So after a long search I finally found what I've been looking for,
a truly host OS independent hardware RAID solution.
At about $50 per card;
What I found was a JMB393 chip.
Exact specifications (such as clock and cache) are impossible to find. But otherwise, reviews and testing speaks loudly enough.
YES, this controller DOES max out a 3Gbps port
Since this is limited to that single 3Gbps host port, you're not going to be using this for multi-user servers with fiber network connections, but for home, with your 1Gbps NIC (Hell, lets be generous and team them, 2Gbps NIC) limit, you'll easily max it out. The rebuild rate is around 250GB\Hour, which isnt bad, and its completely host independent, no drivers.
Yes it supports drives larger than 2TB.
It's used in the "Patriot Convoy 425XL" so I know its been used by big brands, I just want to implement it my own way.
Several versions of hardware have used this chip.
Some have Rotary dials to set RAID level, some have DIP switches, and all have a jumper to set it to 'Manual' and let you configure it more specifically via software.
Rather than steal ALL their images, I'll just link this page.
It shows the software and a brief rundown of how it works.
Status LED's for each HDD to show which one is degraded in the array, and software alerts for admins.
I'm pretty excited.
A video of it in use:
Or, a more clear version, using a JMB394, which is identical, but has LCM built in too, to allow for a screen and buttons instead of DIP's or software.
Looking around at OTHER cards;
About the ONLY thing that I can find that challenges the above card, are some $50 MARVELL cards that rely on the much faster PCI-E 4x connection.
But problem there, is that I still only have, at best, a 2Gbps network connection.
So for a theoretical boost in speed, I lose host independence (requires drivers), and, for example, no BSD drivers are available, so no FreeNAS if I ever wanted to go that way.
I also lose a PCI-E port of course.
IMO, The only time this solution makes sense is if your server itself is a number cruncher and you saturate more than 3gbps on your storage often.
But for me, my PC is the 'powerhouse' and the server is a: small web server, RAID storage, Media PC (hdmi to TV), and 2-disc rip-station.
How can I ask for more?
Opinions people? I'm about to order 2.....
What do we think?
Edited by Master_Scythe, 24 September 2014 - 02:58 PM.