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Choosing motherboard for software RAID solution

Last response: in Storage
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Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
a b G Storage
August 23, 2010 9:23:53 AM

Hi all,

I'm building a home server which right now looks like this:

1x SSD drive for OS
4x SATA disks in (software) RAID 5 configuration
16 GB memory
Phenom II CPU


My main concern is the RAID setup which will be running software RAID in Linux. I've read various places that onboard raid controllers are limited by the motherboard's bus speed thus there is no point, performancewise, to have more than 3 disks in RAID 0, or 4 disks in RAID5. This is due to the fact that the SATA controller is connected to the PCI bus, not PCIe, which limits total throughput of the disks.

Could anyone please comment on this?

Also, are there certain motherboard chipsets that will give better i/o performance than others? I've been looking at a affordable MSI 770-C45 motherboard which uses the AMD 770 chipset. It supports all my RAM, the CPU and it has 6 SATA connectors which is enough for my setup. SATA speed is 6gbps, the same as the more expensive motherboards using chipsets like the AMD 890FX - from a the "SATA point of view" I can't see any gain with buying more expensive mother boards.

My main question is what would be the best hardware to support my RAID solution - without buying expensive "real" PCIe reaid controllers.

More affordable "fakeraid" controllers is something I would consider, but are they really any better than the onboard controllers? The CPU ends up doing the job in both cases anyway, and I've been unable to find affordable controllers which plugs into the PCIe bus.


With many thanks,
Geir
a b V Motherboard
a b G Storage
August 23, 2010 12:02:25 PM

Quote:
My main concern is the RAID setup which will be running software RAID in Linux. I've read various places that onboard raid controllers are limited by the motherboard's bus speed thus there is no point, performancewise, to have more than 3 disks in RAID 0, or 4 disks in RAID5. This is due to the fact that the SATA controller is connected to the PCI bus, not PCIe, which limits total throughput of the disks.

Could anyone please comment on this?
IMO, whether the RAID controller is limited by the PCI or PCIe bus depends on the specific implementation and how the mobo maker attached the RAID controller onto a particular model of mobo. Can't comment on the performance of onboard RAID controllers for running Linux (as I use a RAID controller card) but can comment on the fact that the big issue to watch out for is SATA Linux drivers for onbaord RAID controllers. AFAIK, Intel does not supply nor have I been able to find Linux drivers for Intel onboard RAID controllers. This is the case with Ubuntu, can't speak about all Linux distros.

Quote:
More affordable "fakeraid" controllers is something I would consider, but are they really any better than the onboard controllers? The CPU ends up doing the job in both cases anyway, and I've been unable to find affordable controllers which plugs into the PCIe bus.
The controller card I am using, specifically because there are Windows and Linux drivers available, a Highpoint Rocket RAID 2310 which is one of the better more affordable "fake RAID" controllers. And, the Highpoint only has Linux SATA drivers up to Ubuntu 9.04, so you can load Ubuntu onto a RAID array; haven't seen Linux drivers for newer versions; yet.
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