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Marvell = Best ?

Posted by DonCharisma 
Marvell = Best ?
April 03, 2017 12:05PM
I've done quite a lot of research on this, and wondered what other people's experiences/opinions are.

It seems looking around that there are many different manufacturers of ARM processors, well, of the type of CPUs we're talking about in these forums. I've had a look at Raspberry Pi and Odroid, Odroid in most detail so far. What I generally end up finding is that almost everybody except Marvell seem to have limited support for high speed interfaces such as PCIe and SATA. Marvell on the other hand have four SATA lines on their Armada chips (and also four PCIe lines). And, I see a lot of (non Marvell) ARM CPUs that have good graphics capabilities that are more suited for things like media players and smart phones, so use in a storage application seems a "waste" with GPU not doing much at all.

Also, as a long term Seagate fan, I recently removed a hard drive's PCB, and found Marvell chips on it. Plus I see Marvell chips on SATA addon cards to go in PCs. Marvell do seem to be therefore heavily involved in hard disc / storage chips.

So, I don't know if anyone else has come to the conclusion that Marvell seem to be producing "superior" ARM CPUs (or not), in the context of storage applications.

Why I keep on researching this, is that I'd like to see a multiport SATA (4x, 6x, 8x, 12x etc) development board at Rasberry Pi (ish) prices, for DIY NAS systems. Obviously SATA on CPU or attached via PCIe is better than USB/SPI/Serial etc.

Probably back in the real world .... many port SATA ARM dev boards - may never be produced, as I think NAS producers probably have a vested interest in not making that kind of technology available in a development board or cheaply hackable, because that's where there profit margins are.

Anyway, just my opinions above, and a request for your opinions and experiences, what do you think ?
Re: Marvell = Best ?
April 03, 2017 08:26PM
IMO, Marvell SoC based boxes are the best for NAS (real Gbits LAN, SATA, PCI ie USB3.0).

I also agreed, other boads such as rPi, Odroid, and Allwinner, are not good for NAS. They meant to be used as desktops or media players. The lack of true Gbits Ethenet and/or SATA means worse peformance as NAS.

My best cost/performance ratio DIY NAS: Goflex Net/Goflex Home (SATA port multiplier, Gbits LAN). Perhaps the Dreamplug too (I need to finish building uboot and kernel for it before I can be more certain).

-bodhi
===========================
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Re: Marvell = Best ?
April 04, 2017 04:24PM
bodhi Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> My best cost/performance ratio DIY NAS: Goflex Ne
> t/Goflex Home (SATA port multiplier, Gbits LAN). P
> erhaps the Dreamplug too (I need to finish buildin
> g uboot and kernel for it before I can be more cer
> tain).

The stock debian installer for jessie and stretch and sid support the DreamPlug. This includes updating the uboot to a more current version. I believe that Jessie is using a 2014.10 version while stretch uses 2016.11
Re: Marvell = Best ?
April 04, 2017 05:34PM
Hi Ray,

> The stock debian installer for jessie and stretch
> and sid support the DreamPlug. This includes upda
> ting the uboot to a more current version. I belie
> ve that Jessie is using a 2014.10 version while st
> retch uses 2016.11

I know, the basic kernel and u-boot are already mainlined. So I only need to add patches and build the full version for our uses.

-bodhi
===========================
Wiki
latest Kirkwood kernel builds and rootfs
latest u-boot-kirkwood builds
latest Oxnas kernel builds and rootfs
latest u-boot-oxnas builds
latest MVEBU Armada kernel builds and rootfs
U-Boot & Kernel Booting process
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bodhi's corner
Re: Marvell = Best ?
April 05, 2017 10:51AM
bodhi Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> IMO, Marvell SoC based boxes are the best for NAS
> (real Gbits LAN, SATA, PCI ie USB3.0).
>
> I also agreed, other boads such as rPi, Odroid, an
> d Allwinner, are not good for NAS. They meant to b
> e used as desktops or media players. The lack of t
> rue Gbits Ethenet and/or SATA means worse peforman
> ce as NAS.
>
> My best cost/performance ratio DIY NAS: Goflex Ne
> t/Goflex Home (SATA port multiplier, Gbits LAN). P
> erhaps the Dreamplug too (I need to finish buildin
> g uboot and kernel for it before I can be more cer
> tain).

Thanks @bodhi, that mirrors what I've experienced ;)

Do you have any advice on port multiplier hardware, eg one --> five boards and compatibility Marvell/SIL/JMB , as it's a route I'd like to investigate ?

GFH because it'll run a 3.5" drive ?

Slight tangent, but do you know if it's the same pinout between GFH / GFN / Dockstar as in :

Dockstar plug J1 10 pin, Serial Link / JTAG (Pin counting pairwise)
function name pin pin name function color RS232
output VCC 1 2 GND blk
Test Reset, active low TRST 3 4 TxD 3.3 V red
Test Data Input TDI 5 6 RxD 3.3 V wht
Test Mode Select TMS 7 8 SRST System Reset, active low
Test Clock TCK 9 10 TDO Test Data Output

Source - http://dev.shyd.de/2011/04/dockstar-serial-connection/

@rayknight - thanks for info on DreamPlug, I'll look out for it :)

Don Charisma ... because anything is possible with Charisma

My blog - http://DonCharisma.org
Our commercial site - http://DonCharisma.com
Re: Marvell = Best ?
April 05, 2017 04:51PM
Don,

> Do you have any advice on port multiplier hardware
> , eg one --> five boards and compatibility Marvell
> /SIL/JMB , as it's a route I'd like to investigate

Have not played with this for a while so I can't have a good advice. However, I recall all you would need to do is getting a multi-bay eSATA enclosure that supports port-multiplier.

> GFH because it'll run a 3.5" drive ?

GFH is basically identical to GFN but tends to cost a lot less. I think because it has only one 3.5" HDD slot, while the GFN has two 2.5" HDD slots.

Here is the serial pintout for the GFNet in the Wiki thread:

Quote

Serial Console & JTAG console

Repair Pogo E02 with Raspberry PI (JTAG) and OpenOCD
Serial Port connector - what are people using to make it work
Serial Console hookup - GoFlex Net (external link)
Serial Console hookup - Pogoplug E02 and Pogoplug Pro V3 (external link)
OSX Serial/Net Console
Use Phone Jack - Phone Jack Serial Console Pics
Adding serial connector to Pogoplug Mobile (external link)

-bodhi
===========================
Wiki
latest Kirkwood kernel builds and rootfs
latest u-boot-kirkwood builds
latest Oxnas kernel builds and rootfs
latest u-boot-oxnas builds
latest MVEBU Armada kernel builds and rootfs
U-Boot & Kernel Booting process
bodhi's u-boot GitHub
bodhi's corner
Re: Marvell = Best ?
April 06, 2017 03:50PM
I am using Pogo 4 with G-Ethernet and SATA port for home NAS. It works very well.
Re: Marvell = Best ?
April 07, 2017 07:47AM
twinclouds Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I am using Pogo 4 with G-Ethernet and SATA port for home NAS. It works very well.
>
Can you please use the hdparm, i.e. hdparm -tT /dev/sdX (where X is the drive), or other utility to check the throughput of your drive and let us know?
Re: Marvell = Best ?
April 07, 2017 07:51AM
/dev/sda:
Timing cached reads: 392 MB in 2.01 seconds = 195.50 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 192 MB in 3.03 seconds = 63.41 MB/sec
Re: Marvell = Best ?
April 07, 2017 12:06PM
twinclouds Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> /dev/sda:
> Timing cached reads: 392 MB in 2.01 seconds = 195.50 MB/sec
> Timing buffered disk reads: 192 MB in 3.03 seconds = 63.41 MB/sec
>
That is not bad at all. Just curious, what kind of a SATA storage, i.e. brand and model, is that?
Re: Marvell = Best ?
April 07, 2017 12:21PM
It is a 2GB (Edit: 2TB) Seagate taking from a Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB Portable External Drive.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/07/2017 01:31PM by twinclouds.
Re: Marvell = Best ?
April 07, 2017 01:26PM
twinclouds Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It is a 2GB Seagate taking from a Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB Portable External Drive.
>
I supposed you meant a 2 TB Seagate.
Re: Marvell = Best ?
April 07, 2017 01:30PM
Yes. Sorry for the typo. Thank you for point out. I have edited the original post also.
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