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Kona LHe + Apple FC card + Mac Pro = slow?

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fergush
Kona LHe + Apple FC card + Mac Pro = slow?
on Oct 14, 2006 at 11:59:15 pm

Hi,

Regardless of what configuration I use, I can't get good RAID performance if I have the Kona LHe card in my Mac Pro. Here are the details:

I have a Mac Pro 3.0 GHz with an ATI x1900 card. It's running 10.4.8 and the EFI firmware update and is up-to-date with all other updates. I have the Apple fibre channel card. And I have a Kona LHe with the latest 3.2 driver. The Apple FC card is connected to a 2 TB Huge Systems 4105. If the Kona card is in the computer, I can only get 90 MB/s read/write to the array (it's in a RAID3 config). If I take the Kona card out, I get 170 MB/s. I've tried several different PCIe configurations, using the Expansion Slot Utility. Here's the results:

ESU config 1, no Kona, FC in slot 4 : 170 MB/s
ESU config 2, no Kona, FC in slot 4 : 90 MB/s
ESU config 2, no Kona, FC in slot 3 : 170 MB/s
ESU config 2, Kona in slot 4, FC in slot 3 : 90 MB/s
ESU config 2, Kona in slot 3, FC in slot 4 : 90 MB/s

Sorry if this is a little cryptic. The "ESU config" bit refers to which of the four PCIe Profiles I've got selected in the Expansion Slot Utility. In theory, config 2 is the right one: it gives a x16 slot to the video card and x4 to both slot 4 and slot 3. When the FC card is in a x4 slot, the ESU identifies it as running at full speed - which is good. What's odd is that without the Kona card, I only get the full 170 MB/s performance if the FC card is in slot 3, even though both slots are x4. And, when I add the Kona into slot 4, performance drops back to 90 MB/s.

Does any have any ideas why this is happening? I've got an ATTO card but it doesn't yet have a driver for the Mac Pro (at least not one that'll work with more than 2 GB RAM).

Regards,
fh



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fergush
One other thing:
on Oct 15, 2006 at 12:03:05 am

Even though 90 MB/s is nowhere near what I should be getting, it's still not horrible when most of the work is DVCPRO HD. However, even with that, I occasionally get the dropped frames error on playback in FCP, when the scratch files are on the RAID. So, that 90 MB/s isn't 100% reliable - not good.


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artgug1
Re: One other thing:
on Oct 16, 2006 at 11:42:33 am

oh boy, Dont know how much help I can be other than to tell you I am also a Mac Pro owner that is getting "dropped frames" errors, even when I am using a raid that is getting good performance scores.

You might want to check out my thread I started a couple days ago:
http://forums.creativecow.net/cgi-bin/new_read_post.cgi?forumid=98&postid=8...

I did speak to AJA about the dropped frames thing, and was told this is a "handshake" between Final cut and the AJA card, and to turn off the dropped frames option and not to worry about it. Apparantly, this is a new feature. Who wanted this feature, I do not know, but I am not happy with the answer so far. I would have preferred honesty and for them to say "we dont have many Mac pro users yet, and we really dont know what is going on." would have been a bit more respectable.



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fergush
Correction
on Oct 16, 2006 at 4:45:40 pm

I made a mistake in my testing: I actually get good RAID performance as long as the Kona isn't in the system and the FC card is in *either* slot 3 or slot 4 - which makes more sense than what I originally said.

I've called AJA and they are going to do some testing, plus send me a new card.

So, my question is does anyone have the a similar setup - Mac Pro, Kona & Apple FC card - and *not* see this problem? It'd be useful to know if someone with the same config has no problems.


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artgug1
Re: Correction
on Oct 16, 2006 at 6:57:36 pm

How many gigs of ram installed in your Mac pro? My issue seems to be Ram related. (People are saying Apple is still having issues with Mac Pros over 2 gigs of ram with 3rd party cards.)



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fergush
Re: Correction
on Oct 16, 2006 at 7:05:24 pm

I have 16 GB of RAM.


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artgug1
Re: Correction
on Oct 16, 2006 at 7:14:10 pm

Just for the hell of it, go down to 1 gig, see what happens. (holy @$%#, 16 gigs. I thought 5 was a lot)



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artgug1
Re: Correction
on Oct 16, 2006 at 8:31:02 pm

I will almost guarantee that going down to 2 gigs or less will clear your dropped frame issue. As far as the data rates from you RAID, that I am not sure, but give it a try. It fixed my issue here. According to AJA, that was a known issue, that was fixed, but apparantly not completely.





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fergush
Re: Correction
on Oct 16, 2006 at 8:40:14 pm

What's really weird is that just for a test, I put the ATTO card back in, the one that's supposed to not work well until ATTO releases a new driver and it seems to be working fine! I'm getting the speed I'd expect - 230 MB/s - and I haven't had a crash yet. Oh, actually: that's not true. I did get a freeze in FCP when I tried to do a render.

It's all really weird and, basically, I think the combination of Mac Pro, more than 2 GB RAM and fibre channel is not reliable. I haven't heard from anyone having no problems.


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artgug1
Re: Correction
on Oct 16, 2006 at 10:28:24 pm

were you able to pull out all the ram and see if that helped? It definitely did here.



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fergush
Re: Correction
on Oct 17, 2006 at 5:13:37 am

It made no difference. Wow, this is frustrating!


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walter biscardi
Re: Kona LHe + Apple FC card + Mac Pro = slow?
on Oct 17, 2006 at 11:26:35 am

I guess the big questions for me are do you have the cards in the right slots and is your PCI Express Utility set up as described in the AJA Installation notes? You need to change the PCI Express Utility to what AJA recommends to ensure the best performance from your machine.

We're running the ATTO 42ES with our Ciprico 4210 (5TB) and we're getting nearly 500mb/sec in RAID 0.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
http://www.biscardicreative.com
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"I reject your reality and substitute my own!" - Adam Savage, Mythbusters


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fergush
Re: Kona LHe + Apple FC card + Mac Pro = slow?
on Oct 17, 2006 at 4:30:36 pm

Yes, is the short answer. The correct configuration - as per AJA - is being used.

What Mac are you using with the 4210?


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