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The 5 Month Update
Pros: PCI-Express 3.0, immediate response from technical support, no problems RMA'ing the card / BBU, frequent update of firmware and code*, support for more than 2 SATA 6 disks in systems with only 2 SATA 6 ports.
Cons: Ok, this card is going to be problematic if you install it in any system that uses the Intel Rapid Storage Technology driverset. It will also be an issue if you install it in a system with the RSTe, which is the Enterprise version used in the X79 or C600 series Intel chipsets. Basically, there is an incompatibility issue, primarily dealing with desktops and workstations, which is not actively being dealt with by LSI. After 5 months of attempting to get 3 OCZ Vertex 4 - 512GB drives working with this LSI controller, I gave up. LSI technical support wants to blame OROM space support for frequent system crashes, but, their MegaRAID driver uses Sun JAVA 1.6.0_U24, which is 19 revisions out of date and is 1) a MASSIVE security issue 2) Likes to crash due to the memory leaks native to the ancient variant it is. With this model you'd use the iBBU-9 as a battery backup, and that can ONLY be used with hard disks effectively. The FASTPATH software, which is intended for significant gains when SSDs are involved doesn't really seem to make a different if you are using high capacity SSDs. Bench marking with AS-SSD, HDTune Pro, PCMark 7, Anvil, etc., do not really show stellar results.
Other Thoughts: I purchased this card, the iBBU-9, and the FAST TRACK license to eliminate issues related to stability. Specifically, with the Intel RSTe drivers and many issues related to them. LSIs inability to follow through on updates related to workstations related caused me some issues and wasted time. I did contact them and report the issues, as well as upload tons of benchmarks and full blown systems diagnostics sets, but what ended up happening is that one day my ticket was mysteriously closed and I did not hear back from the only technician that seems to know what he was talking about. (They have a list of system boards, and general settings that they can walk you through, for example... which never materialized.)
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Great controller, but there are issues.
Pros: Supports SSDs and Hard Disks that are SATA III (6GB). Allows for 4 of those drives with the included cable, but can also be attached to an external enclosure for SAS support of up to 128 drives. Has 1GB of DDR3 Cache RAM. Can use an otional battery backup module to prevent data loss during power issues.
Cons: The first thing you want to know is that this PCIe 3.0 x8 controller is likely to come with extremely outdated firmware. The kit DOES NOT come with a CD to help you install the drivers or management software. So you need to go to the LSI website and download the software and drivers. Annoyingly, their MegaRAID Manager software does not work with the firmware the card ships with. So you can waste a ton of time trying to figure out what the issue is. Updating the firmware is not simple, as there are not precise instructions on how to do it, or what to do if it doesn't work. Also, the card reports itself as a 9270-4i, not a 9271-4i...
Other Thoughts: So, this card is NOT like the LSI 3WARE cards of old. This card is absolutely an INDUSTRIAL RAID controller. Similar to the Dell and HP stuff I play with all the time in my job. Getting this card operational was painful. Flashing the firmware didn't work initally, in fact it failed spectacurarly. The only go news was that the card I desgined to recover from a failed flash attempt. I found that once the drives were removed, I was able to flash the card. Once the most recent firmware was installed, the MegaRAID Management Software for Windows suddenly worked. (This would have gone better if the LSI website for the 9271-4i drivers had a simple text document about flashing and installing the software. AKA "In order for the current MegaRAID software to work with any card, you must have firmware xxxx or above, this is the proceed for flashing the firmware..." From a performance standpoint, the 9271-4i [or 9270-4i] is about 80% the speed of the integrated Intel x79 / C600 workstation iRST/RST Enterprise controllers used in common workstations. The advantage is that while you max out the performance of your SSDs, you can 1) have up to 4 of them at SATA III speeds 2) you get VETTED firmware from LSI (as opposed to OptionROMs that are never updated or are very old from motherboard manufacturers) 3) you get updated drivers as issues are determined 4) significantly better OS support (Windows / Linux / UNIX) 5) You can have global spares, including an SSD hot spare that will copy one of your RAID 0 SSDs to the spare the moment a SMART error is detected prior to failure!
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“Supports SSDs and Hard Disks that are SATA III (6GB). Allows for 4 of those drives with the included cable, but can ...”— GBMaryland 11/28/2012
“Ok, this card is going to be problematic if you install it in any system that uses the Intel Rapid Storage Technology driverset. ...”— GUB 4/8/2013