Promise alongside Highpoint has been one of the longest running producers of IC chips that deal with the storage medium world. Promise chips have been integrated into some of the most popular boards from ASUS and GIGABYTE in the past, while ABIT has been prominently going with Highpoint, as did EPoX. Promise has not gone unnoticed though.
While building IC chips keeps them pretty busy, Promise also produce their own controller cards for the desktop, workstation and server environments with different features and price points designed for just about any situation.
Back when IDE was the king and SATA was a distant thought in someone's mind, Promise's controllers were amongst the top of the line, but specialising in server environments was what really put them on top. Promise's SCSI controllers were not only some of the most powerful, but contained the best redundancy as well as features and support.
Today IDE and SCSI are things of the past; Serial ATA has replaced IDE, and for the server environment the days of dealing with SCSI cables, drive ID's and so forth are gone. Today we have SAS or "Serially Attached SCSI".
Serially Attached SCSI is based around the same SCSI principal that makes it faster and more reliable than the IDE interface, however it's now moved to the Serial Transfer method. In fact, the cables and interface slots are identical, which makes SAS controllers rather interesting. SAS controllers can work with SATA or SAS drives, but you can't plug a SAS HDD into a SATA controller as the interface is not the same.
Today we have the big bertha from the Promise SuperTrak family, the STEX8650 8-port SAS controller. How does it stack up against onboard Serial ATA RAID as the storage preference? Let's have a look.