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Thread: RocketRAID 2300 and K8N Neo4, I have trouble making them work together

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    RocketRAID 2300 and K8N Neo4, I have trouble making them work together

    K8N Neo4 has two SATA RAID chips - Nvidia nForce 4 based and Sil3114. Initially both onboard controllers were working fine - each got an array, and I was running backups off Nvidia controller and all was working nicely.

    Then after upgrading disk size I found that Sil3114 started to have troubles, possibly not being able to handle well drives larger than 300 Gb, while Nvidia seemed to be working OK. So I put both arrays on Nvidia and tried running backups from Sil. However under load, like when running backup, drives happened to disappear and/or develop problems. I ended up with about 5-6 harddrives with different failures, bad sectors etc, that I started to blame on Sil chip (and only partial backups) Then I went out and got RocketRAID 2300 (I only later understood that K8N Neo4 is not on the Highpoint's short list of about 20 compatible mobos :-)

    Bios level:
    RocketRAID Bios - 230xPM Bios Setting Utility 2.5
    K8N Neo4 Platinum mobo - AWARD BIOS 6.00PG, V1.D 052206

    I have double problem with my setup:
    1) if I hook any drives to RocketRAID that make a valid array, RocketRAID becomes the only device I can boot from. That is - if nothing is attached to RocketRAID, in motherboard Bios I see 3 options for "Harddrive boot order":
    1. SCSI-0 Nvidia Mirror xxx
    2. SCSI-1 Nvidia Mirror yyy
    3. Bootable addin cards
    However if I get one or several arrays attached to RocketRAID I get:
    1. SCSI-0 RocketRAID 230x SATA Contro
    2. Bootable addin cards
    so Nivdia arrays have been simply replaced by RocketRAID !?

    ok, I will boot from RocketRAID... but...

    2) if I have 2 arrays attached to RocketRAID I have trouble indicating which one to launch from. Theoretically in RocketRAID bios utility there is a menu selection - select array to boot from. However whatever I try, if I have 2 arrays - one with OS and other with data, it seems always launching from the wrong one. I get the message: DISK BOOT FAILURE... Unless I leave only one array with OS - then it launches OS from it without a problem.

    So about the only way I can use RocketRAID 2300 on my system is A) to have a single bootable drive/array on it and/or B) hotplug any additional arrays once the system is up. Needless to say very inconvenient. And I paid money for it... Well as I bought it mostly to replace Sil3114 for backups it seems nearly to be fine - just plug in a drive when making a backup, but still - it seems to have better control software than both on-board controllers and I'd rather like to use it as the principal controller and run backups from Nvidia.

    And well, when running backup for 8 hours, in the end both attached disks and then also RocketRAID controller device itself disappeared, and later showed up again only after I did switch off the power switch for a minute. But if it promises to behave otherwise, I promise not to run any 8h backups on it anymore :-)

    I hope somebody have an idea how to make them both play together.

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    Re: RocketRAID 2300 and K8N Neo4, I have trouble making them work together

    What make of drives are you sing? Off the top of my head my thoughts would be

    1. Drive make/size incompatable with teh controller (Google search may help determin if this is the case)

    2. Hardware failure - either in the connecting cables or in the controller card (if you are using SATA drives, some cable plugs are prone to cracking resulting in an intermittent connection - took me ages to track one down on my system!)

    3. Drive using a different sector size - eg some of the later WD drives use an advanced format of 4096 bytes/sector rather than the normal 512 which can cause problems in RAID systems if the two are mixed (although I have only seen that in software RAID like mdadm)

    A RAID card firmware update may solve problem 1 - but I'd be tempted to do a little research first to see if that really is the problem.
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    Re: RocketRAID 2300 and K8N Neo4, I have trouble making them work together

    thanks Peter for the reply. Maybe I explained myself badly - but the drives work with the controller.

    I'm using too fresh drives Velociraptor WD740 HLFS and Samsung HD103SJ. As for array I'm using for the time being two single disk JBODs.

    I got OS on raptor and it loads nicely if it is the only drive on rocketraid. as soon as I hook up samung, it recognizes both in rocketraid bios as configured and normal arrays and shows raptor first on the list, however after when it tries start loading, it pretends that finds a non-bootable disk, so I assume it takes the second drive - samsung (although I have another non-bootable array on other controller as well).

    and yes, if I get the system up with raptor as the only drive and then hotplug samsung, it works nicely as well.

    As for WD new 4k sector drives that pretend to have 512byte sectors - I got a pair of these, I was really mad about my purchase when I understood they are not really usable in raid. But then I aligned them and set up in RAID 1, so now they work nicely on my on-board Nvidia controller :-)

    and cables... yes, my previous problems could be smth to do with them, although my drives went bad on different cables. But rocketRaid comes with nice, tight fit cables, so I think on that department I feel safe now.

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    Re: RocketRAID 2300 and K8N Neo4, I have trouble making them work together

    just for the info. I submitted a report with HighPoint and their support suggested :
    1) in order to avoid RocketRaid overwrite other hard drives present (and thus forcing boot from RockeRaid) to click "End" button when HighPoint BIOS appears. This will make the card abandon attempt to write to motherboard BIOS. So manual action on each start, but it worked to let RocketRaid be ignored during boot time
    2) they also told that the problem of not being able to force boot from the correct array attached to RocketRaid is "a motherboard BIOS problem that does not allocate enough memory that could be used by 3rd party plugins". And that both problems are caused by this insufficient code memory. This sounds false and lame to blame motherboard if their own code fails, but there might be some truth that RocketRaid BOIS expects something from motherboard such as enough allocated program memory that is not available, so it cannot function correctly.

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