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.
For testing we used the iStoragePro iT8SAE 8-bay SAS expander with eight Seagate 15K.7 drives. The iT8SAE is built very well and it received a very high score in our review, but the built in expander was only able to run at SAS 1.0 speeds. Because of this we were never able to get the most out of the LSI 9280-8E, but expanders with SAS 2.0 technology are on the horizon.
For comparison we used an Areca ARC-1680X controller that runs on a PCIe 1.0 bus and uses SAS 1.0 technology. The ARC-1680 Series of products is very popular with enthusiasts because of its high speed and low cost.
It is important to keep in mind that we are not able to test the LSI 9280-8E to its full potential. To do that we would require two SAS expanders that were capable or running SAS 2.0 speeds. When you dig in and add everything up, we are really only running the controller at a quarter of its potential when going from the drives to the controller. One SAS expander means we are only using half of the available SAS lanes and by running the four lanes at SAS 1.0 speeds, this is only half of the available bandwidth of SAS 2.0.
We are uncomfortable with testing the LSI 9280-8E under these conditions, but they are the current standard for A/V professionals and the highest level of companion hardware on the market today.