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Controller recomendation

Posted on 2007-12-05
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Last Modified: 2013-11-14
I was using SuperTrak EX8300/8350, but it have some drawbacks like it's slow when 6 hdds are connected (max 20MBps per drive).

Can anybody recommend some PCIe sata controller which
- supports partial raids (raid1 or raid5 or raid6 build on first halfs from drive capacity, while the other patrs are seen as single drives)
- 1TB hdd support (EX8300 fails on such hdds)
- if it have it's own cache, then battery back up is required
- will provide full hdd speed even thought 6 hdds are read/write concurrently.
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Question by:ravenpl
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7 Comments
 
LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:warrenbuckles
ID: 20416371
I'm a big fan of Adaptec controllers - the 3xx05 series is excellent, with onboard cache (128/256 kb) and battery backup options.

More details on 31205, the unit I have, here:

http://www.adaptec.com/en-US/products/raid_tech/sata_drives/SAS-31205/

wb
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LVL 14

Accepted Solution

by:
warrenbuckles earned 375 total points
ID: 20416880
I can't answer your detailed questions from personal experience, but the Adaptec spec page for the 31205 contains this line:

'" Multiple arrays and types per disk drive'

which I think covers your first query

Regarding 1TB drive support, I would be surprised if Adaptec did not support it but I can't confirm from the data sheet.

I'm not sure what you mean about '- will provide full hdd speed even thought 6 hdds are read/write concurrently.' but I'm getting well over 200 MB/s read and write using the Everest Ultimate V 4.20 disk benchmark utility with a Raid6 array built from 4 x WD5000ABYS drives 500GB each.  This doesn't address your six drive issue but the Tom's review, cited below, used an x8 array for testing.

Here's a review of a few PCIe RAID controllers from a few months back:

http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/08/10/unified_serial_raid_controllers_for_pci_express/

they look at the Adaptec 3805, which can handle 8 drives (2 x 4 connectors), has a 128 MB cache (not 'k' as I mentioned above - wrong decade...) and uses an x4 PCIe interface.

The 31205 has a 256 MB cache and uses an x8 PCIe interface and can handle 12 drives (3 x 4 connectors).

Adaptec controllers are relatively expensive - the 31205 is $670 and the 3805 is $500 from Newegg.  Battery backup units are a little over $100.

wb
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LVL 43

Author Comment

by:ravenpl
ID: 20540545
I asked the Adaptec - the controller does not support "Multiple arrays and types per disk drive" :(
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:sifuedition
ID: 20678645
The Adaptecs are very strong at handling everything automatically.  They do not require as much user interaction as some others.  Because of this, however, their BIOS is sometimes a little weak on tools to manually try to fix an array.  LSI has great tools to manually control or fix an array, but will usually require the user to do more as it does not automatically decide how to handle as much.  Most Adaptecs or LSIs will allow you to create multiple arrays across the same drives.  You will usually have to use some sort of array management software to configure all arrays after the first.  That is, it is capable.  That does NOT mean it is supported.  That is usally a bad choice for configuration.  The controller cannot be guaranteed to know how to handle any given situation or rebuild when there is a problem.  That is really what OS partitioning is for.  Is there a specific reason why this is the configuration you need?
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LVL 43

Author Comment

by:ravenpl
ID: 20679452
I only need system and some little importand data safe, then I need as much as possible capacity.
But let's focus which controller can do it for me.
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LVL 6

Assisted Solution

by:sifuedition
sifuedition earned 375 total points
ID: 20684550
I don't think that you will find any hardware raid controller which will "support" multiple arrays on the same disk.  That is the only reason I was trying to establish if this was really a requirement.  If you can accomplish what you need with OS partitioning, then I would recommend Adaptec or LSI.  My personal preference is for LSI because I have a lot of raid experience and so I love the tools to manually manage everything.  For anyone who is uncomfortable or unfamiliar with raid at that level, I would probably recommend Adaptec as the more "user friendly" option.  If you feel that multiple arrays on the same disk is necessary, I am sorry I can't help any more than I already have.  The cards are probably capable of doing it with an array management software but you are taking certain risks with the data for any that I have dealt with.
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LVL 43

Author Closing Comment

by:ravenpl
ID: 31436441
Thanx for support.
I ended up with 3ware, hence no partial raid there anyway.
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