i am setting up a high speed/high resolution scientific image acquisition system. i need data write rates of ~1 GB/sec sustained for ~1 hour. i don't have experience with raid, but my plan is to raid 0 the following:

  • LSI MegaRAID 9280-16i4e
  • 11x Western Digital Black Caviar 2 TB SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB
  • 3ware CBL-SFF8087OCF-10M SFF-8087 Serial ATA Breakout Cable
  • GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD3H LGA 1155 Intel Z77 Motherboard
  • SILVERSTONE Strider Gold Evolution SST-ST1200-G 1200W v2.3 80 PLUS GOLD
  • Rosewill RSV-L4411 4U case 12 hot swap bays

data is coming in over this pci frame grabber: http://www.silicon-software.info/en/products/item/95-me4-vd4-cl-en.html -- i basically just need to be able to stream its full bandwidth to disk.


  1. are any of these choices suboptimal?
  2. will write speed be independent of the cpu? (ie, how do i ensure using dma?) is there a way for the data path to even bypass ram?
  3. is there any bottleneck to look out for on the motherboard, ie the north/south bridges? if so, how would i detect/avoid such a problem?
  4. is this "sequential" writing? is that the same as "streaming"?
  5. i assume that with sustained writing like this, caches (on the controller, hdd's, cpu etc) are not relevant?
  6. how do i ensure the psu is adequate for all these drives? i understand i might have to worry something about amperage draws on the rails? will inadequacies here show up as performance problems/random crashes or will it just clearly work/fail?
  7. same question as (6), regarding cooling.
  8. why the huge variance in raid controller prices? what features distinguish expensive fancy cards from the built-in raid on most motherboards? does my task take advantage of the 9280's strengths?
  9. would there be an advantage to using an external drive enclosure? does connecting to them impose a bottleneck?
  10. what bios settings should i be careful with? ahci, etc?
  11. what fs is best? the camera/frame-grabber drivers are all windows, so i'm stuck in win7. i assume 64 vs 32 bit will improve bandwidth?
  12. anything else to look out for? what tuning should i expect to have to do?


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