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Date:      Wed, 16 May 2007 20:16:39 -0400 (EDT)
From:      John Wilson <jmw-ny@panix.com>
To:        freebsd-questions@freebsd.org
Subject:   In regard to SATA controllers.
Message-ID:  <Pine.NEB.4.64.0705161950430.12252@panix1.panix.com>

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Hello, folks.

I am currently running 6.2-stable on an Intel D965OT mainboard.  I've 4 
320gb drives, the first being the boot and system drive, the other 3 are 
running in a raid 3 setup via geom_raid3.  All is running well enough.

However, I would like to expand my capacity, but this will then saturate 
the available SATA ports on the mainboard, which means I now have to look 
for a new controller.

On the "high end" of things (at least for me and my intended application), 
I've been looking at the HighPoint 2320 PCI Express card.  True hardware 
RAID and native support via. the rr232x driver seems like a nice match. 
However, in the event of a controller failure, I'm pretty much screwed 
unless I have a spare controller on hand.  Not to mention that if this 
controller is not made any longer at the time of failure, well, I don't 
really know what my options would be at that point.  Perhaps this is the 
bane of RAID controllers in general.  Then again, my experience level in 
this sort of application is about nil.

On the flip side, since I've had good luck using the geom architecture for 
RAID 3, my other option would be a regular controller and keeping with the 
software RAID setup.  At least in this instance, if the controller goes 
south, I can just swap it out with another, and continue on without much 
hassle.  However, in this instance, I would need a few suggestions as to 
which controller would be best.

I've been looking at a few of the lower end HighPoint "software" RAID 
controllers as well, such as the HighPoint 2310.  I'm uncertain if there 
is native support for this controller.  I do understand that HighPoint 
does indeed have drivers available for FreeBSD, but if they are binary 
modules, I'd almost want to stay away from it.  I'd much prefer either 
native drivers or manufacturer drivers in source form.  However, failing 
the above cases, would it be possible to just run this card as a simple 
SATA controller and continue using geom_raid3?  This particular card uses 
a Marvell controller, so I would guess that it would be detected by 
FreeBSD without issue.  If someone could confirm this, it would be much 
appreciated.

The function of the machine is simple.  It's a home NAS for 3 other 
machines, but also does other light duties as well, so ultimate 
performance isn't really that much of an issue.  As things are now, 
utilizing geom_raid3, the performance is rather good.

Thanks for your time,
John Wilson.



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