Today RAID systems on desktop motherboards aren't anything new. Back when Slot 1 processors were just getting accepted into the market, RAID was a dreamed about commodity that the desktop market simply didn't have. The only way to get a RAID setup was to use high priced server SCSI controllers as well as expensive and low capacity SCSI drives; but that was until ABIT and HighPoint came to the rescue.
UDMA-33 was the highest speed IDE interface that Intel's older Southbridges supported when BX chipsets were king, but UDMA-66 drives were coming out so HighPoint put out its set of IDE controller chipsets that supported IDE. The best thing about it was that with a few little tweaks this chipset could be forced into a RAID system, allowing you to run the drives in RAID 0 or RAID 1. While limited by today's standards where we have RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5, 6 and JBOD, it did start the low cost RAID revolution using cheaper IDE drives.
With the move to SATA and the popularity of RAID, it didn't take long before Intel, VIA, SIS and NVIDIA put RAID functions onto their chipsets. Intel's first RAID supporting Southbridge was the ICH5 with 2-port SATA RAID, and from there it has grown to the current 6 ports we have on the ICH9R Series.
While we do have onboard RAID, what if you're the type that wants more? The only option is to chuck in a RAID controller card, and thankfully HighPoint are still in the game as they continue to expand their line-up of controller cards.
Today we have been given the chance to look at the RocketRAID 2300 PCI Express based controller card designed for the desktop user. How does it compare to the chipset integrated RAID? Let's have a look.