are 4 6Gb/s ports worth $136?

dgingeri

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Dec 5, 2004
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I got a coupon from Newegg for 20% off LSI array controllers. I've had really good luck with my current 3Ware 9650, but I want 6Gb/s capability for a future (within the next 8 months) upgrade. I've been debating between the LSI 9261-81 (which has the same board layout as the 3Ware 9750, and all the stats seem to be the same. I find no differences between them.) and the LSI 9260-4i.

For now, it would only be used to control a 2X Vertex2 120GB RAID 0 for my main drive and another 120GB Vertex for a secondary. When I decide on which 6Gb SSDs I'll get to replace the Vertex 2 drives, I'll be upgrading to 6Gb/s. They'll likely be Vertex 3s, but could potentially be C400s. However, it would likely be used later, as my 3Ware 9650 is, as the controller for my storage server with anywhere from 3 to 8 drives. So, if I go with a 4 port card, they'd get used now an in the near future, but it would limit my far future (3-4 years from now) storage on my storage/virtual server.

This is all for personal use, but I do use this equipment to train on advancing my career. I like running VMWare Virtual Server and running several servers for training my Windows and Linux knowledge. The 9650 works great for this, and I'd expect nothing less from the 9260.

The difference in price ~$136 with the coupon. Is it worth the extra money for 4 more ports? Do I restrict my future usefulness for saving a little money now? It's not an insignificant amount of money.

(Actually, just noticed that the coupon covers 3ware controllers as well, so I'll be going with the 9750 controllers instead, as I like 3ware's control system better. They're the same prices, so no real difference in the above information.)
 

GeorgeHR

Gawd
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Oct 14, 2006
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840
With an SATA III drive you will get better performance. But do you need better performance? (I have a new motherboard with SATA III ports. My SATA III SSD is certainly fast, but I don't get any more done.)
 

dgingeri

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Dec 5, 2004
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The 4 biggest reasons I want to get SATA III (6Gb) through a card like this:

1. the Marvel controller in my U3S6, and on most current x58 motherboards is crap. the drivers are unstable, the performance is below SATA II on the ICH10R much of the time, and it gives a lot of problems to install Windows on a drive attached to it.

2. the AMD SATA III (6Gb) controller on their most recent boards does not have very good performance, even with 6Gb SSDs. It's almost as if the SATA controller weren't even updated t 6Gb.

3. the newest Intel chipset has some good performing SATA III ports, but there's only 2. I'm going to need at least 2 just for my boot drives

4. finally, my current board (an Asus P6T) doesn't have 6Gb SATA. Sure, I've added the U3S6 card to get it, but that controller is crap, as I stated in 1.

In all, I don't have to worry about 6Gb performance with the 3Ware or LSI controller. I know they'll be stable because they're enterprise level products, and finally, these controllers have hardware for RAID 5 onboard without bugging the processor. After having the 9650, I'm totally hooked on enterprise level raid equipment. My system, with dual Vertex 2 drives on the ICH10R, boots windows in just under 9 seconds. It loads Photoshop CS4 (64-bit, even) in less than 4 seconds. I really, really like it, and I want to make it better. :)
 

drescherjm

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My system, with dual Vertex 2 drives on the ICH10R, boots windows in just under 9 seconds.

BTW, I bet the raid controller initialization will eat up all benefit for that task..
 

aaaahi

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 4, 2005
Messages
363
spend the extra now. 8 ports are nice, use 4 for a boot raid and have an extra channel for 4 or with an expander, up to 16. gives you a little more flexability for the future.
 

dgingeri

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Dec 5, 2004
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BTW, I bet the raid controller initialization will eat up all benefit for that task..

The Intel raid "controller" initialization takes longer than the 9650. I haven't seen the 9750 in action, but I bet it's the same or better. I'd turn off the Intel raid when putting in the 9750.

and, yes, I came to the same conclusion about 8 ports. about 15 minutes ago, I put in my order for the 8 port. The only reason I'll have the Intel SATA enabled (in AHCI mode, still) is for optical drives. The U3S6 is getting pushed out.
 

Jon55

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Jul 7, 2008
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I don't think so. My God, that's nearly the price of a new motherboard.
 
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