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4 port Raid5 PCIe card

Discussion in 'Storage Drives' started by Mercutio, 12 Jan 2006.

  1. Mercutio

    Soldato

    Joined: 11 Jun 2003

    Posts: 5,005

    Location: Sheffield, UK

    Does anyone know of a cheap 4 port PCIe Raid5 card. Id prefer a pseudo-hardware (for price reasons, with the calculations off-loaded to the processor). I could do raid5 software but im not too keen on the raid5 hacks for WinXP and most of the server-based O/S are a pain in the butt for normal use.
    Machine is going to be a mix of a fileserver, VERY occasional guest use gaming machine and media box (though probably not using media centre edition).
    Just a name to google for or a link to a manufact/OCuK approved review site will do nicely.
     
  2. smids

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Dec 2004

    Posts: 6,660

    Location: London/Kent

    If you have £215, then a HighPoint RocketRAID 2320 8 Port SATA II/300 RAID5, NCQ, PCI Express x4 would be good. It was what I was looking at until I saw the price :D.

    The main problem is that everything is still PCI. There are very few PCI-E controllers out there. The ones that are are REALLY high end and cost an arm, a leg and little bit more. I managed to find a cheap 2 port PCI-E x1 SATA-II RAID (0 and 1) SIL3132 controller (£17 :D) but other than that, I spent 3 days searching for something good. Was willing to spend about £100 but everything was PCI :(.
     
    Last edited: 12 Jan 2006
  3. Mercutio

    Soldato

    Joined: 11 Jun 2003

    Posts: 5,005

    Location: Sheffield, UK

    I've noticed one of the ASUS boards has raid 5 onboard - is it PCIe or still tied to PCI bus?

    Edit: The write speed isnt THAT important - its going to be used as a dump area cos I cba to have piles of DVD-R's around the place. The read speed from most software raid5 seems to be on par or even better than hardware based controllers?
     
    Last edited: 12 Jan 2006
  4. smids

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Dec 2004

    Posts: 6,660

    Location: London/Kent

    Silicon Image 3114R RAID controller - PCI I'm afraid. About RAID5 - never been the most clued up on this one. My knowledge goes as far as 0,1,0+1,1+0. I know how RAID5 works but not really enough to form anything constructive for you, sorry. Those Highpoint cards are good though, but pricey. 8 ports though!
     
    Last edited: 12 Jan 2006
  5. jhmaeng

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 6 May 2004

    Posts: 2,060

    Location: London, UK

    If you don't absolutely have to have PCIe, I guess the HighPoint 1640 is a good entry level RAID5 card.

    I really can't see needing more than the standard PCI bus unless you're using some very I/O intensive apps, and in this case you seem to want RAID5 more for the security than speed. Therefore I'd say you're better off with the PCI version for the reduced cost.

    Maybe (well, probably) there will be cheaper PCIe varieties in the future, but you're looking at a long wait with no definite timelines.
     
  6. smids

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Dec 2004

    Posts: 6,660

    Location: London/Kent

    It's quite stupid though isn't it? PCI-Express has been out for a long time now. Everyone knows the PCI bus is severely limited and running any decent RAID (1 isn't really included here) fills it up - sometimes causing other devices to stop functioning. The highpoint I suggested is £215 and is the cheapest of that calibre I could find in PCIe - other than my PCIe x1 SATA-II RAID(0, 1) 2 port SIL3132 card which was only £17.
     
    Last edited: 12 Jan 2006
  7. tomos

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 17 Jan 2004

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    Location: Liverpool

    does 1x have decent enough bandwidth?
     
  8. smids

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Dec 2004

    Posts: 6,660

    Location: London/Kent

    250MB/s dedicated. Enough for a 4x RAID0 of Raptors I should think (only a 2 port card though so needs a port multiplier to use the other supported RAIDs (5, and 10). Dedication is the key too, as it shares this with nothing else meaning full rate available all the time.
     
  9. tomos

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 17 Jan 2004

    Posts: 2,292

    Location: Liverpool

    sounds good. one of those cards with 2x500gig drives should be ok. its a royal pain accessing one drive several times. it just cant cope with the demands. this should do tho :D
     
  10. NickK

    Capodecina

    Joined: 13 Jan 2003

    Posts: 19,071

    Firstly if your running a large number of HDs for this then why not run them 24/7 in a dedicated box?
    There are a few 'domestic use' NAS boxes that will connect to a network that do RAID5.
     
  11. smids

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Dec 2004

    Posts: 6,660

    Location: London/Kent

    Hmm, the 'domestic use' ones still cost about £500+ - then again, if you are spending £200 on a controller card, perhaps that isn't a bad thing? Personally, I'd buy a rack for my stacker and put them in there, to save money and go for the card option (ah the joys of a stacker :D).

    @ tomos: I forgot to mention that 250MB/s is in each directiom so 500Mb/s total available bandwidth. It is a serial connection meaning, I think, that data can travel both ways at the same time (don't know in depth electronics of a computer, but that is my understanding). PCI-e is really amazing. I can't believe it's taking so long to produce the cards - I mean it's not radically different to PCI except in terms of bandwidth - no software problems, only BIOS and drivers to sort out - not hard considering ATi and nVidia have been at it a while - and nV even used a bridge chip initially.
     
  12. Dimension

    Hitman

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 536

    Location: Bed's

    Your wasting you money getting a PCI-e card foir only 4 hard drives, as 4 drives in raid 5 will not requre anymore bandwidth than 133mb/s

    you writes will probably only be 20mb/sec and reads around 60mb/s normal pci is morethan enough
     
  13. Mercutio

    Soldato

    Joined: 11 Jun 2003

    Posts: 5,005

    Location: Sheffield, UK

    Reads will be max of 62Mb/s (or there abouts) per drive which will come to around 186Mb/s - so say around 120-140 real world maximum.
    If I then want to shoot this data over the (gigabit) network this also has to use the PCI bus so im already at (over)double PCI total bandwidth. On top of this is general signalling + graphics so a decent box streaming is going to be using around 300Mb/s which is a fair chunk over PCI's available bandwidth?
    Accepted for home use it may be a little excessive but want something everyone in the house can use excessively without it getting too choked up.
    With a PCIe card being 250Mb/s each way and total bus bandwidth in the several Gb/s that pretty much leaves the network as the bottleneck.

    I WOULD look at dedicated NAS storage box but trying to get the machine to a point where it can do several jobs as easier to warrent being left on.
     
  14. NickK

    Capodecina

    Joined: 13 Jan 2003

    Posts: 19,071

    Harddisc life is one reason to leave them on. The start/stop sequence is a harddrive's biggest point of stress and often where the most damage occurs.

    Install an iTunes server or something and the whole house can then use it.. or run a media server on it too..

    It's actually a real pain in the butt to have to switch something on just to access it or store it - if you have more than one person using it..