Zen

Level One Certification: ASRock E350M1 (AMD Zacate)

32 posts in this topic

This is my first post here, and I hope it's a useful one.

 

I thought that the AMD Zacate could be a good low power option for UNRAID, so I was excited to get my hands on one and do some testing.  The motherboard I chose was the ASRock E350M1.  I chose this board because it was the cheapest Zacate board available, and seemed to be reasonably well featured, including two chassis fan connectors (one 4-pin and one 3-pin) which is unusual for a mini-ITX board.

 

Here is the system configuration:

 

Motherboard/CPU: ASRock E350M1 (AMD E-350), updated BIOS to latest version (1.10)

Form factor: Mini-ITX

Memory: 2x2GB G.Skill F3-10666CL9D-4GBNS

SATA: 4x SATA3 connectors, 1x eSATA3 connector on back panel

LAN: Realtek RTL8111E

Expansion Slots: one PCI-e slot (x16 mechanical, x4 electrical) - currently unoccupied

 

I ran the test with UNRAID 4.7 using three Hitachi 7K1000.B drives, all connected to the motherboard SATA ports.  As well, I have a spare AOC-SASLP-MV8 card that I plan to try in the x16 slot at some point in the future.

 

Using a Corsair VX550 PSU, the power consumption for the system with 3 drives was 40-50W.  The Hitachi drives are 7200rpm models so the power consumption should be lower with green drives.  With the disks spun down the power consumption was 28W.

 

The only problem I've encountered with the motherboard so far is that the power LED pins don't appear to work.  I tried reversing the polarity in case the pins were mislabelled but that didn't work either.  I've seen comments from others having the same problem so I think it's a manufacturing defect.  It's annoying but probably not enough to make me RMA it.

 

I believe I've successfully carried out the level one testing for this motherboard and have attached the syslog for your inspection.  I plan to continue testing it with UNRAID but so far it's looking good.

syslog-ASRock-E350M1-20110223.zip

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Just a quick update . . .

 

I plugged a SuperMicro AOC_SASLP-MV8 card into the x16 slot and it worked without any problems.  I connected the 2 data drives to the SASLP card, left the parity drive connected to the motherboard, and ran a parity check which completed with zero errors.  I then used the system for a couple of days and had no issues with it.

 

So this could be a good solution for someone building an array of up to 12 drives (13 if you count the eSATA port).  I'm now testing the system with Windows 7 to see its potential as a HTPC before I decide how I'm going to use it.  Who knows, maybe I'll buy another one so that I can use one for UNRAID and one as a HTPC. :)

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Can you share how you are getting power consumption values, please.

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I measured the power consumption by plugging the system into a Kill-A-Watt type of power meter.

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This is great, thanks for doing this testing.  When you have a chance, could you post another syslog when you have the SASLP card hooked up?

 

Also, I did notice one oddity in your syslog.  It appears that unRAID isn't recognizing all 4 GBs of RAM, but only 2 GBs of it:

 

Feb 23 05:37:18 Tower kernel: WARNING: BIOS bug: CPU MTRRs don't cover all of memory, losing 1023MB of RAM.

 

and later...

 

Feb 23 05:37:18 Tower kernel: 1797MB HIGHMEM available.
Feb 23 05:37:18 Tower kernel: 889MB LOWMEM available.

 

I'm not sure why that is or what the first error means.  Did you run memtest to make sure both RAM sticks are good?

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Yes, I ran memtest for over 24 hours and it detected no problems.  If I still had the board I could look at /proc/mtrr to see what's going on but unfortunately I RMA'd it because of the power LED connector problem.  It will probably be another 10 days or so before I get a replacement board, assuming that it's in stock when Newegg processes my RMA.

 

As requested, I've attached a syslog with the SASLP card installed.

syslog-ASRock-E350M1-SASLP-20110224.zip

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I received my replacement board today and did a few quick tests.  The power LED connector on the replacement board doesn't work either.  Argh!

 

With 2x2GB of memory installed, unRAID only sees 3GB of the memory.  Windows 7 (64 bit) sees all 4GB.

 

With only 1x2GB of memory installed, unRAID sees all the memory.

 

In all cases, there's actually less memory available because some of it is allocated to the video, but that's not really the issue.  I'm not sure why unRAID isn't seeing all the memory in the 2x2GB configuration.  Thoughts anyone?

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I'm really interested in zacate for my first unRaid build. It is cheap and should it consume less power than any other solution I've seen in this forum?. About the memory, look very similar to what happen with Windows XP 32bit. About the Power LED are you sure the problem isn't the case light?

Looking forward to more testing details.

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I have the same mobo and can confirm that my power led also does not work.  I really don't care about this though.  The only thing I can't get working on it is sleep/resume.  I can get it to sleep and wake using WOL but it is unresponsive with both video and NIC.  Zen, have you tried this?  Had any success?

 

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Yeah, the power LED problem is definitely a motherboard issue.  I know the case LEDs work fine and I've tried reversing the polarity of the connector without any success.

 

No, I haven't tested sleep/resume.  I leave my servers on 24/7.

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Has anyone had any luck in getting this Zacate board (or any other from MSI or ASUS) to

 

- recognize RAM size of more than 3GB?

- perform sleep/resume?

 

I really like the idea of a Zacate based unRAID server. Sleep/resume would be super.

 

 

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I have the ASRock E350M1 with only 2GB of RAM which is recognized in full by unRaid so I cannot help you there.

 

I have tried to suspend my server using s2ram on 4.7 and every configuration of the commands could not get my computer to wake properly.  I can put it to sleep and it will spin up on a magic packet from WOL but the server is frozen and the caps lock on the keyboard does not work (a sign that there is a kernal/BIOS error according to the s2ram instructions).  I have tried s2ram on 5.0beta4 but have not yet gotten through all the command line configurations but my few attempts showed no positive results. 

 

I am wondering if this is a kernel issue since 5.0 is operating under 2.6.36 while supposedly final AMD Fusion/Zacate drivers were not available until 2.6.38.  s2ram was also recently updated but I do not have the linux skills to compile the new version in slackware.  This might help so if anybody is able to compile please let me know.

 

Thanks.

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Any new Info's on the Sleep/Resume problem?

 

Maybe you could try the newest 5.0 beta?

 

I am also very interested in such a Board, but it would be essential for me that Sleep/Resume work proper, because my Server should not run 24/7.

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Have you had any problems with the NIC on this board?  Some people are reporting having a lot of issues with the realtek 8111E that is onboard when under a heavy load.  I want this board but that's the one thing really holding me back.

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I can confirm I had the NIC issue, has to buy a separate one. For the RAM, I indeed see only 3.5 G or RAM out of the 4, knowing that some is reserved for the VGA but I should see a bit more maybe - can't care less though, because 4G is already 4 times too much for normal Unraid functionning. Sleep / Resume I'm not using so can't help.

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I guess that rules out the Zacate miniITX boards if you plan on going beyond 4-5 hdd's.  Does that leave the Asus mATX board as the only viable option for a Zacate build?  I still really want to use one because I also want to do some tests with HTPC software for another possible future build.

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My ASUS E35 M1-M doesn't have an issue with 4gb of RAM.  I'm using 5.0b6a.  My system has been rock solid.  This is what I see in my syslog

 

May  5 21:20:20 UnRAID kernel: 4212MB HIGHMEM available.

May  5 21:20:20 UnRAID kernel: 891MB LOWMEM available.

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I have not had any issues with the NIC on 5.0beta4.  I still have not been able to get the machine to sleep/resume.  If I can figure that out I would be extremely happy.

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Has anyone tested this mobo/CPU's capabilities in running other processes as SAB+SICKB+COUCHP in the background while streaming video? Is the processor strong enough for this?

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Would also like to know the answer to this one.  I wanted to run Plex on it as well to transcode SD divx tv shows

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I contacted manufacturer regarding resume from sleep on this board and they basically said they don't support this feature under Linux or windows home server . Rma'd board.

Anyone tested any other zacate board thatcan be Used with WOL?

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As one who's beat my head against this early-adopter wall, IMO, these Zacate boards behave too erratically for server duty. You might find one that works for you but it's a tight window with i3 combos comfortably below $200.

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i experience really slow copy over smb too. recently replaced my gigabyte Atom mb (getting 30+ MB write) to sapphire AMD fusion and now only getting 15MB write.

Also notice that now if i do more than one copy process, the performance drops significantly.

 

any news of the new kernel 2.6.38 that I read had better fusion support?

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I have a Sapphire E350M1 and i got 15MB/s when i write, but if i launch two write i got 2x15MB/s, maybe need to change something in Linux settings.

And the parity syncing is very slow 1-3MB/s. And the parity syncing is fast 70MB/s.

 

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We have lower speed because of Samba but i don't known why, i try to retrieve file from webGui and it's fast 60Mb.

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