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Dell PERC4/Di, good or not?

Posted on 2003-10-31
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2007-12-19
We are gonna purchase Dell PowerEdge2600, RAID 10, Dell told me to go with PERC4/Di.
I am a little concerned about it, because this is a embeded card.
Any one has experience with this card?

Question by:techcity
LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 9663114
This is Dell's only LSI offering AFAIK, who can guess Dell's move to LSI as a RAID controller provider for this model?
The fact that it's an embedded controller isn't much of an operational issue, if the raid controller's down, you're down.
If the unit's out of warranty you're stuck with replacing the $ystem board or finding a compatible PCI card, but if you go for the three year warranty the server will be a doorstop before if matters.
LSI's been around, performance is on a par with other 32bit raid adaptors. The on'y issues I know of with this card are a lack of support for OS's other than Redhat and Windoze and some early lack of support for the onboard battery reconditioning routine in the Open Manage suite. If you're running the factory installed OS and patched up, you should be OK.
LVL 56

Expert Comment

by:Handy Holder
ID: 9670047
If you are concerned with write performance make sure you get the battery module if it isn't included so that write cache gets enabled.

Expert Comment

ID: 9671092
If you r using 2600 server with RAID card you need to upgrade the Raid controller farmware and the Arrey software to latest version because there is an issue with this Controller that chances of 2 disk drive failuer , You can go to dell site and download the latest patch and software for the same w.r.t your OS. This framware and patch is must if u have 3-4 disk in system.You can also get the above infor from Dell knowladeg base.

Expert Comment

ID: 9671179
Readme of latest Firmware:----

Dell PowerEdge RAID Controller 4/DC, 4/SC, 3/QC, 3/DC, 3/DCL, 3/SC,
PERC 4/Di, and CERC ATA100/4CH, Device Driver for Windows 2000.

Version: 5.42

Date: 6/05/03


1.0 Introduction

2.0 Compatibility / Minimum Requirements

3.0 Fixes or Enhancements in this Release

4.0 Revision History

1.0   Introduction

This is the driver for following PowerEdge Expandable RAID Controllers:
 PERC 4/SC,  
 PERC 4/Di,

2.0 Compatibility / Minimum Requirements

This Device Driver is compatible with the following firmware versions:

PERC 4/DC                  (PERC 4 Dual Channel)             3.28,
PERC 4/SC                   (PERC 4 Single Channel)            3.28,
PERC 3/QC                  (PERC 3 Quad Channel)             1.92,
PERC 3/DC                  (PERC 3 Dual Channel)             1.92,
PERC 3/DCL                  (PERC 3 Dual Channel Lite)       1.92,
PERC 3/SC                  (PERC 3 Single Channel)       1.92,
PERC 4/Di                  (PERC 4/Di - PE 2600)            2.37,
PERC 4/Di                  (PERC 4/Di - PE 1750)            4.10,
CERC ATA100/4CH                   (RAID IDE)                   6.62.

This package is a self-extracting package of the Windows 2000 device driver
installation diskette for PERC 3/QC, 3/DC, 3/DCL, 3/SC, CERC ATA100/4CH, PERC
4/DC, PERC 4/SC and PERC 4/Di.

XXXX.EXE      Self-extracting package to create Windows 2000 device driver       
            installation diskette

To build the installation diskette, execute the package, directing it's output
to an empty formatted diskette.

3.0 Fixes or Enhancements in this Release


1) None


1) File Version has been modified to reflect the Product version from this
release onwards.

2) Minor change to the setup files.

3) Driver no longer filters out all other commands except SCSI READ and SCSI

4) The driver will accept only one Reservation call at a time and would allow it
to complete before issuing any more commands to the Firmware.

5) The driver will be using an individual commandID for each WriteConfig issued
to the Firmware

4.0 Revision History

Changes from 5.35.2 to 5.39

1. Utilities are issuing driver calls for getting the logical drive statistics.
We have seen some utilities are requesting 40LD statistics but send buffer less
than the required statistics size. This is causing the system to crash. This bug
has been fixed in the driver by returning all the calls with lesser buffer size
without copying any data successfully.

2. Change in the setup files, so that Scsiport driver should give correct Device
Number and Function Number to the Miniport driver.

3. A timeout is implemented in the driver so that driver shouldn't wait
infinitely for the Firmware to acknowledge the interrupt.

4. During Reset, Driver was not clearing all the Pending Commands whenever the
Firmware is not able to complete it.

5. System was hanging after it wakes up from Hibernation/Standby on PERC 3/QC
and PERC 3/DC controllers. Driver needs to reprogram these SCSI chips before
waiting for the firmware to initialize.  

6. During the Cluster HCT phase 5 test the driver and firmware used to wait for
each other for a command completion. This led to dead lock condition and the HCT
test fails with an IO timeout error. In order to avoid this dead lock condition
the driver will poll the firmware for completion of a command before the OS
times out the command.

7. When running heavy I/O's the miniport driver would often get a mailbox busy
condition that would lead to an I/O hang. The fix is made in the driver to
improve delay optimization for the mailbox busy condition.

8. The logical drive status checking was failing for Dummy Device inquiry. This
logic was removed since there is no need to check status of this device.

9. The capability pointer was changed in firmware for Fast READ/WRITE calls for
hard drives connected to the SCSI Channels.

10. Initial release of PERC 4/Di support on PE2755MC

11. Initial release of PERC 4/SC.

Version 5.35.2 Release

Changes from 5.32 to 5.35.2

1) System was not waking up after a hibernation/standby operation. This bug was
ccaused by the driver. Driver was trying to access PCI_CONFIG space from the
ScsiRestartAdapter in the driver. This bug has been fixed by accessing the
PCI_CONFIG space from the ScsiSetRunningConfig entry point.

2) New command has been introduced to enhance the performance for SCSI I/O on
non-raid SCSI channel.

3) In case of cluster reset, Driver was waiting infinitely for all the commands
to complete, resulting in the system crash/hang. This problem has been fixed by
waiting for certain period of time for the outstanding commands to complete. If
the commands are not completed in certain period of time, Driver completes all
the outstanding with error and returns.

4) In case of Standby, driver was not waiting for the Firmware to get
initialized, resulting in the driver sending commands to the firmware even when
the Firmware is not initialized. The fix has been put in the driver. Driver is
polling for the Firmware to get initialized before sending any commands to the

5) A single Tape drive was seen at TargetID 0 and TargetID 16 on the physical
channel.  One can attach up to a maximum of 15 devices on a single physical
channel. All the requests coming for a physical channel with TargetID greater
than 15 should be returned as Illegal request.


1. Initial release of PERC 4/Di on PE2600.


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