SATA Spells Trouble for SCSI RAID: Five Controllers Put to the Test

LSI Logic MegaRAID SATA300-8X

Last but not least, LSI logic submitted its latest SATA II RAID controller for review. The MegaRAID SATA300-8X again is a PCI-X-133 part with a total of eight ports, all supporting 300 MB/s and NCQ.

After installing the Power Console software, you are prompted to define a master password. For safety reasons, LSI decided not to support write caching unless the optional battery backup unit is present. While we would not run write caching without making sure cached data won't get lost, administrators usually will usually go for a UPS device rather than thinking about purchasing a battery unit specifically for the RAID controller.

After the array creation process has finished, this policy can be changed in order to enable write back caching. However, the maximum size of a logical drive is limited to 2 TB. In addition, we could only chose between RAID 0 or RAID 5, while the box says RAID 10 and 50 are supported as well. If you want to go from RAID 0 to RAID 5 all you need to do is add an additional drive that the controller can use for parity data; the rebuild will commence automatically.

The MegaRAID SATA300-8X will announce any critical error acoustically; you can disable this service if you think it would only bother you. Believe us, this could be the case, since the alert is extremely loud. Of course, that's better than not hearing it!

From a software point of view, LSI logic supports far more operating systems than its competitors. The list not only includes the common Windows and Linux versions, but also features DOS and Netware, as well as support for 64-Bit Windows Server. Price-wise we found the SATA300-8X to be positioned in the upper range for this class of product, which certainly is a nice deal given that performance is at a good level as well.