I'm an enthusiast who was just burned by a mid-level HighPoint RAID controller card (RocketRaid 2680). The card works, but only with one SAS channel (fanout to 4 SATA drives), but when I attach two channels, my system freaks out. And to make matters worse, the RocketRaid BIOS and my motherboard's built-in ICH10 controller don't play well together (can't get RAID on both at the same time).
So I'm back to my built-in ICH10 and JMicron JMB363 software RAID controllers. These are fine for RAID 0, 1, 01, and 10, but they're horrible for RAID 5 or 6. I run my OS install on a RAID 0 of two WD Black drives, my applications and games on a RAID 0 of four SSDs, and my data/projects/documents on a RAID 1 of two WD Black drives. I really want my data on a RAID 5 to add performance into redundancy to afford 1 drive to fail. RAID 10 would work, but it wastes space. RAID 5/6 would be perfect for a hardware-based RAID controller (which has a dedicated processor and memory cache). I'm looking at Intel's RS2BL080 (or even the version with the external ports instead of internal).
Here's my questions for those who are familiar with Intel's high-end RAID controllers:
- Any problems with Intel RAID controllers and on-board software RAID controllers in terms of BIOS/Firmware conflicts?
- Is the memory built into these high-end Intel second-gen PCI-Express RAID controllers, or do I have to go old school with memory modules adds?
- Is there ant Intel high-end RAID controller card that has BOTH internal and external SAS ports?
- Are there any good external enclosures for 4 or 5 of the 3.5" drives that takes an SAS connection (external or internal)?
- I have 4 OCZ Vertex SSDs and 4 HDDs, and would opt for 4 or 5 more HDDs externally. Does the latest Intel RAID controllers play well with SSDs? My on-board software RAID does (both ICH10 and JMicron JMB363), but my HighPoint RocketRaid 2680 does not. That RocketRaid is being shipped back.
- And finally a hypothetical question: The high-end RAID controller market is locked into manufacturing and marketing for the server/enterprise market. When will these manufacturers (ie: LSI/3Ware, Intel, HighPoint, and others) learn that enthusiasts will pay the higher prices and eat-up this hardware if they started Q/A and tweaking for high-end enthusiast motherboards with the latest non-server chipsets and features. It seems the server market, specifically RAID controllers, is 6 months to a year behind the latest technology. At least Western Digital understands the enthusiasts and knows how to manufacturer and sell drives such as the VelociRaptor, RE series, and Black series. Heck, even Intel's SSD division does a decent job with the X series SSDs, both MFC and SLC.