SCSI->ATA Bridge Questions

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QuicksilverG4
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SCSI->ATA Bridge Questions

Unread postby QuicksilverG4 » Sat Aug 27, 2005 8:32 pm

Was wondering... do the SCSI-ATA bridges like the Acard products add the "brains" of a SCSI drive to an ATA disk or are they just more of a hack to get ATA capacities in a SCSI-only system? By "brains" I guess I'm talking in terms of reducing the load on the CPU by off-loading functions to the drive??

What about those multi-disk adapters for external arrays?

The difference in CPU usage would probably be minimal anyway (or am i wrong there?) but I'm just curious.

Tom

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Unread postby nekonoko » Sat Aug 27, 2005 8:42 pm

The converters make an ATA drive into a SCSI drive as far as the computer is concerned - there's no additional CPU usage on the host machine. Any processing overhead is done on the bridge itself.

I ran two of these in an Indigo2 a couple years back with great success, but these days you can get pretty darn big SCSI drives for much less than the cost of a bridge and IDE drive. But that wasn't the case when I originally bought them :)
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Unread postby QuicksilverG4 » Sat Aug 27, 2005 8:45 pm

Yup, I know they've been talked about on here before but I was specifically thinking of your Indigo2 with the bridges and drive bay covers off :D

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Re: SCSI->ATA Bridge Questions

Unread postby zafunk » Sun Aug 28, 2005 11:10 am

QuicksilverG4 wrote:What about those multi-disk adapters for external arrays?


Yeah, what about those? Anyone running one? Thoughts/comments?

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Re: SCSI->ATA Bridge Questions

Unread postby QuicksilverG4 » Sun Aug 28, 2005 5:08 pm

zafunk wrote:
QuicksilverG4 wrote:What about those multi-disk adapters for external arrays?


Yeah, what about those? Anyone running one? Thoughts/comments?


I will be once I get the O2 up and running. MaxTronic 3-bay enclosure with built-in RAID controller and hot-swap trays. Has 3x 100GB drives in it at the moment. I also had a Medea VideoRAID that I bought off ebay empty. A few quick tries couldn't get it fully recognized by the PC so I put it back up for auction. I swapped the 3 drives from the MaxTronic into it and that may have been the problem. The Medea was built for 4 permanently installed drives so maybe it didn't like having just three installed. And I tried formatiing the drives while they were installed in the Medea, now the MaxTronic doesn't want to recognize one :( I'll have to pull it and try formatting it by itself and see if that helps.

I asked the question because I was hoping to swap the array over the the PC and have it chug along on compressions with less CPU power used than if I was running those ATA drives natively.

If you browse carefully on ebay you can spot some good deals on these external arrays. Most of the affordable ones are limited to Ultra2 but thats fine if you're mainly after capactiy and not super speed.

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Unread postby Arti77 » Sun Aug 28, 2005 8:00 pm

I'm running a Maxtronic 3-bay Baby Arena currently with 2 x 160 gig disks in Raid0. Got it cheap. My O2 recognised it and formatted ok. I have yet to test it fully, but I will be using it for video capture. The down side of this older unit is that it recognised my 2 x 160 as 276 Gig instead of 300+ Gig. It has a bult in 486 CPU and upgradable ram for cache, up to 256meg, I'm running 32 at the moment. I'll do some video capture tests soon and post some results

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Unread postby QuicksilverG4 » Sun Aug 28, 2005 8:32 pm

Sounds like the same one I've got. Have you checked with Maxtronic on possible fixes for the 276GB limit? When I was looking into stuff on the Medea array I found alot of people asking about upgrading the drives in the older units. In some cases Medea could supply a firmware upgrade to support the larger drives.

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Unread postby nekonoko » Sun Aug 28, 2005 8:51 pm

Well it's not SCSI, but I have one of these:

http://fwdepot.com/thestore/product_inf ... cts_id/657

It utilizes a Toshiba TMPR4927ATB 200MHz 64-bit RISC processor so all of the overhead is handled internally. I expect that similar arrays with SCSI connectivity do the same.
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Unread postby Arti77 » Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:36 pm

The guy i got it from told me that he flashed it to the latest firmware. I'll have to check the site and my array. Is yours blue with the led readout? How much ram does yours have? Their site says that more ram speeds it up when using large files.

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Unread postby QuicksilverG4 » Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:40 pm

Mine has the readout but the case is grey - that is what you meant right, not the color of the display? I'll shoot them an email and see what they say even though I don't plan on upgrading drives at the moment. Mine has 256MB in it.

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Unread postby Arti77 » Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:55 pm

Yeh grey sounds right, Let me know how you go. I just downloaded the firmware 2.3 and will try to update it tonight. I'll let you know how I go.

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Unread postby Arti77 » Mon Aug 29, 2005 2:38 am

Ok, I fired it up and just as suspected, it's version 2.3, the latest according tothe web page :( QuicksilverG4 let me know how you go with email.

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Unread postby Arti77 » Thu Sep 08, 2005 8:26 pm

How did you go with the email QuicksilverG4? Any reply?

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Unread postby zafunk » Wed Sep 21, 2005 11:01 am

for those of you who were reading this with some interest, there is a 6 bay system on ebay (available to the US only) here

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Unread postby QuicksilverG4 » Wed Sep 21, 2005 6:21 pm

Arti, not much luck with Maxtronic. I saw on the firmware update page that drives over 128GB aren't supported even in the newest version of the firmware (I've got the Baby EX model).

I emailed tech support asking if they could explain this limitation and give me some more details. All I got back was a reply that there were no plans to support larger drives since the Baby EX has been discontinued.

I'm still having problems with my setup and they weren't too helpful there either. As I mentioned above, I'd taken the drives out of the Maxtronic to try them in a Medea RAID. Attempting to format the drives with Medeas utility didn't work (froze up) and then one of the drives was giving me a red light when I put them back in the Maxtronic. I swapped a 120GB drive in in place of the possibly bad 100GB and got no more red light but the Maxtronic would fail while initializing the RAID (which takes forever!). Then I put the 100GB back in and surprise, no more red light but the initialization still fails.

I guess I need to put the drives in my PC and see if Western Digital has a diagnostic program I can run on them to look for faults.


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