A few days after we published the Crucial RealSSD C300 review a second drive arrived so that we could publish a RAID report. That was the beginning of February and by now most people think we just completely dropped the ball and forgot about actually publishing a RAID article on the C300's. There is actually quite a bit more to it than that, but we are really not trying to make this article about the C300's. In order to take a deeper look at the HighPoint RocketRAID 640 SATA 6G RAID Controller, we have to get into the details of the other first.
When motherboard manufacturers released their new SATA 6G enabled products, a couple of different paths were chosen and we covered that pretty extensively here and here. ASUS chose not to go down the RAID path while GIGABYTE chose to include the Marvell SATA 6G RAID controller. At that time Crucial hadn't released their SATA 6G SSD so we were left to test with the Seagate Barracuda XT, a drive that really doesn't need SATA 6G since its 7,200 RPM platters can't break 280 MB/s.
When we finally gained possession of a pair of C300's we quickly went into testing mode and came out the other end of the tunnel quite disappointed. The X58A-UD7 had major issues that limited our write speed to less than 1MB/s. For over a month we were left hanging with the issue, but this really wasn't something that was in the hands of GIGABYTE; this was an issue with a Marvell RAID controller not working right with a Marvell SSD controller. Who would have thought?
Even now as I type this I have the latest BIOS loaded on my X58A-UD7, a pair of C300's and a fresh benchmark system running the combination of the above and am seeing read speeds of 228MB/s average and write speeds even lower than those. Clearly this is not acceptable performance for two drives in RAID 0 that run 350MB/s read and 200MB/s write as single drives. Hopefully the issue gets cleared up one of these days.
Until then we have to take a look at other options to run the very impressive Crucial RealSSD C300 drives in RAID for enthusiasts. One option is to spend around a thousand dollars on an LSI or Intel SATA 6G RAID controller that is designed for enterprise use. I didn't think most of you would really like that option too much since a pair of 128GB C300's is already going to cost over 800 USD and the 256GB drives will set you back a little over 1400 USD.
Enthusiasts on a budget now have another option for SATA 6G RAID and it comes to us from HighPoint Technology. Most of us old timers remember HighPoint from the early ABIT days when their UltraATA 66 controller was all of the rage and set us down the path of onboard RAID coming standard on high end motherboards. Back then a high-end motherboard only set you back around 200 USD and thankfully for us the HighPoint RocketRAID 640 costs even less than that.
Today we are finally going to be able to test our matched pair of Crucial RealSSD C300 drives in RAID 0 while only hitting the wallet for around 1500 USD, drives included. Let's take a look at the product features and then dive right into the benchmarks!