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Thread: My M1015 Experiences, with various motherboards




  1. #1
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    Default My M1015 Experiences, with various motherboards

    I just got my LSI SAS9220-8i / M1015, and I have some experiences to share with others, because, along with the crossflashing, this card had me pulling my hair out.

    My system specs for my gaming / media PC are:

    Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H
    Corsair Dominator DDR3 1600 Ram (16GB)
    Gigabyte GTX470 SOC
    Antec HCP1200
    (2) LG Blu Ray Burners
    (2) Icy Dock 3 in 2 trayless drive cages.

    I received this card from China, after purchasing it on eBay. It came within about 10 days, and during this time I was daydreaming about how sweet it was going to be when I put it into my computer, and then I could use all of my IcyDock 3 in 2 enclosures, I have 2 of them, and also 2 Blu Ray burners.

    I had been unsatisfied with the fact that when I had the drive cages plugged into the motherboard sata ports, and I plugged a new drive into the cage, it would shut down the other drive connected to the same controller, and then reinitialize them both. If I was playing a movie from one hard drive, and plugged in a new drive, the movie would stop playing; I am finicky this way.

    At first I was mad at IcyDock, because I thought it was a power related issue, but when the same problem happened with different power cables, I ruled that out. I racked my brains and in a fit of genius, I connected each port of the drive cage to a different controller, i.e, the OS drive to the Intel 6GBs controller, and the second drive to the Marvell 6GBs controller, and the third drive to the Marvell 3GBs controller. This solved the problem, and began my search for a new controller card.

    I had read about the legendary M1015 in IT mode, and I began looking for one on eBay. I found one in China, for about $107 dollars with free shipping, but about a 15 day wait. During this time, I had been looking forward to getting this thing installed, and in my head it would work so perfectly. "I will put in in this slot," I told myself, as I stared down into my computer case, and I would plug it into all these components, and it would go so flawlessly.

    Wrong!

    I had read these forums, and others, and thought I knew everything there was to know about installing and crossflashing the M1015. I had my USB key loaded with the requisite files, I had updated my BIOS to the latest firmware I could get from this forum, I had even went through my computer and done cable management in preparation for running the forward breakout cables; "I am ready," I told myself.

    I got the card yesterday, and ran downstairs to my computer room, and slammed the door shut. I opened the taped package in a fit of joy, knife in hand, eyes wide; I was a kid on Christmas morn. I threw the instruction book, and CD to the side, pulled my computer from is rack, and opened it up. I popped the M1015 into the second PCI-E slot, an X8 slot, according to Newegg, and my manual. I had read of others having problems with this card not working in this slot, but I thought an updated BIOS would have fixed the problem. My delight soon turned to dismay, as I learned that the card would not function in this slot even with the updated BIOS, I was upset. Windows booted, and there in Device Manager, there was no sign of my precious M1015. I knew this was a possibility, I relocated my GPU to the second slot, and the M1015 to the first.

    "YES!," I roared, as I booted my computer, and the LSI bios came up, I had not received a dead unit from the far east. With crossflashing next on my list I plugged in the USB key, and rebooted my machine. I was in MS DOS and running the megarec commands, without so much as a care, until I got the sas2flsh PAL error. I had thought if I made it through megarec, surely sas2flsh would work fine, that was not the case. So now I had a firmware-less card, and I had to find a way to fix it. I booted back into Windows, and formatted the key again, this time placing updated efi files onto it, hoping, against all hope, that this would work. I rebooted, and tried to get my Z77X into an EFI shell. Over the next 4 hours, I received bootdisk errors, or I would select UEFI as the boot option, and then be greeted with the MS DOS prompt, or load into Windows after selecting UEFI on my key, I was straddling frustration and anger, I was on the raggedy edge. I did manage to make it into the UEFI shell three times, but never with the card installed, for some reason as soon as the card was in place, the Gods decided, that I would not be blessed with a UEFI shell. I tried everything; shellx64.efi, bootx64.efi, /efi/boot directories, formatting in GPT for UEFI, formatting in MBR for UEFI, MBR for both, nothing was working. Dinner was ready, still in my pajamas, I said very little at the supper table, I was crest-fallen.

    I gave up the effort on my main machine, and began looking for a suitable alternative. I had my "still waiting on parts" NAS server. I have another M1015 coming for this machine, so I thought I would try to flash the card in it; I pulled it from the rack, and opened it up. This machine has my old ASUS P5G41 M LE, with a quad core 2.5GHz processor and 4GB of RAM. I had tested this machine without the M1015, and it would boot to BIOS but it didn't have the hard drives attached, so no OS. I had planned this machine out very well, or so I thought. I was using the onboard graphics, no need for a GPU, so my PCI-E X16 slot was free. I plugged the M1015 into to the PCI-E slot, and the computer refused to post. "Crap," I thought, I tried numerous BIOS options, but it was no use. I will have to upgrade the motherboard, CPU, and RAM for this machine before I can use it as a NAS with the M1015.

    I was down to my last resort, the final solution. I waited patiently until my wife and children were asleep, then I stalked my quarry. I crept quietly into her office, and began unplugging the cables from the back of her beloved machine. I carried it into my office, and laid it on the table, where I would preform my delicate operation. I plugged in all my accessory cables and installed my M1015 into it, then plugged in the power, and turned it on. I was greeted with the MS DOS prompt, where I began with the megarec command. I had been through this before, so I held my breath on the reboot. I entered the sas2flsh commands as I prayed under my breath. My prayers are answered as I see the LSI flashing echos, and then success!

    All is smooth for the rest of the flash, and I remove the card from her PC and quietly put it back in its place.

    I put the M1015 back into my primary PCI-E slot, and plug in the forward breakout cables. One of my hopes for this card was that I would be able to boot from it, that way all my drives are run through this card, so I flashed the M1015 with the IT firmware, and the ROM. I tried to boot Windows from the card, but I get to the Starting Windows screen and the computer reboots, infinitely if I don't stop it. I may try installing Windows on another hard drive with the controller and see if that works, but my hopes are not high, I was prepared for it, and I can just plug the first drive in the cage, and the BD drive into the Intel controller on the board.

    I am not pleased with the wait time at the LSI screen when I start my computer, so I will remove the ROM tonight, and make it a plain, dumb HBA, instead. What really grinds my gears is the PCI slot issue with my motherboard, and the PCI slot issue with my NAS motherboard. I am looking for ways to solve these issues, but I have already ordered a Gigabyte GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3 Socket 1155 Motherboard off of eBay, to replace the one in my NAS, hopefully that one will work as desired.

    The issue with the PCI-E Slot in my main computer is not that big of a deal, as that motherboard, CPU, and RAM were purchased to tide me over, until the X99 chipset comes out later this year. Hopefully that chipset will work with the M1015 better than my GA-Z77X-UD5H does, but I will wait until I hear confirmed reports of the compatibility before I purchase it. I am not even that upset about the M1015 not working in my NAS, as that gave me a chance to upgrade it for future proofing, and the replacement parts only cost about $240, not a big deal. The motherboard I purchased was an impulse buy on eBay, but there is anecdotal evidence that the M1015 does work in it.

    The M1015 works great, even though it resides in the primary PCI-E slot. I am able to remove drives and re install drives effortlessly. I put a drive in the system, and count backwards from 10, and by the time I reach 1, the drive is in My Computer, ready for use. Using Zentimo Storage Manager, I am able to stop and eject these drives, before removal. I did have a bit of a sphincter clench when Zentimo, kept unassigning my Movie drive, its drive letter. The drive showed up as healthy in Disk Management, but remained unseen in My Computer. Every time I would assign it a drive letter, it would be removed. I figured out that Zentimo was unassigning it for some reason, so I uninstalled Zentimo. I then assigned a drive letter to the drive, and it showed up again, with all my movies intact, a big relief to me, because it was a great deal of work to get them there in the first place.

    The primary PCI-E slot issue, is OK, because I rarely play GPU intense games, and from what I have read, there is little more than a 2 fps difference, between the X16 and the X8 PCI-E slots.

    My story is finished, please comment below.
    Last edited by klee1981; 02-05-2014 at 05:42 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: My M1015 Experiences, with various motherboards

    Wow! You had some poor luck there. It only took me two MB's until I could find one that the sas2flash commands didn't error out on, or worse, with my four IBM 46M0831(M1015). It is not uncommon.

    I'm betting that you remove the rom and the cards will work in any pci-e slot. That's been my experience.

    I from the get go chose pure HBA LSI9211-IT mode with the first two, choosing to skip the mptsas2.rom and I can't be happier with them.

    But $105. Phew, um you overpaid. I bought the four I have off eBay about a year and a half ago for far less. Prior I was using those damn SM proprietary UIO cards, AOC-USASLP-L8i's. Doing the nylon washer thing to secure them to pci backplates. Ugly but worked.
    #1 - Please, when seeking help, enter the make and model of ALL parts that your system is comprised of in your Signature, or at least the model #'s in your System Specs, then "Save' it.
    ____If you are overclocking, underclocking, or undervolting any parts, informing us of this and their values would prove beneficial in helping you.

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    #3 - Please use the eXtreme Outer Vision Power Supply Calculator found HERE to determine if it might be your PSU at issue.
    ____Consider your PSU to be the foundation from which all else is built upon. Anything built upon a weak foundation is poorly built.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: My M1015 Experiences, with various motherboards

    Quote Originally Posted by - wardog - View Post
    But $105. Phew, um you overpaid.
    Ok, well, it looks the prices have fluctuated some since I last bought mine. Allow me to re-state $105 was rather decent at todays prices.
    #1 - Please, when seeking help, enter the make and model of ALL parts that your system is comprised of in your Signature, or at least the model #'s in your System Specs, then "Save' it.
    ____If you are overclocking, underclocking, or undervolting any parts, informing us of this and their values would prove beneficial in helping you.

    #2 - G.Skill RAM Configurator for your boardSamsung Memory for your boardLatest AMD Chipset Drivers/WindowsLatest AMD Graphics Drivers/WindowsLatest Intel Drivers

    #3 - Please use the eXtreme Outer Vision Power Supply Calculator found HERE to determine if it might be your PSU at issue.
    ____Consider your PSU to be the foundation from which all else is built upon. Anything built upon a weak foundation is poorly built.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: My M1015 Experiences, with various motherboards

    I got the board flashed back to IT mode, without the ROM, and it is still not working in my NAS or the second PCI-E slot of my Z77X; Oh well, it's no big deal. The card still works great otherwise, so I am happy with it, until I upgrade my motherboard, processor, and memory. I will make sure the M1015 is compatible with whatever motherboard I have my eye on before I buy it.

    I really count myself lucky, because I actually had a board in the house that would work at all. Someone else may be out of luck, and have to buy a crap computer off of Craigslist to get this thing flashed.
    Last edited by klee1981; 02-05-2014 at 05:39 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: My M1015 Experiences, with various motherboards

    I see now in your post and others your board does seemingly not much like the M1015, in only the slots that it prefers. Bummer. BIOS issues ........

    I had never seen nor been aware of Zentimo till this post. I've used HotSwap! for years now. Not as configurable as Zentimo, ie all those extras Zentimo carries. HotSwap does what it's intended to and consumes a much smaller footprint due to only meant to disconnect drives. I use CRU sleds and ESata. The only thing is it sees my 5 drive Biggest S2S boxes as 5 individual drives instead of one "device" but I now only use them for backups so that eases the effort some.

    Movie server is where I too use my 1015's. Some hardware that I use that is also is compatible with the 1015s is the Orico HD-PW6102(silver or black) HDD power switch. Using them allows me to only spin up the drive(s) I need at that moment. Saving having the added heat and power used. I currently have the XL R2 case stuffed almost to capacity with 3TB drives and next time I pull it down I'm going to look and see if I can mount an unused extra drive cage from my Define R4 next to the lower one and still have room for psu cables w/o kinking them into a knot. It's designed to be able to move the lower cage inward but I have to see about mounting holes and possible clearance issues with also having the original "lower four' cage there also. Fingers crossed.

    Question to you if I may. Zentimo, does it treat a drives partitions individually/separately, or does it see the drive and partitions as one "device'?
    #1 - Please, when seeking help, enter the make and model of ALL parts that your system is comprised of in your Signature, or at least the model #'s in your System Specs, then "Save' it.
    ____If you are overclocking, underclocking, or undervolting any parts, informing us of this and their values would prove beneficial in helping you.

    #2 - G.Skill RAM Configurator for your boardSamsung Memory for your boardLatest AMD Chipset Drivers/WindowsLatest AMD Graphics Drivers/WindowsLatest Intel Drivers

    #3 - Please use the eXtreme Outer Vision Power Supply Calculator found HERE to determine if it might be your PSU at issue.
    ____Consider your PSU to be the foundation from which all else is built upon. Anything built upon a weak foundation is poorly built.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: My M1015 Experiences, with various motherboards

    Quote Originally Posted by - wardog - View Post
    I see now in your post and others your board does seemingly not much like the M1015, in only the slots that it prefers. Bummer. BIOS issues ........

    I had never seen nor been aware of Zentimo till this post. I've used HotSwap! for years now. Not as configurable as Zentimo, ie all those extras Zentimo carries. HotSwap does what it's intended to and consumes a much smaller footprint due to only meant to disconnect drives. I use CRU sleds and ESata. The only thing is it sees my 5 drive Biggest S2S boxes as 5 individual drives instead of one "device" but I now only use them for backups so that eases the effort some.

    Movie server is where I too use my 1015's. Some hardware that I use that is also is compatible with the 1015s is the Orico HD-PW6102(silver or black) HDD power switch. Using them allows me to only spin up the drive(s) I need at that moment. Saving having the added heat and power used. I currently have the XL R2 case stuffed almost to capacity with 3TB drives and next time I pull it down I'm going to look and see if I can mount an unused extra drive cage from my Define R4 next to the lower one and still have room for psu cables w/o kinking them into a knot. It's designed to be able to move the lower cage inward but I have to see about mounting holes and possible clearance issues with also having the original "lower four' cage there also. Fingers crossed.

    Question to you if I may. Zentimo, does it treat a drives partitions individually/separately, or does it see the drive and partitions as one "device'?
    I tried HotSwap!, and it was OK for me. My problem with the program was that before I installed Intel Rapid Storage, I would have to manually scan the system for changes to detect the new drive. I found Zentimo, but also installed IRST at the same time, so I don't know if that would have fixed my Issue with HotSwap, in all likelihood, it would have. Zentimo, shows the drives, as whole disks, for ejection, not the singular partitions on the drives. It does show the partition too, but it will eject a whole disk, it just shows the partitons on the drive. Another issue I had with HotSwap!, was that it would eject the disk, even if it was locked by a process; This would prevent the drive from being re-installed on the same slot, until the process had terminated. Zentimo can forcibly stop the processes, and eject the drive, and I have had no issues with it, it works great. My computer, with the exception of my GPU, has a bit of horsepower, so the resources necessary to run Zentimo are really un-noticeable, for me at least, I am sure they are quantifiable, with a program that monitors such things.

    One issue that has popped up with my new M1015, is that Zentimo now sees all my hard drives, including the C: because I had to check an option to "Show all Drives." With my onboard SATA controllers, I could set them in the BIOS as "Removable," and they would be shown as such in Zentimo, so now, if I am not careful, I could eject the C: drive, and BSOD. There is an option in Zentimo to hide drives from the tray application, I can use that to hide the C:

    I am not trying to pimp Zentimo here, but it is great for what I need. Such as, I can lock drive letters to drives, so that my Movie drive is always E:, and my Misc drive is always D: no matter where I put it, and it will prevent removable USB keys from taking those assignments.

    My NAS, where in the future, my movies will reside, is in a Norco 4220, 20 bay rack mount case; I am really looking forward to getting it up and running. My computer is in a 4U rack mount case from PLinkUSA. With a rack mount system, I advise anyone to install Slim Sliding Rails. They are almost a necessary addition, as before I would have to take all the components out, and lay the rack on its back, and pull the computer cases out of the rack. The computer cases were too heavy to remove with one person when the rack was upright, without dropping the case to the ground.





    Last edited by klee1981; 02-05-2014 at 07:52 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: My M1015 Experiences, with various motherboards

    What rack is that there in the pics? Is it on castors? Blanker panels included? PDU on the rear or not? I'd like to hear your thoughts of it.

    I just disassembled my RPC-470, rack mount and all. A royal PITA Norco 4 post open rack, RPC-470(w/rails, another PITA mounting), RM Smart-UPS 1500, and GS724T switch.
    #1 - Please, when seeking help, enter the make and model of ALL parts that your system is comprised of in your Signature, or at least the model #'s in your System Specs, then "Save' it.
    ____If you are overclocking, underclocking, or undervolting any parts, informing us of this and their values would prove beneficial in helping you.

    #2 - G.Skill RAM Configurator for your boardSamsung Memory for your boardLatest AMD Chipset Drivers/WindowsLatest AMD Graphics Drivers/WindowsLatest Intel Drivers

    #3 - Please use the eXtreme Outer Vision Power Supply Calculator found HERE to determine if it might be your PSU at issue.
    ____Consider your PSU to be the foundation from which all else is built upon. Anything built upon a weak foundation is poorly built.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: My M1015 Experiences, with various motherboards

    Quote Originally Posted by - wardog - View Post
    What rack is that there in the pics? Is it on castors? Blanker panels included? PDU on the rear or not? I'd like to hear your thoughts of it.

    I just disassembled my RPC-470, rack mount and all. A royal PITA Norco 4 post open rack, RPC-470(w/rails, another PITA mounting), RM Smart-UPS 1500, and GS724T switch.
    The rack is a RackSolutions RACK-117-12

    The blank panel was not included, I bought it off of eBay. The rack is on casters, that came in the kit. I bought a 20 outlet PDU off of eBay, it has 10 outlets to the front and 10 to the rear. I have all the components plugged into the rear of the PDU. There is a gigabit switch in the rear above the PDU, it is a 24port switch, but the make and model escape me at the moment, and I am too lazy to look for it. It was just a used server model purchased off of eBay. Why all the eBay you might ask? Well, I get eBay Bucks, and that adds up.

    I wish that RPC-470 had 5.25" bays in the open slots to the side. It would be sweet to have the 2 5.25" bays in the center for fan control, and the SATA power control panel you mentioned earlier, but it would be too wide then. I was looking at an open rack, but I wanted the closed cabinet for aesthetics.
    Last edited by klee1981; 02-05-2014 at 07:40 PM.

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