I have a
Adaptec 2940UW SCSI controller I bought it to replace the
classic Adaptec 2940, which came with my Gateway computer. It has
worked flawlessly for several years. A few days after I installed
my new Plextor it suddenly
stopped working. After several hours of thrashing around, trying
3 different SCSI cables, and several single devices to terminate
the narrow SCSI chain, I came to the realization that the narrow
SCSI chain part of the controller, but not the wide SCSI chain
part of the controller was fried. I don't have any idea how it
happened. After a few calls to Adaptec tech support, they
verified that it was a retail controller, with a 5 year warranty,
and they agreed to cross ship me a new controller. Needless to
say, the new controller worked flawlessly. I was totally shocked
that the controller could fry, and it has been my first hardware
failure. But the Adaptec 5 year warranty is really great, and
shows they are serious about standing behind their product.
I have a Adaptec 39160 SCSI controller I bought it to replace the my Adaptec 2940UW. I guess I was spoiled by my ASUS CUR-DLS motherboard which had two channel ultra-160 scsi onboard. When I upgraded to my ASUS PC-DL motherboard, I still wanted scsi, and the 39160 seemed like the best solution. It supports 64 bit PCI (though sadly the ASUS PC-DL does not) as well as 32 bit PCI. It also supports 66mhz PCI bus speed if your PCI bus does also. It also has two external SCSI high density connectors. I decided not to get the 38320 card, as I don't have any ultra-320 hard drives, I wanted a 50 pin SCSI connector, and it costs quite a bit more.
It works flawlessly. Works with Windows XP and Linux. Very
boring, which is good.
This is an 8 port SAS controller card. It has 2 high density internal SAS connectors, each of which connect to 4 SAS (or SATA) hard drives. It is a low profile card, and can use either a standard or low profile bracket. It works pretty well. One documented issue is it only supports hard drives up to 2tb in size. If you use a bigger hard drive, reads or writes above 2tb will likely be corrupted. Although this is a documented limitation, I verified this out the hard way. The speed of each hard drive is rated at 300 mbytes/second. It turns out that this card isn't that fast. With a reasonably fast SSD (ocz vertex 3), I measured write speeds of up to 136mb/sec and read speeds of up to 143mb/sec, which is quita a bit slower than 300 mbytes/sec. Plenty fast for spinning hard drives, but still a bit disappointing...
I have several Promise IDE controllers. They enable older
computers to support hard drives over 132 gigabytes. They also
enable computers with defectively designed IDE controllers (like
the Serverworks LE in my ASUS
CUR-DLS motherboard to use IDE drives. Based on my
experience, they will not allow a computer to boot from cdrom or
dvd drives plugged into them. I also had a problem flashing an
update bios on one card, rendering it partially useless. Promise
says they do not support more than one Promise card in a computer. I
have had no problem running Linux or Windows with two tx-100 cards,
though when three tx-100 cards are plugged into one computer, they
are not all recognized. I had a problem with Microsoft Windows XP
not recognizing a Plextor px-740 dvd burner (a older sony burner had
For my new fileserver, I decided to switch from PATA to SATA. There are a number of reasons to do so. There is no master/slave thing, so a failing master disk can't affect the functionality of a slave drive. The cables are more managable, being thinner and longer. SATA II allows for hot swap. Most new drives are SATA. The only downside is you need lots of SATA connectors for lots of drives. Fortunately, there are a few products, including the Supermicro card I purchased that solves all the problems. It has 8 SATA II ports. It has a PCI-X interface (which is 64 bits and up to 133mhz) which provides plenty of bandwidth. It uses the Marvell 88SX6080 8 port sata controller. According to the manufacturer, it is also supported under linux. Now the manufacturers support is a few binary drives for very old linux distributions. I did have some issues with recent linux kernels, however as far as I can tell, the latest kernels 2.6.23 and above, seem to work fine.
The card is low profile, which is handy for rack mount systems. It comes with 2 metal brackets, one normal height, and one half height. It also comes with 8 sata cables, and a cdrom with drivers for windows and some linux distributions. It has a bunch of leds on the card showing hard drive status and it has a connector for external status leds. It is much less expensive than a hardware raid sata card. Highly recommended.
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