Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The LSI 9200 Series of products brought two big improvements to the table that until this point we had not seen before in this product class. The first is SAS 2.0, the latest 6Gb/s interface that doubles the amount of available bandwidth per connection to each drive or lane connected to a SAS expander. The second technology leap comes from the way the controller interfaces with the motherboard. For the first time PCIe 2.0 technology was used and it doubles the bandwidth from the controller to the system.
For the last couple of years we have been able to saturate the PCIe 1.0 interface with eight hard drives. With the introduction of solid state and very high performance 15K drives, we were able to reach the limits of PCIe 1.0 with as few as four drives. By moving to PCIe 2.0 technology LSI was able to double the bandwidth to the host system and still keep the 8x lane connector.
The 9280-8E uses two SFF-8088 miniSAS ports on the back of the card that connect to external enclosures via a miniSAS cable. Each SFF-8088 port passes 4 lanes that can then be expanded with SAS expanders or port multipliers. The 9280-8E is able to expand to 240 drives total. Since SAS 2.0 doubles the available bandwidth per lane, it is possible to see significant performance increases when SAS 2.0 expanders are also used.
To further increase the speed of the storage system, the 9280-8E has 512 MB of 800 MHz DDR2 SDRAM built into the card.
LSI includes software to configure the controller and the amount of control given to the user is staggering. LSI also offers drivers for just about every operating system including Linux and Apple.
When it comes to availability, we found several e-tailers carrying the new 9200 Series products. The MSRP for the 9280-8E was set at 859 USD, but we were able to find it as low as 700 USD and Newegg currently has retail stock at 744.99.