Excuse me. Were you able to run card on TYAN board? You write that you will try, had some problems with drivers, but then nothing else. Could you tell more about your problems?
My apologies, the Tyan K8E is a new board so I had to flash the BIOS and install Linux. I have an intermittent CMOS checksum error, so it looks like Tyan is going to RMA the board and replace it.
Otherwise, the card works with this board under Linux. I installed Debian and kernel 2.6.12, compiled the Promise kernel module (it's called 'shasta', perhaps a code name for the EX3850?), and plugged the card into the x16 PCI-Express slot. And voila, it just works.
I wish Promise had made some attempt to get the module in the kernel tree, but there's nothing on the kernel mailing list indicating that they have. I'm familiar with Linux but don't really learn all about initrd just so I can boot from the Promise card. If they had provided their module in the form of a patch to the stable 2.6 tree, then we could compile support directly into the kernel and would not need to use initrd at all.
What sort of benchmarks would be worthwhile? I was thinking of running bonnie++ and postmark. I plan to run RAID 10, but can try RAID0 and RAID5 as well.
One note: I was very disappointed to see that this card only supports RAID10 with four disks. It can't stripe across more than two mirrored pairs! I expected to stripe across three.