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Help Choosing Raid Card

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March 25, 2009 6:03:16 AM

I'm desperately looking for a hardware RAID5 card.

I managed to find everything that I need in a Hardware RAID card (minus 1 lacking feature) - HERE - but this card does not support RAID 5 :(  (this is the only problem) everything thing else is amazing about this card.

If this card did have RAID5 support I would have bought this card 2 weeks ago when I started looking for these Hardware RAID cards.

I'd like to know if anyone has guidance on what I can replace with this card (which has raid5) that would be great!


Note: One of the many awesome reasons why I want this card (so bad) is its attractive OS Compatibility list.
The Compatibility List
Quote:
# Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Standard
# Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Enterprise
# Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Datacenter
.
.
# Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition
# Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition
# Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
# Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Web Edition

.
.
+ XP


Not to mention that this card has speed expansion for at least 2 years time when/if I decide to upgrade my HDD's to a big/faster size.

Any guidance to a card which can replace this would be so much appreciated you have no idea.

More about : choosing raid card

March 25, 2009 5:02:18 PM

This is the card I have for my RAID 5 array. It's PCIe x4, and I have it in an 8x slot. This one has been great for me, good luck.








March 25, 2009 6:44:38 PM

Your card has a great OS compatibility list including: Win Server 2003 + even Win Server 2008 :)  (hard to find support), Linux and XP so Thank You very much!!!

I read through the specs of your card.. particularly 1 thing came to my attention:

- this card supports, "Auto Addressing 2TB of Storage with Variable Sector Size" which allows volume addressing greater than 2TB. But this does not necessarily mean that the individual drives can be greater than 2TB. This may be kind of stupid worrying about this (or may not be) but, my plan is to get a RAID card that can last me 5 years down the road when 10TB drives are the norm... and RAID's may consist of something like, Four 10TB HDDs.

Do you think this drive has limitations on the max space of each HDD?

Thanks great Card. I'm always up to anything else people find.
Related resources
March 25, 2009 10:29:54 PM

If you really want to run that many large hard drives or at least be able to later then you are really going to need a true HW card which has onboard memory. It will be expensive, take a lot of space, and can run hot with all that hardware but if your like me you won't care. I bought a case with 12 hdd bays an two 25cm fans, one in front of the hard drives and one on the side window so a lot of air flows through the HDD bays. For something that will be viable years down the road I would get at least 1gb of ddr3 or a card you can upgrade the memory on. There aren't too many around and they're pricy not to mention they usually don't list support for server 2008 for some reason. But if that's what your looking for their is a couple I have been looking at for myself for the onboard memory. The memory really is what will allow you to run that many drives of that size quickly and efficiently. I would suggest one with ECC memory.
I have been considering these. There are cheaper ones with ddr2 ecc ram but for what you want I would go for the one of these or one like them.

2gb of ddr3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

256 upgradeable to 1gb ddr333
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hope this helps.
March 25, 2009 10:36:20 PM

Eric The Red said:
How do I know if its a true HW raid controller? Are you saying that the Highpoint RocketRaid_2680 isn't true raid? Can someone please clear this up.


I believe the 2680 is NOT true HW Raid.
The 4310, 4320 and 4322 use the Intel IOP 348 processor and have 256mb memory (512 for the 4322)
March 26, 2009 12:39:16 AM

The first card I mentioned isn't a true hardware card. It is a software RAID controller. A true hardware RAID controller has it's own independant chipset and memory to truly offload the motherboards chipset and ram, like a graphics card. For future systems when the tb replaces the gb, the difference between a software and a harware RAID controller would be like the difference between a graphics card without a dedicated chipset and memory and a true graphics processing unit. The performance is vastly improved. So while I am very happy with the high point I have, it's really more of a RAID interface(although a good one), where as the hardware cards mentioned are like what I would call a RAID processing unit. And I think that's what you will need for the upgradeability and support for the massive storage you want, not to mention they are much faster and if you get one with ECC ram and a battery backup you will have true data fault protection(six ways from sunday in fact).
a b G Storage
March 26, 2009 1:54:02 AM

The really slick hardware RAID controllers have dual-core IOPs
(Input/Output Processor).

Google "Xscale processor"

e.g.:

http://www.drobe.co.uk/riscos/artifact1690.html

http://www.promise.com/upload/datasheet/Promise_16650_D...

scroll down to:
Intel IOP348 Dual XScale I/O processor


There is another "school" or philosophy entirely which uses software RAID,
managed by the OS, with a wicked fast quad-core C2D CPU (4 threads),
or Core i7 with hyper-threading (8 threads total).

The Core i7 CPU is so fast and its memory bandwidth so huge,
a software RAID managed by the OS can make some sense
for some applications.

Thus, one or more of those "cores" becomes a general-purpose IOP
whenever that task needs processing performed.


MRFS
a b G Storage
March 26, 2009 2:12:22 AM

p.s. I would NOT recommend shopping for a RAID controller
that is going to last you 5 years. The cutting-edge research
we have seen has most recently concluded that the controllers
have become a serious bottleneck for the leading SSDs.

Because solid-state storage is looming very large in the IT industry,
expect the rapid pace of invention to put enormous pressure
on controller manufacturers to offer adapters
with much more on-board I/O processing power e.g.
dual-core Xscale IOPs evolving to quad-core "Yscale" IOPs
then "Zscale" IOPs with HT etc.

Also, the storage controller companies need to do what
the GPU adapter companies did: "SLI" and "Crossfire" logic
using multiple adapters that fully exploit the bandwidth
of x16 PCI-E 2.0 slots.

And, by mid-Summer 2009, SATA/6G will become the
current standard, so that alone has put more pressure
on the controller manufacturers to get serious about
high-speed throughput.


So, go cheap for now, e.g. Highpoint 4320 at Newegg,
and then save your money for the next "wave" of innovation.

Constant change is here to stay :) 


MRFS
March 26, 2009 2:56:09 AM

I agree with MRFS the storage controller companies need to step it up. It really depends on what your current system is and what you want to spend. The cheaper card should be fine for now and later you can get something really nice that will support server 2008 if thats what you wan't to run. We should see a lot of advancements in RAID cards pretty soon. Anyway I hope you have enough info to decide.
March 26, 2009 3:03:24 AM

Scorpio383 said:
I agree with MRFS the storage controller companies need to step it up. It really depends on what your current system is and what you want to spend. The cheaper card should be fine for now and later you can get something really nice that will support server 2008 if thats what you wan't to run. We should see a lot of advancements in RAID cards pretty soon. Anyway I hope you have enough info to decide.


I took the liberty of sending an email to Areca (found below). It was concerning their support towards Windows Server 2008. They seemed completely oblivious to the specifications they have listed on their vendor sites. I'm judging by their broken english (from the email) that they don't live in an English speaking country.

Here's the email, If you decide to read it .. go bottom to top (oldest to newest)

Quote:

Dear Sir,

many thanks for your feedback, i will forward this information to our
marketing team to improve it.


Best Regards,


Kevin Wang

Areca Technology Tech-support Division
Tel : 886-2-87974060 Ext. 223
Fax : 886-2-87975970
Http://www.areca.com.tw
Ftp://ftp.areca.com.tw
Mirror Ftp :
ftp://areca.starline.de

----- Original Message -----
From: <Removed>
To: "Areca Support" <support@areca.com.tw>; <sales@areca.com.tw>
Sent: Thursday, March 26, 2009 11:29 AM
Subject: FWD: Operating System support


> > Hello thank you for the reply!
> >
> > All the other key RAID players (Adaptec, Highpoint, LSI) have this
> > support known and it is listed within the specifications of the vendors.
> > You are losing a lot of customers because of this discrepancy and in my
> > interest in you guys, I advice you to make this support known.
> >
> > So please, if your product officially supports Windows Server 2008 you
> > should be updating this with all your Vendors i.e (Newegg.com,
> > DirectCanada, TigerDirect) so that they can add this compatibility to
> > the specification list.
> >
> > Thanks, and I'll be buying your card
> >
> > Areca Support wrote:
>> > > Dear Sir,
>> > >
>> > > all our controllers can works with Windows 2008 x64 and the driver is
WHQL
>> > > certified.
>> > >
>> > >
>> > > Best Regards,
>> > >
>> > >
>> > > Kevin Wang
>> > >
>> > > Areca Technology Tech-support Division
>> > > Tel : 886-2-87974060 Ext. 223
>> > > Fax : 886-2-87975970
>> > > Http://www.areca.com.tw
>> > > Ftp://ftp.areca.com.tw
>> > > Mirror Ftp :
>> > > ftp://areca.starline.de
>> > >
>> > > ----- Original Message -----
>> > > From: <removed>
>> > > To: <support@areca.com.tw>
>> > > Cc: <sales@areca.com.tw>
>> > > Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 11:39 PM
>> > > Subject: Operating System
>> > >
>> > >
>> > >
>>> > >> I'd like to go ahead and purchase one of the 2 following cards:
>>> > >>
>>> > >> arc 1210 (4 port)
>>> > >> arc 1220 (8 port)
>>> > >>
>>> > >> Can one of the above cards run in a Microsoft Server 2008 x64
>>> > >> environment. Please let me know otherwise I will go with Adaptec cards
>>> > >> which can. Thanks


So, I may just end up going with this card if they say it has support. I just find it strange that they don't list support anywhere for Windows Server 2008.. I wonder what their marketing team is doing all day? :\

On other note, Scorpio383 ROFL I wasn't planning on getting a RAID card for $800 but $400 sounds a little more reasonable since, I'm a poor student :S. I guess maybe you misunderstood me when I said that, " [I'd like a] card that can last me 5 years down the road when 10TB drives are the norm" but this I meant, I'd like expansion for bigger HDD's, I was wondering if there was a limitation on the individual HDD size that these RAID cards can handle.
March 26, 2009 7:52:00 AM

Their is a limitation on Some cards due to windows disk management. To get storage unit sizes you have to combine multiple logical unit numbers in windows disk manager. Which means you would have to use a software card. However the variable sector size feature you mentioned on my card(rocket raid) allows you to have disc sizes larger than 2tb. I'm not running disks that large myself so I can't say how it well it would work. Any card that says VSS or LBA64 bit will exceed 2tb. Windows limit is 32 bit block sectors which is what limits drives to 2tb unless combined for 64bit block sectors. The ARECA has this feature and you'll be able to have drives larger than 2tb. And the I/O processor and ram will really help performance of your arrays. Sorry I didn't clear that up earlier.
March 26, 2009 2:51:21 PM

dynemd said:
Have you seen the Highpoint RocketRaid 4320 for $329 at Newegg? A steal!
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Or if you want a cheap LSI MegaRAID SAS 8480E (PERC5/i) card look at this article
http://www.overclock.net/hard-drives-storage/359025-per...

If your thinking about buying an LSI card read this test in Max PC
http://www.maximumpc.com/article/raid_controllers_compa...




------ In reference to the MAXIMUMPC article:
WOW... I am very surprised at the incompetency of MAXIMUMPC. If you can't even set up a RAID controller properly, that is SAD. If this were the case, then I do not think that LSI would be the #1 in RAID HBAs. Just WOW... Tomshardware was able to test LSI cards... and not to be able to get the simple Software RAID card to work... ALL SAD... and Pathetic.
March 26, 2009 2:55:30 PM

Gatorbait said:
------ In reference to the MAXIMUMPC article:
WOW... I am very surprised at the incompetency of MAXIMUMPC. If you can't even set up a RAID controller properly, that is SAD. If this were the case, then I do not think that LSI would be the #1 in RAID HBAs. Just WOW... Tomshardware was able to test LSI cards... and not to be able to get the simple Software RAID card to work... ALL SAD... and Pathetic.


In reference to the Maximum PC review, they declared the "Highpoint RocketRaid 4320" the best RAID5 card to go for. In fact, after reading that I was about to get it... until, I came across all the negative reviews on newegg. People saying that the card worked amazing for the first few weeks then broke. This is fine if only 1 person had this issue but it seems like its pretty common and when it comes to raid reliability I don't want to take chances.
a b G Storage
March 26, 2009 3:18:43 PM

Infant mortality among electronic components
falls somewhere between 2 and 5% of newly
manufactured devices.

Also, Newegg sells products to the staff of
competitors, and they have been known to
"plant" bad comments under the guise of
posting innocent complaints.

Those "users" will also never tell you that
they forgot to turn the PSU off when they
installed the adapter card (stuff like that),
or they forgot to discharge static build-up
before touching a PCB.

We have 2 RocketRAID controllers and
they have run perfectly for more than 3 years.

I just never said so at Newegg, where we
purchased both.


MRFS
!