Adaptec RAID 2405 SAS / SATA Controller

Adaptec LogoOnce a storage solution used only by enterprise datacentre’s, RAID (or Redundant Array of Independent Disks) has slowly been gaining ground in the enthusiast market over the past few years. Starting with the introduction of Intel’s “Matrix” RAID on their ICH6R Southbridge chipset along with many motherboard manufacturers including chipsets from manufacturers such as Highpoint and Marvell, the ability to create basic RAID0/1 arrays on most mid to high-end motherboards has been available to us for some time.
However, while most of these solutions have undoubtedly got the job done, most are nothing more than a firmware based implementation of RAID, offering little more than the most basic of functions and relying on system resources and drivers in order to work correctly.
Enter Adaptec. Probably one of the oldest (if not THE oldest) manufacturers’ in the storage I/O industry. Adaptec are well known for their production of high-end server grade SCSI, IDE and more recently, SAS/SATA controller cards. Today we’ve been given the opportunity to test one of the latter in the form of their “RAID 2405 “SAS/SATA controller.  For those of us who haven’t come across the acronym SAS before, it stands for Serial Attached SCSI which is in effect the latest edition of the SCSI standard. However, whereas previous SCSI technology has relied upon its own unique parallel based interface, SAS uses connectors that are interchangeable with the widely used SATA standard and thus both SAS and SATA based hard disks can operate on the 2405 controller.

Marketed as an entry level RAID controller, the 2405 still manages to pack quite a feature set. As we can see from the specs below, Adaptec have fitted the card with an 800MHz processor, 128MB of DDR2 memory and an 8x electrical (4x physical) bus interface. This should certainly ensure that the performance of attached storage devices is not bottlenecked while also reducing the workload of the PC / Server’s main CPU significantly.
Product Description
The Series 2 family of Adaptec Unified Serialâ„¢ (SATA/SAS) RAID controllers leverages the same industry-leading dual-core hardware RAID design as our industry-leading Series 5 Performance RAID controllers.

The Adaptec RAID 2405 features 800 MHz of processing power, a 128MB of DDR2 write cache, connectivity with the latest x8 PCI-Express, and direct I/O connectivity for SATA/SAS tape devices and hard drives. Using SAS expanders, it supports up to 128 devices.

The Adaptec RAID 2405 supports a wide range of operating systems, compatibility with more than 300 third-party devices, and full integration with Adaptec Storage Managerâ„¢ for centralised management of all Adaptec RAID controllers on the network.

Intelligent Power Management – Reduce Power by up to 70%
The power required by disks is a primary ongoing storage cost. Full power is maintained to every disk whether it is actively being used or not, which also increases cooling costs. Adaptec Intelligent Power Management slashes power and cooling costs by spinning down idle disks and providing a lower power mode for active disks.

Intelligent Power Management
4 internal ports
MD2 – Low profile form factor
800MHz processor
8-Lane PCI-Express bus interface
0, 1, and 10 RAID levels
128MB DDR2 cache
Up to 128 SATA or SAS drives using SAS expanders
1 SFF-8087 (int.) connectors
Adaptec Storage Manager, Copyback Hot Spare management features
RoHS compliant
3 years warranty
Complete List of Supported Operating Systems

With native support for four hard disks and the ability to connect up to 128 hard disks using SAS expanders, the 2405 also has more than enough capacity to replace the role of any motherboard-based SATA RAID controller. It’s almost impossible to imagine 128 devices spanning off a single card, but we’re sure there are some storage hungry admins out there who would be keen to show us pics.
Another great feature of the 2405 is that it supports just about every operating system known to man. From Windows XP and Vista 32bit /64-Bit, to Linux distro’s such as Redhat and SUSE,  FreeBSD, Sun Solaris and even VMWare. For those interested in building their own “Hackintoshes” we’ve also heard reports of the card being supported under OSX….but we didn’t say that!
Now let’s move on to some pictures of the card in all its glory…