Beta Orionis – Part XII

Build Log:

The system is back on the heart-lung machine, unfortunately. The AX860 stopped being able to handle any kind of power load for some reason, so it’s going back on RMA. It was symptoms very similar to what I saw with my CX750M when it stopped working correctly while I was trying to figure out an overclock.

The one thing rather odd was what happened ahead of it. I previously mentioned that I had my hard drives running external through an eSATA RAID enclosure. Unfortunately that decided to crap out on me in some way in which the system would just seemingly lock up hard, then just got to a point where it wouldn’t respond. I’ll probably still try to use it later with a couple spare drives as JBOD in a setup that isn’t critical.

Thankfully my hard drives are still working, so it was just a matter of picking up another external enclosure to get everything going again. I don’t exactly have any space in β Ori. to reinstall them inside the case — well perhaps if I got creative about trying to hang it from the top radiator. I didn’t go with a RAID enclosure either since my local Microcenter didn’t have any 2-bay RAID enclosures that I felt comfortable having.

Along with that I had an internal SATA RAID card that I hadn’t really been using. When I picked up a single-drive enclosure, I decided to try to connect it through the RAID card. For some reason that wouldn’t work, and the card actually became unresponsive. So there are two RMAs going out for replacements.

Now this RAID card should be able to create a RAID from external drives as well as internal. So I’m considering buying another single-drive enclosure, thus having both drives in separate enclosures, and setting them up in a RAID through the card. It’d be an interesting looking RAID, but it’d be a setup somewhat similar to Absinthe, in that the external enclosure I selected for that build has the ability to automatically rebuild a RAID 1 setup merely by replacing the faulty hard drive with one of the same model. The RAID card is slightly more involved, in that it requires I go through the BIOS, but that just means I’ll have status updates for its work while the replacement is rebuilt as opposed to a blinking/steady LED.

Now most single-drive enclosures I could find are SATA II enclosures, meaning only 3GB/s sustained transfer rate through the line. And if you’re running SSDs, that could be problematic. Most platter drives, though, can barely sustain talking around the 1.5GB/s of SATA I. Mine are a pair of 1TB WD Blues, model WD10EZEX, which, according to Western Digital’s spec sheet, can sustain only 150MB/s from host to/from drive. And with the drive’s 64MB cache, any improvement in speed at 6GB/s over the 3GB/s the current enclosure can handle is unnoticeable.

The USB 2.0 feature on the enclosure, however, would choke off the drive to less than half it’s possible sustained speed.

Along with the enclosure for the hard drive, I also picked one up for my optical drive, an LG Blu-Ray writer. I had an option to take the newer model, which supported USB 3.0 only, or I could go with a USB 2.0 model that also supported eSATA at 1.5GB/s and save about $16. Given that no optical drive can exceed 1.5GB/s — 1x for Blu-Ray is 36Mb/s (about 4MB/s) — it was an easy choice. Even connected via USB 2.0, the drive wouldn’t have a problem. All I need to do now is update my Blu-Ray software.

So all-in-all a few interesting setbacks. The loop is done and working, but I still have an interesting temperature differential between the two cards, even with them running in serial instead of parallel. I’m thinking I just need to redo the water block on the hotter card to see if that helps. I’ll handle that when RMAs come back in as I don’t feel like draining the loop again and instead I’ll just do everything at once.