Southbridge Battle: 780a, ICH10 and SB750, Compared

Professional RAID: LSI MegaRAID SAS9260-8i

Since we wanted to know how enthusiast-level integrated RAID engines would perform compared to a professional RAID solution, we decided to also include a state-of-the-art storage HBA (host bus adapter). LSI’s MegaRAID SAS9260-8i is one of the first SAS/600 cards, although it’s backward-compatible with Serial ATA at 150 and 300 MB/s via SATA Tunelling Protocol (STP). A different article will deal with SAS/600 soon.

LSI’s card is brand new and was only recently posted to LSI's Web site. It is a RAID-on-chip solution and one of the first cards to based on a x8 PCI Express 2.0 interface.

A 512 MB block of DDR2-800 ECC cache memory is included to speed up performance on RAID levels 0, 1, 5, 6, or nested RAID 10, 50, and 60. There are eight internal SAS 6 Gbit/s ports available, which also support SATA. The ports are available through MiniSAS connectors (SFF8087), so you’ll need a fan-out cable to hook up internal drives. An optional battery backup unit will be available to preserve in-cache content in case of a system power failure.

We used Gigabyte's MA790FXT-UD5P as a test platform for the LSI controller card.