LSI SAS 9300-8e & HGST Ultrastar SSD800MM: 12 Gb/s SAS, Tested

LSI SAS 9300-8e Specifications

If you're already familiar with LSI's HBA line-up, then you'll be right at home with the SAS 9300-8e. Looking down at the board, you immediately notice a large heat sink covering the Fusion-MPT-based LSI SAS 3008 I/O controller.

The SAS 3008 offers eight 12 Gb/s ports and interfaces with an eight-lane PCI Express 3.0 link. It's compatible with 3 and 6 Gb/s SATA connections, along with 3, 6, and 12 Gb/s SAS transfers. RAID 0, 1, and 10 are supported natively. Moreover, you can use expanders to attach as many as 1024 SAS or SATA end devices to the SAS 9300-8e. All of that is available in a low-profile form factor intended to live in a server environment.

Perhaps the most notable physical change is the card's four-lane mini-SAS HD external connectors, of which there are two. Of course, like roads in a major city, the powers that be cannot let there just be one name. The SAS 2.1 standard refers to it as mini-SAS HD, Molex uses iPass+ HD, and the SFF committee calls it SFF-8644. Whatever nomenclature you prefer, you get eight total ports of connectivity, totaling 96 Gb/s of throughput.

The new connector introduces a number of benefits. As you see in the chart above from the SCSI Trade Association, both SFF-8643 and SFF-8644 allow for optical cables that extend the maximum length to 100 m. This means direct-attached storage systems can be located in different rooms of a data center, or even different buildings. Those distances open up applications typically addressed by Ethernet and Fibre Channel, but at superior speeds.

Since the connector system is physically smaller than mini-SAS, density doubles. Now you can get 16 ports on a low-profile, half-length PCIe card. LSI's SAS 9300-8e does not take advantage of that potential space savings, but there's already another product on the market that does. You may have noticed a similar connector on Adaptec's 7-series RAID adapters. The company jumped the gun and introduced SFF-8643 (internal) connectors on its newest 6 Gb/s product. The company is able to get 16 ports onto a board that fits into the very smallest servers.

Expect the SAS 9300-8e to show up later this summer, though we don't yet know how much it'll cost.

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  • slomo4sho
    Now only if this technology was viable for home builds. :( Maybe in a couple years?
  • major-error
    The performance and relative maturity of this prototype drive certainly is impressive, but this is what the enterprise space demands.
    At the consumer level though, the article takes on a completely different tone--I would be very surprised if we don't start seeing mention of PCIe4 at/before the top of the next CPU cycle (so, in 24-36 months at most.)
  • raidtarded
    Actually, Adaptec already saturated PCIe 3.0 with 6GB/s. The chart is incorrect, it doesn't take 12Gb/s to saturate the PCIe bus. Well, not for Adaptec.
  • falcompsx
    Remember when mechanical hard drives struggled to saturate their interfaces? Times sure have changed with SSD tech.
  • CaedenV
    Anonymous said:
    The performance and relative maturity of this prototype drive certainly is impressive, but this is what the enterprise space demands.
    At the consumer level though, the article takes on a completely different tone--I would be very surprised if we don't start seeing mention of PCIe4 at/before the top of the next CPU cycle (so, in 24-36 months at most.)


    Ya, my bet is that we will not start to see SATA4 or PCIe4 until Skymont at the earliest. Considering it is looking like Broadwell may be pushed back due to 14nm die shrink issues I would bet that Skymont will have similar issues when moving to 10nm. But at least for home users you can cram 2 SSDs in RAID0 with a proper RAID card and get a little performance boost until then. I guess the only problem is that most people are going to use the onboard Intel RAID for RAID0, which will get you a killer synthetic benchmark, but in practical reality it is really just expanding your volume with very little speed benefit.
  • kj3639
    Go HGST! WOO!!!!
  • bit_user
    * wipes drool off floor *

    That's a quality review of some quality products. I like the insights shared, throughout. I especially appreciated the link to the SATA-Express paper. Thanks!

    MORE REVIEWS LIKE THIS!!
    :)
  • bit_user
    Anonymous said:
    Actually, Adaptec already saturated PCIe 3.0 with 6GB/s. The chart is incorrect, it doesn't take 12Gb/s to saturate the PCIe bus. Well, not for Adaptec.
    How many ports and how many lanes, though? If it's just a 8-port card, the math doesn't support that, as 6x8 = 48 Gbps, which is less than the 8 x 8 = 64 Gbps that a x8 PCIe 3.0 slot should carry.
  • raidtarded
    It is the equivalent of a nuke bomb compared to the LSI products. It has 24 Native ports.
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Actually, Adaptec already saturated PCIe 3.0 with 6GB/s. The chart is incorrect, it doesn't take 12Gb/s to saturate the PCIe bus. Well, not for Adaptec.
    How many ports and how many lanes, though? If it's just a 8-port card, the math doesn't support that, as 6x8 = 48 Gbps, which is less than the 8 x 8 = 64 Gbps that a x8 PCIe 3.0 slot should carry.
  • raidtarded
    It is a 24 port native raid controller. smokes the 4 ports.
  • drewriley
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Actually, Adaptec already saturated PCIe 3.0 with 6GB/s. The chart is incorrect, it doesn't take 12Gb/s to saturate the PCIe bus. Well, not for Adaptec.
    How many ports and how many lanes, though? If it's just a 8-port card, the math doesn't support that, as 6x8 = 48 Gbps, which is less than the 8 x 8 = 64 Gbps that a x8 PCIe 3.0 slot should carry.


    The graph is slightly misleading because it includes some assumptions. I mentioned the x8 assumption, and you found the other major one, which limits it to 8 port cards. Also, they list the SAS throughput with 8b/10b taken into account.
  • drewriley
    Anonymous said:
    It is a 24 port native raid controller. smokes the 4 ports.


    I personally love the Adaptec 72405, it is amazing that they can provide 24 native ports and absolutely amazing sequential performance. But, when you look at external connectivity, there isn't a ton of difference. Adaptec has a version with 16 external ports, or 16x6Gbps, which is 96Gbps. LSI has an 8 port version, which gives you 8x12Gbps, or 96Gbps. While Adaptec allows you to connect more drives without the use of expanders, LSI allows you to get better performance per drive. I really like the fact that we have two companies catering to high-end RAID that offer different solutions, which gives us, the customer, the most flexibility.
  • drewriley
    Anonymous said:
    * wipes drool off floor *

    That's a quality review of some quality products. I like the insights shared, throughout. I especially appreciated the link to the SATA-Express paper. Thanks!

    MORE REVIEWS LIKE THIS!!
    :)


    Thank you, I appreciate the feedback!