Adaptec 4805 SAS RAID benchmark on Windows 7 review
Posted on Feb 5, 2010 by Paul White
I knew I was going to make the switch to Windows 7
, but I wanted tomake a few upgrades before I did this. These upgrades included hotswap trays for my SATA
drives, and extending my SAS RAID
array from 2drives to 4 drives. However this forced me to get a Dedicated
RAIDcontroller, as the ASUS board only supports two SAS
drives. On thisblog I will focus on the SAS RAID
upgrade using the Adaptec 4805SASRAID card and 4 x 15K RPM Fujitsu SAS Hard Drives
Previous SAS RAID Configuration
Before this upgrade I was running 2 x Fujitsu 146GB 15K SAS hard drives
setup in RAID
0 on the built in Marvell SAS
controller that comes with the ASUS Motherboard. This setup was nice, but I knew a dedicated RAID
card would give me more performance.
Things to know about SAS drives.SAS
drives are the a continuation of SCSI drives. They have the ability to both read and write at the same time, and have spindle speeds ranging from 10K to 15K. The faster spindle speeds give the advantage of quicker access times, but they also have their negatives which is heat. If you touch your SAS
drive while its running you would almost instantly get 3rd degree burns. Unlike SCSI drives with their huge cable, SAS
drives use the same connectors as SATA
drives. In applications where speed is needed, SAS
drives are the preferred choice of system builders. They are very tolerant of heat, and have lifespan in excess of 1.2 Million Hours. They are more expensive than SATA
drives, but cheaper than SSD
drives. Until SSD
drives come down in price, and they prove themselves in the server environment, SAS
technology will still be in demand.
New SAS Drives
As I stated earlier, I wanted to make the upgrade to windows 7
, and considering I was going to have to do a complete backup of my Windows XP
system, and start from scratch, I decided that it would be a good time to make a few hardware upgrades. I have been stocking up on extra Fujitsu 146 GB 15K RPM SAS
drives. Anytime I saw one on ebay or a good price I would snatch it up. As a result I had 5 extra SAS
drives at my disposal. However 2 of the drives were bad. The first had a bad controller card, and the second I accidently fried when I tried to cram it into a spot too small, grounding out the controller card. So I really only had 3 SAS
drives to work with. I needed to keep an extra one as a backup for my colocated Server, so I had 2 drives to add to the array.
One thing to note is the 4 drives were not all the same exact model. There were all Fujitsu, but one was rebranded by HP, and the other was more of a white label drive. Two of them even had different firmware versions. But they still worked. So if you are looking to get some SAS
drives without having to pay retail ( $180 per 146 GB drive ), check out ebay. I got a them for about $50 each average via ebay.
Adaptec 4805SAS RAID card
card is a PCI-E x8 RAID
card with 128 MB of build in DDR memory. It also has an optional backup battery of which I was lucky enough to have. The card cost me about $100 off ebay. It was a working pull from a system. The card is normally used in IBM servers, and it came with the molex cable, enabling the card to plug into the back pane of an IBM server. In my case I was going to direct plug the drives into the card, so I had to get cables off ebay. and found a set from a Chinese
seller for about $25 shipped. 2 weeks later the cable arrived. Only bad part was the cable was a bit longer than I needed, but in the end it worked. If you are looking to get a RAID
card get one with the built in DDR memory, it makes a huge difference. This is the reason I bought this card. It was the cheapest PCI-E raid
card with 128 MB of memory, and it had a battery backup already installed. If you plan on enabling write caching, be sure to get the backup battery. This battery keeps the DDR memory hot so if you lose power, you won't lose any data that was being written to the array. Click here to learn more about the Adaptec 4805SAS Raid Card
The Whole Package
So the setup was a Adaptec 4805SAS RAID
card driving 4 x 146 GB Fujitsu 15K SAS
drives in RAID
0. I could have run RAID
10, but I was more concerned with speed rather than having a backup. I run daily system backups in case I had a system failure.
Performance and Benchmarks
The Performance was good, but not as good as I had hoped. the Benchmark didn't really seem to utilize the 128 MB of DDR memory. On my Server I was getting 800 MB/sec transfers due to the Memory Cache. But on this card it didn't seem to work. Not sure if the card is not configured correctly, but I was hoping for at least 100 MB / sec per drive. On this setup I was running a 64K Strip size, which is obvious in the benchmark. 300 MB / sec read times were good ,but once again I was hoping for speeds that would have shown off the DDR cache.
I was to do this again knowing what i know now, I would get a newer raid
card. Even though the Adaptec 4805SAS is big card with lots of capabilities, I think it might not be suited for Windows 7
. A newer card with updated drives might do a better job. They say you get what you pay for. Next time I might go with a more powerful card such as the Adaptec 5805Z with 512 MB DDR. I also wonder if using different SAS drives could be impacting the performance. I know the two orifinal Fujitsu SAS drives would do 200 MB / sec in RAID 0 using the built in Marvell controller. But those two drives are MBA3147 models, while the used ones from ebay were MAX3147 models. I guess there another issue with Dual port vs single port Hard Drives. I am not quite sure which type I had. So to close this blog, the results are not conclusive, but hopefully the details I was able to provide may help others.