Has anyone ever put an ssd in a scsi sgi computer

siliboi

Member
Jan 4, 2021
56
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Halifax Nova Scotia Canada
I know scsi to sd exists but from what I've read the transfer rate is pretty hurtin of course they never tell the speed of the card they use, but even the cf card adapters seem pretty slow. 25mb\s or something limit. I feel like that is worse than the original drive lol. Theoretical max speed of scsi is 640mb/s today. Now I'm not sure of the limit on the scsi controllers on the octanes and o2's, but if there was a ssd converter do you think they could boot faster? is there actually a sata to scsi adapter? why did they do sd and cf but nothing else?
 

weblacky

Member
Jan 13, 2020
69
16
8
Seattle, WA
Yes, however I managed to buy up only four units (back in 2011 when they were a 1/10 of the current price). Good luck now...

Also SGI Parallel SCSI stopped at Ultra 320, I think, or Ultra 160. I've not seen any device with Ultra 640.

ACARD ARS-2160H : http://www.acard.com/index.files/Page675.htm

There was a 68-pin version, but I never found it, only 80-pin SCA versions. For some reason these have been out of production for like 7-8 years? I guess. because they are no longer sold - the prices on eBay are now $1,000+ for a unit.

For some reason, I updated the firmware on mine when I got them in 2011 to a 2010 firmware just fine, however I cannot update them to the last firmware now (using XP and all), the firmware updater just fails. Current version is 1.19, I'm stuck at like 1.14? But since the firmware date is PAST the date for SGI MIPS production, I don't think it really matters.

As for how fast, well I've not tried it with an SSD because I would have needed an SLC SSD (still overly expensive in 2011, now I can get them cheap on eBay), as TRIM commands won't be issued, so you'll slow down once every cell is written. At least on an SLC, your "overwrite" operation (read, blank, write) would be the fastest (but still slow). However you do keep up with the native bus speed. I've tried them in an O2 and a Tezro. Obviously it's a waste in an O2, and can keep up in a Tezro. Even a normal SSD SATA 2.5" drive in this adapter was moving at the SATA drive's fastest mechanical speed ~120MiB back in those times. Unsure how much faster it would actually go given flash.

I'd say you can try cheaper CF tricks for like narrow and Ultra-Wide SCSI buses, but you'd need the big-boy stuff for LVD speeds. These are the best that was ever put out (to my knowledge). I do know more M-Flash based SCSI FLASH drives have been showing on eBay for 50-pin systems...but still command $300+ for like 1.2GB. I don't own any of those.

The basic problem is, once Windows DROPPED ALL PARALLEL SCSI support at Windows 8 and higher, manufacturers retired all the SCSI adapters and everything- so that was what 2012? Well now we're really feeling it. It's nice that the community is trying to make new adapters, but for some reason there isn't enough call for REALLY fast SCSI to flash stuff to be produced at volume.

Best of luck, in truth a modern, later model SCA SCSI IBM or Fujitsu drive can be very nice and most of my systems use them. I reserve the SCSI bridges for only the fastest + highest valued systems. It's a waste on much of anything else...unless you got a bunch at a good price.

Also, I've been very fearful of NAND data retention and I only boot the systems ever year or so and only for a short while. And older SLC SSD won't have block moving for Cell health, and MAY suffer corruption after 10 years of non-powered data refresh. Modern flash drives MOVE data around as they have power to refresh cells so the charge doesn't degrade. Old SSD drives don't do this. So it's entirely possible that you load your vintage machine with a flash storage, then come back to it a decade later and it's corrupt. As long as you keep a backup image to restore, it's a non-issue. But if you manually loaded and don't have the knowledge or original software discs...you could lose it all. Flash was made to be USED, not stored, long term.

So far I've not had any SCSI HDD fail in my collection (store in a heated home). However garage and barns will destroy old drives. For now I've stocked up on nice, cheap SCSI drives when I can. If I was experimenting, I'd use flash, but not a for long term storage right now.
 
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SGIArtist

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Nov 6, 2020
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No, there's no affordable scsi to sata converter. There are some scsi to ide hdd adapters that pop up on ebay occasionally that can do 20+MB/s. These should be good enough for O2's, which have a max bandwidth of 40MB/s anyway. I use one with a CF adapter and a CF card to make my O2 more silent. If you don't care about noise, you can just use a modern scsi hdd.
 
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mgtremaine

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May 3, 2020
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San Diego, Ca
www.stellarcore.net
I wonder if the scsi2sd project will be able to get up to 20MB/s or 40MB/s in the future. There are SD cards that will handle up to 90MB/s on the market now. I know that in the latest v6 scsi2sd claims 10MB/s which was huge improvement. Would love to see something useable on the non 50pin SGI's

-Mike
 
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siliboi

Member
Jan 4, 2021
56
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Halifax Nova Scotia Canada
I wonder if the scsi2sd project will be able to get up to 20MB/s or 40MB/s in the future. There are SD cards that will handle up to 90MB/s on the market now. I know that in the latest v6 scsi2sd claims 10MB/s which was huge improvement. Would love to see something useable on the non 50pin SGI's

-Mike
There are large size sd cards that can do 300mb/s probably not for huge files and thats probably peaks speed but hey thats not bad
 

architeuthis

New member
Feb 25, 2021
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I was lucky enough to score a batch of old new stock ACARD SCSI to IDE adaptors (AEC-7720UW) a while ago. I just got around to test one of them in my R5k O2 together with a cheap 9€ IDE 2 SATA converter and a modern Kingston SSD drive. Connected to the 50-pin ribbon cable that usually connects the O2's CD-ROM drive, the whole contraption works quite nicely: with none of the dreaded SCSI parity errors, I managed to install a clean copy of IRIX 6.5.30 on the SSD. The installation was quite fast (at least by R5k standards), and IRIX boots in just under 50 secs. Overall, the system feels quite snappy (again, by R5k standards).

The AEC-7720UW supports up to 40 MB/s which matches the UW-SCSI bus of the O2. However, diskperf numbers look quite abysmal which comes a bit as a surprise, given the perceived responsiveness of the system. (I did another diskperf run with the -D (direct I/O) flag enabled which has lead to a small increase in performance.) Overall, the numbers seem similar to what people experience with SCSI2SDv6.

I'm planning to investigate this a bit further over the next days: as a next step I am planning to ditch the SSD and IDE converter and attach a regular IDE spinning disk drive to the ACARD controller to see if this changes anything.

-Ole

IMG_0203.jpg IMG_8906.jpg IMG_8907.jpg
 

Tech&Music

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Aug 30, 2020
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The Netherlands
I was lucky enough to score a batch of old new stock ACARD SCSI to IDE adaptors (AEC-7720UW) a while ago. I just got around to test one of them in my R5k O2 together with a cheap 9€ IDE 2 SATA converter and a modern Kingston SSD drive. Connected to the 50-pin ribbon cable that usually connects the O2's CD-ROM drive, the whole contraption works quite nicely: with none of the dreaded SCSI parity errors, I managed to install a clean copy of IRIX 6.5.30 on the SSD. The installation was quite fast (at least by R5k standards), and IRIX boots in just under 50 secs. Overall, the system feels quite snappy (again, by R5k standards).

The AEC-7720UW supports up to 40 MB/s which matches the UW-SCSI bus of the O2. However, diskperf numbers look quite abysmal which comes a bit as a surprise, given the perceived responsiveness of the system. (I did another diskperf run with the -D (direct I/O) flag enabled which has lead to a small increase in performance.) Overall, the numbers seem similar to what people experience with SCSI2SDv6.

I'm planning to investigate this a bit further over the next days: as a next step I am planning to ditch the SSD and IDE converter and attach a regular IDE spinning disk drive to the ACARD controller to see if this changes anything.

-Ole
How have you got it mounted in the O2? I have one of these adapters as well, with the intention of getting an SSD in my O2. Also, is it connected to the 50 pin for the optical drive, or the 80 pin SCA? Maybe those two have influence on throughput speed?
 

drmadison

New member
Jun 30, 2020
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I have the 2160H in my Octane 2. Back in the day (2015 apparently?) I did some diskperf runs with it and got this:

diskperf -W -D -t5 -r512k -m4m test/testfile (a 2gig file)
Code:
# req_size  fwd_wt  fwd_rd  bwd_wt  bwd_rd  rnd_wt  rnd_rd
# (bytes)   (MB/S)  (MB/S)  (MB/S)  (MB/S)  (MB/S)  (MB/S)
#---------------------------------------------------------
524288       37.00   31.45   36.79   31.39   36.71   28.67
Note I found this by searching for my old nekochan posts here:
 

architeuthis

New member
Feb 25, 2021
3
3
3
How have you got it mounted in the O2? I have one of these adapters as well, with the intention of getting an SSD in my O2. Also, is it connected to the 50 pin for the optical drive, or the 80 pin SCA? Maybe those two have influence on throughput speed?
It is connected to the 50-pin socket for the optical drive, but I think that shouldn't make a difference speed-wise as the socket shares the same SCSI controller with the SCA back-plane connectors.

This is by the way something I haven't found yet: an SCA back-plane to 68- or 50-pin standard SCSI connector. There are plenty of adapters to connect an SCA HD to a standard SCSI bus cable (e.g., THIS ONE), but not the other way round. That'll make it difficult or even impossible to transplant my SSD contraption into my Octane which has SCA connectors only.
 

drmadison

New member
Jun 30, 2020
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It's true, we've been lamenting the lack of those for a while. It's why in my silent-O2 project using a SCSI2SD for storage I had to go external, using the 68-pin SCSI port on the back and got an external box. I'd love to bring it internal but no luck finding the right board yet. I have seen a few pictures proving they exist (can't recall where right now) but searches for product numbers always turned up nothing.
 

siliboi

Member
Jan 4, 2021
56
8
8
Halifax Nova Scotia Canada
I was lucky enough to score a batch of old new stock ACARD SCSI to IDE adaptors (AEC-7720UW) a while ago. I just got around to test one of them in my R5k O2 together with a cheap 9€ IDE 2 SATA converter and a modern Kingston SSD drive. Connected to the 50-pin ribbon cable that usually connects the O2's CD-ROM drive, the whole contraption works quite nicely: with none of the dreaded SCSI parity errors, I managed to install a clean copy of IRIX 6.5.30 on the SSD. The installation was quite fast (at least by R5k standards), and IRIX boots in just under 50 secs. Overall, the system feels quite snappy (again, by R5k standards).

The AEC-7720UW supports up to 40 MB/s which matches the UW-SCSI bus of the O2. However, diskperf numbers look quite abysmal which comes a bit as a surprise, given the perceived responsiveness of the system. (I did another diskperf run with the -D (direct I/O) flag enabled which has lead to a small increase in performance.) Overall, the numbers seem similar to what people experience with SCSI2SDv6.

I'm planning to investigate this a bit further over the next days: as a next step I am planning to ditch the SSD and IDE converter and attach a regular IDE spinning disk drive to the ACARD controller to see if this changes anything.

-Ole

View attachment 891 View attachment 892 View attachment 893
Why did you connect to the ribbon cable instead of internal or external?
 

architeuthis

New member
Feb 25, 2021
3
3
3
Why did you connect to the ribbon cable instead of internal or external?
The ribbon cable is connected to the first SCSI controller chip, just as the internal SCA drive bays (for which I don't have an adapter). I thought that the space where the optical drive is usually mounted would be a great place to put the SSD...

I haven't tried the external port yet. I was actually planning to do that and then test the SSD in diskperf's raw device mode.
 
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weblacky

Member
Jan 13, 2020
69
16
8
Seattle, WA
Requires a certain firmware revision, there's a whole thread about it elsewhere. You have to find an old enough card, then downgrade it to the right firmware revision to have the Irix driver work, SGI driver won't work with newer LSI firmwares.
 

hbent

New member
Oct 29, 2020
15
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3
There are SCSI RAID solutions that use SATA disks. I know Bosch made one. I've never seen one with SSDs in it, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. Now, whether you can find one for an affordable price is a real question...
 

hbent

New member
Oct 29, 2020
15
7
3
I wonder if the scsi2sd project will be able to get up to 20MB/s or 40MB/s in the future. There are SD cards that will handle up to 90MB/s on the market now. I know that in the latest v6 scsi2sd claims 10MB/s which was huge improvement. Would love to see something useable on the non 50pin SGI's

-Mike
The V6 scsi2sd board can barely get up to 10MB/s under ideal conditions. That project had a lot of promise but after several years it hasn't seemed to pan out as a reasonable solution except for the lowest-end hardware. Even in an Indigo 1 the bonnie numbers aren't great compared to real hardware:

Code:
SEAGATE ST336704LW
              -------Sequential Output-------- ---Sequential Input-- --Random--
              -Per Char- --Block--- -Rewrite-- -Per Char- --Block--- --Seeks---
Machine    MB K/sec %CPU K/sec %CPU K/sec %CPU K/sec %CPU K/sec %CPU  /sec %CPU
          320  2347 79.6  5015 29.3  1986 14.8  1964 78.1  3589 14.8 170.4 14.6

SCSI2SD V6.3.2, Sandisk Extreme 64GB card
              -------Sequential Output-------- ---Sequential Input-- --Random--
              -Per Char- --Block--- -Rewrite-- -Per Char- --Block--- --Seeks---
Machine    MB K/sec %CPU K/sec %CPU K/sec %CPU K/sec %CPU K/sec %CPU  /sec %CPU
          128  2262 98.0  3645 18.9  1384 11.8  1674 82.5  4605 22.3 116.7 13.8
 

siliboi

Member
Jan 4, 2021
56
8
8
Halifax Nova Scotia Canada
The V6 scsi2sd board can barely get up to 10MB/s under ideal conditions. That project had a lot of promise but after several years it hasn't seemed to pan out as a reasonable solution except for the lowest-end hardware. Even in an Indigo 1 the bonnie numbers aren't great compared to real hardware:

Code:
SEAGATE ST336704LW
              -------Sequential Output-------- ---Sequential Input-- --Random--
              -Per Char- --Block--- -Rewrite-- -Per Char- --Block--- --Seeks---
Machine    MB K/sec %CPU K/sec %CPU K/sec %CPU K/sec %CPU K/sec %CPU  /sec %CPU
          320  2347 79.6  5015 29.3  1986 14.8  1964 78.1  3589 14.8 170.4 14.6

SCSI2SD V6.3.2, Sandisk Extreme 64GB card
              -------Sequential Output-------- ---Sequential Input-- --Random--
              -Per Char- --Block--- -Rewrite-- -Per Char- --Block--- --Seeks---
Machine    MB K/sec %CPU K/sec %CPU K/sec %CPU K/sec %CPU K/sec %CPU  /sec %CPU
          128  2262 98.0  3645 18.9  1384 11.8  1674 82.5  4605 22.3 116.7 13.8
I wonder why the scsi to sd boys dont just do sata to sd
 

mgtremaine

Member
May 3, 2020
50
27
18
San Diego, Ca
www.stellarcore.net
I noticed in the v6 scsi2sd also has limitation of 20/MBs to the sd card so this version is never getting the speeds we like to see for late 90's hardware. It's too bad the Acard 2160 and 2320 are unavailable. What we really need is something like the RaSCSI (Raspberry Pi -> SCSI ) using Raspberry Pi 4 (or something like it) with the PCIe lane hack so we can use NVM M2 , then someone needs figure out a hardware hack to not bother bit banging the GPIO pins and find a better data path to a SCSI connector. At that point we'd speeds that are worth having.

-Mike
 

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