Originally Posted by cdoublejj
I wanted raid 6 which it doesn't do so i'm looking at a raid 5. i was playing with a raid calculator, i think raid 6 and 5 end up with more space than 10/1+0 and still have redundancy, obviously 6 has more redundancy than 5. I'm not sure i'm gonna move my OS to it but, i'll store my servers and VMs there and maybe 1 day a file server. i'm also looking at making a super basic ultra small low usage web page. or i probably could have just said it's my toy/experiment/test bed.
Oh has any one mixed and matched same size drives? i've heard of few instances on server raids where it has worked with no issues.
Don't do RAID 5...nope, nu-uh, no. RAID 5 (in a typical hardware/firmware perspective) is past it's usefulness for standard storage systems. RAID 5 is alright for arrays under a few TB, but if you're building a dedicated storage system, i would highly highly highly recommend RAID 10. You will get better performance, better redundancy, and it's less complicated (no parity calculations; just stripping and mirror). RAID 10 will give you so much better write speeds than RAID 5, and random I/O will also be much better. (honestly, a 4 drive RAID 5 vs a 4 drive RAID 10 -- either will saturate a gigabit link)
RAID 6 get's a severe write penalty, which is why I wouldn't use it. I'd consider a RAID 60 for a large low-performance backup system, but not something that I used for my primary storage.
To your original question, the LSI SAS1068 is not a RAID controller, or a HBA. SAS1068 is the model of the chip (aka, I/O Controller) that is used by some circa-2008 HBA's, such as the Dell SAS 5/iR. The SAS1068E does not provide any RAID functionality, as it just provides 8 SAS channels. So a LSI SAS1068 by itself, well it won't even plug into a PCIe slot since it's technically just an IC chip.
If you want quality hardware RAID with a recent controller (that supports more up to 128 drives with the use of a SAS expander, and supports drives larger than 2TB), I can recommend the LSI MegaRAID 9260 or 9261 series (9261 is low profile, and is what I use). I have the LSI MegaRAID 9261-8i, which means it has 8 internal drive connections via 2 SFF-8087 ports (miniSAS ports). There is also a 4i version which only has 1 SFF-8087 port.
The 8i version of these cards run around $350 new, and as low as $200 used. The 4i version you can get used for $120-150. BBU (Battery Backup Unit) for the controller runs around $50-75, and definitely worth it. These cards support RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 50, 60, and 10. They will not do JBOD so do not get this if you want to use software RAID (well, technically you can set up each drive as a single drive RAID 0 and pass that to your RAID software, but that's kinda stupid -- and a waste of money). Add on a SAS Expander (HP, Intel, and Chenbro make great SAS Expanders -- but I'd recommend the Chenbro if you go with a LSI-based RAID chip because the Chenbro uses a LSI I/O Controller ship; LSI SASIIX36 chip -- get the HP SAS Expander if you go with a HP RAID Controller such as the P410).
The MegaRAID storage manager software for LSI RAID Controllers is top notch, and runs on Windows or Linux (even BSD and Solaris, I think). So with hardware RAID, you can use any OS you want.
If you want to do software RAID, I'd just get some cheap SAS HBAs such as IBM ServeRAID m1015 or Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8.
To answer your question about mixing drives, it's typically frowned upon using different model drives in the same RAID array (at least for hardware RAID). You can use different drives on the same controller, but it's best to keep them in separate arrays. Gigabyte Boundary is a term used sometimes to will allow a RAID card to support mixing drives that aren't the exact same time, but this is more common in firmware RAID (such as the AMD) than hardware RAID.
I know everyone is on a budget, but storage and your data is something you don't want to worry about. Take your time planning, save for what you really want, and do it right (quality hardware/drives, matching drives, etc).