The topic of RAID has come up again here at TechwareLabs with the recent products sent to us by Adaptec. The first card we will be reviewing is the Adaptec-ASR-6805E card in this review and the Adpatec ASR 6805TQ card which we will post a little later. Along with these two cards we have gotten our hands on four hard drives from Western Digital to have a set of matched hard drives from one manufacturer. In this review we will be comparing the Adaptec Adaptec-ASR-6805E card against the following setups: 1 drive connected directly to your motherboard, 2 drives in a stripe (RAID 0) to the motherboard and again connected to the Adaptec-ASR-6805E RAID card, finally 4 drives in a stripe. We will cover cost, and configuration, to show what kind of performance you can expect in each configuration and why would you want to purchase a RAID card over using the onboard RAID that comes with most motherboards today. So let’s dive right in and give you look at the Adaptec Adaptec-ASR-6805E card first.
We are using the 6805E controller in a VMWare development setup and it is a reasonably good controller. It would benefit from a bigger cache and the ability to use an SSD for further caching. These are features of other controllers with a considerably bigger price tag though. As it is, the controller does very well on not too random work loads but on purely random IO (like some SQL tasks), it only delivers about 13 mb/s on an otherwise lightly loaded RAID 10 setup. That is not too good. If you are not using VMWare but maybe some Linux setup, you can add your own SSD caching via flashcache (https://github.com/facebook/flashcache/). With a setup like that, you get both redundancy and great performance. On the whole, the controller is certainly preferable to on board SW RAID solutions and such but it could be a lot better too.