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http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816115094

HighPoint RocketRAID 2640X4 SGL PCI-Express x4 SATA / SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) Controller Card

Between the price tag and the board layout, this thing just SCREAMS FakeRAID. However, everywhere I look I see nothing but praise...

How can I be sure?

edit: The OS is Linux (CentOS), and the I wanted this for a RAID 10 deployment.

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Looking at the feature list, I'd hazard a guess that it's "real" RAID as FakeRAID don't normally have online expansion and migration, but yes, that does seem cheap, especially for something with RAID5. –  Mark Henderson Aug 21 '11 at 5:33
4  
Stay away from highpoint, their support sucks and their drivers even more. –  Lucas Kauffman Aug 21 '11 at 7:36
    
Lucas is right, steer clear of Highpoint unless you want a crap product with useless support. –  goo Aug 21 '11 at 20:18

4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Close examination of the images of the card on Newegg shows that the primary chip onboard is a Marvell 88SE6445. On the Marvell site, this is listed as only an "I/O Controller", as opposed to a RAID controller ( http://www.marvell.com/selector_guide/products.jsp#type7-series13 ). However, Highpoint's BIOS may handle the RAID functions, and it is well regarded in the few feedback entries on Newegg. For a non-critical/non-production environment, it sounds like a very decent card.

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Well, I was planning to use it for a production file/backup server... Who needs stable backups anyway? –  Soviero Aug 21 '11 at 6:22
    
That Marvell chip can support BIOS booting from RAID volumes though,m which is often something of a give-away that at least a good chunk of the chip is handling the actual RAID management - does that sound right? –  Chopper3 Aug 21 '11 at 12:01
    
@Kevin: Then use software RAID: compatible with any mainboard and controller, can span controllers... –  Hubert Kario Aug 21 '11 at 13:42
    
@Hubert I want to setup a RAID 10. That's not usually a good idea with software RAID as far as I know. –  Soviero Aug 21 '11 at 17:44
    
@Kevin: Depends on operating system, with Linux, RAID 10 can use odd number of drives and use layout where 2nd copies are written past the first half of the drive (-pf2 layout) -- effectively matching the read performance of RAID 10 array to RAID 0. –  Hubert Kario Aug 21 '11 at 18:03

All cards of the Highpoint 2000er series are only providing a Software RAID as far as I know.

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Even if its a real Hardware RAID, the fact that it doesn't have a heatsink or battery backed cache would suggest that its performance will be appealing, at best.

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What does a heatsink have to do with it? –  anastrophe Aug 21 '11 at 17:37
    
When a chip has to move 300 or 400 MiB/s (very conservative for 4 port SAS controller) of data and calculate XORs for RAID5 then it would need a really efficient design to do it without additional cooling. At least Areca, 3ware and LSI can't do that... –  Hubert Kario Aug 21 '11 at 17:59
    
Yep, you're right. Just looked up the LSI 9750-8i's in my db servers - big old heatsink. I stand corrected so to speak. –  anastrophe Aug 21 '11 at 18:28

You did not tell which operating system is this.

On linux you should use software raid instead. I am not familiar with this card, but had some baaaad experience with the HighPoint "brand". (e.g. filesystem corruption!)

It was software raid back then.

Avoid if you can/care.

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Or use an enterprise RAID controller rather than a consumer-grade device. Hardware RAID nearly always trumps software RAID for performance. –  anastrophe Aug 21 '11 at 17:38
    
@anastrophe: not when fast sequential read or write is required. Most RAID controllers can't sustain over 500MiB/s for RAID5 or RAID6 volumes. They are only good for one thing: battery backed write cache. Offloading work from processor isn't really a problem, a desktop 3GHz Core 2 Duo can process data for RAID6 at 8GB/s and RAID5 at 11GB/s. –  Hubert Kario Aug 21 '11 at 18:09
    
RAID 5 is nearly always a loss for performance. Disks are cheap - often the cheapest component of a server. If you want performance and data integrity, you run RAID 10. Period. As for having the OS do the RAID processing, regardless of the integrity of the OS, I prefer to have the processing done by dedicated hardware, both unencumbered by other processing needs of the server, and unaffected by crashes (which implies BBU, but again - if you want speed and integrity, you always use BBU)...But, these are merely my opinions, of course. –  anastrophe Aug 21 '11 at 18:32
    
@anastrophe: There is a paper published by CERN that shows that hardware RAID controllers don't guarantee data integrity if we are talking about petabytes of data. I personally prefer not to worry for spare controllers when they fail. In a pinch, with Linux MD setup I can use SATA-USB bridges to recover data, or just put the disks to different computer to have a working system after a mainboard or controller failure in minutes. –  Hubert Kario Aug 21 '11 at 18:40
    
Sure - under extraordinary configurations (petabytes) there are other issues. And there are benefits and disadvantages to both. There are no hard and fast rules however in this regard. Enterprise RAID controllers rarely fail, and if they do, you can recover by replacing with an identical controller, often. We balance facility, performance, and reliability no matter what we do. What works best for one situation may not work best in another. I love the performance and reliability of my DB servers. Someone else might hate the design. To each his own. :) –  anastrophe Aug 21 '11 at 18:46

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