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Thread: Problems with Convoy 425XL

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    6

    Default Problems with Convoy 425XL

    I just bought a Convoy 425XL and tried to install in my desktop computer.

    So far not very happy at all.

    I have two major problems.

    1) With 425XL plugged in and a cold power on the computer hangs at the start screen with the F-key boot options. While sitting here in the boot options screen the 425XL drive lights are blinking continuously.

    I have been able to boot the computer by have the sata cable unplugged upon start-up. After the computer has boot I can then plug the sata connection, then do a "restart" upon log in the disk drive can be seen in 'Disk Manager'.

    The JMicron Management software can see the drives after the "restart"

    2) After the drives are seen in Disk Manger the last thing to do is format the disk and format fails.

    425XL configuration,
    4-SAMSUNG SpinPoint MT2 HM100UI 1TB 5400 RPM
    Raid 10 set with switches in back. I found it neccasry to have the 425XL powered and do a manual config first.

    Computer configuration:
    Windows 7 Ultimate
    HPE-490T
    Disk controller;
    Intel ICH8R/ICH9R/ICH10R/DO/5 Series /3400 Series SATA RAID Controller. Also installed is the Intel Rapid Storage management software. This may be the problem???

    So I am new to this forum. And I have run into some seroius trouble with this unit.

    From what I have seen so far this unit totally incompatible with my hardware.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    6

    Default

    OK here are my updates.

    It appears the Samsung HM100UI are advance format disks.

    When the drives are put in one at a time so the 425xl acts as port replicator Win7 sees the drive as HM100UI and formats with out a problem.

    In any raid mode Win 7 does not know the drive type and appears to get lost, at least the format errors off.

    Since the JMicron engine predates the advance format drives I wonder that level of incompatibility exists there also.

    The power up problem is still there and is a show stopper.

    I'm tired and I'm going to bed.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    6

    Default

    One more item this morning I attempted a power on boot with and empty drive cage boot still hung.

    At this point unless someone can point to a BIOS tweak to fix the boot issue I see little reason to waste time. The 425xl is incompatible with my MOBO.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    3,601

    Default

    Hi Kilted,

    Unfortunately the Convoy 425 XL is not designed to be bootable. It would set up your array to act as a secondary storage partition with it's own set of drivers for onboard raid. These drivers may conflict and most onboard mobo raid ports do not recognize this.

    ...The Convoy 425, however would be a passthrough bootable.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Ben,


    My bad. I did not make clear what I was trying. This was just a test to see if the 425XL controller was causing the boot hang.

    In all cases the boot disk is drive C: I never attempted a boot through the 425XL.

    =D~~ Kilted

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    6

    Default The Workaround …

    … esata.

    After trying all the above mentioned things I had only one thing left to try, connect the drive to an esata port.

    I had read in one test report where this was necessary as the drive would not mount in the computer chassis with power plug attached.

    Off to Fry’s Electronics eventually I found a sata to esata conversion cable. Got home plugged it in and hit the 425XL reset/build switch for the umpteenth time and did a ‘restart’, when the system came back up I was surprised to see the format request prompt without opening ‘Disk Manager’ the raid formatted and went online. Tried some file copies and transfer rates were terrible. I did a ‘Shutdown’ power off - restart and then tried file transfers again --- much better.

    After several test’s my transfer rate settled down to; write: 75-80MB/s and read: 109-120MB/s. Using the Win 7 performance tools. The Convoy 425XL is configured for Raid 10. The performance is not spectacular but it is still pretty darn good for raid10 and this controller and the Samsung 1TB drives. Files and documents I open by double clicking from the raid10 disk open virtually instantly, right now I only have one raw picture file of 16.8MB opens instantly, so far so good.

    Conclusions;
    • In Windows know the difference between ‘reboot / cold boot’ and ‘restart / warm boot’. In windows a ‘restart’ is not a ‘reboot’. My first experience with this was on WinNT two different patch levels two different drives I could not ‘restart’ into the other system. At the very least I see the hardware controllers not being reset on a restart otherwise the 425XL would have never worked. Remember the JMicron Raid Manager could see the drivers and create raid sets but the file system ‘format’ fails.
    • At least on my mother board the ‘internal’ sata ports need to have individual disks attached. No warning in any documentation I could find. From any vendor; HP, Patriot, Sunnytek, or JMicron. And no yet again I never tried to boot to/thru the 425XL.
    • One way this showed up was the Intel controller kept grabbing a drive from the drive set before making a raid set and would cause drive errors while trying to create a raid using the JMicron Raid Manager. Pushing the button on the unit would work as this reset forced a disconnect to the sata port until the raid creation completed.
    • Installation does not cover sata vs. esata connections if I would not have read about another tester running their test via esata I may not have tried it. The only cable supplied in the box is sata only.
    • I found NO FAQ’s related to any of my problems. This seems a short coming of Patriot Memory as they appear to be sole distributor in USA.
    • I did not find this product on Sunnytek website. JMicron appears to supply the chips and software to integrators and do not appear to have a finished product of their own.
    • There are at least 6-8 flash’s for firmware for the JMicron raid controller I assume all would brick the Convoy 425XL, as none I saw had a Patriot/Sunnytek origin.
    • Sunnytek appear to not have any firmware updates and Patriot Memory has limited support on their website.

    General Observations;
    • Patriot Memory needs to improve their website support for Convoy 425XL.
    • Build quality is very good to excellent. The chassis is extruded aluminum, machined, brushed and hard anodized. The anodize does not appear to be Military grade but does seem to be Type III. The end pieces appear to be a polycarbonate. The drive latches are wimpy plastic easy to break. Drive carriers are steel cadmium plated for rust resistance.
    • Fans are very quiet when mounted in my chassis they do not appear to make any sound. My PC chassis now has six fans in it. Using the finger test the disk drives are just warm to the touch after hours of operation.
    • The JMicron Raid Manager does an OK job. The documentation supplied is generic I would like to see it better edited for the Convoy 425XL Chassis, with better explanation of what I am looking at especially the drive SMART codes.
    • Since the dive carrier accommodates 15mm SFF drives I would like to see the performance improved so an enterprise drive like Seagate Constellation.2 1TB could be used. You could mount the drive in the current chassis BUT you would throw away half of the drives performance. http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/pro...nstellation-2/
    • A sata power to 4-pin Female Molex adapter is need. I used Link Depot; http://www.link-depot.com/sata2_4pin_power_adapter.html (POW-SATA-FM).
    • Sata to esata cable Link Depot; http://www.link-depot.com/e_sata.html (ESATA-SATA-3BU)
    • Not at all impressed with documentation and the lack of discussion between sata, esata, on board raid controller and interaction with Intel Rapid Storage manager. Short answer If you have trouble with the internal sata port, use the esata port.
    • Overall operation I like it and it fills a need for me – nearline storage before stuff goes to DVD/BD archival disks.


    =D~~ Kilted

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    In the land of make believe.
    Posts
    501

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilted View Post
    <SNIP>
    After trying all the above mentioned things I had only one thing left to try, connect the drive to an esata port.
    <SNIP>
    Your ESATA port is driven by a different chipset, its possible there is some sort of incompatibilty between the jmicron chip in the 425xl and your main/internal sata chipset.


    After several test’s my transfer rate settled down to; write: 75-80MB/s and read: 109-120MB/s. Using the Win 7 performance tools. The Convoy 425XL is configured for Raid 10. The performance is not spectacular but it is still pretty darn good for raid10 and this controller and the Samsung 1TB drives. Files and documents I open by double clicking from the raid10 disk open virtually instantly, right now I only have one raw picture file of 16.8MB opens instantly, so far so good.
    From my experience with the JMB chipset in the 425XL, that is actually quite good throughput.

    Conclusions;
    • In Windows know the difference between ‘reboot / cold boot’ and ‘restart / warm boot’. In windows a ‘restart’ is not a ‘reboot’. My first experience with this was on WinNT two different patch levels two different drives I could not ‘restart’ into the other system. At the very least I see the hardware controllers not being reset on a restart otherwise the 425XL would have never worked. Remember the JMicron Raid Manager could see the drivers and create raid sets but the file system ‘format’ fails.
    Rebooting Windows or Linux is, in fact, not the same as restarting the computer, in a 'warm boot' (Windows restart), the bios/firmware on your SATA and RAID controllers does not get reinitialized. Which is why it takes longer for your pc to boot from cold than a warm reboot. Cold booting is taking the system completely offline, essentially hitting the power button.

    • At least on my mother board the ‘internal’ sata ports need to have individual disks attached. No warning in any documentation I could find. From any vendor; HP, Patriot, Sunnytek, or JMicron. And no yet again I never tried to boot to/thru the 425XL.
    • One way this showed up was the Intel controller kept grabbing a drive from the drive set before making a raid set and would cause drive errors while trying to create a raid using the JMicron Raid Manager. Pushing the button on the unit would work as this reset forced a disconnect to the sata port until the raid creation completed.
    Intel raid manager enabled chips have been known to cause issues with devices in this family, though it is not well documented, as there are not a large number of these devices.

    • Installation does not cover sata vs. esata connections if I would not have read about another tester running their test via esata I may not have tried it. The only cable supplied in the box is sata only.
    <SNIP>
    Using ESATA changed which SATA controller the drive was connected to. ESATA vs SATA specifically didnt cause this change.

    I agree some more documentation would be nice. Admittedly, this IS an enthusiast product. There is the assumption of a certain level of experience and knowledge made on behalf of the ODM (which isn't SunnyTek) which SunnyTek didnt pass down very well to Patriot, then Patriot did not translate very well into their marketing.
    Last edited by BadIntentions; 04-08-2011 at 11:21 PM.
    I AM NOT A PATRIOT MEMORY EMPLOYEE.

    But they have, on occasion, bribed me with hardware.



    I am happy to help, but don't PM me. Post a thread in the appropriate forum so others may benefit and offer assistance.
    Your lack of planning is not an emergency on my part.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    6

    Default

    BadIntentions

    Thanks for your comments. I honestly did not know the esata was a different controller chip, thanks for your comments on cold/warm boot also.

    I that case then yes positively my mobo and the 425XL are incompatible. It maybe just settings but I do not have the tools, time or knowledge to trouble shoot any further.

    Admittedly the cable running out the back is a bit of a kludge but it's tidy and works.

    My initial speed test were run using multiple copies of large outlook.pst files. A few 1.2+GB files. When I transferred my user dir ~8GB's of mixed size with lot's of small files the xfer rate dropped in half. Still OK for my intended use. I also read the Samsung HM100UI performance was much better than average 5400rpm disk, almost up to 7200rpm disk standards.

    Hopefully this thread will help fill out the documentation hole. I was so annoyed at the lack of doc's I felt obliged to add my comments.

    I agree this is a hobbyist product. Overall I can see a larger market but it needs to really be plug and play but that may take more investment than there is market.

    =D~~ Kilted
    Last edited by Kilted; 04-09-2011 at 02:49 AM.

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