SATA2 HBA Comparison (non-RAID)

movax

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I guess there's been a very recent (like past 2 months) surge in home server builds, mostly based on WHS/RAID-Z/FlexRAID etc. non-hardware RAID setups, that depend on having a large number of SATA ports (usually at least 20 to support the Norco RPC-4020) for the OS to use.

Obviously, hardware RAID setups are different - Arecas, Highpoints, 3Wares, LSIs, PERCs, etc. Not going to cover those here since AFAIK, hardware RAID controllers in fact make things harder/weirder for the techs listed above (at least from what I've read, HW RAID arrays + WHS or RAID-Z hurt rather than help).

Please post with any corrects, additional cards (especially smaller 4-port models, etc).

Cards

Supermicro AOC-SAT2-MV8
Product Page
Chipset: Marvell Hercules-2 Rev. C0
Interface: PCI-X
Number of Ports: 8 SATA2 Internal
Drives Supported: 8
OS Support: Windows XP/2k3 32/64, Linux 32/64, Solaris
Average Price: $90-$140 USD
Notes:

  • PCI-X card can be run in PCI slots at PCI speeds
  • No breakout cables needed, 8 standard SATA connectors on the card
  • WHS compatibility high
Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8
Product Page
Chipset: Marvell 88SE6480
Interface: PCIe x4
Number of Ports: 2x SFF-8087 (breakout cables necessary) Internal
Drives Supported: 8
OS Support: Windows XP/2k3/Vista 32/64, Linux 32/64
Average Price: $110-$140 USD
Notes:

  • Solaris support currently inoperative (Apr 2009)
  • WHA compatibility average (see this thread)
Supermicro AOC-USAS-L8i / Supermicro USASLP-L8i
Product Page
Product Page (low-profile)
Chipset: LSI 1068E
Interface: UIO - (PCIe x8 inverted component layout)
Number of Ports: 2x SFF-8087 (breakout cables necessary) Internal
Drives Supported: 8
OS Support: Windows XP/2k3/Vista 32, XP/2k3 64 (don't know about Vista 64 yet), Linux 32/64, Solaris
Average Price: $90-$140 USD
Notes:

  • UIO card - still a PCIe interface, but the components are on the "wrong" side. You'll have to modify the bracket, or run without the bracket, but it is a valid PCIe device.
  • It actually IS a RAID controller, but in its default firmware configuration (Initiator/Target mode), it servers as a "dumb" HBA, perfect for Software RAID solutions.
Dell PERC 5/i / Dell PERC 5/e
Product Page
Chipset: Intel IOP333
Interface: PCIe x8
Number of Ports: 2x SFF-8484 (breakout cables necessary) (Internal on 5/i, External on 5/e - 5/e has 2x SFF-8470, from Stanza33)
Drives Supported: 8
OS Support: Windows XP/2k3/Vista 32/64, Linux 32/64, Solaris
Average Price: $90-$140 USD
Notes:

  • Full-blown RAID Card - fully capable of high-speed RAID 0/1/5/10. OEM version of a LSI product, can be flashed with LSI firmware.
  • Unsuitable really for software setups, but it is possible. Just make 8 single-disk RAID 0s.
  • Price varies on whether PCI bracket, cables, and battery backup are included.
  • The PERC 5/e has two connectors on the outside of the bracket, probably intended for Dell PowerVaults/external SAS storage. Only difference AFAIK.
  • May need modification
Dell SAS 5/i / Dell SAS 5/e
Product Page
Chipset: LSI 1068E (thanks UICompE02)
Interface: PCIe x8
Number of Ports: 1x SFF-8484 (breakout cables necessary, pretty sure its SFF-8484) (Internal on 5/i, External on 5/e)
Drives Supported: 4
OS Support: Windows XP/2k3/Vista 32/64, Linux 32/64
Average Price: $40-$100USD
Notes:


Areca ARC-1300ix-16
Product Page
Chipset: ?
Interface: PCIe x4
Number of Ports: 4x SFF-8087 (breakout cables necessary) Internal, 2x SFF-8088 (breakout needed) External
Drives Supported: 128 (with expanders), 16 for most users
OS Support: Windows 2000/XP/2k3/Vista 32/64, Linux 32/64, BSD/FreeBSD 32/64, Solaris, Mac OS X (non-bootable)
Average Price: ~$420
Notes:

  • Thanks to alamone for the info!
  • Suitable for ZFS under Solaris!
Areca ARC-1300-4e/x/i
Product Page
Chipset: ?
Interface: PCIe x4
Number of Ports: 4x eSATA (ARC-1300-4e) External, 1x SFF-8088 (Breakout needed, ARC-1300-4x) Internal, 1x SFF-8087 (breakout needed, ARC-1300-4i)
Drives Supported: 128 (with expanders, 4x/4i), 16 (with port multiplies, 4e)
OS Support: Windows 2000/XP/2k3/Vista 32/64, Linux 32/64, BSD/FreeBSD 32/64, Solaris, Mac OS X (non-bootable)
Average Price: ~$300?
Notes:

  • Thanks to alamone for the info!
  • Suitable for ZFS under Solaris!
Atto ExpressSAS H60F / Atoo ExpressSAS H6F0 (Half-height, external)
Product Page
Chipset: ?
Interface: PCIe x8
Number of Ports: 3x SFF-8087 Internal H60F, 3x SFF-8088 External H6F0
Drives Supported: 16
OS Support: Windows 2000/XP/2k3/Vista/2008 32/64, Linux 32/64, Mac OS X
Average Price: ~$900
Notes:

  • Thanks to alamone for the info!
  • One of the few SAS2 6.0Gb HBAs
  • Dual processors
  • Other ATTO products vary in # of ports, and internal external, such as the: H608, H680, H644, H380, H308
Adaptec 1405 / Adaptec 1045 (External)
Product Page
Chipset: Adaptec 1405?
Interface: PCIe x4
Number of Ports: 1x SFF-8087 Internal (1405), 1x SFF-8088 External (1045)
Drives Supported: 4 (128 w/ expander)
OS Support: Windows 2000/XP/2k3/Vista/2008 32/64, Linux 32/64
Average Price: $200
Notes:

  • Thanks to alamone for the info!
Hewlett-Packard SC44GE
Product Page
Chipset: LSI 1068E (thanks UICompE02)
Interface: PCIe x8
Number of Ports: 1x SFF-8484 (breakout cables necessary) Internal, 1x SFF-8470 (breakout needed) External
Drives Supported: 8
OS Support: Windows XP/2k3/Vista 32/64, Linux 32/64
Average Price: ? USD
Notes:

  • Odd duck - external only useful with HP products?
  • Only supports RAID w/ ProLiant servers?
Hewlett-Packard SC08GE
Product Page
Unsuitable for home use (HP MSA only)

Hewlett-Packard 8 Internal Port SAS Host Bus Adapter with RAID
Product Page
Chipset: LSI 1068 SAS Controller (Custom LSI LSISAS3080X-R board variant, thanks UICompE02)
Interface: PCI-X
Number of Ports: 2x SFF-8484 (breakout cables necessary) Internal
Drives Supported: 8
OS Support: Windows XP/2k3/Vista 32/64, Linux 32/64
Average Price: ? USD
Notes:

  • Custom vaariant of LSI LSISAS3080X-R
  • Unknown if can do JBOD/act as dumb HBA without RAID
  • It's called '8 Internal Port SAS Host Bus Adapter with RAID', no HP ID#. Only Part #: 347786-B21
 
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alamone

Gawd
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Messages
583
3 cards to add to that list:

Areca ARC-1300ix-16
http://www.areca.com.tw/products/sasnoneraid.htm
4x pcie, 16 internal ports, 8 external ports mini-SAS, $420ish, solaris drivers available for ZFS

Atto ExpressSAS H60F
http://www.attotech.com/ExpressSASh60F.html
8x pcie 2.0, 16 internal ports, $900 direct, one of the few SAS2 6.0Gb HBAs available, dual processors

Adaptec 1405/1045 (internal/external)
http://www.adaptec.com/en-US/support/sas/sas/ASC-1405/
4x pcie, 4 internal or external ports, $200 direct

Based on this, it still looks like the cheapest way to go is the supermicro SATA 8 port cards and a suitable motherboard w/ PCI-X slots.
 

UICompE02

SCSI Master
Joined
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Messages
866
If I could help you fill out some of the question marks you have by the chipsets:

The Dell SAS 5i, SAS 5e, and HP SC44GE are all built around the LSI 1068e SAS controller.

The Hewlett-Packard 8 Internal Port SAS Host Bus Adapter with RAID is actually an LSI 1068 SAS controller (a custom version of the LSI LSISAS3080X-R host adapter board)
 

movax

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Messages
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Thanks for the updates guys - updated OP.

On the PCI-X note, if you don't care about power-consumption, twin Xeon (NetBurst generation) boards can be had on eBay for as little as $50, including the processors. They offer up two, if not more PCI-X slots with server grade hardware.

In fact, I've seen a ProLiant DL380 G3 bought for $80, its SCSI backplane removed, and 6 drives installed and run off a PCI-X controller (the chassis only supports 6). Loud and power hungry however.
 

Berg0

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
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Messages
1,038
What about promise supertrak ex8350's, anyone have experience? pci express 4x card, hardware SATA RAID (8-ports)
 

movax

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Messages
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This thread is about SATA HBAs, not RAID cards.
The interesting thing is, there are cards like the Supermicro USAS-L8i that is "technically" a RAID card, but it can also act as a dumb HBA, at the pricepoint of all the others. IMO, those warrant mentioning too, but most RAID cards I've played with can't do that (can just make single disk RAID 0s).
 

alamone

Gawd
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Messages
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Just to add my own experiences w/ RAID card JBOD passthrough functionality:

Highpoint supports it (disks w/ valid partitions are recognized as "Legacy" disks and passed through as JBODs) but management utilities have no easy mechanism for converting raid volumes to legacy disks - you have to connect them to a standard SATA port and format a valid partition to get them to be recognized as "Legacy."

Areca supports it as a global card setting or on a disk-specific basis. Easy.

Adaptec only supports JBOD on the 5 and 2 series cards. JBOD is not supported on the 3 series - you have to make RAID single disk simple volumes.

LSI does NOT support JBOD - you have to make single disk raids. However, as noted, some raid cards based on the LSI chipset can be loaded with the IT firmware to provide JBOD functionality.

Even if the RAID card supports JBOD passthrough, there's usually a performance penalty involved versus having it connected directly through a simple HBA, I suppose due to RAID stack overhead. So even if the RAID card is cheaper cost-wise, it may be better performance-wise to get a simple HBA. Also, you save some power consumption since the RAID IOP doesn't need to be running on a simple HBA.
 

movax

2[H]4U
Joined
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Messages
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Just to add my own experiences w/ RAID card JBOD passthrough functionality:

Highpoint supports it (disks w/ valid partitions are recognized as "Legacy" disks and passed through as JBODs) but management utilities have no easy mechanism for converting raid volumes to legacy disks - you have to connect them to a standard SATA port and format a valid partition to get them to be recognized as "Legacy."

Areca supports it as a global card setting or on a disk-specific basis. Easy.

Adaptec only supports JBOD on the 5 and 2 series cards. JBOD is not supported on the 3 series - you have to make RAID single disk simple volumes.

LSI does NOT support JBOD - you have to make single disk raids. However, as noted, some raid cards based on the LSI chipset can be loaded with the IT firmware to provide JBOD functionality.

Even if the RAID card supports JBOD passthrough, there's usually a performance penalty involved versus having it connected directly through a simple HBA, I suppose due to RAID stack overhead. So even if the RAID card is cheaper cost-wise, it may be better performance-wise to get a simple HBA. Also, you save some power consumption since the RAID IOP doesn't need to be running on a simple HBA.
Cool - I did not know that you could break it down by brands like that. I suppose if you get an awesome price on a RAID card, you could eat the penalties that come along with it when using as a JBOD passthrough. (Like stumbling onto clearance Adaptecs or something).

What about 3Wares? I forget if they implement their own silicon. Arecas functionality, I wonder if it comes from their firmware or if its an ability of the Intel IOP3xx - I'm guessing the former since my PERC (based on LSI + Intel) couldn't do simple JBODs.
 

oc3an

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JBOD is not what you want...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_RAID_levels

"For example, JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks) could combine 3 GB, 15 GB, 5.5 GB, and 12 GB drives into a logical drive at 35.5 GB, which is often more useful than the individual drives separately."

Unfortunately most RAID controllers do this :( Even more unfortunately, some companies call their HBA's JBOD devices.

-Patrick
 

pissboy

Gawd
Joined
Feb 2, 2003
Messages
514
JBOD is not what you want...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_RAID_levels

"For example, JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks) could combine 3 GB, 15 GB, 5.5 GB, and 12 GB drives into a logical drive at 35.5 GB, which is often more useful than the individual drives separately."

Unfortunately most RAID controllers do this :( Even more unfortunately, some companies call their HBA's JBOD devices.

-Patrick
When an Areca card is setup in "JBOD mode" it acts as a dumb HBA.
 

oc3an

n00b
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When an Areca card is setup in "JBOD mode" it acts as a dumb HBA.
It's stupid isn't it.

To the best of my knowledge JBOD always used to mean "concatenate". Why did somebody have to change the meaning and confuse everyone!

-Patrick
 

oc3an

n00b
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Areca do even worse than that!

From their ARC-1300_Manual.pdf

"Device drivers are also supported for the major operating systems
for compatibility with a full range of SAS peripherals including hard
disk drives (HDDs), tape drives, tape autoloaders, solid state drives
(SSDs) and removable media (DAS/JBOD)."

"The Min SAS 4x external cables are used for connection between
the SAS host adapter external connectors and connectors on the
external drive boxes or drive expanders (JBOD)."

WTF does JBOD mean in those contexts!?
 

ravton

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Jul 8, 2004
Messages
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What I think would be very useful to add is which of these (if any) support returning SMART data to WHS so that add-on's like "Disk Management" would work.

Any idea which of these support that?

[UPDATE]
I purchased both the AOC-SASLP-MV8 and AOC-SAT2-MV8 and the default drivers return the limited SMART information available via WMI so they do work with the WHS "Disk Management" add-on for temperature. Unfortunately the default drivers do not work with other SMART applications so you can't pull information like "number of bad blocks".

(thanks Cavediver!)
 
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cavediver

Limp Gawd
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What I think would be very useful to add is which of these (if any) support returning SMART data to WHS so that add-on's like "Disk Management" would work.

Any idea which of these support that?
The Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8 does.
 

Aziraphale

n00b
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Jun 29, 2007
Messages
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Some extra info on the Areca ARC-1300ix 16.

Despite what Areca claims, it does not support Solaris. It only ships with drivers for Windows, OSX and Redhat, the latter in the form of a floppy image.

It's based off the Marvell 88se6440, which only supports four channels. This feeds into an LSI SASX28, a port multiplier, extending to 16.

It's the Marvell chip Solaris does not support. Areca have now altered the product page to say the driver is coming for the 6Gbps version of the card. Upon querying support, they said they expect it to be available in Q3, and should be compatible with the 3Gbps card.

Given how long it took the card to get into retail channels, I don't know that I trust that estimate for a driver.
 

nilsga

n00b
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Messages
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Anyone tested the ARC-1300ix-16 with the new Solaris driver (I assume it's a beta version)?
 

Blue Fox

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I doubt many people have. It is only supported on the new 6gbit cards and I'm not even sure if those have hit the market yet.
 

nilsga

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I asked about a Solaris driver for the 1300ix-16 some time ago, and yesterday, I got an email that said to test a new Solaris driver. Since I don't have the card, I can't test it. But I was hoping that someone that does had tested it.
 

Metaluna

Limp Gawd
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What I think would be very useful to add is which of these (if any) support returning SMART data to WHS so that add-on's like "Disk Management" would work.

Any idea which of these support that?
It's not on the original list, but I'll add the datapoint that the Highpoint 2640x4 does NOT support SMART or temp data in WHS (as of driver v1.3, and all drives in Legacy mode).
 

Triplefun

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Dec 11, 2009
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I recently purchased a Promise EX8350 as a JBOD card in WHS - theer are a number of used cards becoming available on ebay. I'm using a Giagabyte ga-ep45-ds5 motherboard, 4 x Samsung 1TB disks and 4 x Samsung 1.5TB disks. The EX8350 uses the Windows Storport driver.

The promise card loaded fine in the BIOS and immediately saw all 8 disks.

It was only when I started WHS that I noticed something was not quite right:

1. it gave the disks starnge names (Promise 1+0 JBOD ...) with the result the WHS console had trouble doing something - can't figure out what but it doesn't like the "+" ???

2. would only read / write at 5MB/sec and very occassionally 10MB/sec.

3. however, the Lsoft Active Disk Monitor is able to scan the disks at 100MB/sec

I have since loaded the Promise WebParm RAID utility and saw I could set write cache for the respective drives. I am now getting 50MB/sec write speeds for all drives. !!!
 
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hotneutron

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Feb 10, 2010
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Adaptec 1405 1045 use Marvell 88SE6440/88SE6442 chipset. Linux's module 'mvsas' supports them once the proper PCI ID is added.
 

movax

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srengr

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I vote to add another Atto Tech card:

Atto Technology - ExpressSAS ESAS-H30F-000 (half-height, internal)
Product Page: http://www.attotech.com/products/product.php?cat=3&scat=5&sku=ESAS-H30F-000
Chipset: ?
Interface: PCIe x8
Number of Ports: 4x SFF-8087 Internal
Drives Supported: 16
OS Support: Windows 2000/XP/2k3/Vista/2008 32/64, Linux 32/64, Mac OS X
Average Price: ~$550
Notes:

SAS 3.0Gb/sec HBA.
Pairs nicely with the Norco 4220 and a motherboard with at least 4 SATA ports.
Passes limited SMART data (at least under Windows).

Has been rock solid for me under WHS with an SM X8SIL-F motherboard and 14 2TB Samsung F3 HD203WI storage drives.

--srengr
 

sub.mesa

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I'll add this Intel SASUC8I controller as alternative to SuperMicro USAS-L8i. It uses the same PCI-express x8 interface, same LSI SAS1068E chip and 2 Mini-SAS connectors providing 8x SATA/300 ports. However, this slightly more expensive Intel adapter has a normal form factor and normal bracket, unlike the SuperMicro. It also may be available in places where the SuperMicro is not.

Picture:


URL:
http://www.intel.com/products/server/raid-controllers/SASUC8I/SASUC8I-overview.htm
 
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FireWire2

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Jun 23, 2010
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With WHS how about this low cost set up:

4 port eSATA_PCIe8 @ 170.00/ea and 4x SPM3726 @ $59.00/ea

20 drives solution
 
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