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Old 06-19-2008, 07:49 AM   #1
Registered: Dec 2004
Posts: 50

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SATA RAID card for home server


I have an old P3 dual 1 Ghz workstation that I'd like to make into a server (file, login, print). The motherboard only has IDE support so I'm looking at a SATA RAID controller card (RAID 0 or 1) to work with Ubuntu or OpenSuse.

Any suggestions for which card would work?


Old 06-19-2008, 12:39 PM   #2
Registered: Sep 2007
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Distribution: CentOS, SLES 10+, RHEL 3+, Debian Sarge
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Personally I use LSI Megaraid for that purpose. They come in all flavors (PCI, PCI-X, PCI-E), and range between 150 - 400.

Or you can always go Adaptec.
Old 06-29-2008, 11:34 PM   #3
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Location: Pennsylvania
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I went the cheap route, and used Software RAID. The card was about $25

Compaq Proliant DL 380 (G1), (4) x 500Gb SATA drives. RAID5 = ~1.34TB
Dual 733mhz P3, 1GB RAM

[root@redhat ~]# lspci
03:06.0 RAID bus controller: Silicon Image, Inc. SiI 3114 [SATALink/SATARaid] Serial ATA Controller (rev 02)

[root@redhat ~]# hdparm -t /dev/sdc
Timing buffered disk reads: 162 MB in 3.03 seconds = 53.52 MB/sec
[root@redhat ~]# hdparm -T /dev/sdc
Timing cached reads: 836 MB in 2.00 seconds = 417.49 MB/sec

[root@redhat ~]# hdparm -t /dev/md0
Timing buffered disk reads: 212 MB in 3.00 seconds = 70.58 MB/sec
[root@redhat ~]# hdparm -T /dev/md0
Timing cached reads: 816 MB in 2.02 seconds = 404.92 MB/sec
Old 07-27-2008, 09:30 PM   #4
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I second the software raid route - once you use a particular vendor's hardware raid solution, you may be locked into it, and the features (or lack of features) which that solution provides.

I've used a pair of non-RAID Promise SATA300 TX4 cards (PCI) to run 8 Seagate SATA II drives in a software RAID5 array, and they have worked very well. I don't know how their performance compares against other RAID5 setups, and it will vary widely based on a number of factors, but, just to have _something_ for comparison:

% hdparm -t /dev/md0
Timing buffered disk reads: 346 MB in 3.01 seconds = 114.90 MB/sec

% hdparm -T /dev/md0
Timing cached reads: 578 MB in 2.00 seconds = 288.75 MB/sec

I pretty much used all the default settings from the guides for setting up software raid (via the mdadm tool), and for creating the filesystem on md0. I don't know how much faster I might be able to make it go, but I don't really care, because it's fast enough for what I'm using it for - storing and playing my DVD collection, which only needs at most, 10Mbit/sec anyway.

I've only had one incident: one day, all of the drives attached to one of the cards failed. I don't know if one drive had a fault, and took the whole card with it, or whether the problem originated in the card itself. But it failed in a way that no data was lost - the kernel detected the problem and immediately halted the array. I was able to reboot, run the command to reassemble all the drives back together (mdadm --assemble --update=resync /dev/sda /dev/sdb ..., I think), and it all came back up fine.

Last edited by CCThomas; 07-27-2008 at 09:35 PM.


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