I am going to upgrade my home server to have more storage. I was thinking of adding a 4-port RAID controller and Intel's RES2SV240 SAS expander.
What I'm not sure about, is which controller to buy. I have read a lot of these and it seems like LSI makes some of the best ones. I have been looking at LSI's 9260-4i, 9266-4i and 9271-4i. What I have read it seems like 9266 and 9271 are basically the same, 9271 is PCIe 3.0 when the other one is 2.0. This shouldn't affect the performance, since reviews show that the controller limits the bandwidth before the PCIe bus. 9260 has only a single core controller with half a gig of cache (half of the others, DDR2 vs DDR3). I was wondering if I am going to notice any difference.
My server will most likely to have eight 3 TB WD Red drives at first running in RAID 6. This is used for mostly storing photos, movies, music and TV shows. It will also contain SVN and Git repositories, Minecraft servers, websites and MySQL databases plus other geek stuff. Maybe I will make our computers also do a backup nightly on that RAID array. So, except for the backup it is mostly read oriented.
I have a few questions.
- Is 9266 the same as 9271 except that 9271 has PCIe 3.0?
- Is 9260-4i (and the others) compatible with Intel RES2SV240 SAS expander?
- Will I notice any speed benefits with 9266 or 9271 over 9260? Is their bandwidth very different? How does the cache affect the performance (DDR2 vs DDR3, 512 MB vs 1024 MB)? And the processor?
- Is the 9260 still a good buy, or is it dated? Should I go with either 9266 or 9271? It's 50 € more expensive.
- Should these be compatible with almost any hardware? I have a Asus M4A785TD-V Evo in my server with a AMD Phenom II processor.
- Eight drives will run at their maximum speeds with all of these controllers. Based on reviews the WD Red drives have a maximum throughput around 145 MB/s. Four 6 Gb/s ports on the controller will equal 24 Gb/s. 145 MB/s is 1160 Mb/s. 24000 Mb/s divided by 1160 Mb/s is a bit over 20. Based on that I could be running up to 20 drives at their maximum speeds. How much does the controller limit this?
I will also appreciate all other thoughts and help regarding this. I have never had experience with this kind of professional hardware. I don't have a huge budget, so I'm not interested to buy 8-port model even though I'd get better throughput. Probably I won't be putting 20 drives in my server, but I'd like to know my possibilities with these setups.
I know I can't go wrong with 9271-4i, as it's the highest end card I'm willing to pay for, but I'm wondering if I could save 50 € and go with 9260-4i. Notice that I'm not going to update the controller when a new one comes out. I will be using it until it fails (which isn't anytime soon, is it? They have quite long MTBF. But what if it fails, what to do then? Can I just buy a new controller from LSI and it will continue working?) or something revolutionary comes out that multiplies the performance.
If you managed through all of that, thanks! Hope to see a lot of thoughts and comments!