The Promise SuperTrak EX Controller Card
Moving along to the controller card itself, being a server orientated card the height of the card is kept as low as possible in order make it a half height deign for 1U chassis'. While small in height, it's quite long. The front of the card contains the twin MiniSAS ports that support four drives per port. Under the large heatsink there is an 800MHz Intel 81348 Xscale processor that is designed to control the hardware acceleration for RAID functions. The card uses a PCI Express x8 interface to communicate with the system, so if you're planning on putting it into a desktop case you're going to need a spare x8 or x16 slot spare in order to run it.
The card supports RAID levels 0, 1, 1E, 5, 6 and 10. The card comes with built-in fault tolerance features. If you're the type of person that really wants to protect their data, the card can be equipped with a backup battery to protect the data in the cache memory.
The back of the card contains five FC-FBA memory modules that total 256MB of ECC DDR2 memory. This memory acts as the cache memory for the controller card, allowing the Xscale CPU to do all of its hardware XOR calculations without having to use any of the system memory.
Lastly we see the back of the controller card with the two MiniSAS ports. The two cables supplied with the card in the box are MiniSAS to MiniSAS cables, so if you want to use them you need to have a MiniSAS expander. We didn't have one so we used a MiniSAS to four SATA cables, allowing us to use the SATA drives we have on hand today.
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