September 2006 Archives

After Jared unplugged the failing drive (and the geeklair was back up and running with a degraded RAID setup) I ordered a set of 2 new disks.

Of course, the place I ordered from them ended up not having any in stock and canceled my order (and refunded my money).

So, having my extra-cheap disk option eliminated, I decided to purchase a pair of Seagate drives (as they come with 5 year warranties - longer than anyone else and are comparable in price to other drives if you purchase extended warranties for them).

I ordered 2 250GB (16MB cache) Seagate drives from a pricegrabber storefront on a Friday (with FedEx shipping for $0.02), and waited for them to arrive. Of course, even though they were listed in stock, they didn't actually ship until the next Thursday).

After the drives arrived, I realized that I had forgotten that the internal IDE on the G4 doesn't do LBA48-bit addressing, and so I wouldn't be able to use the drives as I had planned (as a single mirrored 250GB volume mounted as /).

To fix this, I ordered an Acard AEC-6280M from newegg. It's faster than the internal bus (ATA-133 vs. ATA-66, even though the new drives only do ATA-100), and has dual independent channels, so both HDs could be IDE Masters. Additionally, this made the install much easier.

Arriving at Jared's house, I shut down the geeklair, installed the new card and drives and booted back up.

While the machine was running, I set up the new software RAID mirror and rsync'd the contents of the old drive. I then shut down all external services, rsync'd again, pointed the machine to boot off of the new array and rebooted.

When everything looked OK, I shut down the machine again and removed the old drives (which were 120GB IBM Deskstar drives whose warranty expired in 2004). I turned the machine on again, and things were looking good.

With this configuration, I'm measuring about 2x the IO performance of the old configuration. I would have liked hardware RAID (with the AEC-6880M perhaps) instead, but the acard management software doesn't appear to have command-line equivalents to their GUI application.

The 6280M presents attached drives to the system as SCSI devices, so I'm unfortunately unable to monitor the S.M.A.R.T. status of these new disks.

The system seems to be running fine, however and the old still-working Deskstar drive has a new home in my windows/linux/freebsd testing/gaming machine.


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