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Which x79 MOBO or HW Controller for RAID0 using SSDs?

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August 13, 2012 2:55:28 PM

I need to get an x79 motherboard for 3930k CPU I just acquired. I am almost set on getting ASUS Rampage IV Extreme, but am a bit worried about its limited SATA III options. I need RAID0 for higher speed (please do not offer suggestions to obtain higher capacity SSD drives and abandon RAID0). Looks like only 2x of RIVE's 4 SATA III ports support RAID, and I think it's native Intel controller. Some other options I am looking at:

ASRock boards like Extreme9 or Champion, which have Marvell controllers in addition: they are SE9220(2x) and 9172(4x) on Extreme9 and 9230(4x) on SE9230. But I had a hard time finding any benchmarks on the 92** controllers!! So i dont know if they perform better or worse than native/Intel. I do also like the 4x options in case I ever want to do 4-SSD RAID0 (but not sure if these particular controllers can handle this quantity of drives well).

ASRock Extreme11 board has LSI controller SAS2308 with 8x SATAIII ports. Again, could not find any benchmarks for this controller and I have read some folks saying that it's not a true hardware controller or something like that.

Separate HW RAID controller card. If I go this route, I would like the mobo to be the ASUS RIVE. Any good <$300 cards that anyone could recommend? How is this one I was looking at? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

My current SSD drives are 2x Vertex 4 128GB, but I generally upgrade SSDs every year or so.

Please let me know what your recommendations are. THank you.
a c 536 G Storage
August 13, 2012 7:43:22 PM

Go with the ASRock X79 Extreme11. You can always purchase a RAID controller card later on if you are not happy with the onboard LSI controller.

Here are some reviews of RAID controllers cards with 8 SSDs in RAID-0 for comparison:

http://thessdreview.com/our-reviews/highpoint-2720sgl-r...

http://thessdreview.com/our-reviews/lsi-9265-8i-6gbps-m...


I'm glad you posted this thread. The 8 PCIe lanes on the LSI SAS2308 are definitely better than any of the Marvell controllers. I will be looking to buy this board when I upgrade my system in 6-8 months. :) 
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August 14, 2012 2:38:00 AM

Thanks for your response. Let me add one more thought to this discussion. ASrock Extreme 11 costs a lot more. Given that I plan on buying RIVE at below retail cost (e.g., used or refurb), ASRock costs almost 2x what I would spend on RIVE. So for this reason, i am not sure if i should toss out extra $300 just for ASRock's better storage controller. Instead, it might be wiser to spend the $600 that i'd spend on asrock to get RIVE and a good discrete HW controller (one that is better than the ASRock's onboard LSI solution). What do you think?
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a c 88 G Storage
August 14, 2012 2:53:28 AM

Don't use any X79 board from any manufacturer except Asus, they all have problems.

As far as SATA-III goes, you are stuck using the Intel ports and you have only 2 of them. There are often 2+ additional ports from add-in controllers but these should never be used for SSDs because they often don't implement the AHCI specification properly.

The Asus RIVE is an amazing motherboard (I have one) but even the 2 ASMedia SATA-III ports are complete junk
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a c 536 G Storage
August 14, 2012 2:54:56 AM

Go for the RIVE and get a good hardware RAID card.
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August 14, 2012 5:36:27 AM

Thanks for your replies guys. Just managed to find a couple of threads about folks' bad experiences with the Asrock's LSI controller and how single drives outperformed 8x RAID0 drives on that controller XD (unless using software mode). WIll stick with RIVE and intel controller x2 drives for now, maybe look into discrete cards later.
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a c 88 G Storage
August 14, 2012 7:51:56 AM

korndog13 said:
Thanks for your replies guys. Just managed to find a couple of threads about folks' bad experiences with the Asrock's LSI controller and how single drives outperformed 8x RAID0 drives on that controller XD (unless using software mode). WIll stick with RIVE and intel controller x2 drives for now, maybe look into discrete cards later.


The reason that the Intel drives will outperform n drives in RAID-0 on the LSI controller is because the LSI controller will be bound by the PCIe lane bandwidth that's feeding it and the DMI bus bandwidth. The Intel controller is only bound by the DMI bus bandwidth.

Those add-in controllers are only meant for storage capacity, not speed. With that said, LSI is one of the best.
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September 3, 2012 7:43:34 PM

Best answer selected by korndog13.
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