Test System Setup
Processor(s): Intel Q9450 quad-core @ 3.2GHz
Motherboard(s): MSI X48 Platinum (Supplied by MSI)
Memory: 2 x 2GB Patriot DDR3 1600MHz
Hard Disk(s): 2 x Western Digital 300GB VelociRaptor in RAID 0 (Supplied by Western Digital)
Operating System: Windows Vista SP1 64-bit
Drivers: Latest Windows Updates and Intel INF 1.1.15
Alright, it is almost time to get into the results, but let's run over our test system and RAID settings first, so everything is clear.
As we mentioned in the introduction, we have included every RAID level array that the Areca ARC-1231ML RAID controller is capable of, including RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10 and JBOD.
Our review sample from Areca came with 256MB of DDR2 ECC memory, but it is upgradeable to 2GB - we left it at the default option of 256MB. Our controller was plugged into the second PCI Express graphics (PEG) port on our MSI X48 test system motherboard that provides 16 PCI-E lanes electronically, which is enough to keep this x8 device more than happy. Disk write cache mode was disabled except for when noted. SATA mode was set to SATA300+NCQ, for best performance. The latest firmware V1.46 2008-08-06 was used.
A quick note on access time and CPU usage - access time stayed steady at 0.2ms in every RAID mode and test in HD Tune Pro, besides one test where it hit 1.6ms under RAID 10 writing. As far as CPU usage goes, it was very acceptable with RAID 5 read testing being the maximum at 5.2% and the other tests hovering around the 2% mark.
For every RAID array tested, an allocation size of 64k was set, to create an even and fair playing field. Now, let's move onto the test results!