Need advice, PCI Sata controller

vbimport

#1

I have a decade+ old computer laying in my room. I decided to turn it into a file server so I don’t have to throw it out. It has 192 MB of RAM, a 15 GB HDD, 633 MHz processor, and 4 PCI slots (one is occupied by a nic and I think another doesn’t work) and I already installed Ubuntu Server 10.10.

I’ve been to NewEgg and looked around at what they’ve got. Some devices say “Windows and Linux” “Red Hat Linux”, etc, when they advertise their compatibility. I don’t know what Ubuntu Server falls under, plus some cards may be much more of a pain than others.

I plan to put one or two 1TB Sata Drives in, but I’m not really interested in setting up RAID

Any advice on what works or what I should avoid?


#2

I’m pretty sure red had linux is just a more main stream (commercial) distro of linux. So whether it says red had or just linux they are both linux compatible.


#3

Hi,

I’d go with Silicon Image based controller cards. These are mature and well known hardware that should be supportted by any recent Linux distribution.

I have no idea if a controller card with Raid Bios can be operated as non-Raid card on Linux, so a card that is flashable should be preferred: http://club.myce.com/f7/silicon-image-based-sata-ide-controllers-flashable-not-252721/

Michael


#4

I looked into the thread mciahel suggested. I think the SY-PCI40010 will suit my needs. It also says Red Hat Linux so thanks to eric93se, I’m more confidant about it.

Does it just make the drives available as if they were connected directly to the mobo or do I have to jump through a different set of hoops? And is there a procedure for getting it to use RAID so I don’t accidently invoke it or will it assume RAID by default?

I’ve never used a component like this before. I want to know what I’m getting myself into.


#5

[QUOTE=Tactical Fart;2574571]I looked into the thread mciahel suggested. I think the SY-PCI40010 will suit my needs. It also says Red Hat Linux so thanks to eric93se, I’m more confidant about it. [/quote]As said, controllers with SiI chipset are well known hardware, so there shouldn’t be any problems using them in a Linux environment.

Does it just make the drives available as if they were connected directly to the mobo
Exactly this happens with my SiI 3512 based controller card. Admitted, I have it flashed to non-Raid controller Bios since I connected an optical drive to it.

And is there a procedure for getting it to use RAID so I don’t accidently invoke it or will it assume RAID by default?

Most SiI based controller cards come with a Raid controller Bios. These are marketed as SataRAID usually. Variants with non-Raid firmware are often sold as SataLINK.

I am not sure about that, but I guess, you need to explicitely setup a Raid using the controller Bios built-in tools to make use of the Raid capabilities. No idea what is necessary in your Linux environment then.
If you do not configure a Raid in the controller’s Bios, I guess the drives are simply detected as if they were connected to the motherboard. With the non-Raid Bios, this is enforced.

Michael


#6

[QUOTE=Tactical Fart;2574358]I have a decade+ old computer laying in my room. I decided to turn it into a file server so I don’t have to throw it out. It has 192 MB of RAM, a 15 GB HDD, 633 MHz processor, and 4 PCI slots (one is occupied by a nic and I think another doesn’t work) and I already installed Ubuntu Server 10.10.

I’ve been to NewEgg and looked around at what they’ve got. Some devices say “Windows and Linux” “Red Hat Linux”, etc, when they advertise their compatibility. I don’t know what Ubuntu Server falls under, plus some cards may be much more of a pain than others.

I plan to put one or two 1TB Sata Drives in, but I’m not really interested in setting up RAID

Any advice on what works or what I should avoid?[/QUOTE]

If it is just files you wanna host, then i would suggest putting FreeNAS on it. It’s pretty compatible with most decend PCI sata controllers. FreeNAS has a very small footprint on the system (hell, it’s just 40 mb!) and can easily be configured. Get an old version of FreeNAs, since you don’t have that much internal memory and the latest versions require at least 1GB.

If RAID is not important, just get two Samsung 2TB ecogreen F4 harddisks. They are super cheap ($90), but have slow performance.


#7

THE issue with adding a controller card to run a modern 48LBA HDD, either PATA or SATA Hard Drive, is that the drivers can become corrupted and when that happens the computer no longer recognizes the controller and without the controller does not recognize any HDD formatted to a capacity larger than the 128/137gb limit of 28bit adressing.

And if your system happens to be on that drive the end result is like being in a helicopter and having the rotor blades fall off…

SO even if you get a HDD controller and install a larger storage drive in that dinosaur I’d strongly recommend using a smaller HDD as a system drive and using the controller ONLY to run any larger/newer/faster HDD
(or the plural HDDs) you want to add to it/them as “pure data” drives.

To do otherwise runs the risk of making your data inaccessable

HDD controller cards, even “good ones” often exibit unpredictable “stability” issues.

By “Good ones” I do not include the “Promise” (sometimes branded as Maxtor) controllers, In my opinion anything wiht the Promise name on it means a promise for ongoing aggrevation.

Controllers using the Via chipsets can be good or bad depending on the specific card.

I personally run a Via (Non-Raid) card at the moment because I was having what ammounted to an unsolvable compatibility issue with
the Sil card I had been using…

I recently (12 days ago) upgraded to Win7 and Win7 didn’t like my Silicon Image card (No exsisting driver). It doesn’t like my TV tuner card either but that’s another discussion.

I personally couldn’t see using that old (and slow) of a machine for anything more than holding up a coffee table with a busted leg…

I scrap any computer that doesn’t have an integrated NIC on the MoBo.

I give away any computer that doesn’t natively support 48-bit Logical adress Hard drives. (intel Chipsets earlier than 865)

If you were local I’d offer you a better computer than what you have off my junk pile (one that works but is “obsolete”) for my purposes, but for the purpose you want it for…


#8

[QUOTE=AllanDeGroot;2574718]
By “Good ones” I do not include the “Promise” (sometimes branded as Maxtor) controllers, In my opinion anything wiht the Promise name on it means a promise for ongoing aggrevation.[/quote]Can’t complain here. Even my LG drive with limited interface compatibility works :wink:

Controllers using the Via chipsets can be good or bad depending on the specific card.

Via doesn’t like Sata II HDDs.

I recently (12 days ago) upgraded to Win7 and Win7 didn’t like my Silicon Image card (No exsisting driver).
http://www.siliconimage.com/support/index.aspx
But this is confusing me since most SiI controllers are old enough and I’d expect Win7 to have built-in drivers. And MS does distribute SiI controller drivers with Windows Update.

Michael


#9

The system will be stored on the 15GB drive and the files on the new one(s). I probably should have mentioned that the 15GB drive is IDE, hence the need for a SATA controller in the first place.

I should also mention that it will be a personal file server. Only my household will have access to it.


#10

It’ll probably do what you want it to do, but what I’m suggesting in a round about way, is that you can probably find a better computer (Possibly FAR better) for that job on the curb or at your local recycling yard.

the computer I gave my father for a web surfer is a Dell 8400 3.4GHz P4.
it came off the curb! Yep, someone threw it away…

I had to put a HDD and ram into it, but a Dell 8400 has SATA (x4) on the MoBo, plus an IDE channel.

you’d be suprised how many people come to me with dead/sick pentiumII or III computers that they want FIXED and I send them out the door with a two generation newer computer (a later Pentium4) with the OS and most factory software already loaded.

I keep five or six systems that only need the latest updates installed
to be ready for use.

Today I’m rotating through the pile updating them all…

AD


#11

Depending on how many and what kind of apps are installed, 15GB may be too small if running WinXP or later Windows. On my WinXP SP3 system inital install size was 9.2GB which grew to 15.5GB in about a year and a half. I keep all documents, photos, accounting and other files on another drive, but WinXP has grown that much due to updates I suppose. I’ve found some Google search results where some WinXP systems have grown to 20GB plus, and I’d not be surprised if my system eventually grows to that size. I’d create about a 30GB or 40GB partition on the larger drive for for Windows if running WinXP or later if I were in your situation.


#12

A 15 GB HDD is more than 10 years old.
Due to its age likely to fail soon, and extremely sluggish.

See if you can get something newer and faster.

Michael


#13

[QUOTE=AllanDeGroot;2574873]Today I’m rotating through the pile updating them all…AD[/QUOTE] Sounds like you need a WSUS and a SCCM. Configured properly you could update a machine just by booting and logging it into your domain.


#14

[QUOTE=Mr. Belvedere;2575297]Sounds like you need a WSUS and a SCCM. Configured properly you could update a machine just by booting and logging it into your domain.[/QUOTE]

that would presume I had bench/shelf space for all of them.

It isn’t a big deal to plug them in on my test bench boot them and run windows update.

AD