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RAID Controller Advice needed BADLY

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#1
Hey guys,

I'm building a Plex server with an old rig I had in the closet.

i7(don't remember what but doesn't matter)
16GB RAM
240gb SSD for OS
4x 8TB 256MB cache red drives for media storage

So what I decided on was running these drives in RAID for the speed benefits and the redundancy. I plan on running Windows 10 Pro but I'm okay with running a different OS. I have no clue what I'm looking at when looking at RAID controllers so I need some guidance.
 
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#2
Assuming the server is serving just a small network / number of devices, I don't think you'd anything more than what comes on any mid level MoBo. Of course , w/o knowing which i7, the particular MoBo to recommend can't be made. I'm typing from a SOHO (small office / home office) that does triple duty as a CAD workstation, office data server and home media server. I set these up with:

(2) SSD for OS and Programs (RAID 0)
(2) SSHDs for Data (RAID 1)

After 3 months, I broke both arrays as it wasn't worth the T & E ... speeds have actually increased slightly. The network includes 3 deskops and 2 laptops in the office, 3 desktops / 3 laptops in the home as well as portal for XBoxes, Play Stations, TVs, tablets, phones etc. One SSHD holds all the data, the 2nd is a backup mirror synched every 24 hours.

With your 4 drives, I'd prolly do RAID 5 or 10 ... be sure to provide ventilation thru HD cage with 4 stacked drives.
 
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#3
Thanks but I still advice on what RAID card I should buy.
 
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#4
pci-e 2.0 $9265>9260
pci-e 3.0 9271-9280<9380$$$
buy the one with fastpath and cachecade built in. ie not 9260/9240 for writeback ability in raid 0. Otherwise "Raid 5/10" any lsi card, will do for homeserver. I would buy 9271 for my system since i dont need 12gb/s raid capability and my x58 lacks 3.0 pcie lanes but 9271 was first iteration of 3.0 compatible cards so it makes full use of 2.0 lanes.
 
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#5
Def helps to know the chipset you are running. I run a CCTV server with 46 IP cameras connected to it with 4x8tb WD purples in RAID 5. It's constantly writing over the old data as it's cycles. It's running the z97 chipset and I use the built in raid that comes with the board. I've never had a failed array and has been running since 2015, 24/7/365 to watch over a factory and warehouse. So, knowing the chipset, you might already have RAID built in and can use. But if you want a separate RAID card, consider LSI, make sure to have a BBU in the event of powerloss. I also suggest RAID 5 since you want to do RAID. You only have 4 HDDs. RAID 5 only requires 3 HDDs (usable 2 HDDs) while RAID 10 requires 4 HDD (usable 2 HDDS)

Are you streaming HD or 4k? I don't think you need RAID if you're doing HD. Not sure about 4k though.
 
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#6
I'm doing both HD and 4k. I decided on RAID 10 because of its speed benefits and I already have a BBU so no worries there.

The board is a Sabertooth P67 socket 1155.

I had SATA ports die on a motherboard a long time ago so I figured a RAID card would be the way to go but the built in one looks like it would be okay if I can get past my previous experience.
 

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#7
What's your budget?

You can pick up an LSI 9270/9271-8i with capacitor for a decent price, that might be a good way to go. I picked one up and have worked with many of them over the years, good controllers in the $100-range.
 
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#8
Sorry to hear you had SATA ports fail. I've only used the ones connected to the chipset themselves (Intel). Checking your board specs, there's only 2 SATA III and the others are using Marvell and JMicron controllers. The others ports are SATA II. I agree with Kursah and oinkypig, separate LSI controller. I'd get 5 HDD's minimum for RAID 10. With 4, you're only going to have 16 TB total :-\ Good luck
 

Solaris17

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#9
What's your budget?

You can pick up an LSI 9270/9271-8i with capacitor for a decent price, that might be a good way to go. I picked one up and have worked with many of them over the years, good controllers in the $100-range.
Pretty big fan of LSIs myself. I also have a sweet spot for the 8i. IDR if they need a license for RAID 10 though.
 
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#10
That board sucks should be a sabertooth z77 if i remember correctly, i used to have 1 and it crashed less than a month later, and that chip is a 2600, i took the 2600K out of that old POS and gave you my 2600

I should be coming to pick up the 660 here shortly, grandma broke her femur 2 weeks ago that led to a stroke somehow while she was in the hospital, and last night my uncle fell off of a bar stool and broke his neck. Yes seriously, broke his neck falling off a bar stool.

Been a Fubar month
 
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#11
How many devices are you planning on streaming to at once? If you are just using it as a Plex server for a couple of devices, you might want to try Ubuntu server with LVM and skip raid.
I currently have an old netbook running Plex with 4x usb 3.0 laptop HDDs. I don't stream 4k content, but it does just fine streaming to a few devices at 1080p.
 
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#12
Jellyrole's budget isnt an issue, ill end up helping pay for it
 

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#13
Pretty big fan of LSIs myself. I also have a sweet spot for the 8i. IDR if they need a license for RAID 10 though.
Not the ones I suggested. Some need it for RAID5, but 0,1,10 are usually standard on this part of the line in my experience. :)
 

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#14
Not the ones I suggested. Some need it for RAID5, but 0,1,10 are usually standard on this part of the line in my experience. :)
iv used the 9270-8i I knew it was missing one totally forgot about 5 thanks!
 
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#15
One thing to consider with RAID is overhead. The larger the drives, the higher the overhead cost. How much capacity you lose depends on the array configuration. RAID1 and RAID 10 costs you half of your total capacity. RAID5 costs you the capacity of one drive, and RAID6 costs you the capacity of two drives. That said, there is absolutely no reason to use RAID1 or 10 for media storage. Your library is basically going to be write-once read-many, and the interface speed is certainly not going to be a bottleneck for even multiple streams of the highest bitrate rips. Your lowest parity overhead on a 4 drive array would be with RAID5. You'd have 24TB of storage but I'll explain why it's not a good idea with your drives later. RAID6 would give you less storage space (16TB) but greater fault tolerance. 4 drives is the minimum for RAID6, but I would go with at least 5 or 6 to make it worthwhile.

Yes, everyone says "RAID is not a backup solution". And they're right - in mission critical enterprise situations. But for a media library, it gives a bit of security in the fact that if you lose a drive that you aren't straight up losing a sizeable chunk of your library - because once your library starts spanning terabytes, it is completely impractical to do actual 1:1 backups. But herein lies the gamble. If you have a RAID5 array and you lose a drive, the array will keep on working (albeit at a degraded speed), and once you replace the faulty drive, it will rebuild itself. Crisis averted. However if a second drive fails before the rebuild is complete, then game over. You lose the ENTIRE array worth of data. If the array is RAID6, then it can tolerate two drive failures, and a third failure before successful rebuild will crater the array. The thing with RAID6 is, you would need three drives to be failed at any given time to bork the array. So say you lose a drive. You replace it and start a rebuild. A second drive fails during the rebuild. You replace that and begin its rebuild. If the first rebuild completes, then you're back to only one failure. So if a third drive fails while the second is still rebuilding but the first has already completed, you're still okay. RAID 10 has a special quirk as far as fault tolerance which makes it very vulnerable: It can technically tolerate two failed drives, but is only tolerant of ONE stripe failure on either side of the mirror. If both mirrors of the same stripe go down at the same time, you lose the entire array. So you have 4 drives, A1, A2, B1, and B2. A and B are the stripes (0), and 1 and 2 are the mirrors (1). Say drive A1 fails. You replace it and begin rebuilding. If B1 -OR- B2 fails before A1 is back online, then the array remains intact. However if A2 fails, you lose everything.

Now I told you that to tell you this: The larger the individual drives in the array, the longer it takes to rebuild a failed drive. The rebuilding process plus accessing data from the array in a degraded state put a lot of stress on the remaining drives for the duration of the rebuild. For very large drives like your 8TBs that can take literally days depending on how full the array is and what kind of controller you use. The longer the rebuilding process is going on (especially if people are accessing the array while it is degraded), the higher the likelihood of another drive failing.

The ideal individual drive size for a RAID5 or 6 array is 2TB. They rebuild very quickly and they have the lowest $/GB overhead cost. The downside is you need more drives and a case (or other solution) to contain them. 16x 2TB drives and 4x 8TB drives will cost you roughly the same money. However a RAID6 array of 16x 2TB drives will net you 28TB of usable capacity (total capacity minus two drives) while the RAID6 array of 4x 8TB drives will only net you 16TB.

As far as the controller goes, look into used Dell server cards. They are cheap and plentiful on ebay, and use LSI RPUs. I have a PERC H700 in mine and it works great. Onboard RAID on anything less than a server-class board is going to suck. It's not real RAID as there is no dedicated RPU (RAID Processing Unit). It relies on your CPU and RAM for RAID operations which is FAR slower than a dedicated RPU. RAID5/6 performance and rebuild operations are very slow because CPU's suck at XOR operations.



12x 2TB HGST Ultrastar 7200RPM Enterprise drives. 4 of them are on an old LSI 9650 (my original RAID-5 array when I first built this 6 years ago), and then I added another 8 and the PERC H700 (RAID6) a few months ago.
 
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