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 HDD x2? 
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Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:49 pm
Posts: 539
Location: Israel
Post Re: HDD x2?
One more Mini-PCIe card with 2x SATA ports: M531A from Lex Computech
http://www.lex.com.tw/product/minipcie-h.htm
Attachment:
M531A-big.jpg
M531A-big.jpg [ 40.52 KiB | Viewed 4859 times ]

Technical Data
. Supports 1~2 SATA ports
. RAID supports 0 & 1
. RAID Mode Selection ( 4-pin DIP Switch )
. Extend Interface : Mini PCIe gold finger interface
. O.S : MS WinXP SP2, Linux
. Dimension : 50.95 x 30 mm
Ordering Information
. M531A-1S : 1 Serial ATA 2.0 Port (Default)
. M531A-2S : 2 Serial ATA 2.0 Ports & Hardware RAID Function

I will wait with ordering sample though, since I want to test the previous one first.


Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:31 pm
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Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:49 pm
Posts: 539
Location: Israel
Post Re: HDD x2?
I have received my MPX-3132 card today and started testing it:

The good news are that Fit-PC2 detects the card both in Linux and in Windows XP (in CentOS 5.4 it worked out-of-the-box with sata_sil24.ko module; in Windows XP I had to install drivers from the provided CD). In Windows XP I also tried to connect a disk on the fly (hot-swap), and that worked.

The bad news are that unfortunately Fit-PC2 Phoenix BIOS does not support boot from devices connected to this card. I am confident that it's because of BIOS since I have also tested this card in Intel D510MO motherboard (with Intel BIOS), and there it was possible to boot the computer from hard disk connected to MPX-3132 card.

I will post photos and performance test results later - just wanted to give thumbs up about this solution.

Note #1: Installing this card will void your Fit-PC2 warranty
Note #2: This card will not work in Fit-PC2i since it does not have PCIe lane on the mini-PCIe socket, but only USB lane, so don't try it with Fit-PC2i


Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:07 am
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Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:39 pm
Posts: 29
Post Re: HDD x2?
That's cool news, thanks!! Booting from the MPX-3132 is not a priority for me as I will have a laptop boot hdd (or maybe a small SSD).

My request is, can you see if this fits in a closed fit-pc2 and have the connectors hang outside of the case, through an opening cut in the case? Would there even be space to mount one or two e-sata connectors in the case, with the appropriate cable-modding?

Waiting for the performance tests and pictures ;)


Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:18 am
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Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:49 pm
Posts: 539
Location: Israel
Post Re: HDD x2?
*** Installing this card will void your Fit-PC2 warranty ***

Here are some pictures:

1. Installing MPX-3132 card on the bottom of Fit-PC2 board
Attachment:
MPX-3132_Fit-PC2_photo1.JPG
MPX-3132_Fit-PC2_photo1.JPG [ 148.95 KiB | Viewed 4744 times ]

2. Plug SATA data cable into SATA1 wafer connector.
Attachment:
MPX-3132_Fit-PC2_photo2.JPG
MPX-3132_Fit-PC2_photo2.JPG [ 101.6 KiB | Viewed 4749 times ]

3. Both SATA cables are plugged in. To mount the board back into the case, make sure SATA1 cable is positioned directly below the US15W chipset, and SATA2 cable is between the chipset and the CPU.
Attachment:
MPX-3132_Fit-PC2_photo3.JPG
MPX-3132_Fit-PC2_photo3.JPG [ 143.52 KiB | Viewed 4745 times ]


Sun Apr 04, 2010 5:44 pm
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Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:49 pm
Posts: 539
Location: Israel
Post Re: HDD x2?
*** Installing this card will void your Fit-PC2 warranty ***

4. Fit-PC2 board is mounted in the case together with MPX-3132 card - the SATA cables are inserted through a gap between the board and the case.
Attachment:
MPX-3132_Fit-PC2_photo4.JPG
MPX-3132_Fit-PC2_photo4.JPG [ 85.67 KiB | Viewed 4766 times ]

5. With internal SATA hard disk attached.
Attachment:
MPX-3132_Fit-PC2_photo5.JPG
MPX-3132_Fit-PC2_photo5.JPG [ 53.03 KiB | Viewed 4775 times ]

6. With internal disk attached - side view. You can see that adding those cables would only require cutting in the hard disk side cover plate.
Attachment:
MPX-3132_Fit-PC2_photo6.JPG
MPX-3132_Fit-PC2_photo6.JPG [ 36.01 KiB | Viewed 4757 times ]


Sun Apr 04, 2010 5:46 pm
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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:11 pm
Posts: 2339
Post Re: HDD x2?
Nice, but be advised that future revisions to the internals of the case may not support the gaps used for the cables.

_________________
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Irad Stavi
fit-PC forum admin

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Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:05 pm
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Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:39 pm
Posts: 29
Post Re: HDD x2?
Thanks for the update, it looks like it should all fit (with all the usual disclaimers in place). Do the cpu and chipset chips still touch the thermal pads with the sata cable in between?


Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:23 pm
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Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:49 pm
Posts: 539
Location: Israel
Post Re: HDD x2?
The CPU and the chipset both touch the thermal pads if you align the cables exactly like on my photo above (SATA2 between the chipset and the CPU; SATA1 below the chipset).

I took the time to test a few of my disks with CrystalDiskMark, and the results are quite interesting:

CompuLab stock 2.5" 160GB SATA HDD (Hitachi, manufactured July 2009)
The results are exactly the same for internal Fit-PC2 connection and connection via mini PCIe card - both sequential read and write speeds are 60 MB/sec.

KingSpec Motive G1 2.5" 128GB SATA MLC SSD (manufactured March 2010, based on JMF612 SSD controller)
When connected internally:
Sequential read speed: 90 MB/sec
Sequential write speed: 75 MB/sec
When connected through MPX-3132 mini PCIe card:
Sequential read speed: 115 MB/sec
Sequential write speed: 106 MB/sec

This gives us a few conclusions:
1) For CompuLab stock "platter" disk, the transfer speed is exactly the same for internal connection and for mini PCIe connection via MPX-3132 bridge, and both times it's lower than SSD speed limit. This hints on hard disk max. throughput limit of about 60 MB/sec (which is below internal PATA->SATA bridge limit and below MPX-3132 bridge limit). So if you plan to use regular 2.5" disks, any bus that will provide you >60 MB/sec is enough, and in particular mini PCIe card provides better result than USB 2.0 or LAN connection.
2) For faster SSD disks, it looks like the PATA->SATA bridge throughput limit is around 90 MB/sec for reading and 75 MB/sec for writing (the SSD disk itself is capable of higher speeds). So if you plan to speed-up the internal disk in Fit-PC2, installing any disk with throughput >90 MB/sec will be good enough as it's impossible to reach more. On the other hand, PCIe bridge allows faster speeds of 115 MB/sec read and 106 MB/sec write, respectively. Here it looks like 115 MB/sec is the limit of the disk, and if higher throughput disks become available, the PCIe bridge will support them.


Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:39 pm
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Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:39 pm
Posts: 29
Post Re: HDD x2?
Thank you for the information, is very promising.


Thu Apr 15, 2010 6:40 pm
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Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:00 pm
Posts: 5
Post Re: HDD x2?
Hello!

Due to missing SATA ports on the Fit-PC2 I built my own storage solution. To access two hard disks with a good performance two additional things are needed on the Fit-PC2. The first one is a SATA controller with at least two ports. The second one is a power supply. SATA hard disks need a 12V and a 5V power supply.
As there is not enough space on a mPCIe card for all these components, i decided to separate the card. One contains the SATA controller and the other one includes the power supply and the SATA connectors.

If you are interested in this solution, you can find further information on my homepage.

http://embedded-solution.de

Image


Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:53 pm
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