Motherboard: ASUS P6T7 WS SuperCoputer (Supplied by ASUS)
Processors: Intel 975 EE (Supplied by AVADirect)
Memory: Corsair Dominator 1600 MHz Triple Channel Kit
Graphics Card: Leadtek Quadro FX1700 (Supplied by Leadtek)
Enclosure: Lian Li V2000
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P SE2 (Supplied by Noctua)
SAS Controller: LSI MegaRAID SAS 9280-8E (Supplied by LSI)
SAS Controller: Areca ARC-1680X (Supplied by Areca Technology)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate X64
You can read more about TweakTown's Storage Product Testing Workstation and the procedures followed to test products in this article.
Our original plan was to test the iStorage Pro iT8SAE with the new LSI MegaRAID 9280-8E SATA/SAS controller, but ran into an issue where the iT8SAE would not link with the controller. Since the 9280-8E is a new controller that runs native SAS 6 Gbps, we thought it was a compatibility issue. After talking to both LSI, iStorage Pro and Areca we learned that this combination had yet to be tested and approved. Areca quickly volunteered one of their ARC-1680X controllers, a model that has been validated in the iStorage Pro and Areca's own test lab.
With the Areca controller in hand two days later, it was time to get back to work and get this system up and running in our lab. It became clear that the problem had little to do with the controller and we rushed out to get a new cable hoping that the main unit wasn't defective. The cable provided to us by iStorage Pro ended up being defective.
After we got everything up and running, we decided to test the iT8SAE with both the Areca and LSI controller cards to see what kind of performance difference we would get since both controllers will excel at different tasks and benchmarks. We also took testing one step further and tested in both RAID 0 and RAID 5 configurations.
Data storage was left up to the Seagate 15K.7, the fastest platter based hard drive on the planet at this time. Seagate graciously provided us with eight drives to fill the system with. You can read a full review of the Seagate 15K.7 in this article that was published just a few weeks ago.