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  • Which is faster, TB3 (USB-C) or SAS?

  • Jim Curtis

    June 7, 2021 at 9:33 pm

    I had a scare over the weekend that my ATTO R680 was crapping out. That’s a 6 GB dual channel SAS card that’s been discontinued in favor of 12 Gb PCIe cards. Turns out the R680 is fine, but it got me to thinking what’s next to replace it when it finally dies. It’s attached to an Enhance E8 enclosure (discontinued) with 8 – 12 TB Seagate EXOS enterprise drives that have four years left on warranty.

    I’m wondering whether I should consider a USB-C enclosure next, or stick with another ATTO PCIe mini-SAS solution.

    I have an 8-drive QNAP NAS I use strictly as a backup to my ATTO RAID, mostly because the aging ATTO RAID smokes my newish (1 year old) QNAP in AJA System Test of drive speed. I’m not sure why that is. Since TB3 is purported to be 40 Gb/s (or 5 GB/s), seems like I should be getting faster IO than 800 or 900 MB/s on the QNAP that I’m getting. Both RAIDs are at RAID 6. My ATTO RAID gets between 1200 and 1800 MB/s on AJA Speed Test – up to twice as fast as the TB3 attached QNAP.

    Does that sound right to you experts?

  • Neil Sadwelkar

    June 10, 2021 at 5:25 am

    When you connect to the 8-bay QNAP NAS over TB3, you are actually connecting over 10GigE so the speed you’re seeing, 800-900 MB/sec, is fine.

    But even if you had a new TB3 RAID, like a G-Speed Shuttle XL or an Areca 8050, inside this there’s a TB3-PCIe adapter connected to a SAS RAID card which runs the RAID. The SAS RAID card is usually an Areca or an Atto.

    Which is precisely what you’ve been doing with your Atto R680 and Enhance E8 – SAS RAID card connected to a SAS JBOD.

    Are you using your R680 inside a TB3-PCIe box like a Sonnet?

    For the future, your E8 is going to run just fine, there aren’t too many parts inside that could fail. There’s just a power supply and some SAS-SATA cables. There are many SAS JBOD boxes that could replace your E8.

    To replace your R680, as far as I can tell, Atto doesn’t have a SAS RAID card any more, only HBAs. They do have a PowerCenter Pro software that ships with new cards, but that’s limited to RAID 0, 1, 10.

    So, you could look at an Areca Arc-1226-8x or Arc-1883x which are SAS RAID adapters.

    Both have 2x SFF-2644 ports, so you’ll need 2x SFF-8644 to SFF-8088 Cables to hook up the Areca to your E8. To replace the E8, whenever that happens, there’s the Areca ARC-4038, an 8-bay JBOD.

  • Jim Curtis

    July 12, 2021 at 3:25 pm

    Thanks for your input, Neil.

    My ATTO / E8 combo isn’t a JBOD. It’s a RAID, and I’m running it as a RAID6 currently.

    You are correct that ATTO has discontinued calling their RAID adapters by that name, and are calling them HBAs. They’ve also discontinued the 6 Gbs line for 12 Gbs products.

    If I end up needing a new PCIe HBA, I’m going to need to reformat the drives in my RAID and get a new enclosure and cables. ATTO has also discontinued SAS connectivity for Mini-SAS.

    Therefore, having a completely separate backup RAID in my QNAP seems like a keeper of a plan. I’ve only run a few tests editing off the QNAP, and I’m confident the i/o speed will be adequate for 4K editing should I need to use that device for editing should I need to put it in service for that.

    Sorry for my tardy reply. I had notifications disabled.

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