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Storage Will a rebranded LSI Raid controller card work on any PC?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Bungletron, 23 Feb 2015.

  1. Bungletron

    Bungletron Well-Known Member

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    I am upgrading my RAID card, I have seen a ton of rebranded LSI cards on ebay/etc that seriously undercut a retail LSI based on the same chip, for example I am interested in this Fujitsu based on an LSI 2108.

    I want to install this into my unbranded self built server, will it just work or have the rebrand partners somehow locked them to there own branded servers? Is there some other catch in using these rebranded cards instead of the LSI retail version?
     
  2. faugusztin

    faugusztin I *am* the guy with two left hands

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    I had no issues with my IBM M1015, i even reflashed it to 9211-8i IT firmware. On other side my friend was unable to make an original LSI 9240-8i work in Windows 7 on UEFI based computer (Error 10 in Windows).
     
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  3. Bungletron

    Bungletron Well-Known Member

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    Did you have to reflash it or was it just working with the rebranded firmware? Gutted about your mate :(
     
  4. faugusztin

    faugusztin I *am* the guy with two left hands

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    I didn't had to, but i wanted to reflash it because i use it just as HBA.
     
  5. Votick

    Votick My CPU's hot but my core runs cold.

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    Using Dell Perc cards here which are LSI underneath :) No issue and all the LSI software works with it.
     
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  6. faugusztin

    faugusztin I *am* the guy with two left hands

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    Just don't buy old PERC cards with 2TB limit :D.
     
  7. IvanIvanovich

    IvanIvanovich будет глотать вашу душу.

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    You can always cross flash to generic LSI firmware. Steps can vary a bit on some models but it's mostly pretty straight forward. If you have UEFI motherboard, it best to crossflash on older bios based board and go to the UEFI compliant rom THEN move it into the system you will actually be using it in. I did this on my Dell Perc H310 to crossflash to HBA mode LSI firmware and it works great. Definitely do make sure to get a SAS2 6GBPS card so you don't have to hunt hard to know if you can use drives larger than 2TB or not. Some older 3GBPS cards do support 3TB+ drives but it's more fuss to have to check on each one if there are firmware updates to enable it.
     
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  8. Bungletron

    Bungletron Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the tips, I pulled the trigger on one of these, fingers crossed :thumb:
     
  9. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    That looks very much like the LSI card I have in my server. See my sig.
     
  10. PocketDemon

    PocketDemon New Member

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    As a quick tip, these cards run very hot (i've got 2 'real' lsi ones) so, if you've not got a decent airflow through to them then it's well worth at least sticking an exhaust fan directly below the h/s if you can... ...if not also applying better tim.

    Whilst great cards, they would have been much better if they'd been made with a small fan on - something like Chenbro use on their expander cards perhaps.
     
  11. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    Agreed. I have a 140mm fan in the base of my server case pointing up at the heatsink... otherwise it gets VERY hot.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 24 Feb 2015
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  12. PocketDemon

    PocketDemon New Member

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    Just to clarify, being quite hot isn't necessarily an issue (other than burning yourself), but they can overheat with insufficient airflow which can lead to problems with arrays... All depends upon how your case is configured with fans & the noise/air flow balance.

    i use Akasa exhaust fans on mine, as they're cheap (if you don't care about the colour then £3.40 on eBay delivered atm), quiet, (touch wood) reliable & a neat looking solution...

    (i have bought from the eBay seller myself & everything turned up fine, but they were somewhat on the slow side in posting - i think it took over a week from recollection; but price was key at the time)

    ...whereas Pookeyhead's method, whilst perfectly sensible, obviously needs both the case position for a fan & no cards in the way.

    Alt options that i've seen done by other people in the past have been to use cable ties to hold a larger fan blowing down towards the motherboard & replacing the heatsink with either a small fan or a (water cooling) block to add it to the loop.

    Anyway, imho it's worth doing something to be on the safe side, but then finding the option that best suits yourself rather than necessarily doing what either Pookeyhead or i have done.
     
  13. Bungletron

    Bungletron Well-Known Member

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    I installed the new card yesterday, was a tight fit in my SilverStone DS380 case so I do not have the luxury of installing a fan above the heatsink. I booted on the stock firmware and was happy with the performance, then I just installed the latest driver and manager software. In the MegaRAID Storage Manager utility and I cannot see if it reports the controller's temperature, would be interesting to see what it is doing temperature-wise now.

    Creating a new RAID 5 array has given me all sorts of problems, I wanted to use my old disks from my old array that was managed by a HighPoint RocketRAID card but some of them are not being picked up by the controller at all which is infuriating. I have plugged them into another computer and diskpart cleaned them and tried again but still the new card does not even show the drive connected, will need to try something else later, any advice?
     
  14. PocketDemon

    PocketDemon New Member

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    i don't recall there being a real time temp shown anywhere...

    ...though i know that the they can easily hit 100-110C with poor cooling, & can certainly exceed this without sufficient airflow - whilst the safe operating range is given in 3.3.3.4 here; & this includes that -

    "Airflow must be at least 200 linear feet per minute (LFPM) to avoid operating the LSISAS2108 processor above the maximum ambient temperature."

    - however the max temps given in that document are the ambient ones; not the ROC ones.

    So, ttbomk, the ROC itself is spec'd to somewhere around the 105C mark - though, as with all processors, lower temps (within reason) help to prolong the life span.


    Now the only reason why i looked at additional cooling was that, having put my first card into an second build that was light on case fans then i suddenly started getting stability issues with the drives attached; & this solved it...

    ...so i'm certainly not saying that you will have issues - as i've no idea how much air is & at what temps it's at is passing over the h/s - but that you may & it's better to be safe than sorry imho.


    As to the drives not being recognised at all, i assume you've tried swapping cables with working ones to rule out either the cables or one of the card's SFF8087 connectors being faulty...?

    Oh, & also updating the bios & checking that there's not f/w updates for the drives?


    Other than the temp problem, the only other issues that i've personally experienced have been with a faulty PSU molex cable (that Corsair replaced) & with individual drives themselves being faulty - bearing in mind that higher end cards like this lsi controller pick up far more issues than cheaper ones or consumer level on-motherboard ones do.

    So, with my 2nd 9260-8i (being used in a 24 bay 4U case) then 2 new WD 4TB Reds had so many errors that they were kicked off by the card - even though they'd seemingly format perfectly on an on board intel controller...

    (all the other 3 & 4TB WD Reds i own are working fine - as are the two replacements which arrived yesterday)

    ...whilst i had to go through some old 2TB Samsung drives to find ones that didn't have any errors at all; which again were all seemingly fine on an alt controller.

    (everything's backed up & it's not writing huge amounts of data to them so, whilst out of warranty, they'll certainly do for the mo - there not being the cash to buy all new drives atm - but obviously better to use the ones with no issues)
     
    Last edited: 25 Feb 2015
  15. Bungletron

    Bungletron Well-Known Member

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    That's mad hot yo. I could not find a LSI 2108 ROC datasheet to verify, but 105C just does not sit right in my head as a stable long term operating temperature. 70 or 80 perhaps, 90 at a push, but 105? I have no direct frame of reference, I think the last time I saw temperatures like that stated as optimal it was pentium 4's and those ATI 800's graphics cards, no? I will likely try and squeeze in a expansion slot fan like yours next to the controller. Would be nice to report the temperature in the software but I could not find it either. I imagine if 105C is the expected operating temp you would just have customer support getting waxed all day long by enquiries whether that was right or not so they omitted it.

    Sorted it. My old HighPoint RocketRaid card has a 'Staggered spin up' option, I had been playing around with it to try and get it to be more reliable. It does throw a warning that this may make the drive unusable in other systems, I did not fully realize it sets the option on the actual HDD HARDWARE! Sure enough all the cheapo drives that do not have this option worked, the others did not. Odd omission that my budget rocketraid can manage this option but the premo LSI cannot, the only other way I could find to enable/disable staggered spin up was with HDPARM command line software, I ended up just reinstalling the old controller to reset them back.

    Further I saw this was a recent bug fix by LSI in F/W where it previously would not recognise a drive that did not spin up automatically. Annoyingly my Fujitsu rebrand card (now ominously known as 'The Jits') does not have this new firmware update, I was using the Windows client to reflash so I did not want to risk borking the card if it did not accept the latest LSI firmware. I spent ages formatting, connecting to various PCs but it was mostly all a waste of time, the jits appears to be working well for now.
     
  16. PocketDemon

    PocketDemon New Member

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    Great that you've sorted the issue. :)


    As to the temps, what you're looking at is a product that can be used in racks with other components that will generate bunches of heat - & in turn, there will normally be a decent level of air flow to keep large reasonably nos of drives & whatnot cool...

    (whilst the card supports up to 128 drives via expanders, i'm not suggesting that you'd have all of them in a single case - well, i know there are 8U cases that take 48 3.5" drives, but most brands top out at 4U)

    Similarly, at the time this first came out, you still had PC2-5300F & PC2-6400F 1.8V memory used in both Xeon servers & Mac Pros & whatnot, & even with active memory cooling (either ducting to rear fans or memory fans or whatever), these could easily hit 80C & still be well within the safe limits; which were typically ~95C, albeit that lots of memory was designed to slow the refresh rate when hitting ~85C... ...whereas consumer PC2-6400 was typically rated to no more than 55-60C.

    Then, moving onto the later 9270 card, this had both a 5C higher ambient temp spec than the 2960 & the ROC was tested to work to 115C, whilst still maintaining the warranty & whatnot, by lsi.


    Yeah, so it's simply a difference in design between consumer level & lots of workstation/server level products - & the difference in air flow is why, using the card in a home computer or workstation (though i also actively cool my 2nd one that's in a server as i don't need to use the slot below it for anything), it's really worthwhile finding some way to actively cool it imho...

    ...even if it means using cable ties to hold a fan in place to blow air between the cards.


    Oh, & the other reason for active cooling is that it 'could' be the case that the high temps might affect the stability of other components - esp if they're consumer ones - though i didn't experience this even when i had the temp issue with the card myself.
     
    Last edited: 26 Feb 2015

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