Question about LSI SAS 9211-8i

madgun

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I am a noob when it comes to raid controllers and have a couple of questions.
So I bought an LSI SAS 9211-8i card in order to connect my 840 pro as I wanted to take full advantage of the speed of the ssd.

I had a couple of questions:

1) What sort of cables would I need? Are these fine:

http://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-Internal-SFF-8087-Forward-Breakout/dp/B005E2XTO8/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_14

2) Is there any advantage in using both the SAS ports. For example if I have two SSDs, will I see any speed bump in connecting both of them to a separate SAS port via two different cables mentioned in point # 1.

3) From what I have noticed that, the retailers sell an SAS to 4 SATA port cable. That means if I want to use both the SAS ports, I will potentially have 8 SATA connectors dangling in my case. Is there a cable that exposes 1 : 2 ratio or even 1 : 1 ?

Would appreciate all the help!
 

staticlag

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1) yes that is the correct cable you need.
2) No there is no speed benefit, you should get full speed on any of the 4 ports from the sff 8087 connector. Even though the connector is the same the wiring splits inside and each of the channels is treated individually.
3) No, the best you are going to do in terms of clutter, is to buy a normal 1 to 4 cable and cut off the ones you don't need.

I really suggest this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816215223

It fits in a normal 5.25" DVD bay and allows you to use all 4 connectors from the sff8087 output in a clean fashion.

And the lsi 9211-8i supports hot-swap so you can easily add more SSDs in the future.


----------------------------------------------------------------

Here is actually a benchmark I ran on my samsung 840 Pro 128gb on my lsi 9211-8i this morning.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
CrystalDiskMark 3.0.2 (C) 2007-2013 hiyohiyo
Crystal Dew World : http://crystalmark.info/
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
* MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]

Sequential Read : 522.286 MB/s
Sequential Write : 459.230 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 455.069 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 473.618 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 34.412 MB/s [ 8401.5 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 91.910 MB/s [ 22438.9 IOPS]
Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 277.663 MB/s [ 67788.9 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 247.623 MB/s [ 60454.8 IOPS]

Test : 1000 MB [V: 0.1% (0.1/119.1 GB)] (x5)
Date : 2013/07/15 6:25:00
OS : Windows 7 Ultimate Edition SP1 [6.1 Build 7601] (x64)

It could probably benefit from a secure delete since I had just run iometer but I'm still happy with the results.
 

madgun

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1) yes that is the correct cable you need.
2) No there is no speed benefit, you should get full speed on any of the 4 ports from the sff 8087 connector. Even though the connector is the same the wiring splits inside and each of the channels is treated individually.
3) No, the best you are going to do in terms of clutter, is to buy a normal 1 to 4 cable and cut off the ones you don't need.

I really suggest this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816215223

It fits in a normal 5.25" DVD bay and allows you to use all 4 connectors from the sff8087 output in a clean fashion.

And the lsi 9211-8i supports hot-swap so you can easily add more SSDs in the future.


----------------------------------------------------------------

Here is actually a benchmark I ran on my samsung 840 Pro 128gb on my lsi 9211-8i this morning.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
CrystalDiskMark 3.0.2 (C) 2007-2013 hiyohiyo
Crystal Dew World : http://crystalmark.info/
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
* MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]

Sequential Read : 522.286 MB/s
Sequential Write : 459.230 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 455.069 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 473.618 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 34.412 MB/s [ 8401.5 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 91.910 MB/s [ 22438.9 IOPS]
Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 277.663 MB/s [ 67788.9 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 247.623 MB/s [ 60454.8 IOPS]

Test : 1000 MB [V: 0.1% (0.1/119.1 GB)] (x5)
Date : 2013/07/15 6:25:00
OS : Windows 7 Ultimate Edition SP1 [6.1 Build 7601] (x64)

It could probably benefit from a secure delete since I had just run iometer but I'm still happy with the results.

Wow, thanks for the detailed reply! That's very helpful in getting me started.

I have a corsair 800D with 4 hot swap-able bays and I am thinking about using just a single SAS port for now. If I add more SSDs, I'll purchase the 5 1/4 inch bay that you posted in the link.

Another question for you. Is the 9211-8i setup pretty much plug and play or do I need to set up Bios configurations first or flash the firmware to the latest version? Since I need to put my bootup SSD on the controller, I was worried whether I might loose my installation.
 

staticlag

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Another question for you. Is the 9211-8i setup pretty much plug and play or do I need to set up Bios configurations first or flash the firmware to the latest version? Since I need to put my bootup SSD on the controller, I was worried whether I might loose my installation.

It will work just fine as plug and play.

The 9211-8i is bootable, your bios should see any drives connected to it and allow you to select them as a boot device just like as if they were connected to any other SATA port. If not, the LSI bios allows you to select which drives are passed to your motherboard's bios for booting.

The 9211-8i is nice in that you can flash the firmware from windows. (current version is 16) You might want to check it out and update it since in the last year they have made some excellent improvements to SATA compatibility and performance.

As far as software, the LSI MegaRAID Storage Manager which should be in the bundled CD, is excellent for configuring the card without having to reboot and go into the bios.

There are only really 2 caveats to using a SAS card.
1) longer bootup since the motherboard will wait for the card to boot up.

2) some traditional SMART tools will not be able to see drives connected to the SAS card.(this is because of the way that the SAS card handles SATA transactions.) I use SMARTMONTOOLS and can access all the SMART features on connected drives without a problem

http://sourceforge.net/apps/trac/smartmontools/wiki
 

madgun

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So my card came with an LSI IR firmware and I have been trying to flash it to IT from windows.

Is there any way I can avoid creating a bootable DOS disk and can just secure erase the IR firmware from Windows 8 itself?
 

madgun

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So I was able to flash successfully. Did some tests with AS-SSD and it seems like my write speeds are extremely low. With my Samsung 840 Pro I am only getting a 4K write speed of 4Mb/sec. Average write speeds are also down! Using samsung's magician tool,it shows that write IOPS are only 4500 :( and it also says that AHCI is disabled.

Is there any setting that I need to correct in order to get optimal performance from my LSI 9211-8i? Also how do I enabled AHCI mode?

Thanks in advance!
 

staticlag

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What other speeds are you getting? Can you post the entire benchmark?

Did you flash to IT firmware?

Are you sure the card is configured in a working 8x PCIe port? (Sometimes the motherboard will put it in 1x mode if you are putting it in a certain slot, or if you have other cards running.)

Also, the 9211-8i is a SAS card, AHCI is a term used by SATA only ports. SAS is superior in terms of features offered.
 

elgerm

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Try turning off the power management features in your bios if possible, that doubled the write speeds for me (especially the 4k writes). I also would like to know if/how I can enable ACHI with this card.
 

madgun

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My read speeds seem to be fine:

Random Read: 520 Mb/sec
Read IOPS - 68000

But the writes are suffering really badly across the board (whether random or 4K)

I flashed with an IT Bios (ver 16). I guess if the speeds were locked at 1X, the reads would have suffered too? How should I verify my motherboard's power requirements? I have an Asus X58 P5D Premium motherboard.
 

midnkight

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My read speeds seem to be fine:

Random Read: 520 Mb/sec
Read IOPS - 68000

But the writes are suffering really badly across the board (whether random or 4K)

I flashed with an IT Bios (ver 16). I guess if the speeds were locked at 1X, the reads would have suffered too? How should I verify my motherboard's power requirements? I have an Asus X58 P5D Premium motherboard.

since you have an asus, it is likely runng at 16x 1x 1x for the other ports. I know my asus board run that as default for all my x16 pci slots. I had to go into the bios to switch it out so that my more of a 8x 4x 4x setup on board.
 

madgun

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Hmm. Although I inserted the card in one of the PCI-Express X16 2.0 slots, I usually put my second graphics cards in that slot. Is there a way to verify what speed my SAS card is running at. For example any software I can see to ascertain whether the card is operating at 1X or 8X?
 

elgerm

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My read speeds seem to be fine:

Random Read: 520 Mb/sec
Read IOPS - 68000

But the writes are suffering really badly across the board (whether random or 4K)

I flashed with an IT Bios (ver 16). I guess if the speeds were locked at 1X, the reads would have suffered too? How should I verify my motherboard's power requirements? I have an Asus X58 P5D Premium motherboard.

I meant power saving features. Turn them off. As weird as it may sound, those have an huge effect on ssd performance.
 

staticlag

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Best bet is to go into the BIOS and set the PCIe port speeds manually.

It also could be the SSD.

Are you direct connecting it or are you using a hotswap bay?

Your read looks great, so I would start questioning whether windows or some other program or setting is affecting your write speeds.
 

madgun

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Best bet is to go into the BIOS and set the PCIe port speeds manually.

It also could be the SSD.

Are you direct connecting it or are you using a hotswap bay?

Your read looks great, so I would start questioning whether windows or some other program or setting is affecting your write speeds.

I am using a hot swap bay. Will try to connect directly. I also tried to test an older SSD and get a similar result.

PS: I also made sure I had the latest drivers. Could the problem be related to the SAS to SATA cables?
 
Last edited:

ND40oz

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I am using a hot swap bay. Will try to connect directly. I also tried to test an older SSD and get a similar result.

PS: I also made sure I had the latest drivers. Could the problem be related to the SAS to SATA cables?

Don't use the 800D hotswap bay, it doesn't work well with SSDs at all, I've tried both, the Sata II version and then upgraded to the Sata III version thinking it would help and neither worked correctly with SSDs.

The P6X58D Premium will run the 2nd slot by default as a 16x slot, it only drops to 8x if you go into the bios and manually set it that way or plug a >1x card into the third gray slot.
 
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