Hardware Used for the Job
First of all, before we jump into the test result numbers, we will run over the hardware we used.
As we mentioned in the introduction, Patriot Memory were kind enough to send over four of their 128GB Warp 2 SSDs for the article.
These drives currently retail for $339 USD (about $513 AUD) each on Newegg, but they are also available in smaller sizes of 32GB and 64GB if you don't need the full 128GB capacity.
Individually, each drive weighs just 91 grams, measures 99.88 x 69.63x 9.3 mm and offer sequential read rates up to 175MB/s and sequential write rates up to 100MB/s, according to Patriot. They come with a two year warranty in case something goes wrong.
Next on the hardware list is the Areca ARC-1231ML RAID controller - this is a PCI Express x8 device that actually supports up to 12 SATAII devices using three Mini SAS 4i connectors that support four devices per connector. In this article of course, we'll only need a single connector for our four SSD drives. It is powered by the Intel 800MHz IOP341 I/O processor and comes with all the bells and whistles you could ever hope for. Personally, it is the best RAID controller I have ever used. You will find out why soon! ;)
Currently the ARC-1231ML RAID controller is retailing for $759.99 USD on Newegg for the 1GB cache memory version, while the 2GB cache memory version costs a little extra at $799.99 USD. That just means the amount of DDR2 ECC memory installed in the controllers memory slot is different - you can always change it later yourself.
So, this isn't working out to be a cheap system so far, and you're correct - just the SSD drives and controller alone, you'll be looking at a total of $2156 USD or $3260 AUD for these parts and you still need to build the rest of your PC. We aren't focusing on budget today, though; this is about extreme storage performance and with that obviously comes high cost.
If we want to compare the price of this setup to something like the Fusion-io ioDrive which Chris looked at exclusively recently, this price all of a sudden becomes acceptable.
Now, let's move onto those important performance numbers - over to the next page!