neilhart's Prodigy "The Black One" - ATX in a mini-ITX case

Discussion in 'Retail Cases' started by neilhart, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. chaosdesigns

    chaosdesigns

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    Feb 2, 2013 at 6:56 AM #21
    chaosdesigns

    chaosdesigns

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    Ha Ha... same store I shop at!

    chaos
     
  2. neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    Feb 6, 2013 at 3:46 PM #22
    neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    A Small Update:

    [​IMG]

    As I had stated earlier, I have the High Point Rocket 640L PCIe Controller card that has 4 SATAIII ports. The card has a boot time BIOS set-up program that provides the ability to set up RAID sets. My intention was to determine which gave me better performance implementing a 2 drive RAID 0 set using 2 small SSDs. The comparison is between using the Z77 chipset and OS X software RAID 0 and the Rocket 640L RAID 0 using the same pair of drives. Using ML 10.8.2 and Chimera 1.11.1 for bootable RAID sets.

    I was frustrated initially with the Rocket card. I could not get into it's set-up program, the machine would go into the motherboard POST and not see the Rocket set-up. I might note that the Rocket card is OOB functional as a drive controller card.

    So going back to the initial forum posting: http://www.tonymacx86.com/mountain-lion-desktop-guides/81854-software-fusion-raid-alternative.html
    and found a hint to needing a motherboard BIOS update. I was running the F11 version and updated to the beta version F12e of the UEFI BIOS. Then with the new BIOS the Rocket card presents a boot time status screen, and entering Ctrl + M you can enter the Rocket 640L set-up utility.

    I made up a mounting bracket for the two new SSDs hanging them above the 3.5" hard drive.

    [​IMG]

    Before view.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And while I was in this area, I raised the 3.5" drive mounting by 1/4" for better clearance of the cabling below the drive. And relocated the front panel (actually the right panel) USB3 ports cable from the motherboard USB3-1 connector to the USB3-2 connector as it has been reported to give better performance.

    [​IMG]

    Bench mark the two SSDs running on the Rocket 640L. Not what I had anticipated.

    [​IMG]

    Then reconfigured the setup using the two white motherboard SATAIII ports, the OS X software RAID 0 set runs very well. I might note that the boot time is amusing. The white boot screen flashes up, the Apple logo is displayed and then the desktop is presented; maybe a 2 or 3 second boot!

    As an aside, the pair of SSDs are SanDisk 6Gbs 128GB model SDSSDP-128G-G25 sourced from NCIX.com.

    I am still exploring the capabilities of this awesome motherboard. I have had both HD 4000 and the HD 6870 working concurrently with three displays. And have used my Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet adapter on the first TB port to my Gig-E switch; works without issue or OOB.

    I think that overclocking is up next and I will see how far I can push it without up grading my current CPU cooler.

    Have fun hacking,
    neil
     
  3. ersterhernd

    ersterhernd

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    Feb 6, 2013 at 8:33 PM #23
    ersterhernd

    ersterhernd

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    LOL too funny. Between NCIX and MetalMart across the street, spent a lot of time in that neighborhood lately.
     
  4. chaosdesigns

    chaosdesigns

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    Feb 6, 2013 at 8:54 PM #24
    chaosdesigns

    chaosdesigns

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    Not to mention SMI Electronics just down the street a bit from MetalMart.

    chaos
     
  5. ersterhernd

    ersterhernd

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    Feb 6, 2013 at 11:45 PM #25
    ersterhernd

    ersterhernd

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    Absolutely!
     
  6. neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    Mar 15, 2013 at 6:20 PM #26
    neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    I have updated The Black to OS X 10.8.3 and reconfigured my working setup to use three displays attached to the HD 6870.
    I am using an active DP to DVI adapter for the Dell 20" at 1600 x 1200 on the far left. The center 24 inch display is from the first DVI port and the right most display is driven from the HDMI port via HDMI to DVI cable. Both 24 inch displays are at 1920 x 1200.

    Boot time is quick, a few seconds to the desk top. Not over clocked yet and is running 14,800 on the 64 bit geekbench
    .
    [​IMG]

    OS X continues to please me very much.
    neil
     
  7. mattyd

    mattyd

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    Mar 21, 2013 at 10:12 AM #27
    mattyd

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    Neil, this is a query regarding your raid disk speed tests.

    Forgetting that you have your extra raid card, have you got any numbers with how the onboard Marvell 88SE9125 sata chip goes for speed?

    After reading your Feb 7th post, you have helped push me over the edge in getting this board and combining it with 2x SSDs for a raid boot disk. But since the intel chip only has two 6gb/s SATA6 ports, having my data drives on the remaining four SATA3 3gb/s ports will be slower. There is of course the Marvell chip, which has a single internal 6gb/s SATA6 port, along with the eSata 6gb/s port on the back.

    I am just wondering if you have had a chance to test if there was any real-world speed difference between using a standard SATA6 drive on an Intel SATA3 port and the Marvel Sata6 port.

    BTW, Amazing job on shoe-horning that ATX board into that Case. I was impressed with the way you did it with the medium size board, but this is even more impressive. Pity Bitfenix didn't make the prodigy 10mm wider and 10mm higher. This would have given you all the extra room needed to fit these boards without problems.

    Matt
     
  8. neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    Mar 21, 2013 at 12:55 PM #28
    neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    Well I do not have comparison numbers between the Intel and Marvel SATA III ports. I do however have an 128GB Agility 4 set up as a backup boot drive on the Marvel 6Gb/s port. And running the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test app I see Write speed at 266 MB/s and Read speed at 330 MB/s. I did run this same drive on the Intel ports but just can not recall the numbers. Sorry.

    This motherboard and booting to OS X from SSDs is silly fast. Just now I rebooted to the Agility drive and was at the desktop in a few seconds. Booting to the RAID 0 pair of SanDisk SSDs is amusing, from the end of the Chimera delay to the desktop is 2 or 3 seconds.

    Have a good day,
    neil
     
  9. macs_forever

    macs_forever

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    Apr 13, 2013 at 11:47 PM #29
    macs_forever

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    I am curious as to why you didn't put all of your hard disks on the back side of the motherboard tray (same side as the power supply) instead of blocking or crowding the PCIe slots.
     
  10. neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    Apr 14, 2013 at 10:38 PM #30
    neilhart

    neilhart Moderator

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    Well it is fairly easy to service the left side, the panel on and off with two thumb screws. Where as the right side panel having the switches, USB ports and 2.5" drives is a pain to remove and replace.

    And I don't intend to install any additional PCIe cards. These three drives are located so that the data and power cables were easy to install and maintain.

    Of interest, I have found that to service these drives, I remove the left side panel, pop out the front panel, and remove the front fan (4 screws) and I have full fairly unrestricted access to the drives and cabling.

    This is my main home system now and is up 24/7 and it drives three displays from the HD 6870 card. Originally I had planned to overclock it but have not found any time to get into that area. This chassis flows a large amount of air front to back and idles in the high 20s and low 30s.

    neil
     

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