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Raid Controller card question? a worth while upgrade?

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January 26, 2007 7:37:53 AM

With only a PCI Express x1 availible would this be a worth while upgrade?

3ware 9650SE-2LP PCI Express x1 SATA II Controller Card - Retail $249.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16816116041

I'm looking at a build with 2x Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10,000 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive $219.99 each or $439.98 for two. In Raid 0.
February 1, 2007 5:06:20 PM

Im not sure what the rest of your system consists of, but for that price you could most likely get a pretty nice new motherboard with SATAII RAID onboard.
February 1, 2007 5:37:20 PM

That's an awefully expensive solution for a 2 drive raid array...

asmith is correct - you can get a heck of a new MB w/ Matrix Raid or NVidia's raid solution for 1/2 the price...

I personally own a Highpoint RocketRaid 2320 (8 port SATA II) for a raid setup and home, and use Matrix Raid on a couple other PC's - all w/ no issues, working great!

I have also use 3Ware raid at work and have found 2 nasty drawbacks to where i'll never buy 1 for personal use -
1 - they use a proprietary partition / drive configuration that prevents us from reading the raid partitions w/ other raid controllers or even other partition managing software (i.e. you have to stick w/ 3ware if you upgrade... unless you back up all data, erase the drives, install different brand, then re-install...) - a real pain
2 - the arrays are constantly rebuilding - if anything, I mean anything disturbs windows shutdown or startup, and I think even sometimes just from power fluctuations (and just on a whim) the drives will need a full rebuild... on 300G this takes quite some time, and the PC's are rather unusable during this (common to most rebuilds)

just my 2 cents...
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February 1, 2007 5:40:10 PM

Quote:
Im not sure what the rest of your system consists of, but for that price you could most likely get a pretty nice new motherboard with SATAII RAID onboard.


i've heard that using a seperate hardware sata raid controller performs better than onboard (software) raid... I've tried googling for the info but couldn't find anything myself (too much info pops up with 'sata raid card vs onboard' and similar searches)... i'm interested to watch this thread grow with other people's feedback
February 1, 2007 5:55:10 PM

I was under the impression that onboard RAID controllers were hardware...Windows has the ability to create/add to RAID arrays within the OS, which would be considered more software RAID, correct? I admit, I am not the expert to answer this, but my impression was that if your board has the capability to switch to RAID in the BIOS...its hardware RAID...although maybe not the 'best' out there. Comments? Please let me know if I am incorrect, I am about to go to RAID0 and if someone could clear up any fog I created, please do...
February 1, 2007 5:56:34 PM

No doubt that the raid controller would be better.

But the real question is .............

"I have $250 that I want to use to improve my system performance. What could I buy that will provide the most bang for the buck?"

Post the rest of your system, for better analysis.

It it was me, I would bypass the RAID controller and add in another 1-2 drives into the system for backup purposes. RAID 0 is fast but also unreliable. I dont see the RAID controller having an OMG factor that would overtake the need for some level of data protection.
February 1, 2007 6:47:36 PM

here's some links from THG... raid card comparisons

I saw one that compared on-board RAID (Intel Matrix / NVidia) to plug-in PCI / PCIx cards as well - but can't find it now... will post if it pops up...

peformance wise the on-board raid can be as good as external cards in some situations these days (like when playing games, multi-media, etc... depending on which raid level you use)

http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/12/13/pci-express-sata-raid-controllers-for-smb-servers/

http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/01/03/the_southbridge_battle/

http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/11/23/pci_express_battles_pci/

But if the question is really "how do I spend $250 to make my PC better..." then we do need to see a full system spec...
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