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SOLVED Good source for non-fake M1015s?

Kevin Horton

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#1
I'm looking for advice on buying an M1015 HBA to expand my server. I'd like to get a reasonably low price, but avoid the risk of Chinese knock-offs. Looking on eBay, I see many listings for claimed new M1015 cards, supposedly from US sellers. But, many of them are sold by eBay account jiawen2018, and if I click on the profile it says "Based in Hong Kong ...". He does seem to be selling a lot of stuff, and has an excellent feedback score, but the discrepancy between "US seller" and "Hong Kong based" makes me pause. I've contacted the seller - it'll be interesting to see if I get a response.

Can anyone point me to a good source for real IBM M1015s?

Thanks,

Kevin
 

Kevin Horton

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#3
Have you considered alternate OEM cards in the same family like the Dell PERC H200/H310, or successors like the HP H220/H240?
I would be happy to buy any LSI-based SAS2 card that is no harder to flash than an M1015 and has a suitable physical form factor, cable connections, etc.

Edit - Corrected SAS3 to SAS2.
 
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Kevin Horton

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#5
I always buy used server pulls, similar price and less chance of getting a fake, if you don't mind buying used.
I've got nothing against used, in principle, as long as this doesn't imply something that is less reliable.
 

HoneyBadger

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#6
I would be happy to buy any LSI-based SAS3 card that is no harder to flash than an M1015 and has a suitable physical form factor, cable connections, etc.
I believe some of the OEM SAS2308 cards like the HP H220 have a slightly more involved flash process (there's an "intermediary" firmware that needs to be flashed) but I don't think it's significantly more difficult than the SAS2008-based M1015 or H200.

If you're looking for an actual SAS3 (12Gbps) card, I'd recommend trying to hunt down the Supermicro AOC-S3008L series - I'm not familiar enough with other OEM SAS3 cards to suggest one that's crossflash-friendly, although someone else may know.
 

Kevin Horton

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#7
I believe some of the OEM SAS2308 cards like the HP H220 have a slightly more involved flash process (there's an "intermediary" firmware that needs to be flashed) but I don't think it's significantly more difficult than the SAS2008-based M1015 or H200.

If you're looking for an actual SAS3 (12Gbps) card, I'd recommend trying to hunt down the Supermicro AOC-S3008L series - I'm not familiar enough with other OEM SAS3 cards to suggest one that's crossflash-friendly, although someone else may know.
Whoops - I mistyped. I need SATA-III which implies a SAS 2 card, if I understand correctly. I'll correct my original post.
 

Chris Moore

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#8
I'm looking for advice on buying an M1015 HBA to expand my server.
This is the kind I have been using, in my server:

Drive Controller: SAS PCI-E 3.0 HBA LSI 9207-8i P20 IT Mode for ZFS FreeNAS unRAID - - US $69.55
https://www.ebay.com/itm/162862201664

I upgraded from a Dell H310 because this one is PCIe 3.0 instead of the older PCIe 2.0 at the same time I upgraded my system board to a model that has PCIe 3.0 slots. I have been very happy with it.

What kind of expansion are you doing, because it is very possible that you might be just as well off with a SAS expander card at significantly less cost.

I use two like this in my 24 bay chassis:

SAS Expander: IBM (46m0997) ServeRAID Expansion Adapter 16-port SAS Expander - - US $15.88
https://www.ebay.com/itm/192326557905

With this kind of cable to connect the SAS expander back to the SAS controller:

SAS interconnect: Mini SAS SFF-8087 to Mini SAS SFF-8087 - - US $3.49
https://www.ebay.com/itm/183129085895
 

Stux

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#9
I bought all mine as used server pulls. Same guy was selling all sorts of dell/ibm etc parts.

One was an M1115. It’s fine :)
 

Kevin Horton

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#10
What kind of expansion are you doing, because it is very possible that you might be just as well off with a SAS expander card at significantly less cost.
I've got a SuperMicro X10SRH-cF board in a Norco RPC-4224 chassis. The SuperMicro board has a mix of PCIe 3.0 and PCe 2.0 slots. The RPC-4224 has passive backplanes that take a mini-SAS connector and 4 pin Molex.

I may have rushed into things a bit quickly, but I bought a server-pull M1015 on eBay a few hours ago for $45. Looking back at the thread I posted when I was puzzling through the build parts list, I see that it was mentioned then that a SAS expander might be a good option for when I wanted to populate the last eight drive bays. But I forgot about that discussion when I was pondering what to buy today. Oh well.

Would a SAS expander use less power, or have some other compelling advantage over an M1015?
 

Stux

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#11
Might be faster to have one sas expander than two hbas.

And will certainly use less pcie slots ;)
 

Kevin Horton

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#12
Might be faster to have one sas expander than two hbas.

And will certainly use less pcie slots ;)
The board I have has boat loads of SATA or SAS connectivity. The mother board has 10 SATA3 ports, and it also has an LSI 3008 chip that provides 8 x SAS2 lanes. So, at the moment, with 16 HDs + a boot SSD, I'm not using any PCI slots. If I add an HBA, that'll use one PCI slot. If I understand correctly, a SAS expander would also require one PCI slot. The one possible advantage might be if it used less power than an HBA, which means less heat to get rid of.
 

Chris Moore

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#13
it also has an LSI 3008 chip that provides 8 x SAS2 lanes.
That integrated controller and a couple of the expanders I linked to is all you need. You don't need any additional HBA because that LSI 3008 is good for 256 drives by using expanders. I run one SAS controller in my main NAS and it drives two 24 port SAS expander backplanes. In the other chassis, I use two of those IBM expander boards with the forward breakout cables to a direct attach backplane.
When I converted from two SAS controllers to one with expanders, I actually had more performance from my pool.
 

Stux

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#14
Most sas expanders that plug in to pcie slots only use them for locating and power, and often have a moles or other port for supplying power when not in a pcie slot. If they don’t have the auxiliary port they can be powered by bitcoin miner auxiliary pcie slots

But I believe @Chris Moore has experience replacing dual hbas with an expanded and seeing a perf win
 

Chris Moore

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#15
But I believe @Chris Moore has experience replacing dual hbas with an expanded and seeing a perf win
True. I had two Dell H310 controllers running six drives on each. I switched to a single controller with an expander and dropped the time it took to run a scrub by an entire hour. It isn't what you might call scientific, but the only thing that changed was going from two controllers to one with an expander. I later switched to a newer PCIe 3.0 controller and I didn't really see much change, but it generates less heat. I have been fighting heat in my office because I have two 1U servers as compute units for ESXi, and two storage servers, primary and backup, plus the switches and UPS units. It gets hotter than I would like. I will probably need supplemental cooling in here and I have been looking at options to avoid that.
 

Johnnie Black

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#16
Using one HBA with an expander won't be faster than two HBAs, as long as they are in full speed PCIE slots, two HBAs can be considerably faster since they have twice the bandwidth, though you'd need to be using SSDs to use it and notice the difference.

Power consumption wise, expanders use about the same or a little more power than the typical HBA, at least according to these measurements I took some time ago:

SAS2008 (Dell H310, IBM 1015, LSI 9211, etc) - 6w
SAS2308 (HP H220, LSI 9207, etc) - 9w
Intel RES2SV240 expander - 10w
HP SAS expander - 11w
 

Stux

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#17
Myself, I switched (or am switching ;)) from dual HBAs + SATA ports to a single HBA + Expander in as Norco 4224 so that I could pass-through the whole HBA to FreeNAS under ESXi and leave the sata ports for ESXi.

And yes, getting the PCIe slot back was not a bad thing since I need one for an NVMe drive and the other for the 10gbit adapter.
 

Chris Moore

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#18
Using one HBA with an expander won't be faster than two HBAs, as long as they are in full speed PCIE slots, two HBAs can be considerably faster since they have twice the bandwidth
I don't know the reason why, I just know that in my system it was faster with a single HBA vs two and I only had 12 hard disk drives, so I don't think it was the speed of the drives that was at issue. It could be that one of the HBA cards was not doing its thing properly and causing some slowdown.
Like @Stux I wanted to have all the drives on a single controller for other reasons, I just noticed the speed improvement in how long a scrub took to complete and thought it was interesting. I did not make the change because I expected it to be faster.
 

Kevin Horton

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#19
That integrated controller and a couple of the expanders I linked to is all you need. You don't need any additional HBA because that LSI 3008 is good for 256 drives by using expanders. I run one SAS controller in my main NAS and it drives two 24 port SAS expander backplanes. In the other chassis, I use two of those IBM expander boards with the forward breakout cables to a direct attach backplane.
When I converted from two SAS controllers to one with expanders, I actually had more performance from my pool.
Thanks for all the info and advice. I'll install the M1015 after it arrives and try it out. I'll also order two SAS expanders and try that config too. I'll decide which config to go with after doing comparative tests and then sell the other gear. I'll be back for thoughts on the best way to compare these two configs after I get the first mod done.
 

Johnnie Black

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#20
It could be that one of the HBA cards was not doing its thing properly and causing some slowdown.
Possibly, there has to be a valid reason, if not it would be like closing down two lanes on a four-lane highway and expect more traffic to flow through, but continuing the analogy, as long a two lanes are enough for the current traffic, it won't cause a slow down either.
 
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