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Thread: Hardware RAID Card

  1. #1
    SiM
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    Hardware RAID Card

    Hi guys,
    I need a hardware RAID controller for my upcoming NAS. I know most of them cost crazy amounts of money so I am willing to settle for a cheaper SATA 150 one. I plan to use 3 x 1TB drives in RAID 5, but would like the capacity to expand to at least 6 drives. So it needs online capacity extension. PCI or PCIe only as I will be using a 939 based system (so no PCI-X).

    In my searches I found this . There are loads of these on ebay, and they frequently end for less that £40. What do you guys think? Is there a better alternative out there for less than £100?

    Thanks for reading

  2. #2
    Anthropomorphic Personification shaithis's Avatar
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    Re: Hardware RAID Card

    The problem you will get is that most cheap raid cards are PCI/PCI-X, which means that you will seriously bottleneck your performance unless you have a PCI-X slot (almost certainly not).

    You really need a PCI-E card, the difference between PCI and PCI-E on a RAID5 array is phenomenal.
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    Re: Hardware RAID Card

    Would you recommend anything in particular? Performance does not have to be that fast... I would be happy with 30mb/s read/write... the gigabit LAN connection would bottle neck the speed anyway..

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    Re: Hardware RAID Card

    the adaptec you link *ought* to work in a regular pci slot, but really, you want to either splash out on a pci-x enabled mobo (there are, um, one company making enthusiast boards with pci-x) or get a pcie card, if you can

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    Re: Hardware RAID Card

    If you're after budget, forget hardware RAID cards, software RAID is every bit as stable, and wont cost you an arm and a leg, just get a motherboard with a crap load of ports, or few standard SATA cards.
    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    ...every time Creative bring out a new card range their advertising makes it sound like they have discovered a way to insert a thousand Chuck Norris super dwarfs in your ears...

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    Re: Hardware RAID Card

    Well I don't really have a budget... I just don't want to end up spending loads on a setup that is way over the top for my needs.
    What do you guys think about this?

    I like the the flexibility offered by hardware raid so would prefer that tbh, but if its going to cost much more than this then I might end up with software raid...
    Also as it will be connected over the network, it does not need to be super fast... As long as it can stream HD video and do around 30mb/s sustained transfer speed I will be happy.

    Btw, the NAS will probably run FreeNAS or Ubuntu...

    I have the following hardware ready for this NAS:
    Foxconn 6150K8MA-8KRS Mainboard
    Opteron 152
    2 x 512mb DDR 400 RAM
    Last edited by SiM; 21-05-2008 at 07:03 PM.

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    Re: Hardware RAID Card

    The md raid subsystem that Ubuntu offers is *very* flexible and stable, you can add disks on the fly, and if you format the volume with XFS, you can grow the volume on the fly as well without stopping services and unmounting it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    ...every time Creative bring out a new card range their advertising makes it sound like they have discovered a way to insert a thousand Chuck Norris super dwarfs in your ears...

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    Re: Hardware RAID Card

    Quote Originally Posted by aidanjt View Post
    The md raid subsystem that Ubuntu offers is *very* flexible and stable, you can add disks on the fly, and if you format the volume with XFS, you can grow the volume on the fly as well without stopping services and unmounting it.
    Hmm, sounds good... although I won't be able to change to Windows with md raid, will I?... I might need that flexibility... and will it still work after reinstalling Ubuntu if I screw up the Ubuntu install? I will only have 4 ports then (that's all the motherboard that I have got has)...

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    Re: Hardware RAID Card

    Well, you can't really move a hardware RAID array to Windows anyway, because NTFS via FUSE isn't *that* great, and Windows doesn't have any other filesystem apart from fat*
    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    ...every time Creative bring out a new card range their advertising makes it sound like they have discovered a way to insert a thousand Chuck Norris super dwarfs in your ears...

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  12. #10
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    Re: Hardware RAID Card

    Quote Originally Posted by aidanjt View Post
    Well, you can't really move a hardware RAID array to Windows anyway, because NTFS via FUSE isn't *that* great, and Windows doesn't have any other filesystem apart from fat*
    Crap... oh well, I might as well look into md raid and give that a go first then. Now I just need a case and some hard drives

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    YUKIKAZE arthurleung's Avatar
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    Re: Hardware RAID Card

    Those Adaptec card looked exactly the same like the LSI Megaraid 150-6, which I recall have awful performance. You'll be lucky to get 20MB/s out of it.

    Try searching for 3Ware 9500 series card, these work with PCI slot and usually aren't that expensive. (Note the 9550 series doesn't work with PCI slot) 3Ware 96xx series are just way too expensive. So the 9500 series card is pretty much the best card you could get for <200 quids.
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    Re: Hardware RAID Card

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurleung View Post
    Those Adaptec card looked exactly the same like the LSI Megaraid 150-6, which I recall have awful performance. You'll be lucky to get 20MB/s out of it.

    Try searching for 3Ware 9500 series card, these work with PCI slot and usually aren't that expensive. (Note the 9550 series doesn't work with PCI slot) 3Ware 96xx series are just way too expensive. So the 9500 series card is pretty much the best card you could get for <200 quids.
    Can't seem to find the 9500 series anywhere (other than the 2 port one)... well anyway aidanjt has convinced me to give md raid a go... Having more than 4 drives in RAID 5 is not a great idea anyway, so I will get 3 drives in software RAID 5 and then expand to 4 when needed... if I ever need more space, I can always go hardware raid then

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    Re: Hardware RAID Card

    Just a point though, Grub doesn't know how to boot from stripped arrays like RAID0 and RAID5, so you may need to keep one disk for /boot, maybe a CompactFlash card/ide adoptor would do, then you can boot a root volume off the initial ram disk used by most distros (including *buntu). This is the only minor limitation of software RAID.
    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    ...every time Creative bring out a new card range their advertising makes it sound like they have discovered a way to insert a thousand Chuck Norris super dwarfs in your ears...

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    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    Re: Hardware RAID Card

    Quote Originally Posted by SiM View Post
    Well I don't really have a budget... I just don't want to end up spending loads on a setup that is way over the top for my needs.
    What do you guys think about this?

    I like the the flexibility offered by hardware raid so would prefer that tbh, but if its going to cost much more than this then I might end up with software raid...
    Also as it will be connected over the network, it does not need to be super fast... As long as it can stream HD video and do around 30mb/s sustained transfer speed I will be happy.

    Btw, the NAS will probably run FreeNAS or Ubuntu...

    I have the following hardware ready for this NAS:
    Foxconn 6150K8MA-8KRS Mainboard
    Opteron 152
    2 x 512mb DDR 400 RAM
    highpoint cards have 0 proper linux support (binary drivers for specific insecure versions of kernels for particular distros, so pretty much impossible to install to)

    Quote Originally Posted by aidanjt View Post
    Just a point though, Grub doesn't know how to boot from stripped arrays like RAID0 and RAID5, so you may need to keep one disk for /boot, maybe a CompactFlash card/ide adoptor would do, then you can boot a root volume off the initial ram disk used by most distros (including *buntu). This is the only minor limitation of software RAID.
    or set the size of the MD partitions to be about 100 meg smaller than the full disk - use the empty space for three swap partitions and a /boot partition

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    Re: Hardware RAID Card

    Thanks everyone... I will have to post another thread once I have the hard drives and a case for help with setup

    Quote Originally Posted by directhex View Post
    or set the size of the MD partitions to be about 100 meg smaller than the full disk - use the empty space for three swap partitions and a /boot partition
    I like this idea rather than using another drive or CF card... But doesn't Ubuntu take more than 100mb? Well even if its 1GB on each disk, that's no big deal...

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    Re: Hardware RAID Card

    Quote Originally Posted by directhex View Post
    or set the size of the MD partitions to be about 100 meg smaller than the full disk - use the empty space for three swap partitions and a /boot partition
    Yes, that's fine too, as long as you remember to keep the MD partitions the same size when you add new disks.
    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    ...every time Creative bring out a new card range their advertising makes it sound like they have discovered a way to insert a thousand Chuck Norris super dwarfs in your ears...

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