RAID controllers are a lot of things to different people. Some like me, a power user, is able to tune the RAID block size for general use computing, balancing the small file IOPS with large sequential file transfer speeds. Enterprise users running database tasks on their controller can tune the block size to achieve high IOPS when needed. Having the ability to change RAID block sizes is the key to making a RAID controller to fit every occasion, including users looking to stream large files like movies and music.
For years I've talked about RAID tuning and even gave some examples on a small scale. The LSI 9265-8i that we are looking at today takes the ability to optimize your RAID arrays to new levels and does so with a very easy to navigate user interface. The base controller with its dual-core ROC processor and 1GB DRAM cache has become the industry standard, but LSI didn't stop there. Add on packages like LSI's FastPath and CacheCade further enhance usability based on user need.
When our 9265-8i sample first arrived we were in the process of building a super computer based on the EVGA SR-2 dual Xeon enthusiast's board. At the time LSI was having issues with a handful of enthusiast class motherboards with the SR-2 being one of them. Since that time LSI and the motherboard makers have found and corrected several if not all of the issues. There was a time though when enthusiasts were pounding their heads against the wall trying to make everything mesh as it should.
Today we'll be looking at the LSI 9265-8i MegaRAID SAS in several RAID configurations and with different block sizes. Let's dive in and see the specifications.