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SOLVED LSI 9211-8i boots extremely slow

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Cicatrize

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Apr 13, 2015
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I just got an LSI 9211-8i today and it works, but the boot sequence is really slow. Like 5+ minutes just to start initializing my drives. Other than my hardware info in my signature below, what else do you need to help me figure this out? I don't want to wait that long on reboots.

Edit: I'm using two 1:4 mini-SAS to SATA breakout cables.
 

m0nkey_

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Sounds like a normal boot time. If you're running a server, you shouldn't be rebooting it every day.
 

Cicatrize

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Sounds like a normal boot time. If you're running a server, you shouldn't be rebooting it every day.
Yeah, I get that, but it's still alarming. Over 5 minutes (got 10 once) is normal?

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
 

Spearfoot

He of the long foot
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I just got an LSI 9211-8i today and it works, but the boot sequence is really slow. Like 5+ minutes just to start initializing my drives. Other than my hardware info in my signature below, what else do you need to help me figure this out? I don't want to wait that long on reboots.

Edit: I'm using two 1:4 mini-SAS to SATA breakout cables.
Are you actually booting from a disk attached to the card? Because if you're NOT, you can flash the LSI card without the MPT BIOS, which will make your system boot quite a bit faster.
 

Cicatrize

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Are you actually booting from a disk attached to the card? Because if you're NOT, you can flash the LSI card without the MPT BIOS, which will make your system boot quite a bit faster.
Nope, booting off an on board SATA. How much faster? :)

EDIT: Also, what do I lose by doing this?
 
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Spearfoot

He of the long foot
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Nope, booting off an on board SATA. How much faster? :)

EDIT: Also, what do I lose by doing this?
Heh, well... I don't have numbers. But the LSI boards take a long time to get fired up; getting rid of the MPT BIOS definitely speeds things up. The only thing you lose is the ability to boot from drives attached to the adapter, and you can restore that capability by re-flashing the firmware and re-installing the MPT BIOS.
 

Cicatrize

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What is it DOING during this time? Calculating my remaining days of life? :D

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
 

m0nkey_

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What is it DOING during this time? Calculating my remaining days of life? :D
The card initializes, does some hardware checks, injects code into your systems BIOS and a few other things. Server components take their sweet time to do all this, because it's not expected to boot servers every day. As others have said, you can remove the MPT BIOS so it just becomes a dumb HBA. If you're booting the system from an attached drive, you want this BIOS loaded.
 

Cicatrize

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Thank you both. I upgraded the firmware today and did not provide a BIOS. She boots up quickly now!
 

Ericloewe

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On IT controllers, the BIOS does the following:
  • Shows the SAS topology for all LSI SAS controllers of the same family
  • Allows booting from the SAS controller by hooking the relevant BIOS interrupts
  • Allows for staggered spinup to be configured
  • Causes random conflicts with other installed LSI SAS BIOSes of the same family, so install at most one per system.
 

Chuck Remes

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Jul 12, 2016
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When flashing my 9211-8i to IT mode, I specifically left out the BIOS flash. This was mentioned in at least two of the 5(+) guides that I looked at. They all mentioned vastly improved boot times due to skipping the BIOS boot component.
 

EvilDragon

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Jun 29, 2017
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Hello everyone!

Sorry for bumping this thread, but I'd like more info.

I have an LSI 9211-8i... and as it came with IR firmware, I had my fair share of troubles trying to flash it to IT firmware (it only worked with a SPECIFIC USB PORT ON THE MOTHERBOARD to run the UEFI sas2flash utility, can you imagine that?!).

So anyways, I followed one guide (can't remember which one) to the T, and also installed the MPT BIOS, which of course makes the loading much longer. Thankfully, my mobo (AsRock Z170 Extreme 4) has an option for an "Ultra Fast Boot", which alleviates the issue. BUT! I've just flashed the BIOS and hit a brickwall, system wouldn't boot. So I had to revert to backup BIOS, which by default has ultra fast boot option disabled. So you can imagine my irritation when I saw the MPT BIOS booting for 5 minutes again.


I would like to know how to remove this BIOS (if you can provide step-by-step, that would be MUCH appreciated) and hopefully not screw anything up in the process. I have all my SSDs hooked up (Samsung 850 Evo) to this HBA.


Bonus question - considering above SSDs and above firmware/BIOS present, could the MPT BIOS be at fault for Windows 10 not being able to TRIM the SSDs? There's just no way I can do it, despite those SSDs being listed as supported SSDs. Could the MPT BIOS making those SSDs bootable, somehow mess with the ability to TRIM them?


Thanks!
 

IceBoosteR

Senior Member
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Sep 27, 2016
Messages
503
Hello everyone!

Sorry for bumping this thread, but I'd like more info.

I have an LSI 9211-8i... and as it came with IR firmware, I had my fair share of troubles trying to flash it to IT firmware (it only worked with a SPECIFIC USB PORT ON THE MOTHERBOARD to run the UEFI sas2flash utility, can you imagine that?!).

So anyways, I followed one guide (can't remember which one) to the T, and also installed the MPT BIOS, which of course makes the loading much longer. Thankfully, my mobo (AsRock Z170 Extreme 4) has an option for an "Ultra Fast Boot", which alleviates the issue. BUT! I've just flashed the BIOS and hit a brickwall, system wouldn't boot. So I had to revert to backup BIOS, which by default has ultra fast boot option disabled. So you can imagine my irritation when I saw the MPT BIOS booting for 5 minutes again.


I would like to know how to remove this BIOS (if you can provide step-by-step, that would be MUCH appreciated) and hopefully not screw anything up in the process. I have all my SSDs hooked up (Samsung 850 Evo) to this HBA.


Bonus question - considering above SSDs and above firmware/BIOS present, could the MPT BIOS be at fault for Windows 10 not being able to TRIM the SSDs? There's just no way I can do it, despite those SSDs being listed as supported SSDs. Could the MPT BIOS making those SSDs bootable, somehow mess with the ability to TRIM them?


Thanks!
Hi,

a short note from my dangerous half-knowledge:
You can reflash the controller. That means, delete everything on the controller and flash a IT firmware to that thing, so its nothing more than a SATA controller, just for more drives. So with that, Windows will reconize the SSDs as SSDs and TRIM can be used over the Windows drivers.
I can not fully confirm this, but I have flashed my Dell PERC H310 two days ago to IT firmware and it worked like it should. No booting issues, before the flashing I had loong boot times. I think the PCIe timeout was specified with 300 seconds.

You can find some guides on the internet, but be careful and think about that what you are doing.
I am alos sure, Windows will not see the data on the drives after a flash, so do a BACKUP! as the drives are reformatted different as Windows does (only to make sure that no data loss occurs).

Cheers
 

EvilDragon

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Jun 29, 2017
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Sooo... I can erase the flash for the whole card again (even though it already has IT firmware on it?), except I wouldn't put MPT BIOS on it at all as part of the procedure? Is that what you're saying you did - you flashed the firmware but DIDN'T put MPT BIOS on it, and everything still worked? :)

How about I do that with all the drives unplugged from the card? Shouldn't they be recognized by Windows normally after I plug them back again? I am not sure what you mean about "reformatted differently to Windows", because those drives ARE all NTFS formatted BY Windows (BTW I am not booting from ANY of the 5 drives attached to my LSI card, I just use them for data storage)?


I just want to make this all 100% sure before I muster up courage to do it. I remember when I went from IR to IT firmware it was quite painful to even get the EFI method to work (it didn't work flashing it from Windows naturally, because Windows were using the drives on the LSI card).
 
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Spearfoot

He of the long foot
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2,184
Hello everyone!

Sorry for bumping this thread, but I'd like more info.

I have an LSI 9211-8i... and as it came with IR firmware, I had my fair share of troubles trying to flash it to IT firmware (it only worked with a SPECIFIC USB PORT ON THE MOTHERBOARD to run the UEFI sas2flash utility, can you imagine that?!).

So anyways, I followed one guide (can't remember which one) to the T, and also installed the MPT BIOS, which of course makes the loading much longer. Thankfully, my mobo (AsRock Z170 Extreme 4) has an option for an "Ultra Fast Boot", which alleviates the issue. BUT! I've just flashed the BIOS and hit a brickwall, system wouldn't boot. So I had to revert to backup BIOS, which by default has ultra fast boot option disabled. So you can imagine my irritation when I saw the MPT BIOS booting for 5 minutes again.


I would like to know how to remove this BIOS (if you can provide step-by-step, that would be MUCH appreciated) and hopefully not screw anything up in the process. I have all my SSDs hooked up (Samsung 850 Evo) to this HBA.
If you're concerned about the data on your SSDs, disconnect them before flashing your HBA.

From your statement above, I gather that you used the EFI version of the flash tools. So you will need to gather the same bootable USB stick and fileset you used before - which should include sas2flash.efi and the firmware file, which is typically named 2118it.bin.

Make a note of your HBA card's 16-digit SAS address. You probably made a record of it when you flashed the card before, but in any case you will need it. You can always get it using the sas2flash -list from a shell on your FreeNAS server, like this:
Code:
[root@bandit] ~# sas2flash -list
LSI Corporation SAS2 Flash Utility
Version 16.00.00.00 (2013.03.01)
Copyright (c) 2008-2013 LSI Corporation. All rights reserved

  Adapter Selected is a LSI SAS: SAS2008(B2)

  Controller Number  : 0
  Controller  : SAS2008(B2)
  PCI Address  : 00:04:00:00
  SAS Address  : 5009999-9-9999-9999
  NVDATA Version (Default)  : 14.01.00.06
  NVDATA Version (Persistent)  : 14.01.00.06
  Firmware Product ID  : 0x2213 (IT)
  Firmware Version  : 20.00.07.00
  NVDATA Vendor  : LSI
  NVDATA Product ID  : SAS9210-8i
  BIOS Version  : N/A
  UEFI BSD Version  : N/A
  FCODE Version  : N/A
  Board Name  : SAS9210-8i
  Board Assembly  : N/A
  Board Tracer Number  : N/A

  Finished Processing Commands Successfully.
  Exiting SAS2Flash.
[root@bandit] ~#
To flash the card, boot from your EFI-bootable USB stick and run these commands:
Code:
sas2flash -o -e 6 
sas2flash -o -f 2118it.bin
sas2flash -o -sasadd 5009999999999999

The three commands:
  1. Erase the card's flash memory
  2. Flash the card with the firmware file 2118it.bin
  3. Set the card's SAS address (note that you omit any dashes in the ID)
This should be enough to get you started. There is also a very inclusive and helpful article in the Resources section you can read ("Detailed newcomer's guide to crossflashing 9211 HBA and variants"), along with innumerable primers on the internet of varying quality.

Good luck!
 

EvilDragon

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BTW I never used the 16-digit address of the HBA card when I flashed the card previously from IR to IT firmware. I am not using FreeNAS server at all (sorry if it was somehow implied - I mean this forum is all about FreeNAS, but I registered just to fish for info and to get rid of the extra long boot time), the only reason I use the LSI card is to add more SSDs to my audio workstation (those SSDs are used for streaming sample libraries directly from the disk, they are ideal for that task).

I assume I will be fine without that, yes? Everything just worked when I went from IR to IT, without setting that address (I only have one HBA card).


But thanks, I think your post verifies that I don't REALLY need to flash the BIOS onto the card, it can function as well without it. Thank you! :)
 

Stux

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Jun 2, 2016
Messages
4,163
Your card has a sticker on it with the correct address. If you never set it you probably have a zero address.

I would set the correct address this time round.
 

EvilDragon

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Jun 29, 2017
Messages
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Is the address important only when having multiple HBAs? Because I don't plan on having that, really...
 

EvilDragon

Neophyte
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Jun 29, 2017
Messages
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OK so I managed to flash to IT firmware again without the MPT BIOS. Everything works...


But unfortunately, TRIM for my SSDs is still NOT available! :( Wasted 3 hours to get this working, I suppose. Sadpanda :(
 
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