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Hardware Support Discussions related to using various hardware setups with SageTV products. Anything relating to capture cards, remotes, infrared receivers/transmitters, system compatibility or other hardware related problems or suggestions should be posted here.

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  #521  
Old 02-07-2010, 10:58 AM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
ReadyNAS provides an HCL that includes "consumer" drives. Anything on the list they support.
Do you know what Netgear does before they put drives on the HCL? I assume that just basically means that they do some amount of testing with the drives, and promise not to complain about your drive choice if you call in to support. That doesn't necessarily mean they work well.

QNAP has a much larger list of drives on their HCL, including the Caviar Green line. Could QNAP be doing something to deal with the lack of TLER support in those drives? Maybe. But I think it is more likely that they did some basic tests and it works. That doesn't mean it will keep working well in 3 years when the hard drive has to do some error handling.

The ReadyNAS HCL is so small its sort of moot, at least to me. It includes 3 2TB drives. One is officially an enterprise class drive (the WD drive). The Hitachi is hard to find, and priced like an enterprise class drive. And the Seagate has some of the worst reviews of all the 2TB drives. And, I find it very confusing, since the Seagate and Hitachi drives don't seem to have TLER/CCTL/ERC.

While technical support from companies is nice, from my experience they just offer some guarantee that the product will work- not that it will work well. So, seeing some drives on the official HCL doesn't really make me feel that much better until users back them up. Unfortunately, the ReadyNAS forum doesn't seem to be nearly as active as the QNAP forum.

What do you think? Do you think the TLER/CCTL/ERC is overrated? I mean, I realize that people on forums like that will disproportionately be people with problems, but it seems like there are enough people with WD drives that had problems until TLER was turned on that it ought to be a concern. And industry folks apparently think its important too, since they all support this feature.

Allegedly you can set the error recovery time limit on pretty much all new drives using SMART commands, but the settings will only survive a system reboot with the RAID drives. Maybe QNAP or Netgear will start supporting those commands (it doesn't sound like they do yet) so they can be reset every restart.
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  #522  
Old 02-07-2010, 11:46 AM
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stanger89 stanger89 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reggie14 View Post
Do you know what Netgear does before they put drives on the HCL? I assume that just basically means that they do some amount of testing with the drives, and promise not to complain about your drive choice if you call in to support. That doesn't necessarily mean they work well.
No I don't know what they do, but I'd guess they do a rather thorough amount of testing because it can take quite a while before a drive makes the HCL. If you look at their forums, whenever a new drive comes out there's always tons of questions about when it will make the HCL.

The infamous 1.5TB Seagates only made the HCL with the updated firmware was released (and I think only some time after that). I've got those in my X6 and they're at least twice as fast with the new firmware than the old/original.

Quote:
QNAP has a much larger list of drives on their HCL, including the Caviar Green line. Could QNAP be doing something to deal with the lack of TLER support in those drives? Maybe. But I think it is more likely that they did some basic tests and it works. That doesn't mean it will keep working well in 3 years when the hard drive has to do some error handling.

The ReadyNAS HCL is so small its sort of moot, at least to me. It includes 3 2TB drives. One is officially an enterprise class drive (the WD drive). The Hitachi is hard to find, and priced like an enterprise class drive. And the Seagate has some of the worst reviews of all the 2TB drives. And, I find it very confusing, since the Seagate and Hitachi drives don't seem to have TLER/CCTL/ERC.
You may find it moot, but I think it shows that they actually test stuff beyond just dropping them in the nas and saying "yup, they show up".

Quote:
What do you think? Do you think the TLER/CCTL/ERC is overrated? I mean, I realize that people on forums like that will disproportionately be people with problems, but it seems like there are enough people with WD drives that had problems until TLER was turned on that it ought to be a concern. And industry folks apparently think its important too, since they all support this feature.
Important? Perhaps, but I do think it's overrated. I've run drives without TLER in RAID for a long time and have not had any issues. My Seagate 1.5s, now that they're running the HCL firmware are working great in my ReadyNAS.
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  #523  
Old 02-07-2010, 11:26 PM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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For the unRAID users out there, how do you identify a particular hard drive in your array? Let's say one of your drives starts failing. Presumably things like a ReadyNAS would tell you drive #1 is failing, which corresponds to the drive in the first hot-swap bay. What happens in unRAID? Will it say the drive connected to a particular SATA port on the motherboard is failing? Or, does it just go by model and serial number?

I'm sort of having this issue with my current server. I've been meaning to swap out a hard drive in my server, but I don't know which physical drive corresponds to my E: drive, since I have several hard drives that are the same model. I'm sure I could figure it out, I've just been too lazy thus far.

I'm not in a big hurry for a NAS. I think I'll wait a while and cross my fingers that QNAP/Netgear will add more drives to their HCLs and/or add support for the time limited error recovery commands. But, if I go with an unRAID server I'll probably get a case with a bunch of 5 1/4 bays and use hot swap bays.
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  #524  
Old 02-08-2010, 08:47 AM
brainbone brainbone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reggie14 View Post
For the unRAID users out there, how do you identify a particular hard drive in your array? Let's say one of your drives starts failing.
Unraid has a web interface that will identify the HDD by serial/model and port, and give the health status of the array.

Notification of a fault is one area where unraid was lacking, and is why I wrote unraid_notify -- an email notification script allowing your unraid box to send notifications if any of your drives fault, overheat, what-have-you.

Notification, among other areas, are expected to be improved greatly in unraid v5.

Last edited by brainbone; 02-08-2010 at 08:50 AM.
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  #525  
Old 02-08-2010, 11:58 AM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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Originally Posted by brainbone View Post
Recent versions of Unraid (4.5) have increased write speeds dramatically (I get ~25MB/sec -- plenty for Gigabit).
Out of curiosity, what are the specs of your unRAID system? What hard drives do you use for data and parity drives?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brainbone View Post
Unraid has a web interface that will identify the HDD by serial/model and port, and give the health status of the array.
The screenshots that I've found of unRAID are a little old, but it looks like it just numbers the data disks 1-n. I'm guessing those numbers don't necessarily correspond to SATA ports, but I could be wrong. Is there a different place where it says what ports they're connected to?
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  #526  
Old 02-08-2010, 12:14 PM
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tmiranda tmiranda is offline
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My first job out of college was writing unix device drivers and hard drive firmware. I can tell you at that time (early 1980s) there was a difference in the firmware between "consumer level" and "industrial level" drives. The device drivers were also different in order to take advantage of the functionality in the firmware.

The industrial drives were also tested longer and more vigorously. Our experience was that the failure rate fell drmatically after about 80 hours of testing and fell more gradually after that.

Maybe this has changed in the past 30 years, maybe not....
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  #527  
Old 02-08-2010, 01:03 PM
brainbone brainbone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reggie14 View Post
Out of curiosity, what are the specs of your unRAID system? What hard drives do you use for data and parity drives?
Currently running Hitachi_HDT721010SLA360 (1TB Hitachi 7200rpm) for Parity and 2 more for data -- along with a mix of some older 750GB, 500GB and 250GB drives.

My MB is an older DFI P965, with a celeron (1.8ghz?) cpu, 4GB ram. Extra ram is handy for write/read caching -- but you can use as little as 512MB. I'm using the on-board SATA II ports and some cheap addon PCIe SATA II controllers (can't remember the exact type of SATA controller).

Before selecting a MB, check with the unraid forum. The main issue you can run into is having trouble with booting from a USB stick -- but this is less common a problem with newer motherboards. (My DFI P965 required a little tweaking).

Quote:
Originally Posted by reggie14 View Post
The screenshots that I've found of unRAID are a little old, but it looks like it just numbers the data disks 1-n. I'm guessing those numbers don't necessarily correspond to SATA ports, but I could be wrong. Is there a different place where it says what ports they're connected to?
The "main" page just shows the drive status, model and serial numbers, listed 1-n. The "devices" page shows the model and serial numbers, along with information about the port it is using (like: "pci-0000:00:1f.2-scsi-4:0:0:0") -- and this is where you add/remove/change drive configuration.

When installing drives, its best to label them in relation the the number the are assigned in unraid, making identification easier than find the drive serial# (though you would still want to double check the serial# before swapping a failed drive).
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  #528  
Old 02-09-2010, 04:09 PM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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brainbone-

I just realized something... Please tell me if I'm wrong, because I hope I am. It doesn't look like unRAID does any balancing between drives. From what I understand, if you have 8 1TB data drives in your array, you end seeing 8 1TB drives, not 1 8TB drive.

User shares seem like a partial solution. Sure, you can set it up so you can have the same top-level folder on different drives, but then everything still needs to be in uniquely-named folders. unRAID gets confused when the same lower-level folder appears in two places.

I was really hoping I could just create a single share/folder called Videos, and then unRAID would split that across the multiple drives. It doesn't sound like that happens.

The more I learn about unRAID, the more unpolished it seems to be. The procedures for removing drives seem overly complicated too.
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  #529  
Old 02-09-2010, 04:56 PM
brainbone brainbone is offline
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The unraid "user shares" take care of this.

It will balance writes to the different drives, and they will all appear as one. It is transparent -- and will also make writes/reads to a cache drive transparent.

You can also set "split levels" for user shares, allowing you to specify how deep into a folder structure you can go before unraid will keep all new files created on the same drive (though it will sill balance new folders created at the split level). This is useful for DVD rips, where you want all the VOBs of a single DVD on the same disk to avoid a potential delay in your movie if you start watching a VOB from one disk, but then move on to one from a disk that is currently spun down.

So yes. You can create a single "user share" called Videos, set that user share to use all available drives, and unraid will balance writes across all drives transparently.

Say you have a user share called "user share", using 2 disks. You create a folder called "test folder" on the user share. If you look at the contents of the disks in unraid directly, you could now see:

Disk1
-- test folder

Disk2
-- test folder

But in "user share" you will see:

user share
-- test folder

Now if you copy a files "video1.mpg" and "video2.mpg" to "user share/test folder", and unraid balances video1 to to Disk1 and video2 to Disk2, looking directly at the disk contents you will now see:

Disk1
-- test folder
---- video1.mpg

Disk2
-- test folder
---- video2.mpg

but in "share" you will see:

user share
-- test folder
---- video1.mpg
---- video2.mpg


Hope that clears things up.

Last edited by brainbone; 02-10-2010 at 08:05 AM.
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  #530  
Old 02-09-2010, 06:33 PM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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Thanks for clearing that up! I got the wrong impression from the unRAID page on user shares. The unRAID manual confirms what you said.
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  #531  
Old 02-10-2010, 02:47 PM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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I started a thread over on the unRAID forums with a parts list for an unRAID server I'm thinking about building. Here's a link to it. I'd appreciate feedback from any unRAID users out there.

In case you don't have accounts over on the unRAID forums, I'm going to cross-post the message below:


------------
Sorry to add one more "check out my parts list" thread, but I'm new to unRAID and would appreciate some feedback. I don't really have any existing hardware that would be good for unRAID. I have some, but I'd need enough new stuff I figure its easier just to get all new stuff. So, here's the unRAID server I'm thinking about building.

Case: COOLER MASTER Centurion 590
Power Supply: Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W (single +12V rail)
Motherboard: ASUS P5G43T-M Pro
CPU: Intel Celeron E3200 Wolfdale 2.4GHz
RAM: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066
Drive Bays: SYBA SY-MR-35SOF (x6)
Drives: Samsung Spinpoint F3EG HD203WI 2TB (x3)

First things first, I know the motherboard might be a problem. I have another thread asking about that motherboard. The network chipset may or may not be supported. I'm trying to figure that out from Lime Tech. I know there's a risk to picking a board off the HCL, but I'm not a big fan of any of the boards on the HCL wiki. I'm looking for a <$100 LGA 775 board with 6 SATA ports, onboard video, and preferably HDMI. The reason for HDMI is just in case I ever move away from unRAID and want to hook up this system to my TV.

Noise is a concern. I've been looking carefully at the RB-1200 Server, which is very reasonably priced, but am a bit concerned about noise from the 3 IcyDock cages. Instead, I was thinking about getting individual hot swap cages for the 5 1/4" drives bays (I know you can't actually hot swap in unRAID). But, I'm not sure if there would be enough room between drives to go without fans blowing air directly across the drives. If I need active cooling on the drives then the RB-1200 looks even better.

I'm not interested in having 12 drives in this thing ever. I think 6 will probably be enough for me, with an option for 8 with a SATA add-on card. So, going with the IcyDock cages for 3 more drive bays isn't very tempting. But, if I need them for cooling purposes then so be it.

Then there's the hard drives. 2TB drives are cheap enough now I'm going to go straight to those, even if 1.5TB is a little cheaper. I want some sort of low-power drive, mainly to keep temperatures down. I've been thinking about getting the Caviar Green drives instead, but the Samsungs are a bit cheaper, and part of me is a little skeptical of the IntelliPark feature on the WD drives (since so many people seem to turn it off). I'm a little concerned about network write speeds to the parity-protected array. I'd rather not get a cache drive, because I don't think I need anything terribly fast. But, I would like to get around 20MB/sec. It's my understanding that that should be possible with either the Samsung or Western Digital low-power 2TB drives.

Also, I'd basically like this thing to look and act as much like a NAS appliance as possible. My primary reasons for going with unRAID instead of a ReadyNAS are 1) RAID5 makes me worried I'll lose everything if something goes wrong, and 2) I'm worried about running into problems with consumer-class drives falling out of a RAID5 array because of error recovery. So, I want to do little things like have Data drive #1 correspond to the first (or second, after the parity drive) hot-swap bay, and the first (or second) SATA port. Basically, I just want to try to make it as simple as possible to identify a drive in case of a failure. I know from the FAQ I can renumber the drives if it comes to that, but I assume hooking up the hot swap bays to the SATA ports in order will help, as will adding drives starting from the top hot-swap bay.

I'm not necessarily opposed to just buying the RB-1200 Server, but I'm not the least bit scared of putting a server together myself. I kind of like it, actually (at least, when things work on the first try). But, I know I can't put together a server like the RB-1200, complete with 3 IcyDock cages, for the same price. So, if I need active cooling on the drives, and there's reason to think the next batch of RB-1200s is coming soon, I might just wait.

Just for a little background, I'm a SageTV user. I'm going to keep my TV recording drives in my Sage server, but I'd like to move most/all of my ripped DVDs and blu-rays over to a NAS. I'd also like to start regularly saving backup images of my Sage server, my laptop, and my desktop workstation. I'll probably run TrueImage on my Sage server, since that's WinXP, and I might give the Win7 backup utility a try on my laptop and workstation.
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  #532  
Old 02-28-2010, 11:59 AM
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http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/showthread.php?t=47068

Here my recent switch out to a QNAP TS-809 Pro - it works excellent via 1000bT to the server and 802.11/n to the HD200.
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