Suggestions for ATA controller for short PCI slot?
October 13, 2004 1:26 PM   Subscribe

I need an ATA controller that fits in a short PCI slot, can control two 200GB drives (The Western Digital WD2000) and works extremely well under Linux. Any suggestions?
posted by djacobs to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
How short? I've found basic Promise IDE controllers work well as tertiary and quaternary channels, and the cards aren't particularly long.
posted by majick at 3:20 PM on October 13, 2004

short as in low-profile or short as in 32-bit? if it's low-profile, you may have to look into one of those right-angle pci adapter dealies.

I currently use three of these (pardon newegg linkage), in linux (straight ata under siimage driver, the hell with the card's pretense at raid) -- two of them support a 600gb software raid5 over 4 channels (md driver, again, the hell with the card's pretense at raid) and I can't say I've had any problems.

if I was to do it differently, the only thing I would change is to use sata instead of parallel. well that, and probably I would try to afford a nice lsi or 3ware (both of which have great open source drivers in linux) card and do the raid in hardware. but software raid works well enough that some siimage sata cards would be ok.

ok, there is one other thing I would do differently -- I would not use wd drives, they used to be superb but the failure rate is miserable on these 200gb ones, two of them were actually doa and I have heard lots of bad stories about them in general (after I bought them, naturally). my current favorite is samsung spinpoint, they are quiet, stable and fscking fast.
posted by dorian at 4:26 PM on October 13, 2004

Hi Dorian,

I should have been clearer, I needed a serial ATA controller. It's been too long since I thought about PC hardware. :)

After reading the Serial ATA guide at Tom's Hardware, we decided on the HighPoint 1540.

HighPoint also supports Linux explicitly, which was important.
posted by djacobs at 10:28 AM on October 14, 2004

to be more precise, highpoint "supports" linux ... they have gotten much better about it over the last few years (e.g. releasing the sources for their drivers) but I would still recommend using the highpoint drivers that come with the kernel rather than the ones highpoint distribute themselves.

(after the experiences I've had with highpoint and linux, I'll never buy any of their products again. either lsi or 3ware if I had the money, or silicon image generic oem to do it on the cheap.

posted by dorian at 10:43 AM on October 14, 2004

djacobs, I use only si3112a cards for my linux box with (now) good results. It was the first SATA card to get a linux driver and there were serious problems with the first few drivers that were patched into the kernel.

With the latest kernels it's been working PERFECTLY in our server for 2 software RAIDed 10k RPM drives without any speed or data integrity issues.

I should mention that the si3112a controller firmware seems to get REALLY confused if you have more than 4 SATA ports in your system. In my case, that's 2 on the motherboard and 2 more PCI cards with 2 connectors each. Bad voodoo.
posted by shepd at 11:53 AM on October 14, 2004

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