Author Topic: PCIe - SATA3 card choices?  (Read 1619 times)

Dariusz Piatkowski

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PCIe - SATA3 card choices?
« on: March 29, 2020, 03:53:58 am »
The other thread about building an OS/2 hardware system got me thinking about where the current hardware I have could use a little "help".

All in all I have a working system, but as I toss the occasional upgrade at it here and there, the original foundational pieces are starting to show their age.

Case in point, the MSI motherboard (880G-E45) only has a SATA2 controller. A couple of years ago I installed a Samsung 850 Evo SSD and completely moved away from a HPFS386 setup to JFS. Working fine, no issues. But since 850 Evo is SATA3 capable I haven't really had the chance to benefit from that capability.

All the numerous arguments around whether a typical home user would benefit or not aside, the point is clear: SATA3 is faster than SATA2.

So I'm curious, has anyone attempted to use a PCIe SATA3 add-on controller card? If so, what chipset did you find supported on our platform, and was that in standard SATA or AHCI mode?

Here is the current output of SysBench for my 850 Evo SSD:

Code: [Select]
Disk I/O disk 1-2: 238473 MB - Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB
   Avg. data access time :       --.---    milliseconds
   Cache/Bus xfer rate   :      125.379    Megabytes/second
   Track 0 xfer rate fwd :      228.815    Megabytes/second
   Middle trk rate fwds. :      231.438    Megabytes/second
   Last track rate bwds. :      217.636    Megabytes/second
   Average Transfer rate :      225.963    Megabytes/second
   Disk use CPU load     :        2.830    percent
   -----------------------------------------------------------------------
   Total                 :       --.---    Disk I/O-marks

...and here is the output of DiskIO for the same drive:

Code: [Select]
DISKIO - Fixed Disk Benchmark, Version 1.18z
(C) 1994-1998 Kai Uwe Rommel
(C) 2004 madded2

Number of fixed disks: 6
Number of CD-ROM drives: 1

Dhrystone 2.1 C benchmark routines (C) 1988 Reinhold P. Weicker
Dhrystone benchmark for this CPU: 4327544 runs/sec

Hard disk 2: 255 sides, 30401 cylinders, 63 sectors per track = 238472 MB
Drive cache/bus transfer rate: 114199 k/sec
Data transfer rate on cylinder 0   : 205139 k/sec
Data transfer rate on cylinder 30399: 192094 k/sec
CPU usage by full speed disk transfers: 23%
Average data access time: Disk read error.
Multithreaded disk I/O (4 threads): 118139 k/sec, 14% CPU usage


Thanks!

Pete

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Re: PCIe - SATA3 card choices?
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2020, 06:14:23 am »
Hi Dariusz

You may be on a "suck it and see" with this question...

i have not needed to investigate this myself but a quick look at a few options on ebay suggests that no special driver is required for windows - no drivers mentioned in ads.

So, I would expect it to work with os2ahci, possibly with a(some) command line switch(es) to get driver to recognise and work with adapter.


Have fun  :-)

Pete

Dave Yeo

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Re: PCIe - SATA3 card choices?
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2020, 06:30:16 am »
The problem you likely will run into is that your computer probably only has PCI-E v2, so even with a SATA 3 contrloller, your speed will be limited to SATA 2 speeds.
I ran into the same issue, and picked up a cheap used computer that does have 2 SATA 3 controllers (and 2 SATA 2).
While it did really speed up the SSD, it is a cheap Kingston and even on SATA 3, performs worse then yours.
Code: [Select]
Disk I/O disk 0-2: 228934 MB - KINGSTON SA400S37240G
   Avg. data access time :       --.---    milliseconds
   Cache/Bus xfer rate   :      122.595    Megabytes/second
   Track 0 xfer rate fwd :      120.709    Megabytes/second
   Middle trk rate fwds. :      219.430    Megabytes/second
   Last track rate bwds. :      206.746    Megabytes/second
   Average Transfer rate :      182.295    Megabytes/second
   Disk use CPU load     :        5.430    percent
   ---------------------------------------------------------
   Total                 :       --.---    Disk I/O-marks

Dariusz Piatkowski

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Re: PCIe - SATA3 card choices?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2020, 04:48:46 pm »
Hey Dave!

The problem you likely will run into is that your computer probably only has PCI-E v2, so even with a SATA 3 contrloller, your speed will be limited to SATA 2 speeds...

So I tried to anticipate this by investigating the PCI-E specs prior to going down the add-on card road. Based on what I have read up the PCI-E v2 x1 (x1 = single lane) supports up to 500 MB/sec throughput. Given that number and let's say taking about 10% off due to overhead I'd still be potentially up to that 450 MB/sec rate, which while a bit lower than the theoretical SATA3 of 600 MB/sec is still a good bump from where I am today, especially given that only a SINGLE SSD would be connected to that add-on controller card. The HDDs would still stay on the motherboard's SATA2 controller.

The motherboard restriction of course leaves out the possibility of going down the PCI-E x4 route, but one could certainly do that and there are plenty of add-on cards out there that support this as well.

You know, given that most of the cards I found so far are right around that $30-$40 mark, I'm actually contemplating picking up a used MSI motherboard (still within the same product family as what I'm running right now, down to the NIC and audio chipsets - so perhaps working right out-of-the-box).

Was thinking about something like https://www.msi.com/Motherboard/890FXAGD65/Specification

Ahh...crazy eh?

EDIT
====
In case anyone is looking for a decent PCIe explain, here are a good couple of sites:

1) Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express

2) HardwareSecretes
https://www.hardwaresecrets.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-pci-express/
« Last Edit: March 29, 2020, 05:29:33 pm by Dariusz Piatkowski »

Neil Waldhauer

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Re: PCIe - SATA3 card choices?
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2020, 05:12:46 pm »
This is from my http://www.blondeguy.com/computer/humbopeep.html machine, a Lenovo ThinkCentre M720s.

Code: [Select]
Disk I/O disk 0-1: 122103 MB - SAMSUNG MZ7LN128HAHQ-000L1
   Avg. data access time :       --.---    milliseconds
   Cache/Bus xfer rate   :      150.091    Megabytes/second
   Track 0 xfer rate fwd :      406.492    Megabytes/second
   Middle trk rate fwds. :       30.211    Megabytes/second
   Last track rate bwds. :      407.783    Megabytes/second
   Average Transfer rate :      281.495    Megabytes/second
   Disk use CPU load     :        9.480    percent
   -----------------------------------------------------------------------
   Total                 :       --.---    Disk I/O-marks

By the way, we are all showing that failure of the Avg. data access time test. How hard would it be to fix SysBench so that test doesn't fail and a Disk I/O-marks score could be created?

I'd post another machine, but it looks like SysBench crashed. I looked on the Lenovo website, and SATA is going away fast. You can still order a machine with a SATA drive, but by default, none seem to have it.
Expert consulting for ArcaOS, OS/2 and eComStation
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Dariusz Piatkowski

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Re: PCIe - SATA3 card choices?
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2020, 05:31:15 pm »
Hi Pete,

...So, I would expect it to work with os2ahci, possibly with a(some) command line switch(es) to get driver to recognise and work with adapter...

Do you know if any specials steps are required to make a move from the traditional SATA to AHCI use on our OS/2 platform?

So I thought I read before that in order to use AHCI one actually has to re-format the drive itself, etc, etc...is that the case?

Dave Yeo

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Re: PCIe - SATA3 card choices?
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2020, 07:04:57 pm »
Hi Dariusz, switching to AHCI is as easy as enabling it in your Bios and loading the driver.
Yes, it seems using more lanes if you can would speed things up.
@Neil, I don't think we have the source code for sysbench and Trevor hasn't been around for a while.

ivan

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Re: PCIe - SATA3 card choices?
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2020, 09:48:58 pm »
Hi Dariusz,

Can I convert you to the idea of building a nice new AMD Ryzen based computer?  It might get round all your problems.


BTW My Disk i/o for a non SSD drive is attached

Dave Yeo

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Re: PCIe - SATA3 card choices?
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2020, 09:58:46 pm »
I get similar numbers for my fastest spinning drive,
Code: [Select]
Disk I/O disk 0-1: 953855 MB - WDC WD10EZEX-75M2NA0
   Avg. data access time :       15.500    milliseconds
   Cache/Bus xfer rate   :      296.543    Megabytes/second
   Track 0 xfer rate fwd :      175.897    Megabytes/second
   Middle trk rate fwds. :      148.977    Megabytes/second
   Last track rate bwds. :       84.567    Megabytes/second
   Average Transfer rate :      136.480    Megabytes/second
   Disk use CPU load     :        2.860    percent
   ---------------------------------------------------------
   Total                 :      802.310    Disk I/O-marks

But in real world usage, I can compile Mozilla almost 15% faster on the slow SDD.

Pete

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Re: PCIe - SATA3 card choices?
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2020, 09:59:02 pm »
Hi Dariusz

You are switching disk driver not file system driver so do not need to reformat.

How much you pay for a card seems to depend on how many sata3 ports you want - 2 port cards look fairly inexpensive eg https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/PCI-E-2-0-PCI-Express-to-SATA-3-0-2-Port-Expansion-Controller-Adapter-Card-6Gbps/352922289234?hash=item522bcec452:g:DRsAAOSwoZZeey5g&autorefresh=true

Check [BootDrive]:\sys\doc\AHCI\README.TXT for details of switches.


Regards

Pete



ivan

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Re: PCIe - SATA3 card choices?
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2020, 12:28:27 am »
Hi Dave,

Maybe I should consider using the SDD drive I got a couple of years ago for a notebook but ended up never using.  Might be interesting to see just how fast the boot info scrolls up the screen - at the moment it is too fast to read.

Dariusz Piatkowski

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Re: PCIe - SATA3 card choices?
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2020, 12:41:03 am »
All in all you guys here are all the disks I'm currently dealing with:

1) SSD - Samsung Evo 850
2) HDD - WD VelociRaptor 10K RPM (WDC WD3000HLFS-01G6U0)
3) HDD - WD Caviar Blue 7200 RPM (WDC WD5000AAKS-00V1A0)

Code: [Select]
Disk I/O disk 1-2: 238473 MB - Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB
   Avg. data access time :       --.---    milliseconds
   Cache/Bus xfer rate   :      140.779    Megabytes/second
   Track 0 xfer rate fwd :      214.527    Megabytes/second
   Middle trk rate fwds. :      224.304    Megabytes/second
   Last track rate bwds. :      209.764    Megabytes/second
   Average Transfer rate :      216.198    Megabytes/second
   Disk use CPU load     :       18.430    percent
   -----------------------------------------------------------------------
   Total                 :       --.---    Disk I/O-marks

 Disk I/O disk 2-3: 286166 MB - WD3000HLFS-01G6U0
   Avg. data access time :        6.900    milliseconds
   Cache/Bus xfer rate   :      219.546    Megabytes/second
   Track 0 xfer rate fwd :      121.100    Megabytes/second
   Middle trk rate fwds. :      106.410    Megabytes/second
   Last track rate bwds. :       74.197    Megabytes/second
   Average Transfer rate :      100.569    Megabytes/second
   Disk use CPU load     :       16.530    percent
   -----------------------------------------------------------------------
   Total                 :      564.284    Disk I/O-marks

 Disk I/O disk 2-4: 476938 MB - WD5000AAKS-00V1A0
   Avg. data access time :       14.700    milliseconds
   Cache/Bus xfer rate   :      188.920    Megabytes/second
   Track 0 xfer rate fwd :      128.601    Megabytes/second
   Middle trk rate fwds. :      109.896    Megabytes/second
   Last track rate bwds. :       60.913    Megabytes/second
   Average Transfer rate :       99.803    Megabytes/second
   Disk use CPU load     :       16.850    percent
   -----------------------------------------------------------------------
   Total                 :      552.953    Disk I/O-marks

I will tell you this, where the VelociRaptor made a real dent, the SSD really took things to the next level.

The key here is the access time, this is what provides for a more responsive system feeling, and when coupled with a high and sustained xfer rate will give you a machine that just flat-out seems to load things quick and you never have to "wait for the drive".

Dariusz Piatkowski

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Re: PCIe - SATA3 card choices?
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2020, 12:54:34 am »
Hey Ivan,

...Can I convert you to the idea of building a nice new AMD Ryzen based computer?  It might get round all your problems...

No need to, I've been a convert all my PC life actually - seriously, starting way back when the Intel 8086 4.77 MHz was yanked and replaced with the 10 MHz AMD CPU. But I wish I could take the Ryzen plunge for our platform, and while I've read about your success in the past, for now I'm still going to wait a tad more for AOS to complete their enhancements.

Having said that, my son's machine (heavy into graphics processing) is a Ryzen7 2700X box, Samsung 970 Pro 512Gig M.2 NVMe drive, 32G RAM, the machine is a BEAST!!!

Dave Yeo

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Re: PCIe - SATA3 card choices?
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2020, 12:59:20 am »
Hi Ivan, boot isn't that much faster with most of the time checking the various partitions, including one slow drive. Things like SeaMonkey starting up are noticeably faster. Worth trying.

Dariusz Piatkowski

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Re: PCIe - SATA3 card choices?
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2020, 08:12:54 pm »
Quick update for you guys.

So off I went at least tryig to get the AHCI part working for me. All three storage devices (1 SSD and 2 HDDs) support NCQ, so why not at least try to take advantage of it, right?

The only point to note here is very specific to my hardware: booting up with AHCI driver enabled caused my otherwise "orderly" arrangement of devices to get jumbled a bit...basically the DVD player got tossed onto a AHCI port while one of the HDDs remained on the SATA/IDE controller.

The above situation cause the following ahci.log entry to be created:

Code: [Select]
Adapter 0: PCI=0:17:0 ID=1002:4390 AMD SB700/800 irq=22 addr=0xfe8ffc00 version=10100
  Port 0:
    Drive 0: 30401 cylinders, 255 heads, 63 sectors per track (238472MB) (LVM)
             Model: Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB             
  Port 1:
    Drive 0: 36481 cylinders, 255 heads, 63 sectors per track (286165MB) (LVM)
             Model: WDC WD3000HLFS-01G6U0                 
  Port 2:
    No drive present
  Port 3:
    Drive 0: atapi removable
             Model: HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GH22NS50               
port #3 interrupt error status: 0x40000001; restarting port
port #3 interrupt error status: 0x40000001; restarting port
port #3 interrupt error status: 0x40000001; restarting port
port #3 interrupt error status: 0x40000001; restarting port
port #3 interrupt error status: 0x40000001; restarting port
port #3 interrupt error status: 0x40000001; restarting port
port #3 interrupt error status: 0x40000001; restarting port
...

with multiple "port #3 interrupt error status: 0x40000001; restarting port" messages being posted.

I figured this must have been due to the ATAPI device being on that AHCI port, and despite the fact that the AHCI readme implies that's OK to do (although some audio CD functionality may be lost) I did not understand the meaning of this message. For all I know this is maybe caused by lack of CD/DVD media being present in the drive itself, I did not test that.

Anyways, I re-wired which ports my storage devices were connected to on the motherboard. This allowed me to toss all the NCQ supporting drives on the AHCI controller and relegate the ATAPI device to the good ol' SATA/IDE controller being driven by DANI drivers.

Things appear to be working. Quick re-test showed a tiny increase in throughput with the biggest difference being the CPU utilization drop from about 20-25% to about 3-5% on the AHCI setup. This makes sense if I correctly understood one of the advantages of AHCI setup, which is the offloading of the scheduling and transmission of the command protocol from the CPU onto the device controller.

As a side note, I am curious why my SSD cache/bus transfer is so poor? Not related to the AHCI change, must be something different because it certainly is strange that it's actually slower than the HDDs.