PCI Express SATA RAID Controllers For SMB Servers

Enhanced RAID6

Enhanced RAID 6 works with triple redundancy. This might make sense for 8 and 12-port controllers, but certainly not for this quad-port model...

Product Comparison Table

Manufacturer AMCC 3ware Areca Highpoint LSI Logic Promise
Model Name 9650SE ARC 1210 RocketRaid 2322 MegaRAID SATA 300-8ELP SuperTrak EX4350
Firmware 1.41 1.04 5.0.1-0041
Driver used 1.2 v3.0.0.8
SATA II ports 4 4 8 external 8 4
Connector Type Multi-lane x4 Discrete Mini-SAS Multi-lane x4 discrete
Cache 256 MB DDR2 533 256 MB DDR333 ECC - 128 MB DDR333 ECC 64 MB DDR ECC
Interface PCI Express x4 PCI Express x8 PCI Express x4 PCI Express x4 PCI Express x4
Optional versions 2, 8, 12, 16, 24 ports 8, 12, 16 ports - 4 8, 12, 16
Multiple card support yes yes yes yes 2 controller
Card Format low profile low profile standard low profile low profile
XOR Engine 8th-generation StorSwitch Intel IOP332 - Intel IOP333 Intel IOP333
RAID Level Migration yes yes yes yes yes
Online Capacity Expansion yes yes yes yes yes
Multiple RAID Arrays yes yes yes yes yes
Staggered Spin-up yes yes yes yes yes
Hot Spare Support yes yes yes yes yes
Battery Backup Unit optional optional - optional optional
FAN no yes no no no
OS Support Windows 2003/XP/2000, Red Hat Linux, SuSE Linux, Fedora Linux, 2.4 Linux kernel, 2.6 Linux kernel, FreeBSD Windows 2000/XP, Windows Server 2003, Redhat Linux, SuSE Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris 10x86, UnixWare 7.1.x, Netware 6.5 Windows, Windows X64 Editions, Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X Windows 2003/2000/XP, Red Hat as Linux, Suse Linux /sLes Microsoft Windows 2000/2003/XP, Red Hat Linux, SuSE Linux, Miracle Linux (Asianux), Fedora, Linux open source, FreeBSD
Other X4 external storage enclosure RAID 6, Enhanced RAID 6 (3-drive failure support)
Estimated Price (US $) 373 310 260 600 320
Warranty 3 years 3 years 3 years 3 years 3 years

Test Setup And Benchmarks

System Hardware
Processor(s) 2x Intel Xeon Processor (Nocona core)
3.6 GHz, FSB800, 1 MB L2 Cache
Platform Asus NCL-DS (Socket 604)
Intel E7520 Chipset, BIOS 1005
RAM Corsair CM72DD512AR-400 (DDR2-400 ECC, reg.)
2x 512 MB, CL3-3-3-10 Timings
System Hard Drive Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB
120 GB, 7,200 RPM, 8 MB Cache, UltraATA/100
Test Hard Drives Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD
4x 150 GB, 10,000 RPM, 8 MB Cache, SATA/300
Mass Storage Controller(s) Intel 82801EB UltraATA/100 Controller (ICH5)
Silicon Image Sil3124, PCI-X
Networking Broadcom BCM5721 On-Board Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Graphics Card On-Board Graphics
ATI RageXL, 8 MB
System Hardware
I/O Performance IOMeter 2003.05.10
System Software & Drivers
OS Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition, Service Pack 1
Platform Driver Intel Chipset Installation Utility
Graphics Driver Windows Default Graphics Driver

Test Methodology

We used four Western Digital WD1500 Raptor hard drives to test the controllers with four different I/O workload profiles : File server, web server, database and workstation. All drives were used to setup a RAID 0, RAID 0+1 and lastly a RAID 5 array. At the end of our testing we removed one hard drive from the RAID 5 and repeated the benchmark runs to see how the controllers would perform when the RAID 5 arrays runs degraded.

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  • Eric The Red
    This is a very well put together article! It would be nice if there was a review with recent RAID cards while doing the same thing you did here.