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Hitachi 2 tb drives and Sonnet Fusion SLOW

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Joe Langenfeld
Hitachi 2 tb drives and Sonnet Fusion SLOW
on Jun 24, 2010 at 1:36:19 am

I have 3 Mac Pros with Sonnet E4P sata cards and 3 Sonnet Fusion D500P port multiplied drive enclosures. I have been happy with the performance of both single formatted drives and raid 0 striped Seagate drives.

I recently purchased several Hitachi 2 tb Deskstar drives and the write speed is less than half of the read speed inside these arrays. The same drives rate about 120 read and 120 write in a single estata drive dock, but inside the Fusion 500 its about 120 read and less than 60 write. Raid performance is equally disappointing. I striped 3 together and got over 200 on read but about 110 write!

Sonnet actually recommends the Ultrastar 2TB, but nothing on the Deskstar, pro or con. Most reviews of the 2 versions of their 2 TB drives describe their similarity.

I'm testing with Blackmagic speed disk, and verified with AJA system test. I tested with one drive inside and up to 5 drives inside.

All software, drivers, firmware, are current. (OS 10.6.4). All 3 setups have similar poor results with these 2TB drives.

My options are:
1. I return the Hitachi 2tb drives and stick with Seagate.
2. I continue to email Sonnet support and hope that some day they may answer? Go with the Ultrastar?
3. Buy another brand enclosure and hope it performs better...



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Bob Zelin
Re: Hitachi 2 tb drives and Sonnet Fusion SLOW
on Jun 24, 2010 at 3:31:42 am

why don't you put one of those 2TB drives directly in your MAC Pro tower (don't use the Sonnet), and see what the performance is with a single drive (compared to your other drives, like your boot drive).

Bob Zelin




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Chad Brewer
Re: Hitachi 2 tb drives and Sonnet Fusion SLOW
on Jun 24, 2010 at 3:50:58 am

What's weird is that non-Hitachi drives like Seagate work fine in this external RAID and now Hitachi drives don't. There must be some answer to this because we RAID Hitachi drives all the time and they perform like champs. Why can't they work with Sonnet cards?

Chad Brewer
Senior Tape Operator/Engineer
TeleVersions


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Jordan Woods
Re: Hitachi 2 tb drives and Sonnet Fusion SLOW
on Jun 24, 2010 at 4:26:08 pm

I agree with the above. Hitachi Deskstar, though not a good as ultrastar, is not the problem. It is definitely your Sonnet. Something is either not configured correctly, or something is amiss. I would like to see how Bob's test comes out.



-jw


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Joe Langenfeld
Re: Hitachi 2 tb drives and Sonnet Fusion SLOW
on Jun 24, 2010 at 4:44:04 pm

The drives connected internally have similar results as the single eSata external drive dock, about 110-120 for read and write. Since the external drive dock is connected via the E4P pcie card, perhaps the problem is how the card relates to the Hitachi drive thru the port multiplier in the D500P.

Hitachi has a dos utility for this drive...I wonder if there is something in there to make them work better with the port multiplier? I wonder if I want to install dos to find out!



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Neil Hurwitz
Re: Hitachi 2 tb drives and Sonnet Fusion SLOW
on Jun 24, 2010 at 11:17:22 pm

Where did you get the drives from?
I recall reading somewhere that
Some drives that are labeled "OEM" may have custom firmware
on them. Perhaps Bob can shed some light on
drives marked "Retail" and drives marked "OEM"

Neil Hurwitz


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Joe Langenfeld
Re: Hitachi 2 tb drives and Sonnet Fusion SLOW
on Jun 25, 2010 at 1:17:21 am

They are retail, from Fry's and Microcenter. I'm trying the Hitachi DOS "Feature" tool this weekend to see if I can whack these drives into something useable. I'm surprised that no one else on this earth has put these drives into a sonnet D500P.



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Astara Athene
Re: Hitachi 2 tb drives and Sonnet Fusion SLOW
on Jun 30, 2010 at 8:28:17 am

For what it's worth, I swear by the Hitachi Ultrastars (NOT their Deskstars). Are you sure you got Ultrastars?

Some vendors try to sell you Deskstars in place of Ultrastars. The 2TB Deskstars are easily under $150 each, but the Ultrastars -- lowest is ~$270 for singles.

I tried Deskstars in a RAID -- LSI controller -- wouldn't work. -- I tried them separately -- they all spun at different speeds! Cheaper raid controllers ignore the speed differential and try to use them anyway and end up with very poor performance.

But the Ultrastars -- all spot on. With a 9-wide, (+3 parity) RAID 50, I get 670MB writes, and 850MB reads when doing LARGE, linear read/write tests. You might ask for 900MB/s (assuming 100MB each), but hey.

I'd look either at your disk controller, OR whether or not you really got Ultrastars. Did you pay 270 or more? If not, you probably have Deskstars.

I had some of both -- and they DON't say ultra/desk star on the outside. They just had disk model numbers.

There are 2 model numbers, but I only know one of them off hand "0F10452".

The seagates ARE a _bit_ faster, but they are also more expensive. I've had more problems with seagate drives than hitachi's. I know Hitachi has a 5 year warrantee (like whatever good that is...)... Does seagate also have that on their Enterprise class drives?

If you are trying RAID with desktop drives, then, unfortunately, you can expect slow performance. Having the drives spin at the same speed is a necessity for RAID.

I think it was a WesternDigital-Enterprise drive -- I saw on Amazon -- someone was complaining because it had the variable speed problem -- completely unsuitable for a high-speed RAID.




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Joe Langenfeld
Re: Hitachi 2 tb drives and Sonnet Fusion SLOW
on Jun 30, 2010 at 1:30:09 pm

Thanks, great info, what I expected from Deskstars. As you can see, these are deskstars. I've always used consumer seagates with great results either single patch or in a raid, so I was not used to the performance drop in the enclosure with Hitachi.

Your point is correct, don't expect pro results unless you are using the high end drive, the ultrastar or the XT.

I'd love to tweak in the Hitachi Feature Tool, but I can't get the disks to mount in their dos boot program...dos? back to the drawing board.



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