HP ML 310e Gen8 Performance and RAID Controllers

Dear Experts,

we recently purchased an ML 310e Gen 8 Server. The server has the following specifications:

Intel Xeon E3-1270v2 Quad Core 3.5Ghz
16 GB Dual Rank x8 PC3L-10600E DDR3-1333MHz Memory
4 x HP 500GB 6G 7200rpm 3.5" Non Hot Plug Midline SATA Hard Drives
HP Dynamic Smart Array B120i Controller (http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/servers/proliantstorage/arraycontrollers/dynamicsmartarray/index.html).

The only reason we purchased this server was because that the b120i controller was described as a 6Gb/s controller.
It would appear that the B120i controller runs only two of the disk on 6Gb/s and the rest of them on 3Gb/s.  We are using a RAID 1+0 and would like for all of the disks to have the same speed - 6Gb/s.

We were advised by HP to purchase a separate controller for the build we request. What HP offered is -
Smart Array P222 Controller



Second Generation 6Gb/s SAS
x8 6Gb/s SAS physical links (compatible with 3G SATA)
512 MB DDR3-800 MHz 40 bit Flash-Backed Write Cache provides up to 4.2 GB/s maximum bandwidth.
x8 8.5G PCI Express host interface provides 4 GB/s maximum bandwidth.
MIPS 32-bit Processor
Read ahead caching
Flash Backed Write-back Cache

What we would like to find out before going ahead with this is the following:

1. What would be the effective speed gain if we get the suggested controller compared with the current one;
2. Will the cables from the back-plane be compatible with the new controller or we need to purchase new cables.

Thank you.
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andyalderSaggar maker's bottom knockerCommented:
The 3gbps vs 6gbps isn't going to make any performance difference since reading/writing the disk is far slower than that, the write cache makes a difference though, especially if you use RAID5 in future.

Cables should be compatible since the server's quickspecs don't say you need extra cables.
goliveukAuthor Commented:
Hi Andy,

Thank you for the prompt reply on this case.

Just to confirm we are running RAID 10. The embedded controller itself does not have any write cache.

One more question to all experts would be:

How much the performance gain would be percentage wise when you compare the built in controller (B120i) and the suggested one (P222) ? Having in mind that the disks of the build (659341-B21)?

Thank you.
I just did one of these for one of my offices, the cables will connect to the 222.  i actually used a p212 since i had one laying around, as it was cheaper than trying to add to the 120i.  I saw 0 gain overall, but having the fbwc was the main goal.  this was  a 4 drive midline sata setup.
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goliveukAuthor Commented:
Good morning GreshAssoc,

Thank you for this reply. Just out of curiosity what type of RAID build you used? Also does the P212 runs all drives on 6Gb/s ?

Thank you
I believe it is at 3Gb/s, RAID 5 at first, then went RAID10
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
As Andy noted, you will get NO performance benefit from switching to the SATA-III controller.

NO modern disk ... even 15000rpm units (which you're not using) ... can saturate a SATA-II bus, so there will be absolutely no benefit from changing all the ports to SATA-III.

The ONLY difference doing so would make is on transfers between the computer and the drive's internal cache, which do indeed happen at the interface rate ... but this is such a TINY percentage of disk activity that you would NOT notice any difference in the performance.

Save your $$  ... just use the system you've already got :-)

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