|Seritek 2eEN4 Enclosure/Seritek 2SE2-2 PCI-e Controller RAID Tests|
(G5 PCI Express System)
By David C.
I just finished testing of my new SeriTek 2eEN4 4-Bay Hot Swap SATA II RAID enclosure. The controller used is a Seritek 2SE2-E. I'm using the fastest 7200RPM HDs available in it, Hitachi E7K500 500GB drives. (X4 = 1.8TB RAID 0 made with Disk Utility). System is a Dual G5 2.3GHz, 8GB RAM, Bluetooth/Airport Express/Nvidia GeForce 6600.
Some notable features:
- It Boots! (Bootable from connected drives) It's the ONLY PCI-Express bus master system for PC or Mac (that's bootable on Macs)
- It Turbo-Boots ( 68 seconds compared to 84 seconds with internal SATA
- Supports Sleep, Deep Sleep, Hot-Swap of any HD in the box etc
- Using 2 X SeriTek 2/SE2-E PCIe controllers in slots 2, 3
- It's faster than anything I've ever had before by a long shot...I haven't
run Disk Tester yet (don't own it, guess I'll have to buy it), but
everything is now in Hyper-Speed mode
- You can mount, and unmount the RAID with Disk Utility!
- I expect empty write performance of at least 260MB/sec and reads a little
higher (see later sent benchmarks below)
I picked the Hitachi E7K500 HDs on recommendation from one of the project
engineers at FirmTek...she said they were the fastest, most reliable HDs and
also have a 5-year warranty. Originally I was going to install Seagate 750GB
SATA II HDs, but a friend in a big company back East emailed me on Monday to
dump my 4 drives (I bought them on Black Friday at Best Buy for $299 each,
retail kits too). Seems that there's some major problems with data transfer
rates and speed, both read and write, in RAID configurations with both PC
and Mac environments. In other words, they're Dog Slow. His company returned
5,000 of them to Seagate!! Wow! That's a ton of drives to return.
So that's a heads-up for your readers on Seagate SATA II 7200.10's in 400GB
500GB and 750GB sizes if they're going to be using them in mission critical
systems, especially any RAID sub-system...the performance apparently is very
poor. (Note: This came up here earlier this year - first reported by 750GB users
with multi-drive internal RAID (Mac Pro, G5 Towers, etc.) - originally thought to be
'fixed' by a Seagate firmware update, but apparently not. A reader's drive db
report in the last month said even with updated firmware his four-drive 320GB (each)
Seagate 7200.10's performance was very poor. I mentioned in that report I was told
that Seagate is still working on the problem-Mike) I took my friend's word for it, considering that the company's IT guys
applied 5 ROM updates from Seagate Partners Support, one after the other,
and nothing worked to improve the HD's performance.
So I took the Seagate's back to Best Buy and got a refund, and ordered the
Hitachi E7K500's from OWC DHL 2nd Day Air, and they got here 10:30AM (Dec. 21st). I saved $600+ doing the swap. I also bought the whole setup from OWC, or shall I say that my wife gave it to me for my Christmas present! I paid for the drives though...
There was a ROM update to the SeriTek bus masters that I had to apply which
enables Turbo-Boot, and fixes some other issues, so the cards now have
v5.2.0 Nov. 8, 2006) boot ROM...from OWC they had 5.1.5 Boot Rom (May 2006).
The SeriTek enclosure sits next to my Dual Core G5, and it's beautiful! Has
LEDs for disk activity and "On" on the drive trays, which are completely
perforated for cooling. It's almost dead silent, in fact can't hear anything
from it over the G5's 9 internal fans on idle speed.
What can I say? This is the ultimate Mac RAID 0 setup for the Mac consumer
that money can buy. I guess Seagate now has some 15K HDs, but I'm happy with
the Hitachi's. For my uses (digital film production, archiving, restoration,
video capture, lots of RAW Photoshop work, etc) I think I'm set up just
fine. The FirmTek engineer I worked with over a period of 3 months helped me
decide on this system, and has been right there when I needed questions
answered. As you know FirmTek is populated by a bunch of ex-Apple engineers
and ALL of their bus masters boot, every single one for all Macs, PCI,
PCI-X, and now PCI-Express.
Next up for FirmTek is enabling booting on the Mac Pro, which will happen
very soon with another ROM update...right now the system only boots Dual
Core or Quad Core G5's (mine's the 2.3Ghz model/8GB RAM/BT/AE/GeForce 6600).
Happy camper here!:-)
This system is such a pleasure to work with...my
gosh, it's so flexible. When I'm not booted from it, and it's been shut
down/off for many hours, all I do is flip the "On" switch on the SeriTek
case, and 20 seconds later it self-mounts (after a couple of beeps from
start-up tests). When I'm done using it, I simply use Disk Utility to
Unmount it, then flip the switch "Off" and it's safely put down. FirmTek
really designed this system right, and those Hitachi E7K500's are dead
silent, even at maximum access speeds. I've never had a quieter SATA HD
experience so far...
(Here's David's Kona 2 and QuickBench 3.1 Test results)
2GB RAID (less than 10% Full) with system cache enabled
(Note: The large System cache (RAM) skews the above read rates - cache disabled is a better test of just the
drive's performance. He originally had 8GB of RAM installed, later reduced to 6.5GB - see later notes below.-Mike)
2GB RAID Drive (less than 10% Full) with system cache Disabled
I don't know if this helps legitimize the previous test results, but here
are the results from Intech Speed Tools QuickBench 3.1 testing:
- 20-100MB Read and Write Performance, 5 Cycles, No Write Cache Purging
- 20-100MB Read and Write Performance, 5 Cycles, Allow Write Cache Purging
- 1GB Read and Write Transfer Performance X 10 Transfers, 2 Cycles, No
Write Cache Purging
- 1GB Read and Write Transfer Performance X 10 Transfers, 2 Cycles, Allow
Write Cache Purging
When doing these, I noted that the longer the test went, the higher the
performance for both read and write benchmarks...the average kept creeping
higher and higher as the Test Cycles continued on to the end. I guess that's
a good thing! (cache effect?)
QuickBench 20-100MB Tests
QuickBench 20-100MB Tests (w/Write Cache Purging Enabled)
QuickBench 3.1 (Write Cache Purging Enabled)
I forgot about my temporary RAM issue: I was having intermittent problems
with stability on my DC G5, and we traced the problem to the 2 x 1GB modules
of Apple RAM that came with the machine, so for now I put in their place 2 x
256MB Apple modules that came with the Mac also, so it's running 6.5GB RAM
now...the Apple RAM modules have been RMA'd to Apple for
testing/replacement. All I know is since I removed them the G5 is solid as a
rock with the OmniTechnologies.biz RAM (6 x1GB + the 512MB Apple RAM).
I hope Apple replaces those modules quick!