SAS PCIe 12Gb/s HBA Final Thoughts
Enterprise technology demands more from computer hardware than the retail consumer segment, and companies are thinking outside the box to deliver performance. In the case of LSI’s 12GB/s SAS HBA card, it’s also what’s in the box that matters: either the Serial Attached SCSI enclosure, or the computer case. Good for up to 12Gb/s of bandwidth for up to eight attached SAS devices (four internal and four external), the LSI 9300-4i4e provides support for up to 1024 SATA or SAS end devices. The LSI 9300 SAS HBA also offers support for integrated RAID-0, RAID-1, and RAID-10 arrays.
LSI 9300-4i4e Conclusion
You’ll notice that this article is absent the usual benchmark performance tests that accompany our reviews. That’s because the LSI 9300-4i4e SAS PCI-Express 12Gb/s Host Bus Adapter can be configured with up to 1024 separate SATA end devices, and even if only one end-device were connected to each of the four internal and four external channels the results would only reflect performance for that particular set of components. When looked at objectively, offering 12Gb/s of bandwidth from a PCIe device is already a noteworthy accomplishment.
In terms of appearance the LSI 9300-4i4e is designed to as a pure work horse, and not a show pony. Personally, I really like the honeycomb ventilation on the header bracket. The heatsink will stand out when seen from the inside, but adapter cards are rarely the centerpiece of server systems. The enterprise environment is all business, putting function well before fashion.
Construction is a strong point for the LSI SAS HBA. The entire board is made of solid state components, enabling the durable design to endure harsh working environments while maintaining enterprise-critical stability. The heatsink helps ensure the LSI SAS3008 (Fusion MPT 2.5) controller remains cool even in during the harshest operating temperatures (32°-131° F). The vented bracket enables the HBA to exhaust some of the heated air outside the enclosure for added cooling. If something should go wrong, LSI warranties their product for three years.
With up to 12Gb/s bandwidth for as many as 1024 connected end-devices, the LSI 9300-4i4e SAS PCI-Express 12Gb/s Host Bus Adapter is the epitome of functionality. Available with an array of SFF-8643/8664 mini-SAS HD cable lengths and combinations, the LSI SAS HBA offers a myriad of configuration choices. Additionally, the low-profile design makes it possible to use either the standard full-length bracket or low-profile version for 1U and 2U server installations.
As of August 2013, the LSI 9300-4i4e SAS PCI-Express 12Gb/s Host Bus Adapter kit (SKU LSI00349 with cables) costs $395 online (Amazon | Newegg). That’s not unreasonable, especially for the environment this hardware will be used in, but the price could still cause some sticker shock for the uninitiated. If you’ve already got mini-SAS HD cables, then the more affordable LSI00348 SKU is going to be your best options.
In summary, the LSI 9300-4i4e SAS PCI-Express 12Gb/s Host Bus Adapter offers a scalable approach for connecting many SAS and SATA end-devices with maximum data bandwidth. This is critical for data server installations or high-performance enterprise network storage, which is why the solid-state construction and extended-length warranty play into the purchase price. There are few alternatives that offer anywhere near the same features and functionality, which is why the LSI PCIe SAS HBA earns the Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
+ Three-year product warranty
+ Durable solid-state design
+ Delivers eight lanes of 12Gb/s bandwidth
+ Supports up to 1024 connected end-devices
+ Supports integrated RAID-0/1/10 arrays
+ Includes internal+external mini-SAS HD cables
- High-priced expansion card
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
COMMENT QUESTION: How would you use the LSI SAS HBA?