Raid card died. Looking for recommendations

I’ve got an old Supermicro tower from an old job that with a Xeon E3-1271 and LSI MegaRAID 9271-4i. It became my first Proxmox homelab.

Finally the RAID card died. Everything was in RAID 1 so I’ll probably be able to get the data back, but I’m looking for recommendations to rebuild my lab by reusing as much old hardware as I can and under $200. I know that the hardware I have is terrible, but it was good enough for the few things I was running.

Here’s what I have available to reuse: Tower with Xeon E3-1271, 32GB RAM. This is what held the PCIe RAID card. Another tower with an FX-8370 and an 16 GB ram. A pile of 1TB WD Blue drives.

Should I get another PCI RAID card? Should I just get a PCI card that’s just a SATA hub that lets me plug in a pile of hard drives, RAID1 in them in software and call it a day? I’m not looking for anything crazy as far as IO is concerned. I was happy with my janky setup before

Update:
RAID card is completely dead, so i plugged all the drives into a Linux PC directly and was able to mount the Proxmox VM disks and I’m now copying the data to external drives.
Here are a couple of links that helped me. First one allows me to access contents of the volumes and the second one allows me to mount VM disks.

Also, this post was useful for unlocking drives for wiping in Gparted

Personally I am using the “PERC” solution. Currently I have a PERC-6i in my desktop, but it needs a good cooling solution, as it is designed for server cases, not desktop. I have a Chipset waterblock on it, connected to my main WC circuit, and runs fine.

You can find them on Ebay for less than $100.

Honestly I’d just order a used replacement from eBay. That particular LSI card is enterprise grade and can be purchased for about $50. Then I’d save the other $150 to put toward acquiring a newer server.

Somehow it fixed itself? I moved the RAID card to another PC to see if I can boot into its utility from there, and it worked. I put it back in the old PC, and it all works. This whole thing started because one of the drives died and I couldn’t get into the tools to find out which one it is and replace it. I need to buy a replacement drive to continue and I haven’t actually booted it with the drives plugged in, so I’ll update with what happens. This is very strange because before it refused to get past the raid card boot screen…

Sounds like the card walked out of the socket due to thermal expansion / cool down.

You can find old Dell H700s for $15 all over eBay. They become unsuitable when you want to use 4Kn drives, or pass trim commands through to SSDs. Otherwise they still work great, as long as you’ve got airflow directed over them.

Also, you can plug your drives into the SATA ports on any system and boot-up to a Linux live CD/USB to read all the data off them. Linux’s software raid mdraid recognizes LSI MegaRAID signatures, no RAID controller needed.

I’ve figure out that it was overheating. The heat sink on the card was held on by plastic clips with springs. The thermal paste has turned solid to the pint where I had to scrape it off the heat sink with a knife. After cleaning everything, applying new paste, and plugging it in, it stopped being recognized by the system completely. I’ve found an LSI recovery iso and tried following the automated repair, but it just failed.

At this point I’m giving up on the raid card. This was a good lesson for me regarding preventative maintenance of hardware i find in my work e-waste bin.

Now I’m trying to see if I can mount those drives in Linux and copy my data to a removable drive before I wipe everything and go with software raid.

Thanks for the tip. Right now I’m just trying to get the data off the drives. RAID card is completely dead. Once (or “if”) I get my data then I’ll set up mdraid.

That’s one of the big selling points for me for software raid- I can plug the drives into anything and get the data off. I don’t need to keep a proprietary spare or worry about them going out of stock.

I guess that’s a valid concern if you run Windows servers. But not really a problem on Linux:

Since Linux dominates on servers, and LSI/Avago’s MegaRAID seems to dominate the hardware RAID controller space (at least all Dell and Intel server RAID cards seem to be rebranded MegaRAID’s), most people are safe. Not to mention you can pick-up all kinds of older MegaRAID compatible cards on eBay for $15, not a major expense to keep a backup.

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