Dell Perc 6/i -- Still a good option for budget RAID 5/6 home server?

Discussion in 'SSDs & Data Storage' started by investinwaffles, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. investinwaffles

    investinwaffles Limp Gawd

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    Hi Guys, I have a quick question for those that know alot more than I...

    I have always wanted to migrate to a raid 5 or raid 6 setup for my home server. I really just want something stable that will do Raid 5 with 6x2TB HDDs (Or 4 depending on my budget).

    Anyways, I favor reliability over performance as I dont do anything very taxing with the server (pretty much just runs Plex and uTorrent). So as such, I want to keep the budget low so I can put as much money into hard-drives as possible.

    There are TONS of Dell Perc 6/i cards on ebay for around $45 or so, and they will do exactly what I want. Are they still an OK option?

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/DELL-PERC-6...US_Internal_Network_Cards&hash=item1e888090cd


    All my drives are SATA III, but I dont really foresee that as being a problem. I currently have 2 WD Red drives and a 2 TB Samsung drive, which I may or may not use in the final config (depending on stability. I plan to buy 2 more WD Red drives though (for a total of 4x2TB drives at minimum). I may do some experimenting with Raid 6 as well, but I need a controller first so I can start tinkering :D


    What do you all suggest?? I am kind of lost when it comes to this stuff :(
     
  2. investinwaffles

    investinwaffles Limp Gawd

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    TTT? Any advice would be much appreciated :)
     
  3. Nate7311

    Nate7311 2[H]4U

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    2TB is the max capacity that the Perc 6i supports. They are decent performers, even with RAID 6. Just make sure that you get a good battery with it, and you'll be fine.
     
  4. ND40oz

    ND40oz [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Finding a sub $150 IBM M5014 would be a better choice.
     
  5. dekard

    dekard 2[H]4U

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    Hrmm... the 5i was capped at 2tb, but I thought the 6 supported more. I recall having some 3 tb drives working well on it.
     
  6. dexvx

    dexvx [H]ard|Gawd

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    Those used to be plentiful, but alas, they are nowhere to be found. I ended up buying an IBM M5015 for $170.

    OP, if you don't plan on using > 2TB drives, there are tons of LSI branded RAID 5/6 controllers for around that price as well. I've also seen some cheap Adaptec controllers as well (Sun version of the 5805 is going for ~$70), and they support 4 TB drives.

    Anything with a LSI 1xxx chip will only do 2 TB. The first Dell branded controllers to use the LSI 2xxx series chips were the H-series (H700 being the lowest end RAID-5 capable controller).
     
  7. investinwaffles

    investinwaffles Limp Gawd

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    Thanks for the responses guys!!

    I dont really plan on upgrading to larger than 2tb drives. As long as the 2tb Red drives will work with the Perc 6i, I think it should be just fine. I will be getting a brand new battery for whatever controller I end up with anyways.

    I really dont need high speed, nor do I need disk support larger than 2TB. I mostly was just wondering if the Perc controllers were reliable (which I assume they are since Dell sold millions of them). Sounds like an OK solution?

    I am also pretty broke, and these cards are very affordable on Ebay. Lets me put more $$ into the actual disks :D
     
  8. ND40oz

    ND40oz [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Your better off getting a newer card and using 4TB disks and selling the ones you got. 3 4GB disks in raid 5 and then just add disks as you need more space. Even 3 3TB disks in RAID 5 give you as much space as 4 2TB disks in RAID 5 and 3TB disks aren't much more then 2TB ones.
     
  9. Schro

    Schro [H]ardness Supreme

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    Have you considered ZFS instead of hardware raid? It should be a bit more forgiving with a mixed fleet of drives...
     
  10. investinwaffles

    investinwaffles Limp Gawd

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    Yeah, I think you guys are right considering the price of 3TB WD Red's vs 2TB Reds.

    Maybe I need to do some more research. My budget is pretty low so maybe ZFS is a better option for me instead of hardware raid. Put more money into actual drives instead of more hardware (and I actually would need to purchase an intel dual nic card since I am out of PCIE card slots).

    I have not messed with ZFS before, but I have a good amount of experience tinkering with RAID so its more familiar which is why I wanted to pursue a cheap raid setup. I also like that there are tons of perc cards on ebay and finding a replacement is easy.

    EDIT:
    The only issue I have with ZFS is that I need a dedicated box, which I really dont want right now. I already have too many computers as is, and I was hoping to virtualize as much as I could onto my ESXi server. Its a white box so I don't really want to deal with getting ZFS setup to work as an NFS datastore, and I am unsure of how stable that solution would be long-term. Might just end up going with Raid 5/6/10 after all...
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  11. westrock2000

    westrock2000 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    You can have up to 8 drives on a PERC using a basic setup of two $10 SF-8484 to 4x SATA Cables So if you do two sets of 4x2TB you will get about 12TB usable per card.

    I had the PERC5i and had no complaints about the quality of it. I was able to replace a bad drive on one occasion and expand the array by adding another drive. In both instances I was able to continue using the array.

    If you need to use Windows, they are fantastic cards for the price. If the capacity constraint is within your uses....12TB is still a lot of data. I've got around 900 movies ripped at good bitrates (4-14MB/s) and I'm still only at about 9TB used. So it can last you a while.

    If you do get one just be aware you will need a PCI bracket for it, you will need to put some tape over 2 of the contacts on the PCI-Express contacts (if you have Intel CPU), and you will need to put a small heatsink and preferably have some airflow over the heatsink.
     
  12. krneki

    krneki n00b

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    The Dell Perc 6/i is an excellent card and very cheap, but as stated above the drawback is the 2TB disk limit.