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Four SAS 6 Gb/s RAID Controllers, Benchmarked And Reviewed

Comparison Table And Test Configuration

Comparison Table

ManufacturerAdaptecAreca
ProductRAID 6805ARC-1880i
Form FactorMD2/Low-ProfileMD2/Low-Profile
Number of SAS PortsEightEight
SAS Bandwidth Per Port6 Gb/s (SAS 2.0)6 Gb/s (SAS 2.0)
Internal SAS Ports2 x SFF-80872 x SFF-8087
External SAS PortsNoNo
Cache512 MB DDR2-667512 MB DDR2-800
Host InterfacePCIe 2.0 (x8)PCIe 2.0 (x8)
XOR Engine And Clock RatePMC-Sierra PM8013 / Not PublishedNot Published / 800 MHz
Supported RAID Levels0, 1, 1E, 5, 5EE, 6, 10, 50, 600, 1, 1E, 3, 5, 6, 10, 30, 50, 60
Supported Operating SystemsWindows 7, Windows Server 2008/2008 R2, Windows Server 2003/2003 R2, Windows Vista, VMware ESX Classic 4.x (vSphere),Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), Sun Solaris 10 x86, FreeBSD, Debian Linux, Ubuntu LinuxWindows 7/2008/Vista/XP/2003, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris 10/11 x86/x86_64, Mac OS X 10.4.x/10.5.x/10.6.x, VMware 4.x
Battery ModuleNoOptional
FanNoYes
ManufacturerHighPointLSI
ProductRocketRAID 2720SGLMegaRAID 9265-8i
Form factorMD2/Low-ProfileMD2/Low-Profile
Number of SAS PortsEightEight
SAS Bandwidth  Per Port6 Gb/s (SAS 2.0)6 Gb/s (SAS 2.0)
Internal SAS Ports2 x SFF-80872 x SFF-8087
External SAS PortsNoNo
CacheN/A1 GB DDR3-1333
Host InterfacePCIe 2.0 (x8)PCIe 2.0 (x8)
XOR Engine And Clock RateMarvell 9485 / Not PublishedLSI SAS2208 / 800 MHz
Supported RAID Levels0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 500, 1, 5, 6, 10, 60
Supported Operating SystemsWindows 2000, XP, 2003, 2008, Vista, 7, RHEL/CentOS, SLES, OpenSuSE, Fedora Core, Debian, Ubuntu, FreeBSD bis 7.2Microsoft Windows Vista/2008/Server 2003/2000/XP, Linux, Solaris (x86), Netware, FreeBSD, Vmware
Battery ModuleNoOptional
FanNoNo

Test Configuration

We connected eight Fujitsu MBA3147RC SAS hard disks (147 GB each) to the RAID controllers, while conducting the RAID level 0, 5, 6, and 10 benchmarks. The SSD tests were conducted with five Samsung SS1605.

System Hardware
HardwareDetails
CPUIntel Core i7-920 (Bloomfield) 45 nm, 2.66 GHz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache
Motherboard (LGA 1366)Supermicro X8SAX, Revision: 1.0, Chipset Intel X58 + ICH10R, BIOS: 1.0B
ControllerLSI MegaRAID 9280-24i4e, Firmware: v12.12.0-0037, Driver: v4.32.0.64
RAM3 x 1 GB DDR3-1333 Corsair CM3X1024-1333C9DHX
Hard DriveSeagate NL35 400 GB, ST3400832NS, 7200 RPM, SATA 1.5Gb/s 8 MB Cache
Power SupplyOCZ EliteXstream 800 W, OCZ800EXS-EU
Benchmarks
Performance measurementsCrystalDiskMark 3
I/O PerformanceIometer 2006.07.27 File server Benchmark Web server Benchmark Database Benchmark Workstation Benchmark Streaming Reads Streaming Writes 4k Random Reads 4k Random Writes
System Software & Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 7 Ultimate
  • americanherosandwich
    Great review! Though I would have like to see some RAID 1 and RAID 10 benchmarks. Don't usually see RAID 0 for expensive SAS RAID Controllers, and more RAID 10 configurations than RAID 5.
    Reply
  • purrcatian
    I just sold my HighPoint RocketRAID 2720 because of the terrible drivers. Not only do the drivers add about 60 seconds to the Windows boot, they also cause random BSODs. The support was a joke, and the driver that came on the disc caused the Windows 7 x64 setup to instantly BSOD even though the box had a Windows 7 compatible logo on it. I even RMAed the card and the new one was exactly the same.
    Reply
  • dealcorn
    Very cool, fast and expensive means not home server stuff. For that, try the IBM BR10I, 8port PCI-e SAS/SATA RAID controller, which is generally available on eBay for $40 with no bracket (I live for danger). You are stuck with 3 GB/sec per port, but if you add $34 for a pair of forward breakout cables you have 8 sata ports at a cost of under $10 per port. The card requires a PCIe X8 slot but if you only give it 4 lanes (the number of lanes offered by our Atom's NM10) if will give each port 1.5 Gb/sec. Cheap SAS makes software RAID 6 prudent in a home storage server.
    Reply
  • slicedtoad
    I have pretty much no use for anything other than raid 0 but it was still an interesting read. I think i prefer this type of article over the longer type with actual benchmarks thrown in (not for gpu or cpu reviews though).
    Reply
  • rebel1280
    Great read! Way better than rumors and junk, stick with this kind of stuff Toms!
    Reply
  • pxl9190
    Only wish this review had came earlier !

    I had a hard time deciding between 9265-8i, 1880 and 6805 a month ago. I bought the 6805 and always wondered why RAID-10 was not as fast as I thought it should be. This reviewed proved my worries.

    I eventually went to RAID 6 with 6 Constellation ES 1TB disks. Here's where the adaptec really shines. This is for a photo/video storage/editing disk array.

    Admittedly if I have a choice again I would have picked the Areca after seeing the numbers. Adaptec was the cheapest among all of them so it's not too much of a regret.
    Reply
  • Great review! As I am in the process of building a new home file server and always have a habit of going overboard in such situations, I will be referring back to this article many more times before purchasing.

    That said can you please talk more to the differences performance wise between SATA and SAS? I understand the reliability argument, however I wonder if for my purposes I would not be better served by using cheaper SATA disks over SAS disks?

    I would also love some direction with regard to a good enclosures/power supplies for a hard drive only enclosure. I realize I am quickly priced out of an enterprise solution in this arena, but have seen at least a couple cheaper options online such as the Sans Digital TR8M+B. (This enclosure is normally bundeled with some RocketRaid controller which I would probably discard in favor of either the Adaptec or LSI solution.)
    Reply
  • You are missing a huge competitor in this space. Atto RAID Adapters are on par and I think the only other one out there, why are they not compared in this review?
    Reply
  • Marco925
    I bought the Highpoint, for it's money, it was incredible value at a little under $120
    Reply
  • stuckintexas
    I evaluated all but the Highpoint for work. What isn't shown, and would be unrealistic for a home user, is that the LSI destroys the competition when you throw on a SAS expander. With 24 15k SAS drives, the LSI card tops out at 3500MB/s, RAID0 sequential write, while the Areca is
    Reply