Skip to main content

LSI 9300-4i4e HBA – Next Generation 12gbps SAS 3 Performance

 The LSI 9300-4i4e is a host bus adapter (HBA) that offers next generation 12gbps SAS 3 connectivity. We have seen the higher-end server market move to higher performance interfaces for years now, and with the current generation of solid state drives, SAS 2 running at 6.0gbps was being saturated by many drives on the market. Unlike with mechanical drives, it is relatively easy to provide more performance from a SAS SSD and so SAS 2 was certainly holding the higher-end of the industry back in terms of performance. With the introduction of the LSI SAS 3008 and 3108 controllers, LSI is officially in the 12.0gbps SAS 3 game. Today we are looking at the LSI 9300-4i4e which provides both internal and external connectivity. Suffice to say, this card represents a new performance standard that we will see integrated in many servers going forward.e5-4620 v3

LSI 9300-4i4e Test Configuration

Unfortunately, SAS3 is not yet a widely deployed standard, either from the host side or from the drive side. For these tests we used the LSI 9300-4i4e in our dual Xeon E5 testbed.

  • CPUs: 2x Intel Xeon E5-2690 CPUs
  • Motherboard: Supermicro X9DRH-7TF
  • Memory: 16x Samsung 16GB 1600MHz DDR3 ECC RDIMM
  • SAS Controller: LSI 9300-4i4e
  • SSDs: 4x Samsung 840 Pro 256GB 3x SanDisk Extreme II 240GB 1x Ultrastar HGST SSD800MM 400GB
  • Operating System: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and Windows Server 2012

Overall this is a strong test platform. A thank you should be given to the anonymous lender of the Ultrastar 12gbps SAS SSD used in this test. Certainly more testing is warranted as they become more commonplace.

The LSI 9300-4i4e HBA

Looking at the LSI 9300-4i4e we see a very familiar design. The SAS3008 controller at the heart of the card is covered by a moderate sized passive cooling solution. The card’s heatsink does require chassis airflow to keep the controller cool. The LSI 9300-4i4e review sample that we received utilized a full height bracket. It is easy to see that the card is meant to serve both full-height as well as half-height form factors with the appropriate bracket.


LSI 9300-4i4e Overview

On the internal side, we find one of the newer generation SFF-8643 connectors. The SFF-8643 connector is the next-generation SAS connector that will be more commonplace on newer cards. Luckily, there are plenty of SFF-8643 to SFF-8087 cables available to convert in the meantime.


LSI 9300-4i4e Internal Connector

The external connector is a SFF-8644 connector. We highlighted this connector as being the next-generation form factor in our LSI 9202-16e article a long time ago. The simple reason that the industry is moving in this direction is that it allows for higher port density in the same connector plane. On a half-height expansion card, four of such ports can easily be used.


LSI 9300-4i4e External Connector

LSI 9300-4i4e Performance

For the tests, we were limited with only one 12gbps SAS SSD at this time. What was very telling is that the new interface clearly increases headroom substantially. We compared results with the LSI 9207-8i which is based on the SAS2308 controller, a second generation LSI SAS II 6.0gbps controller. The most telling difference came from the sequential performance numbers which were gated by the drive. Of course, we expect these numbers will go up over time as 12gbps SAS drives become more commonplace:


LSI SAS2308 v SAS3008 Sequential Performance

The graph is simple to read, the new interface clearly holds massive performance gains for read speeds. We saw almost 2x the sequential read speeds and about 50% higher write speeds on the newer controller. The LSI 9300-4i4e provides much more headroom than its predecessor on a per-drive basis. We also ran 4K IOPS using IOMeter while we had the drive and picked a Queue Depth of 32 to keep the controller and drive fed. Similarly, we saw an improvement:


LSI SAS2308 v SAS3008 4KB Random IOPS Performance

Even in a demanding test, the drive performs much better on the newer LSI 9300-4i4e controller. If you simply take 140,000 * 4KB / 1024KB/MB one gets over 500MB/s in random read performance.

Conclusion,

Overall we can see the value presented by the LSI 9300-4i4e for those looking to create high-performance storage systems. One of the most exciting features of the LSI 9300-4i4e is the promise of the company’s new LSI DataBolt technology. LSI DataBolt technology can aggregate 6gbps and 3gbps devices into a 12gbps data stream. In theory, this technology with an accompanying 12gbps SAS expander would double the back-haul bandwidth of the disk shelf to the host server from today’s 6gbps standard to 12gbps. For those with arrays of 6gbps disks that choke a 6gbps uplink, DataBolt and the LSI 12gbps controllers have the potential to double the performance of existing investments. The 9300-4i4e benefits from this as it has four internal and four external ports. That means it has 48gbps available (4 ports * 12gbps per port) bandwidth to internal drives and external storage chassis. This is certainly something we will investigate more as more drives become available. We had a limited amount of time with the 12gbps SAS SSD but the performance is impressive. What is more impressive is that it is a first-generation product. In a year or two, we will have devices that can fully take advantage of the performance controllers like the LSI 9300-4i4e offer.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

AMD's GPU technology enters the mobile phone chip market for the first time

In addition to the release of the Exynos2100 processor, Samsung also confirmed a major event at this Exynos event, that is, the custom GPU that they have worked with AMD for many years will soon appear and will be used on the next flagship machine. The current Exynos2100 processor uses ARM’s Mali-G78GPU core with a total of 14 cores, so the GPU architecture developed by Samsung will be the next Exynos processor, and the GPU will be the focus. This is probably the meaning of Exynos2100’s GPU stacking. The key reason. Dr. InyupKang, president of Samsung’s LSI business, confirmed that the next-generation mobile GPU in cooperation with AMD will be used in the next flagship product, but he did not specify which product. Samsung is not talking about the next-generation flagship but the next one, so it is very likely that a new Exynos processor will be available this year, either for the GalaxyNote21 series or the new generation of folding screen GalaxyZFold3. In 2019, AMD and Samsung reached

Apple and Intel want to join the game, what happened to the GPU market?

Intel recently announced that it will launch Xe-LP GPU at the end of this year, officially entering the independent GPU market, and will hand over to TSMC for foundry. At the 2020 WWDC held not long ago, Apple also revealed that it is possible to abandon AMD's GPU and use a self-developed solution based on the ARM architecture. It will launch a self-developed GPU next year. What happened to the GPU market? Why are the giants entering the game?    Massive data calls for high-performance GPU    Why has the demand for GPUs increased so rapidly in recent years? Because we are entering an era where everything needs to be visualized. Dai Shuyu, a partner of Aiwa (Beijing) Technology Co., Ltd., told a reporter from China Electronics News that visualization requires a large amount of graphics and image computing capabilities, and a large amount of high-performance image processing capabilities are required for both the cloud and the edge.    Aiwa (Beijing) Technology Co., Ltd. is an enterp

SSD vs. HDD: that is nice for You?

Deciding on the proper garage isn’t just about comparing ability and value. The type of garage your pc uses topics for overall performance, inclusive of electricity utilization and reliability. Stable country drives (SSDs) and difficult disk drives (HDDs) are the 2 major storage options to consider and it’s critical to realize the satisfactory use for each and how they compare facet by using aspect. What is an HDD? An HDD is a statistics garage tool that lives within the pc. It has spinning disks inside where statistics is saved magnetically. The HDD has an arm with several "heads" (transducers) that study and write statistics at the disk. It is much like how a turntable file participant works, with an LP record (tough disk) and a needle on an arm (transducers). The arm moves the heads throughout the surface of the disk to get admission to distinct information. HDDs are considered a legacy generation, that means they’ve been round longer than SSDs. In popular, they may be dec