Drobo

fw-800 and Winxp pro

Is there anyone successfully using FW-800 and Winxp Pro with Drobo V.2? I heard Unibrain driver would be developed for this combo but haven’t been in the loop for awhile.

If it is working for you with this combo, what card did you buy for the FW-800 port?

Thanks.

A lot of my customers use Win XP and FW800 successfully with the Unibrain drive.

If your customers are using XP and getting FW800 speeds using the Unibrain drivers,
do you mind sharing what FW800 cards they are using?

We strongly recommend:
Belkin FireWire 800 3 port PCI Card http://www.belkin.com
SIIG FireWire 800 PCI-32T Card http://www.siig.com

Both those cards we tested.

But other customers have used other cards, I can’t remember off the top of my head.

(I do know that dynex/best buy is a brand to stay away from in my personal opinion. )

Thank you Jennifer for the answer. I’d still like to hear from someone in this forum who is actually using FW-800/Drobo with WInXP Pro.

Anyone?

Thanks.[hr]
Jennifer,
Forgot to ask…do you have any published results from your testing with these 2 cards/FW-800 on a XP box? Thanks.

In my research I found that all Firewire800 PCI cards require either a PCI Express or PCI-64 slot. They don’t all make this clear, and there are plenty of dissatisfied customers sending their cards back. I cannot fit one of these in my existing PC, but found out in time.

I think the basic PCI slots are just too slow to work.

Very likely true. 32-bit PCI conventional maxes at 133 MB/sec, and remember that there are other things connected to the same bus, so it’s unlikely for a 32-bit PCI card to reach 800 Mbps rates for more than a short time.

PCI Express x1 is slightly slower than 64-bit, 66 MHz PCI Conventional, but the former is far easier to find on the market nowadays.

If you find a PCIe x4 card, that should be more than adequate for reaching 800 Mbps unless there are architecture bottlenecks.

Swifty,
It wouldn’t seem that your research is very good. You can find all three types of cards ( at least I can). Including the ones Jennifer listed.
SIIG mfg[url=http://www.lacie.com/products/range.htm?id=10017]

LaCie mfg[/url]

And who are these “dissatisfied customers”? They ordered the wrong type of cards? Why? Now they send them back? If you ordered a PCI 32 Bit, receive a PCI 32 Bit, then find out your computer is a PCIExpress, you should be dissatisfied with you!
Here is a helpful guide to anyone wanting to quick the differences. I hope it might help.

[/quote]

Swifty,
It wouldn’t seem that your research is very good. You can find all three types of cards ( at least I can). Including the ones Jennifer listed.
SIIG mfg[url=http://www.lacie.com/products/range.htm?id=10017]

LaCie mfg[/url]

And who are these “dissatisfied customers”? They ordered the wrong type of cards? Why? Now they send them back? If you ordered a PCI 32 Bit, receive a PCI 32 Bit, then find out your computer is a PCIExpress, you should be dissatisfied with you!
Here is a helpful guide to anyone wanting to quick the differences. I hope it might help.
[/quote]

Actually Swifty makes complete sense if you read the post. I interpret what he’s saying as, anything slower than PCIe wouldn’t realize the bandwidth benifits of FW-800…theoretically…

PCI-133 MB/s
PCIe 1x=250MB/s per lane
PCIe 2x=500MB/s
PCIe 4x=1000MB/s
and so on…
FW-400=50 MB/s
FW-800=400 MB/s

Why would you buy a PCI card for FW-800? Jennifer recommended 2 PCI cards that she “tested”. Just guessing here… but the “disatisfied customers” are the ones who bought the PCI cards expecting to reach FW-800 transfer rates.

What am I missing?

The Drobo isn’t exactly a speed demon no matter what the connection is. The Drobo Pro, I hear, would be the way to go if speed is important, but obviously the cost is far more substantial.

You won’t achieve true Firewire 800 speeds with the Drobo, but its certainly faster than USB and sustained. I’m using the SIIG card mentioned above with Unibrain drivers on Windows 7 x64. I don’t see why they wouldn’t work on Windows XP.

Bullhome,
Where did you get your numbers for the FW throughput?
The reason I ask is that I believe FW400 is 50MB/s and FW800 is 100MB/s. Which are max throughput numbers, and should be ably handled by PCI throughput of 133MB/s.
My reference for FW800 speed is here.

Reference for PCI standard throughput being 133 MB/s is here.

*I could be entirely wrong. Wouldn’t be the 1st time.

The problem is that the entire PCI bus’s bandwidth is 133MB/sec, which means that even if you got maximum rates, there wouldn’t be headroom to do anything else (like read/write to local disk, etc).

Bus contention issues started to rear their head back when Ultra SCSI-2 and SCSI-3 devices appeared and were being used for hardware-accelerated video editing cards. When the SCSI host bursted to max, it’d “choke” the video editing card for bandwidth and things would break. So, in order for things to “play nicely” in the limited bandwidth, the drive speeds and/or SCSI host rate needed to be throttled down.

Bhiga, you bring up a valid consideraton. Your usage may be much different than my own. I am using the Drobo to back up more than 1TB of data from from my main drive.
I have an older computer which only has PCI ports. I am not using any video editing cards. So there is a difference in use.
This process can take half-a-day or more using USB2.0 to the Drobo.
I would much like it to go faster, so using FW800 PCI card is a good deal for me.
In your case, then I can understand the potential bus congestion problems and why a PCIx or PCIexpress would be much better for you.

I thought Swifty said that FW800 cards do not come in PCI format- traditional 32bit, and that seemed funny because that is exactly what Jennifer linked and they are not too hard to find online. Maybe in the stores in his area things are different.

@yoyoma:
I’m actually not using my Drobo for video, but my example holds well especially since you have an older machine.

If you still have the manual for your motherboard (or can find it online), see if it has a block diagram. Many motherboards have a block diagram in the beginning. That’ll show you how things are connected.

The overall throughput you can achieve will depend on where the bottleneck is.

The block diagram will help determine what the “smallest pipe” between the connections are.

For example, if you’re copying from a PATA drive, but the PATA controller is attached to the PCI bus and not built into the bridge (as was sometimes the case with additional storage controllers), then you’ll have PATA traffic on the PCI bus that would compete with the Firewire traffic for a FW800 add-in card.

Another example - I have a workstation-class motherboard with GigE that is not built into the chipset, but an additional NIC that’s wired into the 32-bit PCI bus. Thus, it doesn’t achieve full GigE throughput.

I have a server-class motherboard where the GigE controller is connected differently, so it achieves higher throughput.

All depends on what’s built in and connected where. If your PCI ends up not being dedicated for the FW800 card, then you’re probably going to get about the same speed or less.

Brandon