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tox2ik

LSI MegaRAID 9271-8i (dell) vs non-dell equivalent[?]

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Hi forum.

I'm looking to buy the mentioned controller. One online shop (I'd rather not tell :)) offers the non-Dell version of the controller for 700 USD and the Dell version for 480 USD. The specifications look similar. Both are based on the LSISAS2208 chip and both have two SFF-8087 ports. The Dell version specifies model: 403-BBEL. The non-dell is the standard LSI model: LSI00331. Apart from the model and the price, I see no difference.

I suspect that the Dell version may have some limitations because of the reduced price, but it is difficult for me to guess what those might be since my experience with cards of this type is limited. I plan on purchasing the cachecade module (ssd cache) along side the controller. Thus, if the Dell controller does not support cachecade, ill go with the more expensive one.

Have you encountered a similar "deal" in the past? What do they usually entail? How can I figure out what the differences are short of emailing the shop and asking them (I have already done that). If the answer can be found on the manufacturers site (LSI and Dell), then any points on what to look for are welcome. If the difference lies in the return policy and warranty, I'm willing to take the chance.

I can guess that "KIT" vs "non-KIT" pertains to included cables in the raid-controller market.

Dell version:

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LSI version:

post-102836-0-39573800-1420037456_thumb.

Edited by tox2ik

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Usually you can find the OEM RAID cards less than the branded ones (Dell/HP/etc being cheaper than LSI) as stock is moved around. Dell is using newer cards now which might account for the price drop as they try to move out older inventory.

I can't say for certain if the Dell card offers cachecade, although from our hands on experience card-based caching solutions don't seem to work as well as software based ones like FlashSoft for example. Dell in fact moved away from CacheCade in their current-gen hardware and is using FlashSoft since it is much higher performing.

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The remark about moving out old inventory makes a lot of sense. Thank you for the reply, and for the FlashSoft tip. I wonder how that compares to the bcache Linux module (part of the kernel).

This controller will go into my everyday workstation at home which is a dual-boot system (windows 7 and linux). I currently have bcache over a software-raid. However, using that in windows requires a virtual machine with a Linux guest that shares the volume over Samba (network file system). The performance is OK even after applying the virtual and network layers, but you can probably guess that it's not perfect and somewhat maintenance heavy.

I'd rather pay once for a controller that both systems can use directly instead of buying a software package two times. I bet that FlashCache costs something like 270 USD and even if it performs better, my needs are not that huge. I will be perfectly content with 20-40 MB/s for 4k reads and writes and 250 MB/s for large files. I think the mentioned controller surpasses that easily. Besides, I can use the controller in a file server after some 7-10 years, while the current FlashSoft package will most likely not work with the software in 2020 (windows beyond 10 and probably Linux 4 or 5). In other words, the card seems like a better investment.

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For software cache solutions the price is coming down. The new HGST solution for instance is under a grand.

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