T7500 motherboard model and LSI 1068e RAID controller configuration

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T7500 motherboard model and LSI 1068e RAID controller configuration

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Hi, I just bought a T7500 workstation that I should receive around mid-December. Because of the current prices for HDD storage I decided to go with the basic 500GB disk until Thailand recovers. As well, I limited myself to the basic integrated RAID controller. Since I am not familiar with RAID, its configuration, etc. I wanted to read some more before I dive in it. The starting point would definitely be to find what the exact motherboard for the Precision T7500 was. Surprise!!! I can't find the information anywhere. Even the people from Dell (3 different reps in technical support and sales) were not able to tell me more than it's the Intel 5520 chipset (it looks like they believe this is the mobo model...). Well, I'm stuck. I would appreciate if anyone could provide me with the motherboard model and as an extra, any information on the capabilities of the integrated RAID controller (LSI 1068e) would help me determine which HDDs I should plan to buy. Also, one thing that is not clear to me that I deducted from the configuration assistant on the web site is the issue around drives > 2TB. From what I read, I was not able to determine if the issue was related to single drives of > 2TB or if it was related to the management of a storage space of > 2TB (which could be composed of multiple drives of less than 2TB). What I have in mind (remember I don't have the machine right now) is to put 4 X 1TB drives in a RAID 0+1 (which I'm not sure the integrated controller supports) configuration which will result in 2GB mirrored storage. The OS is Win 7 64-bit. Thanks in advance for any info that will help me prepare my setup (buy the hard drives if I can find cheap ones) and document myself on the configuration of the RAID. MrBricole
Verified Answer
  • I'm pretty sure the T7500 uses an Intel server board (since that chipset is found on Intel's site under its server boards, Dell is essentially correct, even though they didn't realize why), but that doesn't matter in the context of your question as the "integrated" RAID controller is not actually on the board.  It is a card (called "integrated" only because it has a dedicated slot on this machine).  Since the RAID controller's functionality is not on the board, board info won't help you.  Anything you need to know about your board and system as a whole, you can get from the T7500's manual.  Information about the SAS 6/iR RAID controller (LSI 1068e) can be found here:

    http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/storage/RAID/SAS6iR/en/HTML/features.htm

    The SAS 6/iR will not support drives larger than 2TB, nor will it support Virtual Disks larger than 2TB. 

    It will also only supports RAID 0 OR RAID 1 OR both, but not together (no nested RAID levels like RAID 10 or 0+1).

    So, with four 1TB drives, you can easily do two RAID 1's (called Integrated Mirror in the controller BIOS CTRL-C) ... or you can do two 2-disk RAID 0's (called Integrated Stripe in the controller BIOS CTRL-C) ... or you can run them in non-RAID mode, with four individual disks in the OS.  With this controller, these are your only options with four 1TB disks.

    If you want/need more RAID functionality (nested RAID levels, greater than 2TB VD's, onboard, cache, etc.), you will need to upgrade to the PERC 6/i. 

    Do not buy desktop-class drives ... make sure you get enterprise-class drives.  If you decide at some point to go with the PERC, not only will enterprise-class drives be basically required, but certified drives would be strongly recommended for stability and performance.

  • You can use Intel Chipset Identification Utility  found at the Intel support website or run the Intel driver update utility it is automatic and will give use report telling you what chip.

    Make sure you do your research before you buy the PERC 6/i  My T7500 came with one.  It is better than the onboard yet I'm still not achieve proper speeds.    Dell at a loss    it's like they had no clue there is no driver for windows 7 64bit .

    I received a 15% to 20% average speed increase usihg:  MegaRAID SAS 8888ELP firmware udate, 64 bit driver and management software it can be found at L S I the maker of the card.  

All Replies
  • I'm pretty sure the T7500 uses an Intel server board (since that chipset is found on Intel's site under its server boards, Dell is essentially correct, even though they didn't realize why), but that doesn't matter in the context of your question as the "integrated" RAID controller is not actually on the board.  It is a card (called "integrated" only because it has a dedicated slot on this machine).  Since the RAID controller's functionality is not on the board, board info won't help you.  Anything you need to know about your board and system as a whole, you can get from the T7500's manual.  Information about the SAS 6/iR RAID controller (LSI 1068e) can be found here:

    http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/storage/RAID/SAS6iR/en/HTML/features.htm

    The SAS 6/iR will not support drives larger than 2TB, nor will it support Virtual Disks larger than 2TB. 

    It will also only supports RAID 0 OR RAID 1 OR both, but not together (no nested RAID levels like RAID 10 or 0+1).

    So, with four 1TB drives, you can easily do two RAID 1's (called Integrated Mirror in the controller BIOS CTRL-C) ... or you can do two 2-disk RAID 0's (called Integrated Stripe in the controller BIOS CTRL-C) ... or you can run them in non-RAID mode, with four individual disks in the OS.  With this controller, these are your only options with four 1TB disks.

    If you want/need more RAID functionality (nested RAID levels, greater than 2TB VD's, onboard, cache, etc.), you will need to upgrade to the PERC 6/i. 

    Do not buy desktop-class drives ... make sure you get enterprise-class drives.  If you decide at some point to go with the PERC, not only will enterprise-class drives be basically required, but certified drives would be strongly recommended for stability and performance.

  • Dell D881F Motherboard Precision WorkStation T7500  SYSTEM BOARD.

    Drives larger than 2TB are not validated or supported.

    This is not an INTEL standard Server Motherboard.  It is DELL OEM.

    Report Unresolved Customer Service Issues here:

    Dell - Unresolved Customer Service Issues

    I do not work for Dell. I too am a user.

    The forum is primarily user to user, with Dell employees moderating.

  • Of course it is a Dell OEM board ... can't remember where I [thought] I read it was a "modified" Intel server board, but like I said, it doesn't even matter in the context of the question.  The rest of the info I posted will be valid however.  2TB drives are not just not validated or supported, they simply will not work on the SAS 6/iR.

  • Thanks for your valuable input TheFlash. You really confirm that my machine will have a controller card? The link you provided mentions that the integrated  controller "has been integrated on the motherboard" for some Precision workstations. The reason why I insist is because I was wondering if I could put more than 4 drives in the T7500 assuming that I would have an onboard controller (with a max of 4 drives) and the possibility to add an optional controller with an additional 4 drives. Maybe all this is irrelevant but the plan I had in mind was to put an SSD on which I would install my OS only and then add 4 drives on the RAID controller. Is there any way I could achieve this?

    Also, when you refer to enterprise-class drives, would you consider WD Caviar black as part of this class? They are pretty well rated from what I've seen but maybe they are more of the high-end desktop-class category.

    Thanks again.

  • You can use Intel Chipset Identification Utility  found at the Intel support website or run the Intel driver update utility it is automatic and will give use report telling you what chip.

    Make sure you do your research before you buy the PERC 6/i  My T7500 came with one.  It is better than the onboard yet I'm still not achieve proper speeds.    Dell at a loss    it's like they had no clue there is no driver for windows 7 64bit .

    I received a 15% to 20% average speed increase usihg:  MegaRAID SAS 8888ELP firmware udate, 64 bit driver and management software it can be found at L S I the maker of the card.  

  • Just a note... the statement that the 6/iR controller won't support virtual disks larger than 2 TB is only correct for the boot volume.  Non-boot volumes are limited to 16 TB.  The T7500 18 inches from my left knee has been happily spinning a 6 TB RAID 0 array for half a year, and the T7400 it replaced ran a 6 TB R0 array for 3 years before that.  The boot volume is an SSD running on the chipset SATA controller.  

    The enterprise class WD RE4 drives I've been using have been absolutely rock solid.  The array gets backup up all the time, of course, but none of the RE drives have failed in over 3 years of spinning in a high throughput job.