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$25 RAID card


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schoondoggy

I am a big fan of RAID cards. LSI is still my overall favorite; Adaptec and Highpoint build great cards as well. Over the last year the HP Smart Array family of RAID cards, has been my most recommended, specifically the P410. In full disclosure, I have never bought a HP Smart Array controller new. All have been used and purchased through eBay. Going rate for a P410 with 512MB cache and battery is $150-$200, but supplies are thin. There is built in compatibility across all SA controllers. If you build a four drive RAID 5 on a P410 you can move it to a P420 data intact. Here is a list of the HP SA RAID controllers; http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/servers/proliantstorage/arraycontrollers/index.html

 

The only drawback to the P410, it supports 6Gb/s on SAS, but only 3Gb/s on SATA. Back to the title, what RAID card can I buy for $25 or less (on eBay)? Well, currently the HP SA P400 with 512M cache and a battery goes for $20-25. The P400 supports SAS at 3Gb/s, but SATA at only 1.5Gb/s. Also, it uses SFF8484 connectors, so using one in a MicroServer is cost prohibitive, SFF8484 to SFF8087 cable $50. http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/quickspecs/productbulletin.html#spectype=north_america&type=html&docid=12400


Recently in the forums we have been chatting about hard drive performance, mainly around sustained transfer rates. The fastest VR drive from WD has a sustained transfer rate of 200MB/s, it could saturate a SATA I port, but not a SATA II. I thought it would be interesting to see how drives would perform on a P400 and its 1.5Gb/s SATA support. I used four drive sets and tested  RAID 5. The drives are Hitachi HDS5C3020ALA632 2TB 5400 rpm SATA 6Gb/s and Hitachi 750GB 5400 rpm SATA 3Gb/s laptop drives.  For testing I am running Windows Server 2012 on a single drive on a HP ML110 server. For comparison here are some numbers from my P410 512MB cache in a MicroServer;


 

P410: four Seagate Constellation 2TB 7200rpm SAS II connected at 6Gb/s in RAID 5


 

crystalseagatesasraid5.png


 

P410: four Samsung 2TB 5400rpm SATA II connected at 3Gb/s in RAID 5


 

performanceraid55400rpm.png


 

P400: four Hitachi 2TB 5400rpm SATA III connected at 1.5Gb/s in RAID 5


 

vef.png


 

P400: four Hitachi 2TB 5400rpm SATA II connected at 1.5Gb/s in RAID 5


 

zqxk.png

 

I realize these are not apples to apples comparisons, but I think the data points are interesting. The middle two above are the closest match and there is only about 15% difference in performance. If you have never used a RAID card this is a cheap way to play/learn. 

Edited by schoondoggy
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Joe_Miner

I am a big fan of RAID cards. LSI is still my overall favorite; Adaptec and Highpoint build great cards as well. Over the last year the HP Smart Array family of RAID cards, has been my most recommended, specifically the P410. In full disclosure, I have never bought a HP Smart Array controller new. All have been used and purchased through eBay. Going rate for a P410 with 512MB cache and battery is $150-$200, but supplies are thin. There is built in compatibility across all SA controllers. If you build a four drive RAID 5 on a P410 you can move it to a P420 data intact. Here is a list of the HP SA RAID controllers; http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/servers/proliantstorage/arraycontrollers/index.html

 

The only drawback to the P410, it supports 6Gb/s on SAS, but only 3Gb/s on SATA. Back to the title, what RAID card can I buy for $25 or less (on eBay)? Well, currently the HP SA P400 with 512M cache and a battery goes for $20-25. The P400 supports SAS at 3Gb/s, but SATA at only 1.5Gb/s. Also, it uses SFF8484 connectors, so using one in a MicroServer is cost prohibitive, SFF8484 to SFF8087 cable $50. http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/quickspecs/productbulletin.html#spectype=north_america&type=html&docid=12400

 

Recently in the forums we have been chatting about hard drive performance, mainly around sustained transfer rates. The fastest VR drive from WD has a sustained transfer rate of 200MB/s, it could saturate a SATA I port, but not a SATA II. I thought it would be interesting to see how drives would perform on a P400 and its 1.5Gb/s SATA support. I used four drive sets and tested  RAID 5. The drives are Hitachi HDS5C3020ALA632 2TB 5400 rpm SATA 6Gb/s and Hitachi 750GB 5400 rpm SATA 3Gb/s laptop drives.  For testing I am running Windows Server 2012 on a single drive on a HP ML110 server. For comparison here are some numbers from my P410 512MB cache in a MicroServer;

 

 

P410: four Seagate Constellation 2TB 7200rpm SAS II connected at 6Gb/s in RAID 5

 

 

crystalseagatesasraid5.png

 

 

P410: four Samsung 2TB 5400rpm SATA II connected at 3Gb/s in RAID 5

 

 

performanceraid55400rpm.png

 

 

P400: four Hitachi 2TB 5400rpm SATA III connected at 1.5Gb/s in RAID 5

 

 

vef.png

 

 

P400: four Hitachi 2TB 5400rpm SATA II connected at 1.5Gb/s in RAID 5

 

 

zqxk.png

 

I realize these are not apples to apples comparisons, but I think the data points are interesting. The middle two above are the closest match and there is only about 15% difference in performance. If you have never used a RAID card this is a cheap way to play/learn. 

 

Thanks for Posting Schoondoggy!  The best way to learn is Hands On IMHO and for $25 it would be a cheap entry into the world of RAID!!

Edited by Joe_Miner
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Never used LSI before. Would like to try some day. Recently upgraded from an Adaptec 5805 8-port 3 GB/s card to an Adaptec 7805 8-port 6 GBs controller. Stayed with Adaptec mainly for the convenience of the new controller reading the existing array and improving I/O performance. Tried Highpoint prior to Adaptec but, for an entry level RAID card, seemed to get what I paid for. High temps and poor performance.

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I am using an IBM ServeRAID M1015 (OEM model LSI SAS9220-8i) cross-flashed to an LSI9211-8i and configured for disk pass-through + Drive Bender.

 

I don't know if it's just me, but my server became infinitely stable after moving the pooled drives from the motherboard SATA ports to the M1015. The WHS2011 system drive is still connected using the on-board SATA... which begs the question if I should also move the OS drive to the M1015?

 

Other things in the mix:

 

1. The on-board SATA is configured for AHCI

2. The M1015 is configured for non-AHCI (can't find a way to switch this to AHCI)

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