Roundup: Three 16-Port Enterprise SAS Controllers

Promise Supertrak EX 16650

Promise started as a supplier of IDE and Serial ATA controllers, with and without RAID capabilities. It gradually improved its portfolio, which now spans simple controller cards as well as enterprise-class HBAs, such as the Supertrak EX 16650.

This card offers 16 internal SAS ports, available through four mini-SAS connectors. Like Areca, the Promise card utilizes Intel’s IOP348 storage processor at 1.2 GHz speed and it comes with 512 MB DDR2 cache memory with ECC on-board. The interface is x8 PCI Express.

Promise also offers entry-level enterprise cards with 4 and 8 ports, the Supertrak EX 8654 ad 8658. While our EX 16650 is a full-height card, the other two come on a low-profile form factor, which may be important for some users.


Promise compares well to the two others: the Supertrak EX 16650 also supports all important RAID modes such as RAID 0, 1, 1E, 5, 6, 10, 50, and 60, and can utilize an optional 72-hour battery backup unit. RAID features, such as multiple arrays per drive, quick background array initialization, and array conversion (type, capacity, stripe size) are all available. Promise’s management is Web-based and supplied in ten languages.

The email notification system is pretty comprehensive, as it allows sending emails to all system users. In addition, while Adaptec and Areca define three notification levels, Promise has five of them, and lists as many as 29 different options. We wonder if this might even be a bit of overkill, but configuration was very easy, and the only thing we really missed was a power management feature.