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VIA PT800 Chipset - Single Channel taken to the Max - V RAID - SATA RAID Comparison

By: Shawn Baker | VIA Chipsets in CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: Jul 11, 2003 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.0%Manufacturer: VIA Technology

SATA RAID Comparison


We thought it would be a good and interesting idea to include SATA RAID benchmarks results from VIA's new VT8237 Southbridge (which can also be found on VIA KT600 based AMD Athlon motherboards, not just PT800 based motherboards) compared to VIA's biggest competitor - Intel - with their ICH5R Southbridge on an EPoX Canterwood retail based motherboard with two Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 160GB hard disk drives that contain 8MB cache since these are currently among the fastest SATA hard disk drives money can buy.


We will test with HD Tach which will serve as a good gauge as to how VIA's IDE performance matches up against Intel since we have seen very little to no coverage of this topic posted in any PT800 online reviews to date.


We used the same CPU, memory and RAID settings (RAID 0 and stripe size 64k) to compare both RAID controllers from VIA and Intel to even the playing field out as much as possible, so without further ado let's get into the all important benchmarks.


HD Tach 2.61 Results


- VIA VT8237 SATA RAID Controller Results



- Intel ICH5R SATA RAID Controller Results



As far as read and write speeds go as you can see from the screenshots above that both VT8237 and ICH5R Southbridge's are almost identical with Intel beating out VIA in average read tests and with VIA beating out Intel in average write tests by almost the same respective margins with access times being exactly the same, as we expected, since chipsets have no influence over this figure at all.


It should be taken into consideration that the Intel ICH5R was able to write 9MB/s quicker than VIA VT8237 but this was purely the highest speed recorded through HD Tach and not sustained which makes this result not very important to us. As far as burst speeds go, the burst speed for the VIA VT8237 was 101596kps (101MB/s or thereabouts) and the burst speed for the Intel ICH5R was 123429kps (123MB/s or thereabouts) giving Intel a 22MB/s lead in this area of testing.


Since we have very little performance difference in average read and write speeds, we need to look at the next best thing, if you want to call it that - CPU utilization. The Intel ICH5R uses many more CPU cycles than the VIA VT8237 to perform the same task - VIA beat Intel in this category by 3.2% CPU utilization which is almost 7 times better than what Intel have managed with their newest Southbridge. All this basically means is that when you are copying large amounts of data, the CPU does less work to perform the task which leaves more CPU power to perform tasks that you are doing when the hard drive is being accessed heavily. In real world terms, this makes a big difference when you have many programs open when the hard drive is getting a work out - you will be able to continue work as usual without being lagged down.


Overall, the first prize for IDE performance must be given to VIA for its low CPU utilization results which are very impressive. Maybe the Intel ICH5R CPU utilization is higher because it bursts at a higher rate than VIA and can obtain a quicker maximum write speed; this would explain it at least but we cannot be sure of this.


(This section by Cameron Wilmot)


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