Looking for SATA RAID Controller recommendations

Loki008

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I am looking to replace my older HP Windows Home Server with a Windows 2013 box and I am looking for a SATA RAID controller. I have been doing some research and its starting to make my head spin. So I was hoping i could get some recommendations here.

I am looking for a controller that will support (4) 3TB drives in a RAID 5 array without much fuss in Windows 2013. I would also like to try to keep the price under $150 where possible.

I thought this would be an easy thing to find however its been a few years since ive really worked with storage systems and figured all the size limitations has finally been taken care of. But I appear to be wrong. Most cards I am finding don't support drives larger than 2TB or if they do they have volume limitations of 2-6TB. Even LSI seems to have poor support for what I am looking for. Based on my searching you really need to go with a $300-$400 card to get what i am looking for. This seems a bit overkill for what I am trying to do. I just want decent space with some fault tolerance.

Any suggestions as to any cards that i should be looking at would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
 

drescherjm

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Look LSI MegaRaid SAS 4i.

Most cards I am finding don't support drives larger than 2TB

The LSI cards that do not support > 2TB disks are 2008 models.

I am looking for a controller that will support (4) 3TB drives in a RAID 5 array without much fuss in Windows 2013. I would also like to try to keep the price under $150 where possible.

For that you will have to get a dell rebranded LSI off of ebay. Like a PERC 710

Edit:
http://www.servethehome.com/lsi-sas-2208-raid-controller-information-listing/
 
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raiderj

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Would a software RAID setup from within Windows using dynamic disks be an option? I know performance would suffer compared to a hardware RAID, but if the tradeoff isn't too bad it could be a viable solution.
 

fluke420

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Snapraid is a great option to get around the expensive RAID card and the 2TB limitation.
 

dandragonrage

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6Gb/s+ LSI cards can do >2TB. It's the 1.5/3Gb/s stuff that can't (not a SAS limitation really, just happens to be in the LSI chips). You can find various LSI cards for good prices on Ebay.
 

drescherjm

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Snapraid is a great option to get around the expensive RAID card and the 2TB limitation.

This probably is a better solution if the data is from a HTPC and the OP does not plan on making a second array to backup the first.
 

_Gea

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I would avoid Raid 5 at all with such large disks.
I would just use one or two mirrors with 4 TB disks.

With mirrors, you do not need that expensive controllers.
Buy an IBM 1015 (about 100 Euro/$) and build Raid 1/10 arrays.

The IBM 1015 is a rebranded LSI 9211, one of the best SAS/Sata controller if you look for a HBA ex with ZFS or Raid 1/10 for Windows or ESXi.
 

dandragonrage

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The IBM 1015 is a rebranded LSI 9211, one of the best SAS/Sata controller if you look for a HBA ex with ZFS or Raid 1/10 for Windows or ESXi.

No, it is a rebranded 9240-8i on which you can run 9211 firmware. It's better to run drivers with 9240 support than it is to run the 9211 firmware, but many people find just running the 9211 firmware easier. Especially with OpenSolaris-based distros.

I run 9240 firmware on my M1015. Though it's not hooked up because my Maximus VI Hero doesn't support it (unless a recent CMOS update has changed that - I've been updating my CMOS with the new releases, but haven't tested the M1015 for several versions now). Biggest advantage is that the 9240 firmware doesn't need the stupid separate IR/IT images. That stupidity always made me like LSI a LOT less than I otherwise would have, but I'm glad they finally gave in.
 

TCM2

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Biggest advantage is that the 9240 firmware doesn't need the stupid separate IR/IT images. That stupidity always made me like LSI a LOT less than I otherwise would have, but I'm glad they finally gave in.

Actually, it's better that you have the freedom to run without even _any_ RAID capability. I'd rather run IT firmware that I know doesn't even contain any unneeded complexity (for ZFS in my case), than worry about bugs in full-blown MegaRAID stacks and whether it marks my disks with unwanted signature blocks or not.
 

dandragonrage

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So where would you put the mighty M1015 then????

It's a 6Gb/s card. It supports >2TB with any firmware you can load on it (stock, 9240, 9210/9211). If you didn't otherwise want to take my advice about it, I'll say that I own one and had it loaded down with 3TB disks last I used it.



Actually, it's better that you have the freedom to run without even _any_ RAID capability. I'd rather run IT firmware that I know doesn't even contain any unneeded complexity (for ZFS in my case), than worry about bugs in full-blown MegaRAID stacks and whether it marks my disks with unwanted signature blocks or not.

Never had an issue with it and it doesn't write headers to the disk. And I didn't have to enter the LSI setup at all ever. They worked out of box. I believe in the right drivers for your hardware. The 9211 fw is just a dirty hack. There are far worse things you can do to a piece of hardware, but I think this should only be done where necessary, and it's usually not necessary.
 

_Gea

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The 9211 fw is just a dirty hack. There are far worse things you can do to a piece of hardware, but I think this should only be done where necessary, and it's usually not necessary.

Not a dirty hack as you use original LSI firmwares. LSI 9211, LSI 9240 and IBM 1015 (and some more controllers with the SAS 2008 chip) are basically the same piece of hardware with a different feature set based on different firmwares and drivers see http://forums.servethehome.com/raid...ler-hba-complete-listing-plus-oem-models.html

LSI 9211: can be run in raidless HBA/IT mode or in a Raid 1/10 mode with IR firmware
LSI 9240: with Raid 5 capability (with a lousy Raid-5 performance without cache and BBU)

All three modes have their own firmware and needs their own driver.
The Raid-5 mode is quite useless unless you use it only for Raid 1/10. The success of the M1015 is grounded on the capability to reflash it to the other LSI modes, mostly to the 9211 in IT or IR as this is one of the best supported and stable LSI controllers in any OS. If you would not look at the price you would usually buy the LSI 9211 not the LSI 9240 or the IBM that cost less than the half of the 9211.
 
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