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XPEnology on Thecus N7710


ecbrad
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Hi,

 

I've been running XPEnology on my HP N54L for 2 years now and it's fantastic. I recently acquired a Thecus N7710 which is a nice bit of kit but the OS is bloody horrible. There are not very many apps and the ones that are available are out of date or not compatible with the 64bit hardware.

 

I'm wondering if anyone has successfully installed XPEnology on one of these devices and if so how?

 

I've created a boot USB, changed the BIOS settings to boot from USB but it doesn't appear to work. It just keeps defaulting to the Thecus OS.

 

Thanks for any help/pointers.

 

ecbrad

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Okay thanks guys. I was doing some reading last night and it appears you are correct in that despite selecting boot from USB, it will only really do it if you remove the DOM first.

 

I believe? that I can then either boot from USB, install XPEnology and run it in the same fashion as my HP N54L OR I can purchase a replacement DOM and install XPEnology on that.

 

Cheers

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I think the consensus is its easier to use USB boot device for XPE. There are people who have tried DOMs on various machines and the boot order can be problematic and also the IDE drivers used by the mobo for DOM may not work.

XPE is 'designed' to work from USB so maybe keep it simple :smile:

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Just a quick update in case anyone else would like to know, taking out the DOM worked a treat. I find it bizarre that the BIOS gives you the option to boot from USB but it will NOT even see it unless you remove the DOM which is stupid.

 

So removed DOM, booted from now visible USB, installed XPEnology flawlessly and connected. Only one issue so far and that is that XPEnology can only see 6 of the 7 disks. Is this a limitation of the software or a quirk with the Thecus hardware? The Thecus OS could see 7 disks no problem

 

Cheers

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Possibly this might be because of the SATA controller setup. If the Thecus is using a 'port multiplier' for some SATA channels, the drivers in XPE might not allow all the channels on the multiplier to be seen. This is a limitation of the hardware not XPE.

 

From this;

https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/The ... 0-G/5.html

 

"On the aforementioned card are three Silicon Image SiI3132 (PCI Express to 2-Port Serial ATA II Host) controllers, an NXP PCA9532PW 16-bit I²C-bus and SMBus I/O expander, and an IDT 9DB403DGLF clock buffer"

 

Looks like one of the SIL3132's is being 'multiplied' to give 'sata channel 7' :sad:

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I'm doubting myself though, looking at the pics on that site, and although they say there are 3 SIL chips, I think there may be 4 and my I/O reference is wrong. I think some trial and error testing might show if its SIL module related.

As a test, what does DSM show if you install a single drive in each drive position in turn? If you see 1 drive, but moving from disk 1 to disk 7, then thats good. Then install another disk one at a time and see what happens. It could be that there is a limit to the number of times a loaded module will 'work' with associated hardware - 3 in this case? I not linux savvy enough to know though.

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NO I think you're on the right track. The BIOS only sees 6 ATA ports.

 

I can boot XPEnology with 1, 2, 3, 4 etc drives and it will boot successfully and see each one except for the seventh. Boot with ThecusOS and I can see and use all 7 so something funky is being done in ThecusOS to see the 7th drive?

 

What is different is that ThecusOS sees the drives as drive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

 

XPEnology labels them drives 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

 

XPEnology refuses to see the drive in the bottom slot no matter what order I use.

 

Brad

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The thecus mobo has six unused and unterminated intel sata ports so I suspect they are the ones in the bios and taking drives 1-6 in Storage Manager. Try disabling them and see what happens. The SIL adapters would probably not show up during boot, depending on the bios they have installed. The Thecus O/S is probably not loading any intel sata drivers, but XPE is, which is why the drives appear as 7 and up.

Another thought too, the SIL 3132 is a PCIe x1 chipset so if the PCIe slot on the mobo is x4, and some data lines have been used by the non sata requirements, so the XPE SIL module/drivers cant see that 4th chip, so no amount if fiddling will make it work, wheras the thecus o/s might have customised drivers to handle the 4th chip. You might be stuck with a 6 bay NAS :sad:

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The thecus mobo has six unused and unterminated intel sata ports so I suspect they are the ones in the bios and taking drives 1-6 in Storage Manager. Try disabling them and see what happens. The SIL adapters would probably not show up during boot, depending on the bios they have installed. The Thecus O/S is probably not loading any intel sata drivers, but XPE is, which is why the drives appear as 7 and up.

 

Genius!

 

Disabling the sata ports in the BIOS allowed XPEnology to see and use that 7th disk. Thanks a bunch for the suggestion :grin: Of course this is sub-optimal if I was to add anything to the unit but since I hadn't planned to other than expanding it to 32GB this works a treat.

 

Would it still make sense to have XPEnology updated to support the complete system though?

 

Cheers,

brad

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Glad that we got there in the end.

 

I guess you will need a pros and cons list for which O/S you use and the 'risks' of each. Obviously the Thecus O/S is 'supported' but has its limitations. XPE is an 'enthusiasts project' that gets hardware to work with DSM, but you need to expect some quirks, but you do get the 'luxury' of the great DSM system and all the packages and add-ons.

 

In my personal setup, I've a DS1812+ that has been my production box for 4 years and I've been using XPE/DSM for 'jukebox' backups. But recently I've started to use a bare metal XPE/DSM for my main media library, NFS for VMs etc as a production box, still with data backups etc.

 

I think that if you find your hardware is compatible with XPE, your DSM system will be as good as 'the real thing' in terms of reliability and functionality.

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Oh there's no question that I'll continue to use XPEnology. As I said earlier I've been running it for almost 2 years on my HP N54L. I also have a Synology 413J but it's massively underpowered.

 

I cannot see any positives with using the ThecusOS except for the front panel LED diagnostics and configuration which do not appear to work without the ThecusDOM. I don't need that and with XPEnology I have a much larger array of Applications to install and use unlike the Thecus lineup which is abysmally outdated and the majority won't work with my model as it's 64bit.

 

Cheers

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