"Penta SATA HAT" supported for "Rock 3a"?

Recently tested Armbian flavor 23.02.2 based on Debian Bullseye (required for OMV packages) and latest 6.10 kernel.
Behavior and performance are very similar, although the kernel starts in a cleaner way (less error messages), however I still receive the same kind of ‘failed command: WRITE FPDMA QUEUED’ message, just a bit less often and not with RAID5.
All I can maybe do now is check what exact drivers/firmwares are in use.This is the next step.
Also, I am about to receive a second Penta SATA hat I ordered a few months ago, before the current one. It was delayed because out-of-stock at that time and I thought the item would have been refunded, but it is apparently and finally on its way to my home. So,I will also test this second hat and might have a free sample to give…

What does mean ‘firmware’ upgrade? Is it a microcode to upgrade on the SATA board or simply the drivers for the Linux kernel (ahci)?

Probably it’a about JMS chip on penta sata hat, but I could not find anything more - what is recent version and how to update (or from where to get such firmware). Some of firmwares are slightly changed for particular boards, and they are distributed directly to companies.

Hardware RAID saved my quad sata kit, earlier I tried several other options but they were just problematic. Now I have two groups of raids, one for each controller. Also UASP seems to work with this setup. The only question is SMART info passed from real drives, that is so far only available on custom command. Bad news that penta sata hat has no hardware RAID :confused:

Sorry for late answer, I missed it. Just use forum PM if needed.
Did that RAID rebuilt and working correctly now? Software raid always gets some resources, on pi4b it takes about 20% and that is much.

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Thank You for your reply,

SBC world is on tight edge, reliability and support have become critical and the price range between low end x86-64 and ARM/RISK V is lower and lower.
In short, this attempt on my side is close to a clear failure, too bad. Again, this is a free time project, but it costed more than expected, especially for the case / power supply and cables. Good news is I am not in bankrupt situation, but expectations are not met.

  • hardware RAID unavailable - critical for RAID5 on Rock 3A and Rock 4, and not officially supported on Rock 5B where the higher CPU power could help improve software RAID performance
  • Availability of suitable and affordable cases for SBC NAS: none for 3"5 drives (I bought a mini ITX 4 drives NAS case for the purpose, with a refurbished 150W Flex-ATX power supply and specific SATA cables) - this costs a lot (more than150 EUR) in addition to the Radxa hardware (Rock3A 8GB + EMMC module + SATA hat, around 150 EUR)
  • Support from Radxa (distros / forum): low

Facts, as a brief summary:

  • RAID5 works, but with very poor performance, around 100 MB/s in both read/write operations on 3 drives. This is clearly CPU bounded and similar on all tested kernels. But the slow down lower the stress on the JMB chip, and this seems to make a difference!
  • RAID0 fails with systematic resets of the SATA links, destroying performance tests, whatever the kernel version (kernels 4.x, 5.x and 6.x on Armbian Debian based, 4.x on Radxa provided Debian).
  • Simple WD Black 2"5 7200 rpm drive fails with similar error as in case of RAID0

So, software RAID is not a good start for low end Rockchip and in striping mode (RAID0), there is an obvious problem, where Radxa team could help, but all kernels seem to suffer from the same symptoms: SATA link reset due to failing write command.

If You live in Europe, I have a spare Penta SATA hat for You, just drop me an email and I will try to send it to your home for test purposes. I may have missed something, a secondary viewpoint might be helpful…

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I was also bit confused about this product and probably went similar path with quad sata hat, it also took way more time than I expected to get it to work. Stable work :smiley:
Meanwhile I learned about many things about this particular technology and of course about SBCs and their system, kernels and configuration. You never know why to use or not RAID until You got problems with it and need to deal with them. And of course You will get an idea why big nas hardware just costs so much, beside hardware You will get software and support, those will be ready to use just out of box.

Others are also not perfect with their support. Biggest community - raspberry - has much more users, but most of them will produce useless replies suggesting You to turn off and on or just replace board with new one. I found few bugs in releases as well as still there are some issues with UAS and USB. Also I found many topics about JMB and x86 issues, some still not resolved. Realtec has its own problems (lack of sleep mode on selected nvme/sata adapters), so it’s not perfect here too :slight_smile:

Yesterday one of my R4B+ become unstable and now it’s not turning on, this will delay my project for that board (still have second one). Earlier there were few problems with m.2 with that board, maybe something similar may be issue on Your side? I have few ROCK boards that are ok as well as pi and working quad sata hat. After vacation I will also build big NAS. And yes - I’m in middle of Europe.
Few days ago allnet mailed me about ROCK 5A board availability and I need to talk to them about my faulty 4B+, I was thinking about getting penta hat with that order. Your offer is interesting, we can try that to see what I can get from this hat, if it will work at least like quad I’ll just buy it from You in return for Your trust :slight_smile: Of course it should be way better via it’s specs. I’ll write You e-mail tomorrow so we can plan some tests. Thanks again.