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Pros: It works. Plugs into LSI HBA 9300-4i4e internally and provides interface with 4 SATA drives and a connector for management LEDs.
Apparently well built cable.
Cons: I do have fear for the whips going from the cable bundle to the individual drives kinking. They are rather rigid, have 'bend memory', and are unsheathed at this point. I would have preferred if the sheathing had gone from a single sheathe where bundled to multiple sheaths for the individual SATA runs rather than just sheathing the bundled area. See the images for the product to better appreciate what I am getting at. Dont let the individual runs kink or chaffe!
Other Thoughts: Good product. Needs a bit more to be great. I would buy again. Electrical tape sheathing leaves me sleeping easier....READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: LSI product, LSI reputation, LSI tech support.
Next gen speed - 12Gb/s with 8x PCIe 3.0 interface. Extreme SSD testing shows crazy fast numbers which ultimately bottleneck at the backplanes - good luck hitting this ceiling in real world applications!
Support for Server 2012.
Great expandability potential with one internal and one external mini-SAS HD connector. Support for over 1000 Sata/SAS devices! Really? Yes, though I am thinking i will be hard pressed to require more than 24!
Cons: Online Support is very lacking.... I have an oceanographic/ocean engineering background and work with interesting instrumentation with one-off firmwares and the like. Jack of all, master of none, reliant on my friend google.... Though LSI had the most important stuff available to me, it assumed one layer of knowledge greater than I have. If LSI hosted a community forum, had slightly more detailed procedures starting one step before the current procedures and had a troubleshooting flow chart or the like, I would have had my HBA running in no time flat. But they didn't, so i battled with simple issues for a couple days, then it was Monday, i received a reply from Tech Support and was all squared away.... Kudos to their tech's though - great help.
The other comment (maybe not a con yet, but worth mentioning) is that I have not been able to locate a 12Gb/s port expander thus far. I have requested info from LSI but no word back. I will be OK for a little while, but will be disappointed if I have to purchase a 6Gb/s expander to accompany my 12Gb/s HBA....
Other Thoughts: Though my frustration with the lacking online support base have subsided, they were valid frustrations. It wouldn't take much for LSI to improve upon this.
BUT, I remain very satisfied with my 92xx and 9300-4i4e HBA's. Also, I am very impressed with LSI's personal tech support. I would clearly recommend this HBA to anyone looking to buy one.
FYI, my headaches centered around a backplane from an older 2.5" hotswap chassis. Do be aware that this is bleeding edge tech for HBA's and as such there might be some compatibility issues with older hardware, especially if it is older consumer grade hardware you are hoping to pair with enterprise level LSI gear.
FYI, my 2.5" chassis which will not work with this HBA is a Thermaltake unit. I have been very happy with the chassis and do not mention this to take away from Thermaltake, but rather to help anyone who may be going down the road I just made it off of....
Pros: Fine piece of hardware. Next gen performance. LSI reputation.
Cons: Support! At least passive support.... What I mean by passive support as a con is that I have found NO documentation on the management of this HBA, no forums or wiki to support troubleshooting, absolutely no way for me to figure out why my HBA is only seeing one of the three disks attached to it. I do not know why the other two disks get strange, small partitions on them after being wiped and reinstalled.
When trying to access support through the LSI website all you get is:
"It's easy to get help from LSI Support. You can send us an email, submit an online request or call us.
Submit a Support Request
Before calling support, please have your serial number(s) handy for your HBA, SAS Switch, MegaRAID, 3ware, Nytro Application Acceleration or NAS Gateway products."
What about a troubleshooting section? What about a link to the LSI Community? What about a product sheet for the management interface? What about any detailed instructions about using the device? << great details on how to plug it into a PCIe slot, though if you need this info, than you probably shouldn't be this HBA.... once plugged in though, then what - or maybe once plugged in and not working exactly like it is supposed to, then what?
There is nothing of use provided in the documentation section of the website either. Only hardware install note. OK, plug into PCIe slot. But what happens when drives aren't recognized? And what about management software. Yes, crtl+c access the management during boot. BUT i had to use google to find that info. Not even part of the install notes.
I have started a ticket with actual LSI support though have not yet received a response. I will let you know how the active support is handled upon receiving any...
Other Thoughts: FYI, I am installing in Windows Server 2012 machine. I am doing most hard drive manipulation through Linux on a separate machine. That is where I see the strange, tiny partitions once a clean drive has been hooked up the HBA. This is only about 50% of the time though that the small partitions are created by some task, not always. I have used Linux LiveCD boots directly into the Server 2012 machine as well, though this helped - same result, see one of 3 drives installed....
It is very strange when you google phrases trying to access LSI HBA support. It is like LSI has a hit squad deployed in the search engines to assassinate any attempt at googling for support. Everything goes back to the same useless LSI pages which offer no real support.
I suspect that this means most users just plug and go using these HBA's. In my past experience that is all I have had to do. But now that I have a problem, I'm f*ct apparently.
I still believe that hardware is daggum fine. Though hardware with a management interface which yields a working hardware/firmware team results in a very expensive object which is not really heavy enough to even be a paperweight or doorstop... I am keeping my fingers crossed and trusting that LSI will come back with support that rivals the quality of their hardware. I just hope it doesn't take too long as I am in bad ways at present.
My take away from this if you have time and patience, I trust in LSI. But if you are working towards a mission critical task (and I cannot believe I am about to say this about LSI) than I would warn you to avoid the 9300 series / 12 Gb/s series of LSI products as I do not believe they have all the bugs worked out nor do I believe that they have a community developed and supported to work through this in a timely fashion.
This is the first time in a decade I have found my self with a nice piece of hardware I cannot do anything with, I have had my fair share of headaches over last decade, though I have not found this dead end I am at now. There is absolutely nothing left for me to do or try, other than hope and wait for LSI support.
I look forward to updating this review with good news and any info I have learned about overcoming the obstacles which have me dead ended,,,