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

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ManufacturerAMCC 3wareArecaHighpointLSI LogicPromise
Model Name9650SEARC 1210RocketRaid 2322MegaRAID SATA 300-8ELPSuperTrak EX4350
Driver used3.00.02.0701.
SATA II ports448 external84
Connector TypeMulti-lane x4DiscreteMini-SASMulti-lane x4discrete
Cache256 MB DDR2 533256 MB DDR333 ECC-128 MB DDR333 ECC64 MB DDR ECC
InterfacePCI Express x4PCI Express x8PCI Express x4PCI Express x4PCI Express x4
Optional versions2, 8, 12, 16, 24 ports8, 12, 16 ports-48, 12, 16
Multiple card supportyesyesyesyes2 controller
Card Formatlow profilelow profilestandardlow profilelow profile
XOR Engine8th-generation StorSwitchIntel IOP332-Intel IOP333Intel IOP333
RAID Level Migrationyesyesyesyesyes
Online Capacity Expansionyesyesyesyesyes
Multiple RAID Arraysyesyesyesyesyes
Staggered Spin-upyesyesyesyesyes
Hot Spare Supportyesyesyesyesyes
Battery Backup Unitoptionaloptional-optionaloptional
OS SupportWindows 2003/XP/2000, Red Hat Linux, SuSE Linux, Fedora Linux, 2.4 Linux kernel, 2.6 Linux kernel, FreeBSDWindows 2000/XP, Windows Server 2003, Redhat Linux, SuSE Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris 10x86, UnixWare 7.1.x, Netware 6.5Windows, Windows X64 Editions, Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS XWindows 2003/2000/XP, Red Hat as Linux, Suse Linux /sLesMicrosoft Windows 2000/2003/XP, Red Hat Linux, SuSE Linux, Miracle Linux (Asianux), Fedora, Linux open source, FreeBSD
OtherX4 external storage enclosureRAID 6, Enhanced RAID 6 (3-drive failure support)
Estimated Price (US $)373310260600320
Warranty3 years3 years3 years3 years3 years

Test Setup And Benchmarks

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System Hardware
Processor(s)2x Intel Xeon Processor (Nocona core)3.6 GHz, FSB800, 1 MB L2 Cache
PlatformAsus NCL-DS (Socket 604)Intel E7520 Chipset, BIOS 1005
RAMCorsair CM72DD512AR-400 (DDR2-400 ECC, reg.)2x 512 MB, CL3-3-3-10 Timings
System Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar WD1200JB120 GB, 7,200 RPM, 8 MB Cache, UltraATA/100
Test Hard DrivesWestern Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD4x 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
NetworkingBroadcom BCM5721 On-Board Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Graphics CardOn-Board GraphicsATI RageXL, 8 MB
System Hardware
I/O PerformanceIOMeter 2003.05.10Fileserver-BenchmarkWebserver-BenchmarkDatabase-BenchmarkWorkstation-Benchmark
System Software & Drivers
OSMicrosoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition, Service Pack 1
Platform DriverIntel Chipset Installation Utility
Graphics DriverWindows 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.

  • 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.