HREF="http://www.cenatek.com/product_rocketdriveDL.cfm" target="_new">http://www.cenatek.com/product_rocketdriveDL.cfm&lt;/A>


It's not what they tell you, its what they don't tell you!
December 15, 2002 6:33:11 PM

The Fujitsu Hard Drives have a data transfer rate of 68.6-88.0 MB/sec. I thought by putting them on separate SCSI channels would solve the bottleneck issue. But the more i think about it, this may just solve the scsi bus issue of just 160MB/sec per channel and not the pci bus issue. Will separating them on different channels on the same PCI card solve the bottleneck issue with the pci bus?

I was even thinking about getting rid of my 39160 scsi card and putting everything on the 3400s, but this would be a bad decision in my opinon since i would surely run into many situations where the pci bus would slow things down.

With putting the OS on its own hard drive on the 39160 card, doesn't this defeat the purpose of a RAID 0 setup? For speed that is.

Your right regarding the swap file. I use a lot of memory intensive programs and multitask. Should definetly take your advice on this.
December 15, 2002 6:56:35 PM

Quote:
Will separating them on different channels on the same PCI card solve the bottleneck issue with the pci bus?

NO

Quote:
With putting the OS on its own hard drive on the 39160 card, doesn't this defeat the purpose of a RAID 0 setup? For speed that is.

Os IO activity almost always is small file transfers. Here RAID 0 will do little if nothing for your speed. In some instances it can actually slow things down because of the extra added overhead. Raid 0 is most beneficial when doing large file transfers. Plus you will reap additional benefits having your OS and swap on differnt drives.

It's not what they tell you, its what they don't tell you!
December 15, 2002 10:19:57 PM

um, i'm sorry and i know it really isn't my place to say anything but that is the most retarded thing i have ever seen. more power to ya if you get it all setup right. but it seems like you'll be spending more time sifting through drives finding a place to save than you will be doing anything else.

"There is no dark or light side, only power and those too weak to seek it."
December 15, 2002 10:25:20 PM

:) 

wtf? i'm uberl33t mang. i've got dual cpus, 6 scsi drives in raid0 and 2gb of ram for my UT2003 machine. so i'm a hax0r. f342 m3!
December 15, 2002 11:01:44 PM

I will actually only have 4 hard drives because of the RAID Arrays. And one of those is just for backup and another is for the OS and maybe a few side things.

I will also backup via my onstream drive for added protection. Jaz and Zip are left over from an earlier system, so why the hell not throw them in. The burners, well i won't be using them as a backup just making cd's and dvd's.
December 15, 2002 11:50:40 PM

i think what he was trying to say is... what's the point?

"There is no dark or light side, only power and those too weak to seek it."
December 16, 2002 12:52:57 AM

The only two hard drives which are not necessary are the:

(1) Seagate Cheetah 9.1GB Ultra160 SCSI (ST39205LC) (80 Pin)
(1) Fujitsu 9.1GB Ultra160 SCSI (MAH3091MC) (80 Pin)

They aren't going to hurt my perfomance at all. They will only be used to save music, etc... No apps will be running from there.

As far as the zip, ontream, jaz, and dvd-ram drives. I have had these for some time so why not throw them in. There not going to conflict with each other--i have them insalled now and they work fine, plus they have been quite useful.
!