The fibre channel storage industry is virtually throwing away older technology that cant compete with
the newer solid state disks. I was able to get 5 Hitachi Ultrastar 15k450 FC almost for free, part number (HUC154545VLF400). I want to try to use these HDDs on my PC. The motherboard I am currently using
is Gigabyte GA EX38 DQ6 which has the nice Intel Matrix storage manager .
In my research I found that these hard drives are equal in speed to SSD except for slight mechanical start up latency- they are smokin fast, way faster than SATA. Also that I would need a very $$y 4gb Host Bus Adapter controller (x4 PCIe) BUT WAIT these too can be found for 10 cents on the original SRP.
Now it looks like I can jimmy rig this together, with waiting out for the throwing away of this "old" tech, I should be able to get a working RAID for cheap?
Here is where I need further help: what else should I look for at the recycle shop to help me with this project? It looks like I should find a backplane? What cabling then? It look as if VISTA will recognise all the parts and I should be able to boot from this disk array.
I hope my drift of what I am triing to do is caught here. I would love any suggestions to help on this quest.
Should I go for it or am I really wasting my time?
I would expect you need one piece of hardware, some physical mounting space in your case (for 5 HDD's), power supply connections, drivers for Vista and maybe two features.
Key hardware, as you say, is a HDD controller (to install in a PCI slot of some type) that can deal with these fiber-channel-connected HDD units. Since you want to run them in some RAID array (RAID5?), you will need a controller board that provides the RAID functions. Make sure it also comes with a set of software utilities for configuring, monitoring, diagnosing and repairing the RAID array, plus complete instructions. Then you will need the drivers necessary to use that board, and to use it in a RAIDx mode. Those drivers will HAVE to be installed at the very beginning of the installation of your OS (Vista) IF you plan to boot from these disks.
This gets us to the "features" thing. IF your plan is to boot from these disks (as a RAIDx array or not), you need a way for the BIOS to use them. Most mobo BIOS's do not boot from add-on PCI card devices. However, many such cards actually contain the required BIOS extensions to allow their devices to be used for booting. So you need that feature in the controller card you add. BUT you also need your mobo's BIOS to have the ability to use BIOS extensions provided in a PCI card. So check for that feature in your BIOS. If you have all that, loading the appropriate drivers as part of the Vista install should complete the picture.
On the other hand, if you plan to boot from a simpler HDD attached to your mobo directly and then simply use the fiber-attached drives on the PCI controller board as a data storage system, things are a lot easier. In that scenario you do not need to worry about BIOS extensions etc. because you won't be trying to boot from those units. All you will need is a driver or two that can be installed in Vista AFTER it is already installed and running normally. These are the drivers that simply load from the boot drive and allow Vista to use those devices on that controller card. Those drivers ought to be available for Vista from the manufacturer of the PCI-mounted controller card you use.