Recommendations for an R720

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Edgeman

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Mar 25, 2019
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I have acquired a decent R720 but unfortunately the backplane is powered by an H710 Mini which from my research (eg. https://forums.servethehome.com/ind...res-with-dell-perc-h710p-mini-lsi-2208.22019/ ) does NOT support pass through and my ZFS system will be sad.
What's the recommended way to get this system into a nice, no RAID involved, still using the backplane/existing cables ideally, state?
From the iDRAC:
"ProductName PERC H710 Mini"
I have an existing ZFS array in a different system that I would like to move in to this one, thus the "create 8x single disk" thing won't work in my case. Not that I'd like to do that ideally.
Just curious if there's a drop-in replacement that I can do to support what I need if the H710 Mini doesn't.

Thanks.
 

DanielWood

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Sep 14, 2018
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Just curious if there's a drop-in replacement that I can do to support what I need if the H710 Mini doesn't.
H310 Mini is a drop in, but I dont recommend it as you cant flash the LSI firmware to it.

You can put a HP H220 in the PCI slot and swap the SFF-8087 cables for some longer ones with 90-degree connectors on one end. I did that in a R720 with no issue.
 

Edgeman

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Mar 25, 2019
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H220 looks reasonably priced on ebay, lots of sellers advertising "IT Mode" etc.
I'll have to get new cabling as the R720 cabling uses the single double-wide to two smaller SAS cables, ie. https://cdn2.bigcommerce.com/server...69/MX3P7a__39981.1383251094.1280.1280.jpg?c=2

I might be able to scavenge cables that will work from other servers around here. Thanks for the info!
Are all HP H220 cards already in IT mode or is that a firmware flash that these ebay vendors have already done?
 

BLinux

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Jul 7, 2016
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H310 Mini is a drop in, but I dont recommend it as you cant flash the LSI firmware to it.
Do you know that for a fact or just something you saw someone else mention? I'm just curious ... because I've seen a lot of people mention it, but not based on actually trying it. if you've actually tried it, I'd like to know what you tried, and what problems you ran into.

You can put a HP H220 in the PCI slot and swap the SFF-8087 cables for some longer ones with 90-degree connectors on one end. I did that in a R720 with no issue.
H220 will work, but it will also trigger the fans to spin up. You can override the fan control, but it's something to consider.
 

DanielWood

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Sep 14, 2018
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Do you know that for a fact or just something you saw someone else mention? I'm just curious ... because I've seen a lot of people mention it, but not based on actually trying it. if you've actually tried it, I'd like to know what you tried, and what problems you ran into.
Multiple reports of everyone trying to crossflash the H310 mini bricking it.

From: How-to Flash Dell Perc H310 with IT Firmware To Change Queue Depth from 25 to 600 | ESX Virtualization
Jens says

September 4, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Hi, a small word of caution: If you try and flash a H310 Mini adaptor (like the one in a PowerEdge R320) to the IT firmware, you will effectively brink your storage.

After performing the wipes in the beginning with megarec, sas2flsh still did not recognise the controller, but so far so good (or so I thought).
After rebooting the server it stalled on an invalid controller in the internal storage slot and just said “System halted” and never completed POST.

I’ve had to RMA the controller to get access to my disks again..
Douglas says

May 13, 2018 at 1:38 am

Did the same on my R320 as well. Another forum mentioned they are PCI ID locked for the H310 mini with Dell IR firmware.

Have 2 cards that are ready to have new FW flashed, but my systems wont boot with them in, and if I plug in after, do not detect so I cannot flash them back to IR…
 

DanielWood

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Sep 14, 2018
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H220 looks reasonably priced on ebay, lots of sellers advertising "IT Mode" etc.
I'll have to get new cabling as the R720 cabling uses the single double-wide to two smaller SAS cables, ie. https://cdn2.bigcommerce.com/server...69/MX3P7a__39981.1383251094.1280.1280.jpg?c=2

I might be able to scavenge cables that will work from other servers around here. Thanks for the info!
Are all HP H220 cards already in IT mode or is that a firmware flash that these ebay vendors have already done?
Not sure if they are IR or IT by default, but these are even easier to flash than the PERC H310/H200, no reboots needed.

Use this thread for flashing instructions:
https://forums.servethehome.com/index.php?threads/flashing-hp-h220-sas-card-to-latest-fw.13057/
 

Edgeman

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Mar 25, 2019
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Well, I definitely don't want the fans to spin up. Are there ANY Dell controllers that allow disk passthru? I tend to have access to a lot of Dell parts, though a quick check shows mostly PERC6/i as the cards in the other readily accessible machines.
 

BLinux

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Jul 7, 2016
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Well, I definitely don't want the fans to spin up. Are there ANY Dell controllers that allow disk passthru? I tend to have access to a lot of Dell parts, though a quick check shows mostly PERC6/i as the cards in the other readily accessible machines.
DELL H310, H200, 9217-8i
 

Edgeman

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Mar 25, 2019
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In an unrelated note, I was planning on using a pair of 2.5" SATA drives hanging out in the rear of the R720 for the OS, however there's no power back there. Any ideas on getting SATA power near the back of the machine?
 

DanielWood

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Sep 14, 2018
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That's what I was thinking, the drives I want to use appear to indicate that they need the 12v line as well? They say "RATED: +5v 0.80A +12v 0.20A"
SATA 2.5 drives operate on either/or. If this was an issue, virtually all HDD Optical Bay adapters would have issues as those only have 5V, and I have never heard of a single case of them not working.

You might have issues with 2.5 SAS drives that spin at 10K RPM+ or with WD RAPTORS, but with SATA SSDs? Not an issue at all.

Same thing for USB-powered external enclosures. Although some of them do have issues supplying enough amperage. This would be a non-issue for SATA SSDs spliced into the internal 5V rail. The wire gauge is a bit thin, but I doubt you'll ever approach anything close to problem currents. You could eliminate that as even an issue by replacing the existing wires on the connector instead of splicing into them.
 

Edgeman

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Mar 25, 2019
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I want to run a pair of these "Dell Constellation.2" drives. 2.5" 500GB 7200RPM SATAs. On 5v they indicate 0.8A max, do you think the 5v lines for the optical would handle 1.6A ?
 

DanielWood

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Sep 14, 2018
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I want to run a pair of these "Dell Constellation.2" drives. 2.5" 500GB 7200RPM SATAs. On 5v they indicate 0.8A max, do you think the 5v lines for the optical would handle 1.6A ?
Assuming it is 24 gauge wire, 40C temperature, 24" of wire, you are right at the threshold.

I certainly wouldnt recommend it in that scenario. I thought we were talking about piddly little SATA SSDs.

That said, you can splice into the main power connector going into the 2.5 backplane and run 16AWG wire to the back with absolutely no issue whatsoever. Not sure if it supplies 5V at all, might be only 12V (which should work fine). Just pull out a multimeter and test.
 

Edgeman

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Mar 25, 2019
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Yeah, checked the cable there's no printing on it at all. The power wires to the backplane are yellow/grey/black, they aren't very long, will be a bit cumbersome.
I wish there was a better way to run OS drives separate from the array in this thing. I did some digging, there's PCIE cards and stuff that may do the job, but the pricing isn't great for what you get.
 

BLinux

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So the H310 normal card has passthrough but the mini does not have it? Could you please elaborate.
No one (that I've heard of) has yet successfully flashed the H310 mini with LSI IT firmware, but the regular PCIe H310 has been done many times. So, with IT firmware on any of the cards I listed, the disks with be passed through.

Matt G I found this:
Updated: SAS HBA crossflashing or flashing to IT mode, Dell Perc H200 and H310
Which specifically says do not do this on Mini cards.
Reinforcing the above. That said, looking over the issues people have had trying to flash the H310 mini, I actually think I might be able to flash LSI IT firmware on it using a different method. I'm trying to order a R720 with H310 mini to experiment.
 
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Edgeman

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Mar 25, 2019
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I did some digging and almost all of the servers we get have H7xx cards. Why is it that these (I assume) higher end cards are less capable than the 3xx series?