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Dell RAID Cards

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Dec 12, 2008

What is the current impression on the Dell Perc 5/i?

Would you reccomend this raid controller for 4 1TB caviar blacks (in RAID 5)?

What should I pay for one?

is there a specific version of this card I should get?

I know I've seen it mentioned a lot around here, so figured I'd ask around.


Jan 20, 2009
They are the best sata raid controller available. I would say that 4x1tb Raid5 would be fine. Don't pay more than $100 for one (I've seen them go with Battery and breakout cables for $100).

There is no specific version to look out for. There extremely picky about ram, there's a thread at overclock.net about what ram is supported.


Aug 8, 2004
I don't know if I would said the PERC 5/i is the best RAID controller around, but it is the best bang-for-buck RAID controller. I got a card, battery backup, and cables for $100 shipped. Haven't regretted it.

Would this array be for storage or will you have your OS on it or something? I would consider getting the WD green line if it is for a file server, only because greens are cheaper, uses less power/doesn't get as hot, and performance will probably be bottlenecked by the network anyway. If you already have the black drives, the 5 year warranty probably wont hurt...

I think one of the biggest things that lead me to purchasing a PERC 5/i instead of using a solution like FreeNAS is because of being able to expand existing arrays. Plus, I like how I can run Windows on it without having to dual boot or something. I like know I have a backup computer, since my laptop's XP installation crapped out the night before a final while I was studying (many of my notes were electronic).

Old Thrashbarg

Sep 26, 2007
It's certainly not the best RAID controller out there, but it's the best you're gonna get for under $300 or so, and it's more than good enough for the average SATA RAID setup.

People aren't stressing the point enough, I don't think, so I will say: make sure to get one with the battery backup unit. The cache won't work without it, and the BBUs aren't very easy to find by themselves.

I don't know of any particular revisions of the 5/i to look out for, but do be careful... there are a couple similarly named cards that aren't as good. I believe they're called 5/e and 5/iR.