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LSI Logic LSI7202XP-LC
The LSI Logic LSI7202XP-LC is a dual-channel, 2Gb/s adapter. On our test platform, the hardware detection portion of the Windows 2000 Advanced Server installation CD didn't contain the correct driver required to automatically install the LSI HBA. LSI has the instructions necessary to add the drivers during installation or to update them when the HBA is retrofit--both instructions worked perfectly.

The LSI LSI7202XP-LC HBA has an onboard BIOS routine that allows configuration at power on, which lets you change which of the two controllers boot first, and interrupt and port choices for the adapter. Changing the parameters was simple. However, although an F1 key is available for help, the screens are frustratingly empty of any information at all--they're blank. Despite this oddity, we liked the fact that the LSI HBA would interrogate/autosense what was connected to it readily from the moment we powered up its host server.

In Windows 2000, the LSI HBA appeared as two driver and board instances-as did the other HBAs tested-within Device Manager.

Of the three dual-channel HBAs tested, the LSI7202XP-LC HBA used the least amount of CPU during IOMeter testing, but was oddly the slowest performer. The CD sent with the HBA has driver files and documentation for several different operating systems, but no special management utilities or other functionality.

We obtained

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utilities from LSI, but otherwise didn't find them on their Web site or on the CD after deadline. We're not sure how to get them, but perhaps the Web site will be updated by the time you read this.

How fast is fast
Installation 20% 4.3 4 3.6 4.3
     Ease Very Good Very Good Very Good Very Good
     Documentation Very Good Very Good Good Very Good
     Management Apps Excellent Very Good Very Good Excellent
Compatibility 20% 4.3 4 3.6 4.3
     Windows 2000 Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
     Linux 2.4.17+ Very Good Very Good Good Very Good
     Has other drives Excellent Very Good Very Good Excellent
Performance 40% 4 4 5 4
      Very Good Very Good Excellent Excellent
Value 40% 4 4 5 5
      Very Good Very Good Excellent Excellent
TOTAL 4.12 4.06 4.44 4.32
PCI-X alone (MB/s) 99.4 88.3 123.1 109.4
PCX-X with PCI 26.3 25.5 45.6 28.3
Upsides Good management apps POST BIOS configuration easy Strong performer Dark horse, great value
Downsides CD lacked drives Difficult to find management utilities Maturing CD lacked drivers
We tested the PCI-X HBAs using two different speed models. We also tracked the best throughput per adapter where no I/Os were pending. To give you an idea of the performance on our test bed, remember that we're using some of the fastest, high-spindle speed drives available (Seagate Cheetah 336752FC) in a dual-controller, 2Gb/s JBOD array, expressed as the best read speed of the drive after write.

To check the effects of mixing standard PCI cards with PCI-X cards, we repeated the tests with a Compaq NetIntelligent PCI 10/100 Ethernet NIC in the bus. Results were dramatically lower. As a point of comparison, a PCI-based server (Compaq 760) connected to an external JBOD normally performs this test on a good day at 21.2MB/s using the Compaq 2.X SmartArray.

JNI FCX2-6562
JNI's FCX2-6562 installed under Windows 2000 server easily. JNI's management application had to be downloaded from their Web site, as no CD was included with the adapters. We'd prepared for this by downloading the drivers and management application prior to installation.

Like the other HBAs tested, installation under Windows 2000 required simply having the drivers ready. The JNI EZ Fibre 2.2 application installed as a service under Windows 2000 Server and uses its own copy of the Java Runtime Environment. We found graphical application quite easy to understand and use to monitor the JNI adapter.

The JNI HBA performed at the highest levels of the HBAs tested, although the HBA also consumed more CPU cycles (at peak still only 4.1%) in the test server. We found that if we performed tests while running the EZ Fibre 2.2 application that CPU could shoot as high as 10%, which we consider to be significant, but not alarming.

Because of its low price, the JNI FCX2-6562 presented the best overall value, and when combined with its speed and management app, received the highest score of the adapters that we tested.

This was first published in December 2002

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