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Thread: Ep45-ds5 & dq6

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Ep45-ds5 & dq6 - Sis 5723 & Jmicron 363

    Review and issues for 4-Sata (GS0-Source, GS1, GS2-Source, GS3)

    -- I haven't these Mb, but plan to buy one and am very intersting about what test and exploration and investigation anybody will provide --

    Motherboards :
    GA-EP45-DQ6(rev. 1.0) GIGABYTE - Product - Motherboard - Specification - GA-EP45-DQ6 (rev. 1.0)
    GA-EP45-DS5(rev. 1.0) GIGABYTE - Product - Motherboard - Specification - GA-EP45-DS5 (rev. 1.0)

    What about (GS0-Source, GS1, GS2-Source, GS3) Connectors
    explanation The Mother of Boards: Gigabyte EP45-DQ6 Preview :: Articles ::® ->> Here's the architecture

    ......PCI Express 1 Lane on Ich10R
    | GIGABYTE SATA2 = Jmicron 363 |--> PATA=IDE -> 2*Ata Connectors
    .........Sata1...........Sata 2
    .....| Sis 5723 |....| Sis 5723 |
    ......---------- .....----------

    1) What Sis5723 provide ( this chipset is one of the Steelvine family product"
    2) What Jmicron & Sis5723 provide BOTH
    3) WHAT Gigabyte permit and offer as support features (Bios & Soft)

    - Ich10r doesn't manage Pata-Ide, so Jmicron does
    - Jmicron manage TWO Sata Channels, so Sis5723 provide "Port Multiplier " and Jmicron see 2 Sata when SIs manage 2*2 Sata Support

    * The Key: SATA Port Multipliers The Key: SATA Port Multipliers - Tom's Hardware : Silicon Image Brings Virtualization to eSATA

    Jmicron 363
    - 1 x IDE connector supporting ATA-133/100/66/33 and up to 2 IDE devices
    - 1st SiI5723 with 2 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors GS0-Source, GS1,
    - 2nd SiI5723 with 2 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors GS2-Source, GS3
    Support also
    - AHCI + NCQ => Seem activated per default on Sata II channels
    - Sata I + II (default)
    - Hot Plugging on SATA II port + eSATAConnection,
    - Limitation to 2.5Gbps on PCI Express bus using 1-Lane (Ich10)
    - All registers accessible in unified memory space = softw parameter

    AND Supports Port Multiplier with Command-based Switching on SATA II port SO , that means that J363 are compatible with SiI5723
    • Support 4 storage device on 2 independent SATA channels ->>> Jmicron MANAGE the 2* SIS5723
    • Supports (Raid0 = JBOD) AND Raid1 Mode >> Settings by the BIOS

    Conclusion for Jmicron 363 Review :
    SiI5723 provide many features : BUT THE Gigabyte BIOS Limit them
    1. "Smart Backup" (gigabyte) = RAID-1 = SAFE (Silicon term) for EACH SIS5723, MEANS BIOS SEND parameter to each SIS5723 to SET Raid1 - Require to have 2 Sata Disks on each couple (GS0 + GS1 ) (GS2 + GS3)
    2. Jbod=Raid0 (Each Sata device appears as One) WHEN Bios Setup is on ((Disables this function. (Default))

    Have a look in the "Users Guide P7-8 (15-16) for the Jbod and Safe Mode
    Sis5723 have many other features - see "Table 1 - Available Product Features by Chip Type" P 2(10)

    Gigabyte Bios Settings means = Send configuration settings to the each Sis5723 =
    1. ((Disables this function. (Default)) = JBOD-Raid0
    2. GS0/GS1 Ports Enables Smart Backup for the GS0-Source/GS1 connector. = Raid1 setting for 1st Sis5723
    3. GS2/GS3 Ports Enables Smart Backup for the GS2-Source/GS3 connector. = Raid1 setting for 2nd Sis5723
    4. All Ports Enables Smart Backup for the GS0-Source/GS1 and GS2-Source/GS3 = Raid1 setting for 1st And 2nd Sis5723 connectors.

    In few Words GIGABYTE with The Bios only Provide 4*Sata Jbod - OR - Raid1 on the 1st, the 2nd or the two Sis5723

    BUT WHAT Gigabyte does'nt Provide as possible features --- IS IT POSSIBLE to obtain them DIReCTlY with A Software OR Programming

    let us have a Look at the Sis5723 Now
    Sis5723 is a RAID Storage Processors - SteelVine storage processors provide simple, reliable, and affordable storage options for consumer devices.

    Silicon Image - Product - SiI5723 Storage Processor
    Guide-Manual Silicon Image - Support | Documentation Search Results
    All-Downloads Silicon Image - Support | Download Center Results
    Silicon Image - Delivering pure digital content everywhere
    Silicon Image Brings Virtualization to eSATA : Silicon Image Simplifies ESATA Storage - Tom's Hardware

    Architecture =

    Observation :
    - Southbridge (on left is the Jmicron363
    - Observe "I2C Mgmt port " And "Jumper"
    - ANd Additional SteelVine Features
    • No driver, BIOS or software required
    • User API interface through I2C
    • No drive reformatting on RAID change
    • Email notification
    • Optional XML API
    • RAID 1 drive racing
    • Optional SteelVine Manager GUI
    • Mandatory SMART commands available
    • SAFE later


    A- By the Gigabyte Bios as we saw
    B- directly by THREE WAys
    B1-- by Jumper - Gigabyte didn't implement jumper on motherboard
    B2-- by Software - "SiI57xx SteelVine Manager - Configuration Manager"
    Silicon Image - Support
    Choose your OS - SiI57xx SteelVine Manager for Windows XP SP2, Vista, and 2003 Server monitors and configures any SiI5723, SiI5734, or SiI5744 based Storage Appliance. To use this software, please upgrade the SiI57xx storage subsystem to firmware 1.1516 or later. Silicon Image - Support

    B3 = Programing - SiI57xx SteelVine I2C Programmer's Guide
    And also SiI57xx SteelVine XML API

    1°) What Is micron & Sis5723 compatible level?

    Compatiblity Chart
    Jmicron doesn't figure on ...


    Two Sata Hdd connected to (G0-G1) or-and (G2-G3)
    Bios settings Disabled ->> must be 2 HDD Jbod-raid0 stand and you must see two HDD - But in some case will not - See P24
    1) Bios defect and Jmicron doesn't support Sis with Port multiplier (PM)
    2) Partition less than 8Gb
    3) Sata Hdd not compatible -- see compatibility chart

    Refering to manual >> If you use a host controller that does not provide Port Multiplier support:
    • The JBOD storage policy is unavailable when configuring the SteelVine Storage
    Reference Design. Only one disk is available on the host computer.
    • Virtual volumes that you create in the Advanced Configuration Wizard must use at least 8 gigabytes (GB) of available system capacity.

    - "compatibility chart"
    - Issue with mix between Hdd & Cd/Dvd device support on Sis5723
    P3 "Disk Drive Compatibility - Silicon Image, Inc. (SIMG) qualified the following list of hard disk drives with members of the SteelVine™ product family. nless noted here, alternate hard disk drives may not work properly or upport only a subset of the available function. To have SIMG expand this list, please complete and submit form SiI-TT-0017-A01"

    The "Customer Ressource Center"
    cpc=ULwO0A442oKs512Q04X5i0UupP4SveI6dt2WJi7&cid=2& r=0.8237268
    FAQ not really usefull - much more for other siliconproducts
    Silicon Image - Support FAQ

    Jmicron363 - Sis5723 Firmware Version
    As J33 drive the is5723 with PmP (multiplier) functions, i Think that it is important to have the correct firmware for the both chipset

    If i refer to the Jmicron Firmware release history, some release have bug supporting Pmp Driver

    So, the combination of Gigabyte Bios, Jmicron & Sis Firmware Versions is probably important

    To be continued ..
    Last edited by durantt; 08-20-2008 at 06:41 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Ep45-ds5 & dq6

    Quote Originally Posted by durantt View Post
    I haven't these Mb, but plan to buy one and am very intersting about what test and exploration and investigation anybody will provide
    Some previous experiences:
    GA-EP45-DS5 G-SATA Problem! Please Help!
    Problem with GA-EP45-DS5 ...Hard Disk LED remains on
    raid1 migration and EP45-DQ6 5723

    And do not forget that other motherboard brands do use SiI5723 as well, and while not identical in features they do provide some insights on the gadget.

    Edit: The GA-EP45-DQ6 that I have, has firmware version 1.1570 on its 5723 chips.
    Last edited by mv2devnull; 08-19-2008 at 03:35 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: Ep45-ds5 & dq6

    TEST0 - HOW MANY Maximum HardDisk Supported???
    I don't find clear answers whether i found information (forum, docs, support ...)

    SO, please, post information IF you heard from a direct source or test yourself the Gx Jmicron/Sis with 4 Sata2 in Raid0-Jbod
    In fact the negative answer appear frequently

    What i Suppose is:
    What is Indubitable
    1- The 2 Sis Connected directly to Jmicron can support 4 sata Jbod
    2- Jmicron is able to manage 4 Device if we refer to the Specs

    BUT, HERE IS probably the ISSUE
    - In this page "SataII - • Supports up to 4 storage device connection " JMicron/Products
    - BUT in the Product Brief "SATA II/PATA - • Supports up to 4 storage device connection"

    What is the difference ??
    1. - 1st case we suppose that Jmicron handle 4 Sata PLUS the Pata, So 6 device??
    2. - 2nd case - Jmicron handle 4 Device TOTAL, 2 Pata & 2 Sata If Pata is active and that's the case for Bios

    If that analysis is correct, maybe
    • Gigabyte knows that from the start, but why their fuzzy explanation and bios features?
    • more probably - they discover that during the writing process of Bios, which can explain why they come back to simple solution of "Smart backup"

    In this case, It's Weird, because it was possible to have another Chipset than Jmicron or attach the Sis directly to the Ich10

    If correct - Definitely we get Only and a Max of 2 SataII manageable by Jmicron and either
    - 2 Disk -> so 2 Jbod0
    - 4 Disk -> so 2 Raid1

    This Gigabyte configuration Seems better for configuration like:
    1. 2*1T (max disk capacity) for server - Option- Incorporate Raid1 whith good perf (because sync between is assume by Sis chipset)
    2. eSata because The 6-ICH10 are fulfilled
    3. Nested/cascading with external Case - Neither that analysis, Sis features whith nested chipset is always potentially possible with other Raid mode than 0-1

    Like Here, but here are prototype with Usb

    I Agree also with Mv2devnull

    Steelvine Cascading is really possible ??
    I search for "External box" "external hard disk/drive" with Steelvine compliance and Sata connector - but didn't find any
    These special Boxes require "Esata In" and "eSata-Usb Out" .. and incorporate one of the Sil75xx chipset family Steelvine .... Concerning our case Usb is not implemented in Gigabyte Motherboard for the Sil5723

    Sis5723 Features - How to get them ??
    These have to be tested by them have device and time for

    TEST1 - SteelVine Configuration Manager Software
    Test1A - install Software - "SiI57xx SteelVine Manager - Configuration Manager"
    Silicon Image - Support

    Test1B - Manage Raid configuration with "SiI57xx SteelVine Manager - Configuration Manager"
    Mode to be tested - Big - Fast - Safe33, Safe50

    Test1C - Programing Sis
    I grabed this post : XtremeSystems Forums - View Single Post - Dedicated Gigabyte EP45-DQ6 thread
    I have bought the board about 2 weeks ago. One reason for chosing the board was presence of 10 SATA channels onboard. This would suit my purpose: building linux-based home file server (raid6 etc).
    However, I was disappointed quickly, having found no way to use the 4 SATA channels attached to GSATA independently. The Silicon Image 5723s -- used as 1-to-2 port multipliers on each of GSATA's (aka JMicron 363) SATA ports -- support a bunch of RAID modes (RAID1, RAID0, combination of the two, and JBOD) according to Silicon's website. I was planning to put them in JBOD mode, and let the linux raid functionality take care of the rest. However, this is not possible right now. Gigabyte has decided that RAID1 is that we all need, and hard-wired the 5723s into RAID1 mode.

    I have had conversation with Gigabyte support techs regarding this, and their reply was quick and disappointial: "(SiI5723 RAID chip) supports RAID 1 mode only. When you connnect four SATA HDDs, GSATA controller chip will able to connect them with RAID 0 mode."
    Well, RAID0 consisting of 2 RAID1s was not what I was looking forward to when buying the board, although I understand there are users who find it useful.

    I would venture into "un-hard-wiring" the 5723s to allow them to be used in any mode configurable with SteelVine Manager. This could probably be achieved by unsoldering some of 5723s' pins and reconfiguring the chips into soft-config mode. Unfortunately, so far I have not found which are the configuration pins. Apparently, obtaining the datasheet from Silicon Image would require an agreement to their NDA. I would appreciate any help in this field... [Update: I _have_ contacted Silicon Image for the datasheet, and indeed, I was asked to begin the NDA process. When it turned out that I am the single individual (end user) and not a manufacturer, I was politely but definitely informed that they disclose that kind of information only to manufacturers. Anyone out there being a manufacturer that would qualify?]

    Conclusion: Unless you really want RAID1s, this board has effectively only 8 SATA channels.

    After lots of playing around, I was actually able to create a RAID0 with only 2 drives connected to the GSATA ports (with F6 bios). Use port 1 and port 4. Completely un-intuitive I know, but I managed to do it. Mind you, I ended up not running with that in the end. I ran my RAID0 from the ICH10. The other thing that wasn't (and still isn't as of F6, maybe later bios addresses this) clear is that the the smart backup (RAID1 on the GSATA) found the two drives and is functional (it just says initializing, and then on the GSATA bios screen, its says non-raid, which to me, it really is, just not configured manually). The only way I proved to myself it was working was to put the two drives separately into another machine and see if they were the same (which they were).
    TEST2- ESATA Cascading To Expand Capacity
    If we connect on Sis Sata connector an external Box within Sisxx inside, can we manage a cascading configuration??
    ESATA Cascading To Expand Capacity - Tom's Hardware : Silicon Image Brings Virtualization to eSATA

    to be continues ....
    Last edited by durantt; 08-21-2008 at 06:38 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: Ep45-ds5 & dq6

    Quote Originally Posted by mv2devnull View Post
    Some previous experiences:
    GA-EP45-DS5 G-SATA Problem! Please Help!
    Problem with GA-EP45-DS5 ...Hard Disk LED remains on
    raid1 migration and EP45-DQ6 5723

    And do not forget that other motherboard brands do use SiI5723 as well, and while not identical in features they do provide some insights on the gadget.
    Edit: The GA-EP45-DQ6 that I have, has firmware version 1.1570 on its 5723 chips.
    Thanks - i post here after have seen others ...

    - Did you test the software "steelvine Manager?"
    - Are 4 disk connected to G0-G1-G2-G3 appear as 4 Device (whith Bios Disabled settings) ??

  5. #5

    Default Re: Ep45-ds5 & dq6

    Yes, I did try SteelVine Manager. It will show the 5723 controller that has disks connected to it if the SmartBackup function is enabled for that 5723 chip (ports). The array is naturally in SAFE mode. The array did rebuild and then verify, and there are options to start and abort rebuild&verify. Now one of the two disks I had, had read errors, and after verify, the controller started another rebuild and that cycle continued. There is no chance to change the mode of the array from the Manager.

    If the SmartBackup is disabled, no "disk" is seen by BIOS nor OS, and Manager does not see the 5723 chip(s) either. With the F5 bios something was seen with SmartBackup disabled, but no more with F10a.

  6. #6
    Lsdmeasap's Avatar
    Lsdmeasap is offline GIGABYTE Guru
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    PCB Island

    Default Re: Ep45-ds5 & dq6

    WOW, Great info here. So it seems maybe users should use the older BIOS's or is this just all still up in experiment land?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Ep45-ds5 & dq6

    Still in the experiment land.

    IIRC, I did try "disable SmartBackup" after it had been enabled and the F5 bios (or more precisely the GSATA jmb363 thingy) saw a "500 GB" drive (while the chip had two 500 GB disks connected). Ie, it did not revert to the "1000 GB" drive that I saw on first connect, before enabling the SmartBackup for the first time, nor did it show two disks.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Default Re: Ep45-ds5 & dq6

    There is some great info here, and from my quick read of this thread, in theory the combination of the Jbmicron 363 and the 2 SiI5723 controllers should give us more options that just RAID 1?

    I logged a support call with Gigabyte and here is the answer, it would be disappointing if they do nothing more with this controller(s), and I would have to say there is some false advertising as the raid controller was originally advertised to support both raid 1 and 0 modes...

    Dear Sir,

    Thank you for your kindly mail and inquiry. About the issue you mentioned, according to the latest BIOS design, the GSATA2 SATA controller support Smart Backup feature, this feature allows the system to create the RAID1 environment automatically without using the traditional RAID BIOS, that's why you won't see the GSATA RAID BIOS menu anymore. And because currently GSATA2 SATA controller only support Smart Backup feature (after F7 BIOS), this will automatically enable the RAID1 with the HDDs which connected to GS0-Source and GS1 (or GS2-Source and GS3) SATA ports, so it does not support RAID0 environment.

    At last, if you still have any further question or suggestion about our products/service, please do not hesitate to contact with us. We will try our best to help you resolve the problem ASAP.


  9. #9

    Default Re: Ep45-ds5 & dq6

    Nothing really surprising or novel in that.

    I do have printed manual of GA-EP45-DQ6. Revision 1001. Its chapter 2, Bios Setup, apparently does show BIOS rev F2a. Probably something that has never seen retail. Within its options, there are two entries, "SiI 5723-1 GSATA 0,1 Ctrl" and "SiI 5723-2 GSATA 0,1 Ctrl". Each of them would have had five possible values: SPAN, JBOD, FAST, SAFE, and GUI. Of them, GUI would have let an application, "GIGABYTE Smart Backup tool" to choose the mode of 5723. My board came with F5 BIOS, which has no such things, and the later BIOS seem even more terse.

    There are now two possibilities: (1) the F2a was real, but not of production quality and Gigabyte opted to play safe (and even more safe after F7), or (2) the F2a was a concept design only and the hardware choices of the actual board revision prevent its implementation. Naturally we do hope that the truth is closer to the first possibility and that Gigabyte manages to make a BIOS with more features accessible.

    Btw, I'm strongly opposed to marketing RAID1 as "Smart Backup". RAID is not a "backup". If you delete a file accidentally, it is gone for sure as RAID1 obediently wipes out both mirrored copies of it.

    Asus markets the RAID0 mode of 5723 as "Super Speed" and that is much closer to truth; any disk of RAID0 set dies and all the files stored over all the disks are immediately lost. Hard to get faster than that.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Default Re: Ep45-ds5 & dq6

    Hi, Following on from above and for interest I thought I would post a scan of my DS5 manual (1001) which has bios F2j mentioned as the demo bios.

    As previously mentioned lot more options and Gigabyte Smart Backup tool sounds like it may have the options needed.

    Gigabyte may take this onboard and maybe produce a bios that gives the options for smart backup to be configured in a "simple" mode as they have it in F10a, or in an advanced mode giving the options shown earlier.

    Thought this may help people understanding the difference that the bios has taken. You can compare this to current manual on Gigabyte website version 1004.


    Attached Images Attached Images Ep45-ds5 &amp; dq6-ds5-raid-options-jpg 

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