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PERC 6 or similar LSI card for a T100 server?

Posted on 2012-03-24
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I have a Dell PowerEdge T100 with the SAS 6/IR card and a mirrored pair of SAS 15K drives. I need to wipe the machine of Windows 32 bit and reinstall Windows 2008 64 so I was wondering if there was a proper cached card that will work with this machine. Dell never offered a PERC card on it. I've found reports that the PERC 6/I card works in the successor T110 which was also not supported with the PERC cards. Doesn;t have to be a Dell or LSI card although they might be the most available/cheapest.

I'm mainly looking for the performance gain of the caching and improved rebuild capabilities.
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Question by:Bob_Simons
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by:PowerEdgeTech
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The PERC 6/i is your best bet, but it is not officially supported.  I don't know if there was a "good" reason that Dell did not certify a PERC 6 on the T100 (voltage, cooling, BIOS, or other resource limitations of the T100), but I can't really think of any specific reason it wouldn't work.

In fact, here is some discussion on this topic, which includes someone's aside that the PERC 6 worked in a T100, at least initially, as a test:

http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/servers/f/906/t/19358914.aspx
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by:Bob_Simons
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I saw that and I note that that is for a T110 which has a different chipset and some other differences. I was hoping for some sign that it had been tried, or maybe something similar like the LSI 9620 series
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by:PowerEdgeTech
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At one point in that thread, someone said they tried the PERC 6 in an actual T100:

"I actually tried my perc 6 in a T100 laying around and it saw it just fine so I think that's promising."

So, it appears to work on at least a basic level, and it may work just fine beyond that, but as is brought up in the thread, whether or not is works and is stable under all situations is another story.  

I have a lot of experience with and knowledge of Dell servers, but I can't tell you for certain in this particular situation what you might find or run into, and I don't use third-party controllers in any of them, so I wouldn't be much help with an off-the-shelf/retail card either.

We'll see if anyone has tried what you are looking for.
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by:Bob_Simons
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I'm hopeful that it would work but don't know for sure. The fairly similar PE 840 supports the 5/IR and 6/IR but was briefly offered with the PERC 6/i. I bought a few during that time maybe three years ago. But nothing lower than the 2900 or T310 could use it: the 1800 for example opnly offered the CERC card from hell.

Do you think any LSI, Areca, Adaptec or similar third party card might list the T100 on an HCL? I have to install a new SBS server on a weekend on a new domain and also need to convert the T100 to 64 bit. So I'm trying to avoid an install that might work initially but be unrelaible or work but with bad performance. Finally, I've seen a number of situations where rebuilds don't work if the 0 drive fails using the SAS cards.

Thanks for your comments.
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by:pgm554
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An add in card is an add in card.

As long as it meets the IEEE spec for PCI ,it should work period.

I've got a PE 310 running 64 bit SBS 2011 no issues. in RAID 6 hot swap.

Your biggest issue is to make sure there are no fat partitions on the array at all.

The built in backup does not support any non ntfs partitions at all and will fail.
Also make sure any usb drives are not the new 4k sector drives if you want to use them for the built in sbs  backup.
The backup will only support 512byte external usb drives for backup.
It's hard coded in the program.
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by:PowerEdgeTech
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I've never seen such an HCL, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist (as I have not historically used third-party controllers, I would never have really looked for one or needed one).

The reason that Dell doesn't configure the higher-end RAID cards with the lower-end servers may just simply be a marketing decision (after all, a customer buying a $300 T100 server probably doesn't need a $300 RAID card and $1200 worth of high-speed SAS drives in it) meaning it would work fine, or it may be a more practical reason, like insufficient resources in the low-end server.  It is the latter than you worry about when stepping outside of the Dell-supported "box" (systems failing POST with an unsupported controller, inability to get into the configuration utility, overheating, etc.).

The
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by:pgm554
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T100?

It will only support 8 gigs of ram and that ain't gonna cut it,you need about 12 with 16 being the sweet spot.

Exchange 2010 is a memory pig.
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by:Bob_Simons
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On a purely practical level, do you think the performance gain is worth it? It's running a law office practice management app which runs on/comes with SQL Studio. About 15 users, gigabit network, 300gig 3g drives
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by:pgm554
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Are they running Exchange?
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by:Bob_Simons
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not exchange. sql express. Currently running SBS 2003 on a similar T100 but with mirrored SATA drives, about to replace it with a T410 with dual 5645s, 32 gigs, RAID 10 sata, H700, etc.

The goal is to improve the SQL box at the same time. I figured it was worth the time to wipe it and install 2008 64 and double the memory. That said, the question was whether it was worth getting rid of the uncached SAS 6/iR card and trying for a PERC 6 or similar. I figured it was, but Dell officially says no.
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by:Bob_Simons
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pgm554, does that answer your question? a pair of T100s, one with SAS drives and 2008 32, running only SQL Express, and another T100 with SBS 2003 about to be replaced with a new T410 running SBS 2011 (with Exchange).

I can't get them to replace both servers at once, as the T410 with an LTO5 is going to cost around $8000.
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by:Bob_Simons
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Would it make more sense to bail on the T100? I have a PE 840 chassis: I presume I can take te Xeon 3400 series from the T100 and the drives, and then get a PERC 6/i, which is supported in that chassis. The advantages of the T100 are that it's free as it's already there and they'd have a spare for parts when the second one is replaced with the T410. The advantage of the 840 is that the PERC is supported.
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If it were me, I'd probably bail on it, getting possibly a cheap second-hand server if they won't go for a new one.  The 840 isn't a bad way to go, depending on the processor it has:

There is a good chance that whatever processor the T100 has will work in an 840, as they have the same socket (LGA775) and very similar chipsets (3000 vs 3200), but I don't think it could be a Xeon 3400, as they appear to be LGA1156 processors (I'm not aware of a T100 variant that has an LGA1156 socket, or maybe I'm looking at the wrong processors).  There are a few processors that the 3200 supports that the 3000 doesn't, so watch out for that.
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by:Bob_Simons
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the T100 has a 3220 (Processor2x4M Cache, 2.40GHz, 1066MHz FSB for PowerEdge T100) according to the invoice. Will that work in the 840? The 840 has a dual core, although I don't know which one. Are all 840s the same? I know I set up one with a 3220 and a PERC 5 around 6/1/09. The order showed a PERC 5i item number 341-3902. Is that the only card that works in an 840?
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by:PowerEdgeTech
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There are two revisions of the 840; the second revision has a II on the chassis (you should also be able to confirm in OpenManage Server Administrator (System, Main System Chassis, Information).  Only the 840 II supports the 3200-series (per BIOS update release notes).

The PERC 6/i is supported on the 840 (drivers and firmware are available on the Drivers/Downloads page for the 840) and should work on both revisions, although only probably the second revision actually ever shipped with the PERC 6/i, so a BIOS and ESM update would be in order before using it.
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by:Bob_Simons
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It appears to be an 840 II, or at least there is a II on the grille panel. According to the service tag, it was delivered on 3/08 and had/has a 3040 Conroe, 2 gigs, no raid card, etc, a pair of 250 SATAs. How do you tell if the 840 is a series II? I looked up the service tag but don't see any relevant info: 7JW7TF1
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by:PowerEdgeTech
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If there is a 'II', then I'd say that's your confirmation.  I don't see anything relevant on the order details on the "Original Configuration" page for that Service Tag.  If you need more confirmation, I would recommend calling Dell Support to have them confirm (support is always free in the US/Canada, regardless of warranty status).
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