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SuperMicro AOC-USAS-S8iR RAID cards
Western Digital Scorpio Black WD1600BJKT
SuperMicro 1026T-UF chassis

I have a dozen servers. I need RAID for redundancy only, not for performance i.e. I don't "need" the speed of 10,000 RPM Raptor drives and I'd prefer to use cheaper drives such as the Scorpio. I'm using 2 drive Raid 1 (Mirror) arrays.

I'm having a lot of trouble with the above RAID cards. Most of the time I power on the server the RAID cards produce an error: "fatal error controller monitor failed. controller not started."

SuperMicro says they never tested this RAID card with 2.5" drives, none are on their HCL.

SuperMicro says the 2.5" hard drive above won't work with these RAID cards because it's a notebook hard drive which only uses 5 Volts and draws too much power. In contrast SuperMicro says I have to use an enterprise 2.5" hard drive such as a Western Digital VelociRaptor which uses 12V or 5V because the 12V draws less power and will work with the RAID card.

I purchased several 2.5" Western Digital VelociRaptor enterprise hard drives which can use both 12V/5V.

The above "fatal error" and several other RAID issues do not present themselves when I use the VelociRaptor hard drives. In other words SuperMicro was correct, the Scorpio drives won't work and the Raptor drives do work with the SuperMicro RAID cards and chassis.

Does this make sense? Is this reasonable that I can't use the Scorpio drives with these RAID cards?
Is this a limitation of the RAID card, chassis, both?
Are any of you using Scorpio drives, or any 2.5" 5V drives, with RAID cards. If so, which drives and RAID cards?
What RAID cards and 2.5" hard drives do you recommend?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Unfortunately it does make sense, but I don't see how the card has much to do with it. The 5V / 12V line is provided by the power supply, and the drives might be drawing on 5V, which may be underrated or non-existant at all. So the drives won't spin up when the card tells them to. If you are very lucky, you only need to enable staggered spin-up in the card BIOS to lower the peak power consumption (you wrote it sometimes does boot). If that works, perform a random write load test before doing anything productive.

I looked up your power supply, it's 560W which is a really low total (2U storage chassis have 900W or 1400W).

I'm using a dozen Seagate Momentus 750GB in a 2U storage chassis with 900W and Adaptec 5445Z. Slightly different story, but the Momentus series is also "notebook class", so Seagate disabled the activity LED (now THAT's gonna stop me). The drives work very well (good overall IOPS). Can't tell anything about long-term, though.

I planned to go for WD Scorpio next time, but now I'm going to reconsider this idea. Seems the manufacturers really don't want us to do this.

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+1 I've got half a dozen Scorpio drives running on a SuperMicro controller (LSI chip, not the Intel chip the OP has) and they work fine. I agree, power supply sounds undersized and I'd bet it's 5v line is underrated. The PCIe lanes run off 3.3v and 12v; the power supply likely pulls 3.3v from the same rail as 5v (lotsa guessing). –  Chris S Jun 3 '11 at 20:18
    
Ah they even list amps on the product pages. The problematic 1026T-UF chassis comes with 15 amp on +5, my 216E16-R1200LPB is 50 amp. Quite a difference. –  korkman Jun 3 '11 at 20:36
    
Those WD Scorpio Drives pull 1.75A during startup; 15A is enough to start 8 of them if nothing else in the chassis is drawing power on the 5v rail. There's the problem. –  Chris S Jun 3 '11 at 20:42

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