Legit Storage Reviews
LSI MegaRAID SATA and SAS 9260-8i RAID Card Review
|Product:||LSI MegaRAID 9260-8i|
|Date:||Tue, Jan 19, 2010 - 12:00 AM|
|Written By:||Chris Morrell -|
RAID Cards and You
Solid state drives have brought forth a revolution in PC storage with their incredibly quick access times and high input/output bandwidth. With access times measured in the faction of a millisecond, nothing besides RAM disks can match these drives in I/O performance. However, the SSD revolution wasn't without fault with early SSDs suffering from terrible stuttering performance due to shoddy controllers. The JMicron JMF602 SSD controller was the primary suspect with everyone pointing their finger at the pathetic 16kb of onboard cache. A few adventurous users found that using RAID cards with onboard cache didn't eliminate, but greatly helped, to minimize the stuttering effect while improving read and write performance versus ICH10R.
The JMF602 controller and its derivatives are still on the market, however, and the SSD market is maturing at a furious pace. Newer controllers like the Sandforce and Indilinx controllers have made these early JMF602 controllers obsolete, but they haven't made the RAID cards obsolete. Some enthusiasts have built SSD arrays that far outstrip the abilities of the integrated RAID controllers built into Intel and AMD motherboards. Today I have LSI's latest RAID card, the MegaRAID 9260-8i SAS 6Gbps controller. Featuring a compact PowerPC RAID-on-Chip controller, 512mb of DDR2 cache, a PCIe 2.0 x8 slot, and SAS/SATA 6Gbps connectivity, the 9260-8i is one well equipped RAID card. Marketing documentation boasts of maximum 2875MB/s reads and 1850MB/s writes through the 800MHz PowerPC LSISAS2108 ROC, well over three times the throughput limits of the ICH10R controller built into Intel's desktop platforms. For one or two SSDs ICH10R is more than sufficient, but when you start to pass 600mb/s in reads and writes you are then bottlenecked by ICH10R and must resort to a RAID card.
Something very important about the LSI 9260-8i is the SAS/SATA 6Gbps support integrated into the controller. SAS/SATA 6Gbps devices are few and far between at the moment but in six months we'll be drowning in such devices. This makes this controller as future proof as you can get with regards to a storage controller. I lucked out for this review with Seagate stepping up and providing four of their brand new Cheetah NS.2 SAS 6Gbps 10k RPM drives. Unlike the desktop drives whirring away in your computer, these Cheetahs are developed to provide the maximum amount of reliability in hot environments while detecting errors before they can cause a significant disk failure. I was quite lucky in getting the chance to utilize these drives as they are meant for enterprise solutions in big box servers and network-addressed-storage. If you want some more details on the NS.2 Cheetahs the datasheet can be found here. If you'd like a simple read on SAS technology I highly recommend the Wikipedia SAS article as it is a concise primer on the subject.
Next Page - LSI MegaRAID SAS 9260-8i
Page 1 - RAID Cards and You
Page 2 - LSI MegaRAID SAS 9260-8i
Page 3 - Test Setup
Page 4 - RAID0 4kb Results
Page 5 - RAID0 64kb Results
Page 6 - RAID0 1024kb Results
Page 7 - RAID5 4kb Results
Page 8 - RAID5 64kb Results
Page 9 - RAID5 1024kb Results
Page 10 - Conclusion