Seal

Good Sata Raid 5 Controller

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Hi, ive been looking for a new raid 5 controler card for a long time but i still havent found the perfect one. Basically it needs to be 4 port and compatable with a 32 bit pci slot (i think its 32 bit) for my Asus A7N8X motherboard.

Are any of the 66Mhz pci cards backwards compatable with a 32bit pci slot? Im sure ive seen it mentioned on LSI logics website on one of their sata 4 port raid card but am not 100% sure if i interpretated it correctly.

Ive also looked at the Promise FastTrak S150 SX4 which looks like the most likely card, but again im not 100% sure if its compatable.

Thanks

Seal

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I think I can safely say that all PCI, PCI 64-bit/66 MHz and PCI-X cards will work in an ordinary 32-bit/33 MHz PCI slot. The extra connectors for 64-bit operation just hang free behind the 32-bit PCI slot, and the card will operate fine without those extra connectors being plugged into anything.

As for RAID 5 SATA, I strongly recommend an LSI or 3Ware card, as they'll do the parity calculations themselves, rather than offloading them to the CPU (as Promise/Highpoint/most motherboard-integrated RAID controllers do).

3Ware have the best reputation, but LSI are perfectly respectable, and likely to be a bit cheaper than 3Ware. The 'cheapies' like Promise don't do hardware parity calculations, and so aren't in the same league.

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Seal, if your the same Seal who's over at SPCR, then your in the UK. where 3ware stuff is only slightly more accessible than hens teeth.

in which case hamiltone (look under RAID) is the most reliable vendor I know of that sells the stuff.

(I’d hate for you to end up deciding against 3ware on the grounds that you can’t find the damn things.)

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Promises dont do hardware parity calculations? Is that basically like for example what ECC ram is compaired to Non ECC ram? I know that the promise card does have its own xor calculator. Ive always thought promise has always been one of the market leaders with adaptec... although ive not looked up raid stuff in years.

Hmmm as for the other 2, lsi and 3ware, the cards look very good, i'd prefer the 3ware one because the ports are in a much more convenient location compaired to lsi's and also its 1/2 height - ive got a very cramped area to work with as i have my pump for my watercooling around that area (the pci slots). The only thing is price: thanks for the link to hamiltone, ive never heared of them before, they list 3wares card for £242 and lsi's for £234 but on lsi's website they sell direct to europe for 259.00 EUR which is about £175 (not sure about shipping) so i'll probably go for LSI's card.

Thanks for clarifying that the pci cards will fit, ive tried to look it up and find out if it'll fit in my pci slots loads but with no luck.

And fool, yes i am the Seal from silent pc review :) !!!.... gosh i love my quiet computer, spcr rocks!

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Update: Delivery from hamililtone is an extra £8

Total price delivered +tax (i hate england... damn tax) direct from LSI - £213

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Promises dont do hardware parity calculations? Is that basically like for example what ECC ram is compaired to Non ECC ram?

no the difference should be quite large. If you need to do raid calculations in software, you might ("worst case") have to write it once, read it, and then write the parity, i.e. to write one block, you'd have to xfer 3 blocks across the bus.

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I think I can safely say that all PCI, PCI 64-bit/66 MHz and PCI-X cards will work in an ordinary 32-bit/33 MHz PCI slot. The extra connectors for 64-bit operation just hang free behind the 32-bit PCI slot, and the card will operate fine without those extra connectors being plugged into anything.

Not exactly. You must make sure that the 64-bit PCI or PCI-X card is a "Universal" design that will plug into a 32-bit slot keyed for 5V. Many new cards do not fit this category.

You can tell a universal card (all 64-bit here) by looking at the card edge. A universal looks like:

=== ========= === ======= (64-bit 3.3v and 5V)

While a 3.3V only card looks like:

=== ============= ======= (64-bit 3.3v-only)

The 3Ware cards are universal. I don't know about any others.

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I should add that you have the same issue with 66Mhz 32-bit cards. Look for a Universal card and not a 3.3V only one. 66Mhz 3.3V only cards are common as 66Mhz operation is not possible at 5V.

=== ========= === (32-bit 3.3v and 5V)

=== ============= (32-bit 3.3v-only)

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ok thanks for the info ravton but its made me a little confused...

let me see if i get this:

The LSI card here http://www.lsilogic.com/products/serial_at...rs/1504064.html

and

3ware cards here http://www.3ware.com/products/serial_ata.asp

Have the same universal (64-bit 3.3v and 5V) pci connectors.... so... im guessing theyll fit in my standard pci motherboard?

Also just out of interest, would this Promise S150 SX4 card here http://www.ebabble.net/html/s150_sx4.html fit? by the looks of it, ts using a (32-bit 3.3v and 5V) pci slot. from what you say.

Also type of pci slot is on a standard motherboard these days? can i only have pci cards that accept 32-bit AND 64-bit 3.3v and 5V slots? but NOT 32/64-bit 3.3v cards?

*gosh this is alot more complicated then i thought it would be*

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