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           How to pick a  RAID card, not using the OEM versions (HP/DELL)?       
           See heat issues first. (the top 2 issues besides heat are OS choices, and 6G speeds & up)
           Many cards do not run Windows 10 at all, if not flashed. (most OEM server cards do not not support W10)
           LSI cards do most OS.
           HBA = Host Bus Adapter, (or RAID interface or JBOD card or interface)(SAS + SATA)

There are only 2 kinds of RAID , Software only, and Hardware and is a  RAID card. I will not cover SW RAID of any kind and is a too fast evolving topic.
I will show some choices of SW RAID, Not all.
Software RAID is now offered in MS W10 " Storage Spaces".  (super easy to set up.)

HW RAID (R.A.I.D)  
The topic is complex as are the cards and firmware and apps for it feature rich.

There are 2 kinds of users only. (base)
  • Real servers.  (the  answer here is simple buy a card you can afford) Like Dell PERC H700 up.  (Go to say DELL.com and find the best card for your server)
  • and PCs that overheat and fail  as the card melts lacking a RAID card fan or PC cases with lots of fans in the case, 1 or 2. (front and or rear fans)
PC fake servers (or popular NAS DIY  builders)   users fall into 2 more classes.
  • Using real RAID cards,  in "IR" RAID real modes. The best cards  here are NOT OEM cards,  (words HP or Dell not there on card) but use  only LSI cards.(buy LSI) LSI-9280 up?
  • or using JBOD   and using only software Raid.
I like real Dell servers, but I do test RAID cards for others and use them off line for  testing SAS drives.
The best priced true RAID card IMO, is 6G and with a working Cache Vault (CV coded) 
LSI MegaRaid 9266CV-8i  (shunning short lived battery versions) or 9270/71
JBOD, "just a bunch of disks" a.k.a. "a Pass_through card" (this means Windows sees 4, 8 or 16 separate drives) or called "IT" cards not "IR" cards RAID.
The best cards are easy to  find with this super magical list ONE of the best seen below here.
No guessing. ( Read this page on LSI-9211 first)
If you do not like flashing |RAID firmware, (no guilt) buy an
UNRAID  CARD already JBOD'ized for you.)
Buying decisions are complex, but my list is short.
  • Speed,  6G per port  or mighty 12G if rich, and never this 3G junk,not SFF-8484 cards
  • Can and must do RAID 6 or 60 . (I run 8 drives in R6 mode) {if using real HW raid}
  • The card has enough ports; that means the LSI card ends in 8i or 16i ( 8 drives or 16 drives)
  • Uses only SFF 8087 cables 6G. (or up if 12G)
  • Must have  (if real HW RAID) have a CV  or battery backed up (SUPER CAPS are best) Cache Ram Vault to avoid WRITE HOLES , errors.
  • Many folks want to  run only Windows 10 but most OEM cards do not do that, but we then cross flash it and now W10 works. 
  • The card must not have the silly 2TB drive limit , so flash the cards Firmware and is cured. (most makers have this upgrade for free, LSI does...)
  • The PC motherboard needs a spare PCI-express slot  X4 , X8 or X16 slot . My  LSI9211 is X8 lane card so needs that slot or X16.
  • The card Flashes easy (if you want it) to flash to JOBO firmware? or cross flashing see best ever link below (large)
  • When buying a Raid cards buy 2, so you have a spare, but if card is $500 each than, ouch,  then use the LSI9211.?
  • Make sure the card has a low or high profile J-bracket that fits your PC, (full or 1/2 height or has both brackets)
Consider real RAID cards 12G will run circles around JBOD +, Software RAID.
Consider too that when 1 or 2 drives fail in RAID 6, my HW RAID card , I only need to hot swap in a new drive, with zero down time (power never turned off nor cold booted)
Consider the CV Cache vault option makes the disk bad swap above rebuild times up-to 10 times faster. ( experience it first the learn the truth)

My top goal is not just speed, but not overheating any HDD nor the controller,  35C max all. ( we use lots of case fans, or your hardware fails fast or soon, I promise!)
I never use RAID chip opted,  Motherboards. like    Asrock Extream-11 x79 or this Mobo
Never use a rare card,  pick one that is easy to source, or buy 2,  (if using 8 x HDD drives , you need at least JBOD card  dash -8i (2 jacks each for 4 drives x2 =8)

The most cheap but fast card is here. (fast enough  for most folks)
LSI-9211 has 4 other names, seen here.
This card  must be flashed to JBOD (HBA) "IT" firmware to get JBOD mode,  shows up as 4 or 8 disks.
I will show lots of cards below. (all types and features key )

This is the only page I ever need to pick a card for low cost JBOD usage , see the cross flash rules here, no better web site exits.
I this page also shows cards that can never do "IT" mode. JBOD.
The best card makers offer JBOD.ROM and RAID.ROM ("IT and IR" mode ROM)"firmware ROM":

One of the best  web site  lists ever of RAID cards

This is all you need to know basically above, below are features and other reasons for choosing RAID.



CROSS FLASHING the FIRMWARE: (best for W10 usage or NAS support)

Why? well you have card now or find one cheap somewhere,  and can not run windows 10, only WS 2012? (WS = windows servicer OS)
Why are some cards cheap and others way more expensive, well  you pay for speed 6G up and pay for flashback cache "BBU" options cards too. (or the set)
Like SAS3108 based controllers 12G cards. (9360)
If you can not afford the BBU cache vault outrigger  card, then put the PC on  a UPS. (or go Software RAID with UPS)

Know that some  cards can be cross flashed to  save money, ( eg. flashing LSI to some IBM card with same chips on card, is done all the time)
Rule1: Use a PC that HAS no UEFI set or has CSM boot modes like my Asus Z270prime has.  (CSM boots to any media and for sure DOS of any flavor, new PCs do not run DOS for UEFI blockings.
The H310 is  re-branded LSI-2008 card, but with weak queue depth of 25 , LSI firmware is 600 ;
The famous and common and loved,  LSI-9211 card  (badged names are many) Vendor 1000, DEVice= 0072  1000 = LSI ! (w10 seen for codes dev 16,58,80 to 87 and 6e (hex)
The PCI list is here pure text but deep facts on each like no others
MS PnP  I'D: code DEV-0072 shows up as many cards. H200,SMC-2008, and more look now.

(Loved by the FREENAS, folks) and by folks wanting W10 drivers that work. (or folks wanting  , Linux, VMware, Solaris,  or Free BSD and others) "I run WS2012R2"
  1. Shows up at MS (PnP servers) as AVAGO  Falcon {pg2}.  or look at all Ven_1000 (LSI cards made)
  2. This card is called IBM M1015 too,but   IBM has no windows 7 to 10 drivers.  (I did cross flash 9211 , easy and runs great as W10 LSI card and driver) IBM vendor code is 1014 -DEV_03B1  
  3. SMC2008 Super Micro (MS PnP w10 are here.)
  4. SAS-9240 can be crossflashed.
  5. SAS2-2008 new Falcon card, see all drivers w10 in the series MS PnP here.
  6. H200 By Dell ,MS W10 drivers here. and only $30 used now, and the 9211 "IT" flash to HBA mode is  here."crossflashing it is called."
  7. Intel SSD 910 and RMS2LL040 (or ~080) link herea are MS w10 PnP drives all.
  8. Dell PERC H310 (6G  PCI-e, only) (the W7 driver here will work) This card found used, as vast web servers are retired world wide. OEM with W7 support! (works in w10 too)
If building FREENAS, they have there own drivers and OS.
Many cards made off 'IT" direct flashed.
LSI-9200 to  9240, 9300 to 9311 cards  See best web site ever link above for full listings.



Cross flashing , to HBA?or JBOD mode is more clear as is "Pass-Through" mode.
See Michael Kuron blog about H200 to LSI-9211 crossflashing.

LSI cards have 3 makers names, LSI, Broadcom and Avago. (all drivers are at broadcom.com)

 
This 1 link below shows how to look up every RAID card made on earth and see if W10 has a driver, (LSI yes, HP and DELL not at all)  << rare execpitons but no need to guess, look it up.
To do this use properties in  Device manager, +  HDD controllers (your raid card) and click properties, + details. + hardware ID ! bingo the true VEN_# and DEV_#
See Microsoft's PnP servers for 9211 Hardware ID's code, 1000 and 72 (VEN/DEV) {see page 10 of 19 for Windows 7 support) for Dell H200 too.
LSI example.

Cables for SAS (SFF only are used, now)

The SAS direct drive cable is best seen here, with full disclosure of how it works unlike Fleabay crap sold. (china junk)



This drive   connector below, is called SAS and is fast and mine are 2.5" 10k RPM. ( I buy 300GB drives used in  dozen packs all with low hours)
There are 4 extra pins in the center for SAS, that SATA does not have.
It is a hot swap drive as is the controller. (as is my back plane in Dell R710) 8drives RAID6 array.
This port and cable supports both SAS and SATA,  SATA is part of SAS spec, so does BOTH , unlike most motherboards on earth.
If you have  SATA only CAGE + backplane  the SAS drive will not fit the slot, due to the block center portion. (case in point, SAS stuffed in to a Laptop is blocked)

My Dell Blade R710  , takes either drive. (SAS Controller)

RAID cards run 4 drives per SFF slot and can have 4 to 16 drives (4 slots x 4 drives= 16 drives) with expander card 32.

See more rules here at. (T10 committee)

You want only cards with these connectors, below (SFF-8087) modern. (and sure cables to match both ends)
Remove the protectors  from all cable connectors new, and the card side. FIRST.  If you don't see an empty steel cage below, it has a protector. (seen mostly on only new cards or even cable ends)

  This 2nd photo is in the connector datasheet page. red arrow is the protector blank plug.
Cables are tricky there are many kinds, some will not work used wrong.  (not ust internal or external)
SFF to SFF,  come in 2 kinds,  for cards to card cage or to expanders.  8087 both end.
SFF to SATA
SFF to SAS
SATA to SAS.

Learn first about Reverse Breakout, cables. (and not)  Forward breakout is normal  if  doing SATA cards to SAS the Reverse  is the choice.



RAID WEAKNESSES: (rules = hints = ways and means.)
Rule #1 ;for RAID card setup , turn off the HDD cache  inside the HDD.
Think how good the Cache Vault works at power failures (pending writes oops) and the HDD loses power in the HDD internal cache goes dead.(undermining the CV)
Try to consider there are  3 CACHE, one in Windows, on in the CV and one deep deep inside the HDD.
If not using a UPS , turn off The MS windows CACHE, pick write cache DISABLED.(OFF) CV  ENABLED AND HDD DISABLED.  (ONLY CV HAS   battery  or Super CAP.
The thing to  avoid at all costs?  is to avoid the dead server from any Write Hole event (cache)
"BBU protects only the controller cache, not the hard disk's write caches. "  , the deep deep one. (only UPS protects this)
Quotes for HDD inside:
"There is a downside, though.
While the hard drive is trying to make good on its promise to write the data, it can lose it.
If the computer is powered off suddenly, all of the data stored in the cache will disappear. Cache, like RAM, is volatile storage." 
Bye Bye Data !

Rule #2, Never power down any real server with a single or two drive failure, never do that. only replace the drive, running! that is what REAL SERVERS  DO, RUN and never stop. RAID6 Example.PERC(H710 cards or H810)

If you run a simple video server (reads only),  you need no Write caching at all so turn it off and not buy a CV card, just get the cheap 9211 card and be happy.

Rule #1 (same for expansion or replacing a bad drive, or any array huge with vast data is rebuilt (and not erased then restored from backups)
You can also dramatically reduce rebuild time / RAID array initialization by setting the background task utilization from the default of 5% to 100%

Why are disks (HDD platters not truly  binary like  DRAM or a EEPROM or a FLIPFLOP ) It is becase they are not, only the interface is binary.
1024 is no 1000 decimal (HDD maker count sectors and tracks in decimal.
A good read for those not understand how HDD work and are rated in decimal math (A disk bit magnetic domain is not any kind of binary constant, it is decimal rated, in  sector of  a track based on DENSITY , not transistor bits)

Why do I need a Cache Vault option, answer, You do not if the system has  UPS, and said UPS can last for your black out  time, (if not you  do need  some kind of cache vault.)

My #1 choice is here, for  good RAID card not expensive at all.

My top Pick for Real RAID and 6G speeds and super caps is this gem.  ($50 on par) note the  out-rigger card (CV code = CacheVault) with a SUPERCAP BANK.
The best is FLASH BACK, that means the Actual CACHE RAM has a SuperCap (or battery) in this case I use supercaps version. (supercaps can last 30year below 30C temps)
Non OEM Maker !. (LSI here is not Dell or HP/HPE.com) (remember OEM cards while not run Windows 10, only what they allow, like WS2012R2 up or Linux)
9260cv-8i + cache flash back + Super cap module. (8 drives internal)
How it works this CV magic:
When you lose AC power to the Server the card below detects that event and saves the CACHE RAM to FLASH EEPROM memory, using the SuperCAP card as its power supply (at AC power loss and system PSU loss.
Then the reverse happens when the AC Power restores. (even 1+ month/s later, yeah)
The EEPROM memory never forgets this save even when SUPER CAP discharges, fully  later!!. (Prime grade features alert .)  read this line 3 time !  EEPROM is FLASH MEMORY actual , Cache is RAM.


I Guess 4 Farad's I will not bend out to see the farad marks. (and very easy to solder in new ones if need be.)

TESTING 1,2,3....

The below are some very common raid cards, and the best for cost and speed is first.
HEAT: LACKING A REAL SERVER OR PC WITH 2 CASE FANS.(OR NONE)
The cards are designed  by the maker  TO  BE located INSIDE A REAL SERVER OR WORK STATION , that  have Server grade Fan air flows, not some cheap used $100 PC. (front + rear fans advised)
Watch out the heat sink can be so hot it burns the finger. (avoid that, use a fan !!) <<< ignored this hot , the heat wrecks the chip fast !
I installed a fan to the top of my 9211, cards heat sink directly (used only in my  test bed PC to test Spare SAS drives)
The fan below works great, even in hot case but Best is a  case with case fans, front and / or  rear. (or real servers that have up to 7 fans)
I flashed this card to "IT" JBOD Mode
This my JBOD card, for testing spare SAS drives.
I use this above Card in simple PC case  only for erasing testing all,  used (low miles) SAS drives,  I test them first and run smart tests and then check for no errors. (and no loss of sectors yet)


Want 12G speeds? (This grade of card can be very expensive)

LSI-9361 BBU type: $100 , shopping by low price.
 
 If you can find one cheap, JUMP fast.    (12GB/S rated) The CACHE is always a good idea.
Power failures can happen, only you know what can happen with A.C. Power. (your home, town, neighborhood ,etc)
(it is a battery and not near as good as SUPER CAPS (IMO) on other cards like 9366cv.)
9361 below,  The battery can have a short life,.(3years?) A supercap card and be with out power for 20 years, and not go bad, unlike Batteries.  (The battery has higher energy density but who cares?) (Citation1)   C2:
Batteries hate under and overcharging, 2 things I can not control, CAPs kept cool can last for 20 years. (and 1million cycle of discharge) if not over heated ever or too much voltage (never the latter on this card)

  • LSI MegaRAID SAS 9360-4i 2x4 HD port internal SAS vertical (means vert, jacks) 4 drive limit.
  • LSI MegaRAID SAS 9360-8i 2x4 HD port internal SAS vertical
  • LSI MegaRAID SAS 9361-4i 2x4 HD port internal SAS horizontal
  • LSI MegaRAID SAS 9361-8i 2x4 HD port internal SAS horizontal (more common used $300 range)
  • LSI MegaRAID SAS 9362-4i
  • LSI MegaRAID SAS 9380-8e 2x4 HD port external SAS horizontal (tape drives or external HDD CAGE BAYs)
  • LSI MegaRAID SAS 9380-4i4e 1x4 HD ports internal, 1x4 HD ports SAS external






These are my battery hacking tests , good and bad.
One more my  LSI-9280 4e4i card with BBU on the back  , battery backup and dead now ,sure it is this old..  The 9280 card cost me $13 whopping bucks.
But has no HBA JBOD mode.(so is cheap due to that)
Wild experiments me:  (A SUCCESS)
I learned the charger is too smart for its own britches, (me testing) and will fail not just won't hold a charge, but also fails from using the wrong amp/hr battery. (or can not learn the batteries profile (a test it does)
I tried a dry cell battery 3 cells and a 1N4004 pair to block illegal charging and the card was happy with the voltage, but did not like the battery due to charging profiles failed. (I expected that but had to prove it ,my curiosity.) The software once happy with the BBU , and battery , lets you pick a discharge rate,  in days.  1 of 3 choices.
So I bought a $3 Li-Ion AA cell battery and removed the old flat dead one.easy  (the heat sensor is not on the battery now, so that might be a problem, but sure easy to move it too there if later I must.
1500mA/hr is spec.
Results are:  HERE (1 battery new) 1200Ma/Hr. <<< Click link for slide show.
One more test (charge currents) using AMP clamp meter,  both the WebBIOS and my amp meter show 250mA charge current. (and 3 hours latter 0mA) The works very well.


BTW both cards run instantly with Window 10. even V:21H1
Secret #2? is that Broadcom offers free MegaRAID, app to run this card and tune up the silly BBU battery.

CV CARDS ARE CACHE _ VAULT (PCI-e cards only) and W10 or WS2012R or newer.
If you find any LSI card that has this , CV, that would be best. 
The so called Cache Vaults with outside SUPER CAP models.  As high as 6 FARADS (not a  typo, not uF)
LSI-9266CV-8i,  6G speed, about $100 used. Super Caps Cache,   (supports 8 HDD/SSD) One of these using SUPER CAP (farads 6.4) $100


These used cards keep getting older and cheaper, and is Great.  (and replacing super caps is easy work)


Flashing steps:  Just for LSI/Broadcom , no other OEM cards. JUST USING DOS.(freeDOS)
Turn off UEFI mode in BIOS or DOS fails,  or just turn off , secure and safeboot, or use BIOS CSM mode as seen on my Asus z270prime, or in some PCs  circa 2015 see BIOS choice Legacy boot.
CSM is dual BIOS (BIOS+UEFI) your choice (Amazing , no?, real choices?) My ASUS has this. (bravo them)
Or go online to Ebay.com if wanting JBOD and  buy a card marked, "Un-RAID" , that is cross-flashed already. (to "IT" mode) or do it your self using these simple DOS steps.

I never use a PC with forced UEFI (2020 up) I use a PC that runs DOS, brand new PCs do not run DOS now, UEFI Class-III ends that. 2020 year or just tad later (OEM choices)
Good news the newer Flash Rom binary from Broadcom , states, no more multi file frash burns needed, just one new  binary.ROM file is needed. (2014 update mine)

I am only upgrading BIOS below. (from LSI support)
I have a pre-made DOS boot USB thumb drive, and tested to work perfect.
Then copy the 3 files here ( megaCLI, (for dos) the new.ROM file (not linked here)and my burn.bat   ( here , burn.txt and here) The rom file only works the card listed in the zip text file here (my 9280)
Rename the burn.txt to burn.bat, (ignore error) Read this batch file , there is no magic here, all it does is save typing complex CLI command (one))
I boot the new stick to DOS and type burn. enter)
How to make a  freeDOS thumb drive easy using FULL DOS.(or my way below more simple)
PC from 1981 to 2019 we can: (boot DOS) (no UEFI or disabled) < no 2020+ UEFI classs-3 PC.
My Dell PC I only need to power it on hammer F12 (boot on the fly mode) and pick the USB DOS thumb drive. (DELL 3020MT, examples)

See this great web site on how to DOS flash any 92xx card or by other names. SAS9280-4i4e (mine) and others, in the readme.txt file listed with the ROM file.
This is more  simple. (LSI and DOS) with Broadcom.com support files
The freeDOS site, get the full version only and the IMG file, Full is best due to its used of full memory manager (out the gate)
Load DOS to  the USB Thumb drive  using win32diskimager-1.0.0-install.exe
Load the IMG file (DOS) to USB stick (thumbdrive) even fits on old 512MB sticks , even $2 sticks on  fleabay
Copy the 3 files mentioned above to the stick (MegaCLI,  burnfile.ROM and my burn.bat
After the  stick build, the job was just 5 clicks, cold boot PC , hit F12  Dell, boot USB,  see DOS (say no to install) pick RUN DOS. and then at DOS prompt YOU type BURN.(enter)
Took me 5  minutes max to finish to burn firmware  (seen here and here) There is no progress bar so just walk away , drink coffee and come back.  DONE.  DOS is 100% safe,  (single tasking it is)
To use my way , just get your own ROM file.

See here what CARDS can or can not be crossflashed.

FAQ: (problems) and Answers (Ans:)  
If WebBIOS is dead, do learn first that each card maker (OEM) or LSI,  has there own hot keys to land in the cards own web page.  LSI=Cntrl+H) HP = F8, Dell = Ctrl + R> (each card has manual)
  • My mobo or HBA has only SATA ports can I use SAS drives?, NO for sure NO. (buy a LSI9211 card use that)< spend $30
  • The card is dead , Ans: The express slot does not support x8 channels, (try one more time on a PC with known full 8 channels or 16 PCI-express.)
  • The card is still dead, so turn off UEFI mode or run in CSM mode. (UEFI  loves to block non certified RAID CARDS) so aviod UEFI, turn it off. (this does not prevent GPT formated huge TB Arrays)
  • 2015+ newer PC the silly BIOS(UEFI) now has this block aux. ROM BOOTS (so enable ROM  boots, firmware in the card now runs)
  • The HP card F8 RAID ROM key is dead.  On HP PCs etc, you need to run F8 2 times, to get to the Raid CARD configurations pages. (my LSI card use Control +C and is not a problem, UEFI turned off.)
  • Device manager shows my LSI card is dead, SAS card. why? (use MS PnP to make it work if fail that (< never true really but...) but if is true, then go to Broadcom.com and get your drivers.
  • Why are all but 1 drives missing in windows? Well that  is because it is a 1 drive virtual  ARRAY now. (using real RAID with real ARRAY) not JBOD mode.
  • Why are the drivers missing on my PC or Server,? Answer : They are all here if missing in PnP,  . At Microsoft driver CATALOG servers. (H310 example1) (if not there then they do not exist)
  • Can I set up my card to be HBA ,(JBOD) so there is no RAID?, sure you can, if 2 options are allowed, Flash it to "IT" JBOD mode, or in setting on newer card turn off the RAID and set it to JBOD.
  • Can my card see SAS, SSD and SATA drives: Sure it can , if all are JBOD sure, if not but in RAID mode all are visable only in the Megaraid, app or in the firmware settings page , say LSI , Control + C mode.
  • I can't find a driver for OS (something) say windows 10? , well most cards do not support that, XP to W10 at all due to servers DO NOT run windows, they run WINDOWS SERVER, WS2003 up, I run WS2012R2. The cure is, use LSI cards not OEM cards. (easy no?)
  • Can I run the W8 driver on 10 ? ": answer sure you can load it in w8 to 10 compatibility mode, google that or ask on MS forum .
  • Can I lose data if power is lost to the PC, Ans: Sure you can , so buy a UPS or get the card with the RAID CACHE (write) and battery /supercap backup , BBU.
  • My raid card tells me the disk has serious S.M.A.R.T errors why?:, Ans : the drive is bad,  no more guessing now you know the truth, replace it is the JOB.
  • Where are my drivers well at MS, driver catalog see link above, or at Dell, or HPE.com or at you OEM servers support site, or FREENAS?
  • Why do I need raid, well most home PC owners you have no need for it ever, if not running say a  real hugeVideo Plex server. (I have 3 servers real, 1 live and 2 offline servers to backup) 
  • Why do I need any of this?, Answser you don't ever, let Microsoft cloud do all this. (backup usage) (not free)
  • If you need a real server, but do not want to buy a real home servers (or NAS) nor all that cost and maintenance, why not RENT SPACE HERE and end this.
I do hope this information helps someone, anyone.
Warning:  If you have no plan for what to do when any HDD fails in 5 years time.  You will fail. (be backed up) and run a real RAID card with BBU.(or buy a UPS)
Read this about MS on Windows storage spaces, is this for you? . (if the mobo fails, and you can not find a one  like it , you are doomed if not backed up) <<< best is use only common LSI JBOD cards.
Read about hot spares.
To do this act, 1 drive bad (LED glows Red in it), on my R710 real Dell server (and never taken off line)
 I removed  the bad  drive (yah hot swap cage), and put in a new one. (the rebuild  is totally automatic) zero down time and even a kid could do it.

How to setup RAID in say a PC  not in a real server. ( LSI cards only !) "Broadcom.com"
You are wise and know that power failures happen endless, even GRID load switch bumps and the ARRAY Fails (count on it , if ignored facts)
That is why you have the CV 
C
acheVault working on your card or a real  UPS connected  to the servers.
You are not using JBOD mode. ( We are not doing  Software Raid here, we are only doing Hardware RAID)
We are doing only W10 PC here, (not WS2012R2 like on my real servers and real server OS, are are totally different)

There are 2 ways to setup, one is using the WebBIOS, or card  firmware web pages, and. or using W10 APP MEGARAID.exe (free)
Way one works regardless of what OS you run (vast there are) W10 is the most hard due to most OEM cards to not support PC W10, at all. (LSI does and is why I cover only that)
To use the cards own web page setup the PC must be setup first.
Newer PCs have ROMBIOS , disabled seen on  PC OOBE, now, UEFI rules. (learn that UEFI fully enabled bans most RAID cards made for 20 years) << avoid this pain. (12G cards have UEFI now)
So enable ROMBIOS in your PC;s main BIOS (on DELL PC F2 is BIOS page 1) {a.k.a, IBM ROM extensions since 1981 IBM PC JR, days first ever use! )
My LSI-9200 and 9300 cards all respond to Control+H hot key hard booted. (I hammer this pair of keys as the "PC BIOS" does its POST splash screen )
The we get page 1 of WebBioS. Just pick the card and click start,
What we do is setup and ARRAY , even a  1 DISK array works. (an amazing, fact to do simple testing or practice this)
Uses the "Configuration Wizard"
The pick "new configuration" for virgin setups. and then chose automatically.
The best way past there is do the (new card etc) is do that Card properties auto setup (not adanced as that feature is dead due to no license you want to buy)
The best way to learn WebBiOs is to watch a video if  google can stop the inane long commericals that is....
  1. Setup the array , 1 or more drives any way you want even RAID 6 (using best cards and fresh BIOS webBIOS in the card)
  2. Then setup BBU if opted in the card, Cache RAM backup and Battery. (or use a UPS 1000/VA )
  3. The array is now built as you want and the correct RAID mode  0 to 60. (use NEW CONFIGURATION, then ADD array)When all drives are added you want, that becomes 1 virtual drive)
  4. Exit and save in WebBIOS. and boot Windows 10,  if interenet connected now, the card shows up in DEVICE manager for sure  !
  5. In W10 DISK MANAGER you see the new ARRAY of 1 to 8 disks, (common) so format it now, and here. W10 assigns a drive letter for the say 8 drive array now.
  6. That new ARRAY say E: is now ready to rock any way you want, (backup server, video server (PLEX) or what eva)
To use MegaRAID free APP,  you do the same things, only under windows10.
I never use the ARRAYS to boot , I use a single SSD 500GB for that. That makes setup easy and all 8 bays full and with RAID6.

VIDEO WebBIOS. (ignore the 4 slots full or RAID cards and mute the lame music track.)


How to manage  all this is on the nice web site.

To get MegaRAID see the list on Broadcom.com  listed for each card that is free.  (I am not using OEM CARDs nor any of their versions of MSM) 
Best and popular for these years, are the  APP MSM ,   v17.05.02.01_MSM_Windows.zip,   9200 and 9300 series, the does work.


What is BBU (and the all same fuctional type devices) or FlashBack cache.
BBU means the battery backup unit. ( does not really say much)
The BBU is sold and made in many forms some good some bad.
First off the CACHE ram , make the ARRAY of DRIVES  rebuilt faster and the OS running to be fister for vast clients using it. For sure using the likes of  SQL hard use R/W)
The BBU also prevents HDD data loss on power failure.
The  4 types here. (NVRAM/Flash and 2 kinds of power sources battery and SUPER CAP)

FLASH EEPROM memory BBU  with a battery  or SUPERCAP,  No lie Flashback + a real battery is best)
and NVRAM + BATTERY THAT is very problematic, (battery real is far better than SuperCAP type.)

The Li-ION battery type is has more energy density than SuperCaps (6Farads?) so lasts longer (AC lost) The battery.. (life spans same but not lost of power times)
The point here is power failures if there are none then most methods work here.
If you get a power  loss over 1 day or 24 yours you can be in big trouble.
The device called FLASHBACk mean it uses not the NVRAM but is in real FLASH memory. (a far better technology using FLASH EEPROM)
When the FLash back loses power AC, the battery it has does not allow it  to go dead, and knows the HDD just went dead and freezes writes. (in cache)
This brain in the FLASH back is very smart.
When the server gets BACK the AC power the brain in the Flashback device sees that and then stores the pending writes as soon as the RAID ARRAY comes back online.
With NVRAM the data is lost if its battery goes dead or the SUPER cap goes discharged,  a very high risk this is.

The worst use and common (for backup servers that are take off line.
Is the long time they are turned off the battery or Supercap goes dead.
When you shut down a real server OS (or w10 ) the OS flushes all caches automatically, and the HDD array's are not in a state of pending writes.
The only real  problem is loss of AC power, unexpected for any reasons.

Watch out for Raid card sellers that have no clue as to the difference between a BATTERY and a CAPACITOR (6F typical)
The list it for sale calling the SUPERCAP a battery and are fibbing dogs or are dumb.
The way to know is look at the battery with photos, 
see AH rating (amp hours) that is a battery.
see 6F that is  5 farad cap.... easy no?

The key element here is a server failure, like PSU died (both?) and it is now a DEAD SERVER .
Q1" will the battery hold up for all that time to get hands on PSU new. (i bet not) so have spares. (in stock)
Some now offer flashback as portable device (nice).   (moving all array parts and HDD and RAid card. and BBU, from dead server to new good server)
Seem to me an 8 hour work shift data retention should be a goal.

My only question is what about the cache inside the HDD actual.  (and now it can create a WireHole at lossof 12v/5vdc)???

 

End zone avoid these cards, etc (this is NOT SAS + SFF )

AVOID OLD SLOW 3G

OLD slow and Obsolete , AVIOD old legacy devices like this.
Life is too short for 8484. GO 6G or better with SSF grade connections, and  old P400 below the black connectors screams RUN AWAY
Watch out of scalpers on fleabay selling this  junk for big bucks.  (It has no value now)!


version 3.  4-10-2018  (edits,  6-1-2021) There is no best, only what is best for you and no 2 folks have the same needs.