SuperMico SuperServer giving slow RAID 10 performance

When you go out of your way to build an awesome server, you demand performance. So after buying a SuperMicro 6014-32 Server off ebay, then upgradeing the 4 HotSwap bays with Fujitsu 146GB 15K SAS drives, and adding the AOC-SOZCR1 RAID card I would expect some awesome performance numbers. Instead It performs more like a single SATA drive on my workstation. This is not the kind of performance I was hoping for,

Considering that my workstation is running the same drives ( but only 2 ) in RAID 0. And was achieving near 200 MB/sec reading 1024KB blocks, I would expect something similar when 4 drives are setup in RAID 10. Keep in mind my workstation is not using any fancy PCI-X RAID card. Its just using the built in Marvel RAID controller that comes with the newer ASUS motherboards ( for the core i7 ).

If anyone has any suggestions please let me know. Else I might sell this server back on ebay, and upgrade to another brand. Maybe this time I will go for a Dell since I know from experience their RAID setups are quick. Just a matter of finding a Dell Server that will rock with 4 x 3.5" SAS drives all in a 1U form factor.

Expansion RAID card is Zero Channel Slot

Here you can see the connection between the backpane and the motherboard

UPDATE 10/5/2009

Got an Email today from SuperMicro's support department.
They asked me if I had the latest bios, which I did, and included a driver for the Adaptec SAS Controller, but windows server 2008 didn't want to take the driver they supplied. I believe the driver was a 32bit driver, and that doesn't work on an 64 bit OS. I informed the tech and asked him if he had any other suggestions. Hopefully he comes back with a solution soon

UPDATE 10/5/2009 Night

The Tech from SuperMicro emailed me a copy of the RAID driver for x64 windows. I tried to install the driver but windows wouldn't allow it. Server 2008 R2 didn't like the Adaptec Driver ( which is newer ), and instead preferred to run the Microsoft driver that is dated 2006.

UPDATE 10/6/2009

The Tech from SuperMicro emailed me again and asked for the detailed specs of my configuration. So I emailed him the specs

  • SuperMicro 6014-32
  • Dual 3.6 Xeons
  • 4 x 1 GB PC3200 RAM
  • 4 x 146 GB 15K RPM Fujitsu SAS drives ( Model MAX3147RC)
  • Installed Additional RAID card ( AOC-SOZCR1 ), with jumper set to SAS
  • System configured into a single Logical Driver using RAID 10, with strip size of 64K
  • Upgraded CD-ROM slim drive to DVD-RW slime drive ( works great )
  • Running Windows Server 2008 R2 Web Edition ( Keep in mind R2 uses the Windows 7 Kernel, and is only available in x64 ) in Trial mode ( got 5 days til I need to provide a key )
  • System benchmarks linear read of 75 MB/sec when reading 1024 K blocks, slower for smaller sizes
  • Tried to use the driver you provided, but windows refuses to use it, and continues to run the default microsoft driver.

UPDATE 10/6/2009 30 minutes later

He got back with me again, and included a benchmark program. He wanted me to run the benchmark and to report back the results. The program was nice, only took up about 26K, and can be run from a single EXE. no need for any installation, which is nice for a change. Here are the results of that benchmark

I have the system setup with a 64K strip size. There is something wrong, as write speeds don't usually exceed read speeds, especially when you start reading later blocks.

UPDATE 10/7/2009

SuperMicro didn't have any solutions. At this point my theory is that the problem lies with the Driver. After reading a few forums where people were having similar problems this would seem to be the main cause. The system will not let me override the default Microsoft Driver which works but has terrible performance. I am pretty sure the problem lies in no available Adaptec Driver that supports Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2. To test this theory I am going to install Server 2003 R2 x64 and rerun the benchmarks. The driver provided by Adaptec was made just for this OS, so it should work. If I can get decent performance on Server 2003, this will tell me that the problem is not the hardware, but the driver. Then its just a matter of time before Adaptec releases a newer driver for Server 2008 R2, and Windows 7. This server won't be overloaded so I can get by with the less than perfect performance. I will post my results later tonight.

UPDATE 10/7/2009 5:30PM

I submitted a question through Adaptec's Website to see if they have an updated driver for this device. We will see if they come back with any answers.

UPDATE 10/7/2009 6:30PM

I got the install of Windows Server 2003 R2 x64 started. The windows install screen came up and I hit F6 to install my own RAID driver. I tried the driver that was for the built in RAID controller, but it didn't like that one, Then I tried the Driver that came with the AOC-SOZCR1 Add on card, and it worked. Now its going through the steps of copying the files. The interesting part is just by looking at the LEDs on the front of the Hot Swap Trays, it would appear the RAID array is moving much faster than before. It seems that the driver is not a windows verified driver. I had to accept this for the install to continue. If Windows Server 2008 R2 has some issues with installing non verified drivers this would explain why it refused to accept the driver. There is hope!

UPDATE 10/7/2009 7:15PM

The install of Windows Server 2003 R2 x64 went fine. However the benchmarks looked the same as they did on Server 2008 R2. But I found that the driver was dated 2005. I googled and found a 2006 driver, installed it, and reboot. Same Lousy Benchmarks as before. Now I am trying to use windows update to see if after updating with some patches will make a difference.

UPDATE 10/7/2009/ 9:15 PM

The Windows Updates made no difference. Bench Marks still sucked. I have decided that this is no longer worth my time. I have 25 days to return the AOC-SOZCR1 addon card to where I bought it. Unfortunately they are going to hit me with a 15% restocking fee. Which isn't bad considering anyone who reads this blog will no longer want one. I am starting to believe that the problem was not with the drivers, but with the hardware itself. So as a warning to anyone considering the AOC-SOZCR1 to give your SuperMicro Server raid 5, 10, or 50. This card is bad. Don't buy it! I am quickly learning that if you can't find a product for sale on, you might want to rethink the purchase.

Final Solution to get fast RAID on SuperMicro Server
The server does have a Riser card that provides an PCI-E x8 slot.
So instead of using the built in raid controller and some crappy add-on card, I am going to get a real raid card.


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