PCI Express 3.0 slots are all over new motherboards these days. The latest and greatest graphics cards adhere to the third-gen spec, and now LSI has a family of storage products capable of taking advantage of the interface’s additional bandwidth. The company has announced a slew of SATA/SAS adapters with PCIe 3.0 connectivity: three standard HBAs and seven MegaRAID cards. All the cards appear to use variants of the LSISAS2308 (PDF), an eight-port SATA/SAS controller with a native PCI Express x8 interface.
The new controller is backward-compatible with PCIe 2.0 slots, of course, but the gen-three standard offers double the usable bandwidth per lane. With x8 links, the LSI cards have 8GB/s of bidirectional bandwidth on tap. Finding eight storage devices capable of saturating that pipe is going to be difficult, even with SSDs in RAID. It’s nice to have the headroom, though.
In addition to its PCIe and SATA/SAS interfaces, the controller boasts dual PowerPC 440 chips running at 800MHz. There’s 4MB of on-die RAM plus a gig of cache memory that lives outside the silicon. The chip supports RAID 0, 1, 1E, and 10, although arrays can be created only on the MegaRAID cards.
You’ll have to provide your own drives for these cards, which start at $305 and scale up to $1,525. Given LSI’s ownership of SandForce, it’s probably only a matter of time before the same controller ends up on a PCIe 3.0 solid-state drive, as well.