Hi there,

I'm preparing a Dell R410 server in order to run my web applications on it. It's more than enough for all the jobs, I'm gonna throw at it (GitLab, Web server, Game server, Repo etc.). But there was just one issue, which really drove me crazy: my SSDs wouldn't operate at 3Gbps (SATA II), but at 1.5Gbps (SATA I).

I'm using the integrated SAS 6/iR, which is hardware limited to 3Gbps. It's not a powerhouse, but it would do the job, handling my Samsung 830 SSDs. Even at SATA II speed, it would be enough for my use cases. Big problem: Dell is limiting non-certified drives to the lowest possible speed - eventhough technically it would be perfectly possible to operate at higher speeds.

I mean, at the moment when you've installed non-certified drives, you can't expect any warranties. However, if you've bought your server 2nd hand, chances are high, that you don't even have support from Dell. And most probably, you've never expected any support anyway. That's perfectly fine. But Dell will still limit your SSD's speed to crippled SATA I by software limitation, just because these drives haven't been tested by Dell.

One might argue, whether this is an unfair marketing strategy to sell their own, overpriced drives or they really just want to prevent damage by drives, which operate fine at SATA I speeds, but get problems at SATA II speeds - I would like to see any proof about this. Please note, I'm residing in Europe and software limiting your competitors drives without any reason is not compatible with European Law. I'm not a lawyer and am not interested in suing big companies. I'm just warning.

Luckily, you can bypass this software limitation easily, without any further costs - eventhough you might have read other things, like using interposers or a buying another expensive RAID card. All you need, is a Linux environment and lsiutil 1.62. Just Google a bit and I'm sure, you will be able to find it.

Once downloaded and extracted, start up lsiutil and choose option 13. You will be able to configure each of your ports individually. Leave everything at default, besides "Link Min Rate". Set this value to 3.0, exit the utility and reboot your server. Congratulations for your free upgrade to 3Gbps, which just increased your speeds by 100%!

I probably don't have to say, that you're doing this at your own risk! Always do backups! Hopefully, this helped a few people out there!

Cheers,

Tolga